It is with regret that I am writing this because the world has lost a bright light. This page lists the stories people volunteered about Paul. Mainly from InfoSec Twitter but all sorts of lovely people who knew Mr Mason managed to find me. They are included and very welcome.
If you are reading this and you want to add to the list you can use the comments if you prefer, or I will still take them over Twitter if you have that. The intent is that these will be combined and used to produce a photo album or book for his parents.
There will be an effort to remember Paul at the next Glasgow Defcon on Tuesday 1st of September via Discord/Twitch. As Paul was all about sharing knowledge there will be a talk scheduled and then a virtual “wake” after the event where people can share stories. You are all welcome.
Robert a.k.a Rab Ray
Spoken poetry for 2 hours.
One of the many things that I thank @PMason00 for is the insanely generous gift of a travel guitar that he gave me after work took us away for a ski trip.
I got it out and have given it a bash here it sounds great for a wee guitar.
Neither of us wanted to ski. So we had planned a bunch of things to do ranging from lock picking to rocking the hotel to its core.
He handed me this wee travel guitar at Glasgow airport and I think he had some other instrument with him I honestly forget what. We go to check-in and the extremely low budget airline was kicking off about instruments and bags. He frankly charmed the pants off the lady behind the desk.
Said we were a band and had been booked to play a hotel. They had booked our flight and, stupidly, forgot we would need instruments! Then bosh we were checked-in without paying a penny both with an instrument case over the allowance. Witchcraft I tell you. Witchcraft.
The rest of the company were off skiing. But we were sharing a room. For us it was two days of absolute chillaxing. Up for breakfast, back for a snooze.
Then afternoons were spent passing this guitar around playing songs and talking about all kinds of things. To set this in time we stopped to watch Trump’s inauguration on CNN at one point.
I tried to hand the guitar back to him at Glasgow airport. He said something like:
“No man you keep her. Take care of her she seems to like you”.
He stubbed out a cigarette and was off in a taxi while I tried to process the insane generosity of that action.
I installed it as the office guitar. Which @longjonsouza said “brought the promise of music” to us.
I was going in two days a week back then and I made sure I was in early to belt out songs before 8:30am. If I was stressed I would break it out. I would also infamously play it during job interviews from that point on. I think @__shabab__ was the only one to survive the new more rigorous application process.
Look if you cannot crack a password while someone plays the Mario theme badly at you are you even a hacker? This guitar has now survived my house move and it sits in my new dedicated office room right next to me.
Part of moving to a house with a garden came with a picture in my head of me and Paul sitting out there playing songs and relaxing as the summer sun toddles off to the west.
Instead as I stood out there for the first time as the owner of the place I got the call from his father breaking the sad news. While I won’t be out there with him. I will be playing his beaten and much loved travel guitar.
Don’t worry Paul I am taking good care of her.
“Paul and I were colleagues. Even though we parted ways, I’ll always remember him for the little time we shared together. How he showed up at a customer meeting once wearing just everyday clothes, proudly stating (and I quote) ‘he would never wear a suit again because he has been a teacher and had had enough of that’. And then he brought to the table the most amazing and interesting stories and managed to “connect” with people and just made everything great while showing the same customer a degree of knowledge, professional attitude and passion that I’ve seldom seen elsewhere. Immediately, no matter who they were, no matter their background or language or stance in life, he just made friends.
When he talked – and he could talk a lot! – he absolutely captivated the audience like no one. Even in a crowd of hundreds, you could always feel he was talking to you and to you alone.
He helped – always, at any time, without asking too many questions when questions were a nuisance. He was always there. Always. He just .. gave freely and never, ever asked for anything back. He showed me what it means to enjoy a conversation, to be proud of what you do and find the fun side in everything. He made me laugh to the point of crying, even though English isn’t my first language. He talked about his family at times, especially his dad, about his life and achievements and funny stories and I wish we could have had that famous beer and listen to more.
I’ll always remember him. In some small but meaningful ways he changed my life when I switched careers and moved onto the cyber security side of things. He believed in me so much, and I think I made him a little bit proud.
I’m pouring myself a whisky now, and my thoughts are for all the people whose life he steered in better directions. I’m sure there’s more than he could imagine; I hope others will reach out to you to show how proud you should be of him.
My sincerest condolences.”
Youri Van Der Zwar/@yourniz
John A Ferguson/@jafwords
I’ve known him for 15 years. I loved his take on the world and loved his wisdom. We taught together and as much as he left that world of secondary teaching behind him I know that he made a massive difference.
The children that Paul taught loved him. He was a phenomenal English teacher and helped shape the lives of so many young people. The pupils looked up to him and respected him. He was forward thinking and helped shape some of the ways we teach that many will just take for granted now.
He was a champion of interdisciplinary learning, allowing pupils to see the link between all of the subject areas found in school.
What cyber security gained, we definitely lost in education and it was a huge loss. The pupils who had Paul as a teacher will remember him fondly, and his friends who taught with him will miss him deeply.
I first met Paul at a company meeting where he delivered a fantastic talk about education and IT security I was impressed at his vast knowledge both technical and human.
We worked in the same company for a while, not on same projects however, and had opportunities to exchange very interesting conversations. What was transpiring always from being in contact with Paul was … his BIG HEART. Even when he wasn’t happy with someone or some situation. He really had time for everyone, would discuss any subject and would respect different views, and choices. When he expressed his, Paul was always able to explain clearly and unequivocally.
On one of the ski trip mentioned in these memories he was so attentive to the trip companions and also to the other passengers on the plane close to us. I remember he started talking to a Jewish passenger (distinguishable by his traditional clothing and looks) with a genuine interest of their life and faith and showed a solid historical and contemporary knowledge of their lifestyle and traditions. That particular chat impressed me particularly as it highlighted his openness and respect of all walks of life.
One particular moment of that trip was snapped in a ‘friendly’ snooze in the smoking room of the Hotel where we were staying:
Thank you Paul! Rest in peace!