How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I’ve worked here for 15 years, in various guises, and my current role is “Information Officer”. It mainly involves supporting the Director of Academic Registry and his team, but I work in some way with most of the folk in Academic Registry. It’s varied and no one day is the same; I could be putting together online content with a colleague, helping review a student case, liaising with other departments and reporting on something operational, or getting a series of information events up and running. There’s always a lot to do, and plenty more yet to be accomplished!
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I'd love to see the constituent parts of the University working together more, and in more effective ways. I think it does happen successfully to a degree, but it still feels like there's a bit of a “them-and-us” culture hanging over us all, which can be a bit of a barrier, and it would be great to get rid of that. I'd like to be part of whatever it is that helps makes that happen.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
I think it's the integrity with which people strive to do their work here. I’ve seen so many examples of people working extremely hard to get things done well, often out of hours, and a determination to achieve outcomes that are consistent and equitable.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Always be kind and considerate. While you're at university and in whatever you do afterwards. There's not enough kindness in the world, frankly. And have the courage to speak up when you see someone being treated unjustly.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an actor. I got into that world when I left university, but life in-between jobs wasn’t always easy, so I gave it up for more security.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
What people think of you isn’t as important as you think it is.
What was your first job?
Technically, my first ever paid job was drawing cartoons for a local political rag when I was about 15 or 16.
But the first proper job I was offered was working on the deli counter in a local supermarket in Norfolk. I didn’t turn up on the first day because I opted to go to a Madonna concert instead! Very naughty but totally worth it - it was a great gig.
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
I think I'd be a songwriter. My mission would be to write a Christmas classic.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I really enjoy journeying to different countries but I've never particularly had a favourite place. I thought India was incredible - lively and bursting with culture - and I’m very fond of Germany – but then I lived there when I was growing up.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
Music is important to me, so there are lots and lots of different albums I absolutely adore. But the one I always come back to is Sufjan Stevens’ “Carrie & Lowell” album. It's a poignant collection of songs that deal with difficult themes around family and death, and, in particular, the death of his mother. It struck a real chord with me when I lost my Dad. I also love The Police’s “Ghost in the Machine” (an 80s classic that makes me very nostalgic) and the electro-funk on “Break Out” by The Pointer Sisters.
When are you happiest?
Sitting round a candlelit table of food, talking rubbish with friends and my other half, makes me really happy. Equally I like to spend time exploring a new place, finding a hidden garden or secret alleyway, or just taking in the atmosphere of somewhere far away. Or I’m content just to stick on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, sit in a vintage armchair and chill out to a good piece of music.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
I’ve always thought I’d be disappointed if I met my idols, but if I had to, it would be a toss-up between Billie Holiday and Al Green. Billie Holiday, because she was a unique talent and hearing about her life would make for a long, fascinating conversation. Al Green, because he has the most incredible voice - I’d probably just ask him if he would mind serenading me instead of chatting!
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
As I’m bald, I'd love to be able to grow my hair for a day, whenever I wanted. Every so often I really miss it!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
When I was younger, my mates and I had a band called The Yippies. We entered a track I wrote for “A Song For Europe”, the British pre-selection competition for the Eurovision Song Contest. The singing and production were really bad, but the song was quite catchy and our outfits were magnificent. Needless to say, we were no Bucks Fizz and we didn’t get anywhere.