Birth to Adolesence

"It's life Jim but not as we know it" or so The Firm would have us believe. Bizarrely they weren't talking about me but some sci-fi crap from the 70's. Anyway my own life as Andrew Deegan began on 10th December 1974. To be honest the first 16 or so years are a bit of a blur which is probably best considered how dire Arsenal were for most of that time. However, I did learn a few fundamental lessons for life:

  • Don't get rusty nails stuck in your foot
  • How to fall over (this would become useful for those times when I have drunk more than a half of shandy)
  • How to spend years do nothing of any particular consequence
  • Getting the fluid from a burst blood vessel in the knee drawn off with a very, very, very big needle can be a tad painful
  • If music is the food of love then punk must be a deep fried Mars Bar at an orgy

After masterfully failing a bunch of GCSE's and eventually being managing to pass a few a year later I went back to school where I managed to fail A levels in art, classical civilizations and geography. Sometime in the middle of this I went on a week long geography field trip to Betws-y-Coed in North Wales where I met a girl from Huddersfield called Sally who was to become the bane of my life. After several months of attempting a long distance relationship I suddenly received a telephone call from her telling me she was pregnant and that she was getting married to a punk called Andy. Against my better judgement I went to the registry office wedding which was one of the most surreal days of my life thanks to Sally dying the front of her blonde hair a snot shade of green and Andy having a jet black mohawk coupled with a leather jacket with a picture of Ren & Stimpy on the back. I made it back up to Huddersfield later that summer for an insane few days involving sitting in a pub full of old school punks opposite a police station and seeing then U.K. Subs for the first time. To make matters more worse when I got back (only 3 days late) I found out that Kurt Cobain had had an interface with the wrong end of a shotgun! Such is rock n' roll.

After managing to fail my A-levels and spending a couple of months couple of months basically doing sod all that didn't involve copious amounts of alcohol, I had a brain wave at about 2am while at a club and decided to do A levels in different subjects at a 6th form college in the notorious red-light district of Kings Cross. Eventually I decided on courses in politics & government, psychology and sociology for which I got grades that shocked everyone that knew me (especially as I had been clubbing 3-4 nights a week during the whole 2 years).

The Uni Years (Part 1)

For some reason the suckers at the University of Surrey accepted me to do a BSc (Hons) Psychology. To be honest the first two years were academically boring but this was more than compensated for by some of the people I met. Among these were the No Wave posse which included Eulalia (a.k.a. Doolally), Jane, the Bazzmeister, Lawrence, Samad (later of Trayscrape fame), Jenni, Ali, Helen, Ian, Simon and Dan 'The Man' Trubridge. Highlights of the first year included people thinking I had been run over by a moped from Dominos Pizza on my birthday (sorry Ali!) and starting to DJ for No Wave (the University of Surrey's alternative music society).

(L-R: Eulalia, Ali, Lawrence, Dan, Simon, Jane, Me, Helen)

My second year at uni unfortunately failed to live up to the promise of the previous year thanks to a combination of living in the middle of nowhere (apparently on maps they have incorrectly named it as Farncombe) and lecturers trying to interrupt my social life with work (but never let it be said that I have ever allowed an essay to interfere with a 12 hour drinking session). During this time I lived with the incomparably cool Matt (later to be known as Tiger M) and a bloke named Andy (henceforth to be known as Andy the complete and utter wanker or some other suitably derogatory name) who actually managed to get sacked my McDonalds as well as leaving me and Matt to pay his council tax bill. During this year I was also Chairman of No Wave as well as unofficially being the treasurer, secretary, publicity officer and basically doing whatever it took to keep the society going. I also started doing a weekly radio show with my flatmates on the campus radio station (with a transmission range that struggled to get outside the studio) this year where I discovered my ability to fuck up a show by playing songs at the wrong speed on the wrong side or forgetting to transmit in true John Peel style.

The Uni Years (Part 2)

By September 1998 I was back in London where I was working a project assistant on a piece of research looking into the beliefs of people who hear voices. This turned out to be a remarkable year filled with remarkable levels of stress but it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life (so far). For the 12 months that I worked at Springfield Hospital in Tooting I set up databases at the beginning of the project, found people to be included in the research and eventually got to interview some of the participants. Some of the people I met during this time were among the bravest that I have had the fortune to meet and I will forever be in the debt of my supervisor, Ian Petch, who gave me the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people.

After completing an exhausting year at Springfield hospital I returned to darkest Surrey (with Playstation in tow) to face the final year of my degree. Thankfully I had done much of the work on my dissertation (The Role of Social Cognition on Beliefs About Voices) whilst I had been on my placement year. Thanks to this I was able to focus on my four core modules (developmental psychology, health & clinical psychology, neuropsychology and social psychology) and the two things I truly excel at: drinking and sleeping. However, before I knew it it was Easter again and I had my finals looming but thanks to the help of my friend Helen's notes and weeks of walking around muttering to myself I somehow managed to scrape the mark that I had been aiming for the whole time, a 2:1. But for 4 years work what did I get? A bloody piece of paper!

The CHI Years

After sitting on my increasingly rotund backside for a few months andnot gettinga single job offer despite applying for approximately 60,000 assistent psychologist posts, the suckers at the Commission for Health Improvement took pity and offered me a job (technically making me a city analyst!). Contrary to urban myth this didn't just involve me burning MP3s to CD although it was a significant part of my job. After about 18 months of being part of the big happy family known as the clincial governance analysts i managed to blag my wayy into the techie-geek Performance Team under the tutelage of ther Big H. this proved to be the beginning of my dowbfall as I learned SQL and entered the abyss of nerdom. However, this was to be the least of my concerns...

The 'Stow Years

Although i had made innumerable mates at CHI (click here to find out who was my best mate) one person was increasingly becoming the cream among the chaff - the one and only Julie S. Nolan (unfortunately I am not at liberty to comment on whethere the "S" stands for Satan). After months of meeting for drinks after work and escorting Julie home we fianlly became a fully fledged CHI coupleĀ©.