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Topical Times – Paul Goff….tribute to a talented man….

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Paul Goff….tribute to a talented man….

On Thursday 20th November 2014 I sat in a packed crematorium on the outskirts of Northampton and like most people there could still not understand that this was really happening. The sad news of Paul’s sudden death was such a shock to the bonsai community that I can’t begin to imagine how Vivienne and his family and close friends are coping.

I never knew Paul the rock musician and teacher of music. The Paul I first met was a very accomplished professional commercial photographer who soon expanded into video productions with the same level of expertise.

He was an extremely good bonsai artist having an association with trees stretching back much longer than most people would imagine. Paul appeared to like working mostly with indigenous material and favoured a naturalistic approach in styling his trees but the eye of the artist was discretely involved to ensure that his creations “worked” and evolved over time.

The Paul that surprised me was the talented artist who produced so many amazingly good  scrolls. The pictures were meant to be simple and suggestive but WOW…..birds, dragon flies, mountain scenes, clouded moons……the list is endless. All produced by someone who clearly knew how to paint, and how to blend simplicity with authenticity.

The scrolls supported Paul’s quest to educate and improve our bonsai community’s attempts at display. Without question he succeeded……look at pictures of early bonsai exhibitions and then look at both national and club shows held today. It is a fitting tribute that Paul’s scrolls adorn some of the best bonsai shows held in Europe and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Unselfishly Paul gave up his own time to produce his Bonsai Review, widely circulated to help promote Bonsai clubs and Bonsai events to a greater bonsai community.

I go back a long way with Paul. He wrote and photographed a styling demo I did for the Bonsai Europe magazine. When Craig Coussins asked me for an article for his Bonsai School book the final image picture was taken in Paul’s tokonome display area. Paul was present at our first Newstead exhibition to photograph and report on the event for Bonsai Europe.( Some of these pictures are featured below)

I only seemed to meet Paul at bonsai shows and events but you could always guarantee a healthy and enthusiastic discussion as we put the bonsai world right! Sadly the last time I had a long chat with Paul was at Harry Tomlinson’s funeral earlier this year…..who would have thought…….

Paul’s contribution to this bonsai hobby of ours in the UK has for me always been underrated and understated…..he was not one to shout from the rooftops but more than happy to do his immense bit in the background.

Paul…the talented musician, photographer, author, painter, bonsai artist, and bonsai friend you will be sadly missed….God bless you mate………

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