ANST - Long Courts, Loud Populace

Richard L. Rohde talen at
Wed Jul 30 16:00:32 PDT 1997

Mistress Gunnora wrote in response to my posting:

Talen, you've made some good points, but I have to disagree with some 
what you say. The conversation problem is always going to happen during
long courts when people cannot hear anyway and get bored.  I know it's
upsetting, but frankly, there is nothing to be done about it.  People 
not think about much but their own boredom, especially when they are at 
event outside their own area where they and their friends are not 
likely to
be receiving awards.  Make that double when they are hot, sunburned, 
bit, etc.

People will be people, that is true.  And a pin-drop quiet court would 
likely be MORE boring.  I am actually more tolerant than it might seem 
by the tone of my previous posting.  I still feel that our courts have 
become LESS entertaining BECAUSE of the loud conversations occurring 
around it, and merely ask that those conversations me moved further 
away from court so that those who wish to listen may try.

>ATTEND THE COURT OR LEAVE IT!  I can't believe the rudeness of some
>people! A little quiet conversation is okay.  A lot of it is a dull 

And this is polite?  Talen, it might be better to speak directly to the
people acting badly at the time they are doing it.  Nonetheless, I
guarantee that even if you had had pin-drop silence from the entire
populace, you'd still have had a difficult time hearing anything.  When 
was standing 3 feet away from the Laurelling ceremonies I couldn't hear
much.  Part of it is that people are speaking while facing away from 
audience.  We all need to make more of an effort to speak out toward 
populace and PROJECT.  It might be nice to try and arrange award-giving 
that the Crown and the recipient are standing sideways to the populace, 
they need to turn their heads out towards the audience when speaking
clearly and in a carrying voice so folks can hear.

While I agree that my shouting in the last message may have made me 
guilty of what I was accusing others of, I still feel strongly that if 
you don't wish to be there, go away.  I do whole heartily agree that it 
is likely better to approach those being a little too boisterous, but 
it is not always easily accomplished without disrupting court further. 
 And you are quite correct in pointing out that those in court have an 
obligation to speak out towards the gathered populace when possible, 
and to project as well as they may, knowing that not all of them belong 
to Toastmasters or are comfortable speaking in front of others, 
especially if they've just been called unexpectedly into court.

>I know courts can sometimes be long and boring (to some).  As an 
>Lord of this realm, I feel it is my responsibility to attend my King &
>Queen when they hold Court.  I know not everyone feels this way.  It's 
>of MY Dream.  Quit stepping on it!

I think you'd do better, and be more in keeping with the ideals of 
and Noblesse, to see what you can do to help future long boring courts 
less boring and more audible so that people can stay attentive rather 
castigating those who weren't able to pay attention with your own
razor-intense focus.

I don't castigate those who are unable to pay attention, just those who 
are unwilling.  Again, I apologize for the tone, but as you can see, I 
take this issue rather seriously.  I should have re-read that part a 
third time and rephrased it.  Nor do I feel my focus is razor sharp, 
I'm much more prone to dullness than that.  I expect people to behave 
well, and when in error, as I often am, to own up to their errors.

Especially given that the event was so hot and a
physical trial to so many.  It is impossible to pay attention when you 
bored, can't hear anything anyway, are being eaten alive by mosquitos 
fire ants, are miserable from the terrible sunburn you incurred 
and have downed some liquid anaesthetic to make yourself not notice 
making you miserable.  We all know that alcohol is bad on top of
dehydration and excessive heat, but not everyone pays attention to 
obviously, either.

All points true, and taken to heart.  Again, we are human, and thus 
imperfect.  It is the striving to improve that helps mark us as worthy 
or not.

Perhaps you might take up voice heraldry so you can
help out at some of these courts, for instance.  You are looked up to 
as an
example of Chivalry, with all the associated chivalrous virtues, and 
verbal slap above probably stepped on some folks' Dream in and of 
for sheer lack of those virtues.

Like yourself, good Mistress, I too was an introvert prior to joining 
the SCA.  Quiet and shy except among friends.  I have improved in that 
area, though not as much as I'd like.  Unfortunately, I am still 
uncomfortable in a public speaking role despite being a former herald. 
 I prefer to support good heralds with largesse and word fame, 
encouraging those who can as opposed to inflicting myself on others and 
thus creating a boring court.  As to the verbal slap, I stand humbled 
as I value your opinion and apologize to all for any insult taken. 
 Offense was not intended by my words, only desire for action on the 
part of those who read them.

>In addition, if you know that you have recommended someone for an 
>even though you don't know they will be
>getting it, you have an obligation to know where that person is during
>court.  If they aren't in attendance and can't be reached within 30 
>or so, too bad.  It was their choice not to attend Their Majesties, 
and I
>don't think court should be held up so someone can go running around 
>camp looking for them.

I think you are dead wrong here.  One of the best things about getting 
award is when it's completely unexpected.  Therefore, if you cannot 
keep a
person who you suspect might be getting an award in the vicinity 
clueing them in that they might get an award, you have done that person 
disservice much worse than having to wait a bit while he or she is 
The best procedure is for the Crown to send someone after the person 
is absent, then go on to the next award or two until the person is 
and hauled into the Royal Presence.  This allows the flow of Court to
continue, and still lets folks go get an errant member of the populace. 
the way, most of the people missing from court were either trying to 
or cool off, having broiled all day in the heat.  I don't think this 
as disrespect for the words of the Crown, but rather simple

Your points are well put, but I'm afraid you misunderstood me.  There 
will be many times when someone is called and is not around.  I think 
that if you've recently recommended someone, you should have an idea 
where they are at.  Seldom can you keep someone in the vicinity without 
arousing their suspicions, though I have done it occasionally.  And if 
you haven't a clue, that's when you ask the crown for permission to 
"retrieve" them, giving you time to search them out.  It's not a 
perfect way to do it, but I am always open to better suggestions.  I do 
agree that the Crown should continue with court until the person is 
found.  Courts are slow enough already.

And here's another thought... I knew who I had recommended for awards, 
I was not very mobile.  How exactly was I supposed to run down the 
people I
had recommended?  And as a Peer, I make a bunch of recommendations, 
only a
small percentage of which are going to be acted on at any given time.
Should I not make recommendations if I can't guarantee the person's
presence in Court?  As a Peer, I also recommend people for awards who 
not in my local group... and I may or may not know where they are, who 
hang with, and where they have gone.  Again, should I not recommend a
deserving candidate for an award because of this?

You should recommend a deserving candidate regardless.  And with your 
current lack of mobility (BTW - hope that improves soon) I would hope 
that someone else who knew the person would volunteer.  I don't think 
it's at all reasonable to think that anyone could guarantee a person's 
presence in court.  That's one reason we allow others to receive for 
them.  Regardless, your points are again valid, and this is more a 
personal desire of mine than a requirement to be expected of everyone.

>And while I'm on this soapbox, let me say that Court is NOT held for 
>entertainment of the Populace.  Court is held for the Crown to conduct
>official business pertaining to the welfare of the Kingdom.  This is 
>official Courts cannot be held at non-calendar events -- actions of 
>term significance to the Kingdom and the SCA are conducted in Court 
and by
>Law these can only be done at published events (I'm sure the 
>can give the more Official wording).  Awards fall under this category. 

Again, I strongly disagree with you.  Yes, the Court is for official
business.  However, I feel that the primary job of the Royalty and 
is to Give Good Court.  We could have the College of Heralds just do 
whole thing without the presence of the Royalty if we didn't do it
primarily for the pagentry.  Sometimes it is hard to get the kind of
projection that's needed.  A combination of a good herald who can be 
having the herald repeat what cannot be heard for the populace, and the
Crown's own ability to project well enough to be heard are components 
"Good Court."

And here I find the first point at which I strongly disagree with you. 
 The primary job of Royalty and Nobility aside, we don't have the 
College of Heralds do the whole thing because it's not their job.  We 
don't do it just for the pageantry, though that is important.  The 
Crown, or there appointed representatives (which _could_ be the 
College, theoretically) give the awards because only the Crown can.  I 
agree that a good Herald and a well-projecting Crown make for a more 
enjoyable court, but neither is required for court to be held.  Both, 
however, are desirable.  And I do not make the assumption that just 
because the College of Heralds handled the production that it wouldn't 
be boring.  Being a Herald does not automatically qualify you to be 
witty and have the proper timing to fill in the dead spaces.  Viscount 
Galen did a fine job at the most recent Coronation, but he couldn't 
overcome the boisterous conversations around the edges of Court.  And 
Baron Pepin's joke was well received also.

All Coronations, by their very structure, involve a bunch of stuff that 
of no interest to most of the populace.  I can think of ways to make 
of the official business more interesting to the populace, though, all 
involving more pagentry, and I'm sure you could too, if you'd think 
it some.  The oaths of fealty can be en-masse, with the herald loudly
calling out the words of the Crown.  If individuals wish to swear a
different oath, they should make time to do it with the Crown later.
Instead of each landed baron and baroness swearing individually, one 
this has been done in the past is for each barony to send its banner, 
the baron./ess take up, and lay at the feet of the Crown, then the 
allows a mass oath of some sort, then has them take back their banners.
This is very visual, the whole populace can see the ceremony and
understands the symbolism of surrender and re-vestment.  Maybe it would 
better to have the knights, nobility, peer and personal fealties come 
the very end of Court, rather than at the beginning, since they matter 
those limited groups much more than they do to the rest of the 
Again, the best thing to do here would be to research period methods of
handling these ceremonies, and use some creative thought on how to make 
process more streamlined or at least more interesting for the Populace.

These are all valid points, and perhaps future Crowns would take them 
into consideration for their Coronations.  Streamlining court and 
making it more interesting, however, may not be period J

>Presentations to the Crown generally do not.  Household business does 
>nor does it have a place in Court -- take it private.  It's nice if 
>can be entertaining, but it's not necessary.  Good Fools and good 
>Heralds are wonderful, but unfortunately few and far between.  It 
would be
>nice if there were more of them, but Court goes on nonetheless.

Well, I agree with you here.  There is just too much going on at
Coronations.  It would be much better to do all presentations either in
private or at a later, less crowded Court.  The Fools and Heralds can 
out a lot in providing "filler" entertainment while papers are being
shuffled, a person is coming to the front, etc.

You have my complete agreement here.

Talen, I'd really encourage you to try and think up better ways of 
such a mammoth court so it would be less boring for the Populace, and 
for you to try and speak directly to specifric people who are loud. 
you'd be serving not only your own needs, but making the Court better 
others as well.  And I know you can be the perfect picture of Courtesy
whilst doing all of this.

Mistress Gunnora, I take your words under advisement.  I will attempt 
to do as you say, and if others can think of better ways to approach 
this issue, please let us all know.  I appreciate your well thought out 
comments, and though we may disagree in part, I feel you have furthered 
my knowledge of how others view Court.  For that I am grateful.  You 
are a Peer and act like one.  I am honored to have corresponded with 
you on this.

Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)


Centurion Talen Gustaf von Marienburg, Kriegsherr von Nordsteorra
Ritterlichkeit und Ehre ---- Chivalry and Honour
Personal E-mail: talen at
Centurion Web Site:


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