Mike resembles me in more than name. Described by one member of the fairer sex as "A great big huggy bear" (sorry, Michael!) he calls himself a "Hopeless variable star junkie". Come to think of it, most of the people I know in the astronomical world are hopeless variable star junkies.
Since coming over to Blighty a couple of years back, Mike has become something of an Anglophile, developing a liking for scones, and, for all I can remember, warm beer. We'll soon have you liking cricket and football, Mike!
For those of you who think astronomers are sometimes rather remote from real life, Mike will come as a breath of fresh air. He's as down to earth as they come.
Gary is one of the most prolific variable star observers of all time, a fact made even more surprising when you consider that he observes from light-polluted Birmingham, England's second city (in terms of size of course Gary, not prestige, and we all know that size isn't everything!)
He has been given a wide variety of awards from various bodies: The Steavenson Medal from the BAA, the AAVSO's Director's Award, and is also on the editorial board of the OEJV (Open European Journal of Variable Stars).
His site also contains some useful links to other organisations and observers, as well as numerous features on light pollution and records of clear nights from Brum. It was a pleasure to meet Gary at the BAA Alston Hall meeting in 2004 (I had already met Mike Simonsen in Hawaii in 2002).