Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Display.

Regular readers will have probably realized by now that one of my hobbies is to dress up as a Viking and hit people with a spear about once a month.
I don't do this on my own though, I'm part of a re-enactment society comprised of other like-minded folk, although about half of them are Saxons, not Vikings.
Usually we get together every few weeks and take over a village hall with a nearby pub, and spend the Saturday of the weekend skirmishing in nearby woods until we're knackered, then round the day off with a banquet. All most excellent fun!
But on occasion we get asked to do Public Displays.
Mostly these are held at Open Air Museums, Castles or similar, and apart from the endless questions from the public and only being allowed to fight in an arena, they're generally excellent fun, especially as we can 'plan' our fights.
My favourite time was when I had to pretend to be a helpless Saxon girl and get captured by the nasty, raiding Vikings. I was being guarded so that I wouldn't escape but then the chap guarding me had an idea and very quietly told me what it was.
A minute or so later, just as the fighting was nearly over, I pretended to knee him hard in the 'family jewels' then legged it as fast as I could back 'home' while he writhed in agony on the ground and the rest of the Vikings cursed and ranted.
The audience of course, loved it. I'm not sure why, but they always seem to like it when a 'girly' wins a fight.
One occasion found us doing a display at the London Olympia, and as I lived the nearest and had crash space, about 10 Vikings and Saxons stayed over at mine the night before. We decided to get into costume before we set off as we weren't sure if there would be anywhere to change once we got there, and there were plenty of twitching curtains the following morning as my neighbours were treated to the sight of a gang of Vikings and Saxons loading up cars and vans with various pieces of armour.
Another time though was rather different as we were asked if we could go along to a Role Playing/War Gaming event at a famous hexagonal building not too far away from London.
Instead of being outside in a field where we could set up camp where we could do crafty stuff, make things and maybe even cook, we were relegated to a 'stall' in a corridor.
The only highlight of the day was when we got to do a 'Fashion Parade' followed by a small fight.
One of the members did the commentary and explained costume, weapons and armour being worn by the other members as they did their turn on the 'catwalk', and last but not least it was the turn of me and another girl to strut our stuff.
We both nearly collapsed in fits of laughter when the compere announced to the audience, "For all you War Gamers out there, these are 'women'. Take a good look as you probably won't see anymore for another year or so!"
Then it was time for the fight.
It was the usual Vikings vs Saxons, and the chaps on both sides hammed it up spectacularly showing off their weapons and chain mail to best effect until it the last persons standing were myself and a Saxon who was covered in mail, and armed with spear, shield and sword to boot.
All I had was Mr Pointy, my trusty spear, and for a moment I thought I was a gonner.
The Saxon raised his spear and shield, gave an almighty bellow and charged towards me...
So quick as a very, very fast thing on crack, I lifted my spear and to my joy he ran straight onto it.
The crowds roared as he fell to the ground in the death throws and cheered even more as I raised the spear and finished him off with a thrust and twist to his stomach.
For some strange reason we got a lot more visitors to our 'stall' after that.
Which was nice.
Oh, and is anyone from that hexagonal building is reading this, we were not responsible for putting pieces of smoked herring into the gaps in the radiators, honest.