A podcast for people who like the unexpected. Join the surgeon and academic Professor Roger Kneebone in conversation with unorthodox people whose careers defy traditional boundaries and who swim against the tide.
With grateful thanks to Justin Margovan for technical support.
Many of the people in Countercurrent feature in my book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery (Penguin Viking, 2020).
Available to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn.
AJ West’s career has been varied and at times controversial, and his interests are diverse. In addition to fifteen years as a television journalist and news presenter, he has participated in Big Brother and become a writer. His first novel The Spirit Engineer was published in 2021 and won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Robert Peake is Senior Associate at Next Action Associates. He studied at UC Berkeley in California, where he gained a degree in English Literature and taught programming languages. His interests and talents cross many boundaries, and during the Covid pandemic he made a ukelele. https://www.next-action.co.uk/team/robert-peake/LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Ian Shircore combines a career writing books under his own name with his work as a ghost writer for others. After discussing his recent book about the decades-long songwriting partnership of Clive James and Pete Atkin and another about Clive James’s poetry, we explore the world of ghost writing. Ian outlines how he uses his writing skills to capture the authentic voices of people who are not comfortable with the process of creating a book from scratch.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Paul Craddock’s 2021 book Spare Parts: A Surprising History of Transplants brings together his interests in cultural history, writing and engagement. In this podcast we discuss how he came to write the book and talk about the ideas within it. We look back at our collaborations over many years and explore how our ideas have shaped one another’s thinking.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Simon Akam is a British writer and journalist who studied journalism in New York before working all over West Africa as a freelance correspondent. He writes for the Economist’s 1843 magazine and other publications. His 2021 book The Changing of the Guard, telling the inside story of the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, has proved highly controversial. In this conversation we explore what it means to be a journalist and a non-fiction writer.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Dave Gibbons is best known for the iconic Watchmen, which he wrote with Alan Moore and John Higgins. His recent book How Comics Work, written with Tim Pilcher, explains the complex processes of design and development, with many examples of his own work. In this extended conversation we explore the world of comics and graphic novels and discuss points of connection between our interests and experience.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Luke Blair began his career as a newspaper journalist for the Reading Chronicle. He then became a lobby journalist and political correspondent before moving into communications for many public and private sector organisations. In his current role at Imperial College London he bridges the worlds of education, research and external relationships. In this conversation we explore how we understand the term ‘communication’ in our different professional worlds.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Andy McKillop was an editor and publisher for many years, becoming Publishing Director at Random House and reading up to 40 books every week. In 2003 he suffered a stroke which radically affected his speech and language. Unable to continue in his former role, he underwent a long period of speech therapy during his recovery. He then changed direction, retrained as a gardener and developed a new career. Since then he has changed direction again, focusing on drawing and painting. In this conversation we explore his experience of moving from a world dominated by words to a life built on different ways of seeing, thinking and doing.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Nicholas Cooper is well known for his books The Opulent eye: Late Victorian and Edwardian Taste in Interior Design and Houses of the Gentry 1480-1680 and for his extensive practical and theoretical knowledge of architecture and history. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels between architectural history and medicine.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Alison Joseph is the author of the Sister Agnes series of crime novels featuring a detective nun. In this podcast we discuss how Alison’s background as a philosopher, a documentary film maker and a writer of radio plays has shaped her career as a successful novelist. We explore her fascination with particle physics and discuss how conversations with experts from diverse fields can bring unexpected insights.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Sam Cooper writes speeches for leading figures in the Corporation of London and other institutions. Building on his understanding of language and metaphor and his PhD in English, he crafts speeches that recreate the rhythms and nuances of a speaker so they sound entirely natural - a form of bespoke. We discuss the challenges of writing when there are ‘many hands on the pen’ and the need to combine creativity, diplomacy and technical mastery in a under-recognised area of expertise.LISTEN ON LIBSYN
Malcolm Love’s career has included being a Baptist minister in London’s Battersea, a freelance journalist in Nicaragua and El Salvador, a producer and presenter for the BBC, a leading science communicator and a mentor and coach in the changing landscape of public engagement. In this conversation we explore how our varied paths intersect, and discuss our shared fascination with making connections.LISTEN ON LIBSYN