Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A tour of the blogosphere

Yvonne from Nemeton has nominated me for this I Love Your Blog award. I gather that I should link back to her and also nominate some blogs that I enjoy.

The idea seems to be that I should nominate further blogs and link to them, and let the authors know I have done so. I think I'm supposed to nominate at least seven.

I've decided not to nominate Nemeton back, simply because it was the source of this nomination. However, I recommend readers to read the blog and learn more about all sorts of things, including science, literature,. peace and paganism.

When I started blogging, on the assumption that no-one would read what I wrote, I took fencing as my subject. After a while, I found other fencing blogs.

The first of these was Elizabeth McClung's Screw Bronze! - I loved her determination and humour. She was doing much better at fencing than I was and, as I read, she published her novel, Zed. Beth wrote about all sorts of other subjects too. I learnt about her spouse, Linda, about her childhood in a strict fundamentalist sect, and a great deal about manga, anime and Japan. Since I started reading, Beth fenced in the Canadian nationals and was improving at a startling rate. Then she became seriously ill. Now in a wheelchair she takes on the routine abuse of people with disabilities and faces her own death with even greater courage and determination thnt she once showed as a fencer. Her honesty about her pain and her emotions is startling. She also shows great generosity in her concern for others.

Beth recommended I read a blog by another older fencer who calls himself The Gray Epee. Jim, the author, is based in North Carolina, and his blog is probably only of interest to fencers. But fencers will find his account of club fencing and tournaments in his part of the United States fascinating. There are also occasional insights into his tastes in music and references to his wife and children, whom he plainly loves.

Two of the blogs I'm nominating are what I think of as "public blogs". Of course, all blogs are public but these two have a profile beyond the blogosphere.

The first is Craig Murray's blog, to which I've already linked in the past. For those of you who don't know who he is, Craig Murray is the former ambassador to Uzbekistan who lost his job because he spoke out against torture. I don't share all his perspectives - I like experimental literature which I suspect he detests and am probably to the left of him on economics. However, at its best (and his blog is frequently at its best) he manages to combine information on a range of subjects with anger and humour. (I recommend Craig Murray's book, Murder in Samarkand, as well.)

I'm also an avid reader of Mary Beard's blog for The Times. Mary Beard is a classics don at Cambridge who writes excellently and clearly on all sorts of subjects, but I'm happiest when she writes on Roman life and Latin literature. Sometimes she almost persuades me to prefer Romans to Greeks but she'll never quite manage it - I love the Greek language, especially the prose of Plato and the poetry of Sappho and Callimachus. I was forced to study Latin, though I grew to enjoy it at A-level, but the two 6th-form years in which I studied Greek - from scratch to A-level - were filled with intellectual excitement and I value the D I gained for Greek more than the A for Latin.

Sheenagh Pugh's blog, Good God! There's writing on both sides of that paper! is one that deserves to be better known. It takes in nmumerous areas, most of which I enjoy. Recently I've seen her pictures of the Shetlands (a recurring theme), read her thoughts on poetry in translation and discovered a Georges Brassens song I hadn't known before. Sheenagh Pugh is also a fine poet - and I recommend her novels too.

Another poet's blog is written by David Morley and hosted by Warwick University where he's Professor of Creative Writing. The blog includes lots of poetry, by David and others, and thoughts about poetry. I'd also like to mention his recent posts on the treatment of the Roma in Italy. If you visit his blog, please read these and consider signing the petition on the subject.

I also read Alan Baker's occasional blog, Litterbug, for its thoughts on poetry and literature. I wish I had time to follow up all the writers recommended there. It has particularly good comments.

The blog kllrichrd is also one with occasional posts. I first found it when there was a post about W.H. Auden, and realised that it was written from the perspective of someone who knew the Northern landscapes Auden loved. I particularly like the posts about gardening (which is a mystery to me), about working-class life and culture, about learning Chinese and world music. And there are also posts - sometimes with photos - about Northumberland. I hear Morpeth was badly flooded and the library seriously damaged. I can't fully express my concern for the people and their books.

Sometimes there are long gaps between posts on calm, almost too calm but the posts are always worth reading. The author had the terrifying experience of being arrested in the underground shortly after the Menenez shooting. He'd made the mistake of travelling equipped with a back-pack and mobile phone. Fortunately he lived to blog about it and to challenge the police's actions. His blog on civil liberties issues is well worth reading. The blog's marvellous title comes from the police notes on his behaviour on the day of his arrest.

Finally, I can't resist commending my brother's newish blog, Risky Thinking. It's related to his work on risk analysis and business continuity but don't let that put you off. It's clearly written and well thought through and makes me think about the ways in which I probably should organise my life better, particularly were I to set up in business on my own. I wish Mike would turn one or more of the scenarios into a thriller - he ought to be a writer - but I fear he hasn't the time, what with work and family. So I make do with his blog.

I would have liked to recommend Kate's Blog, but Kate has, sadly, stopped blogging. You can find occasional cached posts through google, but nowhere near enough. I regret Kate's departure from the blogosphere.


nadira said...


Why do you think I detest experimental literature? I might do, but I am not sure I have ever seen any!

Kathz said...

I take it that's Craig responding from Nadira's account. I think you have made comments on Salman Rushdie (not my favourite author but one I take seriously) and also on the dance of Akram Khan which suggest that perspective. I should like to amend that comment for greater accuracy, but it seems fairer to leave it inaccurate, with my apology and explanation.

Litterbug said...


Thanks for this - I'll have a read of the blogs on your list, and nominate some on mine (tho my list will probably be less varied than yrs).


David Mery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Mery said...


Many thanks for these kind words. Much appreciated.

(A long time ago in Paris, I did practise foil for several years. Haven't fenced since.)

br -d

Kathz said...

Alan, I'm looking forward to your list.

David, I'm ever so impressed by that you fenced foil in Paris. I may prefer epee but I recognize the skill in foil. And there's something wonderful about the whole idea of fencing in Paris.