[Bards] From Eleanor Fairchild - on Eisteddfod

Brian & Pam Martin twinoak at cox-internet.com
Wed Jan 7 16:29:39 PST 2004

Wow, what a rude response. Oh, and term papers and what not were in no way
required. If you had questions or comments about what was required, you
could have asked. 


-----Original Message-----
From: bards-bounces at ansteorra.org [mailto:bards-bounces at ansteorra.org] On
Behalf Of willow Taylor
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 6:17 PM
To: bards at ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Bards] From Eleanor Fairchild - on Eisteddfod

Greetings from Duchess Willow de Wisp

I didn't complete mainly because I did not have the documentation. Story
telling is hard to document because it is an oral art form and once you
write it down it becomes a written art form. I did not have the time to
study the necessary anthropology to trace story telling back as far as I
could. Also to do it justice it would be about 15 pages of  peer reviewed
articles. To reproduce this differently for each piece I might feel like
performing was more than I was up to. I also get a little pissed off at the
unfairness of the judging form used in Ansteorra. If I do a piece  by
Bertain de Born translated by a expert in the field. I can't just state
that. I have to do more. I am not an expert on Old French. I can not
evaluate the translation. I have to trust my expert. If I want to do a
sonnet by Shakespeare I have to write a paper on him. I have to state 
elegantly on why he  is period. Now if I am writing a original sonnet I can
start with the assumption that Shakespeare is period and compare his work
and mine. I do not have to defend Shakespeare I only have to defend my piece
as to being Shakespearean like.  Because the second form of documentation
has a easier form , it can be more impressive. Original work documentation
get more points, doing period work is rewarded less than original work. 

Also there is the matter of the judges. You can  write the best piece of
Bullshit that have even been put out. I have seen it. That doesn't mean your
piece reflects your documentation. I remember a Arts and Science a long time
ago. A lady put out a piece of documentation that supported traditional
story telling. Then she did her piece in a style that reflected modern
styles The Laurels were so impressed with the story that they give her full
points. When I discussed the documentation with her she told me she knew
that those Laurel didn't know a thing about folklore so she just wrote to
educate them. When we reach the level of Kingdom Eisteddfod I don't believe
we should be educating the judges. I think if the judges can't tell the
differences between period and non -period work they should not be the
judges. If we want to live up to the ideals of authenticity we should
limited pieces to period works and period styles, with supporting
documentation if necessary.  Hamlets's speech would not need documentation
for heaven sake, but original work based on it would. An old poem from the
600 AD talking about Hector's balls might need to be verified.(A bard used
such a story for 3 years before he finally read the intro. and discovered
that it was a modern book.) We could make the Eisteddfod sort of a contest
of judged work. If you can not support it, it is not preformed. Don't give
points for the quality of the documentation, just take things away if it is
not there. 

I believe in the A&S and I believe in the documentation system there, but
the Eisteddfod was set up to do something different than the A&S. The
Eisteddfod is last existing vestige of the old Ansteorra. In the old days we
believed in studying the pre-17th world by creating a construct of a feudal
land and we would take roles reflecting this land. With our individual
studies we would teach each other by our interaction (role-playing). The
performers were a vital part of the system. Performers would interject
information about the culture we were studying the same way performers
interjected data in the time periods we were studying. I have a period book
that tells squires that they should listen to storytellers telling tales
about great knight if they want to learn about knighthood. The original
bards who set up the Eisteddfod did so to promote the highest values of
performing. It and the local Eisteddfod were set up to promote a class of
performers who treasured the historical ideals of Ansteorra and had the
skills to make period works and period styles fun and entertaining to the
people of Ansteorra. If you look at the winners of the kingdom Eisteddfods
you will discover many of them have made period works and period styles fun
for us all. Robin, Pendaran, Antonio make late period works come alive.
Harold Boderson and Cedrick have thrilled us with early works. You folks
have asked for my chivalric stories when you were drunk. You must like them.
The way the Eisteddfods are being run now promotes entertaining. When we
look at other kingdoms whose "kingdom bards" con\competitions follow the A&S
format we see scholars, who don't entertain, winning, not performers who can
open windows into the past. I think we need different format to promote
different things. No one contest or format can do everything but when we put
them all together we get a better whole. 

Duchess Willow de Wisp
former Premier Bard

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