About the authorOr: Who does this guy think they are, anyway?

A satyr relaxes in a field of grass, playing with a bird.
A portrait of the author as a young faun.1

Ah, you’ve made it! I’ve gone by many names over the years, but for our purposes, you can call me Xanthe Tynehorne.2 I’m a Dutch citizen by birth, but for many years now i’ve lived shunted up against Hadrian’s wall in green and pleasant England.

In meatspace, i enjoy having a good walk, exploring and learning about my local area, and trying (and failing) to pick up new skills. (Sketching and gardening, presently.) On the cyber™, i enjoy hanging out with friends, lurking around local fora, and tending to this humble forest.

Whence the Tynehornes?

Hexham, Newcastle, and Ashington all lie in Northumberland, a county of England wedged right up north against the Scottish Border. In the Netherlands, Hoorn is to the north of Amsterdam; Utrecht is south of them both.
A map of the undermentioned places, to help you get orientated. (Poland sold separately.)
Two sailboats are parked in front of a row of quaint old Dutch buildings.
The old port of Hoorn. 🄍 Alf van Beem

The paternal branch of my family hail from the proud seafaring city of Hoorn, in North Holland. In the ’60s, it was designated by the government as an overflow town for those fleeing cramped and crowded Amsterdam3 — think like the new towns of Britain, but building on a preëxisting urban core — and my family took up the offer, bringing with them their belongings, talents, and accents. (Via surnames one can also trace the family history back to the province of Utrecht, but records are flaky, and in any case i feel no particular attraction to some random lord’s estate.)

I’m told i’ve got a bit of Polish and Gypsy in me, via my oma and opa, as well as a distant kinship with the mononymous Dutch singer Gordon.

Winding gear at a disused mine juts up into the sky.
Ashington’s disused Woodhorn colliery, now a museum. © Draco2008

The maternal branch of my family, meanwhile, have lived in the industrial heart of south-eastern North­um­ber­land for as long as anyone can remember; my grandfather was a coal miner before Thatcher shut it all down. My mum consciously affected an RP accent when raising me; nevertheless, Geordie words and Pitmaticisms have been clawing their way back to my tongue since secondary school.

That side of my family also count a fair few Jehovah’s Witnesses amongst their ranks. My mum, thank goodness, got out when she came of age; she and papa raised me fiercely secular. (More on that note later.)

Gender, or, why i enlisted in Tiresias’ army

Tiresias attacking the snakes.
I was bonked on the head with a caduceus at a young age.

Ah, yes, gender — that perpetual bugbear. The long and short of it is that i don’t particularly consider myself either male or female — i rather like to think that i combine the best aspects of both.

I once heard someone draw a difference between two types of androgyny. The stereotypical image of those of us who don’t consider ourselves male or female is that of the “negative” androgyne — a scrawny, trim-haired youngster who tries their darnedest not to look too strongly like either a man or a woman — but i would much rather present myself as the “positive” androgyne: a buxom, bearded she-bear who looks like one of each had a transporter accident.

As far as *hushed whispers* “The Surgery” is concerned, there have been significant advances in recent years that let someone have both sets of down-there bits. It’s a far cry from true Hermaphroditism4, and i probably wouldn’t want to take them in their current state, but who knows, maybe twenty or so years down the line…

An xkcd comic, riffing on ‘The Matrix’. In the first panel, Morpheus hands Neo the red pill and blue pill, saying ‘…or you take the red pill, and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes’. In the remaining panels, Neo crushes up the pills and snorts them.
In short: this XKCD comic is me, but the red pill is œstrogen and the blue pill is testosterone.

Faith (and other beliefs)

The crumbling ruins of a Roman bathhouse.
The remains of the Roman fort at Vindolanda, near Hexham. 🄍 Voice of Clam

I am a Pagan, holding faith in the Gods of old. My worship is primarily focussed on the the Hellenic pantheon, historically praised all the way from Britain to Bactria. As mentioned, i was raised an atheist, but as i grew older, i had a sneaking suspicion that there had to be something up there (or down there, as the case may be). I found the answers provided by the major monotheistic faiths to be utterly unsatisfying, but when i looked into polytheism, something in my head just clicked — it all made sense.

There’s no reason for me to bore you to death with my political beliefs. Suffice it to say that i think humans are, generally, nice, that people should be free to do whatever they ruddy well like so long as it isn’t hurting anyone, and that stubborn misanthropy and hatred should be stamped out wherever they rear their ugly head.

→ See also: What i believe, The Forest of Shrines

About the site

A computer from 2007 running Windows XP.
My first experiences on the internet were on a computer not too unlike this, running Win­dows XP. © Les Chatfield

I’m young enough that i’ve never known of a time without the internet. My dad was a big-shot network engineer; my mum used IRC chats and BBSes to escape her restrictive household — it was almost a given that they would give me near-unfettered internet access from far too young an age. It’s long lost now, but on that early edition of Internet Explorer, they’d set up for me a list of curated bookmarks; endless rabbit holes of twisty little passages and personal sites tailored to just my interests. That was where my love story with the world wide web began.

Many years later, in 2017, i started toying around on the free web host Neocities to get some respite from all the venom and vitriol of social media. The site lay dormant for years, until, suddenly, in the spring of 2020, everyone suddenly had a surprising amount of time stuck at home with bugger-all else to do: some people baked sourdough; i tended to my website. There have been redesigns, relocations, and renamings over the years, but i’ve kept The Satyrs’ Forest alive with activity ever since. Let’s hope it keeps up, aye?

Some of the biggest inspirations for this site are that of conlanger David J. Peterson, whose style i shamelessly took after for its first incarnation5, that of fellow Ho­ri­nees6 Jan van Steen­berg­en, and Gwern.net, which introduced me to sidenotes (the love of my life), those little icons next to external links, and good typography.

The fun part

The covers of my favourite albums and screenshots from my favourite films.
Bonus answers: Proust’s questionnaire

In the late nineteenth century, the French author Marcel Proust answered a series of questions from an old-fashioned English confession album; since then, the questions have often been used as a subject for interviews. Here are my answers to them.

  • Your favourite virtue. — The ability to admit to one’s own mistakes.
  • Your favourite qualities in a man. — The embracement of his feminine side.
  • Your favourite qualities in a woman. — The embracement of her masculine side.
  • Your favourite occupation. — A good walk.
  • Your chief characteristic. — I couldn’t possibly comment.
  • Your idea of happiness. — A nice sit down by the fireplace in a musty old room full of books, music albums, and worn paintings, with a view overlooking a pool in the countryside. That’s the life right there.
  • Your idea of misery. — Receiving complaints by one’s own relatives for all eternity.
  • Your favourite colour and flower. — Lavender.
  • If not yourself, who would you be? — Who is to say that i am myself?
  • Where would you like to live? — A large, secluded home, out in the countryside, but not so far out that it becomes a pain to visit the big city. Probably England, rather than the Netherlands, if only for the sheer diversity of scenery. (We’ve got rainforests , yi kna!)
  • Your favourite prose authors. — Terry Pratchett. Robert Macfarlane.
  • Your favourite poets. — William Blake. Maybe. It’s 2022, and poetry doesn’t particularly rank in the list of art forms enjoyed by the average person.
  • Your favourite painters and composers. — Maxfield Parrish. Francisco Goya. Ken Currie. Ilya Repin. Thom Yorke&Jonny Greenwood. Wes Anderson, if one is willing to include painters of the screen.
  • Your favourite heroes in real life.Julian the Apostate, the last pagan emperor of Rome. Olaudah Equiano, the abolitionist and author who escaped from slavery. Willem Arondeus, the gay Dutch resistance fighter whose last words were “tell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak”. Norman Borlaug, the agriculturist whose introduction of high-yield, disease-resistant wheats saved billions from starvation.
  • Your favourite heroines in real life.Mary Wollstonecraft, the writer and philosopher considered one of the first feminists. Marie Curie, the scientist who discovered and would perish at the hands of radioactivity.
  • Your favourite heroes in fiction. — The Dude. Waymond Wang.
  • Your favourite heroines in fiction. — Juliet. Trinity.
  • Your favourite food and drink. — I could demolish a naan bread stuffed with döner kebab any day of the week. For a drink, sickly-sweet milk bubble tea.
  • Your favourite names. — Other than my own: Aurora. Dionis. Floriaan. Geoffrey. IJsbrand. Dick van Dyke. As a surname, Urquhart.
  • Your pet aversion. — Those who plug their ears at the sound of another's thought. Also, small, loud dogs.
  • What characters in history do you most dislike.Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi regime’s chief propagandist. Lavrentiy Beria, the genocidal head of Stalin’s secret police. Enoch Powell, the openly racist arch-Tory who became infamous for his anti-immigration “rivers of blood” speech in 1968. Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative activist who kneecapped women’s rights in the United States.
  • What is your present state of mind. — Wouldn’t you like to know?
  • For what fault have you most toleration? — Foolishness.
  • Your favourite motto. — “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Contact the webmixter

If you want to get in touch, please send an email to webmixter at satyrs dot ee yew. Unless you’re an arsehole or a spambot, i’ll try to respond, promise!

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