Hi! I'm Dylan Harris, an Englishman with Welsh seasoning, proud to be a technogeek, born a month before Sputnik flew. You've found my 'who am I' (I'm a bit too fond of the odd geek techno-pun, like that one).

I wrote this page to answer those people who occasionally emailed me with questions such as "Are you the Dylan who buggered me and some goats during heady days of spring '24 in Ulaanbaator?", or "I once met a preacher called Dylan who convinced me of the transcendental joy of socks and rugs and rockingham---are you he?". I don't want to disappoint anyone by having to say no, so if you're searching for a "Dylan", and wonder if I'm him, check this blurb.

Anyway, dull details first: I was born in 1957, am a sartorial basket-case, and tend to have strong coffee and Marmite sandwiches for breakfast.

I'm an arts explorer, as you will discover if you take a look at my poetry, photography or music. My poetry does rather give away some of the more (and less) subtle aspects of my personality, which is why I've quoted it here.

image: Self-Portrait

Professionally, I'm a nerd, building computer software for whoever waves the biggest cheques in my face. I'm also fascinated by the sciences:

I remember
           as a child
standing on a pebble shore
watching ships
                      at sea
     the edge
             of the world.
(from Expanding Horizons)

Indeed, I would happily join America's---the world's---escapist fantasy, the Starship Enterprise, so long as I didn't have to work in Security (they're the ones who wear red shirts and get killed within the first ten minutes of a Kirk episode).

You have reached the obligatory list paragraph. Likes: real ale, wine, pubs, good food especially in Michelin-starred restaurants, science-fiction, Citroëns, current affairs, and self-conducted travel. Preferred composers and performers: Birtwhistle, Stockhausen, the Percussionists of the Hague, Xenakis (RIP), Reich, dance, Schnittke, Pãrt, Adams, and many many more besides. Ironically, despite enjoying hardcore, I detest clubs. You want another list? Alright, story tellers: Iain (M) Banks, Samuel R Delany, Vernor Vinge, William Shakespeare, I could go, on and on.

I was born within sniffing distance of six breweries and the Marmite factory, which may explain something about my subsequent taste in cuisine.

image: prose


arts & ego
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Why I'm Veggie

The Fox Inn

I remember peeking through the crack
of a half-closed door, looking down the hall,
when mother came back, crying.

Father, why did you die?
(from Angst Cycle)

My father died in 1964, when I was six. He had made some money, which my mother used for public school education for me, my brother and my sister. I attended Bedford School. I don't know, and I'll never know, whether this was the right thing, but I do strongly appreciate her effort and sacrifice. I was a difficult child. She died in the early 1990s.

I was bought up in the happy emptiness of a small village in Bedfordshire; I prefer to live in open space. Like most village kids, I wanted to try the big city, so I went to college at Thames Poly (now Greenwich University) in Woolwich. After three weeks I realised the hype of London was utterly unmet by reality, but it took me eleven trapped years of college and work to escape---completing my Computing Science course, failing to complete a postgrad, and---a small improvement---spending a few years in working and living by Runnymede under the ache of the M25.

I used to adore politics, having got very active in the Young Liberals, doing international things as International ViceChair amongst other things, and ending up being the Returning Officer. This required me to organise internal elections, be serious, and tell all the excited hothead candidates exactly what they could do, literally and metaphorically.

Come to think of it, I also lead the Young Liberal side of the merger discussions with the Young Social Democrats. 'tis a long time ago.

After silent years
the dissettled apparachiks
agitate words
conhiding true motives.
(from Scenes from a Blackpool Conference)

I ended up becoming Electoral Returning Officer for the Green Party too. However, the Green Party's personality-based infighting destroyed my enthusiasm for politics (not that the Young Liberals were any different), and I've never gone back, despite a deep hatred of the destructive nationalism infecting the UK. My most 'recent' political activity was being an official speaker of the Electoral Reform Society, and writing the occasional rant.

My name is little Willie and I lead the Tory mob,
I face the future backwards, which I do not think is odd.
To see where I am going my genetics were recast,
and now my facial features have migrated to my arse.
(from Little Willie)

I helped fund a travel business ("The Air Line"). Unfortunately, the chap who ran it day-to-day believed his own pitches, turning out to be the prospective patron saint of incompetence. I've put it down to experience---I was too trusting; next time, and I'll check someone out first to see if he's an idiot rather than find it out afterwards, if I bother with a next time (I'm currently concentrating on poetry).

image: Before Lavazza

I've been vegetarian since college days, sometime around 1980. I don't believe in causing unnecessary suffering. I will not eat meat, fish, etc., whilst alternatives are available.

Clichés have it that all vegetarians are so thin that dogs mistake them for lamp-posts, which amuses me no end since, at 18 stone, I'm actually so fat that Norwegian whalers mistake me for a commercial opportunity. Anyway, I also exhibit curly hair, brown eyes, and such a dreadful clothing sense that my mother used to alternate between being in despair and being in stitches.

Fate has cursed me with a pretty nasty heterosexuality, quite opposite to the roots of my vegetarianism. Yet this darkness is at the heart of evolution's humanity dance.

My lust, a violating fire of force,
can burn from silent calm in dark forlorn
to whims of torment striking out. A course
to deepest guilt, perhaps, but I was born
this way, and love this way, I must. That rare
courageous one, I seek, a phoenix from
the gulls, who gains her smaller death in fear
and suffered flames: we'll share our burning wrong.
(from Her Catching Eyes)

image: Apple Tree

As I'm sure a cliché somewhere goes: you're born the way you're born; you either accept it or go loopy.

I've recently accepted a low wage and percentage of the company job, so I've moved from an olden house in gentle and ancient Suffolk, and, for that matter, a large house with private gardens in loopy fenland Cambridgeshire, to a grotty little flat in Northamptonshire. It's worth the grief, but I've prefer…

no boxes alongside imprisoning streets,
no brick wall bigotry from some chattering suburb;
no metropolitan clutter, no town crowds, just distance.
                  (from Fenland Sketch 2)

Well, that's that, then. I hope you're suitably impressed? Oh.

Well, in the unlikely event you want to contact me after this little one-sided chat, you should visit my feedback page.

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