Leslie Harpold

We love Leslie.

Blog entries: Danny, Cait, Phil, Katie, Ian, Yoz

Around the web: del.icio.us, MetaFilter

What you can give.

From Cait at 10:49pm 12 Dec 2006

Driving back from the Emergency room at the San Francisco hospital, I'm sitting in the bakc of a cab with morning sickness and the burning evil of cystitis but at least now we're getting some place.

I got sick within hours of getting off the plane. rising panic began to cloud my judgement of what the hell to do, and Leslie told me off. Gently. Come on. Get it together. She organised my health insurance. I was too stressed and sick to work it out.

She worked it out. The drive was making me nauseous. That and being seven weeks pregnant. I said "You'd better stop the car. Right now", and went to lean on the side of a building, throwing up in to the gutter, whilst a small crowd of Mexican men looked on. Leslie, meanwhile did not leave the car, and talked nochalently to the cab driver about San Francisco bands they both loved. She was busy refusing to let me sink in to self pity (and boy, can I ever do self pity!).

She missed the hottest day of the year in the Bay area that year so far, and one of her precious weekend days to boot, to ferry me around town, and she missed a party that night because she just didn't feel like leaving the house whilst I recovered.

When Kim once said, in a reply to a post about making gingerbread men "Can you be my big sister?" to the ever knowledgeable Ms Harpold, she spoke for every damn person who knew her.

From Phil at 11:12pm 12 Dec 2006

Whenever people recall someone who died they were always the kindest, cleverest, all-round specialest person ever. In Leslie’s case this was very, very true and I’m going to miss her very, very much.

I didn’t have to know her online for long before I knew I could have trusted her with anything and anyone.

I don’t know what to say now, whereas Leslie knew exactly what to say in any situation, however delicate or unfortunate. She would help anyone anytime, she always had the answers to any question, she was a beautiful designer and she had recipes for every occasion.

She was your greatest supporter when you needed support, your loudest cheerleader when you needed cheerleading and, the one time I was lucky enough to visit her, the most welcoming host you could wish for.

She may have been far away but she felt so much closer and she’s left a very real hole in the lives of all who knew her, both in person and online. Fuck me, it’s unfair and I can’t believe it. Bye Leslie.

From Danny at 12:16am 13 Dec 2006

I spoke about the last time I met Leslie elsewhere. I can't remember the first time I met Leslie. I seem to remember a cocktail bar, somewhere in New York, and drunken advice, and her and Clay teaming up against the non-New Yorkers. I remember in crowds she'd always pick the biggest hitter in the room and challenge them to some sort of duel of companionship. Are you really so big, or might you be even bigger with me, she always seemed to say. I only saw it two or three times, but now it comes back to me vividly because it seemed like a scaling up of Leslie on her own. She demanded you become her accomplice, and could form a conspiracy in seconds. I've been reading hundreds of messages from all over the world of people who were amazed that Leslie let her into their lives, and who are now even more amazed that she could do the same thing to so many others.

I'll stop now. Bye Leslie.

From Nick S at 3:28am 13 Dec 2006

I'm making applesauce tonight, following Leslie's advice from three weeks ago to add a little peel to turn it pink.

It's hard to believe that I never met her; harder to come to terms with the fact that I never will. She made a difference to every online community I've cared about, bringing the tangible to an environment with so many intangibles. Leslie was a maker of things.

There'll be a silence in so many conversations, as we wait by force of habit for her to add the anecdote, the point of reference, the synthesising thought that makes you feel that nothing's left unsaid, that it's good for archiving. Damn, I keep expecting her to show up and tell us how to make sense of this.

I never did get those other apple recipes from you, Leslie, and I bet they were fantastic. Good night, I'll miss you, we all will.

From Balf at 9:58am 13 Dec 2006

Though we only knew each other, in Leslie's words, through "text and a flickr stream" Leslie occasionally sent me sweet personal messages. to be honest I was a little embarrased, if flattered, as I thought she was earmarki me for specail treatment. What I didnt realise until today is that she earmarked everyone for special treatment.

As she wrote to me recently: "I don't like it when people say 'Oh you can do it, you can get through anything' because yes, it's true, people who have that said to them can get through anything because I have found those are the people who are willing to do the work it takes and not just sigh 'too hard, too much!' and walk away."

Leslie had the ability to get through anything but it will be very hard for the rest of us to get through losing her.

From mark at 3:49pm 13 Dec 2006

Leslie's impact is all over the web today and while some may find mourning over the internet tacky or shallow, it is a fact that Leslie had friends from all over, most of them due to the internet. It's how we met. All because of a music review on 75orLess. She then joined our staff, writing for us when she felt like it. It was our pleasure to have her because anyone who spoke to her for more than five minutes knew they were talking to someone who was real, funny, genuine, honest and more talented than anyone you had ever met before. She was a web design and publishing pioneer on the internet. Her infamous yearly Advent calender was touching and funny. She had better taste in music than anyone else- including you. She also put things in perspective, by managing to make time for everyone despite having physical ailments and emotional tribulations most of us will never have to go through.

I had the pleasure of travelling to new york city with slatch to sleep on her floor one night 4-5 years ago. she gave me a box of Richard Simmons "Slimmons" toffee popcorn as a parting gift, which i still have. i also had the pleasure of dining with her while out in san francisco twice over the past few years, once a thai restaurant and the last time, a homecooked vegetarian meal that she made for us. delicious. i found a copy of the Rex "Waltz" ep at Ameoba records that day and i happily handed it to her over dinner. it was a special cd for the both of us, one of the bands that we initially bonded over. now in what is a very bittersweet moment looking back, it was leslie who emailed me to let me know that michael dalhquist was killed. it is also even weirder that the very last silkworm cd, "chokes" arrived in the mail for me this past week. most importantly, she was the person who invited me to join the "squat" cd music exchange club run by todd levin and through that music exchange, something that had nothing to do with music ended up changing my life.

love. god bless you, leslie harpold and thank you for being my friend.

From mia at 11:41pm 14 Dec 2006

I'm really in shock but I can say this: Leslie was one of the most warm-hearted, positive, intelligent, brave, and funny people I have ever known. Leslie charmed people as her opening gambit, and they were soon putty in her hands. I am no exception. I loved talking to her about Detroit, our hometown, and seeing her there this past summer convinced me it was a great thing for her to be back on familiar turf. Six feet tall! A natural blonde! Ferocious wit tempered by genuine caring! She loved working on her house, fixing up the place and figuring out the furniture...focusing on her growing art collection, refining her already excellent taste. We talked about babies, and her desire to adopt or even foster children. She said, "I'll be a really great mom. I have so much love to give -- so much to give a child -- and I just really want the chance to do it." She was working hard on being able to make this step...and it is just too sad to contemplate that she will never have the chance to do this now. She was a giver, a natural den mother, a person who always tried to help and support others as much as she could, whether it was to tell you how to make a perfect thanksgiving meal or to give you a reality check when needed. She really was in a new chapter of her life, which makes her passing assume even more horrendous proportions now. The world has lost a truly fine soul and I join the ranks of those who will miss her tremendously. I am so grateful to have known her. And so sad.

I try to think how she would handle this when figuring out how to process such news -- Leslie had a way of handling everything, a technique, one might say, a mastery of approach. She had a lexicon of strategy. And yet this is the moment that no one could have anticipated because she rarely elaborated on her physical challenges, and she always seemed indomitable. This is a moment we can't really reckon with. This is the moment where we all become still in the face of our loss; moreover each piece of this loss has strangely been apportioned to different parts of cyberspace, where she knew different people to different degrees -- some quite well, but never in person. This is a moment that Leslie would have never let us contemplate because she always chose to address the positive and nothing could be more horrible now or be more truly dreadful that the reality of what has happened. However you knew her, she was a marvel. The world is a piss-poor place without her.

From matlock at 1:16pm 19 Dec 2006

I knew Leslie through Haddock, and had fallen a little bit in love with someone who had such exquisite taste in music, art and food. In 2001, I was in NY for a conference, and Leslie turned up in support, taking a prime position in the front row. It was the first time i'd met her, yet a huge hug and howdie made it feel like we were long lost friends. As so many people are saying online about Leslie, it sounds like a cliche to talk about her generosity, charisma and disarming personality, but cliches all have truth at their core, and Leslie was that truth.

A drunken evening in manhattan ensued with Mia and Kass, with lots of art-world gossip, food talk and ridiculous jokes. I don't remember much of it, except for being crammed onto a sofa in a trendy bar, with Leslie's personality totally outshining the local hipsters' cool attitudes. She was the *right* kind of cool - she was passionate about so many things, and shared them so widely, whether it was the newest hangouts in a city, the coolest new bands, font esoterica or the best recipe for frosting.

Some people are founts of creativity, spilling their passions out into the world around them. Thank god Leslie found the web, as she had so many passions that she would quickly have exhausted mere physical networks. The web is what it is today because people like Leslie found it, and shaped it. It is a better place because of her, and a sadder place without her.