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I joined BGO as, as it were, a refugee from a site called Palimpsest, I think in 2007. That site's moderators were a foursome of, I now realise, rather obnoxious people who vied with one another in arrogant pretentiousness. They inadvertently gave access to a secret thread of theirs entitled, as I recall, "Let's laugh at our members"... they equally inadvertently allowed me to makes copies of that thread before realising they'd made it available. And of course send them to those concerned, i.e. those (including of course myself) who had been gratuitously mocked and belittled.

BGO was very different, and I will again pay homage to its main moderator David, who regrettably departed this life a number of years ago, leaving us feeling unmoored, bereft and devastated.
David welcomed me and fellow Palimpsest "refugees" with open arms, figuratively speaking. I wish at this point to pay tribute to the way in which the other moderators managed to keep the site going. My fellow "refugees" faded away from BGO, although I have maintained intermittent contact with them via Facebook. I also then stepped away, but have returned recently, having wanted to rejoin the Poetic Wanderings thread.
BGO was homely, no-nonsense and down-to-earth, whereas on Palimpsest it seemed, and eventually became obvious, that one was being judged and found wanting.
I was saddened to learn of the demise of this site, and wish you all, once again, good luck in these uncertain times.

Best regards,
jfp (= John from Paris, which was originally an ID I invented on the spur of the moment, when I joined Palimpsest. I'm actually not FROM Paris at all, I'm from Yorkshire, but have lived IN Paris since 1985. I will thankfully be leaving Paris next year, when I retire.)
PS I hope Amner, Colyngbourne, John Self and whoever the fourth Palimpsest ayatollah/twat was somehow got their just deserts... They were very good at making enemies.

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I don't remember how I came to BGO but it was in 2009.  I had frequented a board called Big Readers and gotten into a fight (me? fight?) with all of the moderators at once - Apple sometimes of this board stuck up for me there -  and I decided to leave. They had made it plain that all they wanted was to be agreed with.  I said that if they succeeded the board would die, they did and so did the board.


I couldn't believe how friendly and fair everyone was/is here and here I stayed. The loss of David was a big blow and an irrevocable change to the atmosphere of the board was inevitable. I'm here all the time and will miss it greatly. It's been a joy to me over the years and I'm very sorry to see it go. 

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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Back at the end of 2004 I was involved in four book groups, 1 Real Life, and 3 Postal, so why I was looking for an online one is quite beyond me. However, I read of a website called Bookgroup.info, which listed bookgroups of various kinds located around the country. They gave me contact details for Book Group Online, which was just being created by Bill Matthews. 

I don't recall precisely when or how my inclusion in BGO came about  - I'm fairly sure the initial contact was in November 2004, and if I searched really hard I might possibly find the first email from Bill buried somewhere in the bowels of my computer - but my official join date is January 23rd 2005.


There weren't very many members back then, so I used to log in daily, and attempt to post an answer to every one of that day's posts to encourage more participation. Most of the members were Bill's family, friends or drinking buddies. Mad Dog and Glory was, I believe, Bill's father. Our youngest member and regular poster, nospacesallowed, then aged 11, and his 14 year old sister Harriet are Bill's nephew and niece.

 Other names, long absent from these boards, but remembered from the early days, are Just RY, Royal Rother, Deinonychus, and my Friend Jack.

 Lady Lazarus was a 2004 member, and Grammath joined in January 2005. Having 'met' on BGO, they eventually married, but sadly no longer participate here. As happened with Bill, the joys of family life  enticed them away.

 We also had real, published, author Tom Cox, known here as Top Cat, posting regularly here for a time, but I think he left after the first of our two periods offline.


 At a time when many online forums were already having trouble with trolling and other unpleasantness, it was a joy to be part of a community that treated the other members with kindness and respect. It was like that from the start, and we have endeavoured to keep it so. As has been said before much of that, in the heyday of BGO, was down to David, who was the epitome of fairmindedness and wisdom. Still sadly missed by all who were here during his time as administrator.


More memories to follow as they surface





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I joined in 2005, some 6 months after the birth of my second son. I became a stay at home mum in 2001 and began a degree with the OU. I was reading a lot of books at that point and wanted to chat about them. I think I saw something in The Observer about the forum and joined. I settled in quite quickly and loved my time here. I think I spent most of my days seeing to the kids, studying and having BGO open on my lap top all day. I made firm friends with David, and I’ll be honest, I have never really gotten over his loss. 

BGO was a hugely fun and friendly place to be. I felt, isolated at home with two wee ones, that I had a community, friends and companions that I could have a blether  with. I could talk about books and all manner of things and get book recommendations. The money this place cost me in those years! It really was a lifeline though. 

I remember the stramash JFP refers to over on the other site. I can laugh about it now, but it seemed so terribly dramatic and important at the time. I suppose though, at least BGO survived longer than the other site! 

Grammath and Lady Lazarus getting married and having a baby was a delight. I remember Adrian, he of the wicked wit down in New Zealand who stopped posting and I know me and David missed very much. Kim and Nick - Mr Hobgoblin to most, together down in Australia. The few people who joined just to stir up bother and sometimes I relished getting into an argument, other times I just ignored and watched from the sides! Megustaleer’s tales of cooking and baking from her idyllic house and garden. I always pictured meg in some English countryside idyll with birds tweeting and the air heavy with flowers.


I am sure I’ll have more to post...


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I also remember NZ Adrian, and thought about mentioning him in my previous post, but was not sure anyone else would remember him. He seemed to disappear without trace, all of a sudden. I still get intermittent news via Facebook from Kim/Calliope and Misterhobgoblin in Melbourne. Hazel, we never met for haggis and chips in Glasgow. Maybe one day - when I'm retired. Retirement (from teaching) is imminent, and a very big deal.
I think of Megustaleer as a wise, down-to-earth, no-nonsense, (grand)motherly and very English tutelary presence. I hope you're keeping well, Meg. I've never been sure where you are, but think it might be somewhere in the Midlands...?
I also keep in touch with Leyla in Glasgow. For all of its downside, it was through exchanges on Palimpsest, about fifteen years ago, that I arranged to meet up with her, Kim and Mister HG at the Edinburgh book festival. Mister HG was living in Edinburgh at the time, and we had a memorable evening, with a curry and lots of booze.

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i too remember Adrian, and his sterling work organising the Group Reads each month.

I often wonder, still, about his sudden disappearance with neither warning nor explanation. I hope it was just that his life was full of other things, and that he hated goodbyes, not that something untoward had happened to him.


 I also remember Flingo's work of organising the Children and Young Adult's forum. She is a fount of knowledge on children's literature, and during her five year absence was greatly missed. It was good to see her posting again a few times last year but, although I see that she logged in as recently as last month, she seems to have gone silent again.

 Claire is another who posted regularly at one time, and brought along he sister Hilary too (I think she introduced Hilary, not the other way round). Claire's long-standing contribution to BGO is The Poetry Chain, now called Poetic Wanderings, which she started way back in March 2005. I keep in irregular contact with her through her facebook page.


I too like to think of myself as wise, down-to-earth, no-nonsense, & grandmotherly, thank you jfp, but not sure about the rest of your description.  You will see my location underneath my avatar alongside this post.  For most of my time on BGO I was living in NW Essex, however I am a Brummie by birth, so I expect you picked up the Midland connection from things I have posted. 


Nellie also returned, but very briefly last year, aftet a five year absence. She said her robot dogs were still going strong. Squirls also, a brief return after a five year absence. I think Hazel must have sent out a  reminder email to some of our missing members last year.


Loving Hazel's picture if my idyllic life in (almost rural) Essex - but it wasn't quite like that. Big, damp, draughty old house in an overgrown wildernessof a garden. Admittedly with plenty of wildlife, so she is right about the birds tweeting. Sadly not so much tweeting here, mostly herring gulls squawking!


I will probably return to this thread in a day or so, as others' reminiscences nudge my memory into focus.


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Today I have been thinking about Momo. She was another who joined BGO in its first year. A German lady , living in the Netherlands, she was an avid reader and prolific poster. She spoke seven languages, including Esperanto, of which she was an enthusiastic proponent.

She suffered from debilitating migraines, and eventually decided she needed to limit her time on the internet, so gave up  all internet activity, including BGO,  other than her book blog. Every now and again I check to see if she is still writing her blog, and am happy to say she is still reading and posting about books. Just sad that she has not returned here


And that has reminded me that we haven't seen anything from momac since before Christmas. She doesn't seem to have posted on the BGO Facebookpage yet this year. Has anyone heard from her in the last three months?  Dave, her husband, had been in hospital following a fall, but was back at home when she posted last.

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I love this thread...


I've just messaged momac.  She had a "little stroke" and has recovered and moved to a nice retirement home.  I'm hoping she will join us wherever we go.

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Thanks tagesmann. I had emailed her on the address she signed up to BGO with, but she may not be using that address now.

It's good to know she is on the road to recovery and, presumably, now being in the nice retirement home has fewer anxieties about Dave. 

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I was a bit premature there. Maureen and Dave have sold their house and are now looking for the right retirement home. I hope they find it soon.

If you are on Facebook momac  is Maureen McKee. You will recognise her profile picture.

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Thank you Megustaleer for the message to let me know BGO is closing down.  It’s been a while since I was last here, but I have fond memories of the early days.  I was always more of a lurker than a contributor, but enjoyed the chat.  I will try and find the FB group.


edited to add, just noticed tagesmann has a link in his post above 👍

Edited by Starry
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