96: Christopher Greenfield


Manage episode 285485028 series 2312064
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For this week’s Nostalgia Interview it was fantastic to catch up via Zoom from Abu Dhabi with Christopher Greenfield, one of my best friends from the Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School in Cardiff.
Christopher graduated from Cardiff in 1994 with a degree in Astrophysics, taught first aid with St. John Ambulance, became a schoolteacher and was invited to Houston in 1997, where he later became the headteacher of an International Space School and got to interact with the astronauts. Christopher also did a Masters degree there and in 2012 moved to Kuwait and then during the pandemic to Abu Dhabi where he talks about there being a big thirst for knowledge about space.
Christopher’s father first got him interested in astronomy, and we learn too about Christopher’s knowledge of the singles charts (we both very much have this in common!), and Christopher talks about his ability to recall them. He also talks about the first record he bought and how he he does online pub quizzes.
We learn that Christopher’s earliest memories involve hearing Rod Stewart and Abba on the radio, and he talks about the role of the subconscious vis-à-vis what our minds can absorb.
We discover why Christopher chose to delete Facebook and he talks about what he thinks about social media and what he likes and dislikes about it, including fake news. We also learn about how his teaching has moved online due to lockdown.
Christopher discusses the possibility of humans going into space in the future as tourists with Virgin Galactic and how he thinks that there is going to be a golden age of space exploration. One day someone will go to Mars and Christopher hopes to be able to say ‘I taught that person’. He would love to experience zero gravity and go into space himself. He has been to the White House, Buckingham Palace and spoken to the UN – and if an opportunity comes up he will snatch at it.
Christopher talks about his foray into acting, including appearing in pantomime as Wishy Washy and has even appeared in a film. He never imagined at school that he would end up doing anything like this, and he reveals what it felt like to sit in the cinema and see himself on the big screen.
At the end of the interview Christopher recalls how he used to watch Spitting Image when he was young and how it was a programme which got children talking about politics in school playgrounds. He discusses how why it is sometimes best to avoid talking about religion or politics, and we learn why Christopher likes to glance back but look forward.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Christopher Greenfield and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.