The Official Humpage FactFile

There is always life outside work.

Music

I play a few instruments well, and many more badly. My record is a two week period in 2019 when I performed on violin, celesta, mandolin, percussion, cimbalom and saxophone across just two orchestral concerts. Thank you Mahler and Kodaly for your weird orchestration.

Mostly I play violin in various amateur orchestras in Bristol and London, and I am leader of Long Ashton Orchestra. I also compose music, especially string quartets, and my quartet has often performed them under Clifton Suspension Bridge whenever the Portway has been closed to traffic and open to people.

I once played my harmonium (or reed organ) in a chamber version of Mahler 1. Just before the first rehearsal I realised it was over a quarter-tone sharp of concert pitch, so spent a weekend retuning all 61 reeds by hand with a soldering iron and a file.

A fanfare I wrote aged nine was played in Australia by the Port Lincoln town band during their bicentenary celebrations.

My favourite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Messiaen and Shostakovich. The Australian fanfare did not, thankfully, sound like any of them.

Mathematics

I decided against studying music at university, because my father (who himself studied under Stockhausen for a while) could likely teach me what I wanted to know. Instead I pursued mathematics, in which I had always taken an interest, and after four years gained an MSci.

That said, I elected to take some of my degree in astrophysics, which comes in handy when people barrage me with questions when I’m installing a moon.

My quickfire lecture on Euler’s Identity has gained over 20k views on YouTube.

At Bristol university my computer was the first Apple Mac to be connected to the new ResNet network, which in 1998 gave students in halls a whopping 10Mb internet connection. Although I had always been good with computers, it was this which really spurred my interest in networking and the internet and technology in general.

Sport

A few years ago I took up jogging*, and my PB is completing the Cardiff half marathon in 2:02.

*Runners run because they love running. Joggers jog because they love cake.

I tried to learn to play snooker, but failed. We all have to be bad at something. I console myself by attending the World Championship in Sheffield most years.

My sportiest moment was appearing in the Comedy Central show Gods of the Game. In this I wheelchair raced Hannah Cockroft around a go-kart track and was tied with a bungee cord to Rebecca Adlington for a swim-based tug of war. I won the episode and elected to have 20th Century Boy as my personal national anthem during the medal ceremony.

I will happily sit down for a game of low stakes poker anytime. Omaha Hi/Lo is a particular favourite, but regular Hold’Em is fine too.

Home

I live in Bristol with my rather creative wife Laura and our two children. We also have two cats, a gerbil and a crested gecko.