As a writer, Jack has been producing material for 21 years now. Most of his output has been web-based, academic, reference or project-based deliveries. As of 2018, Jack is developing his own voice as an author.
That voice is based on a range of experiences in life which do not speak of the ordinary. Jack has been involved with indigenous communities, been homeless, been walking long distances and travelling through landscapes and cultures. In this journey, he has used the ideas of Comparative Mythology as his compass and has navigated his way through a life of strange contradictions.
He studied at Ruskin College, Oxford and Girton College, Cambridge, he is a Churchill Fellow and he has worked with academics in Universities in the UK and beyond. Jack founded and ran the original HumanRightsTV, a project much copied by others, and in that work addressed a range of subjects in which he had the fortune to be mentored by leading experts in their fields. He has been an invited guest speaker at a conference sponsored by the United Nations in Mexico, the opening speaker at a conference in Tunisia and after speaking at the Queensland University of Technology was placed on the preferred speaker list.
However, for Jack, such things are of much smaller importance than the well-being of the people around him. Jack’s own personal happiness is to be found in his gardens, his library and in the kitchen where he cooks for his wife and his friends. In his world, life is about eating good food, being with friends and family and working at tasks you love.
Jack does not own a smartphone or television.
Timeline of Personal Mythology
This year was notable because Jack was paid £5 every Wednesday afternoon to drink a whisky for Sir Henry Moore at his home in Perry Green, Hertfordshire.
1990 Homeless in London
Jack lived on the streets of London and sofa surfing after the breakup of his marriage. He took to spending time in libraries and reading extensively about Comparative Mythology. This was the start of Jack’s engagement with the works of Joseph Campbell. After reading The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, the idea presented by Campbell on his final page that “…Mythology; and therefore civilisation…” appeared to be a statement that the human engagement with reality was powered by the ability to mythologise. Nowhere before had Jack come across a suggestion that civilisation and mythology were equivalent or even synonymous. This presented a radical departure from a traditional reading of history and inspired further investigation.
1991-1992 Madrid and Andalucia
In 1991, whilst passing the winter sleeping on the floor of a friend’s lounge, the renown Alan Hammans, Jack started writing poetry and won first prize in The Independent Newspaper poetry competition sometime in the summer of that year.!* In late 1991 Alan moved to Madrid to become an English teacher. He invited Jack to join him. Flying out to Madrid on a one-way ticket with only £50 as funds, Jack stayed at Alan’s for six months before then moving down to Andalucia. In Andalucia, he met Pierrette, Baroness Vreko,* and stayed at her villa where he started painting and a long relationship with the diminutive French diva. During the whole of this period, the reading and research into Comparative Mythology continued.
1993 Sweat Lodge with indigenous Americans near Woodstock
NYS. Having returned to England, Jack found himself in a new relationship which took him to New York for three weeks. Staying on the Lower East Side next to the area known as ‘The Projects’ he found New York extremely overbearing. Taking the first bus they could out of the coach station, he and his partner got off in the early evening at a town called Kingston. After staying the night in a Ramada Inn, the couple left the next morning and started to walk up the highway. They were picked up by a gentleman who took them into the next village which was the famous Woodstock. Neither had any idea they were anywhere near this historic site and what made it even more fascinating for Jack was that Joseph Campbell had rented a shack in the woods at Woodstock from 1929 to 1934. From that cabin, he began researching and formulating the basis for his ideas on mythology.
In the main street in Woodstock Jack and his partner began talking to an indigenous American man, a member of the Lakota tribe. This led to an invitation to join a group of young indigenous men in a house out in the woods. The original moment of entering was tense and a vigorous discussion broke out about why he had brought white people into the house. Time and calmness healed the doubts and from that situation, there came an invitation to go to the mountains and join a sweat lodge.
Sometime later they left Woodstock, returned to New York to collect bags and flew back to London.
1995 Ruskin College Oxford
Jack started the one-year residential course “Social and Economic History of 19th and 20th Century Britain”. Tutors were Raph Samuel and Hilda Kean.
1996 Girton College Cambridge
After having attained a Ruskin Diploma with a 1st and Distinction, Jack was accepted to read Sumerian at Cambridge. During the summer of the year, he worked as a porter at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson hospital in London. He worked in the theatre and pre/post-operative areas of the abortion service run by the hospital.
1997 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship
In January 1997 Jack was awarded the Churchill Fellowship to research the relationships between indigenous elders and their youth. He spent three months from November 1997 in Queensland, Australia.
1998 Ruskin College Oxford
Having left Cambridge in the summer of 1997 Jack was accepted onto the history M.A. course at Ruskin College. In order to pay his way, he took a job in a residential home for young profoundly disabled adults. In June he returned to Queensland for another 3-month research trip.
1999 Ruskin College Oxford
In May he was awarded his Post-Graduate Studies Certificate with three distinctions. He returned to Queensland in November for his last three-month research trip.
2000 Ruskin College Oxford
In May he was awarded his M.A. in Public History and Popular Memory with a 1st and a Distinction. The subject of his Masters’ Dissertation was “Bones or Remains” and investigated different cultural readings of landscape within the context of racism in the history of the indigenous people of Australia.
2001 Owl Barn Bliss Weekend
Jack was sleeping in a tent in the garden of a converted barn rented by some friends. He spent his time cooking, reading and banging all sorts of drums.
2002 A Kinda Loneliness You Don’t Forget
Living in between Oxford and Stourbridge, Jack worked on a project with young offenders and made a film about a local musician, Ben Smith.
2002 When Things Go Bad
Recovering from another bad relationship Jack spent part of his time with friends in Essex. He made a short film using computer animations.
2004 The Blues Channel
Working with old school Blues musicians in Hackney, East London, Jack made a film about their work. Deep Progressions and Eudaemonism. There was also two computer-animated films based on DJ Detail’s music. Family History Videos. The development of personal histories of families also began in this year.
The first and original HumanRightsTV was conceived and founded by Jack in September. The development of this project was partnered with Mike Smith. Jack ran and still runs the operation though in recent years it has become an archive resource.
2007 Independent Asylum Commission
HumanRightsTV was asked to cover the IAC as it constructed a quasi-judicial report on Asylum in the UK.
As a result of the IAC HumanRightsTV started covering LawWorks conferences. Attorney General Pro Bono Awards. As a result of working with LawWorks HumanRightsTV also started covering the AGPB Awards. INUK. HumanRightsTV started also working with issues around miscarriage of justice and the work of Dr Michael Naughton. Z2K Zacchaeus 2000 Trust. HumanRightsTV started working on issues of UK poverty with Z2K. Started visiting Japan and studying Japanese culture.
2009 No Place Like Home
Working with the late Professor Peter Ambrose, HumanRightsTV started producing films on issues around UK housing provision. Sold Down the River. Another HumanRightsTV film with Professor Peter Ambrose. Published article on cultural perceptions of North Africa in the Tunisian journal “Maghreb”.
2010 DOG Sculpture Installation, London
Jack was project assistant on Akane Takayama’s groundbreaking award-winning art installation, “DOG”. Made a film about the miscarriage of justice in Japan which was then a centrepiece story of the first INUK magazine.
Guest Speaker at the Public Broadcasting Conference held by the United Nations in Mexico.
Continued projects and started building a library collection of antique books.
Plenary speaker at Mythology Conference in Jendouba University, Tunisia.
Cross-Cultural Exchange programme between English and Japanese schools.
DOGTokyo2017 Art Sculpture Installation by Akane Takayama held in Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan.
Working on ‘Bones or Remains’ the third volume in the trilogy The MANual.
‘Working-class discrimination is the weed in Plato’s garden’ published in Times Higher Education