Friday, August 22, 2008

Repeating history

Have you ever met a member of a historical re-enactment society? These peculiar people often staged their events on the same site that our circus performed. I remember a fellow in medieval garb arriving on the scene as we were departing from a venue in
Sussex. The gourds hanging from his belt suggested he was an apothecary of sorts.

“Got any contraceptive potions, mate?” asked one of our female employees facetiously.

He responded to this quip by remaining resolutely in character. “The venerable Longworm has written that a woman who swallows a bee will never again conceive from man or demon,” he declared.

The girl tittered and I walked over to have a chat.

“I see you are a graduate of the Catweazle school of medicine,” I said. “Is it true that a woman who swallows a goldfish will give birth to a mermaid, or possibly a fish-faced goblin?”

“Those are the words of Old Mother Muckton, the Fishwife of Fuckton,” he replied. “Last Michaelmas we put her in stocks and pelted her with parsnips for her false tongue.”

“In that case I am indebted to you for refuting her bogus theories,” I said. “What brings you here, good Sir? Is a battle in the offing?”

“Your premonition is true, O wise and wondrous ape! The Bastard of Normandy has arrived at Hastings with his ignoble thanes to ravage our Saxon kingdom with shafts of iron! As we speak, our Noble King Harold makes haste from the north to confront the devilish intruder with an army of rampaging knights and lanky pikemen! Godspeed to the brave protectors of England’s honour!”

“Godspeed indeed!” I agreed. “Were it not for another pressing engagement, I would gladly assist in England’s defence. Send my regards to King Harold and advise him to put on a pair of extra thick goggles before the battle. Good day, physician – I fear that your services will be much in demand!”

It was actually a pleasant surprise to meet a medieval re-enactor, because Britain’s most popular historical role models are undoubtedly the Romans. I put it down to their soldiers’ gear – the light functional armour, the short stabbing sword, the trouserless tunic that permits air to circulate in the nether regions. It is for good reason that Roman men were famed for having the least sweaty scrotums in the ancient world. Roman re-enactors never seem to worry about their javelins going astray on a windy day. You can tell from their faces that they’re having a ball.

We shouldn’t forget the women, of course. Allowing them to be Roman soldiers would be ahistorical, but they can fight against them if they’re butch enough to be British and don’t mind acting in simulated rape scenes. Playing a Roman woman is more suited to the domestic goddess type who prefers to stay in the villa and recreate authentic dishes. The historical sources indicate that the mainstay of Roman cuisine was a fishy sauce in which they dipped their bread and marinated their meat – salsus vaginus as they called it.

But condiments notwithstanding, the best way to spice-up the Roman scene would be to muster an army of druid impersonators. Those mystical wizards made their last stand on the island on Anglesey, spooking the legionaries with their hideous howling curses. The campaign against them provided valuable lessons to all future conquerors of Britain. In the words of Suetonius Paulinus: “To subdue Britannia one must build roads and temples, encourage commerce and crack down hard on the Welsh.” Wales was and remains the exposed groin of Britain – he who holds it in his grasp has the nation by the vitals.

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Not sure about the accents, but I do like a mediaevel costume. I won the prize at a Mediaeval Festival dressed as a queen. I worked that wimple (sp?)
So is this what you do when you're not blogging?
You were more tactful than I would have been, brave Sir Bananas. I fear I'd have told this Blackadder reject: "My wife's a qualified nurse, sonny; she says stuff like 'stick your tongue out' or 'cough' or 'does this hurt?', rather than 'fain, tis verify the dreaded mumblewort that has accursed thee', and she gives them penicilin and stuff and makes them better!"

(Sorry, I haven't quite grasped the point of all this, have I).

Good point about the Romans and the Welsh though.
The young assistant chef at Cafe C is a re enactment enthusiast as I found out to my horror while doing a massive pile of washing up. He blethered on for hours while I was trapped at the sink . He had a rather cool re enactment T shirt with the legen ' I'm to Saxon for my shirt' .... How cool is that
where are these shafts of iron of which he spoke?
When I saw the picture at the top, I thought you were going to hypothesis about the formative role of spanking in the rise of the British Empire. A mouthwatering prospect most severely dashed.
Misssy: You've done a fair bit of dressing up in your time. Do you think you'd be a passable Boudicca?

17 aliases: Are you talking to me, Sirrah? When I'm not blogging I chase baboons. I no longer perform for the masses.

Gadjo: I wish you'd been there to tick him off, as he wouldn't have believed I came from a medical family. Do you remember Catweazle then?

Beast: Being a Saxon is very PC isn't it? Everyone's a victim these days. Why don't you tell him to fuck off back to Saxony?

Nursemyra: They found their targets long ago, Nursie.

Sirtweed: The women's clothes are clearly from the pre-imperial era. Not so sure about the man, but he symbolises the rape of England by Norman invaders.
Foresooth, tis a blog worthy of praise. Well, I like it.

Do you, perchance, possess one of those damn handy RSS type things? I, for one, would find this greatly to my liking.

Oh, and are you in anyway related to that other eloquently spoken gorilla, Gerald?
delightful gorilla...we had a group of re-enactors who lived down the street...they would go in their front yard and have play fights with their wooden swords (for practice of course) and would build the scenery and paint it as well in the driveway...the kids all loved it and would sit on the curb for hours just watching the spectacle of it all...much better than a tv show to be sure...
The Bastard of Normandy has arrived at Hastings with his ignoble thanes to ravage our Saxon kingdom with shafts of iron!

I've always maintained that reason William was called "The Bastard" was because he left the French cookbook back Caen, thereby dooming us Anglo-Saxons to a lifetime of boiled beef.

As for reanactors, I'd be partial to someone playing the role of Boadicea -- nothing like topless women with swords.

I feel that I must confess. I too was once a re-enactor. I was with a group called the Lion Rampant but I never got to fight in public. I didn't even roar much.

Next time... :-)
...the kids all loved it and would sit on the curb for hours just watching the spectacle of it all...much better than a tv show to be sure...

Ah, that's nice, I never thought about it that way. I apologise unreservedly for calling your friend a "Blackadder reject". May all re-enactors continue to enjoy their harmless pastime and may all war be a thing of the past.
> Those are the words of Old Mother Muckton, the Fishwife of Fuckton,”
When I reached the end of the sentence, I suddenly noticed the rhyme, and laughed out loud ;-)

A post with plenty of puns, gorilla... :)
GB your a smooth operator, greetings from the zoo.
I thought the ranks of medieval armies were filled with plucky young women disguised as plucky young boys who longed to be near their also plucky and young-soldier-loves.

In fact, I've heard it said, that the side with most male impersonators usually won.
Famulus: Greetings to you, Sir. I believe this blog does have an RSS feed, which you can access upon adding the URL address to your reader. Gerald and I are distant cousins - as indeed we all are.

Daisy: Yes, they have such enthusiasm about what they do.

Randall: I believe 'Boudicca' was her correct name and 'Boadicea' was an unfortunate spelling mistake. Her red hair was impressive, but I'm not sure about the rest of her. I would rather see a gladiatrix in action.

Gadjo: I was surprised you weren't a re-enactor yourself. There's plenty of interesting history in your part of the world. Or are the wounds still sore?

Eve: It's the next best thing to giving you a tickle!

Ms Bananasfk: Thank you, madam. 'Hairy yet smooth' is my new motto.

Sam: Didn't they become squires of the knights they were in love with? That's what happens in the movies anyway. Out of the question in the Roman army.
Gorilla Bananas certainly does get around....Cow would never have guessed the Congo home was visited by re-enactors as well as the circus.

Now if only the man serving chips in a skimpy costume would happen by, Gorilla could sleep content in the knowledge he had truly seen all of the world.

Thank you for the public service warning about Wales being "the exposed groin of Britain." Canceling my trip as I don't need to see that.
GB, I stand corrected. Evidently my teachers were staring at her boobs in the photos instead of the "Hello, My Name Is" name tag.

My apologies, but I am a Colonial.

Here, here! Those renaissance faires are full of krap; not the least of which are the food vendors hawking a variety of modern concoctions with wacky old-time titles - As I understand it, frozen chocolate covered bananas or as they were originally named, 'Ye Olde Mud Slathered Frosty Peckers' reached the height of renaissance popularity following the year 1589 when Queen Elizabeth I scandalized the court by asking Sir Walter Raleigh, "Is that a chocolate-covered banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Shortly thereafter these frozen-treats-on-a-stick would be sold at all the major public floggings. I noticed several men hungrily sucking on these tasty treats (deep throating them even) while watching the belly dancers at the last faire I attended.. So... gay (that's the word I was looking for). =)
I'm only a re-enactor in the sense that I tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Any re-enactment in this part of the world would have to take the form of massacre, cultural subjugation, and deportion of vasts numbers of the population. I fear this may be beyond even the brave souls of The Sealed Knot.
I think the fellow at the top with his pants down is a medieval parsnip sizer. If the fucker yelps, the parsnip must be too big and woody, and is given to the livestock.

It was quite high tech for it's day.
Richard Burton always looked happy swishing around in his Roman skirt in Cleopatra. I expect he went Commando.
Ms Cow It happened in my circus days, Ms Cow, before I retired to the Congo.

XL: Don't be so hasty, there is supposedly a lot of nice scenery on that groin.

Lucy: The damn parsnip is hidden from view!

Randall: I think the name was mis-copied centuries ago by some monkish fellow, so it's not your teacher's fault.

Static: The frosty pecker doesn't sound like an authentic medieval dish to me. People should be more careful about what they swallow.

Gadjo: William I committed similar outrages in the north of England but those ancient wounds are no longer raw. Surely Romania ought to have a Roman re-enactment scene if any country does?

Pi: The skirt may have been Roman, but the equipment was Welsh.
Ahh, god bless the anachronistic. Our lives would not be complete without this mob of weirdos.
people who do historical reenactments make me sad. i'm not sure why. just the other day the Missus and I passed some uber dorks "sword" fighting in cheap ass medieval mock-ups on a 103 degree day. it was all i could do not to have them all kidnapped and sterilized.

and no, i don't think that makes me a bad person.
I love it when people can play along with situations. "Contraceptive potions?" Good stuff.
Dang! It took me a while to realize that I was reading reerections instead of reenactments.

Maybe the picture at the top is responsible for such?

You're right, Romanians are endlessly proud of their Roman (and their Dacian - pre-Roman) heritage and they might be induced to re-enact the battles between those two great peoples. It's the open wound with the Hungarians that hasn't yet received "closure". (They could also re-enact their struggles with the Turks, but that might necessitate an unwelcome amount of sodomy).
I think historical enactors are at least a cut above those guys who collect war memoribilia or put together model airplanes. But this still strikes me as a luxury that only the rich and idle can afford. Personally, I'd rather blog.
Ahhhhh, we in Wales feel all important like now...innit?
... oh wow, a veritable buffet of double entendrés (MAN I hope I spelled that correctly!) and tasty Roman man-skirt visuals.... and is hot as usual fuck over here, so this complements my Sunday afternoon cold shower perfectly.
-- oh and that top photo...yeah, I'd say the Brits have the upper hand over us Yanks' average Renaissance Fair and Civil War re-enactor.
I am in an historical reenactment society based on the Korean war... its a bit frustrating.
Zuba: I give them credit for being harmless.

Kara: I'd cast you as the wife of a barbarian chieftain. You might be made for the part.

Chris: Welcome, Sir. In those days there were potions for just about everything.

Nude King: Can an arse-whipping give a man an erection? I really don't know.

Gadjo: The Turkish event might be a crowd puller. Vlad the Impaler meets Quentin Crisp.

Mary: I believe some re-enactors make a living from tourists. Chester is the place for Roman specialists.

Tickersoid: Did you ever doubt it?

Letty: The American Civil War doesn't sound nearly as much fun at cowboys, whores, Mexican bandits and senoritas. How would you like to have men drawing pistols for your honour?

Mutley: Who plays Hotlips?
Britain’s most popular historical role models are undoubtedly the Romans.
All loads lead to Rome.
Vlad the Impaler meets Quentin Crisp

Ha! A fascinating if uncomfortable idea; and also the least likely filmscript ever to be accepted a Hollywood producer! (Although if it were it would probably have to be a musical).
I never really saw the point. I already wear lots of leather and speak is a slightly archaic manner.
A shame that Boyo isn't around. He has much to say, as usual, about Anglesey and its role in what he calls the "repeated Welsh defeats of the Roman Empire".

I recall from his employment file that Gyppo Byard is a re-enactor of various episodes of the English Civil War.

A Mr Medvedev of the Kremlin, Moscow, has recently set up a Russian Civil War re-enactment society. Perhaps you could all join.
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It's been, like, forever since the last time I was pelted with parsnips.

But Christmas is coming. ~wink~
Joe: A new pun!

Gadjo: You could play their interpretor. What a challenge it would be to translate their idioms of speech!

Kyknoord: You'd have to learn the sword-work as well.

Mrs Boyo: To be fair to Boyo, he's never shown any sympathy for druids. Re-enacting the Russian civil war is sheer masochism!

Kate: Hello Kate! I don't take the pictures myself so I can't vouch for their historical accuracy. Are you really half Welsh? You should introduce yourself to Mrs Boyo and her husband.

Bekbek: Hello Bekbek! I return your wink with a smack of the lips!
Hello Gorilla Bananas - liking your blog very much!
Hello Scarlet-Blue - I'm glad to hear it!
*Makes note that Boadicea would be a good subject for an HNT...* :)
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