strange_complex: (Cicero history)
Right. It is time for me to introduce you all to a Great Project. It's the culmination of something which I have been working on since the summer, and which my mother has been working on for over five years now.

See, in 1991, my step-grandmother died, and left to my mother an archive of family documents. Amongst them was the last diary of her grandfather - James Fitzjames Fraser West, a Victorian surgeon who worked at Queen's Hospital, Birmingham from 1854-83, and had an extensive private practice of his own. We quickly realised the incredible interest of both diary and archive, and, around the year 2000, my mother started work on a full-scale biography of West. In September of this year, that biography was published, under the title A Victorian Surgeon. A Biography of James Fitzjames Fraser West 1833-83, Birmingham Surgeon.

The diary itself is published in full as an appendix at the end of the biography. But, as a regular reader of [livejournal.com profile] pepysdiary, I knew that it had far greater potential than that. And so I have set up [livejournal.com profile] jamesfraserwest - West's own home in cyberspace, where his final diary will be serialised, complete with pictures and annotations for the people and places mentioned in it, starting from January 2008.

And this is where you come in.

I firmly believe that this diary will be of enormous interest to huge numbers of people. Those who like reading [livejournal.com profile] pepysdiary, for a start. Those who enjoy Victorian history, medical history, or simply like reading other people's journals, to boot. And there are special treats in store, too, for those who like travel writing, since West undertook a month-long excursion around France and Italy with his wife during March and April 1883, visiting historical sites, churches and local hospitals as he did so. (That's my personal favourite bit, and I had a lot of fun helping Mum make sense of West's visits to archaeological sites in Rome and Pompeii while we were transcribing the diary). Just check out the 'taster entries' I have put on the journal's profile page if you want a sense of why this is great reading material.

But, unlike Samuel Pepys, only four months' worth of West's final diary survive. So people really need to know about it now if they're going to get in on the action before it's all over. The boon which I crave from you, then, is this - help me spread the word.

Friend the diary yourself. If you already read [livejournal.com profile] pepysdiary (and if you don't, you should!), I guarantee you will love it. And of course you'll also be ensuring that it gets on a lot of friendsfriends pages in the process! ;-)

Tell your friends. And tell them to tell their friends. Don't hold back - let's get a snowball rolling here. Basically, it would be hard for anyone who is already into blogs and blogging not to enjoy this. So tell them - and point them either here or directly at [livejournal.com profile] jamesfraserwest if you want to tell them why.

And let me know if you think there are any communities besides [livejournal.com profile] history, [livejournal.com profile] 19th_century and [livejournal.com profile] medical_geeks where I could be plugging this.

For any or all of the above, my heartiest thanks and gratitude. I'm really excited about this project, and I think you'll see why when you take a look at what we've put online so far. Help me give it the kick off the ground it deserves, and I'll look forward to sharing the diary entries with you when they start in January!

Two TV PSAs

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 10:10
strange_complex: (C J Cregg)
1. Rome - new series starts tonight at 9pm on BBC2. DigiGuide sez, "With Caesar lying dead on the Senate floor, the deadly battle for control of Rome is set to begin. Brutus and his accomplices come up against the might of a vindictive Mark Antony. But with Octavian declared Caesar's rightful heir, alliances will have to be made in order to prevent all-out war." I got pretty disillusioned with it by the end of the last series, but I'll still watch all the same.

2. Browsing the schedules, I also noticed that that the documentary, Castrato, which was first broadcast a year ago on BBC4 is now being repeated on BBC2, next Tuesday (26th June) from 23:20 to 00:20. Presented by Nicholas Clapton, and featuring recordings of Alessandro Moreschi as well as a beautiful performance by Michael Maniaci and a (less-than-successful, in my opinion) attempt to recreate the sound of a castrato voice by blending a boy treble and an adult tenor, it is actually really worth watching - especially if you're coming to the opera with me in October!

In other news, Boots today sent me some 'exclusive vouchers just for me' through the post, including one worth 500 Advantage points if I buy a hair straightening kit. Well, thanks for that, Boots. I'm sure it will come in really handy.

Final stages

Wednesday, 30 August 2006 08:19
strange_complex: (Computer baby)
Right then, I'm packing up the computer. You'll probably hear from me via sms_to_lj, but otherwise assume I'm incommunicado for the next few days.

See you all on the other side!

strange_complex: (Snape writing)
As of today, it's exactly a fortnight until I plan to complete my book. Already, my LJ is seriously neglected, and friends who text or phone me asking me to come out to things are getting used to the reply, "Sorry - book." I'm pretty flaky about answering emails, too.

This post is mainly to say: bear with me, gang - this will pass. I apologise if I'm socially all but non-existent over the next couple of weeks, but I'm sure you'll all understand the situation.

I do expect to continue reading and commenting on other people's journals, as, frankly, it's helping to keep me sane in the midst of an existence which is now seeing me leave the house only once or twice a week when I need to go either to the supermarket or to the library. But, as you can imagine, using my spare time to write proper journal entries of my own is somewhat unattractive just now, given that I'm spending all day every day typing like a lunatic anyway. Any entries I do make are likely to be increasingly self-absorbed, and possibly slightly insane: you have been warned!

Normal service to be resumed, I very much hope, after the Easter bank holiday. Till then, arrivederci!
strange_complex: (Howie disapproving)
If you live in, or spend much time in, Oxford, please read this post by [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours detailing a scam regularly perpetrated in the city centre. I've had it done to me twice, and also seen (and, happily, prevented) it a third time. He's also had it twice now, and if you scan down the comments to his post, you'll see that many others have too.

The more people know about this sort of stuff, the harder it is for the scammers to get away with it - so please, pass it on!

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