Paul Farrington, an experienced diver and one of the Computer Exchange's founding directors, was listed as missing after exploring an underwater wreck near Mullion Island, Cornwall on Monday (1 May 2000).
Paul imbued the Computer Exchange with his spirit. At its inception in 1992 he played a central role in creating its philosophy of free trade in goods for all. His enlightened understanding of human nature and personal warmth informed us all. He will be sorely missed by his many friends at the Computer Exchange.
Paul's extraordinary career and farsighted approach to technology and the market place helped us develop our unique way of doing business. As a music journalist, technological pioneer and diver, Paul approached everything with a profound enthusiasm.
The Computer Exchange is with his family and many friends in this hour, and offers them all the support at our disposal.
It has come to our attention that some of the press reports regarding Paul have been inaccurate. To clarify issues;
Many thanks to NTK, the weekly IT newsletter, for the following tribute to Paul
Paul Farrington, co-founder of the CEX, the Computer Exchange in Tottenham Court Road, disappeared while exploring an underwater wreck off the coast of Cornwall last Tuesday. Anyone who has spent any time at CEX (and especially those who spent the bulk of their teenage years hanging out there) might have guessed that its inspiration came from more than the usual flogging of dodgy second-hand kit. The compulsory smoking rules, the bizarrely knowledgeable staff, the eclectic (and tympanum-crunchingly loud) musical choices: Judging from the messages of shock and love we've heard, Paul was a great and unique part of the CEX ambience. "He was a surrogate father to a generation of geeks", said one correspondent. Charlie Brooker writes:
One of my enduring memories of Paul is the day I first met him; I'd turned up for my first day at work in the computer department of Music and Video Exchange in Notting Hill, and walked in to find nobody there. I sat behind the counter for about half an hour, not really knowing what to do, and was about to leave when a tall, gangly man wearing pink tights and a f*cking *fez* stalked in, looked confused for a while, and then asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I really wasn't sure whether to run away or not. I'm glad I didn't. Once you got used to the fact he dressed like a maniac (and I particularly remember an incredible haircut he once had which made him look like a cross between Coolio and an exploding picnic basket), he became an incredibly likeable, inventive, anarchic, and weirdly trustworthy companion. I always looked up to him, even when he convinced me to shave all my hair off apart from one off-centre tuft, and I spent an entire month watching strangers cross the street when they saw me coming.
Probably the simplest thing I could say about him is this: that he was easily the coolest person I've ever met, and my head refuses to believe he's gone.
One custie writes in response to the NTK article;
2000-05-05 marks the 1st NTK over which I have shed a tear. I remember the day that CEX opened - the handiest of all geek shops. Paul was an inspiration and a friend. His death leaves a heavy sadness in my heart. As you said "easily the coolest person I've ever met".