Celebrating the supportive – one for Russell

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Today I want to take a post out from my busy schedule of pontification and celebrate someone really helpful.

I first got to know Russell Phillips through Durham University Treasure Trap, the live roleplay group I was part of at uni. Like any organisation full of young people who care about what they’re doing, DUTT was a club divided by deep ideological and personal rifts. In our case, these mostly boiled down to whether you thought roleplay was a nice addition to the serious business of drinking, or whether drinking was a nice addition to the serious business of roleplaying.

This stuff matters when you’re twenty.

Russell even has a natty line in hats
Russell even has a natty line in hats

Russell was almost unique in being universally liked. Sure, he didn’t come out on our late-night post-questing nightclub expeditions (I was part of the hard drinking party, proudly known as the Drunken Bums) but he was such a decent bloke that everyone liked him. I never heard a bad word spoken against the man, which was positively unique in a society so full of youth and strong opinions (or ignorance and vitriol, depending on how you feel about young people).

It’s a long time since my student days, and I haven’t seen much of Russell – his was one of many old faces I’d wave to once a year across a field full of orcs (I might not be a student but that doesn’t mean I’ve grown out of my hobbies). And then over the past year we stumbled across each other on social media. I was blogging about writing and publishing, while Russell was self-publishing books about military history. He started leaving interesting comments on my blog, offering useful suggestions and insights, and when I put up a post last week asking for self-publishing advice he sent me all sorts of useful guidance and links.

Russell is a top, top bloke. One of the things I love about the modern world is that you can reconnect with people in that way. And one of the things that I like about self-publishing is that it seems to be full of helpful people like Russell.

If you’re at all interested in military history then please check out Russell’s blog and books, which can be found at:


And thank you Russell for all your help!