I had cuts to my nose and my glasses were bent. When I twisted my nose it clicked. I washed my face in the sink in my room and called an ambulance. At first I had to argue the difference between and assault and a fight but they agreed to come and fifteen minutes or so later I was in the back of an ambulance. I got talking to the ambulance man and he told me he was the branch secretary of the union at the Royal United Hospital which I have come to know a lot better.

While there I made a complaint to the police. They did not give me a brain scan and could do nothing for my nose so I was sent home without any warnings about head injuries or anything else. Come Monday I caught the bus up to campus and got my first hint of what was in store when Professor Tony Miles walked out of his office in an exit timed with my arrival. How? Well, there was a mystery….

I was as angry as fuck by the assault as I called it. I knew it was political and set up. I knew it. What I didn’t know was who or why and it has puzzled me many years. But I knew from my Wits years it was right wing.

The next day I called Madeleine Innerd who was back in town from her time at University in Dartington, for some sympathy and she came over, but she wasn’t much help. I knew it was politically motivated but I determined I would not show the injury and march on up to the University on the Monday undeterred. I had played rugby at school, I could take it.

Other eminent graduates from Dartington College are the actress Dawn French and Josie Lawrence, wife of comedian Paul Merton, of “Have I got news for you!”

This is important for what is to follow. Television is a very powerful medium and I have enemies I believe now, sort of, believe it or not! What!

I started my Ph.D. on the run. I was attached to a new research group at the University called “The Centre for Biomimetic and Natural Technologies” with Julian Vincent head honcho and Stuart Reynolds the second in command. Adrian Bowyer, a computer whizz was in the group too as were others: Anya Pahl from Australia, Matt Liston, a student from Reading who came with Vincent the Bognatyrevs from Russia and a few others.

I was told on interview that my Ph.D. had been started by another, a biologist, who had left and I received his notes that were scant. Bowyer had been my Masters supervisor where I submitted a thesis on the three dimensional shape acquisition of shapes using stereo-lithography from the still images of an object being rotated on a turntable. Where I had left off I continued and inside three months I had my first data, an image of an arctium minus hook I had collected from down by the river here in Bath. I was told that “burdock” as it is called was the inspiration of George de Mestral’s velcro and so it seemed a good place to start.

I scanned the academic databases for papers and found only 18 that were relevant. Biomimetics was a new science and research was scant. I gave a presentation to the group including one Alex Parfitt who was leaving to go to Quinetiq which he said Julian had to him to go to and I included my image from the University confocal microscope which is normally used for neuroscience. Quinetiq is the commercial firm that specialises in military research and development in the U.K.

The project proposal originated from Dr Andrew Parker then of Oxford and had the title: “The Functional Ecology and Mechanical Properties of Hooks in Nature” which was one hell of a handle to get to grips with. That is all I got with regards to guidance. The rest as it transpired was up to me. I went to Oxford to visit him and Abigail Ingram, his student on the same topic and I shared my results with them.

It went well for nine months or so though I had a vague feeling that there was something going on that I was not privy to. There was something in the air with Patrick Keogh, the post-graduate tutor and it related to the Twin Towers event and I did not know why. I had seen the towers go down while on my industrial placement on my computer in my office and that was not cool.

Still I carried on but something about Vincent made me change supervisors to Adrian Bowyer, because he was so disdainful, to the point of giving me a book on A-level english. Then I noticed something else.

Just prior to my finishing my Masters I had been sitting in the Bell having a few pints, chatting to a couple of young female students who I had just met and I have never seen again to my knowledge. We were talking about South Africa and I was talking about the Aids epidemic there. And I said vehemently: “It’s genocide by apathy!”

A couple of days later I was reading the Times when I saw my words come back at me, this tine with a different attribution. I felt unease. It was Prince Harry. Little did I know it I was under Royal observation of two kinds, pro and con. Princess Kate, daughter of a rich brewer, had her eye on me as a possible alternative to Prince William and had let him know, hence the persecution by Harry, he of the Rommel uniform, the work of art that he is.

To be continued


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