What follows are memories and tributes sent to us in the wake of the death of Peter van Aarle. Peter's personal site is archived at http://www.rame.net/aarle
From: "Tim Evanson"
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 18:09:37 -0400
Peter was one of the nicest, sweetest, most personable guy I have ever met. He never treated anyone poorly; everyone was worthy of respect in his book (even if they did everything in their power to try to lower him to a different level). He was intelligent. And he was reasonable -- which is a very high honor these days!
Many years ago, Peter was making a swing through D.C. ECVS was a few days away, and Christy Lake and Anna Malle were in D.C. doing a show for one night. Peter and I met at Spy Club to see them.
"But wait!" it's being said. "Why would a gay guy go to go see two female strippers?"
Because I wanted to talk to Peter. We hung out most of the night, talked a lot, became friends. I even kept Christy's boyfriend busy playing pool while Peter watched the shows (which starred some local talent as well).
Toward the end of the night, Peter got entranced by Anna Malle. (He had to explain to me the play on words that is her name. D'oh!) She was doing some new moves, and he couldn't take his eyes off her.
I gave him $5 and said to go tip her. Peter said, "No, you do it. I've got cash."
And I said, "Peter van Aarle: I have never neglected to tip a stripper! But, as you'll enjoy this a hundred times more than I will, you go tip her for me. Just say it's from me, if it makes you feel better. And some day, when I drag you kicking and screaming to a gay strip club, you can return the favor by giving me $5 to tip a gay stripper. OK?" Peter said okay, then smiled that big smile and walked over to tip her.
Anna Malle waved at me, and then jammed Peter's face down between her breasts. Peter flailed around like a dog with his head caught in a Kentucky Fried Chicken box! The crowd went wild and cheered both of them one. Anna laughed and smiled and enjoyed every second of it, too.
Peter came back covered in sweat, grinning insanely -- and very happy.
Peter never got to return the favor. But I'm gonna still hold him to that promise. (It just may take a while before I see you again, Peter!)
Subject: I loved Peter Van Aarle
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 12:37:15 -0700
It's a sad day today. I not only lost my biggest fan, the adult industry lost its biggest fan.
Peter said to me one year at an AVN convention, "Did you know, I traveled for 4 days just to get to see you and it was worth it!" He used to always make me smile as soon as I saw his face. I would drop everything and run over to him and give him the biggest hug year after year. I would always tell him "I'm your biggest fan!" Looking back now, I'm so glad I seized those sparing moments just to let him know how much I appreciated him. The AVN conventions will never be the same again.
I love you Peter for volunteering your precious time and efforts to our industry. You will greatly be missed.
From: Roger T. Pipe
Subject: RE: Peter van Aarle
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 01:54:30 -0700
Peter will be missed by all who knew him. I still remember the first official RAME get together in Vegas. Despite all of the planning, it boiled down to Mrs. Rog, myself and a lone figure (Peter) outside of the Outback. We hit the Rio buffet that night and though I had never met him, Peter talked with me for hours as if we were old friends. Vegas won't be quite the same without him.
Seeing the outpouring of love for him today I can only hope that I am remembered half as fondly as our dear departed friend.
September 20, 2005 -- I first met Peter van Aarle, online in alt.sex.movies, in late 1992/early 1993. Back then, he was called The Dutch Master" because the guy was an encyclopedia, man. There wasn't any question about porn that he couldn't answer... and I thought I was kinda knowledgeable, but this guy... a whole 'nother league.
The thing that never ceased to amaze was how much of a gentleman this guy was online. When most of us were pretty quick to flame away at some newbie over something or other, Peter remained the calm voice of reason... eventually he was coined "St. Peter the Lenient" by his fellow moderators of RAME.
(We also called him "The Good Doctor" due to his PhD in Chemistry.)
In person, I first met Peter at the East Coast Video Show in Atlantic City in 1997. Heretic and I made the day trip down to see the show, the sights and to finally meet Peter, who had taken vacations every year to attend CES and ECVS. We met up for dinner and to take in the FSC softball fundraiser.
Eventually, these meetups would morph into "get togethers" where with the help of Luc Wylder and N. Smith we'd get a suite at the Showboat and invite all of our a.s.m./r.a.m.e/iafd friends for some names-to-faces socializing.
I remember one year, Peter and I were standing at the door of the suite watching people walk in -- Rodney Moore, Nina Hartley, Mike South, Shayla LeVeaux -- and laughing saying to each other "Hi, I'm Jeff, this is Peter... welcome to our party."
This was the same year that after the party, Peter and I are sitting around watching the Yankees game on the suite's giant TV and there's a knock on the door and Ron Jeremy is there wondering where the party is. Ron comes in and, finding nothing left to eat, nibbles on the garnish left over from a plate of finger sandwiches. Peter and I laughed about that night for years to follow.
Peter brought the tradition of these get-togthers out west with him to Vegas, where -- the first year -- due to some mix-ups in plans, he and Rog (of rogreviews.com) were the only two folks to show up for dinner. The following year, there was much better planning and a much bigger dinner.
Peter was the greatest showfloor tour guide ever. Around the time I started working on the backend systems of the IAFD, my porn consumption went way down, so I didn't really recognize anyone anymore. He would walk me around ECVS and AEE and point out the various people I didn't know. He's laugh as I would recognize someone ("Hey! Dani Woodward! I know her!")
Peter would take endless rolls of pictures, and later endless CF cards of pictures. He was my polar opposite, I'd carry my camera around and never take the lens cap off. The rare instances when I would take my lenscap off, I'd shoot candids from afar; he'd get well-lit poses and smiles; I'd get blurry candids since I didn't want to intrude -- as if me not taking someone's picture at AEE makes their experience less intrusive. :-)
Peter and I would be in constant e-mail contact, sending corrections to the IAFD back and forth, hashing over people's suggestions or complaints or just laughing at some ludicrous request that came across my desk ("Please make a search function so I can keep track of all midgets who were born on a Thursday and smoke.")
When all is said and done, Peter was my friend and my colleague. Together, we built the IAFD into a destination on the world wide web that serves over 1 million unique visitors per month.
Monday night, the 19th, when I got the e-mail from one of Peter's co-workers telling me of his death on the 18th, I fell into my chair, the wind knockedout of me. My wife came into my office and asked if I was OK and I told her I got a "horrible e-mail. It says my friend Peter (from Holland) had died. There are no other details."
I called Peter's house at 1 AM Amsterdam time hoping to wake him up and for me to , but instead all I could do was leave a bizarre voicemail saying I hoped he was OK and that I was the victim of a cruel joke... but if not, and his family got the message, they had my condolences. Worst message I ever left.
I spoke with Peter's family this morning, and they said Peter had a heart attack. He had called 911, and by the time the paramedics had arrived he had collapsed. They were able to revive him and he passed away later that evening at the hospital.
The week before he died, he was complaining about being behind on the latest update and promising he'd get it to me soon. A hosrt while before he collapsed, he sent me an e-mail with the month's update. It was the last thing he'd send me. His e-mail was like so many that came before it:
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2005 14:21:42 +0200 From: Peter van Aarle Subject: July/August update To: Jeff Jeff, finally an update again, the usual 2 excel files. Let me know of any problems...
The response I can never send:
From: Jeff To: Peter van Aarle Subject: Re: July/August update Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 03:45:44 -0400 Dear Peter -- the only problem I can see, is you've gone way too fucking early. Stay well my friend. Rest in peace. - Jeff
Before his death, Peter was interviewed by a freelance journalist for an article on the IAFD. Peter sent me his answer for "factchecking" I reproduce it here, so you can get his own story, in his own words.
Well IAFD is really just a hobby that got a bit out of hand...
It started back in 1981/82 when I started watching porn movies (back then my hometown still had a cinema which showed porn movies, and only porn movies by the way, and that's where I went).
I guess it was fortunate (for the later development of the IAFD at least :-) that it was the height of the so called "Golden Age" and that there were a lot of quality productions around. I remember seeing movies like Amanda By Night, Pandora's Mirror, American Pie and 8 to 4 early on, and being really impressed with them.
I started to keep a record on paper index cards of which movies I had seen, the director of the movie, the female cast list, and a short outline of the plot (the latter was still a useful thing to do with movie from that period)
This led to me wanting to find out more about which movies were out there, which were the best ones and so on. So when I happened to see a copy of the September 1982 issue of Adam Film World on a newsstand I was delighted: this was just the sort of thing I was looking for. So I started buying AFW every month, and compiling data on all the movies listed. At first I did this with lists on paper, but soon I started writing a simple program in BASIC with which I could input the data, search for title director or cast member, sort and print lists, and of course save the data (this was on a 1979 home computer with 32K RAM and cassette tapes as storage medium!).
That was basically the state of affairs for several years, with the lists of movies growing steadily. The only real changes were me getting a VCR and memberships to several Video Rental places so I could watch more movies. Then in 1989 I started my PhD research and since the lab was Mac-based I also switched from the old database system to Filemaker on my newly acquired Macintosh. More importantly was that I got access to e-mail and the fledgling Internet in 1990: there was no world wide web yet, but I DID find Usenet (better know to most people as newsgroups).
On Usenet I found an unending list of group dedicated to discussion of just about any topic under the sun. What especially excited me was finding a group called alt.sex.movies. Surely this was the place for me: somewhere were people were discussing porn movies, so surely here I would find even more information on movies. So I jumped right in and started 'lurking' in a.s.m. (Lurking is THE thing to do according to Netiquette at the time: joining a newsgroup but only reading the articles posted there, and not posting your own until you have a good idea of the feel of the newsgroup before you join in the discussions.)
After a few weeks I started posting to the group by replying to some queries of list of all the movies for some performers.
I also realized that while there certainly were several knowledgeable regulars in a.s.m. I would actually be one of the most knowledgeable, so I would be giving information more then finding it.
Soon I got into the habit of posting Movielists for performers as a response to queries from a.s.m. readers.
I got to know and became friends with several people I'm still in contact with today one of whom was VideoSan. He also had an extensive database on porn movies which was compiled over many years by a reviewer for AVN (it listed 14000 titles, all of which he'd seen...)
VideoSan set up an e-mail service which allowed you to send a message requesting a movie list for a performer to it, and you would get the movielist sent back to you by e-mail. Slick!
But Internet became more popular, and a.s.m. started to get a dual problem: spam and some very annoying people who started endless flame wars.
So several of the more active contributors to a.s.m. (me included) decided to try and form a new newsgroup, but this time moderated. This involved sending an Request For Discussion to start a public discussion on the pro's and con's of this proposed new newsgroup, followed by a Call For Votes in which you need at least 100 more Yes then No votes plus a 2/3 majority of Yes votes. We got the votes and the new group was started on 15 april 1994: rec.arts.movies.erotica or rame for short (see http://www.rame.net/library/docs/ if you are really interested).
Then when VideoSan's e-mail service was discontinued one of my fellow rame- moderators, Heretic, discussed the idea with me of making my database of porn movies available via a webpage. I though it was a good idea and he set it up on his server. But when he joined the Marines about a year later he dropped of the 'Net, and the database disappeared.
One of the other co-moderators of rame, who was also webmaster of the newsgroups official website, proposed to resurrect the database as part of the rame-site. We discussed it and decided to make it available under it's own domain name of IAFD (inspired by the IMDB).
I'm responsible for the compiling of the data, while he does the website and the search engine (as well as the commercial stuff like banners)
In those early days of the IAFD I had made one stipulation: I did not want the movie info on movies before 1989 to be available. The idea behind this was basically that if I would ever decide I wanted to do something commercially with my database it would be a good idea to keep the most valuable parts of it off limits. The data on older titles was clearly the most difficult to compile (and very few people I ever talked to had much info on the older stuff, with a few notable exceptions like the late Jim Holiday), and therefore the more valuable part of the data. The cut-off date of 1989 was a compromise to include at least the titles of Buttman, who was one of the most popular directors of the time.
I dropped that embargo when we decided to try and recoup some of the cost of bandwidth by banners.
In the early days of compiling info the work involved was quite manageable. But in later years it is the volume of new releases that makes it harder and harder to keep up.
For example, for 1980 I've got 209 movies listed. The number rose slowly to 728 for 1985.
Then, in the early 90's the video glut started and it went from 1200 in 1990 to 3200 in 2000, and last year I added over 4300 titles! And that doesn't include the endless numbers of 2- or 4-hour compilations which I do not even track!
I try to do some work (data entry, research on titles and cast lists, wathcing movies, etc.) at least every other day. And I try to send an update which includes usually 300-500 new titles, corrections of mistakes, cast additions, and the like at least once a month.
But I do have a full daytime job so that sometimes gets into the way of my hobby ;-)
(Photo credit: Mike South)