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Stan Kelly-Bootle (15 September 1929 – 16 April 2014) was a British author, singer-songwriter, and computer scientist. His best-known song is the "Liverpool Lullaby (Oh you are a mucky kid)", which Judy Collins recorded in 1966 for her album, In My Life. Cilla Black recorded it three years later as the B-side to her pop hit "Conversations". Kelly-Bootle achieved the first postgraduate diploma in computer science in 1954.
Born in Liverpool, Stan Kelly-Bootle was schooled at the Liverpool Institute. He spent 1948–1950 as a conscript in the British Army, achieving the rank of Sgt. Instructor in RADAR. He attended Downing College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in Numerical Analysis and Automatic Computing in 1954, the first postgraduate diploma in computer science.
Folk singing career
In 1950, Kelly-Bootle helped found the St Lawrence Folk Song Society at Cambridge University. As a folk singer-songwriter, he performed under the name Stan Kelly. He wrote some of his own tunes and also wrote lyrics set to traditional tunes. In the course of his musical career, he made over 200 radio and television appearances, and released several recordings, as well as having his songs recorded by others.
Solo releases include:
- I Chose Friden – Songs for Cybernetic Lovers, Transatlantic Records. Computer humor songs.
- Liverpool Packet, Topic Records release TOP27, 1958. Songs about Liverpool.
- Songs for Swinging Landlords, Topic Records release TOP60. Rent protest and anti-landlord songs.
- Wrote and produced a sound and song depiction of Merseyside called Echoes of Merseyside (Transatlantic Records, LPDE 101) for the Liverpool Echo newspaper.
- O Liverpool We Love You, Transatlantic Records XTRA 1076, released 1976. This album was a tribute to the Liverpool Football Club, prepared with the team's cooperation. While creating the album, Kelly traveled with the team for both UK and European games for several years, and also for two seasons managed several players, including Kevin Keegan and Tommy Smith.
Other audio recordings include:
- Kelly performed the part of "The Rambler" in the BBC's 1958 production The Ballad of John Axon. This broadcast won the Italia Prize, and excerpts were subsequently released on a highlights LP. This was the first BBC "radio ballad".
- Two tracks ("Liverpool Town" and "The Ould Mark II") on Revival In Britain, Vol 1, produced by Ewan MacColl, Folkways Records FW 8728, Library of Congress R62-1246.
- One track ("The Young Sailor Cut Down In His Prime") on Topic Sampler #2, Topic Records, TPS 145, 1966
- Performing on Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas, HMV 1970
He started his computing career programming the pioneering EDSAC computer, designed and built at Cambridge University. He worked for IBM in the United States and the UK from 1955 to 1970. From 1970 to 1973, he worked as Manager for University Systems for Sperry-UNIVAC.
In 1973, Kelly-Bootle left Sperry-UNIVAC and became a freelance consultant, writer and programmer. He was known in the computer community for The Devil's DP Dictionary and its second edition, The Computer Contradictionary (1995), which he authored. These works are cynical lexicographies in the vein of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. Kelly-Bootle authored or co-authored several serious textbooks and tutorials on subjects such as the Motorola 68000 family of CPUs, programming languages including various C compilers, and the Unix operating system. He authored the "Devil's Advocate" column in UNIX Review from 1984-2000, and had columns in OS/2 Magazine ("End Notes", 1994–97) and Software Development ("Seamless Quanta", October 1995–May 1997). He contributed columns and articles to several other computer industry magazines, as well.
Kelly-Bootle's articles for magazines such as ACM Queue, AI/Expert, and UNIX Review contain stunning examples of word-play, criticism of silly marketing and usage (he refers often to the computer "laxicon") and commentary on the industry in general. He wrote an online monthly column posted on the Internet. While most of his writing was oriented towards the computer industry, he wrote a few books relating to his other interests, including
- Liverpool Lullabies, The Stan Kelly Songbook, SING Publications, 1960. Second edition, 1976.
- Lern Yourself Scouse – How to Talk Proper in Liverpool, Scouse Press, 1961, written with Fritz Spiegl and Frank Shaw. Sixteen editions published through 1991.
- The Terrace Muse, An Anthology of Soccer Songs and Chants, serialized in the Daily Express in 1970.
Stan Kelly-Bootle died on 16 April 2014, aged 84, in hospital from undisclosed causes.
- "Liverpool singer-songwriter Stan Kelly has died", Liverpool Echo, 17 April 2014; retrieved 17 April 2014
- Curmudgeon columns at ACM Queue (by Stan Kelly-Bootle and others); accessed 18 April 2014.
- Stan Kelly-Bootle's homepage
- Son of Devil's Advocate aka SODA, Kelly-Bootle's online monthly column (2000–04); accessed 18 April 2014.