Memorial Site

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Tributes Page

Here you will find Tributes from various sources which have kindly given permission to have them posted here for all to enjoy.

 The First is from Hi-Fi & A/V magazine

The AV world has lost one of its most colorful characters with the death of journalist and broadcaster Bob Tomalski at the age of 47. Bob died of a heart attack on Saturday 13 January. He had been unwell for several weeks prior to his death, though he had continued working.

After spending eight years in a hi-fi retail with Unilet, Bob moved into journalism with Dennis Publishing and then spent more then a decade at WV Publications (now known as WVIP). establishing a reputation as a brilliant technical journalist, but also as something of an entertainer. In his time on making Better Movies, Bob famously created a spoof story about a Russian-made wooden camcorder called the Camcordski which was set to take the budget end of the market by storm, mocking up the device himself so that he could include a photograph alongside the story. The spoof fooled many readers and a number of manufacturers too.

In addition to his print journalism, Bob was also a regular contributor to a number of TV and radio programmes, including You and yours, The Big Byte, This Morning and BBC Breakfast News. Most recently , he had a secured a regular "Technofile" slot on Sky.

Bob also made the news in his own right in 1996 when, while visiting one of the Car Boot sales he loved to plunder for rare and obsolete bits of technology, he bought a betamax VCR and set of tapes which turned out to contain two hours classified footage of the Army training and anti-terrorist  exercises in Northern Ireland. That story made the BBC Nine o'clock News.

He will be sadly missed by friends, colleagues, and the executives who had to face up to his incisive questioning around the world.

The following is an appreciation of Bob Tomalski by David Murphy....

A guy called Bob

The world will be a much duller place with the death of VW (now VWIP) scribe Bob Tomalski in mid January. Not having been on the receiving end of "Bob T's" questions, it's hard to say with any certainty, but I would imagine that he was one of the most feared interrogators that companies had to contend with, and certainly one of the most respected. His performances at press conferences where legendary. You could get in with a question before Bob, but only if for some reason he hadn't arrived when arrived when the Q&A session started.

You got a sense sometimes that  he was playing to the crowd, and its true, he was a born entertainer, as anyone who has seen his performances on TV, heard him on the radio, or even just been in the room when he bounced in with his trademark greeting: "Greetings" will readily testify. But at the same time, he knew his onions. Boy did he know his onions. From AV gear to camcorders to mobile phones to PDA's, digital cameras and PCs, not to mention CB radio and amateur TV gear and probably  a whole lot of other stuff, there didn't seem to be a bit of consumer electronics kit out there that Bob didn't know inside out and backwards.

He used to talk from time to time  about what it might be like to leave the safety of his job WV and go freelance, but he appreciated the freedom the company gave him to honour his TV and radio commitments, and was concerned too that the work might not come in. Yeah, right Bob, I and others would tell him, like every technical magazine in the county wouldn't be forming a queue outside his door, not to mention the TV opportunities. It was a sign of his own modesty, and perhaps insecurity, that he was still working at WV at the time of his death.

As a magazine editor at WV myself, having someone of Bob's talent to call on in-house was fantastic. It was like having the best freelancer in the world on your books without having to pay him out of your monthly budget.

In some ways, he was his own worst enemy. Everyone wanted him to review kit or interview some top Japanese designer or get the real story behind the delay of a new format launch, and Bob being Bob just couldn't say no, leading to a constantly heavy workload which undoubtedly contributed to some of his health problems he suffered in recent years. Then again, if you hadn't given him work to do, he would only have gone out and found it for himself.

 Bob had great ambitions to make a name for himself on TV. He was probably the best presenter Tomorrow's World never had. In recent years, he had begun to make inroads, in particular with his Techofile slot on Sky. But no matter how much he craved the studio lights, it was a measure of the man that remained as committed to writing a 1000-word review on a budget Pro-Logic amp as he did putting together a slot to go out national television.

Bob's dedication to the job was equally evident on foreign press trips. While the rest of us would spend most of the morning session speculating as to what we would be for lunch, Bob would be sniffing round the back of the display with his digital camera, looking for the hidden risk of electronics that the manufacturer was using to pull a fast one, or doorstepping the big cheese who had been flown over from Japan with his MiniDisc recorder, trying to get him to say something newsworthy while the PR minders weren't around to step in at an inopportune moment. He was the nearest thing we had to a Roger Cook in our industry and fellow hacks, and I hope the people on the receiving end, respected him hugely for it.

I think Bob knew, too, from our smartarse comments, that some of us other hacks occasionally mocked his commitment to the job in a light-hearted way. It was to his credit that I never heard him go all worthy on us about his business in his usual no-nonsense way and got the story as a result.

I'm still half expecting to see him at the next press conference I go to, and I won't quite believe he's gone until I see for myself that he's not there. His death will sadden many people in the business, including fellow journos in this country and abroad, as well as those on the receiving end of his grillings, for whom dealing with Bob must always have been stimulating challenge. I'd be willing to bet too that in board rooms in Tokyo and Osaka, some of the men at the very top of the Japanese consumer electronics giants will privately shed a tear at the tragic passing of a remarkable man.