No decorations for a weekly practice or guild meeting, no problem. But for a local event I think there should be at least a minimum attempt to decorate the venue. For an event hosted by a group where members of other groups are expected to attend, There should be the expectation that group and personal heraldry will be displayed.
Decoration of the venue and attention to “Pomp and Circumstance” should be an important part of Society events no matter what the purpose of the event is.
Generically, the term pomp and circumstance describes a ceremony of grandeur, a very formal celebration. This is a perfect description of Society events at the local, kingdom and Society levels. If this does not describe the events you attend or host, there is something wrong.
I have been to many events lately where there has been little to no attempt to make the venue look nice. This leads to another problem. When the event is over, everyone just packs up and leaves. Trash is strewn everywhere, chairs and tables are left out, floors dirty, and trash cans left overflowing.
At the events where I work as a Merchant Liaison, I make sure that the areas where my Merchants set up are as clean as possible for when they arrive, and that they are spotless when they leave. How hard is it to police your area for 1 minute before you leave? How hard is it to spend 5 minutes to help hang banners, or to take them down and fold them?
How hard is it to push a broom around?
Once, the society voluntarily followed the dictate “We ALWAYS leave a site better than when we arrived”. That is not my experience the last few years.
I would like to see older members take the lead in always planning on bringing something, anything, to improve the look of an event. I never used to see anyone in charge of “Pomp and Circumstance”. Everyone just did it together. It was part of setting up at an event.
Now, it seems to be something no one does.
All I ask is that you do the minimum. Even if that is only throwing a cloth over your pile of stuff sitting against the wall.
This is what inspired this post and the ones that follow it.
This is the first post of mine with tips on making your SCA experience more medieval. Let me start by admitting that I am not rich. I can not afford to throw money at someone and have them make me wonderful items that make people go wow when they pass my camp site or my personal area during a day event.
With that in mind, let me talk a little bit about the Dream of the SCA and how I like to improve it on a tight budget.
The cheapest way to improve the atmosphere of your time at events is to act and speak forsoothly. Some people will not care about this, but I find that at events, I really do not want to talk about web design, politics, getting my car fixed, …
To bring out a period atmosphere, begin with words and actions. Say “milord” or “milady”. Bow and curtsy. If someone has a mundane item, look at it in wonder and marvel about what it could be. Learn a few words in the language of your persona and try to fit them into your conversation.
Read aloud some of the tales from the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Shakespeare, and others.
Go here and save this web-page as a PDF and keep it nearby as a reference at events. Speaking Forsoothly for Newcomers by THL Justinian Clarus, Ealdormere. It is a wonderful bit of information.
- Perceive the World through the Eyes of Your Persona.
- Describe the World in Terms Suitable for Your Persona
- Never use contractions where you normally would.
- Always use contractions where you normally would not.
- Never use 3 syllables where 5 will fit.
- Use alliteration and other poetic devices.
- Think first, talk later.”
If your persona is English, there is Original Pronunciation (OP) and it sounds wonderful. and it is rather easy to learn as well.2“Original Pronunciation | The Production or Performance of Works from Earlier Periods of English Spoken in Original Pronunciation.” Accessed February 12, 2020. http://originalpronunciation.com/.
Enough about this part. I will revisit this on later posts.
Lets start with some general rules about “Hiding the Mundane” at day events as that is easier than a several day camping trip.
Rule 1. cover it.
Rule 2. Put it in something else.
Pretty much everything on this subject will be covered by one of the 2 rules above.
Question. How do you get your gear to an event?
If you are like me, you use plastic totes as they stack nicely in the back of your car, are mostly water and dirt resistant. To hide these, you can use a blanket or sheet. Or make a slipcover using scraps of fabric. I use old sheets I get at Goodwill. I can take 3 or 4 to an event and leave them stacked near me and with the addition of a plate, some flowers, and a candlestick, they look like a planned piece of my area for the day where I can sit and visit with friends (See below).
I also like to take a simple rug. I use an older oriental rug that is about 6 by 8 feet. Not large, but it defines “My space”. With a couple of chairs, a pillow and my shield, I have a pleasant area to sit during the day. The picture below is from a fighter event that was just before I had to quit fighting for good. The camera I had just gotten and had not made a cover for yet. I now cover that with a small piece of tapestry fabric at events. Notice the 2 plastic bins covered with fabric I use as a table? My feast gear was hidden in one and the other had my mundane clothing and valuables. Next to that is an old tablecloth that is hiding a toolkit and a water jug.
My persona is Tudor, but having limited space to pack, I had to get creative with making myself a Tudor box chair. With some clearance fabric, and only a few mistakes, I was able to make a folding directors chair into something that packs into a tote.
With some curtain rod finials, a piece of foam-core and a banner, I have an awesome chair!
With a bit of sewing, you can hide a Christmas tree base as a holder for a banner pole to hold something heraldic. You can use 2 of them with a cross bar to hold some simple drapes. If you can paint, hem the top of a sheet, and paint it with something heraldic. or maybe a scene of some sort? Get creative! Make a cover for a small table and put on some battery candles.
Below is a simple diagram for the cover of my folding table above. there are no measurements as your table will be different.
This is a good way to use up scraps of fabric that you have laying around. Or use some old sheets. Leave blank or paint your heraldry or a scene on it for added impact.
And some simple pennons for tying to ropes. Made from scrap fabric. I made 8 of them all different sizes and shapes. Made from scraps, I used simple cord sewn into the top. I will ties these to ropes, the edges of tables, etc, to make my area less mundane and more festive.
Even if nobody else brings items to decorate, bring something. Below is the items I brought for an event. This was the only decoration on the entire site. The long banners are goodwill finds of simple window drapes. These are hung on .25 inch dowels that are tied with string to the top handrail.
Please, Do it for yourself and do it in pursuit of The Dream.
With a little creativity, it is possible to help make the SCA a magical place.