Hobbies & Interests
The Computer Channel aka dot.tv (BSkyB) 1995; Oxford Internet Institute 1999-2000; All Party Parliamentary Internet Group 1997-2010 (Chairman); Parliament & Industry Annual Conference 2007 (now in its sixth year) & A Digital Day for the Nation 2007 (now a week in October, 2012)
Four national awards 2006-2008
In top 50 internet visionaries; first politician in the world to have his own App in 2009.
Work in Progress:
An Internet Policy Institute
Reading & Writing
A former publisher (non-fiction) with Allen & Unwin, William Heinemann and Virgin, I try and read a book every 8-10 days; I enjoy anything on China, Japan, Africa, the Middle East, India, USA and Italy; Computing History and ICT Businesses; Media & New Media; Politics, Current Affairs and Jazz.
I started out as a freelance with The Times and The Observer in 1981-84; I have written sporadically for most of the quality nationals and more recently for the FT and The Times. I seem to have managed to have had a number of books published. My first was Wisecracks From The Movies in 1987 and I have edited, authored or co-authored another seven (all on rugby).
I love all kinds of music but if I had a preference it would be for Jazz (I am a member at Ronnie Scott's) and Blues. This year I have seen Booker T, Claire Martin, Georgie Fame, Chicago (the musical), Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess" by the Cape Town Opera, TipiTina, Nina Simone's Songbook, James Pearson (the best jazz pianist in Europe) and I have tickets for Van Morrison and Don McLean.
Art & Architecture
I will drive or travel a long way to see a work of art or a building as my daughter can testify when we drove across northern France in 2005 to see Le Corbusier's extraordinary chapel at Ronchamp and then a few weeks later stayed in his Unite d'habitation in Marseilles.
In July, 2012 I stayed at Frank Gehry's magnificent hotel at Elciego, 90 miles south of his other creation in Bilbao (Guggenheim). I am a bit of a Gehry fan having attended the opening of his concert hall in Chicago and then flown onto to see his Walt Disney concert hall in LA.
I have a small collection of art which includes photographs and cartoons. I am member of the V&A, the Tate, the NPG & the RA.
St Luke's College Students' Union (1970-71); Labour Borough Councillor
, Archway Ward, Haringey BC (1994-95) and Labour MP
) for Sittingbourne & Sheppey (1997-2010); PPS
in both the DCMS and FCO.
I was brought up in Lagos, Nigeria (1950-53) and Hong Kong (1955-58). We flew to Nigeria which took a couple of days as we had to stop for refills. We went out to HK on SS Chusan, a P&O liner, which took four weeks and came back on the TS Oxfordshire. We stopped off at Gibraltar, Cyprus, Port Said (just before the Suez Canal closed), Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Penang and Singapore.
Rugby re-kindled my love affair for travelling and I have played, coached, managed or watched in Paris (inc. RWC 2007), Brussels, Avignon, Rouen, Orleans, Treviso, Rome, Amsterdam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff; Perth, Sydney (inc. RWC 2003), Brisbane & Townsville; Auckland & Wellington; Cape Town, Joburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth & Durban (inc. RWC 1995); Hong Kong; Boston, Portland (Maine), Toronto, & Waterloo; San Francisco, San Jose, Sacremento & Lake Tahoe; Miami & St. Petersburg; Tulsa, St. Louis, Kansas & New Orleans: Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo; Buenos Aires, Cordoba & La Plata; Moscow & Tbilisi (Georgia), Hanover, Catania (Sicily) & Dubai.
My family also caught the bug and we have had holidays and/or short breaks in Vancouver, Nanaimo & Whistler; Davos (x3); Cape Town & Joburg; Mauritius; Seattle, Portand, Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Jose & Santa Cruz; Washington, DC, NY, Newport, Boston & Cape Cod; Siena (x3); Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Rome & Venice; Madrid (x2), Barcelona (x2), Granada and Seville; Albufeira; Rovinj (Croatia); Paris, Marseilles, Monaco & Lyon; Budapest: Prague; Hamburg; Nairobi, Mombasa & Malindi (Kenya); Fes; Tarodant, Eassaoira, Oualidia, Marrakesh & Agadir(Morocco); Venezuela
Working in Publishing, Media and New Media has meant visits to Frankfurt; Paris; Rome; Gstaad & Lausanne (x2); LA, San Diego, Carlsbad, La Jolla & Tijuana; San Francisco (x10), Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood, Cupertino (x3), Seattle (x3), Washington, DC (x8) & NY (x5); Mumbai and New Delhi; Cairo; Perth (Oz); Trinidad; Tokyo; Seoul; Stockholm; San Sebastian; Toronto & Waterloo;
I have also visited:
Sri Lanka, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Malawi, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya
USA - Harvard University; Berkeley and Stanford; LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, NY; Canada - Ottowa, Toronto & Waterloo; Vancouver; Ecuador and Argentina
UAE & Saudi Arabia: Jordan, Palestine, Jerusalem, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon; Bahrain; Qatar; Tunisia;
Far East & Australia:
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia & Australia, HK, China, Tapei, Tibet
Greece, Belgium; Turkey; Austria; France; Slovenia; Czech Republic; Portugal; Spain; Denmark
I won four study scholarships to (i) Mozambique, Tanzania & Zambia; (ii) Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai; (iii) Shanghai and (iv) Mumbai and Chennai
Women's Sports Foundation (UK) 1984 & Parliamentary Sports Fellowship Scheme 2004
UNO Commendation 1987 for stopping British Lions Tour to South Africa in 1985
All Party Parliamentary Rugby Group 1997-2010 (now Life President); All Party Parliamentary London Olympic & Paralympic 2012 Group 2005-2010
ERIC, Richmond FC, Bath FCFP, Bedford Blues FP, OURFC (Trustee) & Penguins International (Board) - all rugby; Charlton Athletic FC (very small shareholder)
Colchester (1967-68), St. Luke's College (1968-70), Chichester (1971-71), Ipswich (1972-73), Bedford (1993-78), Bath (1978-82), Oxford University (1981), Sussex (1973), Eastern Counties (1973-80); London Counties (1974-80); Barbarians (1979; 1980), England tour to Australia (1975), England (1976) England (1977 v USA caps not awarded), Penguins Tours to USSR (1977), Argentina (1980) and Brazil (1984), Richmond Heavies (1984-5) & Parliament XV
Bath University (1978-81), Richmond 1st XV (1986-87)
The Army RFU (Editor), Ashford RFC, Rugby DisUnion, Rugby Revolution (with Colin Herridge), International Rugby Almanack (Editor: 1994 and again in 1995), Rugby 2011 (with Colin Herridge)
The Times. The Observer, Sunday Correspondent, The Guardian & the FT; Rugby World columnist
Bedford 1974-78 - leading try scorer 145 in 152 matches; 686 points in all includes 22 conversions, 4 penalties and three drop goals; scored 6 tries in one match; five tries x 3; four tries x 5 and three tries x 17; Bath 1978-82 - equalled club try scoring record in 1978-79 and 1979-80 (29 tries); scored 4 tries for England v USA (1977) still a record!
Ranked No.1 UK long jumper at Youth (1966) and Junior (1968); placed 2nd and 3rd in All England and winner of Southern Counties AAA (1968) and Essex AA (1966-1968); Represented Essex AAA in British Games 1969
Colchester RGS - Captain 1st XV (1967) and Athletics (1968); Senior colours: Rugby, Hockey, Tennis & Athletics; House colours: Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Rugby, Tennis & Swimming