Why Gormenghast?

People have often asked me why this web site is called Castle Gormenghast when actually it has no content relating to the books of Mervyn Peake. (Actually it does in an obscure corner of the old site - it's not worth digging out). There are several reasons. Firstly, I rather admire the works of Peake. In fact I consider them amongst the most beautifully written books in the English language (thought the beauty does sometimes take a while to appreciate). Secondly, Castle Gormenghast is, in the books, a rambling place, half falling down with many sections so old and unvisited that nobody has set foot there for years. A good metaphor for an ill-maintained web-site. Thirdly, for historical reasons, some people call me "Steer" or "Steerpike" after the anti-hero of the book Gormenghast.

So Why Steerpike?

Well, it should be bourne in mind that I was an impressionable young teenager when I picked the name Steerpike to use on bulletin boards. In Gormenghast, Steerpike is an intelligent schemer who, by supreme rationality, force of will and the occasional murder, rises to a position of great power. The BBC TV adaption took a rather unusual view of the character by making him handsome, emotional and charming as well as ruthless and super-intelligent - making me seem marginally more egotistical than I in fact am.

Why is this web site so rubbish?

Well, youngster, this place was state of the art once. Castle Gormenghast has been constantly available in one form or another since some time in 1993 when it was on the (alas now unavailable to most of the world) Geophysics server aurora. In 1994 when I moved to the maths department the whole thing got its new home on manor where it has been since. I am told by people who follow these things that this makes it one of the first 1000 web-sites in existence. (Alas I have no means of determining exactly when it was created. I believe it was sometime around September 1993.) Certainly the site was well established by September 1994 when I moved it to the manor.york.ac.uk site.

Believe it or not, this page was once cutting edge and innovative. Mind you, I've removed those parts since. It even got various awards - I forget the details of which ones.

Whatever happened to the page .... that you used to have

Several popular pages on this site were deleted - often due to their popularity. For example, a battleships game (I think the web's first) was taking up a lot of server space. Also there was the Veb Village (a blatant rip off of the better organised and since defunct Web World) where you could build houses, chat and create links to other web sites. Unfortunately this became popular enough to make my computer unusable (and people kept trying to hack it which annoyed me). Nowadays I don't have any snazzy interactive bits... although I might think about it again... perhaps if I get a faster computer at some point.

Some of the more ridiculous pages may still be available in the West Wing.

Who are you anyway and why do you do this?

Richard G. Clegg - born 9/3/71 - a humble researcher (I occasionally do some teaching too) in the department of mathematics. I write web pages... um... because other people write web pages and I desperately crave approval. Or perhaps it's my desperate drive to create. Maybe I'm doing it to impress women (hmm.. does this kind of thing impress women? Actually I severely doubt it) More likely it's because I've nothing better to do that evening. Most commonly people say of this web site: "I err... saw your web site the other day. I don't think I really understood it."
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