Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What my front room looks like just now and a grisly poem I found in a book

 Well, I'm going to be a little self-indulgent. I again rearranged the room the other day and I'm still quite happy with it. Though I still think the room could do with a little red.

In this pic we see the Dryad TallBoy, who is currently unwarped and merely being used to hang tablet bands and unwoven warps on. And the ottoman with a shaggy rug on it, and the laundry basket. I don't know what the laundry basket is doing there. That is not where the laundry basket lives, this crime shall not go unpunished.
 Think I've finally figured out what to do with this so-called coffee table. Coffee table my hairy behind, it's nothing but an oversized obstacle when it's lain down upon the ground. When stood up on end it's a very nice set of shelves, just perfect for piling up yarns you don't have space for in your massive box of yarn you'll never get round to using (we've all got one, you know it's true) as well as random unwoven warps from the past and a giant basket of giant knitting needles and my wee boxy of leather and fabric tools and associated sharp things.
That tablecloth was given to me by a friend from Syria, he got his brother to send it over. Just when all the trouble was only beginning.

I haven't heard from him since he went back. I don't have his email address, and if I did have it, I wouldn't know what to say because I'd be scared about getting him in trouble. Even if he says he's a government supporter. I hope he's OK. I hope the people of Turkey don't let their government escalate the war. I hope Turkey and the DisUnitedKingdom and the US and the Russians and the Chinese stop interfering and pouring fuel on the fire. Awful awful bloody business.
Finally, the area between the couches and the defunct fireplace. With spinning wheel and a borrowed Maru-Dai and some beer and chocolate and a teatowel.

I hope to eventually get a compact computer system working as a media centre there and bring the wee screen back out of the cupboard so I can pretend like I've got a telly again. I don't actually want a telly, what I do want is to use youtube with a remote control, which is entirely doable, but you need a spare working computer. I have a Raspberry Pi in the mail, which is a tiny wee computer that can do video and all that jazz. I have serious projects waiting for it but while I'm busy with all this college and stuff I think I'll just use it as a media centre. I can probably fit the amp in the alcove while I'm at it and mount the speakers somewhere.

What you can't see here is the mantelpiece which is the final refuge of all the occassionally or daily used items which have no other place to be. I should put a small table and a coat standin the hallway (very grand name for it) so more of this crap has a real place to be.

I don't feel like I've got much else to say. I'm making viking costume. I'm also going to make my idea of what a suit would look like if it evolved from viking costume. I wonder how possible it is to do this without being unduly influenced by one's idea of what a suit should be.

Maybe "suit" is the wrong word to use. Formal Walking Wear may be a better term, as you can imagine a man in suit and overcoat and top hat and walking stick.

All that jazz. I still feel like there's something missing from the whole project. I really feel like I should be representative of the women and slave classes of society while I'm at it, but I don't know if I really have the time to make that many costumes, especially if I'm weaving all the cloth myself.

Can you believe I actually read in the preamble to a viking history book recently that the author felt that archaeologists were concentrating too much on the daily life of the normal (read: overwhelming majority who are responsible for all technological and social progress in the face of bitter resistance from their rulers) people and that the warlords and kings had been neglected. Well, BOO HOO. Far too much attention is lavished on the exquisitely draped bully boys, tyrants and rapists of yesteryear. We should celebrate how little sway they hold over us now and continue the struggle to suppress the baser instincts of savage men in our society.

Now that I've got that wee rant out of the way, check this out. I think I found this in "The Raven Banner: A History of Viking Caithness". It's a dirge sung by 12 weaving Valkyries. The story is that, in 1014, Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney fought a battle with Brian Boru, King of Ireland having been requested to by the Earl of Ulster who appears to have been a manipulative stirrer. During this battle he died, with his Raven Banner clutched to his chest.

The Raven Banner was woven for him as a magical gift that would assure victory whenever it was carried into battle. However, it also carried a curse, and any man who carried it would be slain. Eventually none of his men would touch it and he was told to carry his own cursed rag. He picked it up, put it under his tunic and during the battle was killed by a spear that pierced him and the flag both.

This happened on Good Friday. While these events were taking place in Ireland, a Nordic poet in Olrig in Caithness saw a vision of 12 Valkyries riding a chariot into a nearby hillside. He went to see what had occured and found there was a doorway into the side of the hill, so he went and looked in and he saw the Valkyries weaving on a bloody warp of gore.This was the song they sung:

Blood rains from cloudy web on the broad loom of slaughter.
The web of man, grey as armour, is now woven. 
The Valkyries will cross it with a crimson weft

The warp is made of human entrails. 
Human heads are used as weights. 
The heddle rods are blood-wet spears. 
The shafts are iron-bound, and arrows are the shuttles. 
With swords we shall weave this web of battle.

The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords, 
Hild and Hjorthrimul, Sangrid and Svipul. 
Spears will shatter. Shields will splinter. 
Swords will gnaw like wolves through armour.

Let us now wind the web of war 
which the young King once waged. 
Let us advance and wade through the ranks, 
where friends of ours are exchanging blows.

Let us now wind the web of war 
and then follow the king to battle.
Gunn and Gondul can see there 
the blood-splattered shields that guarded the King.

Let us now wind the web of war 
where the warrior’s banners are forging forward. 
Let his life not be taken. 
Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.

Lands will be ruled by new people who once inhabited outlying headlands. 
We pronounce a great King destined to die. 
Now an Earl is felled by spears.

The men of Ireland will suffer a grief that will never grow old in the minds of men. 
The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened. 
The news of disaster will spread through lands.

It is horrible now to look around, as blood-red cloud darkens the sky. 
The heavens are stained with the blood of men, as the Valkyries sing their song. 
We sang well victory songs for the young king. Hail to our singing!
Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song learn it well and tell it to others. 
Let us ride our horses hard on bare backs, with swords unsheathed, away from here.

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