A disclaimer: this is not a 'blog' in the standard sense of the word. Instead, it's a place for me to post things that just don't fit on Twitter. Things posted here could include transcriptions; my thoughts on the tertiary education sector; or random posts that prove my academic motto, #FemalesAreStrongAsHell.

Get in touch with me via Twitter, or through the contact page.

Index of posts:
Duke of Richmond Letter
Mrs Ruth Young Letter
Desert Island Discs
Musical Cameos

Duke of Richmond Letter

I have owned this letter for a while, but have only just now decided to do something with it. Below is a transcription (and images) of an autograph letter to Lord Cadogan (probably Charles Cadogan, 2nd Baron Cadogan [1685 – 24 September 1776]) from Charles Lennox, the 3rd Duke of Richmond, 3rd Duke of Lennox, and 3rd Duke of Aubigny. Styled Earl of March until 1750, Richmond was a British politician (who served as Master-General of the Ordnance between 1782-1783 and 1784-1795), Field Marshal, and Ambassador to France 1765-1766. In the American War of Independence, Richmond was a firm supporter of the colonists, and he initiated a debate in 1778 calling for the removal of British troops from America.

The letter asks Lord Cadogan to confirm the year of Richmond's christening (and birth) as a requirement to settle some business in France.


       August the 29th. 1775.
My lord,   ans.dA note added by Lord Cadogan
   I find it is necefsary for some of
my affairs in France that I should send thither
a certificate of my age and Christening. A copy
of the entry of my Christening in the Parish Register
is the most usual & easy method, but after a strict
search in the Registers of the most likely Parishes
no such entry is to be found. I have always been
told that I was born on the 22.d of February 1734-5
old style, & that your Lordship with the late Duke
of Grafton & the late Princefs Caroline did me
the honor of being my Sponsors; I also believe
the Christening was in Arlington Street. House where the Duke was born
 If your Lordship is able to recollect these
circumstances or only the year in which you
stood Godfather for me, a certificate thereof
from your Lordship will as I understand be
sufficient, but it must be taken before a
notary publick. M.r Crawford my agent will
R.t Hon.ble Lord Cadogan.     have
 Page Break
have the honor of waiting on your Lordship,
if You are in Town, with this Letter, and take
the proper steps: or will wait on Your Lordship
whenever you do go to London
 I trust Your Lordship will excuse my
troubling You with the application, as it
is on real Businefs, & **Complete crossing out. Possibly "It's" or "This" I have no other method
of doing it. It is with the most sincere Respect
     that I have the Honor to be
     My Lord  Your Lordship's most
      obedient and most
      humble Servant
       Richmond. ge: A symbol that appears to be the Duke's monogram.

Photos of Letter:
Page 1  |  Pages 2-3  |  Page 4

Posted February 2017  [ Top ]

Mrs Ruth Young Letter

This small letter—it's 20cm long by 12.6cm wide, and was folded to fit in an envelope 11.6cm wide by 6.7cm high—was sent by Arlette of Riverhead, NY, to her mother Ruth Young, of Quogue, Long Island, NY, on 31 January 1868. The letter is full of little spelling mistakes demonstrative of someone with a basic education, and who might also spell phonetically. My transcription reproduces the letter as it is written.

What is most fascinating about the letter is Arlette's casual mentioning that her son, Zachie, goes to school with "38 schollars 6 negroes" (although it's not clear whether the 6 are included in the 38 or are additional).

New York had finally abolished slavery on 4 July 1827, but despite a protracted battle from the time of abolition, African Americans were not given equal voting rights until the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on 30 March 1870.


    Jan 31st 1868
Dear Mother I hav taken
my pen in hand to answer
your kind letter I was verry
glad to hear from you I was
affraid you was sick it was
so long since you had written
I intendid to have written
before but you must forgive
me for I have to work prety
hard for my strength and then
I have time to write thier
is some one here or I dont
feel like writing My health
is rather better than it was
when Mother was here but I
am not as well as I was
before I was sick an I dont
think I ever shall be again
The rest are in usual health
I was up to Wilsons week
before last they were well then
 Page Break
he has since cut his foot
quite bad but it is getting
along verry well I believe
I have been to Riverhead to day
and I saw Sarah Luee she soud
he had rode to their house to
day Henry was married new
years evening his wife is here
most of the time she has been
visiting to day and this evening
also The boys have both gone to
Farmers meting and she will
come back when they do
Zachie gets along with his set=
=out verry well he haves quite
a full school 38 schollars 6 negroes
Their is to be an exhibition in
the Church next week to raise
money to purchase a library
I dont know but I wrote about
Aunt Jerushus Reves death in my
last letter she went to Patchogue
visiting & died there from your
        daughter Arlette

Photos of Letter:
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Envelope

Posted February 2017  [ Top ]

Desert Island Discs

A confession. One of my dearest wishes in life is to become famous enough to be invited onto the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs. It's an unusual life-goal, I'll grant you, but there's just something about the show that makes me want to be on it. If you've never listened to it before, I suggest you listen to the episodes that feature either Nicola Sturgeon ( <3 ), Sandi Toksvig, or Judi Dench.

Because I have devoted an excessive amount of time to thinking about my choices for the show, and because I'm sick of all the serious and horrible news we've been dealing with recently, I thought I would do something a little more fun with this blog post.

So, as of February 2017, this is what my eight Desert Island discs would be, as well as my book and luxury item choices. Tweet me if any of them would appear in your list!

Song #1: Popular Song, by Mika
This is my favourite song in the whole world. According to iTunes, as of 24 February 2017, I have listened to the song 3632 times—and that doesn't include all the times I've watched the film clip, or listened to the song on Spotify. As someone who had a fairly crap high school experience, this song really speaks to me. And besides, Mika is amazing—I just love his work generally. P.S. I prefer the original version of the song as released on the album Origin of Love, rather than the remixed version that features Ariana Grande.

Song #2: Only You (Love Theme from The Young Victoria), Sinead O'Connor
This is one of Robert and mine's songs. The Young Victoria is my favourite movie, and it was one of the first movies we watched together. I still get teary almost every time I listen to it, but it does make me happy. It's such a beautiful song, both with Sinead O'Connor's singing, and Ilan Eshkeri's arrangement.

Song #3: All I Ask of You, Phantom of the Opera Cast Recording feat. Cliff Richard and Sarah Brightman
The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favourite musicals. This is probably my favourite song from the musical, and I adore this version. Nothing like the incredible Sarah Brightman to make me feel better while I'm marooned on a Desert Island!

Song #4: Mamma Mia, ABBA
ABBA is my favourite band. I absolutely love them, and the number of ABBA songs I don't love can be counted on one hand (with fingers left over). It was so hard to choose one ABBA song—for the record, my favourite ABBA song is Under Attack—but Mamma Mia is just so uplifting, and it makes me think of the musical (which I also love), so the choice ended up being made for me.

Song #5: One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks), One Direction
I have no shame in admitting that I love One Direction. Their music makes me happy, and this song in particular does. Plus, I love the Blondie original, so it's like I get two songs for the price of one.

Song #6: Supermassive Black Hole, Muse
On initial glance, this song might look out of place. I often joke that if the music on my iPhone got any gayer, my phone would explode in a puff of glitter. This song, however, is my go-to song when I'm stressed. I don't know why, but there's just something about listening to it that makes me feel better about whatever situation is frustrating me. Plus, it always makes me feel more kickarse.

Song #7: Heroes, Mans Zelmerlow
I love the Eurovision Song Contest more than is healthy, probably. So there was no doubt that a song from Eurovision would appear on this list. But which one? The 2015 Contest was my favourite contest thus far, and not only can Mans sing, but he's also very easy on the eye. I love the song, and unlike a lot of Eurovision hits, I have yet to tire of listening to it. FWIW, Jedward's Waterline (from 2012) is my most played Eurovision song, followed closely by Conchita's Rise Like a Phoenix (from 2014).

Song #8: Tectonic, Brendan Maclean
I love Brendan Maclean, so there's no doubt that he'd feature in my list. He has so many great songs, but Tectonic is always my standout favourite. There's literally nothing not to love about the song. How often do you listen to songs about natural geological processes?

My favourite song: Popular Song, by Mika.
Book Choice: The complete Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.
Luxury Item: A coffee machine that will let me enjoy lactose free mochas for the rest of my life.

A final note. My appearance on the show would also be rather controversial, as in addition to the items listed above, the show gives you the Bible (or equivalent religious text), and the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I don't want either of these things. As a non-religious person who has read the Bible cover to cover twice, I don't want to be stuck with it on a Desert Island. Instead, I'd rather the Complete Works of Jane Austen. Who could pass up the opportunity of being stuck on a Desert Island with Mr Darcy?

Concerning Shakespeare. I have a Master's degree in Early Modern English Literature: I have no need to be trapped on a Desert Island with the Bard (sorry Lyn!). While I do love Macbeth, and Love's Labour's Lost, I don't need any more Shakespeare in my life. Instead, I'd much rather the complete Harry Potter series. They were foundational to my childhood, and every time I re-read them, I discover something new.

I wonder what my feelings on these choices will be in a few years' time.

Posted February 2017  [ Top ]

Musical Cameos

It's no secret that I love musical theatre. It just makes me happy: the music, the singing, the dancing, and the costumes. For those of you who have had the misfortune to be around me when break out into song, however, know that I am not vocally blessed. In my high school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, I was cast as Potiphar—the only main role that doesn't involve singing.

Nevertheless, I do sometimes think about how much I would love to cameo in a musical. Inspired by the way that Hamilton shares around the role of King George III—"You'll Be Back" is without a doubt one of the best musical songs ever—I've decided to combine by need to update this blog, and my desire to avoid working, by detailing the top five minor musical roles I would one day love to play.

#1: King Herod from Jesus Christ Superstar
This is my all-time dream role. Hands down. Not only do I love Superstar generally, the role of King Herod—and indeed his one song—is just fantastic. It's fun, catchy, and can be super camp. What's not to love?!
(FWIW, the Australian Cast Version from 1992, with Angry Anderson as Herod, still remains my favourite version)

#2: Father Alexandrios from Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! is my favourite musical of all time. ABBA <3.And if we're being honest about my singing ability, Father Alexandrios is about my limit.
(It's not the best video I know, but it's all I can find)

#3: Pharaoh from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Joseph is definitely in my top 3 favourite musicals. I actually wanted to play Pharaoh in my high school production, but there was a competition for it, and no one else wanted Potiphar—so they gave me it. Pharaoh is just a fun role—I think "The Song of the King" is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best songs.

#4: Moroni from The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is an incredible musical: so clever, so well written, and with an amazing soundtrack. I love the song, "All-American Prophet"—and I'd love to be in it! And I'm totally an angel, right? ;)

#5: The Old Gumbie Cat from Cats
Cats was the first musical I ever saw professionally staged. I love the soundtrack of Cats—the actual show, however, I find quite boring. I do love T.S. Eliot though, which is why the role wins out, I guess.

I wonder if I'll ever actually get to perform any of these roles...

Posted August 2017  [ Top ]

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