My name is Peter J Gordon. I was born in Edinburgh in 1967. I was born backwards and could, as a child, sleep standing up. I was a slow developer and used to write back-to-front. I have since lost this ability.
My life was turned around by an English teacher in my second year at Comprehensive education at Firrhill High School. Mrs Beaton saw something in me. I think this was my imagination and graft and need to be as authentic as I could be to the world I faced.
I studied Medicine in Aberdeen University, graduating MBChB in summer 1990. It was in Aberdeen that I met the girl who was to become my wife. Sian is also a doctor and has practiced as a General practitioner for twenty years now. We have two children: Andrew who was born in March 1997 under the comet Hale Bopp (which was noted for its ‘high intrinsic brightness’) and Rachel who was born in summer 2000.
In 1991 I left medicine to study Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh University. Just over two years later I graduated with distinction and with the Scottish Chapter prize. I then started specialist training in Psychiatry and became a consultant for older adults in 2002. I retired fully from Medicine on 21 January 2020.
My academic studies in both the sciences and the arts have left an indelible, yet wonderful mark, upon me. My journey between and across two cultures is the very basis of my writings and filmmaking. My website is called Hole Ousia which translates as the “whole being”. My general outlook is that science and arts are complimentary to one another and to truly progress understanding we need to acknowledge this.
I have always been interested in history: on the broad and everyday scale. I am drawn to Walter Scott’s Antiquary who was “preoccupied on every level by the relation between past and present”. I am fascinated by narrative and the passing of time that science still struggles with. My stone sculpture, The Ageing Stone, is an expression of this relationship.
My many interests include philosophy, sociology, ethics, evidence-based medicine, neuroscience, medical humanities, the history of science and medicine, narrative medicine, architecture, horticulture, ecology, design, sculpture, poetry, archaeology, local history, family history, photography and filmmaking.
As a Trustee of the William Adam house Mavisbank, that is currently ruinous, I wrote “Repeats its Love”. This book covers the history of Mavisbank and the narrative of many of its occupants, including its last 100 years as a hospital.
The other book that I have written is “Deeside tales – The stories of a small glen”. This book was the culmination of ten years research walking through the history of remotest Royal Deeside.
Both my ‘books’ are published on Lulu. I make no profit from them as this was not why I wrote them.
I have made over 800 short films and currently a number of these films are on my website Omphalos.
The philosophy generally behind the films is that they should have no immediate separation into ‘two cultures‘: science and humanities. My films inevitably reflect the experience of their maker. In this I intend to make the point that science too must remember the complexity of human life.
“It is perhaps here that the role of literature and the arts generally can have an advantage, by the author exposing poor health choices and behaviour patterns, in ways which are more powerful and effective than that of the medical teacher or professor. The writer’s imagination and expression can change things. The word can be powerful.”
Kenneth Calman (Makars and Mediciners)