Posted by: Bystander PJ20 MAY 2009
Before we reach the end of the page, let me introduce myself. The name “Bystander” at the head of the page is a pseudonym I have adopted as the latest recruit to the roster of writers who contribute to this weekly page of bits and pieces.
For longer than anyone can now remember, but certainly for at least 40 years, this feature was written by Peter Cooper, who died early last year (2008) at the age of 90 while still regularly contributing under his pen name “Onlooker” (PJ, 16 February 2008, p166).
Peter began his career as a hospital pharmacist. But his love of writing drew him to cut down his hours of pharmacy practice and supplement his reduced income by contributing to an abstracting service, preparing summaries of articles from a variety of health care and scientific journals.
His access to this cornucopia of information also allowed him to comment on a broad range of topics in his weekly contribution for the PJ.
I understand from PJ staff that Peter never came to terms with modern communications technology and could not be persuaded to use word processing or e-mail. But his typewritten contributions continued to arrive regularly by post without any prompting, and it was rare that any of them had to be queried.
It is a tribute to Peter’s talent that it now takes six of us in rotation to replace him. My own pen name, a rough synonym of his, was chosen as a tribute to his memory.