By PHILIP SMITH
I sat with Dylan Taite in a corner in exile at TVNZ for four years in the 90s.
His daily mood was based on events a hemisphere away - whether or not Everton won. It seemed like they never did, meaning he was in a perpetual state of soccer mourning. Back then a young executive had cut a swathe of mediocrity through the newsroom, sidelining anyone who was a threat or disobedient, including Dylan, who wouldn't get a haircut. He chose to be banned from the six o'clock news for hair crimes.
As we sat doing time on Primetime with Anita McNaught, Dylan slowly talked me through his career: his early reports from the Marquee in London as the Sex Pistols took off; hanging out with Malcolm McLaren as he invented punk; the legendary final interview with Bob Marley ...
Dylan had slowly worked his way through every great artist, local and international. He was a living archive.
He cruised into the newsroom one day, glowing. He had on the John Lennon sunnies, the black cotton suit top, the hair flowing, his briefcase emblazoned with stickers and inside it yet another great interview, this time with REM's Michael Stipe.
Dylan chuckled and told a little Dylan story.
"Yeah, Michael Stipe just kinda walked up to me at the airport and said, 'You must be Dylan. Green Day told me I'd be met by this guy at the airport with long hair and sunnies called Dylan. They said you were The Man'."
Musicians appreciated Dylan because he was a musician who believed in the great rock'n'roll dream.
He flourished on late-night television both at TVNZ and TV3, where he was given the time and the license to simply be Dylan.
His ravings from a darkened lift on Nightline left viewers both enraged and enlightened. It was perfect late-night stuff.
After work he'd pop out front and catch the bus home to Herne Bay. I got to know his family by name, and when son John emerged in our industry Dylan's pride was lightly disguised.
I saw Dylan two weeks ago in High Street. We lamented the death of Joe Strummer.
"Ah," Dylan said, "the man who brought socialist politics to punk."
Now I can't help but think that Dylan is up there knocking on doors, looking for Mr Morrison, Mr Harrison, Mr Marley. They'll all welcome him.
By PHILIP SMITH