Personal Profile

Like everyone else, I have layers of identity. Most fundamental of these is that I am a South East Londoner. However, I left London more than 35 years ago and, in any case, the South East London I grew up in no longer exists. I have to admit that I am somewhat deracinated.

Since childhood, I have aspired to be a scientist. I have strived to achieve the intellectual rigour and personal integrity that this implies. Doctors should be applied scientists, but medics are people and they tend to be flawed. Our human tendency to self-deception must be offset by valuing evidence, not eminence. The hubris-destroying glory of empiricism is that no matter how right you may be in your own lifetime, eventually someone will demonstrate that you were wrong. This certainty demands humility.

I have spent my life reading. Pretty much any book or other written material will do, from LP sleeve notes to Scott Fitzgerald. So an  early and enduring ambition was to write. In 1970, Jimi Hendrix died and I decided to become a musician. I was given a guitar for my 15th birthday. I have gigged ever since. I have a web site for my musical existence here.

I secured a place at medical school two weeks before the autumn 1975 term started, having failed to obtain a place the year before. During my enforced gap year, I worked as a hospital porter.  I have always been interested in politics, but I am uncomfortable with membership of political parties. I have been married to the same person since 1978. We have three children and two grandchildren. For recreation, I like to walk or cycle (these days, on an electric bike).

So that is me: a displaced South East Londoner trying to be a scientist, writer, musician and psychiatrist. I have been markedly more successful in achieving some of these than others. I have been incredibly fortunate in my life. I have met a lot of interesting people and I have never had to cope with boredom.