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De-naissance Fare On:2004-11-02 13:17:44

The other week-end, right out of the blue, I just suddenly noticed, and..and, for the first time, that, and large, guys are bloody weird! I mean utterly strange and possibly gaga, but definitely weird! And ( it seems) addicted to dressing up in bloody weird, strange and gaga costumes: ones, I'm loath to say, that are totally inappropriate both as to the historical period your head might happen to be in, and as to rational, objective considerations---considerations, moreover, that include at least some reflection in an actual, working mirror--- of your girth and age.
Of course it's my own fault, I mean I could have refused the invitation to Houston's Renaissance Fair-possibly-spelled--with-an-'e'-at-the-end-but-I-can't-for-the-life-of-me-remember, so I only have myself to blame.

And so it was that I found myself on Saturday afternoon hurtling wildly down I-45 for over three hours in the truck and in the company of Ron-the-Landlord (not, thank God, to be confused with Conan-the-Barbarian at any stage of the following events) to Houston.

Surviving the journey, we met Ron-the-Landlord's brother, Gary-the-not-Landlord (I never quite figured out what it was that he did) and went out to eat, and this lead to my first great challenge of the visit, facing up to, and overcoming, after hours of valiant struggle, the vast, strange, quasi-edible barbecues---and what I now want to know is: how can any establishment have even a Hadean snowflake's hope of getting into the Michelin Guide if it has the word "pit" in its name? I mean think, for a moment, of this series of pits:
  • Snake
  • Pendulum, and the
  • of Hell
now doesn't barbecue fit in there perfectly, probably between the last two---and now for your peace of mind please feel free to stop thinking about all those damned pits.

Then, next morning, things got really weird--not as it turns out so much because we re-visited the pit place for barbecued breakfast (and now, oh! Dammit!, I've gone and given you a flash-back of all those awful pits) no it was an hour-or-so-ish later when we arrived at the actual Renaissance Fair (with or without a terminal 'e'), which as you'll see in a moment actually turned out, not to have as much to do with the actual Renaissance of history nor (destroying my other hypothesis) with that old song by the Byrds as hope had lead me to fantasize.

The first slight hint that all was not well and that we would not be drinking from the cool wells of historical precision this day, was as we walked towards the entrance through the vast, though surprisingly tree-lined parking lot and found ourselves following a cigar-smoking, extremely partially leather-clad Conan-the-Indeterminate-Barbarian, walking hand in hand with Xena-the-Warrior-Grandma, a well (if imitation) armed couple who, when threatening to crush some enemy, would surely give every appearance of not talking metaphorically.

You see the weird thing was, at least from the perspective of someone like me, who hopes for truth in advertising, or at least in naming, was that the late mediaeval and renaissance component of the fare at the fair would be way down the list of ingredients well below the Fantastical, the modern Scottish, Classical Romish, Classical Greek-even-more-ish, indeterminate and even Fairylandish (I have never seen so many airy, diaphanous wings on such heavy, earthy bodies)!!!! and that's not to even mention all the belly dancers (there was obviously some confusion here between the Middle Ages and East) whose bellies seemed to dance before us even when the rest of their bodies were perfectly still.

Actually... Actually all of the things that I have just said are quite untrue--the one really truly weird thing was that amongst all this hodging of podges there were two musical groups, one (striving, it seemed for blessed anonymity) who were playing what sounded like Gabrielli or a bit earlier, in appropriate clothing and on sackbutts all amazingly historically well informed; and a second less anonymous group (I think they were called Istanpitta) who were giving similar attention to some late mediæval songs.

Yup, on purely relativistic principles they were the weirdos here.
Well them, and of course me....

Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton.


OK! Yes! Well anyone who actually knows Texas can tell you that it's really the Texas Renaissance Festival, and I don't even have the old "names were changed to protect the innocent" excuse---I really did forget what it was called!

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