Tim Gadd is one of the founders of alt.lifestyle.furry.
When a friend pointed me to these welcome essays concerning the early years of alt.lifestyle.furry—a time which will always exist as a vibrant and halcyon period in my memory—I asked if I might make a dedication, which the author and publisher kindly allowed.
ALF was an ideal as well as a community: a kind of social experiment which had never been tried on Usenet before. Myself and Ron Orr are usually credited with its conception and creation. We did come up with the idea, and write the charter and FAQ, but not without the consultation of the ‘creation committee’; a group of thirteen people in total who, over six months, provided input and review to the process.
Of these people there is no question IMHO that the most crucial was Brad Austin. His judgement was scrupulous, as was his instinctive grasp of the ethics of what we were trying to do. He was the one person whose advice I’d never ignore. Later, if the core values of the newsgroup were ever attacked, Brad was the staunchest of defenders; rigorously intelligent and morally unwavering, no matter how controversial the topic.
Brad died suddenly last year, age 45. I’ve never had a closer friend, and I miss him like hell. I wish more members of the community had known him personally.
There is someone else I want to mention. Virtually on New Year’s Day 1997, ALF hit the backbone Usenet servers and our participation suddenly exploded to many times the trickle of posts of the early months. The first poster I remember on that day was Craig Andersen – KimbaWLion online. Perhaps I’m biased, but to me he instantly became the first core member of the community from outside the original creation group, and I always told him I considered his appearance to be synchronous with and symbolic of the real birth of ALF.
Kimba quickly became my other closest friend, along with Brad and Ron, and his family welcomed me into their home on every visit to their hometown. He too passed away unexpectedly, late in 2012, age 58.
I’m grateful for the chance to leave this tribute on record to two true soul mates without whom things would not have happened like they did. I know there are many of our number who have fallen over the years, and this dedication is for them too, and those they left behind.
Tasmania, September 2015