Dream Village of the Viking Lore

Dream Village of the Viking Lore

I never imagined the darkness of this wooden house when I first dreamed myself here; in this night now of being here I never expected such a dread as there is – frozen to the edge of a bench bed. No sleep. No waking. No listening. I know the sounds are there and I know which beings reside in my mind.

It is morning. I am spinning from the bed and bouncing towards the new light. Hrimfaxi’s dew wetting my feet as I drop clothes down to the waist and drench myself in the mountain’s waters. They well back up naturally from this man-drilled hole. Dark depths echo in the torrent I bathe with. I am awake in this ancient life force like I never have been in wakefulness. Beings sent me these feelings and I am braver in a day.

I shall leave the embrace of being a Viking in the Viking hut in this Viking market in this Viking village in this Viking history. Leave the sense of becoming for a while and go dress up as a person. Adrian is going fishing, a strange mix I have planned of this dream in this moment. Not being a fisher before I have planned yes, for in the store back in the real Scarborough was a telescopic rod and reel which would fit in a suitcase easily; the collection of additions life-collected by my brother-in-law who has neither never fished either are with me in this adventure too. With thanks to him I pick up my knapsack.

I have walked this riverside path of the steep-walled fjord before in a realer reality and in this there was more light then than in imagined semi-anxious realities of now. Then I had walked high from the surface along cliff edges and looked down. There was a ripple in a circle as if a fish had jumped, this was a powerful ring however, it had a white water wave as a wall, ever growing across the waters, until the whole circular wave was as wide as the wide river itself. There was something large down there. There was somewhere very deep where something lived and breathed. There was a very real creature in here.

I headed there now, if one looks back at this point they see along the line of the slender river with its clearer shallower waters that feeds these deeps that there in this world and not so is the serpent being. It drifts in and out and weaves in and among and looks at me from its slow journey down wall-side way and knows I recall its visitation to my mind. When a winged serpent speaks inside your brain you recall well its words that I would be safe, safe within my very real fear; well-deserved fear would serve me well but I should not yield to it for I would return from my adventures with success in my heart. “Go young soul,” the wyrm bellows, “Go hunting deep.”

So it was that modern man me journeyed some way from sight of dwellings, away for sounds of morning, away from this dreamed up reality of Viking worlds and before anything of man could sail its large journey up these fjord waters I had them all to myself – and it was fearful.

Others have clambered down this narrow rocky cutting to be closer to the waters and others had seen the depths. I was in timelessness and sat upon a rock.

I decided to dredge-fish, this was a term I probably had dreamt up, but I wanted something big. I telescoped out my compact fishing rod for the first time and the line spun up along its length as it stretched and hung there ready. I drew out quite a length and fixed a sizable lead weight to the line. Then at the very end I tied a lure; a large plum creature of rubber with its curled barbed teeth of hooks – sizeable indeed. I was after something large. Something fat. For I had myself to feed and I had people to greet and welcome. For serpent whispers had foretold that I would return.

I held on to this prediction for the fears of my imagination were welling up from before time and threatening to become real for me.

I cast. There was a dull thrum as if Nidhogg’s entourage were driving the air with their wings. Ploop. The line was far from me and it drilled down. When I felt that it was at mid-depth I started to steadily wind. The strong weight held the line at this depth and the lure was moving.

There was movement, there was impeding darkness, it was a gloom of age and ancientness not of anything of difference between day or night. This was a thickening of the air a density of existence and I was engulfed.

Substantial silhouettes were forming in the drowning flow and things were coming up towards me. I felt a presence behind me. Huge stretched high-eared shapes were mixing around each other and lankily looking down towards me in awareness. Live stone was thumping the path and filling all senses. They were right behind me. The water broke.

Mantatee creatures were milling in the water, filling all space. In my mind they were climbing and changing as they rose out. Bellowing painfully to the ears and opening toothed maws these Draugen-beings were filling my awareness. The stone things pressed from behind. There was one short moment of life left to me in which both sides considered their actions and their reactions to each other when snap the rod twitched suddenly and dove downwards. Another reality of dream was with us; the catching of the fat thing from the depths.

I was alone in my battle, and battle it was, I feared I may lose the rod, or the fish at least.

I had to let it swim, let the reel spin. I slowed it, held it, reeled it, let it spin. I slowed it, held it, reeled it, let it spin. As I tired I felt the beast did.

Oh how the air burst as it was filled with fish. The thoughts of the presence of other beings was dispelled and I was along in a battle of death.

It was round and tall and fat and golden green in a pale sheen. Even its exhausted flips in the air were almost enough to pull me from the rock. I flipped back and it shot over the rocks to land in a hollow a mere rock away from the waters. Thrashing it was. With line still attached I dripped my rod to the bank and hurriedly put on my strong thick gloves.

I grasp its gill. My Njardar knife is in my hand and I stab downwards, the neck is pieced, I twist down and sever the head.

As I got the thing I consider using these remains for deeper fishing bait to catch an eel to later jelly. I decide this is for another journey.

Partway back along the ledge I think to stop and hide the thing. I return in Viking garb and travel back to the village with it hanging over my shoulder.

There is a crowd round as I fillet. Half is hung over the fire to smoke and the other two fillets are in a pan to cook.

Will there be more I am asked from the crowd. I tell them, as I also tell you, that yes. The bees crowd around my head and whisper darkly that I must share with you all again and tell you of bees and beings and life in the dream of being a Viking in a Viking hut in a Viking village.

For it will come to pass.

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The Folklore of Fossils by Hobb the Ploughboy – a read aloud version of my show at the Scarborough Fossil Festival at the Rotunda Museum 2017.

The Folklore of Fossils by Hobb the Ploughboy – a read aloud version of my show at the Scarborough Fossil Festival at the Rotunda Museum 2017.ammonite pencil flipped

 

Oh hello everybody. I am Hobb. Hobb the ploughboy. I’ve been a boy for forty five years, boy and boy, ever since I was a boy.

Ploughboy. It is a very scary job.

And I will tell you what I’ve got. I’ve got a stick.

It is my prodding stick.hobb stick flipped

What I do is this (*Jiggle, prod*) then I go along a bit, like this (*shuffle*), then I do this a bit (*Jiggle, prod*).hobb stick

You’ve got your field right and you’ve got your ploughboy. I work the fields up along the top of the cliff and it is my job to clear away the stones before the plough comes so they don’t break.cairn

So, I am going to sit down and tell you all about stones

There are big stones and there are little stones.

That’s it. That’s all there is to tell.

Well alright there might be a bit more.

The big stones are easy. And the little stones are SCARY.

I get my stick and I go like that there that there… Oh I’ve done that bit.

I find a big stone. The big ones (*clunk*) are much easier, you just have to pick them up and carry them to the edge of the field, easy. Then they are all lined up along the edge of the field and then you can tell where the edge of the field is. You will have seen them. Ah, no, in youradays, not in myadays but in youradays you have things called a fence, don’t you! Well we had stones, big ones.

The little stones, they are the scary ones.

I get my stick, and I go like that there like that there… Oh I’ve done that.cairn

And I find a small stone, I pick them up, carry them to the corner of the field where there is a mini-mountain of them, (that’s called a Cairn that is). They have scary things. You have to be careful. Sometimes they slip off the top and slide down and crack in half at the bottom – “Aaaaaaargh!”

Terrible things, terrible monsters, terrible lizards – well bits of them. Therapods, that’s monster’s footprints. Something very scary has been creeping about here.ammonite alive flipped

So, anyway, I get my stick, I go like that there like th… Oh. I’ve done that bit.

And sometimes, I dig out a stone, a perfectly ordinary looking stone. I go over to the pile, turn it over and – Aaaaaargh! – there is a hole going into it.holey

I go like that there that there and… I’ve done that.

I find a stone.

Aaaaaargh. It is stuck on my finger. Help Help pull it off (a child does so after much resistance). It has holes going right through it!holey flipped That’s magic that is! Ooooooo Witches and wizards do that magic stuff they do.wiz and holey Ah, of course, this is in myadays, not in youradays, in youradays they will say oh no there is no such thing as magic, there are no witches or wizards, that is science that did that. I don’t even know what science is but they go on to say that what actually created the holes in the stones was creatures eating it – THAT’S EVEN SCARIER!!!!

Well thank goodness the wizards turned all the scorpions to stone, that’s all I can say.

Now this scares me. Look at this. Seashells.shells pencil wc solo Do you know what is scary about these? Look how far away we are from the sea.shells water colour How on earth did they get all the way up here?! And what is really scary is – what was it that ate them???ammonite alive.jpg

And then there is these things, I ask what it is and the answer I often get is ‘Annomites’.ammonite wc left

I know what these are. Imagine we are at the top of the cliffs in Whitby up by the Abbey. There are fishermen, there are priests and there are monks, and they are shouting, “Get out.” – “Go away.” – “You are not a saint.” – You cannot be a saint – because – you – are – a woman!”

At this point I got to play the saint herself Saint Hilda (to quite mixed reactions), “Yes, I am a woman.”

“And I am a saint”, she said.world poem lady close up She went on to say, “I shall prove it to you, by the power of the four horsemen of the Lord and the Holy Ghosty Spirity Thingy (Well it went something like this I think), and by the power of the mother of the blessed babe – and all the cupids and cherubim’s as well – I shall make all Whitby safe; safe forever and for all time.

The grass was moving! There was a slithering, a shining, a weaving, a glistening, a wending, a bending, a lifting, a slithering – The whole of the field was moving. It was… It was… It was snakes! Millions of billions of zillions of lots of them. Snakes. Did I say? There were snakes.

Her arms were upheld and she prayed and every single snake slithered off, slithered off the cliff.world poem lady cliff top

They went down and down and down and, (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) down and down and down and (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) down and down and down and (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) (How about on long ‘down’ all together? “Doooooowwwwwwn”)

As they fell they coiled up, as they coiled up they turned to stone ‘Aaaaaaaaaargh!’

In youradays, not in myadays, in youradays you will say they are ammonites (or you might be one of those that says annomites), but I will tell you something you didn’t know, what they did in myadays and what they still do in Whitby in youradays. And this bit is true, it might be the only bit that is, this bit is the truth. A Whitby person, a fisherman or someone who lives there like, they are walking along the beach, like this…. And they spot an ammonite,ammonite wc left flipped what they do is they pick it up, get out their knife and they cut a mouth and two eyes in. Then it looks like a snake and they put it back on the stones for all to see. Then me, or you, are walking along, like this…. And we are like, ‘Look it is a stone snake, it must be true what they say about Saint Hilda after all!’ Well that’s what we are supposed to say anyway.

That still happens today.

The Vikings are scary. But they were frightened of snakes. Frightened of ammonites. ammonite pencilThey would see snakes on the beach and in the sea but they would also see them in the sky; in the night, in the north, in the winter. They would see the twisting green writhing around the night and they would say, “Look, it is Jormungand the serpent!”

He was huge. He would crawl around the land, biting people’s heads off! Crawl about the land biting people’s heads off! “Would anyone else like to volunteer to have their head bitten off? Many volunteer.

Even the gods themselves were frightened of him, well fed up of him anyway – biting people’s heads off!

So the big boss god of all the Viking gods, Odin he was called, except we don’t say it like that in my stories we say Ooooooooooooodiiiiiiin. What’s he called?

He was right fed up, so he went and he grabbed Jormungand and he held him up in the air and he went to the sea and he threw him in!

Splash.

He grew so big that he went all the way around the world until he met his tail. Now they do say that he swims around the world with his tail in his mouth like this….

But I say that is daft. He would swim around with his head above his tail, like this….

Then he can look around and see what he is doing.

Let’s say there’s an elf on the beach. There’s an elf on the beach. There.

“Ooooo hello, I  am a little elf it is nice to meet you,” he squeaks. Grumpth Gruffle Gulp. Gone.

See, a lot more sense.

(this next bit is actually an outtake from the show, so I have put it back in here as an easter egg – a special gift for you.)

Then sometimes I pick out a rock and there is a tooth in it, a huge great big tooth, a tooth from a black panther. “Aaaaaaargh!”

Technically, actually, they are a puma, but there are hundreds of reports of Black Panthers a year in Britain. Some say it goes back to when we hid in trees. You are up at the top and you are look out and along comes a black panther – “Aaaaaaaaaargh!”

Everyone hears and climbs the tree, (if they don’t then – “Aaaaaaaargh!”)

Nowadays in youradays when people see shadowy shapes the mind turns the shapes into a black panther so we can scream out a warning just to be on the safe side. So they say don’t worry if you think you have seen a black panther you have just seen shadows. That means to me that when you go out if there are any shadows whatsoever, which of course there will be, then you will definitely see a panther – “Aaaaaaaaaargh!”panther

But really it is a Belemnite they say, which means that it isn’t a tooth at all, it is just a seashell, that isn’t exciting at all is it, just a great big granddad winkle.

Others though say it is an elf bolt. That it fires from the elf’s bow and when it hits you – you fall in looooooove.

Then there is the devil’s toenail. If that is what it is. I didn’t know he had such big feet.devil

But I did know he has a big thumb. When he built Filey Brigg he dropped his hammer and picked up a haddock. Filey Brigg is a long sharp rock that sticks out into the sea. The devil built it, it should have been three times as long. Then it would have stuck out into the sea and speared ships. The devil was hammering away and he dropped his hammer. He reached into the sea quick to grab it and grabbed a haddock by mistake. If you go look at fish you will know which is a haddock because you can clearly see a thumb print on it (this bit is true). Look at that thumb mark and think to yourself, it is right about the devil dropping his hammer! “Aaaaaaaaargh!”

The Vikings loved a good fossil find, a sign from the gods if ever there was one. The Vikings long long ago, in theiradays not in myadays or in youradays carried them about. And sometimes as you know the Vikings would go to war. Sometimes, as you know, they would die. When they did, as you know, they were buried. Sometimes, as you didn’t know, they were buried in a ship. With their fossils and all their weapons and everything.buried

Well, they said that the ship would rise up, into the air. Yes it was a gggggggggghost ship; a ghost ship. There might be one underneath you right now, right where you are.ghost ship

If you do find one in the ground ever, the Vikings in it wouldn’t look too good. They would look like that Gristhorpe man, and bits of the wood that were left would be petrified. And that is your ghost ship so now I am petrified.

The ship rises up into the sky and flies all the way up to the holy mountain up there look. No don’t look, unless you have washed your face.

The dead Vikings land on the holy mountain and come back alive in a ghosty kind of a way and walk down the mountain, like this….

They travel through the hunting fields and all the way to the Viking heaven – What’s it called? Yes that’s right – Valhalla.

To the big boss god of all the Viking gods, what’s he called? Ooooooooooodiiiiin. Yes that’s right.

And they fight all day. Yes that’s what Vikings think of as heaven; fighting. All day, “Hey you’ve chopped my arm off, never mind, carry on.” “Hang on you’ve chopped my head off I will just balance it back on.” They go on like that till teatime, and then they have fish and chips or something and they get better ready to start all over again tomorrow.

They go on like that till the end of the world. What’s that called? Ragnarok. Yes that’s right.

(Gritting of teeth is required during this next paragraph.) – The gods and the monsters rise up against each other and they fight and fight until everybody is dead, dead. (ungrit now.)

The seas rise up and wash everything away. Lightning strikes the great tree and it will fall, eeek creak eeek crash! Fall, bumphf dumphf boom boing dumphfffft.yggrassil falls

Splash.

Just one branch remains, sticking up out of the sea. The debris of the old world will gather around the branch and form a new land.

From the branch will climb down Lith and Lithrasia to start the world anew.

From the edge of the sea the power of the old gods will rise up like a globe of light and the world is alive.

Listen, listen for the healing songs of Odin.

Ooooooooooodiiiin.

What if there is one of those gggghost ships right underneath us right now? – “Aaaaaaaargh!”ghost ship

But Ragnarok hasn’t happened yet. What hasn’t happened yet? Ragnarok.

You can still see the tree, look up, with your eyes in a certain kind of a way, look, a huge tree with a different land along every limb. That’s what the Viking say.iggdrassyl

I went to a Viking camp. Not in theiradays, in youradays, yes not in myadays, in youradays. A Viking camp.

I bought this amber, this is amber, real amber, it cost a lot of money. This is very special amber, so the Viking market man with a Viking market stall told me. He said that these are the actual tears of Frejya. I paid fifty pound each for them.

Freyja is the goddess of loooooove. What is she the goddess of? Loooooooove. That’s right.

There she was at the top of the tree and she was, in a live performance you would get to see what a good actor I am, because she is beautiful!!!!

I possibly do better at acting the next role, because she met a handsome man….

She fell madly in love with him, she said, “I have falling madly in love with you and I want to be with you forever.” He cleared off and never came back.

They do say that if you listen carefully you can still hear her crying now. Because, yes, she started to *cry* and the tears rolled out of her eyes, dripped down her face and fell all the way down through the sky into the sea, turned into amber and get washed up on the shore. Then that Viking market stall Viking man gathers them up and sells them to fools like me, I mean people like me!freyjas tears

Who believes me? Are you do believe me that these are the actual tears of Frejya. I might get some of my money back. Who would like to buy a piece? It is £55 each. £60. £65……………..

 

A huge thank you to Libby and Wendy and the team from Create, and to Julie of the Fossil Festival for putting the fantastic Scarborough Fossil Festival together at and around the Rotunda. And of course to Tim the Geologist who supplied just the right fossils and really got the idea of what I was doing. Thanks all for doing the lifting and shifting too.

I will see you all there next year.

Oh yes and to the highly imaginative participants, I reckon around a thousand people saw my show and contributed with comments, input, reactions and feedback.

 

See also

Pied Piper Show for Rollercoastical Festival Scarborough

Quay Street a history

Viking Sagas in a Nutshell

Hobb the Pigman at Cliffords Tower

 

 

Three Norns Go Denmark

Three Norns Go Denmark

The best of times the worst of times, this always seems to be the way for me. So it is on this trip to Scandinavia. Yes my health seems to have taken another of its backwards steps whilst I am supposed to be getting better each day a bit at a time.new hat

I have been saying over this ill health year that there are good patches every day (my pal Donna wants to know where I buy these patches) I cannot even say this at the moment; no, no good patches but good people. Good people here every day and we feel like being here every day. So if you never see Sigrun, Alda and Svanhvit again it is because they have stayed here with me in ‘Wolf Town’ forever. Well, either that or their car fell completely apart on the way home. It started on the way here, and quite frankly there isn’t much left – except super glue and Gaffer tape.

I can be ill here and still happy,learning to weave I would be just as poorly if I was at home and I am surrounded by laughs, love and ‘loveliness’ yes.

royalty

The Norns. We are the three Norns and life is only perfect when we are united. Oh no, they have their mum with them! So I have promoted her to the position of Norn – where does that leave me? I guess I am the devoted follower; a bit like the besotted, squirmy, devotee you see with vampires. I am the Norns assistant.3 norns

I got here though – we are back in beautiful Denmark; last year I did a review, with a main feature on Danish design: It is rubbish! Unless it is eggcups of course, they are good at them.

Not that you can tell they are eggcups by looking at them. If you were out shopping for them you would probably pass them right by.

So, if you see something and you don’t know what it is, buy it, take it home and stick an egg in it.eggcup

When I say design what I mean is; if you build a thing you have built it, but if you spend time beforehand thinking not only about whether or not it looks cool but about whether or not it will actually work, or even better finding ways it will work better and in new ways – then – it has been designed.

That isn’t how it works here, well not in my experience last year, admittedly my very limited experience of just one apartment; a grannie flat actually.

Converted from a cellar and retouched recently to be lettable to mugs, sorry I meant tourists.

The loo was under the stairs in a miniscule cupboard where you couldn’t even stand up at the sink,tiny loo yet the bathroom was gigantic. One of those semi basement places where there are huge windows all along the back wall with no nets; this is all over looked by a children’s play area for the people upstairs. Needless to say, the second time I went in there I wore clothes, at least till I got the curtains closed.

The water from the shower hit the back wall of the bath and followed a runnel around under the shower heads. I realised as I got out it was flying to the tiles like a waterfall. I mainly discovered this by stepping into the lake my clothes and towel were in.

The dining area was in my bedroom, the couch and computer desk were in the other bedroom. The wardrobes had been newly painted and were sealed shut as a result.

The kitchen was minute; a short passage with a narrow cupboard by the window. A mismatch of tiny pottery hung on a rack and the one cupboard held the fridge (which ripped your skin off every time you opened it). When you turned on the really high tap the water hit the tiny round sink in such a way that it turned into a geyser which visited the electric hob in torrents, (most of us survived intact).

When we discovered the final straw of opening the window we were almost glad that is was impossible to close again because it was out of reach so at least the owner would understand that fault.

Don’t even get me started on shopping in Velje!

But no it is this year and that is all behind us. The 2017 review. This time it is Ryanair.

The engines are not powerful enough to be able to keep the lights on during take off. If they didn’t make us all sit in the dark we would never get off the ground, well not all the way up anyway. Similarly make sure you turn everything off when about to land or the engines will never get us to the ground.

Magazine racks are an optional extra same as tickets and seats are.

As for passengers, I don’t think it is just my mood but everyone travelling with Ryanair is really irritating. It is urgent to get to the plane as soon as possible. Some race across the runway to get to the back steps before you, even at the expense of a young family member, only to discover she has the now needed boarding passes and is at the bottom of the steps behind everyone. Hah hah hah hah haa.

Hah hah hah hah oh I have to wait until she can bring them till I can get past them.

Yes I know the boarding passes were checked at the boarding pass checking gate before we set off down towards the plane so don’t need checking again now we are all passengers getting on the same plane I know, I know, I know.

They lied about extra leg room, I didn’t fall for paying for extra leg room; it turns out what they really meant was actual leg room.

Flying Ryanair without paying for all the extra extras is like being in a plaster cast – and I had to share!!!

They brought me wine, though things are not what they were, one glass and I fell asleep.

That’s where I got to dream that there were two rival singers running airways; Ryan Adams and Brian Adams. I was lucky to be on Ryanair. Brianair is even worse, “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be charging you.”

Let not my whole review of our holiday in Denmark be critical and bad I shouldn’t poke fun all the time.

The cabin is fantastic – cheap too. Here in Ulfsborg we are in the depth of woods and I am the log man.log pile

There would be no kindling without me without me there would be no kindling. The fires they burn because of me because of me the fires burn.

I have another important job too, that of fire monitor.

It might be worth noting that I have a specific walk for each of these important tasks, so the mere girls know what it is I am about.

I may have failed occasionally, when one of the ‘girls’ points out that a fire is getting a bit low. What they fail to realise is that they real man fire monitor has an inbuilt sensor and was just about to get up and add another log. Chop chop.

The area is beautiful. I admit Norwegians are wrong; whenever you say to one of them, “What’s Denmark like?” They reply in the same way every time, using the one word, “Flat.”

They are right yes, but they are quite condemning when they say it, dismissive, they cannot bring themselves to say more, for indeed there is nothing left to say.flat map

In future I may respond with, “And happy!”

It is not quite as flat as they say, not like in totally. It is beautiful with much nature (Beaches are hard to get to or even see without owning a holiday home among the private dunes) but there is so much protected wildness.

I have enjoyed: thatched rooves, wooded estates, gladioli (so yes it is beautiful), lille frogs, lille cakes, sporadic songwriters, antiks, crafts, fleas, fungi, pagan sacred areas, sculptures, sand sculptures, marinades, free vodka, fish cakes, Asatru forests, carved gods and goddesses, mother goddess shaped sacred areas, recovered long-ships, towers of hope, mjord, home-baking, proper bread, fired steak, thatch dryers, lille horses, bus shelters, everything.sacred me and serpent

We have planned: future trips, future residences, bake houses, barn conversions, Jorvik shows, poodle tales, Hastings, graphic novels, fan trips, London fashion week, TV series, rock opera, Vegas trips, tunics, wood carving, Greek myth shows, book launches, landscaping, stalls, food festivals, story shares, sock making, everything.posing

We look around, everyone looks happy, really happy, as we sit with chocolate Soft Is (not me thank you), they smile, as they pass they are so so happy – I hate them!

This is the happiest place to live in the world – How irritating!

Oh if only we had so much spare time. As we sat in Sandwichvej, Holstebro thinking of our drive back to Klitvej Cabins it wasn’t like we were on holiday at all all of a sudden. We looked around at a happy happy people who have half a vacation’s worth of time off every week of the year (I swear they retire at twenty nine and a half) it as like we were already halfway back to Drudgevej, Taskmadby.

They are so relaxed they don’t even realise bicycles are for exercise, (actually they are not, they are for getting from A to B cheaply and in a hurry, but there is no way on earth they would get that idea) they are a gentle occupation of the ‘occupy your time’ generations of this Nordic land.

They walk like they have those bouncy blades Paralympians use strapped to their feet, but not to hurry at all, oh no.

Slow cycle, slow, we have a lot of time to fill, a lot of time.

They haven’t rushed since they leapt off the Viking long-ships and charged into your land roaring.

Ah, all of those guys stayed in Iceland, Belfast or the Gorbles. These are the descendants of the remainder.

Not a lot of these oceans of spare time are spent on appearance; utility is the only option – and hairdressers for women must only possibly survive if they charge an immense amount per cut to whip it all off. Not one woman in Denmark has long hair. Boy cuts. Dead straight forward boy cuts, but hey ‘we gotta get out there and cycle slow looking happy’.

‘We are so relaxed we can not even be bothered clapping singer songwriters why should we have long hair?’

‘What do you think we are – Vikings?’

Hang on – there’s a fashion statement – there is someone coming up the street in a T shirt – with something written on – it says – it says – Let’s Party and Dance. They even need extra instructions on how to party!

Here on the way home I reflect in a more serious mood on how nice everyone was and what a great time we had.

I sit now with my sandwich of bacon, wettuce and what-once-was-tomato and recall the beautiful scenery. The forest deep in the centre of the country was my favourite part. The centre should be designated an area of outstanding unflatness as it is less like Bonnie and Clyde land and more like Yorkshire with extra wildness. It rolls.

We got lost. All we had to look out for was a particular tree but it could only be seen from the west of the trees and we were driving from the east (I think). My favourite part of the trip, of the whole holiday in fact, was getting lost in the wrong forest. I don’t think the three drivers were as chuffed, indeed I guess, Jonas wished he had come in his truck. It was magical nonetheless; and we did eventually find our sacred forest with its large carvings of the old gods and goddesses.

We will be going there again – by a more direct route.

I almost forgot – I am a Viking Chieftain!

We dressed up – no we didn’t – ‘we became’. Off we went to the meandering magical village of the ancient Danes.

guide

Our guide

This village has been built so well, modelled on dwellings and arrangements of the area and on buildings from other regions of the Viking empire such as Iceland.

The variation added to the natural appearance of the village which rolled and wandered just as if it had gradually developed.

Now, when I go back to Norway I have sailed the sea in many ships over in Denmark as soul command.captain

Christian (Schuetz) the storyteller from Germanythree in hut was so impressed with my interpretation which cannot be described as untrue that he invited me to the long house to sit upon the tall imposing chieftain’s throne. This I did and promptly declared myself chieftain. I can tell you that I addressed my subjects and all those around me obey my every command; wave I command and they wave etc.

In this land where I sailed those ships I had sat as chieftain yes.

And if you want to prove wrong my cheeky descriptions of boring unimaginative Danish people then go to the marvellous Café Sajd in Jelling and their highly exciting Mythological Festival. – http://www.cafesejd.dk/mytologiskartfestival/

That Viking village in Denmark

Gods Bless Ya!!! Our Rock Opera in Jelling

My Viking Saga in a Nutshell

My Viking town link – Gudvangen

thorsmind

Yes these are the things Thor has on his mind

klit

Image from Jelling Mythological Arts Festival:-pixie

tellers hut

All photos by Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir

 

 

 

Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

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See ‘how to’ at the bottom for ways to turn these shortened sagas into performances

Sigurd the Warrior038 sig sword up

The warrior thrust his sword – into his scabbard034 sig sword

Mounted his mighty horse – and rode through the night035 sig horse

And the next day009 rode all night

And the next night008 ride all night

Ahead was an enormous mountain036 mountains

In the mountain was a huge cave037 cave

He leapt from his horse – and strode in038 sig sword up

Up a long high tunnel084 up tunl

Towards an enormous cave087 to enor cave

In the cave was an enormous heap of gold010 pile of gold

Upon the gold was an enormous dragon007 dragon on pile

“Roar”039 dragon

He crouched in fear, “I cannot kill this thing!”089 crouch fear.jpg

Two birds landed on his shoulders and whispered,013 two raven

“Dig a hole” “What with?”090 dig what.jpg

“Dig with your sword.” “Why?”092 with sword.jpg

“Just dig, dig, and leap in!”094 leap in.jpg

The great monster awakes039 dragon

Sigurd the warrior crouches down with his sword012 wait in hole

The monstrous dragon flies out through the tunnel095 d flies out.jpg

Sigurd stabs, stabs, urg, hu, arg, p,dumph096 s stabs

The dragon bites, RRRRaphnth!011 dragon head

Sigurd slices, “Hahahahahahaha!”097 haha 01.jpg

“Hahahahahahaha!”098 haha 02

 

 

Sigurd Awakens Brinhild

Sigurd the warrior raised his sword034 sig sword

He sliced right through the dragon’s neck025 neck slice

And from its claw he took the cursed gold ring026 ring

“I will go and seek my fortune”099 seeks.jpg

“Hang on, I already have a fortune”010 pile of gold

He filled his saddlebags with dragon’s gold028 sadlebag

He rode away on his horse which was afraid of nothing – nothing030 sig rides

Nothing076 man horse 01 flipped

Forests, swamps, mountains029 terrain types

Upon a far mountain is a tall tower0100 on mount.jpg

Surrounded by flames0101 in flames.jpg

The horse leaps0102 leaps.jpg

Through the air024 sig leaps

Through the flames031 sig through flame

Sigurd dismounts inside the tower0103 dismounts.jpg

Laid asleep upon a stone bed is…0104 asleep.jpg

The most beautiful woman he has ever seen0105 most beaut.jpg

She was unclothed027 sleeps

He took her in his arms0106 in arms

He kissed her0107 kiss.jpg

She awoke, “I love you”0108 awake

“I love you too – will you marry me?”0109 will you.jpg

He put the ring upon her finger0110 ring on

The cursed ring026 ring

That is just the beginning of a story – where0111 beginning of.jpg

Everybody dies0112 ev dies 01.jpg

 

For the Love of Freyja – and the Walls of Asgard

The big boss god of all the Viking gods?054 god war flipped

OOOOOOOOOOOdin047 odin 01

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOdin048 odin 01 flipped

His city was in ruins049 asgard

Ruins050 asgard flipped

Along came a handsome stranger044 h stranger

“I will build the walls of your city for you”045 h stranger flipped

“And all I want in return is…”078 hs 02

“The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0114 str the sun.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0120 sun 04.jpg

Odin said, “You want what!”069 odin 02 flipped

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0115 ev the sun group 01.jpg

That is a lot, I will ask Loki070 odin loki heads

“What does he want paying?”057 loki 01

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”055 odin and loki 01

“Only if he can get it done in less than half a year”059 half a year

Odin told the stranger…068 odin 02

“But will you still pay me “Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0116 sun 01.jpg

“And can my horse help?”046 hs and horse

“Hahaha what good is a horse? It was a magical horse060 horse mountain 01

It flew down and picked up a mountain061 horse mountain fly

The stranger used it as a brick065 hs brick 01

It flew down and picked up a mountain062 horse mountain fly flipped

The stranger used it you get the idea066 horse to hs brick

He will get it down in time and then we will have to pay him067 hs brick to wall

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0118 sun 02

Loki turned into a beautiful lady horse brrrrrrr071 loki turns horse072 lady horse 01

The stallion followed her075 man horse 01074 lady horse 02

Into the magical woods077 into magic wood

Now the stranger wouldn’t get the job done in time and he wouldn’t get paid…078 hs 02.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0119 sun 03

He threw off his handsome disguise and became the rock giant he really was079 off to biff

He went to biff Odin0121 goes to biff.jpg

But Odin biffed him080 odin to biff

He biffed him so hard he flew all the way back to the land of the giants081 biffs giant

The walls were nearly finished and Odin didn’t have to pay…0122 nearly wall.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0123 ev group flipped.jpg

 

Loki

The god of mischief058 loki 01 flipped

Trickery0124 trickery.jpg

Cruelty0125 cruelty

“When the goddess awakes see how she screams”0126 she screams.jpg

Loki laughs “hehehehe”0127 l laughs 01.jpg

“Hehehehehe”0129 l laughs 02.jpg

He is also a shape changer god0130 shape change.jpg

(say to the cast,) “Say the names of four random creatures or things”0131 creatures.jpg

The gods had had enough of him056 odin and loki 01 flipped

They threw away his children0132 throw ch

The giant snake they threw into the sea, “Roar, sploosh”0133 throw snake 01.jpg0134 throw snake 02.jpg

The monster wolf into the ground “hoooooowl”0135 wolf in

His putrid, rotten daughter down to the underworld016 hel falls

Scream!014 hel

Burning poison was dripped on Loki’s face0136 poison face.jpg

“All scream together!”0137 all scream.jpg

“See my daughter fly her ship of the dead”0138 her ship

“And we will kill you all!”0139 kill all.jpg

“Hahahahahaha” –0142 haha 01 “Haha”0143 haha 02.jpg

That is the end of Loki’s story, in which…0140 l dies

[Say to the cast] (“All say together, “Everybody dies” on the count of three.) 1 2 3 “Everybody dies!”0141 ev dies

 

 

Ragnarok

The end of the world, where everybody dies0151 end of world

Gods, Monsters, wolves and slaves0152 gods monsters etc

Everyone fights together until they die015 all fight

Did we mention everybody dies?0153 dd we ment

Because they do0154 cos do

The sea rises up and swallows the land033 yg wave

Lightning strikes the great tree032 yg lightning.jpg

The great tree falls,017 yg falls

eeeke, creeeeak, vrooooompht, budoumpht, budoumpht, budoumpht0155 eek.jpg

budoumpht0156 bdumpht

One branch019 yg twig

One branch remains standing free of the water019 yg twig

The bits of the old world gather around the branch018 yg

Two figures climb down to this new land020 lithr babe

Lith and Lithrasia0150 l and l

New life begins, cradled in their arms021 babe

The power of the old gods rises from the sea0157 old gods.jpg

The light of life and hope023 yg old gods.jpg

We raise up our arms in wonder and say, “aaaaaaah”022 l and l arms

 

 

Njord; the god of the sea

He leads us0158 he leads.jpg

Guides us0159 guides.jpg

Stare out to sea with him0160 stare

For under the sea is a terrible goddess0161 under is terrible g.jpg

Ran! She is wicked and twisted0162 twisted.jpg

She swings her net and catches sailors “aaaaaaaargh”0163 swings

They wander her home forever0164 wander.jpg

“I am cccccold.” – “I miss my familyyyyy”0165 ccold

“I wish I hadn’t drowneded”0166 drownded.jpg

“Hahahahaha” Ran laughs and claps0167 claps.jpg

That is how sick she is0168 sick.jpg

Njord is good; 0169 good.jpghe guides us0170 guides.jpg

This is his home0171 home.jpg

Njardarheimr0172 njard.jpg

He stands now by the sea0173 by sea.jpg

Bless him with mjord and ol0174 ol.jpg

Gudvangen! Njardarheimr!0175 gud

 

Although I wasn’t yet strong enough to face being at Gudvangen this year I was thrilled to be asked by stand-in host Annabelle to allow her to continue my tradition of multi-national stories. So each of the scripts I have published here has been performed in my honour by Annabelle with a gang of pals such as Karin in many languages and dialects simultaneously.

‘How to’ guide:

If you are working with children they can repeat each line altogether after you and act it out; remember, many of the stories from the mythology are quite gruesome.

The multi-national story; you need people who speak different languages (and English) you can also encourage different dialects for a bit more fun. You say each of the lines and one at a time they saying along the row in their own language. It works wonderfully well, it works far better than it should! Prepare to have great fun.

I look forward to be being welcomed back into the fold at Gudvangen next year (or even sooner).

Love

Adrian

OldMan Comics – Cancer Care Capers

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LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

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LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

Living History is fun, it is exciting, it is valuable, the more we do it the more we want to be involved; to deepen the experience.

As a member of Vanaheim, the University of York Medieval Society Viking group, within the Great Britain-wide group The Vikings, I have gathered together ideas, particularly for Viking encampments. shoppingEncampments which in British groups and in UK attraction / museum work are generally referred to as Living History, and I guess, without properly realising this, I have written this for my mates! Not consciously, but with them in mind.

They say write about what you know, so hopefully I know enough to be of help.

There should be helpful ideas here for anybody making some sort of history come alive for any period, (anywhere and anywhen), so not just Vikings.

To keep everyone else reading this then I guess it will be a lot of fun.

Beside many of the followers of this blog read it cos they want to know the details of my complex life (again mainly for the fun of it).

There is a lot in here, but it breaks down into two or possibly three basic concepts – get a grip of them and you are on your way to being dynamic.

There is also a Golden Rule, well actually there are about six Golden Rules, each of which is the most important one!intent

As for what Living History is…

Well it’s a tent innit.

The front is open and we are in ‘fancy dress’ looking out being hopeful.

Fancy dress is actually a terrible insult and bodily coverings and adornments are generally referred to as KIT.

Bumper stickers are known to exist stating, re-enactors do it with their kit on.

I prefer to think of it as ‘becoming’.

In Norway they have the expression, ‘Naked’ (in Norwegian). Being a Viking in Scandinavia leans more towards being a life-style choice. There is a whole lot more living in their living history in my experience. To the degree that if they agree to meet up without their ‘kit’ they say they will be naked.

For me, if I am caught leaving anywhere in modern day clothing I say I am dressed up as a person.

Anyway…

That tent.

If you are setting up a Viking encampment at a generic festival or a museum event type thing, you tend to be there sort of nine to five. There are artefacts and they are discussed and interacted with. There can also be reconstructions of life-style, often with drama involved.

If you are away for a weekend at such as the Battle of Hastings you will be living in the tent and some will be life-style, some will be presentations of interesting stuff, some will demonstrate skills and some will be selling from a stall. A combination of the lot is also good.

Ah, the other thing one is often doing, is preparing for the battle or for a show.

All good.

Oooo I forgot one, making things. That happens too.staring

I do feeling that we do better at these things if we get there early. If there are a few days to set up and live there before the public come in their proper numbers we settle into it more. This, in fact, is my first proper bit of advice, the longer you have been settled in and striving to live as a Viking where others can see, the happier you feel. There is a feel for visitors when they arrive that this is ‘real’ and you are living there.

If you are living for a week at a time or even for a couple of weeks at one event, or even if you are doing the whole season and travelling from one thing to another, spring to late summer, then you are probably in Scandinavia.

There they have markets, not battles or festivals, but markets.

People live in tents, they run courses, they sell items, they foretell, they hang out, they trade, they cook, they serve, they tell, they train, they watch or take part in entertainments, shows, battles, skirmishes. They wrestle and they scream out Galda.

Ah, perhaps more importantly, they sleep.

I am more accustomed to this environment, as you probably know. Spending a week or two at a time mixing between my shows and activities. I cook for a dozen, I do readings, I mix and I laugh. We learn from each other as we go.

As an honorary member of Njardar Vikinglag (But not Njardar Vikingslag) and as a privileged accompaniment of Bjorgvin Marknad I have lived. But that is all history. Always. History I shall live again and again and again. We are our experiences and we echo through time.broth

I guess the more one can experience this, the better, the settling into it. Once you have been around a bit you can do that anywhere, for any length of time; with a cape and a hat or with an enclave of enticement.

We all learn from our experiences and our repeated experiences. As Skald to the Chieftain at Gudvangen Vikingby in Norway I find ideas can take a year to develop into a reality. I do the activities I did the time before but with subtle additions, adapting to the needs of the environment. Then when we are relaxing over mead new ideas spring from our sharing and the next year they come into being.

That happens to all of us. It happens from listening and chatting with visitors too.

There will of course be environments and activities which I have missed out, do please let me know of these.

leahAs with the ideas and suggestions below. You will no doubt bounce off and adapt – I want to know.

Now here is Golden Rule no. 1 the most important one: be brief.

The first major concept: They are going to want to ask a question.

Golden rule no. 2 the most vital of all: There will be a point to it.

The other major concept: The vast majority of things you are doing, thinking and chatty about are appropriate.

There is going to be a whole lot more on these below and no doubt I will think up a few more concepts and golden rules as I go along in my erratic way. For instance Golden Rule no. 3 the only one you need to know: People don’t buy anything until they have bought something.

Right let’s start with that one, but don’t let it put you off; because I got this idea at a car boot sale (so don’t talk about it loudly in camp!).  There are lots of things of interest, there are lots of things we would like, we are not sure we have enough money, there is a whole weekend ahead. We might come back on Sunday. Then we spot something that we really want and it is cheaper than we expected. The excitement of that purchase means that in the next ten minutes we are far more susceptible to purchases. There will be a bag full, and we will need to buy a proper bag.

Well that was a really bad start because it was digression for the proper topic, before we have even got started too and to make matters worse here is another one. There are a few things on your stall they like the look of but don’t really want. There is one thing they find out the price of and it is far cheaper than they expected. Suddenly all the things on that stall are wanted and we want to grab them. This is a bargain stall, grab stuff.

Right back to Vikings

And tents.

That Golden Rule no. 1 – yes this is numero uno. Be brief.

Yes there are lots of tents and events and loudspeakers. presenter-for-the-rockfestPeople are roaming and trying to get a taste of it all or just trying to find their pal. As well as moving on shortly they have something to say. They are wanting to chat. They are unlikely to join in with the characterisation.

If you say, “You look like the son of royalty, will you marry me?” They will laugh as they approach but they are unlikely to bend to one knee for you. They are more likely to ask about your pommel. (I am not sure what one of those is so I hope it makes sense.)

And that main concept; asking a question. They have one; mark my words. They are an early-retired professional who reads the Independent And they have been thinking long and hard about their question. They brought it with them – on the tip of the tongue. Some might have a few, but mainly they have one that is so good that everyone is going to want to be asked. So that’s where this dialogue is going. Swiftly away from drama. Swiftly away from the many things you want to talk about. Nowhere near all the things you are desperate to show. This is moving directly to The Question. They, of course, did a degree in history or the arts or something and never got to use it in their career so they are trying to make up for lost time by impressing you. So hence The Question.

And now look at you. You are trying to answer that question aren’t you. You are giving it a very good stab. You are honestly thinking that they want the benefit of your knowledge and are intrigued to hear. They are hardly listening. As soon as you finish, they have another question to fire at you – but this time it is a rhetorical question. “So how come they didn’t pick their berries with a…” “So why haven’t you converted to Christianity?” “Have you ever thought that they would have known each other well?” “You do realise they must have buried more in the area too don’t you?” Those sorts of things.

tradeThis is because. They have A Point. Yes the Golden Rule of pointed golden rules; they have a point. Point. And they are going to make it, At every tent.

This is clearly something that is definitely right, (‘It must be’), but nobody in the history of historical researchiness has ever thought of it. (I know this to be true because I do it all the time.)

They will point downwards towards you in a jiggerly way, ‘Ah ha hah hah hah hah hah, ah ha hah har har har.’ They will do this with a knowing look until you nod in forced agreement. You may even have to smile in admiration of their wisdom before they will move on.

So yes, when it comes to the being in character bit, be prepared to be brief.

Take that as a warning, before we move on to the bits that are actually useful at last. Well hopefully they will be.

That other major concept: you are appropriate.

You are there and you are doing it. I’ve been there I’ve seen you.

I was inspired by my pals in their pre battle mode. There was all the when will we meet, where, where are they. Look you can see the smoke from their encampment. It doesn’t take much. Do you see, do you see.

You are the timeless entity that is history and are living it.

Just a little switch.

I saw the sweat and the tension. To be really honest the battle parts of it are not really my thing. But I felt part of it especially the prep. They were tense.table-01

Then they were gone. We don’t know if they will come back. We don’t know if we will be safe. The children watch them go. No one looks back.

Well this is LH let’s not get too carried away.  We got to chatting and living and forgot about them. We were in a summer village in our ship-tent long away from the farm or the winter dwelling.

There was earlier we talked about that. We were calm and not worrying. Purposefully. There had been the panicers and the gossipers and the worriers. “What are we going to do about the wounded?” ”There will be prisoners?” “Who among us will be prisoners?” ”Some will be dragged out in front of the lines of enemy in tearful chains!” that sort of thing. Actually this was the planners an coordinators who make it all happen and look for volunteers. But it doesn’t take much. Does it.

We looked back in that way and busied ourselves. We cooked.

Reality was we are playing. They real cooking would be afterwards, when the dead returned. There would be slices of cured pig which we would grill on the fire, small loafs cut and filled with fat from milk another farmer had churned far far away from battle (hopefully). Right now we played.

The small celeriac we had procured were perfect for roasting, they were hunter – gather size. There was garlic, there were onions, there was Viking Rice. Sorry that is a modernism; it was pearl barley. It was cloggy, I nearly put the fire out by tipping the pan badly, and I needed much supervision. It was nearly ready. There was bread awaiting cutting. The fighters came back.

They were alive. No battle. They had mustered. They hadn’t skirmished or raided. But they were ready. They were tense. They didn’t have long.

They didn’t talk or acknowledge us. They ate. The fervour of battle was upon them and I will never forget. We were providing, fulfilling a timeless wild need. Then. They were gone.

And that. Is why. I am writing this.

It was real. We can take that reality and spread it across what we do. 90% . Maybe 95%, yes 95% of what we do is living history. You just have to realise that. Talk aloud, slightly louder than you normally. Bit of feeling there. And it is alive (until we die).

End of blog.

Ah no sorry, I got carried away, that moment lead to all sorts of ideas and, at last, we are there and I am just about to write a blog on how to bring more characterisation into your Living History experience.

It has started.pan

Well, I digress a little, for instance, what was the other 5% about? Metal.

So.

Moving on to section c, d or is it five, I forget how many there’s been.

These are the bits, the bits section. A breakdown.

The Overheard – The what we are doing part

You are being in yourself. Like what we just said about 95%. We are just doing it a little bit more louder. It only needs to be of short duration and occasional. A bit like throw away humour I suppose. We know they are there and we were going to say this any way so we might as well make it into a bit. (See Lenny Bruce below.)

These are the things that you do turned into statements and vocal displays slipped between things which are real any way if we choose to look at this way.

Start that way.

“I worry about you in your pink leather hat. With this helm I am far safer.”

Then build.

They arrived gleaming and now they are dead and a new foe arrives.

That bishop of St Albans started this, just because we are clean and popular with the women. He stirred them up to kill. Women in pits with dogs upon them, children in the gate hinge. We have to kill and we are here and ready.

Talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Preparing for death.

Act drunk, or use other emotions or attitudes.

Be overheard.

Then turn round and smile and welcome them.

“When are we changing into our Berserker outfits?”simen

Activity – The things you are practicing or working on.

You will be training, so do a dialogue. (I hate the word but…) simples.

While cooking ask, “Have you got anything salty?”

Have you any honey from Manuka? No maybe not.

Turn things you do into drama in an understated way. “We shall try this again my son, if you do not react properly and yet again I have to hold back my blow I shall disown you.”

“Watch the way my grip changes as I move.”

“Be careful with those onion skins they don’t grow in the ground you know! Every little bit needs to go in that pot of pee.”

Calling out – just moments that can sometimes lead to an afternoon (or a life together)

Try introducing each other ie have back story.

If we talk about our back story we sound like ourselves.

If we introduce another it sounds more real.

Be sure to have something to say in response mind.

“Let me introduce our greatest fighter, you can tell by the cut of his ‘thingy’ he has travelled far. This bead here; Icelandic.”

Build them, back stories. Try and have items upon you support this. Or the way you do things. Me? I am Hiberno-Norse settled in Jorvik after much travelling as a teller.

“He says there are little people in the mountains” “No in the woods, the ones in the mountains are big.”eric-socks

You probably have one of these built in your imagination, imagine more and build. Then of course ‘share’, so your team know you. Pretty soon the passers-by will know you too.

Get them to sit down. A wonderful Viking woman in Gudvangen Market does this. It should perhaps be a golden rule for it is a very powerful tool if done right. Not as a big thing, almost throws away that invitation. She sits there as part of the scene she is living and being, (because she is enjoying it), she looks around slowly and smiles, for a little too long. Then she pats the stool. “Sit a while.” Thats it, she doesn’t say anything.

They do. They belong.

Try using a reason to get them to sit down, “We will have reason enough to stand against another soon enough.”

“Join us or be against us.”

Act as if passers-by are real! Ask them questions. “Who do you fight for today.”

“Are you the Glima wrestlers we are expecting?”

“We want to make a new hat how should we do it?”

“Come here and settle an argument…”

“What do you know of the situation in Norway?”ritual

Comment as they pass.

“Much strength to your arm.”

“Do you know any good Galda?”

We will take one of your children. You shall take one of ours. The peace and understanding will come from the way they learn. Bring them back though, when they are grown.

If they speak badly of you they will know all the ways into your home.

(They did it then, it was still happening (as a one way only trade) to Roma in the eighties in Norway.)

Quote lines. This is a trick. Think of a line from a movie, a book, a game, a wise person, a saga, one of the clichés you all repeat. Rework them. Vikingize them.

Betrothals. Seeking such agreements from those walking along.

“Today is a good day to die.”

Skol!

Prepare lines in other languages (not Klingon).

Complain about the next tents philosophy.

Set up dialogues with opposite encampments.

Have you got any salt?

Would your daughter be interested in my son?

Insult the person next to you to the passer by.

stage-01Where are you camped?

You have come on the wrong day, talk of what will happen tomorrow or yesterday.

We haven’t got a storyteller, do you know the one about the…. ?????

It is my matrimonial day tomorrow, (pause for congratulations) I just need a partner.

The witch told me that…….

What We Do – The 95%

Talking about what has happened; just slightly louder. You will get in the habit of it. Setting the scene, as if living life live, and remember that is real.

Be there longer than the battle come before. Feel you are living.

Yes Keep it brief, and as they are passing is a good time.

Just be a little louder and be over heard.

Mainly just be because you are actually living it.

And remember they really are only wanting to ask questions so that you will get to listen to their valuable point!

Demonstrate your skills – yes – but also try training a fellow in your skills in a slightly louder way and dramatise. “No! you will be banished if you fail to learn this time my son.”

Props in your pocket: walk forwards from the group as if it is a secret and show them something so only they see.

Remember, your authentics pouch doesn’t have to be fastened (unless there are sharps).

Conversational impressions; doing the other voice,

“I heard the bishop say…”simen-02

“It is lavely to have you all here, I know your king said you would be beheaded if you didn’t join us, and I know all your places of worship have been burnt down but it is still laverly that you decided to cam, laverly.” (The vicar out of Postman Pat gave me an idea for a voice.)

Describing what you are doing, ‘I am bringing forward the sack of gathered barley’. ‘I am cupping my hands into the barl…’

‘Do not invoke the old ways, do not speak in the old style. These are new and different times.’

Research – Go look at stuff. Go look at the stuff in your head.

Many of you will have seen my Hobb character; he is Hobb the Pigman and yet he has all sorts of adventures (see links below), he has done battle and had historic encounters but from his point of view, the view of an ordinary person, never forget it is a lot different than the important person’s record of events, a totally original perspective. You can view ‘your’ world that way.

I had an interesting insight into perspectives recently; German medieval societies mainly drink and fight, but because that is historically accurate. I am not suggesting you adapt this into early medieval living history, but it gives us ideas of ways to be from the known values and behaviour

Gift. Give a gift. This is an onerous responsibility for the recipient, for they must find a way to gift, a gift to you of equal value. If you give then a horse they will be trying to pay you back forever.

So rune readers say. Look at the runes generally for ideas of values.leah-left

Draw runes. Defence; “I give you this sign but I fear it will do you no good”.

Get thinking on this. Contemplation of the runes will bring you many inspirations. (or the bible.)

Magnar I hear spoken of; Far better to have ridden on the dark-side and then decided to ride into the light than to simple have been good all your life. Far better.

Not sure the four horsemen give the same sort of message.

Death, birth, blessings, belief, what are you going to next? – or would have been going if you hadn’t died?

Talk about your death and what will be said of you when you are gone.

Where are you going?

How do such topics of contemplation effect the way you live generally.

(These are the sort of powers which make me the storyteller I am btw.)

There are snippets you know that you can bring alive, like that thing about eating garlic and onion porridge so if you are stabbed it will leak out and smell…. (fill in the rest of the story yourselves.)

Talk about the past. Your forefathers gave you wisdom. They shared stories. Taught you.

Like a bird building a nest you have those inbuilt skills of you past.

Your journey here, give us details. Share and ask.

Look stuff up, traditions, customs, use them. They are the stuff of life which shapes the skull.

Ooooo make cards to hand out secretly to fellow members so it is a game…

Acts against Humanity, barrels of doom.

Talk to larp people and dnd people.

Think of lines from films, books, sagas, change them a little and quote them.

Stones. The power of stones. The Hiberno-Norse came here to Yorkshire and they brought a huge leap in creativity with them. They had mixed and shared and in the mix was the stone carving vision of the pasts that came through the Irish contingent. All that they had learnt they shared with their off spring; the Hiberno-Norse. They came here.

Jelling holds beautiful carving upon a stone, the stone carving these later visitors brought here shared the actual stone. The Kirklevington cross stones share stories and images. They are story Use images to ‘convert’ onlookers.

Think of ways belief, ritual, folklore may have affected the way people act and talk. Note that this bit is not specific; it could fit anywhere, anywhen.

So yes, talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Think on them too.

Bits – Like what you have bubbling around inside too

Aim for half a dozen times a day you are doing characterisation.

Draw on your own experiences larp drama etc.

For me happenings in DnD spring to mind: They hated each other but the witch poured a love potion over his sword. He grabbed the sword to kill, he swung it over his head, he fell in love, he dropped the sword behind him, he leant forward to kiss his once enemy, the sword was no long in his hand, he hated him, he grabbed the sword, he swung it over hi… You get the idea.

A bit silly I know, but there are transferable models in everything, everywhere.

Hey, relax and have a laugh, much will spring from it, as ideas burst out of your gob.

I suppose I was a bit glib and critical when I desperately sought to drag humour out of all this and went on about visitors and the points they have to make. They are not all like that. Not by a long way. Many are totally different. They are complete idiots!!!!

Sorry no, the term for them is tourists.

They have very vivid imaginations.

That Viking woman in Norway I talked about. She went for a walk. Not far. Just out the gate of the camp and sat in the sun by the Fjord waters. You can see all the camp but there is a fence around it, this is to keep out the non-payer. Not all visitors realise this though, one of these walked up to her and asked in a concerned voice, “Do they treat you well?”

If visitors can believe you are encamped in a reservation then they can believe anything.

Play on that sense of imagination.enjoying-the-show-with-friends

If I can have ideas so can you. Sorry to sound pompous and patronising, of course you can, all you have to do is let them free. They roam around and pop about in thought and conversation, now there is a place for them.

I mention back story. Mine is Hiberno-Norse, and travelling storyteller, so my kit is eclectic.

I was inspired deep within my heart, (and in my roots?), by the idea of Norse venturing into Ireland, mixing, consorting, (finding and raiding monasteries together), planning, trading goods and power. They came here! (York that is, I live in York.)

They settled.

The other bit: by the gods I am a great storyteller so that is reflected in my back story and in my ‘kit’. – The pinks would have been very expensive, so obviously I told stories to Queens. Either they loved my tales and gave me a gift or they hated them and as I ran I stole them.

My back story was further empowered by a purchase from Swanhildas Sweets (on Ebay). Viking trade route jewellery. A total inspiration. A necklace of stones that reflected my life path.

I have since demonstrated this jewellery in Scandinavia with amazing results.

It makes people who they really are.

I told a Canadian guy that currently he felt he was a Canadian who dressed up to be in the company of his partner who was a ‘real’ Viking as a Norwegian. I pointed out that jasper had been found in digs off the coast of Canada and had proven to be the equivalent of flint and had been used by Vikings. If he bought the necklace he would become a Canadian Viking!!! He bought it and bought it.

A Norwegian lady whose father had been adopted from Thailand when tiny had become a Viking and was interested in materials from the silk routes to help her draw in her real heritage. She looked at the stuff and changed her mind, “I am going to be Irish.”

Real stuff comes out too, a guy told me how he hadn’t told anybody else, even his girlfriend yet, but he had been adopted at birth and given to a Christian family. He hadn’t discovered this till he was forty, when his real mother, (a Roma, found him and told him of the abduction policy of the Norwegian government. They were actively Christianising in this way right up to the late 90’s.)

Real stories come out when you inspire people.

So.

Go out and buy stuff.

Back story stuff.

Being in character may be a way to deal with awkward or critical people. Plan an All Ting.

“We are putting holes in the ground like they do in Iceland to get the same space next year.”

Grapes? Think routes for conversations.

Have you had quirky thoughts lately use them.

Open your mind to the idea of interaction bearing in mind your own interests and deeper thoughts.

There is something you can say that has great challenging depth.

My quirky thinking, I like to come up with possible new understandings of how things were from piecing things together. Recently I found myself wondering what Thor’s second name would be? Thor Odinsson!!!!steak.jpg

Developing Drama – chunks of this stuff could go together

Perhaps there can be plays come of this or a mini drama by piecing bits together.

The highly controversial comedian Lenny Bruce talked of putting bits together. His act would be different every time, as he made his mind up all along. Sometimes though all the old bits would come rolling out in a new order and people would say what a great new set, all highly original. I really identify with this idea of bits from my own stuff (even though I am not funny). Ho wofeyen hbv eyou heard me say, “And now you have an opportunity to see my great acting ability when I say they were…”

You already have snippets and bits like this. They will slot in anywhere. They will bolt to new ideas. They will intersect with another. They will join with the bits of others (“Steady now at the back!”), and they will become something bigger (“I said steady!”). The next thing you know -You have a piece to perform with (I said stop it at the back).

He also talked of the room, less useful here maybe, but interesting. Everywhere he performed was a ‘room’, TV studios (well they never asked him back), stadiums, anywhere. It is the room. The room shapes your material, the room has a personality. You have to know the room. You have to know where to put yourself in the room. The room –wait for it – wait for it – is a field with tents in it.

Be ready to sense and to adapt.

It could be simple – That thing what you do. A great guy I know told me of going to a Wild West ~Weekend. There was a guy booked, (and paid), to entertain and all he did was sit in a hut. A shack, the door was open and you could see him there sitting sipping Bourbon straight from a bottle. Bottle after bottle. All he wore was dark pink dirty all-in-ones, with one button missing at the back so you could see half his bum. He had something laid across his knee. My pal was curious and stepped forward to go towards him. The thing on his knee was a shot gun, it was up in my mates face and his life was being threatened, loudly! My pal ran. He ran to the others. They all came over, and then ran.

That man was a star, and here we are still talking about him.

Allting. Spell it how you like. There seems to be plenty of variants. From land to land. This is governance. We gather. We sit. We hold parliament. Hold one now.

From an unobtrusive circle around the gap between your tent and the one opposite, with a couple of seats missing at each ‘end’. When people walk through pull in stools. They are part of the circle which suddenly comes into being. Announce the topic of debate and let them know they are most important and are invited to join the discussion.

Land and folks will die upon you decision.

Golden rules – I missed a few out

Don’t enjoy it that much you turn clique I am sure you have in jokes.

It is not about costumes and fight skills – or points.

Almost everything you think and say and hear is a role play statement, it just needs reworking a little.

Make your friend laugh by turning things you know into a role play

Ie think about what you and your mates say, and make it of the time.

Hey, we are living it already.

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Living the Viking Way

My Performances at Gudvangen

The Battle of Hastings – this time we win

Hobb and the Normans

The Viking Life -This 21 chapter on-line book is my Autobiography

The Viking Life -This 21 chapter on-line book is my Autobiography

To read the first chapter simply click ‘Viking Life’.

viking-life-tab

At the top of each page you will see ‘Next in Current Series’. Just go back up to that and click to go to the next chapter each time.

(next)

Adrian Spendlow

Meanwhile I will get on with the follow up.