The journalist Fred Dellar has died. He was famous for compiling the NME’s weekly crossword, and also for the Fred Fact column, which answered readers’ queries. I never met him but I did write in – remember that in the days before Google, Wikipedia, Spotify or Shazam this was often the only way to clear up abstruse matters of musicological ontology (not to mention sumptuous nuggets of myth and gossip).
But even in the 1990s, before most of us even had e-mail, I’m pretty sure Fred was aware of the limitations of the snail-mail/print media process. I once asked him to identify the music used for a then-current beer commercial and in the 10 days or so between post box and publication the piece was released as a single. His response began, with an implicit sigh: “As you probably know by now...”