Although this site is primarily here to document the research work of me and my group, I am writing some sad personal news today which has greatly affected my recent work and serves as a very important reflection point on my career to date.
My brother Dr. Antony John Weir (Tony) died on 16th January 2023 at the age of 51. He suffered from a short illness from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, which was heavily complicated by his underlying chronic ill health from the autoimmune disease Crohn’s. A short tribute is here: https://antonyjohnweir.muchloved.com
Born in Coventry in 1971 he was the eldest of three brothers in our family and had a profound impact on the cultural education of his younger siblings, my other elder brother and me. Being more than ten years our senior he was able to bring a different perspective to life that served to enrich and inspire us with new and exciting material and gave the possibility of fresh directions two young lives which were, in the worst case scenario at least, at risk of being marooned in a dormitory suburb. He took a great interest in our academic, cultural, and recreational pursuits and served regularly as inspiration, photographer, and audience.
Tony was a Senior Technician at Coventry University in the School of Media and Performing Arts. Tributes from his friends and colleagues document an extremely active professional life facilitating and participating in projects relating to the School’s degrees. He himself (like our mum) had earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in the same School and his professional career at the University spanned almost 20 years.
Tony was a prolific writer and photographer and was rarely away from creative pursuits. His Flickr account under the pseudonym generalzorn documents the thousands of photographs he published over his life and will be kept open by our family. He had special interests in urban landscapes especially in Coventry and London, and live music.
He was creative and intellectual and despite holding down the aforementioned full time job he worked part time for ten years to obtain a PhD in drama at the University of Exeter entitled “Theatre as public discourse: a dialogic project” which he passed in 2016 with minor corrections. This is fantastic achievement, and however tempting it would be to call it a labour of love, his relationship with the PhD and with academia was much more love-hate, with an emphasis on the latter. He was a reluctant “Doctor”, particularly due to his overwhelming humility and a real reluctance to blow his own trumpet (and a barely concealed dislike of most other people who did).
Tony was there at all stages of the development of my career and took a great interest in the subject of my studies. I clearly remember his reaction when I first told him I’d chosen to go in to fields more closely related to microscopes that telescopes: “ah, I thought you were more of a big picture man!”. He was also a dedicated uncle to our two sons who gave much of his time to their entertainment and education.
Science does not happen in isolation but is done by human beings with hearts and minds and families. Thank you for reading this, and thank you to my late brother Tony who was so generous in his encouragement of my scientific pursuits however far they may take me. My regret is that I can no longer share with him any success however small or large that might come my way.