Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

 

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Storytelling is… #10 The Links

LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors – My most viewed blog.

A modern continuation of the Viking mythos, I scribble, artists from all over the world replace my images – The Hammer FliesOski and the AmuletThe Horned God and the Wild Hunt

Facts and Fiction storytelling magazine – I am grateful for so much from this by post magazine – in particular the Storytelling is.. poem is published there – The comic strip too.

I cannot wait to get to this amazing festival to perform…NHhorizontalheadline

http://hostfest.com/ – https://www.hostfest.com/experience/viking-village/

I am also looking forward to going on from there to University of Wisconsin Green Bay where I will be lecturing, running workshops and storytelling in their Viking longhouse. https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/

I have written prose poems and travelogue pieces as Skald to the Chieftain  click here for the beginning of the series and then click ‘Next in the current series’ on each of the 26 blogs on the topic!  The start of the skaldic writing links

I was commissioned to create an ‘It happened to me’ performance for school children attending Cliffords Tower on the effects of the Normans. Click here to enjoy the blog which is written in the style it was performed.

Under the wing of Viking Comics Inc. comes the quirky series OldMan Comics, here is a link to one of those where I actually change the course of the battle at Hastings, (oooops sorry OldMan does).

I actually am Hobb the Pig-man, originally created for a commission for Barley Hall in York ‘he’ tells tales from a medieval point of view. ‘He’ has also worked on many projects for Scarborough’s Create and here is a project created for the Fossil Festival. Fossils? Yes cos it is Hobb. Hobb the Pig-man, he has also been Hobb the Night-guard and here he is as Hobb the plough boy.

A big thank you to actor Graham Scarisbrick for voicing this piece from my, soon to be released, audio play – The Boat Rises – Click below to hear A Viking Trojan Horse…

 

 

 

Actor Donna Jones, (for those of you who know her, aka Donna Kitching), voices here, the possibly, first ever documentation of a UFO encounter, (of the third kind), in a six-thousand-year-old folk tale; The Bamboo Babe.

 

 

 

 

One of the most interesting jobs I’ve been given was to be paid to sit in pubs listening to people telling me stories. Hundreds of fascinating stories came from the experience, you can read them here.

The main tool I used to stimulate anecdotes was a set of prompt cards. You can see those prompts here.

I am always pleased to be able to work with Alda and to promote her music. Here is a link to her single A Real Good Time.

And of course her sister’s company SigRun Viking Art & Design.

The three of us together produced Alda’s Rock Opera Gods Bless Ya!

For my multinational stories I reduce a popular story to a few lines so those of many countries can help tell the sagas in a nutshell.

One of the roles of the Skald is to host Opening Ceremonies.

 

The Series…

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 3 Being Skaldic

 

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

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Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

You are a storyteller of great renown – it has been posited and it will be so

(If anyone can think of a way of describing my pontifications I would love to hear.)

There are proud moments though.

(You should strive to posit so, it may even be an expected role of the storyteller.)

Think.

Embrace.

Story.

Proud moments yes.

Odin was a giant.

He sought power.

He was Borrsson.

The All-father thing. It is all timeless and mixed up. This is the gods, they can be from whenever they wish.

One of the Vanir wasn’t even born when he turned up at the God-swap with the Aesir.

These are the things which I think in the dark of the night and these are the things I fit into my stories. Think of things for yourself, these are your things.

Those proud moments.

There on the tee vee is a pal of mine. He is telling the world of how his team of archaeologists have definitely recovered the bodies of Roman-age York-based gladiators. Next thing I know he is calling ‘hi’ across the street and I am going to him to thank him for a great presentation. They are hoping to find the arena so I commented that many Roman features were still around when the Vikings arrived; they commented on the roads, they will have utilised bathhouses and a temple as a palace. If there had been an arena they would have used it as their all-ting (circular government). He looked really excited at this and said when they find it the first thing he is going to do is look for Viking-age items.

Another archaeologist friend was very interested in my thoughts on Lindisfarne. I had picked up a tourist guide and saw it mention the 1500 Scottish Border Report which stated there was a large hidden natural harbour which could house a whole fleet as it prepares to invade. I pointed out that if it could hold ships then it could hold long ships and perhaps the Vikings hadn’t just raided the monastery they had set up camp there to do raids of the mainland. The next thing I know my friend has promoted a talk on a whole new look at the Vikings on Lindisfarne.

Proud moments yes, new lines of thinking too.

Adaptability is important. Places and events want storytellers. They have a theme or a period of time. You get some strange requests. So one needs to put stories and elements of stories together. A fitting set list.

The composite – the gathering of the information and the melding into one tale.

This can be a string of known tales but once you have researched the topic (within your own know how as well as in your sources) you may well have a collection of snippets and so. Folklore, history, characters. The most common way I weave these together is in an ‘It happened to me’ style. This works well in performance and allows one to ‘hide’ behind a persona. It is easier to act things out if you are a character.

You will need a fitting costume however.

Or at least a hat. Perhaps a few.

The sagas are bitty, the myths especially so. Partly due to being patched together from many sources and partly due to being frozen in time. I love a good index. Kevin Crossley-Holland comes to mind. His work on myths is a good source.

By working through all the references to a particular character or topic within the index you can piece together a fuller picture. Then you can see ways to tell. Stories leap out of your research and juxtapositioning. All new and always.

Vikings: We only have so much material and it is laid out in a certain way and we need to explore what we can do with it.

We can try and reach back to the teller of the time and try to gain their skills by studying thoughts of their motivations.

Let us look at their whole empire, the stories from it all are often hidden within the myths.

Let’s see what can be dug up.

I don’t sing. I don’t play an instrument (except the cave harp). I love to work with music. It changes everything. And with singers too. Melding my stories and prose poems in with their ballads etc.

In the Gods Bless Ya! show my stories set the scene for the songs of Alda Raven and I seek to fill in any gaps in the flow of narrative. I also perform her words (yes, I admit to the use of a script!). SigRun Viking Art & Design create the costumes and supply the models to be the goddesses, part of my job is to create a narrative to accompany them; to get the timing right and to direct their actions subtly.

Thus are stories dramatized.

We can take part together and play roles and allocate parts.

Re-enactment groups post up a story and say who would play which part? IE The priest was very angry about this and stormed off to the sea captain. The sea captain agreed a fee to ferry him and waved him aboard his ship bound for Normandy. You volunteer and you go along. Except for the odd word or two shouted from the field it is crowd scene acting with a narrator over the tannoy.

The ways the storyteller can be utilised, the roles expected, bring me to the idea of the skald.

I haven’t so much looked at the history of the Skald, as at the necessity of the Skald, by being one.

I have looked at skaldic verse with its beats and echoes and, of course, the kennings. It is believed that they were written in such a way you would not fully understand on the first listening, but then the Skald would tell the stories which are referred to in their poetry and then read the piece again. That way on the second listening the audience would understand.

As modern-day Skald to the Chieftain I have many roles, as we are seeking to echo Viking-age life as clearly as possible. I write praise poems for my chieftain and to mark occasions.

Practicality leads one towards storytelling and uses those skills as part of the needs of an occasion.

Leading parades with my chieftain. Opening festivals, markets and events. Collating other performers and introducing them along with course leaders etc. Acting as presenter at events and as entertainer at feasts.

Providing performance opportunities for members of courses and circles. Creating group dramas.

I find that circles draw in teenagers and young adults more than any other age which is very refreshing, they have seen the shows and want to experience more.

Getting others involved can be great fun. The walk by at opening ceremonies has caused great fun. As I talk of leather working classes a glamourous presentation of their produce parades back and forth in front of me. When I announced the timber has arrived for the new constructions two men with a plank hanging down between their legs groan their way across the arena. People clamour to take part with ideas of how to promote their activity. As I say, “Visitors are invited to take part in the Glima at their own risk,“ a huge wrestler whistles as he carries a ‘dead’ body.

The multi-national stories go down far better than I ever expected they would. I strip a saga down to a few dramatic sentences and then invite people of different nationalities or dialects to stand alongside me and translate one after the other. Great fun seeing them all acting it all out.

It is always an honour to be asked to take part in a ceremony; be it a naming day, a wedding, or an event blessing. I may accompany my chieftain’s activities with a relevant poem or tale. I might utilise the mead horn, statues, a mirror bowl, the chanter’s chair or the threads of the Norns.

One ancient tradition which must be respected is to do what the participants wish.

I am reminded of the words of Jane Harrison in Ancient Art and Ritual where she talks of the 1 2 3 of existence. The one being you. The two is you and the world and the three is: you perceiving the world, the world effecting you and you reacting to that. We are destined to perform ritual.

So, what is a Skald – imagine you are a chieftain – what do you want from me?

And so to my greatest powers; example and expectation. As simple as that, my work is inspiring and I have an expectation that you will be involved and develop.

You will grow and be

I am not an academic, I am not a reenactor, I not even a Viking if I am truthful; I am a storyteller. I seek to be true to the past I am part of and I seek to be very very good. I give you part of what I am and I ask you to be ready.

As we are drawing to the close of this section of the series I would remind of story points; you can’t do a story unless you have them. Slot them in a row in your mind and you are ready.

The next section of this series will be the feature on techniques. For groups and those intending to join one of my groups I would suggest the techniques section is looked upon as a hand out, a guide, to help empower you so you can help shape the sessions.

As for endings, look at some of ‘my’ endings. I lean towards throw away, I am not very strong on morals if you see what I mean and I find punch-line type endings take away from the believability.

As we draw to a close on the lecture and move on to the techniques section it is best to reiterate; I have always found that performance example inspires and encourages people.

To summarise my personal feelings, ‘Oh no I am going to have to learn all of this.’

 

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

drum n me

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

I became Skald to the Chieftain of Njardarheimr Viking Village in Gudvangen, Norway through a respect for my work.

Lively, moving, often light-hearted there is a depth which brings enlightenment through new thought.

Coming from performance and poetry with an independent approach can bring a refreshing new outlook.

We can all give to each other.

My storytelling developed as an interest following working in the position of Poet in Residence for York Archaeological Trust. The resultant storytelling was observed and appreciated leading to travels in Scandinavia.

I tell in far more forms that Viking, am known for bringing story alive in a unique way, in an interwoven performance.

An ability to nurture and develop bring a popularity in many fields from reminiscence to theatre. Above all known to be remarkable; never forgotten, always sought after and perpetually stimulating.

I hold courses, workshops, lectures and storytelling circles for whoever you are at whichever stage in life.

This series Storytelling is… has been created to be applied to currently planned work at Norsk Høstfest, North Dakota State Fairground, Minnesota and for University of Wisconsin Green Bay in their longhouse so is aimed primarily at those who wish to develop storytelling skills to present to their fellow Vikings; I am, though, ever adaptable.

Facts and anecdotes, also ancient things – I am a collector. Not of stamps, or of spotted things but of these such bits; couple these to whole chunks of experience and I just have to go out there and tell.

Everyone is a storyteller, knowing your audience / getting used to them makes one a whole lot better. Gaining an increased understanding of the oral tradition develops one even further.

Given time, each storyteller is marvellous. – Given a good platform each story lasts forever.

People who are quiet will enthral audiences. Those who have repertoires will thirst for more. Those who are entertainers will rise above themselves.

People who spend time in my groups are more able to storytell.

It is about knowing so let us pledge…

We shall be guided along our path. We shall increase the wealth levels of skill. We shall share. We shall grow.

We shall attend Adrian’s workshops, his atmospheric performances, his empowering story circles.

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

red hat

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Right let’s try this. An online show to represent what I will be performing, (though probably nothing like the actual show when the day comes)  when I am at Norsk Høstfest, North Dakota State Fairground, Minesota and University of Wisconsin Green Bay in their Viking house.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen

Or should I say, Jarls, Ammadottir Farm-women and, that person over there in the corner.

We are still sat around this fire, as others have. There is a Farm-leader (read that as ‘Village-leader’ because it means the same in our Viking culture). We are timeless.

Shadows cast behind us are larger versions and I shall dance in flickering unison in your mind’s eye while I seek to portray the essence of a relevant storytelling show.

Let us weave through the mysteries of Creation as we see the giant who would become a god, Odin Borrsson, climb that giant tree.

Asgard was to be the city he would build here as a base as he goes out among the worlds on quests.

Power upon power he did gather until he became a god, the god: The All-father god of what had come before and what was yet to come.

The followers of the All-father’s pantheon would come to be described by papal scholars as sea rogues – ‘pirates’ – and so it is that I drink a potion, imagine if you will the small bottle with a label,potionit said something about being a magical potion but I didn’t read it properly).

So, I got that there like that there and went like that there into that theregoblet like that there, there. Then that there is in that there like that there and I went like that there, there.that

Well, then I read it properly and it said, magical potion of forgetfulness. So now I can’t remember anything. So I don’t know how I am going to be able to tell you the story. I know, how about I tell you what bits I do recall and you help me remember the rest?

The details shall have to wait till we get together. I shall of course be asking if the voices I do sound right and if the captain really walks like this, then adding in your improvements as I go.

It may well be that group help is needed with the crowd scenes and with any treasure retrieval: Thus, interactive storytelling is unleashed.

We will encounter rare treasures indeed when we travel in our long ships. We will hear other stories:

Let us return from across the Red Sea with tales of three women who weave the threads of our lives.norns blue

We may enter a Yurta in Siberia where the hero the three year old golden boybabe journeys for nine years, and still at three year old, he defeats the nine fathom long necked hempen-haired witch-woman from the eleventh level.hempenHe is still three at the end of many adventures when he meets his true father the white stone.stoneslogan

In the bamboo lands we may hear a six thousand year old (first ever documented) report of a close encounter of the third kind.bamboo

Listen to the story here, (with many thanks to Donna Kitching for recording my words).

 

 

As British folklore, history and culture are woven together I become Hobb.

I am Hobb the pig-man, not that I have any pigs, but you know how you all have a pig in the house don’t you (there are always some nods) and they get in the way; so you push them outside (well they did in my-a-days). Well, I feel sorry for all the pigs so I have them round my house. I am always warm on a night, and I am never short of company. People don’t tend to like me very much, on account of the smell, but the pigs like me.

I take them for walks. On this one occasion one wanders off, ooooo the adventures as a result: I meet mermaids, marry a princess, get swallowed by a whale, get chased by trolls, live in the land of fairy, sail on a ghost ship, summon a unicorn when in dire need, save a king, and now, at the end, get my old job back as the pig man. – ‘Now, where’s that lost pig’…

I recall there are three bears, but I might need a lot of help…

I travel with St Patrick, all of his adventures are mine; we meet all the kings, we sail all the islands, the most chilling of all being the hall of the cat.

There is a great temple-like building in the middle of the island, at this point Patrick’s crew of twelve are still alive and we are out of water, so we must stop. There is no sign of a stream or waterfall but the occupants must survive somehow; we go in.

Gold shines at us. Gleaming. Glittering. All around the walls. The glass roof amplifies the light. All the walls are filled with alcove shelves and all the alcoves are filled with gold. Bizarre gold statues of ordinary everyday things. Oh how our eyes gleam, for some of us more than others: Gold.

Thoughts of thirst are replaced by greed.

Movement is noticed; an ordinary-sized house cat.

There is a circle of pillars around the room, all a little taller than a man, yet flat and empty; except the cat is leaping from pillar to pillar round and round.

A huge booming voice fills out brains, “Take any of the fruit from the middle of the room.” (We hadn’t noticed the fruit till now.) “Do not take any of the gold,” some of our number stepped towards the alcoves, “If you do so you will die.”

Three of our number carried on. They took gold. The rest of us took fruit. We left. We arrived at our ship at the shore. Three carried gold.

The cat came bounding out in large arced silent leaps, right up to us. It leapt right through each of the ones who carried gold. As it leapt through each there was a cloud of dust and then nothing.

The remaining nine of us sailed away. As we sailed in search of another fabled isle Patrick wondered if three of the alcoves now held statues of our companions carrying the objects they stole.

Step with me now into Hobb and the Normans.

Now be chilled by spirits of the past.  

Gods and Goddesses and their place in the tales. 

They say the Vikings ended before the battle of Battle (known as the battle of Hastings). See how I brought them back.

Here is another battle; this time the Vikings won. (With thanks to Graham Scarisbrick for recording my words.)

 

(NB My show at Norsk Hostfest and in the longhouse at University of Wisconsin Green Bay will be largely Viking and mainly myth.)

I hope you have enjoyed this storytelling show and that the eclectic mixture has helped you get an idea of ways of thinking, techniques and direction for your future sets; I know that I keep working on new ways.

 

Storytelling is… #1 The Introduction

Storytelling is… #1 The Introduction

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

stunning

Storytelling is… #1 The Introduction 

I suppose it must be admitted that there is not a great deal of humility involved in the creation of this set of guidelines for storytellers. The main motivator for me was showing off at how thrilled I am to have been booked to go work and perform in America.

I say America rather than The United States of America because I am secretly hoping someone else in The Americas will see this and invite me to the Amazon as well.

As you can see even at this early stage I am already digressing and I will be making this piece far too long for its original purpose which was to write a proposal for my visit, I suppose the longer it is, the more use it is to you the developing storyteller.

Primarily I shall be showing you details of my courses and performances at a Scandinavian Festival in North Dakota and in a longhouse in Wisconsin, (further details are in Links), so there is a Viking theme going on here; I shall try throughout however to have all this be helpful for ‘telling’ in any genre.

Basically, this blog will consist of a breakdown into headers for this tour.

Each of which will help you deepen your abilities as a storyteller.

There will be a description of the tour, details of a planned storytelling session (of an eclectic nature), an introduction to my work and motivation, details of my lectures, roles of a Skald / storyteller, suggestions of techniques, the benefits of following on with a story circle, group working through feedback, presenting outcomes and useful links to give you a background understanding of the projects involved.

I am hoping for responses and feedback to add to future editions in the series.

Indeed this whole thing has been put together as a fluid thing destined to develop through your input.

There will also be a link to my Bio (or CV).

Oh yes and a poem or two.

If I am totally honest I am a little scared of writing proposals and would rather write a scrolling long blog for kind people like Heidi and Tim to draw upon; so, it is not lack of humility that prompts the creation of this blog after all, it is fear.

Right let’s try this. An online show to represent what I will be performing, (though probably nothing like the actual show when the day comes) when I am at Norsk Høstfest, North Dakota and University of Wisconsin Green Bay in their Viking house.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen…

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

 

 

 

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #1 The Theatre Royal

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #1 The Theatre Royal

Come along with me on an atmospheric walk around the winding ways of this ancient city where I utilise forty years of experience of hosting ghost walks around York. I shall write as I recall and be as true to the recollections of witnesses and to my own innate abilities as for accurate representation of historic events you may feel the need to go check such details out for yourself.

Oh yes, As we wander I shall try to remain true to my major influence for I shall be explaining as we go along the details of my claim to fame; Son of York’s first ghost walker.

Adrian Spendlow

Heralding a Great Show

 

You don’t tend to notice any metaphysical atmosphere in these particular passageways you are where you wished to be; you are a thespian. Carrying large holdalls of make-up and costumes up the steep twisting stairway here is more about destination. It is a convoluted route to being on the stage; for you are climbing to the theatre dressing rooms. The excitement of your prospects tends to lift you; you are climbing to dizzy heights.008

This is the Theatre Royal, York and it is a tennis court.010 Plays take place in this tennis court but that is what it is. Back in the year which in this modern age you can look up for yourself it started out that way.

“Can we have a theatre here?”

“No.”

“OK then we will have a tennis court.”

The population of York and far and wide were invited to the tennis court to watch King Lear.

“You are putting on plays.”

“This is a tennis court.”009

(NB I chose King Lear as it is often described as impossible to stage in a theatre but this was in a tennis court.)

 

The winding stairs were built afterwards.004

Some of the rooms those stairs lead to were there already it seems. The reader is leaping ahead now and deciding we are about to hear all about the existence of the Theatre Royal’s Grey Lady,012 well the reader is wrong, there are two ghosts in the theatre, both are Grey Ladies; yes there are two of them.022

Pray for a good death, live a good life; a fair one, even so a trick of fate, a cruel wickedness, can lead to centuries of wailing.

What quite leads to age upon age of mischievousness is not so clearly understood unless it was loving a building too much.015

‘The’ Grey Lady roams the place and is seen often and word is out on her that if she is seen there will be a full house; that the show will have a successful run. This legendary advantage is evidence in itself that she is seen quite often, not because there are regular full houses, but that when a member of the acting profession is upset because of the sight of her the joke is on you to be told, “Don’t worry it is a sign of a good show.” Thus the legend continues in an unhelpful way by making fun of the poor sobbing thespian who is scared to go backstage;016 to stand in the wings, or to look out into the audience.

 

For this is where she is; if you are stage left you will be wondering, as you await your cue, who the mature lady is, so still in concentration upon you from the distant stage right.021

If you are due to come down on a wire she is in the rafters, (do not go down a shoot from centre stage whatever you do), if you look out at the audience seeking to meet the eye of a safe looking face don’t be too sure that they are still alive.

For these are places she is often seen, by actor or audience member alike, (or perhaps I am being over inclusive simply to increase interest), no, it is so.

Marie of the theatre staff told me of seeing the Grey Lady in all of these places and a guy in a pub told me too.

To bring you back into the realms of believability this is a ghost tale which goes back in popularity to well before ghost walks. It is as old as the theatre, well no, as old as the Grey Lady.

I sat at that pub, in the beer garden, telling my sister of a commission to collect ghost stories for broadcast when a guy across the way overheard. He had been in the post of Domestic Services Coordinator for the theatre and he had seen the Grey Lady.017

 

There had been a huge response to their advertising for more cleaners and it was decided they would all have to sit in the stalls. They set up an interview area on the stage and worked their way through. At last mid-afternoon his assistant said they had finished and being a thorough chap, he pointed out that they hadn’t finished as there was still the lady in grey who was sat further back. His assistant said everyone had gone and he insisted the lady had been staring at him from the back all afternoon.018

“There is no one there.”

“Yes there is,” he stood up and pointed, no there wasn’t.

She is mischievous though, which leaves one wondering on her reason for haunting; if there is a reason for the sight of a ghost. Perhaps yes, she loved the place too much and could not bear to move on upon her death.

For she is seen at performances and rehearsals and makes her presence felt;014 lights go on and off quite frequently. Staff will be extra sure they have made every safety check upon locking up for the night. As they look back upon wandering away there is a light shining. (I note there are never reports of taps running or doors unlocking or anything which may endanger the fabric of the building or the surety of future shows.) 019

 

Yet when they plod back up those narrow stairs they find that the light in question is no longer on and as they work their way back down another light now is.

There is a more definite reason for the other famed haunting – she doesn’t know she is dead.025

For those of us with an awareness of spirit there is a blatant sense of despair. Most of us are sensitive in such places and are affected though not all people know why they react the way they do.

I would like to think that I knew that the story behind the experience was true but I knew the tale before I went in there and picked up upon it though.

The walled-up nun. Several different folks who may each describe themselves as clairvoyant mediums have reported the same or similar.005

Well they all match up to the long-told story; she was bad.024

 

Actually she may well have been a victim; a modern view might well have seen a situation thus. Even in some present day societies the dark ages concept of a woman being ‘tainted’ by the actions of a man still have currency – the word ‘despoiled’ comes to mind.

You can tell your dates and places, you can look at the history of consensual respect – she had sex.023

The man, for it was a man, doesn’t seem to be haunting anywhere, so probably wasn’t walled up or castigated – she was.027

They may have slipped tit bits through a crevice to prolong her existence but be assured she was in the dark, her ability to move was severely restricted, there were no facilities, no warmth and there certainly was no hope. This was a dead woman breathing.020

She is dead now, she is not breathing, she is still in existence. Admittedly, as a ghost she is steadily, very slowly, dwindling. There is as nothing of her left in fact except the despair and (multiply those type feelings a tenfold and then you come up with a word for it): She is bad.

 

It is just a story.

Go in that dressing room then.

The one next door is identical; rows of mirrors with lights: 028

The acting profession are famed for being protective of their space. Their ‘slap’ is laid out and this is their mirror with a chair demarking their area – Do not go near. Now go next door.

They are all down one end and they are sharing one or two mirrors. They may not be fully aware of why they are so close together and do not feel too comfortable being expected to have to explain to you.

Hey, you go up the other end beyond where the old wall of so long ago crosses the room.

Let us leave the Theatre Royal behind us and go seeking some fresher air – and possibly some hope.

Click to read the whole series:

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #1 The Theatre Royal

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #2 The Exhibiton and the Barguist Beast

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #3 Tosh Alleyways

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #4 The Burning

I highly recommend: http://www.ghostwalkyork.co.uk/

 

My Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time III

My Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time III

I am already there, stood between Patrick and Bjork-Mari, in Njardarheimr in Freyr-Anders’ Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am there in my heart. I am already there and in this dream.

My Gudvangen Dream Life III sees me already in the Viking-style life ahead of me in Gudvangen where I will be living (and blogging) as Skald to the Viking Chieftain in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway. Stay in place as followers to know what happens next; beware, nothing is made up, yet most of this is dream.

NB The fictitious names are taken from those I have known but the characters added to them are based on other people I know.

PS The innocent will be protected until the group decides upon going to war. (The time is now.)

PPS You can become part of this by sending me thoughts and ideas adrianspendlow @ gmail.com or by commenting below (as if you were there).

Strongly recommended: Start with Viking-dream I and Viking-dream II

 

Dream-time III

In the mist-morning when the thumps of white are so dramatic forming shapes balanced in the air; blink and the solid realness of it is, over there. It was here. It was this shape. It is, *blink*, up the mountain, down the path, here in the garden.

001

It is morning I think.

I still hear trees creak. Waterfalls thrum. Even shadows cast an echo.

And this is war. Today we shall go to war.

We wake for war.

The thick lamb broth of the yesterday is still warm we won through there.002

Breakfast is thick and fast and hot. The breath steams.

We do not wish to have to tell you how to feel but a raven flies in.

Siw-Alfadis thinks they see a raven out to sea coming this way.

“It can’t be a raven,” says Olafr-Andreas, “that’s an omen”.

“And a myth,” rejoins Blathnaid-Brigid.

“Do not say Odin’s ravens are a myth,” gleams Siw-Alfadis, “for the two ravens watch us”.

“Not the two ravens,” recounters the Irish born maiden, “the three”.

“The three, the three, the holy three,” dances Janne-Annhja.

“We are before your holy ghost and the Draugen still climb from the sea in fear of Ran and her nine waves,” Bjork-Mari leans seriously forward fixing the eye.

“It is the nine,” intones Siw-Alfadis.

“The nine,” is the stern echo from Teresa-Linn.

“The nine,” we all confirm in solemn depth.

“The nine!” a thin voice cries, and a nine-pointed star shoots from the hand of Bjorn-Ole into a doll hung upon our sacred dressed tree.006

We all laugh at the leap and throw, of the far-travelled adopted one who took a name and life in service, “Nine not three”.

“Two not three for that is the number of the ravens,” claims Blathnaid-Brigid, “The stories they tell us of the ravens”.

“I know of the three ravens for I am from the new lands where they still tell the old tales.”004.jpg Johnson doesn’t rise for his scraping-sheet is upon his knee and the sharps hurt the feet of the one to follow there where they fall.005

“Wise is the chap who cages three ravens. For such a karr will have their guidance. When one has sailed beyond the fjords and heads out south…”

“No, no, one should never leave the fjords”, proclaims Tor-Gunlodd, “Yes, I know Bjorn-Ole is from far away but that was over land; I know Blathnaid-Brigid is across the seas, but surely just in sight and not that far, for all she is a Celt.

“There are lands a year from here and many drown who seek to come from there and many more who seek to leave here,” insists Johnson.007

“To be sure you are all wrong, wrong for there are words of marvellous lands far far beyond the lands of my home, beyond the green. Magical lands we can never enter at all at all at all”.

“Stop it now Patrick,” laughs Teresa-Linn.

“Enchanted isle beyond enchanted isle forever ever ever on.”

“You stop it too Blathnaid-Brigid,” scolds Freyr-Anders with a smile, “Well just for now sweet wild thing. Let us hear of the ravens of Jorvik”.

“Not of my lands at all,” says Johnson.

“Not at all at all at all at all,” chips in Patrick.

“Stop it I said,” laughs our Chieftain.

“Not of my lands, not of the lands of ice, or the further lands of ice which lie to us by saying they are green.”

“Send you poor farmers to Ireland and you rich sons to Jorvik we know we know we know,” says Patrick.

“No there are further lands.”

The circle hush.

“How dare one say such a thing,” queries Frode-T’or.

“There are the old tales,” whispers Tone-Irene.

“They sailed,” says Johnson, “or so it says, the word. Take three land birds of the feather dark with you and guard them well. After a few days let one go. It will wing back to where you came from and you know you will still have far to go.

Let out the second later and there is still no land, it circles. You know you have come so far. It settles on the mast. There is no land for it to fly to. A few days of hopeful sailing later you let go the third. Oh how we rejoice, it flies forward. It smells the land, a new land and new place, a new found land”.008.jpg

“This is where I say the tales are wrong, you don’t need three,” stands Blathnaid-Brigid, “The one on the mast would smell the land ahead and fly forward. All you had to do was feed it now and then, to keep up its energy, and it would fly. You don’t need the third”.

“So it is with all stories,” wonders Leif-Lasse.

A raven lands at their feet.

Siw-Alfadis looks down with a slight tremor of the face, “Methinks this was the blink of dark of shadowed sky I spied a while back flying in, it traversed the walls of high stone over fjord waters and I say it came from sea; it is an omen.” She turns to look at us.

“A warning,” agrees a serious-faced Bjork-Mari.

“The enemy are coming,” resolutely Frode-T’or states.

“See how it pecks of the remains of another bird which died, the entrails of a smaller thing are no longer on the wing yet take shape,” says fixated Siw-Alfadis.

“Ooooooh, oooooh,” shamanic-like Linnea-Ingeborg foresees, “Raven is a warning as it flicks at guts of littler dead thing. It says they, the unknown, sail this way”.

“The enemy,” repeats Bork-Mari.

“Yes, yes, yes – Prepare for war!” cries Lars-Eirik.

“Visitors come, stands Freyr-Anders, “it is true, but from within the lands they come to see. To see how we live and eat and fayre.”

023

“Then let us go about our lives,” says Brinhild as she starts to walk.

The sweat lodge beckons.010.jpg

“I have kept great stones hot,” quiet Kjell-Toffe guides.

Clothes are falling as we walk behind him.

Behind the blacksmith’s near lowered bathing bank an entrance beckons. Before this leathered structure a fire; it burns long and slow and all since yesterday. Broad, lasting, logs, so slow are cossetting the dampened stones. Huge stones. They are dry now, hot, extremely hot; long strong poles await.

We do not follow commands from Krell-Toffe, in words; in strong actions, he leads, we follow. An arm jerks here, and stern look there, we follow. Grasping those poles and as with his poised strength we bolster, lean and slowly keen the stone from burn. They roll at last the stones. Bigger than a sheep, heavier that our heaviest man. Kjell-Toffe heaves now and we follow lead. The stones lead on and roll into the delve, they roll right within the lodge.

We dug here, set stakes around the shape of egg and laid damp wood shapes around the curve. The bending of the stakes a roof formed to leather clad. A carving of the centre forms a station for the in-rolling stones. They roll there now.

We are naked and we form a shape of egg around as we sit. The stakes above are clothed. The tent hut of skins surrounds and darkens. A leather kettle is dipped into and a churn of water dampens stones.011.jpg The effect is immense. We are bathed. We are boiled. We are cleaned. We are naked. We are babes. We are calmed and quietened.

Gradually we share out quiet thoughts.

“So when the war comes, who will wield what? Wonders Frode-T’or.

By we leave we are battle ready.

The visitor they did come.

They sit upon banks and await amusement.

“Welcome but stay safe,” in our language and their own calls the statuesque Tone-Irene.

“Yes stay back and stay safe,” repeats Bjorn-Ole in our words and then in his mother tongue, “for one of you could be my mother”

Youths and maidens refresh them.

Our great chieftain Freyr-Anders seeks to quieten them. They see. They see into his beautiful dark eyes, he raises an arm. Then. Upon his hand lands. A raven. 003

From the sea another one. We turn to run.

We turn to run for arms.

021

For look, see sails.

They are close. The harbour they can have. Too late to set the fire lines. The harbour they can have. Their ships can land.

Those who ran far and fast now return with arms.

We stand between the boat houses, between the high fences.

022

Bjorn-Ole the far-child trade-swap from a land of silk he says he is not of the size to wield a shield or long long spear; as they near he lifts his chosen weapon from his ancestry, a slender spear-shaft he has crafted to a slim long curve-sided blade. “Stand in your lines, with this I raise.”

020

“I too have slashing blade,” our chieftain proclaims, and it is raised. “From a king of long gone.

019.jpg

This is my king blade, but I will take a shield.” A shield so large it rests upon the floor, he reaches over, wielding slashing blade and hopes for war.

Upon his head the helm of boar.

A wildness over comes us.

“Take up your stand of arms and form a line,” he commands.

Johnson of the madness still has no clothes. He takes a shield and axe and says his head is dead and he will surely soon be, “Let it be a glory morning”. His skin is blue.

Nils-Harold wears fur, I need no shield but I will bare upon command. “With this blue board and this sharp steal I stand here. Rooooar!”

Brinhild will not stand with shield. “And I too frail,” states Ingerlill-Nairaa, “so we will stand at spear”.

“I stand nearer,” cries the tall strong blond Tone-Irene and takes a shield and large axe.

017

Thirteen stand at front; fifteen behind.

Axe and flat of sword are banged at shield, “Ooooodin”. Feet are stamped in surety, “Ooooodin”.

“Come on invaders.”

“Come on in, if you can.”

Bang bang – Bang bang.

They land, unboard, do not take a charging course.

They disembark some more.

“They, have horses,” spies Inga-Idunn.

Mounting now they ride this way.

Behind us children cry.

Smokes fly wisping hints of home at us.

We are firm and fierce and yet afeared.

“We die today!”

“Yaaaaaaaay!”

“Oh Yaaaay!”

Tone-Irene, Lars-Eirik, Kjell-Toffe, Siw-Alfadis, Olafr-Andreas, Patrick, Lief-Lasse and Nils-Harold form to either side of the chieftain; his wall of blonde strength. Fire and raven-haired fill the ends.

Behind them fourteen take up long spear, they raise, they place a foot upon the base and lower slowly to shield bearer’s free shoulder.

016.jpg

Man and horse is each like a single monstrous beast, long shining claw of steel once waved is set back in sheath. As they ride a bow is lifted from side. They charge up close.

The long spears run in until each wielder is right behind their shield-bearer.

The horsemen stop just short of spear heads; their arrows fly.

Beaded jewellery shatters as Inga-Idun drops stiffly backward, Kjell-Toffe screams as chain links of shoulder shred and redden, and in the centre, the dead centre, an armour piecing arrow splits the largest shield and chieftain cries; pinned to shield and propped there while a pool forms round his boots.

His shield wall freezes in dread and are falsely cheered, are fooled enough to rally, by, the dying words of Freyr-Anders, “We stand and fight”.

The enemy reach for a second arrow. A stone is hurled, the central rider is now faceless under helm.

As Bjorn-Ole switches back to his curved blade-stick rest of riders turn and flee.

Only to re-group, draw hand weapons and charge.

Long spears laying flat to the ground, as the horses near are suddenly raised.

They stop in time, all but one. Tove-Maria hits home., the rider dies, the horse twists. Tove-Marie sets both feet but she is dragged, gripping every slip. She is through her fellow fighter’s wall and in the middle of the field.

015.jpg

At last she lets go as a dozen arrows fill her young frame.

They turn and ride upon us once again. As spears raise you can see they pull back; a false charge: except for two they increase in speed – an axe in one hand a smaller axe in the other. The long spears stop their beasts the riders release. Dead horses stop in their tracks, riders fly on. Through the air they go, swinging down with their axes, hitting shield tops as they arc down. Two shields, one on each side of the chieftain, are pulled forward and two of us are now bereft of shield. These two of us are crushed by flying warrior; Siw-Alfadis and Lars-Eirik are broken.

014

As one axe -man swings into the thigh of Janne-Annhja, Bjorn-Ole pierces him with his slashing stick. Janne-Annhja, close to death, snatches the curved sword of her up-propped chieftain. Freyr-Anders, (thus realising he is dead and held in place by arrow through shield), and in the moment of her own dying kills the second axe-man; she has time for last words, “Our chieftain…..”

Two figures dash screaming through the shield wall, one naked-blue one draped in furs, out into the field; Nils-Harold and The Johnson pull down three from horse back to kill them before being stripped of life themselves.

018

Jan-Robert and Brinhild take up fallen shields; the wall still full. They may not hold for long the full charge is racing in. Our six remaining spears are raised, and hit! Each has boot against the base and their long spears as levers lift the enemy to the sky.

A heavy screech of noise and impossible flight of thrashing limbs hovers momentarily, for the soon to die below – it darkens.

024

The many are dead, it is like a new dawn for the stunned laid around, then one horse pitifully tries to rise.

All remaining horses run, in search of goat path, a few take riders with them.

012

Two are sliced into by high leap from silk-road child Bjorn-Ole before another makes him into two.

025

Patrick lifts his defence rune shield, “A last stance.”013

Linnea-Ingaborg runs, “Come run.” Ingerlill-Nairaa follows her.

When Bjork-Mari sees they run to the fire she understands and follows too.

Not the youngest of our fighters survive, but the biggest, strongest, most experienced do; Kjell-Toffe, Olafr-Andreas and Loke-Daan run to Patrick’s call and in a circle facing outwards with two weapons each foresee one last fight.

Bjork-Mari follows the lead of the other women by taking up a firebrand; she runs after Linnea-Ingaborg to stand on harbour, torches high.

The last mob of axe men angered, mad, encircle our small group and weapons clash.

Three torches high, “Leave us with no further fight or see ships burn”.

026

“Fight on, fight on!”

Ingerlill-Nairaa leads the women now, “Then let this burn”. Torches tip into the nearest ship as warrior smites at warrior.

The ship bursts faster, higher, than expected igniting our unused defence; the fire-lines. The harbour burns.

028

Three women aflame are falling, screaming, drowning, gone.

027

The flames race on, backwards to the way of their plan. Right back to boat houses bursting everything in flames. The boat house each, the warring parties each in one mad burn.

All are dead, the city falls. Nothing is left. Amid the blackened field the figure of the dead chieftain grimly stands.

All are dead, the end. Dream-time recollections end.

And in the sweat-lodge I, Add-ri-An, awakens. Gentle noises all around. I run out of the hot dark to look upon the field of death.

Within this dream the tourists on the bank stare on, awaiting spectacle. The boathouses and the harbour pristine stand.

Snoring from behind me makes me realise my comrades slumber on, and it is all a dream – a dream within a dream.

A raven lands.

The chieftain joins me and raises arm, a second raven lands upon his hand.

“An omen,” Siw-Alfadis joins them.

“The enemy,” calls Bjork-Mari.

There in sight on fjord water sail in ships; the ships of war are coming here.

The wild blonde shield wall forms, the sides are filled. The long spears lay upon their shoulders.

From the ships come foreign axe men, they lead off horses. They mount and form a massing line.

Our chieftain steps forward to the centre of our shield wall to address one and all, perhaps for one last time, “I, Freyr-Anders, chieftain of Gudvangen,” he raises his sharp curved sword, “I bid you,” we all can see the shine in those darkly commanding eyes, “Welcome! Welcome, welcome, welcome.”

029

How the horse men laugh and ride about us grasping raised arm after raised arm as they slowly pass. Kjell-Toffe and Inga-Idun are each clasped by arm by riders, who firmly grip and swing. Then suddenly their two lead figures have a standing friend upon the horse with them. Kjell-Toffe and Inga-Idun arms in air stand as their mounts encircle, echoing words of our great chieftain, “Welcome, welcome.”

 

Viking-dream I and Viking-dream II

 

(and here is the Ghost walks of York series)