First things first, you’re probably wondering about my name. Well, I was introduced to the early Tank Girl comics in Deadline in the late 1980s/early 1990s and fell in love with her energy, anarchy, and enthusiasm. Tank Green became my nickname in the late 1990s and about 17 years later, I realised that it had become my real name, so I changed it by Deed Poll in 2015. If you want to know more about my eponymous inspiration, I can only recommend the early Tank Girl comics and will trash talk the abominable movie until the cows come home.
Another element of my name and title – Dr Tank Green – which matters profoundly to me, is that it is gender neutral (and racially ambiguous). If you want to know why that is, I recommend reading Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time.
I am close to half a century old, come from a working-class background, and have lived a very unconventional life. My decision making processes and motivations are quite different from other people, and since I was blessed to be born without a maternal instinct, I have been able to trundle on through the world in my own little way. Not that it’s been easy, mind.
If I want to create a narrative (and who doesn’t?!), then I would organise my life thematically. I started with music by working in nightclubs and the music industry in London and Philadelphia from the early 1990s until 2004. It was interesting and a lot of fun: I would not change the experience for the world. But ultimately, it wasn’t for me as I am not cut throat and my emphasis was on music, whereas the reality is industry.
After that, I had a gap year fannying about in rural France practicing silence, Zen Buddhism, and gardening. Then I spent the next eleven years in and out of university, slowly working my way towards a PhD. I started off with the mistaken idea that academia was about books and learning and therefore for me. Turns out that academia is just another depressing corporate machine.
In truth, what I am is someone who doesn’t really belong. I am a peculiarly singular being. I have a wide-ranging curiosity, multiple competing passions, and the ability to do most things I set my mind to, unless it involves depth perception, in which case I’m fucked. The only person I have ever admired is Henry Miller because he lived the whole of himself, the ugly and the sublime, and wrote about it. The current theme of my life then, is to devote myself to writing as much as I can.
As well as writing, I also try to generally live a creative life. I make collages from time to time, sew clothes, weave rugs, dance around my living room, sing love songs to my cats, and garden. Luckily, I do not have the desire to unnecessarily consume unnecessary things. This means that I am able to live simply, frugally, and overwhelmingly happily. I find that there is so much to enjoy if we pay attention to what we are paying attention to.
I am passionate about nutrition, health, and fitness, especially proactive health management through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Once a physiotherapist asked me what I was training for, to which I replied: the old age Olympics, bruv. I enjoy telling people my age as it always results in flattery as most people think I am at least a decade younger than I am. My favourite flatterer was an eight year old called Martha who I met on a boat in the Turkish Aegean sea. She insisted that I looked twenty years younger than I am, so I shower her memory with delight.
I have a tendency to get really obsessed with things and currently that is microbes and fungi. My interest started when I read Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes three or four years ago, and has cycled through the whole human microbiome sphere in terms of learning about the role of microbes in nutrition, mental health, and our bodies more widely. I am currently in a microbes-in-the-garden phase which has included stealing logs and dead leaves from the local park, rolling in woodland mulch (I had to get in there before the foxies shat in it), growing mushrooms, making bokashi ‘compost’, and watching a presentation on indigenous microbes from the Single Legged Farmers Association of Sierra Leone. I admit the last one was niche; I may have reached peak microbes.
The reason you will not find me elsewhere on the web is because I’m deeply concerned by Big Data and its tracking and surveillance capabilities. I love the idea of the internet, I love technology, but I think the general public needs a better understanding of the ethics and power of Big Data and its implications for our privacy. I spent two years working in a data science research cluster in a leading UK university, so I know exactly what is done with our data. So no social media, no WhatsApp, no Google products, no none of that rubbish which leads to darkness and the end of days. I mean that not as prophecy, but as a literal fact: how much of your life have you wasted using that tech?
I think ‘let’s agree to disagree’ needs to make a come back as a paradigm. I’ve spent my whole life being different (and also contrary), so I really do not need anyone else to agree with me. You should try it. You won’t implode if no one agrees with, or likes, what you have to say, nor if you can’t find others who think like you all of the time. Life will go on. Trust me.
In general I am against: people and organisations whose words and actions are incongruent; shoes with tassels; liars, bullshitters, and blaggers; geraniums; the monarchy; men in skinny jeans; institutionalised authority; purity politics; and spiders.
In general I am for: cats; anarchy; natural light; the sea; trees; Palestine; swearing; Star Trek; hidden things; Rick and Morty; plurality; social housing; the spa; and flowers in the garden wot do smell nice.
I once had the greatest honour of interviewing Sivanandan for my PhD. He said that I was a philosopher trying to embrace the world; he also said that I was a neurotic. Both statements are superlative facts.
That’s quite enough for now. I’ve told you way more truth than you’ll ever learn about someone else from their bullshit social media account.