Andrew Thompson - An informal CV!

DOB: 2.12.59, 2 kids, 2, 1 , er, no dogs, BMW R1100GS motorbike, Suzuki Samurai jeep, 2 cycles, 2 guitars, large music collection

I was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1959 but raised in Earls Barton in Northamptonshire, a village with a proud shoe-making tradition and a fine Saxon church tower. I have a sister and brother, both younger than me and to whom I'm very close. My sister Sarah is married to Nigel with three happy kids and my brother Mark is an ex-pat civil engineer currently working in Dubai, no, make that Kuwait, and recently married to Kristina.  My parents both still work in education and live in Sywell, Northamptonshire.  I married in 1990 but I'm now separated

I have lived in north Oxfordshire since 1996 and have just bought my own house (as of Jan 2002) in Deddington  My son, Matthew, and Daughter, Chloë, attend Deddington C of E School .  I used to live in Oxford (92-96) and before that in Clapham and Clapham Junction (82 - 92).

I was educated at Boothville Primary School (64-66), Earls Barton County Junior School (66-71) and Wellingborough Grammar School (71-78) and went on to read Marine Zoology at UCNW Bangor (78-81).

I have subsequently worked in biomedical research, firstly at the Department of Anatomy at UCL working on adrenergic and cholinergic innervation (81-83), then the Department of Surgery at RPMS  (83-85) working on tumour cell membrane fluidity and the role of delta 9 desaturase in oncogenesis. Hard work but very enjoyable and very successful. I also spent eight months over two trips on sabbatical at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in San Diego (84 and 85) working on the detection of oncogenic proteins in urine. Again, very hard work, very enjoyable and very successful. I worked briefly for Lloyds of London on my return to the UK and then resumed research at St George's Hospital Medical School working in the Department of Biochemistry on the effects of interferon on macromolecular synthesis and degradation (86-88). Interesting, but not very successful in publishing terms. I also failed to complete a Ph.D. having got bogged down in measuring Km and Vmax values for trans-membrane nucleoside transport instead of writing up!

An eighteen month spell at King's College Hospital Medical School working on T-cell receptor gene expression in Type 1 diabetes (88-89) was followed by a long term position working for Prof Mike Waterfield at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London (89-94); cloning, sequencing and expressing the two subunits of the cell signalling messenger PI3 kinase as part of a large research team. This was a great position and it was with great reluctance that I left when my wife became pregnant. We had already moved to Oxford in 1992 after Diane's company relocated there and juggling commuting with fatherhood and her frequent work trips abroad was not a viable option.

So in 1994 I took up a position as Head of Genotyping and Gene Sequencing at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford and established the core gene characterization laboratory. I left in 1996 to take another newly established post of Area Safety Officer for the Medical Science Division of the University of Oxford, having acted as Departmental Safety Officer and Biological Safety Officer in my previous two appointments; better paid and a lot less stress!

I see myself very much as a technologist with broad experience in biomedical research working from first principles to solve problems and drawing extensively from my work at the bench to provide appropriate guidance.

I thought I supported the Labour Party but I'm not so sure now (Tony Blair MP is an anagram of I'm Tory Plan B). I'd still describe myself as a socialist, a democrat, and a republican though. I'm also a member of Greenpeace Charter 88 and the National Council for Civil Liberties.

The glass is half full. I guess I'm closest to the Epicurean philosophy. I don't believe in any form of afterlife or re-incarnation (just the recycling of biomass) - when you're gone you're gone so enjoy life while you can but don't deliberately hurt or harm anyone. I'm an atheist although I recognize the need for a spiritual dimension to life. I'm just not sure how to achieve that. If I had to choose a religion it would be Buddhism but that's more of a framework for living than a belief system.

My main interest is music with a very discontinuous taste. I like a lot of indie stuff, ambient dance, trip-hop, big beats, ethnic dance, D & B, Blue Notes-style jazz, classical, baroque, and choral (but definitely not opera!). Not that I go to gigs, clubs, or concerts any more; but I am an  audiophile (read sad HiFi addict) with some decent, mostly British kit and a very large record, tape, and CD collection.  Oh, and I play the guitar competently as long as nobody is watching!

I played rugby to a reasonable standard until 1994 when a serious neck injury curtailed my career. I started playing at school as a scrum half switching to flanker as I shot from 5 foot 2 to 6 foot (1.83 m) over two seasons. I then played briefly for the University side but switched to a local club to escape the unwarranted macho student mentality. I had great fun playing for Menai Bridge RFC and visited much more of Gwynedd and the surrounding counties than I would have done playing for the University. I joined Hendon RFC when I first moved to London in 1981 moving to Battersea Ironsides RFC in 1987 after a series of fractures, pins, and plates to my left arm and consequent lost seasons put paid to any serious rugby ambition. What a great club! A more well-meaning bunch of maladroits would be difficult to find. Every training session was a laugh, every game an epic. After moving to Oxford in 1992 I joined Oxford Old Boys RFC where I received the coup de gras (literally) by one of my own club mates in a training session, sustaining two prolapsed vertebral discs (C4/C5/C6)  I then refereed for Oxfordshire Society of Rugby Football Referees for a few seasons but have returned to playing for Banbury RFC turning out for or reffing the lower sides now my neck injury has improved somewhat.  My son, Matthew, enjoys watching games but made too young a start at playing mini-rugby being somewhat confused by the concept of team sports.  Chloë will be a natural, however, when she's old enough.

I used to cycle everywhere but since moving to N. Oxon I travel on my 1999 BMW R1100GS. I love it and bike all year round and do the occasional run out with OxUnMCC.  I still have my Marin Pine Mountain MTB which gets used in summer to get the 20 miles to work and to get me around the surrounding villages.  Matthew and Chloë are both keen cyclists with their own junior MTBs, so I may get to do more again over the next few years.

Other interests
I like doing stuff in and to my Suzuki Samurai (the "wonky jeep" as the kids call it) without being a petrol/offroad-head. I enjoy DIY and do get rather twitchy when faced with large displays of power tools for sale. I enjoy reading about philosophy and I like books that make me think about life or take me down some dark alley, beat me up & dump me emotionally. And humorous stuff as well!

I like: eating out, eating in, proper pubs, bitter, most sports, Aeros, Macintosh computers, films: by the Cohen brothers (Blood Simple, Fargo) and Peter Greenaway (Drowning By Numbers, Belly of an Architect); Pulp Fiction (will I ever see as good a film ever again?); Delicatessen; Blade Runner; novels by: Ian McEwan; Iain Banks; Justin Cartwright; Tim Parks; Andrew Davies; Milan Kundera; and Martin Millar; heterodoxy, the Caribbean Islands (yeah man), climbing trees (having kids gives me the perfect excuse to do it as often as possible) being European, being 6 foot, being fit (hmmm, need to work on that), France, North Wales, whales, dinosaurs, contemplating the Universe, old buildings, natural history, the words: "apposite"; "crepuscular";  and "succinct", being pleasantly under the influence (of EtOH of course), walking my dogs (oops, there's only one now.  No, he's gone too so that's just walking then), weather (most types), watching for meteors and satellites on summer evenings, J.S. Bach,A. Vivaldi, Arvo Pärt, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, Apollo Four Forty, Banco de Gaia, Cabaret Voltaire, Cocteau Twins, Curve, Dead Can Dance, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby, Durutti Column, dZihan and Kamien, Groove Armada, Leftfield, Massive Attack, Moby, Orbital, Public Image, Radiohead, Stranglers (as they were) Talk Talk, Thievery Corporation, Underworld, XTC (still going!), Zion Train, 808 State.

I respect: Buddhism, Aristotle, John Locke, Jonathan Miller, Tony Benn, Isaac Newton, the All Blacks (despite failing to win the World Cup), Carcharadon carcharias (well, you would wouldn't you?), the BBC (try Sky and you'll see why!), Primo Levi, Louis WolpertKarl Marx, John Pilger.

I support Bolton Wanderers, Lancashire County Cricket Club, and  rugby in general.

My top albums: 1. "Mezzanine" by Massive Attack 2. "IV Rattus Norvegicus" by The Stranglers 3. "Programmed to Love" by Bent 4. "Funky Little Demons" by The Wolfgang Press 5. "Black Sea" by XTC 6. "Sulk" by The Associates 7. "Maxinquay" by Tricky 8. "Rhythm and Stealth" by Leftfield 9. "OK Computer" by Radiohead 10. "Ultra" by Depeche Mode

Current favourite group occupying most time on my hifi is Fila Brazillia

Bikes I would like in my garage if I had one:Aprilia RSV Mille, BMW R1150 GS Adventurer, Honda V5 GP1 racer, Honda Monkeybike, 1967 Triumph Trophy Trail (US spec)

I dislike: intolerance (hence dislike rather than hate), hypocrisy, bigotry (particularly fundamentalist and fanatical religions), inconsideration for others, overt displays of wealth, floating voters (stick to your principles), floating parties, the monarchy and the rest of the British class system, mainstream tastes, any pastime calling itself a sport(golf, darts etc), hunting (for fun - if you can't eat it don't kill it), tabloid newspapers, most situation comedies and soaps, modern agricultural and food processing techniques, "laddism", West End musicals (especially by Lloyd-Webber), fast food outlets, "maverick" TV cop characters (it's getting just a bit clichéd), creeping Americanism, the use of the word "raft" as a collective noun - it's a means of water transport, drink fads and theme pubs, most actual and would-be male BMW car drivers (get a bike if you want to drive like that), drivers who sit in the middle lane of the motorway (it's an overtaking lane), Lisa Minnelli (don't know why), being very drunk, the idea of being unfit (not there yet), typical dull British Winter days, acceptance of "average".

High points
In no particular order: Whenever I watch for meteors and satellites with my son - he always comes up with some humourous observation on life, jumping from the cliffs at Rick's Cafe, Jamaica; sailing round a headland on St. Lucia on a catamaran in blazing sunshine whilst listening to Chapterhouse on my Walkman and downing a Caribbean cocktail of some kind; going into the hotel with Diane immediately after getting married and being surrounded by our friends and family;  the moment of Matthew's delivery (weird feeling!); scoring the winning try for Battersea Ironsides to beat Mitcham 0 - 4 right at the end of an unbelievably hard fought game in 30° of heat ;  standing at an A Certain Ratio gig listening to an ultra heavy bass and masses of percussion ("Knife slits water") with purple and white lights sillhouetting the band from behind through a haze of (mostly illicit, I suspect) smoke; most Friday nights at University (if only that feeling was bottleable); when Matthew asked "why is that bank steep?"; watching the interior of California burn whipped up by 40°C Santa Anna winds just north of Santa Barbara, arriving at Bangor; listening to Elgar at an open air concert with fire works going off whilst very under the influence on a very hot evening and surrounded by a huge band of friends; surviving doing a wall of death (literally) as a pillion on the back of Jason's cafe racer CB200 four feet up a wall on a tight bend on a narrow country lane we'd approached too fast.

Low points
Leaving Bangor after graduating; losing Suzie, Dyfrig, William and Badger (dogs, not all at once!); leaving London, leaving Scripps; signing on in Brixton upon returning to the UK from Scripps; leaving the Ludwig; dealing with the end of my marriage, having salmonella poisoning; being unable to get out of bed courtesy of Mark Scaife (where are you now?), a bottle of Glenfiddich, and a shed load of snakebite (in that order); England losing the Grand Slam to Scotland in 1990; when aged fifteen Clare Bridgeford decided she didn't want to go out with me after all (my first rejection of many); waking up to discover I couldn't really fly at will; doing a wall of death (literally) as a pillion on the back of Jason's cafe racer CB200 four feet up a wall on a tight bend on a narrow country lane we'd approached too fast!

"Live your life full of joy and wonder" M. Stipe