Waterloo and the First World War – Timeline Twins

The Great War began 100 years ago, but it still feels like part of our world.  First, because the outcome of that war shaped the rest of the twentieth century, and framed many of our current obsessions.  But also because most of us are only once-removed from the action.  I was born relatively late in the twentieth century, yet I met and was photographed with a great-grandfather who fought on the Western Front.  Many of us will have spoken to relatives who remember the conflict (even if they were not combatants).

The centenary of the war is a landmark moment that prompts me to ponder how history is like a concertina.  Sometimes, events feel very close; at other times, they are incredibly far away.  We often get a shock when we realise that an event we think of as quite recent is actually ‘history’ (today, for example, Twitter is in shock that ‘Everybody Want To Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears is thirty years old). Continue reading “Waterloo and the First World War – Timeline Twins”

The True Little Tramp

Brindelli reminds us that Charlie Chaplin’s work is a challenge to the elites – not only in 1914, when Chaplin first appeared on film, but in the modern era when the establishment is engaged in whitewashing and revising our history.

Remember that anti-war cinefilm footage I posted to YouTube last year?  I’m pleased to say that people are beginning to find a use for it.  Film-maker Jack Brindelli included the footage in his fascinating video essay, The True Little Tramp. Continue reading “The True Little Tramp”

The World of An Insignificant Woman

The World of an Insignificant Woman seemed like the perfect source material upon which to base a publishing project.

Over the past year, I’ve been working on a creative publishing challenge I set myself. It’s time to blog about it here and draw a line under the project.

A few years ago, my parents showed me a faded typed manuscript of a memoir, The World of an Insignificant Woman. It was written in the mid 1980’s by my grandfather’s sister, Catherine Thackray, about their parents and family. It is based in a large part on the handwritten memoirs and letters of my great-grandmother, Hilda Marjory Sharp (born 1882).

In recent years I’ve taken a particular interest in new forms of publishing. I drink in the columns of Cory Doctorow and the experiments of James Bridle (two London-based thinkers I have had the pleasure of meeting a few times, through English PEN and Free Word Centre activities). The potential of print-on-demand and eBook publishing is huge, and I had begun to think seriously about getting in on the micro-publishing action.

Continue reading “The World of An Insignificant Woman”