What's wrong in WOTR re-enactment?

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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craig1459
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Post by craig1459 »

Two or three set pieces over the course of the day focussing on say

1. Initial archery duel and firepower
2. A major skirmish
3. Last stand

Another thing I like the sound of is "impromptu" ambushes and skirmishes during the day involving smaller numbers - maybe a chance to give households their own slots
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Post by Segrave »

Anonymous wrote:What I like about this hobby is the freedom involved. Compared to other things I've done, the breadth of experience and levels of participation are great. It is largely self-regulating and if you don't like the way your group is going you can easily join another.


Going back to the original point of the thread; is this not part of the problem with medeival re-enactment as a whole. If groups fracture and degenerate into smaller and smaller units as the difference of opinions grow the eventual result taken to the extreme will be a lot of groups with a single member.

When it then comes to hosting large events there isn't a single large group to act as the co-ordinator and the potential for differences becoming significant points of contention is increased.

Ben Rodgers wrote:What about the publics view point on WOTR re enactment, does anyone know the reason for them turning up at weekends is it the fact that they just want to see grown men (forgive me if any women that fight are offended) hit each other or do they actually come to see the living history side as well....


Having been included in canvasing MOP attendance at shows, why they come is because of the combat but the exit poll shows that the LHE was the bit that they enjoyed the most.

I think both sides are important to the success of the show; and the enjoyment of the participants. If one sides starts to hold sway then you will begin to disaffect the other elements who start to loose the fun factor and stop attending shows. I know that this is what happened to me when doing Dark Age re-enactment as the combat became over-regulated, too scripted and second fiddle to the LHE.

Having seen WOTR combat from an audience perspective and never having partcipated in it, I personnally find bill blocks / schiltron combat dull. I may be unusual because of the time I have spent in re-enactment, I don't know. The idea of concerntrating on areas of action and working to a script seems from my out-side opinion to be a good one. Move the action from the centre of the field to the edge of the arena so the audience can see. If nothing else it is worth giving it a go and see if an improvement is obtained. Care needs to be taken as increaseing the level of scripting may end up upsetting people who like the open style of show and the result in having the reverse effect.
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Post by craig1459 »

I think the concept of "medieval festival" rather than "battle of x re-enactment" provides a suitable canvas for diverse approaches and opinions. The questions and what ifs of the era are part of the fascination for me and give it a dynamic which better-documented periods lack.
I also think it makes the hobby more inclusive.
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Post by gregory23b »

Fair point Seagrave. Maybe it is a case of being a bit more imaginative with the script, ensuring that there are prearranged pockets of slightly different action happening. The fighting can still be loose but with a predetermined outcome. I can recall some of the better fights with this kind of set up, we still got a good bash but when it was time to fall back or charge etc we did.

maybe more groups should canvass their audience too, a very interesting outcome, thanks for that bit of info.
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Post by tonw »

craig1459 wrote:Two or three set pieces over the course of the day focussing on say

1. Initial archery duel and firepower
2. A major skirmish
3. Last stand

Another thing I like the sound of is "impromptu" ambushes and skirmishes during the day involving smaller numbers - maybe a chance to give households their own slots


The problem with "Impromptu" ambushes during the day is

1.They would hardly be "impromptu" as the majority have to get kitted upor be in fighting kit all day....
2.Some of these "impromptu" could over run and ruin other things
3. the sites need to be bigger
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Post by craig1459 »

I meant "impromptu" in so much as they wouldn't be on the programme for the MOPs but they wouldn't be any less organised than anything else. I don't think I've been to an event that didn't over-run somewhere :)

A bit more "staged spontaneity" may make the displays more dynamic and exciting to watch and I wouldn't expect them to be anywhere other than existing arena space
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Post by tonw »

I agree with you it would look impressive to have "patrolls" going around and being attacked seemingly randomly

but the wholeness of "impromptu" still leave the fact that people will have to be in fighting kit all day for when that are summoned up I for one would not enjoy the per say show opening skirmish and then either staying in fighting kit all day for the battle or getting in and out of fighting kit.

Somehwere this could work very well is Berkley with an almost rolling battle from the first to the second ones (where people generally remain in kit)

With Lord Talbots forces picking of stragglers of berkelys vanquished remnants they a shift to berkleys re-strengthened forces beating back talbots.

though there in lies another problem wouldother performers backs be put up if afight suddenly broke out behind them?

also theres the need for marshals to be on duty all day with maybe four per skirmish force.

2 to keep it safe and 6 to keep the public safe.
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Post by gregory23b »

There is a case to have wandering people at events where fairs abeing held too, the constables of the market need not be harnessed in fact merely side arms and a badge/livery of office, lots of opportunities to involve public in chat and a bit of banter 'where's your pass sonny?' etc

You could have quite low key but visible things happening, people being escorted - there does not have to be a fight but a person can be transported from A to B in a serious manner. Or someone important en-route to somewhere else.

I heard that the LH camp at Rougham was poorly visited by the public, in that case I would have employed an 'outreach team' as it were.

Just needs a bit of imagination and forethought.
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Post by DomT »

Oh agreed.

In WOTR it makes much more sense and explains many of the problems (ie where are all the archers and why is there so much plate) to explain it as a portion of some greater battle.

A decent narator could set the scene, somewhat like from Shakyspears Henry V,

"The Battle of Bosworth rages around us, imagine gentle audiance, this very moment we are to portray is the Fall of the House of York. The battle is at it's crux and Richard decides to settle the matter directly by finishing his arch rival Henry.
The scene is set as Richard last charge descends upon the ranks of Welsh Billmen and Men-at-Arms defending their Champion."
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Post by tonw »

perhaps you should be writing the scripts DomT

that would be more entertaining to me when i'm stood on the field

instead of

"oh look....its the yorkist,

and now its the lancastrian scum

oh look they're fighting.

and richards dead...... the end"

though the sunday's this year was good
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Post by Parsley - a friendly lion »

Less of samwise gamgee and more of the Rohirrim.

(we are talking War of the Ring, right ?)
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my pennys worth

Post by zauberdachs »

As a newbie I would like to add the opinion that the main problem with Medieval re-enactment, and quite possibly re-enactment in general, are the "know-it-all" b*****ds who flaunt their knowledge and experience over newbies, treating every occasion to correct as an oppertunity to demonstrate how innately superior they are. They generally do not encourage or persuade but dictate and insult. God forbid accepting other opinions or historical interpretations :(

However they are thankfully few and far between, but on a bad day they can make all the difference... :x
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Post by craig1459 »

Which is why I started this thread - I wanted to find out the easy mistakes to make and also what features are assumptions or interpretation rather than "authentic" - as I'd been shown up in a previous thread
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Post by Guest »

Hello Craig 1459, I've followed plenty of your replies and comments, very informative, balanced and constructive :) You are definately the type of re-enactor i'd like to meet :)

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oops

Post by zauberdachs »

Perhaps I should have logged on first.... us darn newbies, hopeless eh? :)
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Post by craig1459 »

Cheers mate :) :oops:


I think this thread has developed really well with many good comments and suggestions - hopefully someone is reading who can pick up on it!
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Post by gregory23b »

zauberdachs
" re-enactment in general, are the "know-it-all" b*****ds who flaunt their knowledge and experience over newbies, treating every occasion to correct as an oppertunity to demonstrate how innately superior they are."

yes, reenactment in general, however the upside is that it is not full of them, they just make a lot of noise, don't let them ruin your day.

Gentle encouragement and leading by example is usually more effective, also being prepared to accept that a newbie may know a lottie - newbie reenactors are often vey well informed on certain things....lest we forget.

Conversely the newbie who is a know all (nothing) but wont listen to advice and still buys the wrong kit and wonders why people get narked, they are fewer in number than your previous example.
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Post by zauberdachs »

I can't really think of any way this behaviour can be eliminated altogether... :roll:

The only thing I can think of is a compulsory crash course in historiography for every re-enactor, so people can understand how history is written. How there are very few solid historical "facts" most of it is just interpretations and opinion.

Bearing this in mind, how does this relate to a single body laying down the law, as such? How does this accomodate differences of opinion and interpretation?

Looking at Hastings 2006 with its detailed do's and don'ts lists (which is grand for a newbie like me to have a comprehensive guide). However what happens if you disagree or if the list does not take into account latest evidence... I don't know, I was just wondering? What if the group dictating the list is entrenched in its opinions... again just speculation?
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Post by gregory23b »

That behaviour exists in any group of people doing anything. Apparently birdwatchers are some of the most vociferous bitchy hobbyists.

If you have ever been a member of a wargames club you will also see the same behaviour. You can't get rid of it. In some cases it is frustration, in others an inability to actually advise someone, in others it is a desite to be top, in others it is insecurity - etc etc.

But as for national body for what you rightly say is mostly opinion (informed or otherwise), well imagine it given the above reasoning ;-)

It is a bit like eating roast chestnuts, they are mostly lovely and sweet but a lot of the time you get some of the hairy bitter parts stubbornly clinging to them, doesn't stop us enjoying them.

Yes, analogies are not my strong point. ;-)
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Post by craig1459 »

The Bucks Retinue site is qute detailed and useful for the newbie:
http://www.bucks-retinue.org.uk/content/view/132/169/

The vast majority of people on Living History are very friendly and helpful. You get the occasional intellectual snob but it's the same anywhere - they just forget they were newbies once too. They don't wind me up anymore.

Possibly they're a bit jealous that we have the benefit of the net and great resources such as this chatroom to get us started. It is so useful having ready access to the wealth of knowledge that is here. I'm not averse to trawling through the library but this is much more fun :lol:
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Post by Ben Rodgers »

From what ive found its keeping standards of kit authetic and safe has mainly fallen down to the group itself Ive been in three different groups and all have had different authercitiy standards, however they have all been friendly and i have been able to learn at lot from others the most being when i wait to Archeon and all the standards were high for the weekend everyone help pitch in to help keeps those standards i olearnt a heck of alot from Gregory23b (especially the knife incident)

What im trying to say is the fact that is it up to the group itself for making sure standards are high or the events co ordinators in eithercase wouldnt both need to be singing from the same hym book so wouldnt maybe a set standard of kit need to be discussed at 1 a groups AGM or even a umbrella groups AGM unless one has already been written.
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Post by gregory23b »

"Gregory23b (especially the knife incident) "

oh you mean the alleyway thing, yes well that will teach you to smile with a sharp knife at your weasand. :twisted:

You know Mike and I are always ready to give you an alleyway education, just make sure your purse is full muhahhahhahah

but you are so right in the first instance that 'standards' are a moveable feast and it can be frustrating, I guess the answer is be as good as you can be and it gives you a bit more mobility. Don't be afraid to challenge things either, nothing is writ in stone much. Anyway you and your sis are smart enough to hang around the right people who wont bully you, too much :twisted:
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Post by Ben Rodgers »

As long as someone is willing to accept new ideas and improve themselves on a personal level then maybe they can change the way others are. Speaking on this matter reminded me of this passage by a former medieval bishop in 1100

"When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits I dreamed of changing the world

As I grew older and wiser, I realised the world would not change.

And I decided to shorten my sights somewhat and change only my country But it too immovable.

As I entered my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I sought to change only my family, those closest to me; but alas they would have none of it

And now here I lie in my death bed and realise, perhaps for the first time, if only I had changed myself first, then by example I may have influenced my family and with their encouragement and support I may have bettered my country, and who knows I may have changed the world"

Anglican Bishop around 1100 AD
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Re: my pennys worth

Post by Alan_F »

zauberdachs wrote:As a newbie I would like to add the opinion that the main problem with Medieval re-enactment, and quite possibly re-enactment in general, are the "know-it-all" b*****ds who flaunt their knowledge and experience over newbies, treating every occasion to correct as an oppertunity to demonstrate how innately superior they are. They generally do not encourage or persuade but dictate and insult. God forbid accepting other opinions or historical interpretations :(


But compare that to the people who have been in for a long time and have little or no actual concept of the reality and are unwilling to budge from their opinions.
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Post by DomT »

mmmm.

Gotta say one of the nastiest jobs I've ever had in this game was 'orthentickisity' ardvark.

Not a job I volenteered for I can assure you. It can be a real pain trying to get some sort of standard in and some muppet always thinks they can justify wearing a cornflake packet 'cos if you look at illustration x in the "Bumper Boys book of Medieval fun" it sort of looks like one, if you squint a bit.
Then of course you stumble across a reference for something that over turns common wisdom/hours of research and have to go eat humble pie 'cos it turns out there really was something you swore there wasnt.

Anyone trying to police authenticity has to walk very soft indeed but also has to be pre-pared to say 'No' and back it up. Especially for the shows with higher standards 'Nope, sorry, Hessian wrapped Nikes arnt going to cut it for the "Livery and Maintence Gala Authenticity Day"'
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Post by Sigurd »

Just to satisfy the curiosity of a Dark Age er do you do any competitive fighting in WOTR or is it all re-enactments of historical battles that have to end with the right side winning?

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Post by Cat »

Sigurd-most battles end with the scripted side winning, and on occasion (in cases of mass non turn out on one side f'rex) it can be hard to persuade the crowd that all 150 of the tinnies have been beaten by scruffy peasantboy and his mate in the trainers.

Nah, in fairness that's a bit extreme. But we generally do know who is going to win before we start, and work to a script. Of sorts. It stops messy 'Who's won? Let's count the dead' scenarios.

Dom, you realise if you use the 'a' word one more time by the constitutional rules you will have to wear the authent!city anorak.

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Post by craig1459 »

We do man-to-man tourneys of course. Are there any "bill block events" say three against three - that would be a laugh
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Post by DomT »

Cheers Cat>
I was begining to take it all seriously.

Sig>The actual battles result are determined but the indivdual fights arnt really.
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Post by behanner »

I have mostly stayed out of this because it really isn't my buisness but I'd like to suggest an idea.

First off people tend to deal with criticism best when couched within positive terms instead of negative terms. So perhaps instead of asking "What's wrong in WOTR re-enactment?" we should ask "What are the things most in need of improvement in WOTR re-enactment?". Not only is this more positive but it also makes the question active. Instead of lamenting things that are 'wrong', you can explore what is important that needs to be improved.

Once you have decided what is in most need of improved you can create a ways to bring that improvement into fruition.

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