Now that was a man

john-caspell(Richard) John Caspell, aka Dr. Filk, was Brooke Lunderville’s musical other half, my brother-in-common-law, my housemate for 10 years, my musical collaborator for many raucous and joyous evenings, a wonderful uncle to my kids and his other nieces and nephews, a filker, a motorcyclist, and … in short … a man of parts.

This site exists for his friends, family and admirers to share pictures, music, stories and condolences.

The John Caspell Memorial Pinball Parlour

One of John’s many and varied interests was playing and maintaining pinball machines.   He worked at a pinball shop in Vancouver called John’s Jukes for several years.

When I finally got my second pinball machine up and running, my sister Allegra and I decided that: a) it now qualifies as a pinball parlour; and b) we should dedicate it to John.  So we did!  Behold, the John Caspell Memorial Pinball Parlour:

Pinball machines in the John Caspell Memorial Pinball Parlour.
Pinball machines in the John Caspell Memorial Pinball Parlour.
A plaque memorializing John Caspell at the modest pinball parlour named in his honour.
A plaque memorializing John Caspell at the modest pinball parlour named in his honour.

The parlour is currently housed in Burnaby, BC, Canada. If you’re interested in visiting and/or playing the machines (Bally Star Trek and Bally Xenon), leave a comment here or use the contact for the site to reach me.

— Jeff Rivett

Update on Restorative Justice

Victim’s family embraces driver involved in Victoria motorcyclist’s death

The family of Victoria musician Richard (John) Caspell, who died following a collision in Victoria three years ago, stood in Western Communities Court Monday and tearfully embraced the woman whose SUV struck him down as he rode a motorcycle.

Cheryl Gervais pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention after the Crown reduced the charge from dangerous driving causing death.

During the sentencing hearing Monday, provincial court judge Ernie Quantz fined Gervais, 39, the minimum $100, “a fine that shouldn’t be viewed as trivializing the harm caused.”

Gervais will not face a one-year prohibition because she voluntarily gave up driving for a year to pay her respects to the accident victim, court heard. She volunteered with the B.C. SPCA because that was a cause Caspell believed in, and bought the family a tree to be planted in John’s memory.

Gervais has spoken publicly to groups large and small about the dangerous combination of cellphones and driving.

Caspell, 57, was heading on his motorcycle to a meeting on April 26, 2009, when he was struck by Gervais’s SUV, and thrown 10 metres, at the intersection of Government and Bay streets.

The worst of his injuries was a badly fractured ankle and the surgeon declared him to be a very lucky man, all things considered. He went to the operating room on May 1 and the next day, he was encouraged to stand.

Caspell felt light-headed and his heart stopped.

Twenty minutes later, he was pronounced dead. A blood clot had lodged in his lung.

Gervais told the police that although she had not been texting before the accident, she was distracted by her cellphone. She was given a ticket for driving without due care and attention.

When Caspell died, that ticket was revoked and Gervais, the mother of a young child, was charged with dangerous driving causing death, a charge that carries a maximum prison term of 14 years.

Paul Caspell, John’s brother, learned of Gervais’s situation and began looking into the restorative justice process, where the families of the victim meet with the offender to try to come up with a satisfactory punishment.

The idea was not to replace a judicial decision but to find ways for Gervais and the Caspells to begin healing, court heard.

The Caspell family didn’t want Gervais to go to jail, and the Crown subsequently withdrew the dangerous-driving charge and reinstated the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention. Gervais pleaded guilty.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Update on the court date from Paul Caspell

Hello All;
I just received word from Victoria Police that the driver of the vehicle that caused John’s death has been charged with Dangerous Driving causing Death (a criminal charge.)
May 27th has been set as a date to enter a plea & to set a trial date.

I’ll keep you posted with any further developments.

Please forward this information to anyone I may have missed that will want to know about these developments.

Thanks to all for your patience with the slowness of these proceedings.

There has been a great deal of communication between myself & the office of the Crown Attorney. Also with the Victoria Police. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say it’s been difficult at times.

I have been in touch with the Restorative Justice people & will be advocating a community service sentence should we get a conviction. I believe this is the way John would have wanted it.

That’s all I can think of for the moment.
Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns and don’t expect an immediate response as I’m functionally challenged with email in general & large volumes of the stuff tend to overwhelm.

Thanks again for your patience & I hope to see as many of you as wish to attend the  trial when it finally comes around.

Kind Regards

Very happy to find some archival tape

John Caspell at a gig at La Zuppa in North Vancouver six or eight years ago.  Many thanks to Paul for having had the foresight to tape it and to Jeff for transferring it from tape to mp3.

Demon Java

I Pop Pills

Hillcrest Mine



That Godforsaken Hellhole I call Home (first bit is of John tuning his guitar)

Dirty Movie

Nessie Come Up

Damn, I’m going to miss him – Wayne Borean

John was a nice guy. A really nice guy. I know the difference, having been one of the bad boys in the past.

I really loved listening to John play and sing. He had this focus that came over him when he had a guitar in his hand, you could tell that for a moment the rest of the world had gone away, and all that mattered was the song. Then he’d look up and smile at you, with his fingers going a mile a minute, and you’d smile back.

On the Sunday after John’s death, I drove to the cemetary where Lloyd Landa is buried. Lloyd and John used to talk at filks, so I decided I should tell Lloyd. I tool along my guitar, had a chat with Lloyd, and then played for a bit by his grave.

My guess is that Lloyd and John are organising a filk right now, and waiting for the rest of us to arrive.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter