Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Monday Papers

Portrait of the author as a young dog

I almost forgot to write this today as I had other things to do - but actually publishing this on Tuesday appears to be something of a Joy & Forgetfulness tradition.

Podcasts from the National Archives

The web is full of hidden riches and there are plenty of good things out there. I was directed to this by chum and all round good egg UberAlex.  The National Archives in the UK have a large number of podcasts available for download on a wide variety of subjects. You can find them here.

Of particular interest to readers of Joy & Forgetfulness are;

Anthony Beevor on Stalingrad
Ben McIntyre on Spying during the Second World War 
Ralph Thompson on The Post-Restoration Army 

Pen & Paper

I love paper and pens. My father is a calligrapher and while my penmanship will never be as good as his; I respect the craft. Professionally, the ability to make clear, readable notes has been invaluable - but I think perhaps one of the many gifts my father gave me was a appreciation of the care and attention required for the correct forming of letters.   I am in my way, a very 21st century man, I use 21st century tools and live a life that is only made possible for information technology that has cropped up in the last twenty years. That said, I compose most of my prose long hand, I keep a prayer notebook* and I write and receive letters.

Composing with a pen and paper enforces a certain discipline that doesn't come from typing on a keyboard. Much like life, you can't erase your mistakes and that brings with the necessity to stop, to think and to compose. This chap seems to agree with me. 

Try writing a letter or two. You might surprise yourself.

A Terrible Old Man

The Unlikely Douglas McKenzie in addition to being a man much given to puns, has a gift for the spoken world. He is a rather good reader and has been taking part in a project to read or create dramatic recordings of the public domain works of H.P. Lovecraft.

You can hear his recording of "Dagon" here.

*If you can achieve the syllabic balance desirable in an Anglican collect in your head, I will show you a cleverer man than I.


  1. I like pens. I like writing. I dabbled with calligraphy some years ago and it made my writing far more legible. Unfortunately the content was more akin to Corporal Trim than William Shakespeare.

    1. It appears to be the common run - my father tried to teach me copperplate many moons ago. It was not a success.

  2. It's a shame - I find that I write so infrequently these days that I get cramp in my hand from clutching the pen so hard.....

  3. PS. Having seen my handwriting (and I was called back to read aloud my final exam paper at Uni it was so illegible) my 'not writing very much' may be an unforeseen benefit of the technological age....

    1. Perhaps - I've also found that people are often deeply suspicious of the notebook as a means of record.

      A lot less vulnerable to computer crashes too.

  4. Real actual writing, there I novel. But he'll yes why not

  5. A jolly good post, young Kinch. I am enjoying these digests of yours. The Mrs and I listened to Dagon last night and found it terrifically creepy. Looking forward to the history podcasts - great find, thanks. As for handwriting, I find I write less and less each year by hand. When I go back to grad school this fall it will be interesting to see if I can still take notes w pen and paper.