by Luca di Piazza
I would like to dedicate a few words to say goodbye to a man who was both adear friend of mine, as well as the pipe world as a whole. His name is Paolo Becker, and he passed in the night between Friday and Saturday last.
When a tragedy of this sudden nature strikes, the profound sense of loss and recollection of seemly infinite numbers of memories and shared experiences, becomes overwhelming, almost leaving me without a place to even begin. A litany of this singular master’s advancements in the realm of pipe design and accolades for all of his tireless contributions to our community isn’t the right place to start – or even finish, for that matter - Paolo wouldn’t have wanted any of that. Where I can begin, however, is simply speaking to the memory of my friend.
Though it was 2004, it seems like only yesterday: I entered, for the first time, a workshop in Via della Panetteria in Rome, whereupon I was made to feel immediately comfortable and welcome by a man who, with a great passion, recounted every detail of his pipe making career. It was, not coincidently, the year when Neatpipes started to promote and sell Becker pipes.
In 2007, you demonstrated your trust in our work by designing and helping to fully realize the Neatpipes 5th AnniversaryEdition briar.
In 2008, for the first time, you and I traveled to China, then Russia and United States. Every country and every stop was filled with different and unforgettable experiences. That was amemorable year amongst many, my friend.
When, in May of 2013, you enthusiastically decided to make a collaborative pipe together with Manduela, of all places you could have chosen to realize this dream, you chose our workshop in Milan. Together, we gave life to an amazing moment, unique in the Italian panorama of pipes.
How could I ever forget our lunch, during which I decided to start the huge adventure and undertaking of organizing the Neatpipes Party? It was January 2014 and you had made a special trip to Milan to visit us. Your words of encouragement and your valuable suggestions were indispensable! Indeed, it was your faith in us, and your certainty that we would be able to do an excellent job, which helped to convince us to start work on this crucial project.
We held the First Neatpipes Party, Paolo, and it was thanks to you!
Paolo, you were a gentleman, in addition to a pipemaker with a gentle and reserved soul. Your untimely departure is a huge loss for all of us, but you gave us a fantastic gift: the hands of your son, Federico, who, thanks to your teaching, will continue to give us those precious jewels that the world knows as “Becker Pipes”.