Many of you will recall
was the world's first bio-engineer, director of the
Division of Biological Engineering at the National Institute for
Medical Research and Clinical Research Centre of the Medical Research
Council. He founded the Institute of Bio-engineering at Brunel
University for over 30 years naming only a few of his accomplishments
but perhaps he was better known to us in Britain as the face of The
Great Egg Race
, but he was also a friend
and helped/supported a few
of my projects
over the years. I would meet Heinz twelve years
after reading this
article which recounts the time “the scientist met the showgirl
in which they discussed all manner of things from aliens to cave
paintings. I thought I would upload it on here for your viewing
LIFESTYLE AND AMBITIONS
Joanne: Do you just sit
at home and invent things or do you ever just have sex and beer?
Heinz: [smiles]: On the
whole, I never stop working, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy
myself. Drinking beer doesn't happen to be one of my hobbies,
watching telly I quite like. Most of the things I do at work I enjoy
sufficiently enough to carry them on home. Do you enjoy your work?
Joanne: Well, if it's
like this sort of job all I do is get dolled up and drink beer, and I
do that in my spare time as well.
Heinz: Yes but is it
your ultimate ambition? When I used to be on television for what,
about 30 years, I was on most weeks and had a a few series, and so a
generation grew up with me and my face. And then it suddenly stopped
in 1986 and I wasn't on any more. And I found it very, very hard to
suddenly abandoned by the media. I would have thought this would be
the same with a model, when people don't want to take your photograph
Joanne: I know that's
gonna happen. But with the money I've made I would want to be just as
well appropriated but maybe in a business form rather than physical
Heinz: So what you are
saying is that you want to make your pile and then you can choose? I
wonder, what was it like when you were 15? How did your future look
Joanne: I wanted to be
a hairdresser. I went to college for a year and then didn't want to
be one after that. What about you?
Heinz: I don't think I
ever had any doubts since I was a conscious human being that I would
have to do something with science and engineering. I always had
engineering in my blood, I was always making things. I knew it so
well that I took a biological degree at university because I felt I
knew engineering. Later on I went back to it and invented a new
discipline called bio- engineering, when I was 23 or 24.
Joanne: Chemistry was
my favourite subject at school.
Heinz: Oh really?
Joanne: Yes. Well not
the amount you love it but I did understand it. This was at GCSE
level, mind you. I had a chemistry set and messed around with the
test tubes. I bet you didn't bother reading from the text books in
your chemistry class, you probably did your own thing.
Heinz: Well yes, this
Heinz: If I may ask,
and this away from chemistry, when did you realise that you were
prettier than most?
Joanne: It wasn't at
school, I was really quiet then. I think it was when the boys started
fancying me, I thought there must be something right with me. Then I
got offered work as a model.
Heinz: I used the word
pretty in perhaps a way which is socially incorrect, one is not
supposed to distinguish people by their looks. I have never
consciously seen you before, but if you are asking me whether I'm
interested in good looking girls and fashions then I would have to
say yes. I am in fact extremely visual and I have no inhibitions
about telling women or girls that I like the look of them. I mean,
what is your job Joanne?
Joanne: Well, I would
class it more glamour than fashion.
Heinz: For me, when
looking at a well dressed, beautiful woman, for this to give me real
pleasure, without giving any sexual overtones to it, it's like
looking at a good meal, something which is well done, it;s the well
done-ness of it which gives the pleasure.
Joanne: What about an
undressed beautiful woman?
Heinz: Erm, haha,
well... haha... huruumpph.
Joanne: Like in The
Heinz: I am aware of
the Sun. They printed my obituary three years ago, which caused me a
certain amount of embarrassment. In Sun language, it was perfectly
correct. It would have been even better had I not had to take extreme
measures to convince the world that I wasn't actually dead.
ALIENS & SPIRITUALITY
something else I want to ask you. Is there such a thing as aliens and
other stuff like that?
Heinz: Well what do you
Joanne: Well I rely on
people like you to tell me.
Heinz: Now that's a cop
Joanne: Well alright, I
believe in a spiritual world. I don't believe this is all there can
be. But when you start thinking about the unknown and nothing's been
proven, then it becomes belief. Like whether God created the Earth
or whether there were dinosaurs.
Heinz: Well, God could
have created the dinosaurs as well.
Joanne: But all the
timing's wrong isn't it?
Heinz: But that's only
if you believe what the Bible says. But then scientists are always
asked, 'how is it possible for scientist to believe in God?' but the
answer is simple. Somebody must have made the rules. Straight from
the big bang to now, the rules were made up.
Heinz: Well my standard
answer for this, because I lecture about this, life elsewhere itself
may be dead common. (They drink their tea out of saucers then? - ed)
Unambitious life like bacteria and amoeba. When you come to
intelligent life like you and I. It's probably much, much rarer. I'll
ask you this, imagine you open a newspaper tomorrow morning, a
newspaper you trust, you open page three...
Joanne: And it's me.
Heinz: Oh OK, a proper
newspaper. And it says for the last three years people have been
receiving signals from space which proves without any doubt that
there's a civilisation which is at least as intelligent as we are.
Now how would this effect you?
Joanne: Well, er, I
wouldn't immediately believe that they were aliens. Id believe more
that it was coming from a spiritual world. And that's another
debatable problem, whether there is a spiritual world. We've picked
up vibrations that could be ghosts or could be radio waves coming
from a cab.
DRINK & DRUGS
Joanne: Do you ever get
Heinz: If I drink lots
of alcohol the only thing which happens is that my upper lip goes
stiff. It doesn't uninhibit me because I don't actually need
uninhibiting. But the main thing is that I don't think alcohol tastes
very nice. Out of a choice between apple juice and beer I would
choose apple juice.
Joanne: But if I took
you for a drink you would have some alcohol. So which would you have?
Heinz: Well, so not to
upset you I would choose champagne or a glass of whit whine.
Joanne: I love beer too
much. If I drink too much my legs just go.
Heinz: You see, I don't
like to loose control. I couldn't do that. I only end up with
indigestion with alcohol. I seem to be able to drink quantities of it
that other aren't able to cope with. I have often been to parties
where I have been responsible for everybody else going home.
Joanne: You should give
your brain cells a rest for a little while. Have you ever tried any
drugs from experimenting? Because I've only ever had a spliff and I
didn't like it.
Heinz: No, never. I
haven't even smoked too much either. I've no hang up about pills
though. I've taken sleeping pills for the last 30 or 40 years.
Joanne: But they just
make you unconscious don't they?
Heinz: No, no, I sleep
well and wake up as fresh as a daisy. If I don't take them, I'm tired
the next day.
Joanne: I've smoked a
joint, I've not done any of the pills, Es, acid or whatever. Joints
didn't work with the alcohol. I tried it once and it just didn't
mix. It's just that my body starts shaking and muscles start
twitching. I felt ill and I just didn't like it.
Heinz: So you don't
like loosing control?
BIONIC MEN AND BRAS
something that not a lot of people know about me but I'm actually
bionic. I have a large lump of electronics in my chest. Because I was
dead about three years ago, not for very long, but I was resuscitated
and ever since then I've got a defibrillator in my chest. So if my
heart misbehaves it gives me a huge electric shock to get it started
again. Rather like hitting a television set.
Joanne: So is there
anything you can't do?
Heinz: I don't know.
It's never gone off yet.
Do you peep when
you go through customs?
Heinz: Well, they allow
me to walk around.
Joanne: I had to go
through the law courts one time after there was a story that
Wonderbras make their detectors go off. Mine didn't go off though.
enough, the metal which is used in Wonderbras we do quite a lot of
work with for medical purposes. You see some bras have their support
made of something called 'Shape Memory Alloy'. And this has an
interesting property which enables it to memorise shapes. Is this
Joanne: Oh yes I'm
interested in bras.
Heinz: Well, I have no
views on bras.
Loaded: Would you say
both your jobs are important to life?
Joanne: [to Heinz]
Mine's probably less important than yours. You're doing things for
children, for the future. I'm just doing things for the moment.
Heinz: It isn't an open
or shut question. If people open your magazine, or the kinds of
things you do, and they're grants a moment of pleasure or happiness,
I wouldn't have said that's an insignificant contribution to human
existence. [All laugh, then Heinz to Loaded] That's an endorsement
Loaded: What would you
have been if you hadn't been a professor?
Heinz: I became a
professor quite late in life, because I would quite have likes to
have worked in an advertising agency.
Loaded: What would you
have done Jo?
Joanne: Well, I tried
my modelling while I was at college doing hotel management so it
would have been ideal to have gone into that. If it hadn't worked out
in the summer and I wasn't getting anywhere, I would probably have
gone back to hotel management. In the first year I was cleaning the
toilet and changing the beds and I thought 'I want to be a manager',
but I would have been – I know.
FASHION & STYLE
Loaded [To Heinz]: As
regards to fashion, does fashion bother you at all? I mean you've
always gone for the dicky bow...
Heinz: You mean my own
personal fashion? Or men's fashion?
Loaded: Do you take an
interest in it or does your wife...?
Heinz: Yes, well my
wife, I've been married for 43 years ad never did a moment, an
occasion, pass without saying that I couldn't have done without my
wife's support. And she's looked after me very well. She on the whole
buys my clothes. I'm a stock size so it's not difficult. Men my age
wear suits or they wear corduroy and sports jackets.
Loaded: How many bow
ties have you got?
Heinz: About 100 I
Heinz: Yes, but they
wear out you see, because my beard goes from above the top edge and I
throw them away after a time.
Loaded: Do you have a
Heinz: I suppose in the
morning I go and say 'Well what sort of tie should I wear today/'
Loaded: Does it reflect
Heinz: Up to a point it
reflects my mood. I suppose, also the colour of my shirt.
Joanne: Mine match my
knickers, ha ha. To be honest I wear the underwear for work. I don't
usually wear any the rest of the time.
Heinz: I don't believe
Joanne: No I don't, cos
I think I might need it again for work the next day and I have to
wash it again. I don't usually wear any.
Loaded: Who do you most
admire in life? We'll start with you Jo, you were saying Kathy Lloyd.
Joanne: Yes, I really
like Kathy actually.
Loaded [To Heinz] Kathy
Lloyd is another glamour model, she's a few years older. She's one of
the most famous glamour models we've had in Britain.
Joanne: I don't think
it's hard when you admire the work somebody's done and you meet them
and become their friend. It's like... you share things...
Loaded [To Heinz] What
Heinz: Obviously I met
thousands of people in a year and there are great scientists I've met
that I admire- particularly when they come to a lecture of mine. I
was very chuffed when an 83- year-old molecular biologist, a man
who's won the Nobel prize, a fellow of the Royal Society, came to one
of my lectures.
Joanne: I think you
admire people for different reasons. I admire Madonna for her
boldness and her ability to express herself. I admire David Seaman
for saving goals and for being the gentleman that he is. I admire
Mother Theresa. You admire different people for different reasons. I
admire Kathy for keeping with it all the time.
LOVE AND ROMANCE
Loaded [To Heinz]: The
other thing I was going to ask was about love and when you first met
your wife, what wooing was involved then?
Heinz: Remember this
was 40 years ago things were a lot more sedate in those days.
Loaded: There was lots
more wooing I'd imagine as well.
Heinz: Yes, oh yes. My
wife and I met...
Loaded: What attracted
you to her?
Heinz: That she was a
beautiful woman. In those days, nurse's uniforms were exceedingly
Joanne: They still are
Heinz: With a bow under
the chin and a starched caps and those lovely cloaks which were red
on the inside and blue on the outside. That I suppose drew my
attention in the first instance. We went out together and in a good
old- fashioned way got to love one another. It all happened in Wales,
at this particular hospital in Wales where she was working. Courting
habits then were quite different. Loaded: Do you remember where you
were for the first kiss?
Heinz: Yes, I remember.
I could take you to the spot. It was in a town called Caernarfon, and
there's a park. I think we'd been to a dance hall or a restaurant and
that day in the park I plucked up the courage for the first time.
Joanne: It sounds so
much more romantic. I mean, it wouldn't even be a kiss now, it'd be a
snog and a one night stand. It's so unromantic.
Loaded: What are the
next jobs that you're doing? The reason I ask is that Joanne's got an
interesting job to do this week. Tell us what it is.
Joanne: I'm speaking at
the Oxford Union...
Loaded [To Heinz]: Have
you got any advice fr her?
Heinz: What is the
motion? What are you speaking about?
Joanne: They've invited
me to speak about myself...
Heinz: I see, so it's
not a debate.
Joanne: I imagine the
ladies there are going to make it quite difficult... they'll all go
Loaded: It's the
subject of Jo's life.
Heinz: That's right.
Because what normally happens at Oxford Union is that there a motion
that 'This house deplores beautiful women getting more money than
ugly women' or something like that- you could have been speaking on
that. It's very unusual I would have thought, I mean it's quite an
honour to be doing it.
Joanne: That's why I'm
doing it. I'm excited but I'm really nervous because I've got to do a
15 minute speech and then question and answers after that because I'm
on there for an hour.
Heinz: Really! Have you
made up your mind what you're going to say?
Joanne: I don't want to
cover all the answers to their questions in the first 15 minutes, so
it's just 'Hello, thank you for inviting me' and do the history of
the pin-up, which is something like 'The pin-up has been around since
Heinz: Yes, I suppose
pornographic pictures are a form of pin-up. I think the pin-up is
really a product of the First World War. I think before that because
of the effect religion on population, it would have been very
Joanne: Cavemen, they
had naked drawings of women on their walls...
Heinz: They were
probably not pin-ups. They were for fertility.
DESERT ISLAND PANTS
Loaded: The last
question I was going to ask and then you can escape back to your
laboratory- is if the pair of you were stuck on a desert island- it's
a hypothetical question- and you've got meals and all that, who would
do what to survive?
Heinz: To whom are you
putting this question?
Loaded: To both of you,
you've got to fend for yourself, you've got to survive...
Heinz: I would kid
myself that because, I've read books about it I would probably be
better at making myself a flint axe or finding a sharp edged
sea-shell or something like that than Joanne would.
Joanne: If I was going
on a bat or a plane I'd have a pair of white knickers in me bag case.
I'd tie them to the top of a stick and wave it. Just sit there and
wave me knickers!
Loaded: Thank you both.
Story by Pete Stanton
and story photos by Derek Ridgers
© Arfon Jones 2020.
All images are copyrighted throughout the world.