The Day Lou Reed Came to Linn

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It was May 2005 and we were holding a regular Linn management review at a hotel near Glasgow where, as it turned out, Lou Reed was also staying during a break in his tour. 

During a coffee break, I saw Lou reading the newspaper in the hotel lobby and, despite shaking with nerves, couldn’t resist approaching him. He immediately put me at ease, placing his hand firmly on my shaky leg, telling me I didn't need to be nervous and asked me to take a seat. 

I explained that I worked for Linn, he made the connection to his own Linn Sondek LP12, and from there we chatted casually about music, about vinyl versus CD, CD versus SACD, and the importance of getting it right at the microphone in the beginning. I told him the story of Ivor and the LP12 and he remarked that it was the best turntable ever made. 

As it was a typical west of Scotland wet afternoon, I suggested we take a trip out to the Linn factory for a tour and a listen.

The drive to the factory was somewhat bizarre, with Lou and his Tai-chi instructor, Master Ren, sitting in the back. Every now and then Lou would ask: "Are we nearly there yet?" as he didn't like to travel, and the roads were a little scary due to the rain.

During the factory tour, which my father Ivor joined us for, Lou asked lots of questions and took lots of photos. 

We listened to music on our top system at that time and debated the merits of 2-channel versus surround. He seemed disbelieving that we were getting so much bass from the 350 floorstanders without any additional bass reinforcement. He said: "I've been in the music business for nearly 50 years, my hearing's a bit shot at the top end, but I know a good sound... and that is the best sound I've ever heard." 

On the way back to the hotel Lou was very talkative, asking questions about our products and the demonstration he'd heard. He wanted to know if we had tricked him, and perhaps there were other speakers hidden in the room!

By far my favourite moment though, was when Lou decided on impulse to attack his Tai-chi master in the back seat. Master Ren, the second best Tai-chi instructor in the world (according to Lou), had no problems defending himself and, unfortunately, Mr Reed was slightly injured and a just a little disgruntled.

A musical genius, but also a kind and gentle person with a sense of humour, he will be sorely missed.

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