January 25, 2007

6 weird things about me

I've been tagged by the normally sane and wise Matt Sinclair with the meme six lesser known things about me, so here goes

1. Despite the history I write about in this blog, I'm not a great fan of narrative history with lots of dates and facts- give me conceptual history which tells me what people were thinking and analyses sources first.

2. I am absolutely useless at learning languages- I keep trying and keep failing.

3. I love microhistory- things like Montaillou etc fascinate me because its the mentalities of people in the past that really interest me.

4. I am half a New Zealander- my mother is from Christchurch and hence I have a Kiwi passport.

5. My music tastes are eclectic without neccessarily being any good- I know precious little about music and just appreciate good words and a good melody. My favourite bands at the moment are people like the Lucksmiths and Belle and Sebastien- dark words with an uplifting melody.

6. Art doesn't really manage to touch me much- I can't get emotional about a painting there is something flat about it and flat about the experience of looking at it. Its something that I am trying to work on but as yet- no success.

Right I suppose I have to tag someone else- well James Higham was complaining about finding it difficult to comment so in a gesture of friendship I suppose its incumbent of me to pass this on to him and of course having just ridiculously truncated Taiwanese history and pontificated upon Taiwanese culture and society I think I ought to pass this over to a man who actually knows his Chinese History the Granite Studio. Oh and I'll add my other fellow half Kiwi half Englishman- the superb Political Umpire. Right that's done- a serious post will follow at some point today!


james higham said...

Oh, thanks very much!

Gracchi said...

Anytime James- good to see you back on the comment pages- you can blame Mr Sinclair afterall he passed it to me!

Political Umpire said...

This tagging thing is becoming endemic. Ok, er .... um .... six weird things. Aping your post I would say:

1. Actually I am a fan of narrative history, perhaps reflecting the fact that I am not a professional historian. Non-narrative history is great, in fact the only thing I read, with regard to subjects I happen to know something about (eg WWI.). But if I am coming across something for the first time, the first thing I want is some narrative, particularly in the case of a general book on the subject (or general internet site, as I guess it is nowadays).

2. I was, if I might immodestly say so, quite good at learning languages, but abandoned it foolishly when young and have never found the time to pick any up since.

3. I love overseas travel, even though circumstances preclude much of it these days, and like most of all seeing historical sites, no doubt due to my origins (see 4. below). Even to the point of picking fights with tour guides with whom I disagree.

4. I am half Kiwi genetically and more than that so far as nurture is concerned. Still have the accent to prove it, though Mrs Umpire seems no longer to hear it.

5. My musical and artistic taste may well be called sad, but I couldn’t care less. Not on the blogosphere anyway - it’s my blog so I’ll write what I want to (and cry if I want to as well I guess). I think the successors to the great painters of the past are the great film directors and cinematographers of today, like Kubrick, Malick, Sterraro et al. Not sure great composers have any contemporary equivalent, however.

6. I am not a religious sort though am not arrogant enough to assume that science has or ever will (in my lifetime at least) get close to understanding the origins of the universe (not that that’s a reason for them not to try). In my younger (and fitter) days I was a black belt. On a training camp myself and another, after doing a meditation exercise of sorts, lifted up to our shoulder height a third person who was sitting in a chair. The third person was an Olympic skiing competitor, and built like a brick outhouse. Once we twigged what we were doing we dropped him like a stone. Subsequently, with brute strength, we lifted him about 2/3rds the same height, with a distinct amount of effort.

To this day that remains the most weird thing I’ve ever experienced.

Political Umpire said...

Meant to add re the last anecdote that we lifted him first time round with our fingertips. Not a great story otherwise. Still don't know how we did it though. Not as though we were David Banner or anything

ashok said...

I stink at languages, and I wonder why that is because if something is in poem form, I dive right in.

I don't know if this will interest you at all, but I figure you might be the one person I know of who has the background and patience to read this.

ashok said...

Thanks so much for reading those posts on Macbeth! Love the comments, hope to answer them intelligently someday.

Gracchi said...

Ashok no probs- they were interesting and intelligent thoughts- it was a pleasure- just realised by the way that you weren't on my blogroll and really ought to be- so I have rectified that too.