58London, United Kingdom
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My self-summary
In Sept. 2011, I was contacted by a woman who wished to inform me that this profile was 'profoundly distasteful' and 'obnoxious'. Now read on ...

So, this is the bit where I tell you how good-looking, witty, sensitive, generous, emotionally literate, and extraordinarily well-endowed I am. Well, stuff that for a game of soldiers. I'm a curmudgeonly, uncommunicative, unsociable old sod. Borderline Asperger's, only maybe not so borderline.

Quite apart from that, I'm afraid my character cannot possibly be characterised in 100 or so characters. However, you may like to note that I adopt the spelling in '-ised', rather than the (extraordinarily) Oxford-preferred '-ized'. The sad thing is, I actually care about this stuff. I think that says it all, really.

Quotes (for no very good reason):

'A heape of old monumentes, wytnesses of tymes, & bright beames of the truth, can testifye, that I have not swarved one whyt from the truthe.'
John Stow, 1566

'We speak from facts not theory.'
Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 1812

'Blest is the Man whose Bowells move,
And melt with Pity to the Poor.'
Isaac Watts, 1719

'O young England! young England! you who are born into these racing railroad times, when there's a Great Exhibition, or some monster sight, every year, and you can get over a couple of thousand miles of ground for three pound ten in a five-weeks' holiday, why don't you know more of your own birthplaces? You're all in the ends of the earth, it seems to me, as soon as you get your necks out of the educational collar, for midsummer holidays, long vacations, or what not — going round Ireland, with a return ticket, in a fortnight; dropping your copies of Tennyson on the tops of Swiss mountains; or pulling down the Danube in Oxford racing boats. And when you get home for a quiet fortnight, you turn the steam off, and lie on your backs in the paternal garden, surrounded by the last batch of books from Mudie's library, and half bored to death. Well, well! I know it has its good side. You all patter French more or less, and perhaps German; you have seen men and cities, no doubt, and have your opinions, such as they are, about schools of painting, high art, and all that; have seen the pictures of Dresden and the Louvre, and know the taste of sour krout. All I say is, you don't know your own lanes and woods and fields. Though you may be choke-full of science, not one in twenty of you knows where to find the wood-sorrel, or bee-orchis, which grow in the next wood, or on the down three miles off, or what the bog-bean and wood-sage are good for. And as for the country legends, the stories of the old gable-ended farmhouses, the place where the last skirmish was fought in the civil wars, where the parish butts stood, where the last highwayman turned to bay, where the last ghost was laid by the parson, they're gone out of date altogether.'
Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's School Days, 1857

'Bi the Rode wimen ar wode'
(Or, for those of you not entirely at ease with Middle English, 'By the Cross, women are mad')
Seal legend, C14

Now this ridiculous machine wants me to show off my linguistic skills - French, Latin and Welsh:

Le chien est sur le table.
Canis in mensa est.
Mae'r ci ar y bwrdd.

Look, I never claimed to be fluent.
What I’m doing with my life
I'm a (sort of) historian. I've had various jobs in the archives and historical research lines, though currently largely what they call an independent scholar (read "unemployed"). My own research is what I'm passionate about, and what gives some meaning to my life.

And I watch too much crap on television. The Big Bang Theory's good, though.
I’m really good at
Spelling, punctuation, and general knowledge trivia (except anything to do with sport).
I have an excellent natural sense of direction.
(By the way, I used an Oxford comma there. Did you notice? I don't normally, but it seemed appropriate.)

I'm really rubbish at:
Socialising, conversation, negotiation, networking, teamwork.
And anything involving IT. (You may be surprised by this last one, as I've probably given the impression elsewhere in this profile I'm a bit of a geek; and indeed, I suspect that if my life had taken a slightly different course, I'd have been really rather good with computers. But it didn't.)
The first things people usually notice about me
My beard. And my sandals. Especially when there's snow underfoot.

And perhaps I should add my minor kyphosis (curvature of the spine) - I'm not a hunchback, but rather more than a bit round-shouldered. Nobody ever, ever mentions it. I'm never sure if that's because it's barely noticeable, or because they're being incredibly tactful.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Well, first of all, let's make it perfectly clear that I don't have a 'favorite' anything. I have favourites.

Book. John Nichols, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester (1795-1815). I would expect any potential date to have read all eight large folio tomes.

OK, if you insist on some fiction: Evelyn Waugh; John Wyndham; A.N. Wilson (early period); Penelope Lively; David Lodge; Douglas Adams.

And here are my desert island discs:
'Infamous Angel', by Iris DeMent.
'Do you want your ould lobby washed down?', by Jimmy Crowley.
'The Great Pretender', by The Platters.
'Good Tradition', by Tanita Tikaram.
'Bright Blue Rose', by Mary Black.
'I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo', by Glenn Miller.
'From a Distance', by Nanci Griffith.
'Talk to me of Mendocino', by Kate and Anna McGarrigle.
'Sussex by the Sea', by any decent military or brass band.
That's nine, but I don't suppose you're counting. And I expect I'd change them if I thought about it.

Here are some favourite films:
Ridicule (1996)
Apocalypse Now (1979).
A Matter of Life and Death (1946).
Dreamchild (1985).
The Lacemaker (1977)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).
Brazil (1985).
Dr Strangelove (1964).
Mina Tannenbaum (1994)
Oh! What a Lovely War (1969).
Metropolitan (1990)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Breakfast Club (1985).
Starter for 10 (2006). (I really put that one in because I was in it. Check it out, as the young people say: https://my-hit.org/film/4272/ at 02:14. Apologies for the linguistic hurdles.)

Food. I tend to regard eating as a rather revolting bodily function. I suppose it's necessary, but do we really have to dwell on it?
Six things I could never do without
1. The British Library.
2. The London Library.
3. The National Library of Wales. (Actually, I've only been there a couple of times in the past decade ... but it's what a library ought to be, and I need to know it's there.)
4. Radio 4.
5. My watch. (Partly for sentimental reasons, because it was my grandfather's; partly because I like time.)
6. My laptop. (Purely, in this context, for writing purposes; and no sentimental reasons whatsoever. I'd really prefer to put 'pen and paper'; but, sadly, I seem to be losing the ability to write with a pen.)

No 'family and friends' type entries in that list. There are reasons.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
The perception and interpretation of historical evidence.

Strategies for avoiding human contact.

Strategies for establishing human contact.

Where it all went wrong.

Why so many women on OkC choose to post selfies taken in the mirrors of public toilets, often with sanitaryware visible in the background. You know who you are. I'm not particularly squeamish about bodily functions, but, honestly, this does nothing to create an aura of feminine mystique.
On a typical Friday night I am
In a library.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I was once in the same room as Vanessa Feltz. It was quite a large room.

I spent six years sharing an office with a convicted Soviet spy.

I am two degrees from Kevin Bacon.

I've never been to the Lake District. Or Italy. (Actually, not entirely true: I have been to Mussolini's Italy. But the less said about that the better.)

I'm shy. Deal with it.
You should message me if
You're missing an inessential limb (or have some comparable physical or psychological ailment), and think it might be a good starting point for a conversation.

Low self-esteem and a history of failure are definite plus points.

You should not message me if
You regard 'lol' or 'omg' as legitimate elements of discourse.
Your profile contains the phrase 'I'm a glass half full kind of person' (or similar). If I wanted to meet a perky chipmunk, I'd be on a different sort of site entirely.

I'm not terribly sure what I'm looking for on this site, but one thing I'm not looking for is a quick shag. I suppose in the first instance what I'm really hoping to find is a friend-who-happens-to-be-a-girl. If that moves on in due course to some sort of significant-othership, all well and good; but don't hold your breath.
The two of us