[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on t he PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.


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Thirty-Five Years With Blade in Hand
A Young Lord in the SCA
Part Eight

Outlandish finished up the last weekend of May. Then, on June 14 my first change of Kingdoms occurred. Crown tournament was held in my home barony of Caerthe. I don't remember much about the tournament specifically. The winner was Master Gunwaldt Gullbjørn fighting for Mistress Aelflaed of Duckford. Gunwaldt had served as the first prince of the principality of the Outlands in 1977 with Aislinn, and he and Aelflaed has reigned in the Principality in 1980 as the seventh coronet. I don't believe I ever knew Aislinn. It seems from the Outlands and Atenveldt Orders of Precedence that she reigned and then gafiated soon after - neither contains an entry for her after her viscounty.

[First Kingdom Court of the Outlands] I was still Caerthan Premier Blade, and thus standing up in court behind Baroness Kate. (I'm second from the left.) The picture contains a number of people who would play larger or smaller roles in my SCA career, some for the next few years, some to this day, and some who left outsize marks on my SCA experience and development. To my right is Iric Blackelk (technically Iric Iulian of Black Elk), a marvellous court herald from whom I learned much about how I think courts should be run both as a herald and as ruling nobility. A few places to my left, holding the sword of state, is Christopher of Hoghton who was then, and remains now, in many ways my idea of what a knight in the SCA should be. As I noted before, the Outlands had a strong tradition of Masters of Arms, and King Gunwaldt's white baldric is clearly visible.

For the next while, a few years perhaps, it was a fairly regular occurrence for an announcement to made in court reminding people to get their SCA memberships in. I seem to recall that there was some concern that we might drop below the minimum required for a Kingdom. At least, I recall that argument being presented to me.

The event was autocratted by Ursula d'Arcy with the feast by Cassandra la Sable. Both were members of the Abbey, the household that I do not think I was yet formally a member of. Both have played significant roles in my career. In the coming years, I would be head cook in numerous events that Cassandra autocratted.

This was the summer after my first year of college. I had spent the first year living in the dorms, rooming with one of my best friends from high school. Looking back on it, I realize my experience of college was fairly unusual in many ways. During the school year, it was classes and study during the week. The weekends were mostly SCA. I had a ready-made social life in Boulder that was not related to the University. I have, to a first approximation, no friends from college. By the summer of '86, I was arranging to live off-campus in the fall and subsequent years. I tried to convince my parents that a condo in Boulder would be a good investment.(Which it was.) I would live there the next nine years, taking over the mortgage payments during the summers and after I graduated. This only increased my distance from college life, since I would not be eating on campus anymore. Further, my roommates were drawn almost exclusively from the SCA.

I was already thinking about Caerthan Premier Blade. As outgoing Premier Blade, it was up to me to organize the tournament for the next one. Although Lord Ebel, the Warlord, and myself are listed as autocrats, the Abbey ran it. I was, at the time not competent to autocrat a three day camping event, being about nineteen years old and only three years(ish) in the SCA. The feast, I see was prepared by Lady Genevieve (later Dona), to whom I was attached at the time. She was assisted by one of my fencing students. That combination suggests that I did do some organizational work on the event. A 'Stone Soup' feast, that is to say a potluck, was to be held on the Sunday.

I decided there would be multiple tournaments, and an old newsletter has the format.
"There will be Two-Man (Weapon of Choice) Lists, First Blood Lists (Florentine), and a One-Man (Weapon of Choice) Lists to determine the Premier Blade. In addition, there will be a Chivalry Competition, both on and off the field, throughout the event in which all entrants for Premier Blade are automatically entered. This will count the same as a Lists towards Premier Blade."
I think I decide to fight the byes in at least one tourney myself - and they would be destructive. My theory was, if you want my job, you should fight me for it. I'm also pleased to see that I (or we) thought chivalrous behaviour was important enough to count as a full point in the competition. Although I don't recall exactly how it was determined, I suspect that this, too, was off-loaded onto the ladies of the Abbey - having some set of (not currently fighting) ladies choose the 'most chivalrous fighter' was a relatively common feature of tournaments at the time. So too was best death. The first recognition I ever achieved in SCA rapier was a best death. I received a plastic rose, which I carried stuck in my hat for twenty years or more before passing it (and the hat) on to a student.


Disclaimer: This is based on my memory of the events and people, and although I have bolstered them where possible with references, it is a work of recollection. Errors, omissions, and all such-like are mine.
If you are reading this, remembering this, and wondering why you aren't mentioned, or are mentioned only in passing, or by reference and not by name, I'm trying to be very careful about other people's privacy.
As an experiment, I'm linking to a Diaspora posting for comments and such.
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Luddite'sLog, 3 July 2019
© 2019 Jeff Berry
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