My history



I have an undergraduate degree in maths/physics (1977) and post graduate degree in computing science (1985) from the University of Glasgow.


I was a software developer whose products  (the subject of a  review in world's then top music equipment magazine, Future Music) have been used by millions of people (mostly illegally).   Bing search.  This is one of my synths, illegally advertised with my name on it .


 I was a full time computing lecturer (mainly programming and software engineering)  for 13 years, working round my exhaustion issues until it finally got too much and I took redundancy. This was in Clydebank College. I taught the high quality franchised NCC course which was separate from the normal FE system. Part of my job was to persuade Glasgow University heads of department to not only train our student but to pay for the privilege.


I have also created websites on local history, carbon trading climate change,  one on ecologist / journalist George Monbiot  and  one to sell my software (now gone) and have exclusively run Paisley's  most 'liked' Facebook page for about two years. I recently ran an initially successful campaign to save a prominent listed building  from being demolished. This Sunday Express article has an interview with me on  the government  decision to overrule the council.


Today, I live in a former local authority house I bought to make music in because it is detached (and cheap!) . I'm very happy here, the neighbours are first class people.


I was a 'student' of booker prize winner James Kelman along with Whitbread Prize winner Jeff Torrington and novelist Alex Cathcart who I met recently (both car factory workers). I regularly met Kelman for lunch when we both worked in Paisley. I had to pass on an offer from a publisher  to publish a book of poetry because I couldn't handle the stress involved with demand for new and specific types of material (which arrived with the initial letter) . Kelman was having issues with his publisher, Jonathan Cape at that time. 


I worked in community education in *Ferguslie Park, and was a very active (unpaid) member of Paisley Claimants Union. I represented hundreds of people at the social security offices and at benefits tribunals. Most of them from Ferguslie Park, almost all of them great people. I didn't work with them, I was one of them. 


A lifelong Guardian reader, I'm  more comfortable with old Guardian than new Guardian, more comfortable with old Labour rather than new Labour.


I was raised from birth with my closest relative, my cousin who is a retired doctor (bacteriologist) and medical researcher who has published extensively in the Lancet (and other medical journals),  particularly on heliobacter pylori (you can see his middle name is my surname) back to the 1960s. His career and family history are here.  I mention this because it provides a perspective on my reaction to being insulted and abused by 'doctors'. 

Ironically he did his first internship at the nearby Dykebar Mental Hospital where Renfrewshire Mental Health is based because we lived in Hunterhill council estate nearby (offered house due to family illness- TB). His best friend at university and the most regular visitor to the house was the future well known ENT surgeon  Professor George Browning. Two relatives were GPs in England.