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Jeff Ellis

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About Jeff Ellis

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    AwesomeDude Author
  • Birthday 08/05/1944

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    Cambridge UK

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  1. Freethinker. Coming from someone I respect that is indeed appreciated. That you are alone makes your stand that much more appreciated.
  2. My own school was neither boarding nor private, but it was isolated. We were drawn from a huge area and few had a schoolfriend within their own small village. Some took two trains and a bus to reach school... an all boys school. So close friendships only existed within school hours. By fourteen, my estimation is that about three quarters of the boys in my form (home room) were in some shifting relationship, nothing formal but actively what we would now term gay or homosexual. It didn't have a name in the 1950s, we would be fifteen before the existence of homosexuality as a threat to our fun and friendship would become apparent. When we returned after the summer vacation someone brought news that what we considered fun was actually illegal. Suddenly the statistics changed to about 10% of us continuing liaisons... I vividly remember my first rejection by a longterm partner... I was quite offended. So my version of the statistics would be that for boys in a more or less isolated environment, three quarters will enjoy boy on boy sex as long as no-one tells them its abnormal. But, the moment someone declares it abnormal the rate drops to the 10% or so who have little choice, who need it more than they need their reputation. i was lucky, even after the watershed no-one held our needs against us. Generously they treated us no differently... they just found girlfriends. And... if the girlfriend didn't put out, they knew where to find us.
  3. As a scientist (a physicist) I greatly enjoyed this thread too, partly because the subject matter was interesting and partly because for most scientists things start and end with notation... If you get the notation wrong then your work becomes totally incomprehensible to other scientists. Quantum mechanics in Dirac notation is a thing of simplistic beauty... so there! My own musical education started at 6yo and ended at six and a half when I moved away from a city school to one up in the mountains. At six we were being taught stave notations and how to get rhythm from the length of notes... does tiffatuffee ring any bells? The Christmas carol we were learning that year was "In the deep mid-winter"... at six. I missed that school. When I left I promised the headmistress that I would let the school know how I got on... It took me sixty five years to keep the promise. My religious years (9-13) have left me with a love of the liturgy and choral music of the Anglican church combined with no interest at all in religion :-) Nothing at secondary school? For some reason our music master managed to combine being a significant composer (who had eight pages in Groves last time I looked) with an almost total inability to connect (with me at least).
  4. To understand the consequences of intrusive census probings try reading "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black, pub 2001, Crown. ISBN 0 316 85769 6 It was the mechanisation of the German Census in the 1930s that made the Holocaust possible. According to Black it was countries like Holland that had right-wing enthusiasts running the census that had the greatest disaster as a result. For many Jews it was a moment of great pride to record their religion and race on the census, a census record that came back to haunt them.
  5. Back in the late 1950s my school class performed an inadvertent experiment. We didn't mean to, but the result is I think revealing. They were innocent times when boys could play sexually with other boys without thinking of it as other than simply naughty or at most "dirty", the sort of thing our mothers had encouraged us not to do. We had no particular way to discover that homosexuality existed... in growing up I never had a sex-ed session with anyone, school or home. That's not quite true, in retrospect my father tried to warn me against perverts when I was about to join the village judo club at 14... it was such an oblique explanation that I really missed what he meant. Where was I? Ah, yes... so the boys of my form room played with each other in varying couplings, 2/3 to 3/4 of us, a few were too respectable or relligious... or secretive. That lasted until the summer we turned 15, when all of a sudden... WE KNEW! It was illegal, it was wrong... it could wreck things. Suddenly, the essentially heteros stopped playing... found girls or spent hours in the shower. What I am getting at is that left to themselves, in a non-judgmental state of ignorance the vast majority of boys enjoyed what today would be thought of as gay... When the shutters came down that reverted to about 15% I'm not saying 2/3 were gay, but that 2/3 were happily neutral, accepting gay sex as an alternative to no-sex. It was social pressure from outside that reduced it to a hardcore of boys who needed sex more than they need safety.
  6. An interesting and poignant maybe. A friend who was a boarder at school on the night of the Cuba Crisis tells me that very many beds had two boys that night because "nobody wanted to die alone"
  7. Inspiring as you say, bu the caption struck a different chord for me. I recently described a photograph from a book I was reading. The guy I was talking to capped my description with "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." The photograph showed a boy of about ten carrying his small brother in a piggy-back. So what? He was at Nagasaki and was carrying his brother to be cremated because they had no parents to perform this last duty. Ouch!
  8. Yes indeed Cole a great site. Without somewhere of this quality to post I'd probably have given up years ago, Chris is quite right... I too had no idea how the Restoration actually happened. I probably assumed Charles Stuart took Ryanair from Schipol. The navy was of course key, and the navy as a whole didn't want to do it! The only reason I could write this one was because there were two men keeping diaries... one was of course Samuel Pepys of "and so to bed!" fame. He was on the quarterdeck. But the other was a common sailor, in fact still an apprentice to the Master's mate. Just one copy of his journal survived... the original. From him history has learnt what went on below decks at that time. Chris is also right that this is an all but forgotten period. We are only 72 years after the Spanish Armada, but 145 years before Trafalgar, Hornblower and Nelson. I came to love my young heroes, they are in the best tradition of "the boy stood on the burning deck". That boy was real, he was French and he died at the Battle of the Nile, refusing to save himself he died alongside his wounded father... he was just 12. So when Jeremy says "Why, I should die!" he is simply reflecting the reality of the day. By World Wars in our time, a boy needed to be 16 to die in battle at sea... we have made so much progress in four centuries!
  9. In the mid seventeenth century England's Parliament quarrelled with its King, Charles the First, fought a very bloody Civil War... and then cut the King's head off. The bloodshed should have settled matters but actually made matters worse. Kings are raised to rule but politicians have to learn. Then as now it's easy to choose the wrong man. England now had Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector... King or Emperor in all but name. Wilful and opinionated he proceeded to wreck the economy, and his eventual death didn't solve matters... he left control of the nation to his idiot son. So there we have all the history you need to know. The army under General Monck took control of Parliament, and in 1660 the navy under Admiral Lord Montagu combined forces with him to bring the executed king's son, another Charles, back from exile in Holland. That voyage wasn't going to be easy. Most naval officers expected to lose their posts if he returned, most therefore opposed the Restoration, as it came to be known. That is where our story begins. The task of persuading the navy to cooperate in their own unemployment falls to Samuel Pepys, he who famously kept a diary and re-modelled the Royal Navy. He is Secretary to the Navy and has a young orphan nephew Jeremy. Samuel will play a central role as the fleet sails for Holland. His cousin Admiral Lord Montagu leads the fleet and has his son David with him. David is a year older than Jeremy and a year into his training as a boy-officer. At this period, common seamen could join a ship as young as 10, carrying powder to the guns... the ships were cramped and small boys fitted the space better, could run standing upright, and if they died were easy to replace. Aristocratic officers joined ships at 11yo, as boy-servants to officers and served a sort of informal apprenticeship. At this period they were known as Young-Gentlemen, not midshipmen. The Navy itself could hardly be the Royal Navy, the king was dead... for the present it was The State Ships. But all that was about to change. Through the eyes of young boys, A Royal Achievement tells the tale of the Restoration, of Charles Stuart's return as King, and of the fleet's subsequent deployment to fight Barbary pirates off the coast of Africa. As with my other war stories, the history is as accurate as I can make it, all the major historical characters and events are correct. Two boys have been inserted into history along with other boys and minor characters to keep a ripping yarn romping along.
  10. Dude tells me that it will start posting here on Wednesday 22nd February. Thank you Dude. Less than a week to wait. I'm quite excited, it took a year to research and write. It's by far the largest of my writings. It also turned out to be autobiographic... in a curious way. More might be a spoiler.
  11. As Peter says, excellent parenting. It ought to be required reading for all fathers of quiet sons. I love Cole's writing and I think that this is his best. Seriously, lots of you have a son... and whatever age he is, read this one and then treat him differently. Some stories are worth waiting for, and this is one.
  12. It's a delightful story Cole, one with insight not just plot and style. I agree about the misery of proof-reading, especially when you write stuff intended to create emotion. What I do on the other hand that is probably seriously odd is... I read along with the readers, reading each installment as its posted. Why? Partly to get the rhythm of it, but partly... because I'm still astonished to see something I wrote. To write is a gift, a gift that I was given very late in life. I love reading your stories Cole, they lift my spirit and make me think. They bring me back here when I've been mad. So well done. [ Oh dear, the typo I'm correcting is too good to lose... It said "they lift my spirit and make me thin" , maybe there's a story there, consequences of a good typo]
  13. Synystraal... Very many thanks for your comment. For me, the research is a large part of the story. Some writers can create believable situations from scratch. I may be lazy in that I look for a point in history in which interesting people did interesting things and then I tuck my boy hero in amongst them. When I was younger I read voraciously and often wished that I could tell the authors what I felt about their writing. The great thing about sites like this is that authors and readers can indeed do exactly that. I wish we did it more... so thank you indeed for your message it was a pleasure to receive your comment.
  14. I always expect to enjoy a short story by Cole. There is always something to ponder on. This one though is exceptional. It hit all the right spots in my memory of childhood. I grew up in a mining village as a boy destined to become a physicist. I can remember what it was to be good at things that the rest of the school simply didn't get. So very many thanks Cole, you have already quite made my weekend, and its barely started.
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