David Conway is a 59+ year old Londoner who is still trying to discover what he will be when he grows up. He has worked as a stockbroker, an industrialist, a management consultant (whatever that is), and a local politician, (but not necessarily all at the same time); most recently he has been a project manager for the European Commission in the former Soviet Union.
Whilst based in Kaliningrad, Russia, he first came across Findagrave surfing the net looking for information on his great hero, the American composer Charles Ives. The grave of the philosopher Kant at Kaliningrad was his first contribution. (You can also see his shot of the eponymous Kalinin's grave in Moscow).
While based in Brussels, he used his time to snap some famous dead Belgians (yes, there are some!).
David is constantly surprised and gratified by enquiries about (and corrections to) his finds from all over the world. His own favourites amongst his pics are Queen Boadicea (England), Jef Dillen (Belgium), the Monument to the Charge of the Light Brigade (Ukraine), the Vilna Gaon (Lithuania), the tragic pioneer of aviation, Robert Cadman (England), Nikolai Petrovich Starostin (Russia) and Hodge the Cat (England).
David urges all visitors to Find-A-Grave to consult the wonderful 'Thanatopsis' which, apart from being the first great American poem, gives a philosophical context for the site. (Many thanks to Cyndie for introducing me to it). To quote from David's own little book ('Gone Before', Edmonton, UK, 2000) 'If Find-A-Grave were taken to its maximum logical (but alas impractical) extension, we should have a complete implicit history of mankind'.
He also recommends the excellent book 'Crowds and Power' by Elias Canettti. He lent out his copy of this book some time ago, and therefore cannot give an exact quote, but it contains an essay on why we like visiting cemeteries. It concludes that the greatest satisfaction we get is to be still standing whilst thousands around us are lying down - we have beaten the crowd (so far).
David gave up full-time work for a while in order to engage in the more serious activity of a research degree in musical history. However having obtained this, he is presently working on a development aid project in Kiev, Ukraine. When not visiting cemeteries his pastimes include opera, the piano, book collecting and wasting time on Wikipedia. He is tolerated by his family and a (very) few friends.
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