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Gavin Greig [userpic]

Interests

April 22nd, 2007 (11:30 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

Here I was, on a grey Sunday, waiting for the Internet to come and entertain me, when pink_weasel posted one of the better sort of memes in which people explain some of their interests in response to someone else's query. pink_weasel has asked me to explain my interests in the Clachan of Glendaruel, Jules Verne, and fonts.

Clachan of Glendaruel:

The Clachan of Glendaruel is where I grew up from the age of seven, and where my Mum still lives. It's the main village (clachan) in the valley of Glendaruel on the Cowal peninsula (on the west coast of Scotland), and consists of a dozen dwellings, a church and a hotel. When I lived there, it also had a post office/general store/tearoom and a craft shop, though these are now closed. The tearoom also occasionally served as a cinema - I remember seeing the Dads Army movie projected onto the wall there. Glendaruel is a small backwater now, but it's not without its place in legend - Deirdre of the Sorrows is reputed to have lived there for a time when she fled to Scotland with her lover. In real life, it was the birthplace of Colin Maclaurin, some of whose work with calculus is still taught in schools. Perhaps it's no surprise that I'm the only person on LiveJournal with this as a stated interest, but I'd like to know if anyone else comes along...

Jules Verne:

Required reading for anyone interested in period science fiction. He's not always the most animated of writers, but he does tell some good stories and has interesting ideas about the future of technology. Although most folk are familiar with the names of a handful of Jules Verne's scientific romances and may have seen movie versions of them, he wrote rather more books than is commonly realised. For example, a couple of his novels are set in Scotland and although they're not regarded as being among his more interesting writings, it would be nice to read them some day - particularly the one featuring the subterranean city under the Trossachs and much of Central Scotland!

Fonts:

My artistic abilities are not finely honed enough for me to do any significant font design, but in the 1990s I did design four runic fonts for serious use by a Cambridge academic living in Fife, Paul Bibire. They were based on the Common Germanic, Thames, Vienna and Ruthwell futharcs, as shown in the classic reference book Runes by R.W.V. Elliot. My fonts were rubbish, from a technical viewpoint, but they were the most historically accurate runic fonts available at the time. I learned enough about font design to have a great deal of respect for the people who do it for a living, and to know that I am not a font designer - I just know a bit about how it is done. it would be nice to make my fonts available for download some time, but I'd want to clean them up first. The icon at the top of this article shows one of my F runes - the first letter in my Vienna futharc. I use it as one of my icons because (a) I designed it and I like the shape of it, and (b) Tolkien uses it as the G rune standing for Gandalf - or in my case, either Gavin or Greig. Yes, I'm a geek.


Let me know if you'd like me to pick some of your interests for you to explain.

Comments

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
Smiley Rosa

OK! Choose!

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)
Rune

nikolai ge, raymond iii of tripoli and human rights.

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Alyosha

Nikolai Ge:
One of the 19C Russian artists who starred in my doctoral thesis. He painted the stunning Peter I interrogates Tsarevich Aleksei Petrovich at Peterhof.

He also painted numerous portraits and some powerful religious paintings, much influenced by his friendship with Lev Tol'stoi. I have a strong suspicion that What is Truth? influenced the descriptions of Yeshua and Pilate in Bulgakov's The Master & Margarita.

Raymond III of Tripoli (1140-87):
a rather tragic and ambiguous figure in the history of Outremer, the only son of Raymond II of Tripoli (assassinated 1152) and Princess Audierne/Hodierna of Jerusalem, the "princesse lointaine" of the Jaufre Rudel legend. At various times regent and power-broker, closely related to the kings of Jerusalem, but never claimed the kingship, being somewhat hampered by his lack of direct heirs. He was a significant player in the destructive political in-fighting which followed the death of the child Baldwin V in 1186. He died of pleurisy (and perhaps a broken heart) a few months after the battle of Hattin.

Human rights:
Since student days, I have been a member of Amnesty International, and a supporter of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. In many respects, this has stemmed more from my work as a historian than from purely contemporary concerns. As a First Year mediævalist, I sometimes ended up in tears over my text-books. Realising that some of the same things were still happening, same methods being used, in various parts of the world, I wanted to do what little I could, because there was nothing I could do for the people in the past that I cared about.

Posted by: Nik Whitehead (sharikkamur)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)

Not that my interests are particularly strange or interesting, but I'll bite all the same. :)

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
Rune

archaeology, parapsychology and siege engines.

Posted by: It's my brain and I'll do what I like in it (pink_weasel)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2007 08:35 am (UTC)

I love the idea of a tearoom cinema.

Also I love Jules Verne although I am firmly convinced that 20,000 Leagues is just the biggest, most entertaining list of made up fish ever written.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2007 08:53 am (UTC)
Rune

He does go on a bit sometimes, doesn't he? But we forgive him.

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