More About the Author
I came into this world in the midst of the Second World War, appearing among the soaring academic towers of Cambridge - the last outpost of civilisation before the black-soiled, windswept fens ran their endless way up to Kings Lynn and The Wash. I grew up in the austere and reactionary spirit of post-war southern England. People felt lucky to be alive. So many had died. There were shortages. Most of our ships had been sunk and we lived under the heavy-hanging threat of nuclear annihilation. By the time I had made it to my teens Cambridge had blossomed and become prosperous and I grew up in a privileged world. I was 13 when he went off to board at Oundle School and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel burst incandescently upon the world. I began writing at Oundle and published poems and short stories in the UK, the USA and in France. I toured the UK performing with his poetry & jazz group.
My interest in film took me to the London School of Film Technique in 1965. When I left Cambridge to go to film school I moved into a flat in Cromwell Road, South Kensington - the infamous '101'. When David Gale wrote about 101 in The Independent he recalled:
"As the 60s began to generate heat, I found myself running with a fast crowd. I had moved into a flat near the Royal College of Art. I shared the flat with some close friends from Cambridge, including Syd Barrett, who was busy becoming a rock star with Pink Floyd. A few hundred yards down the street at 101 Cromwell Road, our preternaturally cool friend Nigel was running the hipster equivalent of an arty salon. Between our place and his, there passed the cream of London alternative society - poets, painters, film-makers, charlatans, activists, bores and self-styled visionaries. It was a good time for name-dropping: how could I forget the time at Nigel's when I came across Allen Ginsberg asleep on a divan with a tiny white kitten on his bare chest? And wasn't that Mick Jagger visible through the fumes? Look, there's Nigel's postcard from William Burroughs, who looks forward to meeting him when next he visits London!"
During a weekend spent in Cambridge with old friends as part of my experimental work at film school I shot the now cult-movie classic Syd Barrett's First Trip. When I joined the industry as an editor I worked for Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, on TV commercials and documentaries. The film Performance was produced from the Chelsea studios where I worked. In 1968 I was commissioned by Mick Jagger to co-write a screenplay with Christopher Gibbs (the set designer on Performance) called The Quest. Marianne Faithfull writes about this project in her biography Faithfull. Mick, Keith and Marianne were already cast and keen to make it. The script we wrote drew on Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology and romantic poetry. Donovan had been writing music for the film and was disappointed when the project stalled due to other Rolling Stones commitments. To make up for this he suggested that I produce and direct a film of him making music sailing through the islands of the Aegean Sea with a small acoustic band. The band was called Open Road and the completed 30-minute film was There is an Ocean.
I then moved to the BBC as an editor, cutting dramas and documentaries for two years. I went on to work with Pink Floyd, 10cc, Squeeze, Rainbow, Joe Cocker, Big Country, Wings, Paul Nicholas and Leo Sayer amongst others in the 70's. I concentrated on commercials and corporate videos throughout the 80s. I wrote and directed Regiment a documentary about the Royal Air Force's Infantry Regiment before I made the award-winning television documentary The Colours of Infinity, presented by Sir Arthur C. Clarke with music by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd in 1993. Colours has been broadcast thus far in over fifty territories. It brought the Mandelbrot set and the subject of fractals to the attention of the general public for the first time.
Following The Colours of Infinity I wrote, produced and directed two broadcast documentaries: Is God a Number? This film explores the mystery of consciousness and the power of mathematics in describing the universe. And Clouds Are Not Spheres - the life and work of the maverick mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot. I then made the feature film Remember a Day and recently completed Mandelbrot's World of Fractals, which I directed and presented for the National Science Foundation through Yale University.
I wrote, produced and directed he acclaimed short comedy The Mysterious Michael A in 2005: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXoJhfWcRzQ. This film has been featured at 18 film festivals and at over a dozen film clubs worldwide. I directed the documentary Brixton Beach in 2007 and a compilation of three of my science documentaries, featuring a fractal chill-out film with David Gilmour's music, was released on DVD in the same year.
My first book, Introducing Fractals was published by Icon in 2009. It traces the roots of fractal geometry and looks at the developments springing from this revolutionary new discipline from Zeno to calculus, through set theory and the maverick mathematicians who set the stage for the genius of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot. Text and graphics combine to offer the most accessible account of fractal geometry that any reader is likely to find. To quote J.A. Wheeler, protege of Niels Bohr and friend of Albert Einstein, 'No one will be considered scientifically literate tomorrow, who is not familiar with fractals.' This book is the ideal guide to that literacy. It is available in four languages and has sold over 16,000 copies.
My second book based on The Colours of Infinity was published by Springer in 2010. This book is based on the film of the same name. The contributors to the film are joined in this comprehensive survey of the fractal theory and practice by some other leading experts in the field. The book features contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, Professor Benoit Mandelbrot, Professor Michael Barnsley, Gary Flake, David Pennock, Will Rood, Professor Ian Stewart and me. The book includes an online link to the film.
In the same year I was interviewed on Conscious TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZjx-Ix9DVA.
Following the sad death of Benoit Mandelbrot, I was invited to write obituaries for The Guardian, The Independent and The Times. I also appeared on BBC Radio 4's Last Word, discussing Mandelbrot's life and work with Professor Ian Stewart of Warwick University.
Nothing and Everywhere is my first novel. Since the publication of this novel several people have expressed the view that it would make a good film and would translate very well to the big (or even the small) screen so I am now working on a screenplay version of the book. I have also started to write my second novel, Life is Just... This is not the often requested sequel to Nothing and Everywhere, but something very different indeed.