Phil Solomon: In memoriam

January 3rd, 1954 – April 20th, 2019

Phil Solomon’s films were painfully intimate, so, naturally, they carried the trill of the entire cosmos within them. They were a brief candle for a billion stars, “a message in a bottle” — as he often described them — carried by the waves to the other side of the ocean.

He was the real deal. A poet, an exquisite artist, a master of his craft, an extraordinarily gifted teacher, and a man of rare wit. There was no snobbishness to Phil, no pretence, and no bullshit; something that cannot be said for many in the circles that Phil gave his life to.

He was a man of formidable passion, wisdom, brilliance, love, and kindness. He was my friend, my mentor, my inspiration, and my hero.

He was such a generous and early supporter of my work, for which I will be forever thankful. What he said to me after watching Sleep Has Her House remains one of the most moving conversations I have ever had. A lot of the time, we just talked about King Crimson, or Bowie, or poetry, or rich ground coffee, or we pondered the speed-of-dark.

He would call me his son, or his ‘Prince of darkness’, and would often sign off with ‘your American friend of the Night Vision’. To me, he was like a father and a best friend all in one.

This morning, upon seeing the news, I sat outside, heartbroken. I closed my eyes, listening to the birdsong, and quite soon, I felt him near me, and I broke down in tears.

I last sent him a message a little over a week ago. To know that I will never speak with him again feels unreal right now, but I’m so grateful for all the memories.

Melissa, and all his family are in my thoughts.

To have known Phil Solomon in this life has been the richest privilege.

I love you, Phil.
Thank you for everything.
You’re now pure light.

Scott Barley
April 22nd, 2019