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A Memorial Address for Michael Verney Elliot

by Peter Duesberg

Calling Mike at Meditel in the early years of the ‘AIDS War’ – as we used to call it – was like tuning into the Monty Python show for me. It was just as funny, as real, as sarcastic with our opponents and as compassionate with the AIDS victims as I perceived the Monty Python/John Cleese shows. I could even ‘mention the war’ and immediately Mike would call me ‘Rommel’ , whom he considered a worthy match of his British rival ‘Monty’.

It was a hard war to fight against that huge HIV-AIDS establishment. But every time we won one over, not to accept the dearh spell associated with that government sponsored antibody test – be it Neville Hodgkinson from the Sunday Times or just an ordinary student – and every time we won one over to forsake those inevitably toxic DNA chain terminators prescribed to exterminate the long-neutralized passenger virus, HIV, we had reason to celebrate. We felt so good about our little celebrations, because they were based on evidence, not on government handouts, and because our little triumphs have lived on and cheered up – despite that global consensus that you must take toxic drugs and die because of that undetectable but ‘deadly’ virus.

Unlike any other cameraman I had performed for, Mike made me feel at ease even in front of his camera. With his sharp questions, his knowledge and his wits, his camera was really more entertaining than intimidating, ever since Meditel first produced “The AIDS Catch”.

Unfortunately, he too, succumbed to the toxic side of one drug he could not let go of. Too sad there is no more Mike Verney Elliot to turn to in the AIDS war and no more Mike to cheer us up at meetings in Barcelona, Berlin, Berkely and Bologna.

Auf Wiedersehen, Mike!

Dein Freund Peter.