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THE  WEIRD  BUNCH

Dave's  Friends
Below are some of my less camera-shy friends. Their
quirkiness tends to offset my humdrum normality. Alas a few of the more bashful technophobes are still absent. But I hope to coax more of them into appearing here soon.


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Bruce Leigh
brucel@epic.co.uk

ET? Bruce is one of the oddest phenomena in the history of medical science. For a start, he can't feel physical pain in any recognisably human sense of the term. (This is actually true.) To survive and flourish in his ecological niche, he has learned over the years to associate certain ticklish sensations with noxious tissue-damage and aesthetically-distasteful blood on his clothing. When younger, Bruce once couldn't work out why a door wouldn't shut properly. Then he saw that his hand was trapped in its inside edge. Bruce has yet to pass the Turing test in real-time.

All my efforts to convert him to vegetarianism on moral rather than aesthetic grounds have failed. This is because he doesn't see why such a trivial sensation as pain should inspire so much fuss. Has anyone got any rationally compelling arguments that might persuade him why it should ethically matter?

Bruce has a fondness for dire puns whose dreadfulness defies rational explanation. Remarkably, however, here is one of his poems. On 15 June 1996, Bruce confounded medico-genetic experts and became a father. Researchers are agog for further details.


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Hilary Tunley
hilaryt@cogs.susx.ac.uk

photo of Hilary TunleyHilary is a high-flying turbo-powered academic. She is also an inspirational teacher who always finds time for the humblest forms of pond-life in the academic food-chain.

Hilary works at the University Of Sussex. Her speciality is vision research. She is currently studying eye-fixation strategies. You can see her and conduct your own experiments with the help of the celebrated eye-tracker.

Hilary is also a gourmet chef, undergraduate heart-throb, fluent sign-linguist and a practising ailurophiliac (see section 1.10, On the Misguided Romanticisation of Feline Psychopaths of The Hedonistic Imperative.)


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John Powell and Biki
jppowell@btinternet.com

photograph of John, Ana and Biki John is now a research analyst in the City. He specialises in emerging debt and forex markets at the investment bank CS First Boston; but he's still a wine-quaffing reprobate, East Oxford bohemian, lively left-wing polemicist and insanely animalistic Manchester United supporter at heart.

John is a militantly evangelical atheist. Though normally brimming over with the milk of human kindness, his ideas on the proper place for Christians leave Nero looking like a model of sober-minded bourgeois rationalism. He does claim to have a soft spot for wide-eyed New-Age mystics; probably a large pit of quicksand.


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photograph of Kieran TurnerKieran Turner
kieran@kemptown.org

Here is the legend-encrusted perpetual-motion machine Kieran Turner. Once head-hunted for an undisclosed sum by Brighton-based web-design company Keymedia, it's somehow hard to imagine him ever mutating into a power-dressing corporate clone. He does do a nice line in post-modernist irony.

After kicking his heels as a student in faraway Aberdeen, Kieran spent a sabbatical year as North of Scotland Area Convenor for the National Union of Students. For he's a strange idealistic beast who believes there's a place in political life for kind and fluffy herbivores. So, unfortunately, do all the political piranhas and sharks out there, generally as part of a well-balanced diet; so sadly Nature will be left to take its course.

In different guise, K is a computer guru's guru; quixotic romantic from another age; CND activist; Robyn Hitchcock fan; dragon-lover and most notably, an international humanitarian aid worker.

For several years he was a student exile in faraway Aberdeen. His long-foretold reappearance in more civilised latitudes has thankfully come to pass; the return of the K to its old haunts was celebrated with three days of feasting and jousting. Kieran now lives in Kemptown, often described as the vibrant hub of sunrise Brighton's hi-tech digital renaissance.


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Steve North, Tessa Burbridge and Annie
steven@townguide.com

photo of Steve as 'Colin' in TV soap 'Londons Burning'photo of Steve as fireman Colin in ITV soap London's Burning Steve is a vocal and uninhibited follower of football club Brighton and Hove Albion. His critically-acclaimed study of the club's involvement with a Blackburn property-developer pushes the envelope of Seagulls' scholarship into entirely new territory. Steve is also one of the last of a dying race of uncompromising socialist idealists. Here he is as rookie fireman Colin in London's Burning.

More recently, Steve starred to great acclaim in the West End adaptation of Nick Hornby's book Fever Pitch. You can read his robustly expressed views on politics, football, and the rave scene in his monthly Hyper column both here and in Brighton's Evening Argus. He is rather partial to elephants.

Tess played a memorable and disturbing Little Red Riding Hood in Sondheim's masterly Into The Woods. Their daughter, Annie, is a happy and loveable six year year-old. She's just started school here in Brighton.


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Professor Q
pq@bltc.com

imminent photo of Professor Q Professor Q is a nocturnal Italian psychopharmacologist of passionate convictions and very long hair. He has urbane manners, fertile intellect and somewhat unorthodox morals. As an ardent devotee of Albert Hofmann and Alexander Shulgin, Professor Q designs agents of pleasure and enlightenment in the hope of turning paradise-engineering from a ideology into an exact science.

Professor Q is a vegetarian, a libertarian, an outspoken opponent of substance prohibition and moral bigotry, and an implacable enemy of cruelty and suffering of any kind. He is also ethical hedonist who believes in the character-building potential of unlimited intensities of pleasure.

In 1999, Professor Q became director of research and development at BLTC.


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Melissa lights up a party

Melissa Wyatt

"Misty" Melissa is a mystical songwriter, renowned Information Oracle, tomb-raiding archaeologist, as well as a spiritual and accomplished poet.

Melissa is a firm opponent of hunting, blood "sports", and all forms of needless or purposeful cruelty.

Melissa loves baby elephants, baby okapis, domestic sheep and, alas, juvenile feline psychopaths, aka "kittens".

You can find a selection of Melissa's poetry in Misty Rites.


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photograph of Robin Hemmings

Robin Hemmings
robin@townguide.com

Morrissey-mad Robin is an information-technologist (somehow this job-description contrives to sound sexier than trainee librarian), part-time juggler, virtuoso harmonica player and sexual stakhanovite. He cut his computational teeth on a Dragon computer when Dragons were state-of-the-art. His Golden House-Sparrow Album Of the Day column is always a miracle of concision.

Robin is Kemptown's only living Marxist philosopher. His current thoughts on revolution usually extend to turning over in bed in the morning.


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photograph of Peter Hodgson

Peter Hodgson
peteh@pacific.net.sg

Pete is an irrepressible conversationalist and a seasoned tippler who is currently teaching drama in Singapore. He is one of the world's greatest living experts on how to enjoy life to the full, and helping others do likewise. Quite how he ended up living in a statelet not known for its unbridled orgiastic excesses of drink and debauchery is something of a puzzle. He is also a long-standing vegetarian and the inspiration, if that is the word, behind The Hedonistic Imperative.

Pete's wide and zig-zaggy career includes his stint as Mr Blobby's minder, some highly imaginative and vigorous performances as a trombonist, and a starring role with his beautiful wife Ali in the powerful anti-drink-drive play, Too Much Punch For Judy. His poetry has an exquisite simplicity and lyrical intensity of feeling which defies easy categorisation. Connoisseurs of great poetry have acknowledged him as the William McGonagall of his generation.

If such a thing as human nature existed, Pete and Ali could be truly said to restore one's faith in it. In June 1998 they got married in magical Bali. Here are the unofficial wedding-day photos.


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photograph of Paul Nicholson

Paul Nicholson
paul@hove.co.uk

Hove, Actually Paul is a gadget-crazed but warm-hearted technophile studying philosophy and artificial intelligence at the University of Sussex. Electrical retailers and music shops around town welcome his periodic feeding frenzies of consumerist excess which help stimulate the local economy.

Paul is keenly interested in the philosophy of mind. He argues the case for a form of naturalistic panpsychism.

He somehow finds time to be a care-manager in Hove, go on far-flung holidays with his partner Lisa, and to practise amateur photography as well. His launch of Hove, Actually was welcomed by nearby virtual communities with the warmth of civic feeling characteristic of medieval Italian city-states.


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photo of Malene Sabinsky

Malene Sabinsky
sabinsky@dial.pipex.com

Mal comes from Seeland in Denmark. She lives in an anthropologically intriguing menage-a-trois in Hove with Paul and his favourite Gateway 2000.

Mal is a life-loving aesthete, music-lover, femme fatale and scuba-diver. On sub-Siberian winter mornings, she can be seen bounding off to the gym radiating raw animal vitality.

In her more cerebral mode, Mal studies the sociology of contemporary culture at Goldsmiths College. She's also a superlative linguist.


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image of koala that looks a bit like Steve

Steve Phelps
sphelps@csc.liv.ac.uk

{Steve's photo, like the advent of the next ice-age, has been described as imminent. Just in case it's delayed, here's his equally animated on-line avatar]
Chunky stud-muffin Steve is a researcher in Information Ecosystems, veteran Java wizard and seasoned dipsomaniac. For neurologically obscure reasons, he actually becomes cleverer the more he drinks. Steve's parents bought him a computer at the age of 11 in the hope of curing his youthful hyperactivity. The results have not been wholly successful to date. Steve recently married a bashful maiden in Liverpool [photos to follow]


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Dave Cliff
davec@ai.mit.edu

Dave helped to found and christen the academic discipline of computational neuroethology.

He is also an indecently talented graphic artist, a debonair socialite, an inspirational teacher at Sussex University, and a world authority on the hoverfly.

He builds cool little robots as well.

Dave is a jet-setting media academic who puts himself through a punishing schedule of conferences in exotic locations around the world. What is it about the air of sun-kissed tropical beaches which makes them so conducive to deep scholarly thought?


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Nick Macro
nick@ontech.net

photo of Nick Macro

Nick is not one of Nature's shrinking violets.

His keen musical ear enjoys exploring the finer subtleties of hard-core nose-bleed techno. Test your new T3 connection with his latest tuneful melodies. (now alas banished from the server)

He is a noted Brightonian enthusiast of the demented Church of the Subgenius.

Nick is a Web design-consultant, avant-garde psychopharmacologist and self-confessed anarcho-technologist whose consuming passion in life is macro-processors. (No, I'm not making this up. Really.) A macro-processor, I am informed, is an archaic sort of compiler which compiles other compilers.

In June 1998, Nick met the vivacious but camera-shy Mikaela. After conducting vigorous and exotic courtship rituals, they got married twelve days later.

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The  Grand  Plan
Some Web sites are miracles of strategic vision, advance planning and hi-tech structural engineering. Others, like Topsy, "just growed." Since this file is already far too big, new arrivals on HedWeb are currently basking in splendid isolation elsewhere. It is hoped they will be soon seamlessly integrated into the Weird Bunch after quarantine for any clinically recognised signs of normality.

Sam Eaton : Lucy Smith : Tom Taylor : Chris Mitchell
Pablo Jimenez : Stefan Stukenberg : J-me Savage

swan image

HedWeb
HerbWeb
BLTC Research

E-mail Dave
dave@hedweb.com

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