Pennsic 2010 Diary: Friday, August 6

morning — Marauders

Yesterday night was nice, pierced with intense moments of frustration. Grim and I brought down a few people to Eoforwic, where a small bardic was already going. The calibre of most of the people I recognised was high: Maraha, Toki, Aoife, Hector, Dolan, Rhodri, and so on.

And then there was A.R.

There’s no easy way to say this: I don’t like A.R. I don’t like his voice, I don’t like that he only ever does dirty songs, I don’t like that he seems completely incapable of following the tone of a circle, and I really don’t like that he grandstands. Any time there was the slightest pause, whether because people were internalising the last song or were trying to figure out who goes next, A.R. would decide to sing. Grim, Maraha, and Aoife didn’t perform at all. Dolan, Toki, and I performed once each. And A.R. performed six times. This seems not only profoundly unfair but oblivious to the point of being mean.

One moment of irony: Rhodri was speaking about Ternon, first prince of Calontir, some of whose ashes are buried beneath the Runestone. It was very serious, very sombre around the circle. And then, with absolutely no warning, the sky went from dry to very hard rain. It lasted long enough for us to run under the common pavilion and for A.R. to perform (yes, again), and then it pretty much stopped. Rhodri theorised it was Ternon sending him a message.

Don’t get me wrong: there were some great performances. Toki did the “Lay of Thorpatrick,” Hector did a few nice pieces (and one oratory), Rhodri did a couple of funny stories… so there was some good. Then Dolan closed out the evening with a story that was really three stories in one. If it were me, I would have just done one of the three, but it was still interesting.

Anyway, Rhodri kindly walked me home, and it started raining again shortly thereafter. I was kept up by voices in the common area. In the morning, I woke up but managed to stay in bed until a decadent 8 a.m. That said, I don’t feel well-rested. In fact, I feel downright tetchy. Hopefully it’ll pass.

Today there are some classes I’d like to take, especially the Boreal Master Symposium at 4. Tonight is Northshield and also the first night of the Enchanted Ground circles. I’ll figure it out later.

For now, to get dressed and visit Ernst.

around noon — Marauders

Had a bit of a bad morning. I called a friend and absorbed a lot of negative energy. Ernst helped me calm down and cheer up, though, and then we wandered through the shopping area looking for gifts for his new proteges. I met some new people and acted as a straight man for Ernst, but in the end, neither of us bought anything.

It’s beautiful weather today and I need to figure out what I’m doing. There’s a class on rounds in about ten minutes, but I’ll probably skip that in favour of wandering to the Bog. So… onwards!

before dinner — Marauders

A magic Pennsic moment: after having lunch with Maraha and his encampment, I meandered my way over to Casa Bardicci. I’d been told before about Gaston’s apartment, and someone suggested I go take a look. Now, understand that Gaston owns a Hollywood company that makes props and sets for movies. For the last six months, he’s been working on this 2-storey apartment, using all the tools, skills, and know-how that go into Hollywood sets. When I stepped in, I wasn’t at Pennsic anymore; I was in Renaissance Italy. The main floor is the dining area: wooden, carved chairs sit around a solid-looking wood table. The walls are covered with Renaissance-style portraits of various actors Gaston has worked with: Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, and even a picture of Yoda in the style of a Leonardo da Vinci sketch. Suits of armour stand solemn around the walls and the ceiling is completely covered in Renaissance paintings. There’s even a small cask of ale that actually — thanks to hidden storage under the stairs — holds about 15 gallons and always comes out chilled.

Going up the stairs leads to the second-floor bedroom. A huge bed with oak poles for a canopy is the largest and most decadent feature, but there are a ton of small and impressive details. The windows are filled with glass roundels (or at least moulded plastic that looks exactly like it). There’s an open sitting area floored with stone; through the Corinthian topped pillars you can look out over the entire lake. Even the glasses and pitcher look authentic. Gaston says that over the next year, he’ll get some “scenic artists” to make the whole thing look like it’s been used, lived in instead of new and sterile.

To say the apartment is impressive would be to do it a gross disservice.

[Editor’s note: More pictures of Gaston’s apartment, along with pictures of the work in progress can be found here.]

After seeing it, I performed a few songs for some Pennsic virgins from Camp Seven Leaves and went up to the merchant area with them. I spent some time at High Rafters, then went to Your Inner Vagabond with Aoife. We chatted about various things, most importantly the Winter Nights event in October and the Beowulf event in March. I’ll probably take a section. I just need to figure out which. [Editor’s note: The bardic community in Concordia of the Snows is planning on doing a full-day event in March, whose feature attraction will be a recitation of the entirety of Beowulf, with each bard taking smallish sections of about 200 lines.]

Then was the Boreal Master Symposium. Morgana presented a paper (and even referenced me!) about socks in the works of the Boreal Master and Blind Turnip Gustavson. Then professor Morissoni performed on the slide-lyre again. I’ve had an epiphany for next year: a Latin parchment saying “There’s a nail in my shoe. / There’s a nail in my shoe” and continuing in a similar style to the “Lay of the Rowing Bench.” God save us all now. I may go use Andrixos‘ Latin dictionary, but I may wait until I get home. [Editor’s note: If you don’t know about the Boreal Master, save your sanity and don’t ask. Trust me.]

I still don’t know what I’m doing tonight. I’ll figure it out after dinner.

night — Marauders

It’s been a nice night. In a pure weather sense, it’s been the first night I’ve considered pleasant. It’s cool enough that I took out the wool apron-dress, and I even needed a cloak as the night grew colder. At least I’ll be comfortable under all my covers.

After dinner, I went over to Concordia and spent a few hours with Fiana ana the Vestfell household. Mudslides were drunk in great quantity (not by me, but in great quantity nonetheless). As might be expected, people started performing. I changed the piece I’m doing at the East-Mid circle from “Reprobus” to “The Clash of Three Armies.” I ran through it once, stumbled once, but it’s mostly still in my head. It’ll be fine. Toki did a great poem about Grim falling out of bed. Angus told a great story about the Battle of Crecy, in a war-weary tone, the sort of old veteran warrior.

At around 11:00, or maybe 11:30, we decided to troop over to Northshield. It looked like a small circle, but after over an hour, the circle had only gone halfway around. The mood was much more serious than I expected of Northshield. Even Dahrien did a serious, sombre story. I was the last of five stories (or poems) in a row: Owen did a story about the binding of Feneris wolf, Toki did the poem about Grim again, Grim did his story about Harald and Eilasef (“The gold-ringed goddess of Garthar lets me dangle”), and Aoife did a story of lovers who are tricked into dying for love. I decided that the circle needed an energy boost, but “The Wild Eastman Spam” (which had been requested) was too much energy and wouldn’t match the mood. So instead I told the story of Judah and Tamar. I did it more colloquially than I’d planned, bu it worked well. Rhodri tossed me a line I’m going to incorporate. (“There’s no prostitute along the road… we’d know!”) One man whose name I don’t know tried to do a 4-part piece, using the audience for three of the parts. It was an interesting idea and I’m sure it would be cool to listen to, but it didn’t quite work this time.

I left shortly after that, and now it’s about 1 a.m. I’ve got a Troll shift at 10, so I should really go to bed. G’night.

Back to Thursday, August 5
Forward to Saturday, August 7



  1. Johann Lederer said,

    August 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

    There are pictures of Sir Gaston’s Italian Villa posted here:

    • pocketbard said,

      August 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Awesome! Thanks so much!

  2. Mórag filia Scayth said,

    August 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I love “The Wild Eastman Spam”!

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