11/12/2014

Spectaculum! Fantastical medieval hotness!

(I'm doing a little round-up of this years missed posts - stuff I intended to write about but somehow kept postponing. There will be a few flashbacks in the coming days.)

Have you ever been to a medieval festival of such epic proportions that just being there made your head spin? And have you had that experience in 34°C and blazing sun?
I promise you it will induce a lot of head spinning.

In July I was lucky enough to coincidentally be in the same area as Germany's biggest touring medieval/fantasy festival, Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum.
(Emphasis on fantasy.) 
It was huge.

It all took place in the beautiful castle park of Bückeburg just outside of Hannover, with the renaissance castle forming the backdrop.

This x1000

I usually stuff my face with all kinds of food and drink mead at these events (it's half the fun!), but I just couldn't bring myself to it. I only bought cold drinks that seemed to vaporize the moment they touched my mouth. I found ONE icecream stand and considered not ever leaving. But it seemed like everybody else had the same thought. I almost completely spaced on taking pictures, but a few seem to have made their way to my camera. 
I'm norwegian, I'm not used to that kind of weather, okay? :D 


This is my heat-stroke selfie.



We walked around for a few hours on what felt like an anthill the size of a stadium, spraying ourselves with water and hurrying from shade to shade. I was beginning to think we were almost done, when a woman told us that there was an area just as big right on the other side of the trees.
I didn't know wether to cheer or cry. You see, I was there by car, so for once I could actually buy heavy/fragile things on a larger scale. I had so many plans and ideas, but I just couldn't find the stuff I was looking for. So I had to go check out the other part. And there I found my ceramic replica heaven.



I had real trouble thinking clearly at this point, so I could probably have made wiser shopping decisions. That is, more. Shopped more. Because. Gaah. Meltdown.


Being a big fan of medieval rock, I had planned to see a few bands while I was there, but it was just impossible to figure out where the stage was. And when I did find it, it seemed impossible to wait around. I was on the verge of a total sunny breakdown, so I just dropped the idea.

On our way to the exit we discovered a third, enormous area where the jousting took place. I had completely forgotten about the jousting... :-/ Oh well, too late.

However! This festival tours the country half the year, and it's not unthinkable that I'll get to visit again. I sure hope so, because minus the weather it was just...well...spectacular! ;-)



25/10/2014

Childhood nightmares revisited


Ever since I was 18-19 and discovered what childhood nostalgia felt like, I have been quite a bit of a nostalgia junkie. I've faithfully searched the internet for info on a number of cartoons and series I used to follow, and as time has passed more and more of these old gems have been released on DVD or even Youtube, wikipedia articles have been written, fans have formed threads on message boards and later on, Facebook has simplified the search somewhat.

But...

Most of these shows were things I saw within the first year or two after we got cable. That was in february 1990 when I was still only five years old. I was deeply fascinated by what I saw on screen, and learned English within the first year. It just sort of happened. I had to understand the plots, dammit! It wouldn't have been possible without 'Jack in the Box' though.

I have always had a bunch of memories of things I've seen, things that have made a profound impression, but I couldn't remember any titles, any character names, any real plots...
How do you search for random memories? So, I've typed in what little I've had, although "scary 80s series aired on TCC with funky hairdos and an oooOOOOooo-theme" doesn't really get you that many hits....
What a hopeless endeavor! But I've persevered! Tirelessly, I've searched for 70's shows with plastic skeletons hidden behind walls, covered in dust! I've lookes for cartoons starring robots in a grey futuristic robot-world, with some kind of flying carpet! ...

And the other day I just ... I just ....

It all started with the 'Ragdolly Anna' theme (don't ask) on Youtube, then I tried googling it to see if it had a wikipedia article (again, nevermind). I got a hit to a checklist of cool english kids shows from the 70/80's, and on that list there was a title picture that just rang about a dozen bells all at once.

It was the oooOOOOOooo show. It had to be!


It was! 'Children of the Stones' (1977) turns out to be a very well-known show, called one of the scariest shows made for children and easily available on DVD and Youtube:  

The intro alone is enough to set me off. That soundtrack! My gods... 

Now that I knew this title, it was much easier to look up related shows. If someone somewhere on the web mentiones Children of the Stones, you can bet they'll mention other shows they remembered too!

Thats how I found 'Into the Labyrinth' (1980-1982) 


I was almost screaming.

'Shadows' (1975-78). Now, this one I knew the title of, but I've never succeeded in finding it before.
Thank you, Youtube..! 
I really love sci-fi and 'pleasantly' scary stuff from before CGI became a thing. This is because when done well, those old effects contain so much more raw emotion and careful thought in order to wow and scare the viewer. Of course there is a lot of crap, but the stuff that stands the test of time stands really well ... With CGI it feels like a lot of movie-makers get lost in their shiny toys and fancy gadgets. There is a lot of wow, but it's often so empty and ... well ... boring! I think part of it is that in the olden days, they relied much more on sound - both music and effects - to convey creepy moods. And that hits home with me. The soundtracks to some of these shows really disturb me, to this day ... the plots are still good too. And now I can finally understand what happens!

Now I have to figure out that robot show...

24/08/2014

Borrekaupangen


Every other year there is a very large gathering of viking craftsmen, iron age enthusiasts, early medieval merchants, elegant warriors and fluttering disir by the Borre Mounds in Vestfold.

This was in early July, at the beginning of a very rare heatwave courtesy of the Russian topography. Thanks guys. (No, I mean that sincerely!)


Nestled under the tall trees, you'll find a seemingly endless gathering of tents and encampments.... 

... one more fancy than the next!

A group shot of some of us, taken by the epic Rob Wildwood.
From left to tight (*draws breath*):  Maetharanel, Tathariel, Kristin, Branna, Sól, yours truly, Anita, Kama Sofie, Grethe and Ingrid.


  



Two disir catching up. One of the battlefield, and one dedicated to Frøy[a]

I didn't dare to wear anything but linen due to the warm weather, so I used my old rusty apron dress (with its fancy antique trimmings - only not that antique!). I love the color, but it is a great example of how impossibly unrealistic the old flappety-flapp interpretation of what women wore is or has to be. It slides off the shoulders, twists and turns, always looking for ways to embarrass the wearer. Maybe mine is extra impractical ... If I hadn't pinned it to my under-dress in every possible way, I'd probably have exposed myself half a dozen times. It only sits right if you hold very, very still... No, this is not something anyone could possibly have worn. Hooray for new research and interpretations! 

Why hellooooo0OOO0ooooo! 

There you go.

This gooey concoction is plant dye in the making! It transforms wool into this:


I just love plant dyes, they give the most gorgeous shades. Well, maybe except for hot pink, which can also be achieved through natural dyes. I have mixed feelings about hot pink.There aren't any real examples in these pictures, but imagine something straight-up 1980's.
I *really* want a depiction in popular culture of hot pink vikings....!
A girl can dream.

The lovely Branna. :)

Mandatory viking ships.

Kama Sofie and Silje. :)

We have our moments.

On or way back to the modern era, we spent some time amongst the burial mounds. It's a peacful place, well worth a visit.




13/06/2014

Our secret neighbourhood forest


Very close to my apartment here in the middle of Old Oslo lies an urban forest of small, but charming stature.   


(Okay, it's more like a park, but let me have my forest illusion, okay?)



Just last year there were plans for cutting down a large number of  trees to make ... more ... parking lots .... Luckily, that madness was stopped in time. The long-term plans for the area is to re-open the stream that runs in pipes underground. I think it will be lovely when its done. If it gets done. :)


There are so many hidden gems out there, if you only look for them.


That oddly decorative castle-like wall in the background is actually our local prison!


I love that this half-dead cherry tree has been left alone. See all that green stuff behind the dead stuff? It's the same tree. Dead trees are so important to the local wildlife, and believe me, there's lots of wildlife in a city! 




I'll very soon be moving out of the city to a much more rural place with a lot bigger forests than this one. No wych elms there, though (I think). I try to make the most of my last two weeks before my big moving day!

05/05/2014

Viking and Medieval plans!


No spring or summer is complete without a visit to at least a few viking and medieval fairs. This year will be quite eventfull for me. There's the big medieval festival in Oslo, which for once will be held on the medieval fortress in town. I assume it is because the Norwegian Armed Forces finally understood the coolness they were denying themselves and all of us ... but why is the army hogging one of the extremely few medieval buildings in Norway, anyway? That is the question! Then there's the jousting tournament St. Hallvards Turnering which is the same weekend at the same location. Then we have the viking fair in Trondheim, which I've never been to before. It's famous for striving towards historical accuracy on a much higher level than most other such events. They don't let just anyone sell their stuff there, quality matters. So it'll be interesting!
Then comes Borre, which is only held every other year, and is quite large and legendary. 
And finally, there's the Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum in Germany! Yikes. I have no idea what to expect from that one. Well, no, I expect a high level of fantasy. It's in the title after all.
I'll probably squeeze in a few more if I can. :-)
I have a secret sort-of-plan of going to Salzburg in December to see the Krampuslauf there, and/or go on some kind of medieval Christmas marked tour, but that's still so far into the future that I haven't given it all that much thought. Yet.

Here's a picture-spam from previous seasons!  
Do you ever go to any viking/medieval/etc fairs?

Myself, Sól and Branna

We have so precious few medieval buildings and ruins in Norway that we encase some in glass. 
This is Hamar.

   

Sól and Tathariel

Myself and Camilla Rose

Me, Branna and Vigdis


Branna and Ingrid