A Very Palpable Hit: the State of Maritime Historical Research Conference 2017

Greenwich, 0900, Saturday 9 September: will anybody actually come? will the speakers be any good? will the technology work? is this, the first conference that the Society for Nautical Research has ever staged under its own auspices, going to be a success? Greenwich, 1745, Saturday 9 September: yes, they did; yes, they were; yes, it […]

Dead Admirals Society Goes Rogue: Nelson Must What?

I wasn’t going to get involved in the whole ‘Nelson Must Fall’ thing, which seems to me to be no more than a blatant piece of historically illiterate attention seeking by somebody clinging to the coattails of the ‘Confederate statues’ controversy across the pond: and anyway, my old chum Andrew Lambert has demolished this particular […]

Welcome to Llareggubshire County Record Office

[With apologies to Dylan Thomas – I owe you a drink in the Pearly Gates Tavern, my friend.] The silly season, so time for a silly blog… The subject of record offices has cropped up here many times, most notably in the case of the byzantine saga of Carmarthenshire’s archives, and most recently in the […]

Authentic Headless Women Revisited, Now With Extra Tortured Cats

The middle of August, so lots going on, almost none of it seriously work-related – lawns to mow, places to visit, etc. As an ex-teacher of many years’ drudgery service, I still have the mindset that August is pretty sacrosanct, even though that imperative doesn’t really work for writers. Even so, I suspect that many […]

How Not to Write a Tudor Novel

A few months ago, I announced my exciting new project – three linked naval fiction stories, set in the Tudor period, which will eventually combine together to be published as one ‘traditional’ book by the splendid new imprint, Endeavour Ink. Since then, in addition to finishing off other projects, I’ve slowly been getting my research […]

UPDATE – The Battle of Northampton; or, Are You Carmarthenshire in Disguise?

This afternoon, Friday 4 August, Northamptonshire County Council has announced that, in the short term at least, it’s backing down over the woefully misconceived and crassly announced scheme described in my post below. You can find a link to the full statement, and some clarifying remarks, here. While this is clearly welcome, the long term […]

It’s Yer Actual Orfenticity, Innit

Last week, I went to see Dunkirk, which has been getting pretty much unanimous rave reviews from film critics worldwide. And I have to say I agree with them – this is one of the best war films I’ve seen (and I’ve seen rather a lot), totally gripping from beginning to end, and very unusual in […]

The Return of Ranty McRantface

[Note: those not interested in naval stuff, or in a good old-fashioned rant, can look away now, watch repeats of The West Wing or Jeremy Kyle on daytime TV, and come back next week instead. On the other hand, if you’re not interested in naval stuff or good old-fashioned rants, what the heck are you doing here […]

Maritime Historians, Assemble! (No Hulks)

Back in March, I flagged the call for papers for the first conference to be organised under the direct auspices of the Society for Nautical Research, which has traditionally only provided financial support for conferences organised by others. Organised jointly with the Greenwich Maritime Centre, this will be held at the Old Royal Naval College, […]

Books. Beer. What’s Not to Like?

It is a truth not universally acknowledged that Jane Austen brewed her own beer, so I have absolutely no doubt that, as she looks down upon all the events marking the bicentenary of her death, the great author would thoroughly approve of Open Book, the first ever literary festival in Hitchin. The strapline, ‘Books, Beer and […]