I am obviously not a 17th Century playwright, poet and spy but I admire Aphra Behn’s unflinching realism and her ability to make her living in a male world. Also, we look surprisingly alike.
My name is Ben but, confusingly, I’m not a bloke.
I work as a Business Analyst, which I usually define as “sitting between business people and technical people and translating” but it’s also “helping businesses avoid the law of unexpected consequences”. I am proud of the Distinction I obtained in an MSc in Strategic Management at Bristol University, which I completed in 2011.
With my head…
I am currently chair of Edinburgh Skeptics Society, though this is not an explicitly Skeptical blog.
With my heart…
I am a passionate, possibly irrational, supporter of the NHS. I separate my support of the NHS from my activities in Skepticism, because I do not want one to swamp the other.
My first experiences of web communities were at h2g2, and I was fortunate to work with a truly remarkable group of people who helped to buy it from the BBC. The culture there respects people but ruthlessly challenges their thinking, it chimed with me and is the basic ethos of this blog.
Oh and one more thing about me: I don’t write about my employer or about what I’m working on now. When I blogged anonymously, I would sometimes allow myself to laugh or vent frustration safely away from the work-place. Even so, I would change events, names, departments and occasionally genders to make my point without breaching confidences. Now I don’t do even that.
The opinions here are my own; I revise my opinions when I find out more so I no longer hold some of the opinions expressed here.
I should also warn you that I got quite sweary in some of the older posts.
Aphra Behn was the first English-woman to make her living by writing. She was a playwright, a novelist and a poet in the difficult, sexy, political world of post-Restoration London. A contemporary called her “the punk poetesse”, punk meaning “whore”, but whether this was because she made money from her art or because he considered her to be sexually loose is not clear.
She was English, but married to a Dutch man who left her a widow at the age of 25 or so. She spent some time in the Netherlands passing information to the government of Charles II, but she was never paid for her work as a spy and she returned to London. She did not re-marry, preferring to make her own way in the world. Today we would probably call her bisexual and her writing is sufficiently erotically charged and sexually ambiguous for the Georgian and Victorian critics to declare her immoral and then ignore her. She is better known and better respected now than at any time since her own.