Comicsgaters are Awful & Stupid

Funk's House of Geekery

At some point during my latter college years, I was listening to a radio show on NPR which specialized in music from emerging acts from all over the world. On this night, they played a song from a little band from Britain who the host was quite excited about as they blended the styles of folk music with Brit pop/rock. I was intrigued and needless to say this song from this little English band blew me away as it was unlike anything I had heard before. Upon getting home I downloaded the few songs of theirs I could find (totally through legal means of course *wink wink nudge nudge*). This band was, Mumford & Sons and about a year or so following this, they exploded. Now, this put me in the position which many hipsters bemoan being in, I was a fan of a band before they were popular. Call…

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Tolkien’s “I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size)” in Context: A Note on Books and Their Authors (#hobbitday) — A Pilgrim in Narnia

I don’t know that there is any more famous J.R.R. Tolkien quote than his claim to, in fact, be a hobbit. It’s really quite a delightful statement and worth quoting more fully: I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like […]

Tolkien’s “I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size)” in Context: A Note on Books and Their Authors (#hobbitday) — A Pilgrim in Narnia

Songs of a bard….

France & Vincent

north yourks trip skies (25)

I love the old stories, the legends and lays of ancient times when the world, from our vantage point, seemed both a more innocent and more magical place, where the impossible walked hand in hand with the improbable and where worlds seemed interwoven through the warp and weft of reality.

The tales tell of monsters and battles, quests and fair maidens, intrigue and magic. At least on one level. It is possible to hear in them still the crackle of the fire and the cadence of the bard holding spellbound an audience. Yet to listen to these stories in the silence of the heart is to realise how much they hold. In storytelling there is a perfect way to commit history to memory, to teach of new advances and preserve old lore, to guide the heart and mind through the hidden valleys of wisdom and show not only a way…

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There is a garden

Landscape of a Garden by Gustav Klimt (public domain)

There is a garden good and great
Enclosed by walls so strong and high
They bar both those who love and hate
Where flowers bloom and never die

Its secret nooks and bowers blessed
By ancient hands of eldritch fate
And those who love, by love confessed
Are let in by the garden gate.

The way to the gate’s a winding path
And a straight one, east and west,
North and south lead to this rath
Where glory’s winged creatures rest;

A narrow way and a broad road—
For every path its ending hath
Therein, on feet hurried or slowed
Or swept up in the aftermath

Of storms and tempests, floods and quakes
Or struggling ’neath a heavy load
That heart and mind and spirit breaks
Upon that track which love hath showed—

For love alone’s the final test,
Highest reward and highest stakes
Whereby the soul in purity dressed
Gains that for which it solely aches.

©Copyright 2019 by Rogue Bard

The Lore of Bards, Part I

Hwæt!

Benjamin West, The Bard, 1778. Photo © Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported). Purchased 1974 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01900

Sure, you know about bardic lore, or as they call it nowadays, bardic knowledge. Everyone knows that bards, especially lore bards, steep themselves in the lore of any region they happen to be spending a good deal of time in, or sometimes even when just passing through. Many will also be steeped in the lore of places they’ve never been and people they’ve never seen, if they’re the book-loving kind.

But bards also have their own lore, to go with their colourful history. The lore of bards is a tangled web to be sure, but it includes useful bits of knowledge, myths and legends from all over the world, and of course, a plethora of songs and tales every bard should know. For the most part this lore is not written down but rather passed on from bard to bard by word of mouth, as in the old days, for the bard’s deepest roots are in an oral tradition.

Bards are the world’s memory, and a lore bard is a walking library. But ask any bard about the greatest bards in the history of their homeland and you’ll never get them to shut up. Even the least lore-inclined bards will know at least half of these famed adventuring artists, performers, scribes, historians, ambassadors, and sages by name.

Some bards believe the world was brought into being by a song, though not all agree upon the identity of the singer. Many say it was the god Ogma, who they also say invented writing. Others say it was Thoth, who they also say invented writing. A few maintain that these two are one and the same. Still others name lesser deities or even animals, usually birds, a popular one being the lark.

But long before the invention of writing, and certainly for some time afterward, bards were tasked with the preservation of tradition, history, and of course, entertainment. Their treasury was as rich as their capacity to remember such things, and as varied as their ability to extemporise.

Once there was a bard they say spent a lifetime collecting all the variations of all the world’s songs, poems, and tales. When old age impaired her memory, she invented both shorthand and musical notation in order to continue her work.

Most tales of bards from long ago are not set in any particular time or place. This makes them consistently relatable. Some of the characters don’t even have names that are still remembered, so it’s a common thing for their tales to be ascribed to any legendary name, sometimes even those not commonly associated with bards. Most of these works are credited to the legendary primordial bard known as Anon.

Perhaps the best thing about the lore of bards is that it’s forever changing, despite staying essentially the same. In fact, any time any piece of lore changes hands–or mouths, as the case may well be–there’s a good chance it will change, even if only somewhat. Every artist has something to say.

Some are not always careful what they say, however, and this can often get them into trouble. There are many rollicking tales surrounding famous fools and clowns and court jesters, the most popular ones being those satirical rogues who can tell the truth in a humorous fashion and get away with it. Some of these tales they only appear in briefly, for comic relief. But the most popular ones are the ones they star in.

There are a few bards, usually nobles, who look down on this sort of entertainment. Indeed many of these tales are rather vulgar, and there seems to be a competition between certain bards to make them still bawdier. But they’re a favourite of the common crowd.

Of course, not all bards enjoy a crowd, but when two or more bards get together it’s almost always a party. Unless, of course, they happen to be enemies. Alas, there are evil bards… but I digress. The meeting and greeting of fellow bards, whether they know each other or not, is so important to the bardic tradition that there are official events dedicated to this purpose. Most people just call them music festivals… or fairs, depending on the region.

Inns and taverns, of course, are also great places for bards to meet up. Some might form a band after having performed together for a night. They might even go on tour together. Travel is an important part of the bard business, as are welcoming hearths along the road where ale is served and locals and travellers alike gather to exchange news and pleasantries and… other things.

It is not unusual for bards at such gatherings to challenge one another to a performative duel, known colloquially as battling. These are usually fun for all, but every now and then things can get ugly. Such scuffles are rarely fatal, but have on many occasions sparked a full-on barroom brawl.

TO BE CONTINUED…