Thursday, Mark was great and cajoled me out of bed to get some editing in the morning, and I did manage to get up and do some more editing Friday morning.
I've been thinking about Shrewsbury all week. For the longest time, they very graciously let me lead the opening and closing parades there, and I would sing with the Pearwood Pipers. It was fun, and I enjoyed it, but it slowly got less and less fun.
Part of the disenchantment is the on-site camping. While I mostly enjoyed the Pearwood Encampment in years past, chances were usually good that we'd set up next to folks who drank, had loud sex, smoked, and swore a lot. This made for difficult sleeping. The solution is sleeping off-site.
I thought I might get some writing in at Shrewsbury, but that didn't happen. The fantasy was that I could park myself under a canopy somewhere and work on short stories. I had a book I could have written long-hand in, but I didn't have a period pen. I wanted to get a feather with a ball-point pen core in the shaft, but that didn't work out.
Sometimes it feels like Shrewsbury is turning into a costume party for the participants and less an immersive event for patrons. Someone pointed out to me this year that Shrewsbury had very little street theatre because most of the performers there are production groups yoked to stationary guild yards, which encourages patrons to come and watch the show, similar to an interpretive museum. This is not a criticism of the production groups, who do a very good job presenting historical information in an entertaining way. I think the solution to non-interactive Renaissance-Zoo would be to start-up a Street Theatre Guild (John ducks).
I'd say this year's oddest experience was at the Staggering Oak Tavern, when I attempted to teach what I took for street players the Closing Parade Song only to have them look dully at me over their tankards. Then there was a scattering of applause, and a gentleman of a certain age dressed in fine Elizabethan period clothing began loudly calling for a stripper. I turned my back on the tavern's yard and continued to teach and lead the song to the players who were slowly congregating.
The more I think about leading the parades, the more I wish there was a portative organ or some other loud instrument which could be automated. My fantasy is to make something like a mechanical stag on a cart with a musical component. It's really too bad that steam calliopes are an American invention. Oh well, at least we have a very capable bag-piper.
The most fun part of the parade was telling everyone that we were going to do the Opening Parade as a cha-cha: "Aah-wake / awake / the day / doth break / good craft- / men / oh-0h-pen your stalls / (cha-cha-cha)."