I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

A secular/humanist funeral playlist: songs about death or the joy of life

I was thinking the other day about the music I might like to have played at my funeral, as you do. I might be cremated, buried in an eco-friendly coffin or, like the recently passed away genius author Iain Banks, have some of my ashes fired up in a rocket. Whatever happens to my remains, the ceremony will most certainly be a secular humanist one.

As I was walking around the supermarket this morning I tried to think of all the songs I knew about death or celebrating life that had a strongly secular/humanist vibe. They’re plucked from memory so it’s a pretty eclectic collection, and there's a mix of songs that represent both the deceased and those left behind.

You might feel that the songs are not be totally appropriate for the occasion, but they befit my tastes and sense of humour, and the joy of a humanist ceremony is that it can be almost exactly how you want it. Neither my wife nor I have ever really worried about ceremonial convention too much: Exactly four years ago this coming Thursday we played this as the exit music to our humanist wedding.

When I asked my wife what she might like, to my horror she chose James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover. She managed to redeem herself (somewhat) and stop me reaching for the divorce papers by also suggesting Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

The songs are listed in no particular order, although the ones that come first are the ones are the ones that came to mind easiest and therefore probably mean the most to me. A good godless rock song escapes me, though I am sure there are many out there, so any suggestions are welcome.

The links to each song are to lyrics.com

The Flaming Lips: Do You Realize?

Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World

Samuel Barber: Adaggio for strings

Radiohead: Videotape

Eric Idle: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (from Monty Python’s Life of Brian)

Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli: Time to Say Goodbye (English translation)

The Beatles: In My Life

The Beatles: Across the Universe

Simon and Garfunkel: Sound of Silence

Dennis Wilson: Thoughts Of You

More songs for a secular/humanist funeral playlist

Round-up of recent random tweets about interesting things