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"A man who seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society."

- Frederick the Great

Friday 14 March 2014

Happy Telemann's Birthday!

The story of Händel and Telemann

On this date in 1681, Georg Philipp Telemann was born in Magdeburg. Not only was Telemann the most famous composer in Germany during the first half of the eighteenth century, but he was also a close friend of both Georg Friedrich Händel and Johann Sebastian Bach. Since Händel was my own composition teacher and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (Telemann’s godson) one of my musical mentors, Telemann holds a special place for me in the composers’ pantheon.  

I had the (at first, dubious) pleasure of meeting Telemann personally in October 1752, when I arrived in Hamburg from London at the age of seventeen, my first trip abroad. He was a wizened and gruff old man, who contradicted everything I said, at least until he read the letter of introduction I had brought from Händel. After that, Telemann’s demeanour towards me changed completely, and he even agreed to arrange my first public concert in Germany, risking trouble with the local religious authorities for allowing a woman to appear on stage.  

Besides helping me launch my career as a professional harpsichordist on the Continent, Telemann had also done something else, decades earlier, which ultimately proved even more important. Through his understanding and love for a friend who happened to be different, he encouraged that man to accept his difference and not condemn himself for it. Of course, the friend in question was Händel, and the lesson he had learned from Telemann was in turn given to me at a very critical time in my life.

This is the story of the friendship between the two composers, as told to me by Händel at his house in Brook Street, London, on the 13th of December 1750. I had gone to see him in an emotionally distraught state, having once again killed a human after losing control of my lycanthropic nature. Naturally I didn’t go into the details, but did imply that she had been my lover. He made certain correct assumptions about my sexual preference and decided to make a startling (and, in those days, dangerous) confession of his own.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

"Der Werwolf" von Christian Morgenstern

For the lycanthropically inclined who love German but are paralysed by its grammar, here is a wonderful poem by Christian Morgenstern to help remember the four cases - nominative, genitive, dative and accusative.

Der Werwolf

Ein Werwolf eines Nachts entwich
von Weib und Kind, und sich begab
an eines Dorfschullehrers Grab
und bat ihn: Bitte, beuge mich!

Der Dorfschulmeister stieg hinauf
auf seines Blechschilds Messingknauf
und sprach zum Wolf, der seine Pfoten
geduldig kreuzte vor dem Toten:

"Der Werwolf", - sprach der gute Mann,
"des Weswolfs"- Genitiv sodann,
"dem Wemwolf" - Dativ, wie man's nennt,
"den Wenwolf" - damit hat's ein End.'

Dem Werwolf schmeichelten die Fälle,
er rollte seine Augenbälle.
Indessen, bat er, füge doch
zur Einzahl auch die Mehrzahl noch!

Der Dorfschulmeister aber mußte
gestehn, daß er von ihr nichts wußte.
Zwar Wölfe gäb's in großer Schar,
doch "Wer" gäb's nur im Singular.

Der Wolf erhob sich tränenblind -
er hatte ja doch Weib und Kind!!
Doch da er kein Gelehrter eben,
so schied er dankend und ergeben.

Friday 14 February 2014

Ask Andronica!

Advice from a Glamour Werewolf on living the lycanthropic lifestyle

I’m happy to announce today’s launch of my new advice column on Werewolf-News.com. For those not familiar with it, Werewolf News is “the web’s premiere source of lycanthropy-related news, reviews and editorial blather”, to quote its formidable but friendly webmaster, Andrew Quinton, himself a human.

Indeed, for the werewolf community (and those humans who desperately wish they were one of us), Mr Quinton’s website is the essential source of information, and his Twitter feed (@werewolfnews) provides up-to-the-minute newsflashes on all matters lycanthropic.

Thus I was delighted when Andrew Quinton recently asked me if I would be interested in writing a regular column, where werewolves and humans alike can seek guidance on dealing with the common problems of everyday lycanthropic living. 

In the time-honoured tradition of ‘Dear Abby’, I give counsel to the confused and distraught.  Whether it’s about relationships (safe sex with werewolves), etiquette (table manners when eating humans), or even medical problems (premature transformation), many centuries of experience have given me insights on nearly every topic. 

No question is too tough, so ask away! Submit your queries to http://Werewolf-News.com/askandronica/

Thursday 13 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day Massacre!

This is a very special day for me, as it marks the 265th anniversary of the infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre in London, which I committed on this date in 1749. In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s the original newspaper clipping from the London Evening Post:

On the night of Tuesday, the Fourteenth of February, there took place in a Publick-House near-by to Ludgate a most frightful Murder, in which nine Persons were brutally massacred and dismembered. Due to the horrific Nature of this Crime, the Magistrate of Westminster, the Honourable Henry Fielding, has stated his intention to conduct an Investigation personally.

Attention was called to the Incident by a Customer of the aforesaid Establishment, who upon waking from his Drunkenness, discover’d the Head of the Tavern-Keeper upon the floor. Following a Trail of Blood to the rear of the House and into the Cellar, he came upon the Corpses of his Fellowes, rent entirely asunder. Additionally, he reported that the Private Parts of these unfortunate Men had been piled in the centre of the Cellar-floor ‘like so many Sausages in a Butcher’s shop’.

The Magistrate’s office have declined to comment on Details of the Incident, saying only that most of the Victims were indeed found in the Cellar, and that their Injuries appear to have been inflicted by an Animal, the Nature and Whereabouts of which can not be ascertained at present.

Readers interested in further particulars on this matter – especially regarding the subsequent investigation by the famous Henry Fielding – may refer to Chapter 14 (numbering entirely coincidental) of Night Music.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

"Night Music" now available!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Night Music, the first volume of my autobiography (series title Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf) is now available on the Amazon Kindle platform.  (Compatible with Kindle, Android, Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone).
The standard edition can be found here and the deluxe Illustrated Edition hereThe first four chapters (standard edition) may be downloaded free of charge from Amazon.
Night Music covers the period from 1748 to 1752, and includes accounts of my initial experiences with lycanthropy at home in Wales, and my subsequent encounters in London with both the Sisterhood of the Wolf and our hereditary enemies, the males of our kind known as Apostates. I also tell of my relationships with the composer Handel and the statesman William Pitt, both of whom I counted among my friends and mentors, though neither knew anything of my true nature.

The publication of Night Music would not have been possible without the indefatigable efforts of my human friend and editor, Dr Brian Stewart, to whom I offer my heartfelt thanks. As readers of this blog already know, it was Brian who first suggested that I make my story public, and his critical eye in preparing the manuscript for publication has been most appreciated. His own contribution has been to add certain bits of historical information in the form of footnotes (including recommended recordings of the music mentioned), and to select eighteenth-century paintings and engravings relevant to the story for the Illustrated Edition. Needless to say, he has also negotiated the technical hurdles of making Night Music available on Amazon Kindle.

Brian was also kind enough to write the Amazon description text, which is couched somewhat in marketing-speak, but accurately captures the gist of my story:

The young Welsh duchess Andronica Llewellyn is a rebel – she reads Caesar, shoots pistols, and is not amused when her elders decide she is to marry some English nobleman for his money. When she wakes in the forest one morning, naked and covered with blood, Andronica realises that rebellion was only the beginning. Her beloved cousin Bronwyn is dead – decapitated and mauled by a wolf – and hunting parties are searching for the beast.

In her father's library, Andronica discovers a mysterious family history containing clues to the nature of her affliction, which seems to recur in the Llewellyn clan every few generations. According to the ancient chronicle, every previous victim of the curse was also named Andronica, and its appearance was associated with the arrival of a beautiful but enigmatic white-haired woman who became her lover.

As months pass and more innocents are killed, Andronica becomes desperate to find a cure for her condition. She consults all the scientific literature available in her time, but learns that the only 'treatment' suggested for lycanthropy is burning at the stake.

Finding no answers and unwilling to kill again, Andronica decides to end her life with a silver bullet. At the last moment, however, a letter arrives which changes everything. Andronica rushes outside to discover who left the message, and is told that it was delivered by a strange woman with snow-white hair.

Sent to London by her father to escape the horror at home, Andronica enters the world of finer society, where she entertains the nobility with her virtuosity at the harpsichord and studies music with the composer Handel. Through the instruction of her Aunt Margaret, a keeper of secrets and purveyor of information, Andronica learns how women can wield true power behind the scenes. With her intelligence and wit, she impresses the future Prime Minister, William Pitt, who engages her to spy on his political friends and enemies, including members of the Royal Family.

Dazzled by the glittering world of Georgian London, Andronica nearly forgets her affliction, but it soon reasserts itself with a vengeance and draws the attention of author and magistrate Henry Fielding, who suspects that she is not what she seems. His suspicions grow when Andronica's closest friend and secret lover is brutally murdered.

As she struggles to control her animal instincts and accept the dire consequences of her actions, Andronica faces even greater danger when she encounters a male of her species, Lieutenant-Colonel James Wolfe. The bloodthirsty Wolfe vows to destroy Andronica when she rejects his advances. This leads to a terrifying confrontation between male and female which is certain to end in death and destruction.

In this first volume of her autobiography, Andronica introduces us to the world inhabited by the Sisterhood of the Wolf, and we meet some of the characters who will accompany her subsequent adventures in the royal courts of Europe and on the battlefields of the Seven Years' War, both in Europe and America.

Readers are invited to address their questions to me in the form of comments to this blog or as e-mails to andronica.llewellyn@hotmail.com!


Friday 7 February 2014

Editors remarks on "Night Music" and "Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf"

Those of you who have been following Andronica’s blog may have wondered how a three-thousand-year-old werewolf came to have a human friend named Brian. Now that she has agreed to publish her life story and to accept my assistance in editing these memoirs, it seems appropriate that I should explain how we became acquainted.

Andronica Llewellyn first visited my family sometime in the late 1950s, when I was a small child. She claimed to be a distant relative of my maternal grandfather (who was Welsh), so we always called her Aunt Andronica. My parents accepted her quite readily and never questioned her identity, perhaps because she always brought gifts and told such entertaining stories about her adventures during the war, when she had been a spy for MI6 in France and Germany.

What I remembered most about Aunt Andronica – apart from the striking amber colour of her eyes – was her remarkable knowledge of history. Her expertise covered an extraordinary range of historical epochs and events, including ancient Britain and Rome, the Crusades, the Black Death in the fourteenth century, the Thirty Years’ War, the American and French Revolutions, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, both World Wars, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not only did she know the facts as any historian might, but she could also describe minutiae from everyday life with exceptional vividness.

Of all these periods, Andronica had a special emotional connection to the eighteenth century. She could talk for hours about the Seven Years’ War, the splendour of Dresden, the politics of William Pitt, the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, and even the enormous sexual appetite of Empress Catherine of Russia. Her countless anecdotes from the lives of famous people – Handel and Mozart, Frederick the Great and Maria Theresia, Thomas Jefferson and Marie Antoinette, to name a few – were always told in such lively detail that one could have sworn she had known them all personally.

Among her other talents, Aunt Andronica was an excellent harpsichordist, at a time when that instrument had not yet undergone its renaissance. During my teenage years, she frequently gave me phonograph recordings of eighteenth-century music and pointed out what the performers were doing right or (more often) wrong. Her favourite composer was Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose music she seemed to understand as if she had composed it herself. Because of her, I was inspired to play the harpsichord myself and to study musicology at university.

For all her vivacity and wit, however, there was something vaguely sad about Aunt Andronica. As far as we knew, she had never married – though with her great beauty she must have had countless suitors – and she always seemed if she didn’t quite belong here with the rest of us. My parents thought this might have been because Andronica spent so much time in India. In any case, her irregular visits gradually became fewer, and I finally lost track of her completely during my student years in the 1970s.

You may well imagine my surprise, therefore, when I received a telephone call from Andronica Llewellyn a few weeks before Christmas in 2008. By my reckoning, she must have been nearly ninety years old, and I supposed that she was in a nursing home somewhere. On the contrary, she said, her health was perfect and allowed her to travel extensively around the world. At present she was in Germany (where I now live), and wanted to visit me at my earliest convenience. We agreed that she should come the following Friday afternoon, the 12th of December.

When the bell rang at the appointed time, I opened the door and nearly fainted from the shock. Andronica Llewellyn had not aged in the slightest since I had seen her last and still did not appear to be a day over forty. After recovering my wits sufficiently, I invited her in.

"Night Music" available soon on Amazon Kindle

I had intended to publish the first volume of my autobiography, Memoirs of an Eighteenth Century Werewolf, some time ago. Unfortunately, MI6 had other plans and sent me to the godforsaken steppes of Central Asia looking for plutonium smugglers. That's the second hardship assignment in a row, after that bit with the drug lords in Mexico. I'm beginning to think that they are trying to force me into retirement.

Since there is not much night-life in Kazakhstan, I did manage to accomplish a fair amount of writing and was able to get everything nearly ready for publication. It just needed a little editorial magic from my human friend Brian. He has not been particularly well recently – humans are so fragile – so everything has taken longer than expected.  

“Night Music” – the title he chose for Volume 1 – is now in the works at Amazon, so it should be available soon for Kindle, Android, PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad! Keep watching this space.