Spaceship Earth


I was born in a suburb of London in 1949, four years after the end of World War II, in which my father (born 1922) fought as a Royal Marine. He met my mother (born 1927) while on leave from duty as a military policeman stationed in war-torn Germany. They married in 1947. I was the first of four children.

We lived in a small 3-bedroom, terrace house in a quiet road (before all the cars came) in north-west London, opposite the Paddington branch of the Grand Union Canal and just a couple of miles from Wembley Stadium.

I disliked school, and it was only just before leaving at 16 that it dawned on me that it was supposed to be for my benefit (I'd heard that in Russia, children who misbehaved were sent home as punishment, which to me would have been a reward. That set me thinking).

Outside of school I became interested in science and got a job as a lab assistant. I started a course in chemistry but didn't complete it. Something happened and I started having a terrible job concentrating on anything. I went to my doctor and told him that I needed the assistance of a psychiatrist, but he just laughed and sent me away. The difficulties got worse and eventually I had to give up my job. I then drifted from one menial job to another, until I started working as an electrician, rewiring people's houses, something I'd learned how to do from my father. 

I saved up enough money to accompany a girl friend on an overland trip to India. We got over the Pakistan/Indian border just before war broke out between the two countries, by which time we were in Nepal. We were gone 8 months and had many remarkable experiences - for the price that other people paid for a new 3-piece suite! - as I discovered on returning to England and getting a job helping to deliver furniture. 

In the Summer of 1973, I decided to move to Germany. Why? The desire to leave home and to learn German. Why German? Why Germany? I felt a strong affinity and sympathy towards Germany (strange, considering the anti-German post-war atmosphere I was brought up in), as I did to Judaism (before starting to learn German at evening classes, I'd attended classes at a London Synagogue). Perhaps in a previous life - if there is such a thing - I was a German Jew.

It took me quite a while to became proficient in the German language (when I arrived, despite the evening classes, I could hardly speak or understand a word), but when I had, I went on to obtain university entry requirements to study biology at Brunswick's Technical University. I moved from Hanover (where I'd lived up until then) to Brunswick in 1983. By 1988 I had completed all the necessary courses and passed all my exams, but still had to do a piece of scientific work and present it in the form of a thesis to complete my studies and get my degree. The subject I chose was a historical one, on the discovery of photosynthesis. I read the original literature and repeated some of the experiments conducted by Joseph Priestley in the 1770's, but that was as far as I got. I was in awe of what I had learned but could not express it, except perhaps through a long drawn-out "whoooow!", which, unfortunately, was not enough for a thesis. Eventually I decided to drop it and choose another, more concrete subject for my thesis: the study of certain, sulphuric-acid- forming bacteria with the scanning electron microscope. I spent almost a year working on the practical part, not least because it was so interesting and enjoyable, but when it came to writing up the results into a thesis, something happened (again!), which greatly distracted me and was compounded by the "whoooow! problem", so that I was unable to do so. That was in 1991.

During the first 5 years of my time at university I received a grant from the German government (that still has to be paid back). I also earned money from university jobs, and since 1989 have made a living from translating mainly scientific texts from German into English. 

Up until last year (2001) I was always intending to elaborate and write up what I'd done, so as to complete my studies and get my degree - if only to please my mother!  I also wanted to complete it for my own benefit and satisfaction, of course. In fact, I did write it up, but not to my professor's satisfaction (I am nevertheless very grateful to him for being so patient with me, and regret disappointing him). A very patchy, incomplete form of my work can be found in the German section of my homepage. One day - hopefully - I will make a proper job of it and also publish it in English.

In the meantime I have come to realise (or deluded myself into believing) that I have more important and pressing work to do, helping to turn Spaceship Earth from the fateful course it is on and save humanity from extinction. 

In May 2002 I moved back to England, moving in with my mother in Harrow, a London suburb a few miles from where I grew up (my father had died in 1998).

On 10 November 2003 I moved house with my mother to Barkingside in northeast London to be close to my sister and her family, and hopefully to found the Crown Road Community.


A relatively recent photo of me, taken in June 04: