Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Back in the SCA

Yesterday I went back home to the Barony of the Flaming Gryphon and took up again my place in the Middle Kingdom. It's not a bad place, really. But while the demo on Labor Day was all about seeing my friends again and seeing people in the barony, Harvest Day was a rather rude reintroduction to the SCA as big deal.

I last went to Harvest Day when it was just a little fall picnic for members of the barony, with a little bit of emphasis on trying to recruit people into trying other activities in the arts and sciences or fighting. But now it's a huge frickin' camping event, with at least a hundred fighters whacking away at each other and what looked like at least thirty archers firing away at the targets. The place was crawling with nobility. It looked like Little Pennsic.

All my old friends were busy or hard to find, which is natural at a big event for a barony. I really should've found out whether Feast needed any random scullions, but I was too tired and hot to do much of anything besides sit around and talk with Nancy and Tucker's Horde friends. Hanging with the Horde is always educational, though. They're nice folks.

The bardic circle was really more of a concert by a group called Fintan (which I've never heard of, not that that means anything) and part of Drea's band (or "consort", since they play some early music) Musica Subterranea, which was news to me also. I have been away for a loooooong time, you see, except for Pennsics. (Insert comparison of Pennsic Scadians to Easter/Christmas Christians here.) We only spent a few minutes at the bardic, since we weren't in the mood for a concert. Instead we went to the hafla (Middle Eastern dance/storytelling circle) and had a great time. The dancers were either very good and/or having a great time, which is nice to see. Also, non-Scadians don't normally get to see male Middle Eastern dance, but I always find it enjoyable when I do.... :)

What I want to do is work on studying more medieval poetry and writing more of my own in the old forms. I'm a relatively decent poet, but very dissatisfied with my own efforts. I'd also like to find a way -- God only knows how -- to mend the severe fracture between early music (high culture and played only in the daytime or for dances) and the music Scadians actually make (filk, folk, and Celtic music). It would also be nice if more of the Scadians interested in Middle Eastern music and dance would actually perform early or classical music forms from the Middle East.

I don't want to drive out the other stuff (Me? Against filk? Never!); but I do think medieval music ought to be more popular in an organization dedicated to the study of the Middle Ages. (Duh.) I don't think lectures are the way to do it. Finding fun, highly rhythmic medieval songs and performing them in a high energy way is far more likely to be successful, especially if I can keep myself from getting snooty about what I'm up to. So that's my Evil Plan of Known World Domination and Subversion. I wonder if it will work?

I wonder if I've been hanging around the Horde too much?

Yesterday Belongs to Me

Since Harvest Day took place close to Yellow Springs, Tucker, Nancy and I were obliged to visit Dark Star. For those not privileged to have visited, it is one of the best stores in the US for comics and used books. (So's Bookery Fantasy in Fairborn, actually. Well, for comics. The used books have kinda gone by the wayside.)

I had to buy the first issue of the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Pass up the adventures of Mina Harker, Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, and the rest? I think not. I was pleased to see that Alan Moore continues to be a genius. I loyally bought Ruse, despite the fact that Mark Waid is no longer writing it. (Noooo!) As long as there are snarky Victorian detectives with feisty partners and/or assistants, I am there. Particularly with the meta-mysteries of Ruse's world.

I also got caught up with Girl Genius, Phil and Kaja Foglio's chronicle of mad scientists in a steam-powered alternate world. Especially since I finally caught on that Bill and Barry Heterodyne were inspired by Bill Higgins and Barry Gehm and their famous "Bill and Barry Show". IIRC, one of them was once called by their kid's teacher because she had written in an essay about "What I Did Last Summer" that she went out to her uncle's house, fired off model rockets and explosives, and helped Dad and his friend destroy Twinkies for science. Perhaps the child should be getting some counseling for these horrible destructive fantasies. Bill or Barry then explained that in fact they had done exactly these things, plus a few more that the kid had forgotten. :)

So: three comics. None of them include superheroes. All of them are Victorian alternate universes. Yes, I am a sad fan of Victorian pop culture!


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