1. What is your SCA Name? - Isobel Bedingfield. Officially, it is Isobel Gildingwater (no "U") of Ditchingham, but I took on my husband's name when I married him, as is English custom of the time. No, I have never had it officially changed; If someone else really loves the name "Isobel Bedingfield", they should be able to have it, as far as I'm concerned. People generally know who I am.
(I'm listed with both names in the Atlantian OP.)
2. What time and where do you portray? - England, 1590. Specifically Southwark, on the corner of Dead Man's Place and Maiden Lane. Both Bob and I are deeply into the material culture of the period, and knowing who we are and where we live helps with deciding on all the things we make/buy for our personas, including the kind of money we would carry. It saves money to do the research before buying, so we don't spend the cash and discover that it isn't correct after all.
3. In plain English describe your device. - Black background, yellow border, shield shaped. A yellow eagle spread out like road kill with three black wavy stars arranged like a bullet shot each wing, then dead center in the chest.
Evocative, isn't it.
4. How long have you been in the SCA? - Twenty years ago this coming June I attended my first SCA event. I was 18 (yes, go ahead, you can do the math, I don't mind).
5. Do you have any special titles you have earned? - Aside from the official ones, I have been dubbed the Angel of Death (shortened to AoD), and Attack Laurel (natch). I have also been called some choice things behind my back, I imagine.
6. What kingdom and local group do you belong to? - Atlantia, currently somewhat at large. I physically reside within the confines of the Barony of Lochmere.
7. Do you have preferred colors for your SCA Persona? - Not really; in fact, it's the one place I tend to wear lots of colour. My modern wardrobe is 90% black (With some green, pink, and purple, since they all go well with black). For the SCA, I tend to branch out and go with whatever fabric catches my fancy. Currently I'm looking at either pink or purple wool for a cotehardie-like thing (not my period, but comfortable) for Ymir, since I don't feel like wearing Elizabethan. Don't hold your breath, though - I probably won't follow through.
8. What is your war that you look forward to going to every year? - Pennsic, inasmuch as I look forward to Wars. I like events and Wars equally, though the amount of schlepping and toting required for a War is getting harder each year.
9. Do you hold any offices? - I am forbidden by my husband to hold any more SCA offices. I get panic attacks dealing with bad-tempered people.
10. Favorite memory from an event? - Oh, I don't know... probably Bob getting his Pelican. That was a very good day.
11. Are you a fighter? What kind? - Rapier, currently on medical hiatus.
12. Are you crafty (making things)? - Me and crafts, we go a long way back. Probably the weirdest thing I ever made was eggshell and wax google-eyed monsters. I thought they were cute. For more current stuff, see my web site.
13. Do you teach classes at events? - Occasionally. I've taught a bunch of University classes over the years, and I'll sometimes teach at other events. I'm available at any time for a quick consultation, too.
14. Do you play instruments at events? - not as often as I'd like, but I play harp, mandolin, tinwhistle, concertina, and voice. Bob and I did live music for a Gardiner's event this past weekend, and it was great, but I'm still paying for playing the harp in a chair with no back. And this headache won't go away, either...
15. Do you dance at events? - Not any more, no, though I did a couple of dances at 12th Night. I like dancing, I just never seem to be in the right place at the right time. I even attended some University classes to pick up some new dances, but this asshole dance person decided that yelling at me for getting a step wrong was a good way to teach me (it was not his class), so I ran out before I punched him. I hate being yelled at, and it was completely inappropriate - and left me with a poor impression of the current dance community, so I didn't feel much like dancing after that.
16. Do you feel that there is enough flirting and chivalrous behavior in the SCA ? - The two are competely different. I feel there is too much inappropriate flirting and sex talk, and not enough courteous behaviour. I can't affect what other people do, but it would be nice if random strangers were more attuned to the needs of others, and less concerned with their own pleasure. I have more than once witnessed a younger woman screech "bitch!" at someone who accidentally bumped into them - I would like to see that sort of thing disappear. I think people too often use "chivalry" as a bludgeon to punish those who do something they don't like, and too rarely apply it in their own actions, but I don't think this is particularly new behaviour, just something one always works to temper.
17. Are you a "Black Hat" or a "White Hat"? - I assume this refers to who's a bitch about making things happen and who isn't? I am different things to different people, but I don't suffer fools, and I have no patience for professional victims.
18. What is one of the reasons you've remained in the SCA? - The ideals that we strive for and so rarely achieve - they are missing from modern life. Plus, I've always been a clothes horse.
19. What peerage(s) do you aspire to? - Well, I'm probably not going to make Knight (ya think?), but I'd like to be Queen someday. But that would mean someone being willing to fight for me, since Bob doesn't fight heavy. Most fighters fight for their significant other, so the odds of me being queen are pretty small to none. I am sanguine about this.
20. Who was Crown when you joined the SCA? - Dafydd and Elizabeth. I remember them clearly. And fondly.
21. If you are a Peer, who was the Crown that elevated you? - Both times, Cuan was King. The first Queen was Brigit, the second Padraiga.
22. Have you lived in more than 1 kingdom and which ones? - Nope. I'm an Atlantian. I grew up in England, but I never played SCA there.
23. Have you helped found a group? - No. I was there for Lochmere's investiture, though.
1. What do you like best about the SCA? - I like the optimism. Don't laugh - it's there. The hope that people can be better than they are? That they can achieve great things? That's positively heady stuff. Helping them get there is, for me, a worthy goal.
2. Name the first five scadians that come to mind. First five famous medieval persons?
These are all people that have helped effect positive changes in the way we do things, and people whose behaviour is the kind I want to emulate.
Catherine De Medici
Bess of Hardwick
These are all strong women who held their own in a male-dominated world, and refused to allow themselves to be buffeted about by the winds of fate.
3. Who do you miss the most that no longer plays SCA? - Gyrth. :( He was everything I hoped to be in a peer, and in moments of indecision, I channel him. I could always rely on his advice, and always trust his judgement. I miss him terribly.
4. What direction do you see your home kingdom going in the next 5 years? 10? - Oh, Lordy, who knows? I hope we'll keep being an example of research and accuracy, and I hope that we'll continue to get better and better at surfing the downturns gracefully.
5. Tell one funny SCA story that has happened to you.
Okay. We're in the five-man rapier melee that Atlantia holds at Pennsic every year. We're fighting a team that we've picked off one by one, with one man left. I'm the shortest, I'm the only girl on the team, and I'm in the middle. The guy on the other team shoots for me, I parry his blade easily into the ground, and get a fabulous view of six blades hitting him simultaneously in the head. After, in an attempt to salvage his pride, he comes over to me and in a "Hope I didn't hurt the little GURL" voice says "M'lady, I trust I did not hit you too hard with that last thrust?".
The look on his face when I smiled cheerfully and said "Oh, no! It didn't even hit me!". He looked disbelieving, and said "But I felt the blade hit!". It was then that I explained what happens when a blade hits the ground, and why slightly moist earth has some of the tactile characteristics of flesh. It was a quick but technical explanation, then I showed him exactly how I had parried him.
Bob tried very hard not to laugh out loud as he rapidly deflated.
That's it - if you want the more scurrilous ones, you'll have to ask me in person. They sound better with all the silly voices and hand-puppets.
There's been some talk going around (like it does, every couple of years or so) about how the magic is gone, and the SCA isn't as "chivalrous" as it used to be. That word is not the correct one for what people are trying to say - they mean it's not as courteous as it used to be. Either way, they're wrong. It's just that in the internet age, misinformation, stupidity and a little bit of mean-spiritedness suddenly goes a vast way in very little time. What once took months to come to light can now be all over the Kingdom by bedtime. Like modern news, we get to hear about it more, which conflates the incidents in our heads and makes it seem like things are terrible turrible wrong-like.
First, the longer you are in the SCA, the fewer and further between the "goose-bump" moments become. If you are in the least bit active, congratulations! You have now become part of the vast army of nut-and-bolt carriers who strive to create a place where the "goose-bumps" can happen for other people. This is a worthy goal, and in the making, you may achieve more of that tingly-ness for yourself, with the added pride of a job well done. This is the meat and potatoes of a volunteer society; sitting back and waiting for the magic to happen (and grumbling when it doesn't) just makes you bad-tempered and dead weight.
Second, things are no worse than they used to be, but thanks to the miracle of near light-speed communication, we have been given a wonderful opportunity to see what far-reaching effects the bone-headed actions of some can have on the morale of others. We can see in ways we never did before what the autocrats and staff of an event feel at the end of the day, and how our individual actions contributed to or detracted from the event. Instead of hiding behind a wall of "no-one said anything to me, so it's not my fault!", we can finally understand that we are part of a massive whole, and that each person makes that whole better or worse.
We cannot dictate the actions of others, we can only police ourselves. The only way I can personally leave the SCA better than when I found it is to strive each day to be better than I think I can possibly manage - more courteous, more careful, more tidy. Yes, it's more effort, but the payoff is huge. And when we set a good example, more people are likely to follow. The defeatist attitude of "good behaviour doesn't get you rewarded, it gets you crapped on" that pervades our modern lives has cleared the way for a philosophy of "every man for himself"; we want to move away from that in the SCA, not towards it.
"Playing nice" is cumulative - the more people do it, the more the people that don't behave will stick out like sore thumbs. The more they stick out, the stronger the peer pressure to play nice. Yes, there will always be jerks, but using that as an excuse to give up on playing nice entirely is like saying measles willl always exist, so there's no point in getting vaccinated for smallpox. Being the very first person is hard, but someone has to take the lead. Rise above petty temptations and behave the way your favourite peer would want you to.
Play nice. Pass it on.
(This message brought to you by the Foundation for a Life With Well-Balanced Humours.)