From: (Ed Ricardo)
Subject: EDLIS -- Death of an agent.
Date: 24 Jul 1995 10:19:17 GMT


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                  Good car to drive, after a war


Your EDLIS  - Australian  Affairs agent  Ben Ryan  of Hobart
died of  heart failure in London England on Tuesday 18 April

Anyone who  knew and had met Ben was informed all about this
as EDLIS  learned of it, but it seems appropriate to provide
a death notice to the Internet community in general. Ben may
have met  people on  the net  of whom  we are unaware and of
course we  know he  had a very wide range of e-mail contacts
around the world.

My understanding is that Ben was cremated on Wednesday 4 May
1995 in  a private ceremony arranged by his brother who came
over to  London from  New York City. A funeral mass followed
by a wake took place on Saturday 7 May 1995 in Tasmania.

Ben had  attended a  number of  events on the March/April UK
leg of  Bob Dylan's  European tour,  concerts at the Brixton
Academy on  30 March,  and at the Manchester Apollo on 4 & 5
April, and  various lunches, tapers' parties, and other get-
togethers. Ben  did an  interview for the BBC's Radio 4, but
it was  not broadcast.  He was planning to visit a number of
significant UK  collections in order to hear non-circulating
tapes and  socialise. Ben  had been travelling the world for
some time  and had  just come  from  meeting  various  EDLIS
people in the USA.

Ben's interest  in Bob  Dylan was  a  serious  one  and  his
knowledge was  considerable. He  planned to  spend  time  in
Cambridge, helping  with the  EDLIS archives  on a voluntary
basis,  meeting   people,  visiting   relatives  he  had  in
Cambridge and  looking into  the possibilities  of doing  an
academic course  here. Many of the preliminaries to this had
been set  in motion  when Ben did not appear as expected. My
enquiries led  to unconfirmed reports of his death, which at
first of course I found hard to believe, but I contacted the
coroner for  Westminster --  starting there because of Ben's
last contact  address --  and it  was confirmed  that he was
indeed dead.

Ben Ryan was born in Devon, England on 23 September 1962. He
emigrated to  Australia when he was eight years old with his
parents Eric  and Anne and his two elder brothers Damien who
lives in  New York now and Mathew, who is very successful at
renovating old  nineteenth century  houses in  Tasmania, and
his younger sister Alice who also lives in Tasmania.

Ben's parents are retired and living on a few acres south of
Hobart. Eric  Ryan was  an acoustic architect who builds his
own stereo  systems for  classical music.  Anne Ryan  was  a
chemist at the University of Tasmania.

Ben attended Taroona High School until grade 10 then went on
to Hobart  Matriculation College for years 11 and 12. At the
age of  seventeen he  left Hobart  to try his luck in Sydney
Australia which  lasted a  couple of  months. He returned to
get a  job  as  a  printer  with  the  Tasmanian  University
Printing Department  in Hobart.  Part-time study  for  eight
years meant  Ben earned his BA. At this point he gave up his
job and began his world tour.

Ben didn't  like to think anyone disliked him and definitely
went out  of his way to be kind to people. I first met Ben a
few years ago on the net and he was extremely helpful with a
number of  EDLISian projects,  some of a delicate nature, so
Ben was  not a fully public agent, he does not appear in the
public agent  lists, but  anyone  who  asked  an  Australian
question of  EDLIS will  have  known  he  was  the  EDLIS  -
Australian Affairs  agent.  Ben  was  extremely  helpful  in
making Bob  Dylan's work more available throughout Australia
and throughout  the world.  He was  always worried  that one
simple question  to the Hobart post office could have landed
him in  trouble, there  were times  when his trading reached
staggering proportions, he only half-jokingly said he feared
an extra  postal boat  which had been needed to Tasmania was
caused  by  him...  Ben's  Dylanesque  activities  were  all
trades, at  no profit  to himself.  Bear in  mind also  that
Ben's period  of office  coincides with  the fall of Sony in
the Australian courts and the rise of Apple House and others
to produce  what  in  any  other  country  would  have  been
bootlegs but in Oz were legal, astonishingly cheap CDs which
anyone could  buy anywhere.  Sony has recently purchased the
Australian legal  system imposing  its values on Australians
and those days of Australian law which allowed the free flow
of cheap  "boot" CDs  in and  from Australia have ended. Ben
would not have been happy to see this.

Ben enjoyed  jam sessions,  especially on  a Friday night at
his home  until the  early hours  of the  morning. In recent
years Ben  played a  steel string guitar doing Dylan numbers
with some  great chord changes and weird phrasing. He bought
the guitar of his dreams while in the USA.

At the  EDLIS meetings  Ben  attended  he  took  a  strongly
anarchistic position,  but bear  in mind that all agents are
required to  be professing  anarchists. It  is  rather  like
Turkish Albania  where any  Albanian with  any sense adopted
Islam whatever  their religious  views, the  anarchism of an
EDLIS agent  is not  a true  guide to  real  life  political

EDLIS has  a private  project underway which will be done in
Ben's memory  and will  carry  his  name  --  The  Ben  Ryan
Project. Nothing  more will be said publicly about this, but
it is  an idea  conceived as  appropriate to Ben's interests
and tastes.  It will  become well  known once  it is  safely
completed. ;-)

Ben and  I talked  at great length about a number of things,
though we  covered less  ground than  I  would  have  liked,
because I  was expecting  him to  have an  extended stay  in
Cambridge. I think it would be appropriate if others who met
him or  others who traded with him or exchanged e-mail might
like to  followup-to this  posting with something about what
they remember of Ben. (Ed Ricardo)
                                EDLIS - agent

So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin',
Help him with his load,
And don't go mistaking Paradise,
For that home across the road.

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 00:11:24 GMT From: Joseph Cliburn (jcliburn@FLINTCREEK.WIN.NET) Subject: Re: EDLIS -- Death of an agent. >Your EDLIS - Australian Affairs agent Ben Ryan of Hobart >died of heart failure in London England on Tuesday 18 April >1995. ... >Ben and I talked at great length about a number of things, >though we covered less ground than I would have liked, >because I was expecting him to have an extended stay in >Cambridge. I think it would be appropriate if others who met >him or others who traded with him or exchanged e-mail might >like to followup-to this posting with something about what >they remember of Ben. > I first met Ben Ryan (virtually) as a contestant in the legendary EDLIS Who Has Which Boot Halloween Mask Memorial Guess-The-Top-Ten Bootlegs contest. He won a prize, actually...perhaps 3rd place which was a set of Dylan GIFs. Anyway, in an email he mentioned that he would be touring the US beginning in January. I said "Look me up if you have the time..." & he said he'd take me up on it. A few days later, I got a CD s-mailed from Tasmania. I won't say what it was, but there are many who will be able to guess. A few weeks later I rec'd an email from Ben, firing away from a borrowed computer somewhere in California. A week or two later came another email. And then, on a Saturday evening in early February, the phone rang... It might've been a totally wasted phone call - him trying to decipher my "Forest Gump" drawl & me trying to decipher his Down Under accent - but the message prevailed: he & his traveling companion were touring in a VW camper, intended to take Hwy 61 up the river from New Orleans to Memphis & would come back down Hwy 49 late the next week. Hwy 49 runs only a mile or so from my house. So, on Friday, 10 Feb 1995, Ben Ryan arrived at my house... They were living the Kerouac dream on-the-road. My initial impression of the big guy (and unfortunately, the only one I'll have) was "in search of rock'n'roll dharma." He was having the time of his life & knew it. He was full of a week spent at places like the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, West Helena, & Beale Street. A real pilgrimage. He'd bought a Martin guitar in Memphis & had it shipped home. Sadly, he never got to play it again... Ben arrived in a monsoon & after granting him a little email time, we headed on down to the casinos in Gulfport, ostensibly to get a good late-nite buffet dinner. While Ben & I hogged out, his traveling companion hit the blackjack tables & won back the price of the meal plus some! We got back to my house pretty late & ended up around 2 AM talking completely in quotes & watching "Hard to Handle" on the VCR at fast forward! Next morning, I arose early & dubbed Ben a copy of Hattiesburg 5/1/76. I hope he got to listen to it. Two pots of coffee later, we were wired & inspired & the dharma bums vanished into the rain (which was still pouring), headed for Mobile, Huntsville, Nashville, who knows? I never heard from Ben again. Then about 24 April 95, Craig sent me a very sad, very short email about Ben's death. I sat & stared blankly at my monitor for a long time. Surely, Craig was joking! No, Craig may be a lot of things, but a person who'd joke about the death of a mutual friend & EDLIS agent he's not. A few emails to Tasmania filled in some of the gaps for me & there was nothing left to do but take a long drive in the country -- places that I'd have shown Ben if I'd only had the time... Ben's knowledge of things Dylan, his enthusiasm, & his kindness will be sorely missed by those in the rmd community. Ben Ryan was "much of a man" -- 300 pounds if an ounce -- with a ready & sincere smile. His eyes were those of a fellow who'd taken the title of a boot to heart. Since Ben is the only other person in the history of mankind to ever actually operate the BDBDB except me, I think he'd like me to end this post this way: Don't Dream Your Life...Live Your Dream / Bob Dylan [17 Apr 94 - 18 Apr 94] Diamonds In Your Ears DIYE 44 CD [T-382] Joe -- Joe Cliburn "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." - Ginsberg
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 13:10:07 GMT From: "Vegard B. Havdal" (vbh@IDT.UNIT.NO) Subject: Re: EDLIS -- Death of an agent. Thanks to Joe for a nice post about Ben. Me I never met him in real life, but I felt I knew him anyway through chatting on #dylan on IRC. The first time I met him, me and a mate were pulling an all-nighter trying to get some work done on a programming project. I ended up doing nothing that night, because I met this wonderful guy from Hobart, Tasmania. The mutual interest in Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan and rocknroll in general kept me chatting until about 8-9 in the morning. For him it was no problem, it was daytime in Tasmania. (When I came to school again after very little sleep, I met him again..."Don't you EVER sleep??" Well, we traded tapes and CD's, he's one of the most generous guys I've traded with, and often surprised me, enough about that. My contact with him ended when he left for the states, but he left me an email to his mate who was to 'handle' his collection. Ben and another guy was to buy a bus in US, and drive all the way down to Mexico and stuff. He was really looking forward to it. The next I heard, was that a friend's parents had met him in UK during a rmd gathering. I thought 'uh? the guy really gets around'. So when I asked Craig about this a while later, he said that it was indeed true, and that he had passed...very sad. I can't finish this without mentioning the great sense of humour the man had...him and Craig had me really, physically laughing on IRC plenty of times.
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 1995 19:30:44 GMT From: bptaylor (bptaylor@LAGUNA.DEMON.CO.UK) Subject: EDLIS - Death of an agent I met Ben probably over a year ago now on irc. The Internet is certainly a wonderful way to meet people who's path you would never otherwise have crossed. Ben was in touch with a great many people via the Internet. So many that he eventually tied up one of Hobart's few outside telephone lines long enough for the campus authorities to take action! Ben's world trip meant he was offline for a long while. The first I heard from him was an email sent from Joe Cliburn's account asking if I'd buy some April Manchester tickets for him. He had already secured tickets for Brixton with Ray Webster. When I emailed back, Ben had already left for Mobile, Alabama. The next I heard was a phone call towards the end of March. Ben was in London and wanted to arrange to meet up. He had a pronounced Tazmanian accent - after a while you tend to assume everyone on the Internet speaks with your own accent. Ben had spoken with Craig who'd left it to us to arrange a restaurant. Neither of us knew London well enough so we bounced that ball back into Craig's court. After a few more brief phonecalls, this turned into a get together at an African restaurant. And here I met Ben Ryan in person for the first time. I left the meal fairly early because I was keen to start queuing for the Brixton concert. I think I was the only one who knew what Ray Webster looked like (by stroke of luck I'd seen him the previous day) and Ben still needed his tickets, so we left for the venue together. We hadn't had much chance to chat at lunch because of the seating arrangements so we caught up on the tube journey. Ben was very easy to get on with and we talked about his world trip, where he'd been, the Grateful Dead concert he'd seen, and where he planned to go next. He was going to use the London hotel as a base and see some of England, before moving on to yet another country. At the venue we got straight in the queue and started looking out for Ray. By this time of course everyone looked like Ray to me! I suggested it might be this one guy who kept walking up and down the queue talking to everyone (two prominent characteristics!) so Ben approached him asking if he happened to be Ray. He replied, "What's one of those?" and then said yes it was him. But after Ben had introduced himself and said how pleased he was to get the tickets before the show had begun, the man admitted he wasn't actually Ray Webster... I was more careful after that! The real Ray eventually materialised and Ben got his tickets. Craig joined us in the queue. Ben spoke of his intention to go to the Vietnam concert which was rumoured at the time. He was also tempted to visit Dublin to see the city ... and of course the Dylan concert. About an hour of so before the doors were due to open two BBC Radio reporters approached the line of people asking if anyone were willing to be interviewed. Neither Craig nor I were willing but Ben was (after some goading..). They wanted to gather opinions on the fact that Bob Dylan refused to grant interviews to British journalists. They seemed to be looking for comments like, "It's disgusting, we bought all his records, he owes us" but they went away disappointed. Ben told them Dylan had paid his dues and could do what he liked, we should be thankful he's still touring! Craig massaged the facts a little and told the reporters Ben had travelled all the way from Hobart just for this one concert. They were suitably impressed. Record button pressed, "So, how far have you come to see this show today?".... They interviewed a number of fans in the queue but none of it was ever used for the "Medium Wave" programme. The next day, after tube delay problems we eventually gathered together at a Greek restaurant. Ben told us how he'd seen a rare guitar whilst in the US and had bought it instantly. Fearing potential damage he'd shipped it back to Hobart so it would be waiting for him when he returned. We found out Ben had a philosophy degree and that he was thinking about doing some sort of post graduate qualification. He said he had a relative in Cambridge he wanted to visit because they had never met. A good opportunity to see the town, the university and the library's philosophy material, Craig & the EDLIS archives. He was certainly pleased to find out he'd be able to check on his Hobart email over the Internet... I later found out Ben had arranged other trips like this to visit other friends. So sad he never got the chance. Other than to attend the Manchester concerts I don't think Ben left London at all. After the restaurant we all said our goodbyes and Craig, Ben and I walked down towards the tube. We were about to split up and go our separate ways but kept finding things to talk about. We ended up standing on a corner chatting for over 10 minutes before Craig finally suggested maybe we should go to a pub instead! We found one just up the road and stayed there for a couple of hours. We talked about Ben's trip to Mississippi, which he had clearly enjoyed, and of course Bob Dylan. Some hilarious stories. It was probably approaching 5pm when we finally split up. I was in Leeds when I next heard from Ben. He'd phoned whilst I was out and left a message to say he was in Manchester for the concert that evening. At the Manchester show the night before I'd looked out for but hadn't see him - I had travelled by coach and so had been unable to hang around afterwards to look. This time though I was going by car and so could arrive early. Ben hadn't left his hotel phone number so I arrived a few hours before the show and hunted around the pubs near the venue. Sure enough I found Ben drinking in the pub at the back of Labatts Apollo :-) We both had seated tickets and so didn't have to queue. But Ben had decided to try and exchange his ticket with a scalper for a standing one. I hadn't considered that and decided to do the same. So we did a fair amount of walking up and down in front of the Apollo speaking to scalpers, trying our best to look non-commital. They seemed less rough than they had been down in London, although I recognised one who had made the trip up North. Ben had spoken to one earlier who said he'd be in touch nearer the showtime. The going was slow for the scalpers and while I'd nipped off for a burger Ben had done the deal. The scalper he'd dealt with had looked like he might have been residing on another planet at the time. Tickets booked under the name "Ramsbottom". More queuing and a chance to hear the soundchecking of "Seeing The Real You At Last", discussing if that was indeed John Jackson singing, or Bob Dylan. A passing obsessive placed his ear close to the fire door and nodded with an air of authority, "Yep that's Jackson." Craig and Nagid (Sp?) arrived out of the blue so they joined us in the line. We entered the venue and Ben suggested a place to stand based on his experience the night before. After the show we, Ray included, retired to a pub a few hundred yards from the venue. Some of us moved our cars but Ben preferred to walk. And there we stayed until late. I distinctly remember laughing a great deal and really enjoying the company. After that we said our goodbyes, for good this time. I asked Ben to telephone before he left the country and especially if he wanted help getting some tickets he had been thinking about. He didn't seem too keen but I tried to convince him that he must see as many shows as possible. That was the last time I saw and spoke with Ben Ryan. I kept meaning to telephone him at his London hotel, I still have the business card he gave me. But I assumed he'd be in Cambridge or Dublin so never did. And then I heard the deeply shocking news. It's so sad that he was so young, only 33. Everything everybody has said on rmd is so true. Such a generous personality, someone you couldn't help but like. A very genuine person I feel. I've been very wordy but haven't really conveyed enough. It seems Ben touched a great many people across the world, from his home in Tazmania. I simply want to express my sorrow and say that I certainly feel very fortunate to have known Ben Ryan of Hobart. Ben Taylor