[Bards] a bardic rant

PBW PBW_RN at ev1.net
Wed Nov 1 08:57:41 PST 2006

Ok I have kept silent and have been reading the hundreds of posts that have 
been coming across the mailing list. First let me say that I am pleased and 
excited to see the amount of communication happening and the bards list 
being used.

I have been a bard in the SCA going on 13 years now. I have competed in 
several competitions. I enjoy being a bard. I love singing and telling 
stories, making people smile, and on occasion cry in sorrow, at a tale or 
song. Have I ever won a competition? Nope. Have I walked away feeling 
"cheated"? Nope. Frustrated? You bet your buttons. And it's that frustration 
that has made me step back this past year and not compete, or for that 
matter be much of a bard.  The frustration has been building for the last 
few years and finally reached its peak recently. Please keep in mind as you 
read my rant that you are reading words on a computer screen and do not have 
the benefit of seeing my body language, facial expression or tone of my 
voice. This note is not meant to be a "slam" against any person or any 

What has made me frustrated? Not the lack of venues to perform that's for 
sure, since I can usually make my own venue! <Grin> For the love of 
entertainment I will tell a tale or sing a song, even if only to my dog! 
What has frustrated me to the point of wondering why bother competing is 
this: A competition will have a set of guidelines such as "one original 
song/story for initial round, then second round will be judges choice" (or 
whatever, that's just an example). Ok, so I prepare accordingly. I have a 
few original songs and stories I can pull from, and usually I will make up 
something that day (it seems I was most known as the bard who always 
competed at Loch Ruadhs Lughnasadh by writing an original song on my dinner 
napkin during feast, that was my Lughnasadh "Trademark" but I did not 
compete this year so I cant claim that anymore). I have competed in several 
competitions from several different groups with the same frustration 
happening to the point I can no longer count how many times this has 
happened. So that being said I comply with the rules set by the judges or 
out going bard. I perform. Then someone who did not follow the guidelines 
wins. Why should I bother anymore? If I am not going to be judged on what 
was requested but rather be judged on what seems to me has become a 
popularity contest what am I? To me that isn't being a bard. To me that has 
become "star search" or a bad version of an SCA reality sitcom series.

One of my opening remarks when performing (be it in competition or just to 
entertain at a list field) has been "I am a correspondent of the BNN. the 
Bardic News Network and I would like to sing/tell you a tale about <insert 
topic>". Well folks, the BNN needs work.

Do we need to resurrect the College? I honestly don't know. When it was 
around I found very little support or assistance from it, largely because I 
never knew who to go to or talk to.  But I am willing to try. Do we need 
another Charter? Again, I don't know. I'm just an entertainer these days. 
Would I be willing to help? Yes, if I thought we really were heading 
somewhere with things. Do I think we need to bring in more bardic styles 
(i.e musical instrumentation)? I think that would be great personally but I 
also see where it would be difficult to compete say a singer VS a story 
teller VS a lute player and chose between just those three a bardic 

Ok, I have ranted long enough. I return you to the bards of longevity within 
the SCA and the people with more coherent thought processes. I shall return 
to lurking in the shadows.

Lady Magdalia Mac an Ghabhann

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