Before this year's Bristol Renaissance Faire season opened in early July, whirling strange unsettling factors made me wonder: Is more fun possible? Have I already reached the zenith of fun in this venue? Is this when it starts feeling like work instead of play?
But you, Phooligans, have shown me the limitless fuzzy horizon of fun isn't yet achieved. It's still ahead, even though each Faire day brings more and more nonsense, madness, brilliance, silliness and rib-cracking laughter.
Life hurtles, and I long to brake just enough to review the season so far, with all of its new knowledges, adventures, escapades and hijinks. At the moment I have only time to flash glimpses.
I met a squadron of Girl Scouts and their Grown-Ups yesterday who had the best questions, absorbed my answers, formulated in-depth interrogations, and rewarded me with understanding eyes and big hugs. They asked The Money Questions, those questions a student of the Elizabethan Age always hopes to hear: "Why is Her Majesty called 'The Virgin Queen'?" "Why won't She just marry someone?" "Which of Her Grace's suitors do you like best, Jane?" During one session, the Earl of Leycestre drifted over, sussed our theme, and slyly convinced the Scouts to vouch on his behalf with Her Grace: "Don't you think Her Majesty, if She's to marry, should share Her crown not with a stranger or a foreigner, but with her most devoted, life-long friend, who's been with her through every life's trial?" So persuasive, Sir Robert, as always. It was deeply satisfying to watch these clever young women understand the complex interweaving of global power and personal relationships, and the impact each has on the other.
Scouts and others had brilliant questions all weekend -- it occurred to me that presenting myself as less-than-genius helps me make the Bridge to Knowledge more accessible, as I probably seem less threatening or intimidating than the Peers, once people get past worrying I might be a mime or a clown -- Renaissance Faire patrons tend to all bear a terror of clowns, and I like to make it clear that, while clowns are highly-trained, I was just born to foolery. I dearly enjoy being a tour guide to the most powerful Britons and foreign potentates of 1574.
A beautiful woman from Mongolia taught me "bad monkey" in Mongolian, and a cheerful Israeli family laughed in shocked surprise when I knew it in Hebrew, so they supplied it in Sanskrit instead. Sanskrit, the golden shining root of every world language! Look for updates to the Bad Monkey Index soon: http://ping.fm/iEE0z
While I trundled the lanes and bantered nonsense and linguistics with friends old and new, the Court was, quite uknown to me, awhirl with controversy surrounding mysterious Phoole paramours -- a sonnetter was hauled before the Privy Council for poems seemingly insinuating Her Grace were less than virtuous, but at Audience, the verses were revealed to be about poor addled Jane! Followed thereafter a jealous firestorm from none other than Sir Robert Dudley Earl of Leycestre, mysteriously expanding carnal affections Phoole-ward from his compass's former true North, Gloriana.
Lord Mayor Egads Newcastle, meanwhile, continues besieged by Squirrels. Squirrels are with the Lord Mayor at war! Every squirrel! The first battle was waged in his apartments, with an invading squirrel bearing a litter inside his favorite antique tapestry-covered console bench. The second salvo saw a suicidal squirrel plummeting to the ground mere feet from Egads just two weeks ago! Find him; ask him for the Squirrel Tales. Only his retellings do the stories any justice -- the rage flashing in his infinitely-blue eyes is vital to the scene-settings. Sir Christopher Hatton and I encountered a guest with a black soft toy squirrel, and I implored her to find Egads, and gave her just the barest outline of his travails with squirrels. She glowed and responded, as the air around her prismed and swirled, "That's Squirrel Medicine. He's bonded with squirrels, as I am, and his fate is bound up with theirs. It's very powerful." I confess I don't know what to make of this, and I wonder if she found Egads and told him about it.
In any case, a squirrel tried to get in through MY window this morning, so I should probably find out more about the subject in any case, if only to lovingly torment Egads just a little further!