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About Mihangel

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  1. Understood, Pedro. I've lived here longer even than you have - nearly 49 years - and am still not a Yorkshireman. Accent along Sarn Helen? Latin with a lilt, I suppose.
  2. Thanks, guys, for the kind remarks. If it was fun to read, it was also fun to write. But I'm surprised that Pedro, as a self-confessed Yorkshireman, didn't pick me up on Lossio's Latin spoken with a Yorkshire accent!
  3. Upcoming on Wednesday: a longish shortie, set in distant climes, on what made the Romans tick. Puzzled? Read. Mihangel
  4. This is a scam. I tried again with exactly the same passage as before, and it came up with totally different authors. I put in a large chunk of Hamlet, and where did Shakespeare rank in the similarity list? Thirtieth. Pah!
  5. I tried, with the first section of a new story shortly to hit (I hope) a larger audience. Most like Bertrand Russell, it said, then Conan Doyle, then John Muir (had to look him up: 1838-1914, naturalist and environmental philosopher). Hmmm. Didn't think I had anything in common with Bertie Russell. Or any other philosopher, even environmental. Conan Doyle, yay!
  6. Last gasp before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Well, fratchety is in Chambers and the OED, which are my English dictionaries of resource. And fratch, from whence it comes, is in my Websters. What more American than that?
  7. Off soon to crawl up my Welsh mountain where there's no internet, and I'll be out of circulation for a bit. So before I disappear, thanks to you guys for your kind words. Sioni was a difficult one to get right, because it centres on a Welshman and a Breton trying to understand each other's language, with or without the help of a smidgen of French. But yet (because I doubt Mike or anyone else would welcome a story wholly in Welsh) it had to be essentially in English. So if the resulting complexities have worked, I'm delighted; and mightily relieved, too. Fratchety? Common enough on this side of the pond, if not on that.
  8. Never rains but it pours. Coming up on Wednesday 20 July, a new Welsh story of loss and rebuilding with a rather unusual background. Not a short one but, as normal with me, to be posted all in one (sorry, Nigel!)
  9. Been away and only just seen this. Sad news indeed. Ken wrote to me a few years back apropos my stories. He used his real name, and because his surname was very unusual I realised I knew him already. Though hailing from opposite ends of the earth, we had been research students together at university in the early 60s, when we saw quite a bit of each other. Then we lost touch, as one does; but we started again. He helped edit my last story, Their Finest Hour. A real gentleman, intelligent but modest, whom I for one will sadly miss.
  10. Thanks again, guys, for the kind words. Whether golden or not, this is an oldie indeed – 2003, to be precise. And Chris is right: there are mysteries which I’m happy to leave as mysteries. As Hamlet put it, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
  11. Strange that this story has suddenly bounced back into the headlines. It was reported way back in 2001, both by the BBC and by National Geographic.
  12. As Cole says, Hiroshima hastened the end of hostilities. Much the same, IMHO, could be said of the Allied bombing of Dresden.
  13. Thanks for that, Chris. Thinking of boys' choirs, here is one from the other side of the fence: Dresden, flattened by us in February, 1945. The amazingly gutsy director of the Dresdner Kreuzchor, Rudolf Mauersberger, had parked the choirboys at various places around the city and they would gather in the Kreuzkirche only for services. On one of the nights of the bombings, eleven of the boys for some reason took refuge in the church, which took a direct hit. A month later, Mauersberger wrote this motet using words from Jeremiah's lament over Jerusalem, and it was performed in the ruins of the church in August 1945 at the first service that could be held there after the bombings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gZXg8lNH2g
  14. Thanks again, guys, for all the kind words. Nigel's right that, in Britain, the 30s and 40s were far from a bad time to be gay. I think he's wrong, though, in dating the start of the real persecution to the late 50s and even 60s. I would put it in 1952-3 under (no coincidence?) the new Tory government. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, who described gays as "a plague over England", was Home Secretary. As commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, he appointed Sir John Nott-Bower who swore to "rip the cover off all London filth spots" and brought other police forces into line. All this, it seems, was with encouragement, even advice, from America which was in the grip of McCarthyism. The immediate result was the "great purge" as it was known - a witch-hunt which caught, as well as countless lesser-known victims, many big figures. Burgess and Maclean have already been mentioned above, as have Turing and Gielgud. There was an MP whose name escapes me who was forced to resign, and - most famous of all at the time - Lord Montagu. By 1960 thousands were in gaol. Yet the vendetta was not in tune with public opinion at large. The first time Gielgud appeared on stage after his conviction, he got a standing ovation. When Montagu and his co-defendants were removed from the courthouse after being sentenced, the large crowd waiting outside, which the authorities thought would attack them, cheered them instead. But all that was later. Back in the 30s Hodge and Jack in Habakkuk's Mill, and during the war Charlie and Doug in Their Finest Hour, would have few problems provided they were not too blatant.
  15. Thanks, Merkin. A fine film indeed. One of the pictures in the story is a still from it. Some others are taken from Shunter Black's Night Off, a contemporary but heavily fictionalised account of the saving of a burning train of explosives by (in reality) a Scout, which lies behind the episode on Bishopsgate goods yard in the story: There are many films about the blitz; but one quite recent docudrama I would commend is The Blitz: London's Longest Night:
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