So, Edwin of Thoughts of a Depressive Diplomatist has nominated this blog for a Liebster Award.
Many thanks to him for the kind thought. What is a Liebster Award, you ask? I will let Edwin explain:
The Liebster Awards are a purely nominal award in which bloggers recognise their peers. In that in turn it asks the recipient to make nominations, it is a little like a chain letter. Given that it doesn’t have any of the dodgy moral pressures or other drawbacks of chain letters, and that the aim (to introduce readers to new blogs) is a worthy one, I’m more than happy to accept it and pass it on.
Over time the ‘rules’ of the award have evolved – some variants and supposedly ‘official rules’ can be found here. It the true spirit of the blogosphere, I’m going to pick and choose the elements that appeal to me.
I now have to answer some questions posed by Edwin and then nominate some other blogs and add some questions of my own. I’m going to do the questions in this post, have a think for a bit about the blogs and do another post later for them. I don’t know if it has to be wargaming blogs — I don’t really follow that many and the ones I do follow are the ones everyone knows about or have already been nominated. However, just for the sake of anyone who came here from Edwin I promise I’ll have a post about wargaming in the near future!
Anyway, here are Edwin’s questions, with my answers.
How would you describe your blog?
The Gonzo History Project is a place where I write about odd parts of history, particularly those that haven’t risen to the level of full-blown obsessions. Although I might write about anything, I tend to write about history’s shady characters, strange events, ridiculous fashions — all that sort of thing — or else about the aspects of history the discipline that I find compellingly weird or disreputable. A lot of it is about the ways in which we interpret the past rather than the past as thing-in-itself.
Why did you start blogging?
I actually started the GHP back in like 1999 as a zine, of all things — I wrote about three of them before giving up. I revived the blog mainly because I write for my day job, but I seldom get to write things that I really find enjoyable or interesting. I felt like that part of my brain was getting a little bit rusty, so I decided to give myself a project to write on regularly. I maintained nearly a post a day for a couple of months, but I found the pressure getting to me, so now I just post as and when. It seems to work OK for me.
How do you relax (if it’s not blogging)?
Pretty much what you’d expect –reading, RPGs, painting miniatures, generally goofing around. I maintain a blog about gaming in addition to this one. I’m also a fan of terrible movies, which I, you guessed it, blog about together with some friends. I really enjoy poking about used bookstores, charity shops, car boot sales and so on to find books, games, figures and so on — this kind of bargain-hunting is a hobby I share with my wife. I make weird little craft projects sometimes. I believe in amateurism in a big way.
What is your favorite holiday destination?
Hard to say. My family and my wife’s family live in the US, so most big holidays are really trips back to California to visit them. When I travel, I’m definitely an architecture-and-museums guy rather than a beaches-and-scenery guy. I should travel more; a few years of being stony broke got me out of the habit and I haven’t got back into it.
Who inspires/has inspired you the most?
I don’t know! I tend not to have single role models or things that inspire me; like with everything else, I’m this magpie, taking bits and pieces of everything and patching them together. I’m inspired by obsessives like Eric Shanower, who really take the time to do a thing and do it right, even though I’m not one of them. I really admire people who work in jobs that should be hack jobs but who bring weird energy and creativity to them, like Jack Kirby. I admire people who speak well and humorously about interesting subjects — Helen Keen, for instance, Larry Gonick. I have writing inspirations — Ellroy, Wolfe, O’Brian, people like that. Even Alfred Duggan! I have archaeologist inspirations, again mostly people who did good work but also wrote well and enjoyably about it. But I don’t have one Gandhi-like figure where I can say “that person has inspired me the most.”
Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Is it possible to like things that are ridiculous but not things that are absurd?
‘Star Trek’ or ‘Star Wars’?
Star Wars for sure. Although I have been recently rewatching original Star Trek, and I think it is pretty good. The Star Wars spin-offs I can take or leave; I don’t really care about world-building unless it’s masterful. I’m a look-and-feel guy.
What was the last book you read and the last you bought?
Well, I am currently reading Beat to Quarters, because I found it in the free book rack at the bus stop, but I didn’t buy it. The most recent book I myself bought was probably The Archaeology of Identities, which I found cheaps in a Books for Amnesty in London.The most recent book someone (my wife) bought for me was Rough Magicks, a Trail of Cthulhu supplement. (Thank you!)
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Um … I don’t know! A lot of people seem to engage with characters more than I do. They imagine that they would like them as a person, or wonder what they get up to outside of the novel. I don’t really have that impulse — as I said, I seem to be all about look-and-feel. Just glancing over the bookshelf, let’s say Stephen Maturin from the Aubrey-Maturin novels. I don’t feel a great attachment to him as a character, but I find his dialogue just so much fun to read. I also like Silk from The Book of the Long Sun, although I’m well aware that he is much of a muchness with other Gene Wolfe narrators.
Which historical event would you like to visit?
I don’t know that I would like to visit any historical event, at least not within my period, but there are definitely events that I am curious about. I’d like to go to … I’d like to go to a funeral at Winchester Old Minster sometime in the 10th century. Any one will do, honestly, but getting to go to five or six would be great. I’d like to watch them and see what happened, and I’d like to be able to ask them just what in the hell they thought they were doing.