Sunday, 6 July 2014

Widespread Pointlessness

I noticed yesterday that the people at The Dabbler had generously reposted something I wrote about the pleasure of pointless activity. This morning, coincidentally, walking home from Mount Ainslie, I came upon a crowd of people, dressed in clanking armour and medieval costumes, setting up heraldic banners and pretty tents, the ladies swishing about in long dresses and wimples, (or were they snoods?), some wearing crowns, others draped in cloaks with ermine-like trimming.

When a woman who was giving a very good impression of being a sixteenth-century serving wench came sweeping out of the Scouts Hall nearby, bearing a tray of thoroughly twenty-first century looking cup cakes, I stopped her (or, to get into the ye olde spirit, perhaps I should say I hailed - or possibly accosted? - her) and asked what was going on.

It turns out that I was witnessing the start of a big tournament being put on by the Canberra branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The Society has 70,000 members world wide, the wench told me, and they get together to play at being in pre-seventeenth-century Europe, (except when it comes to cup cakes). "The only thing we ask", she said, "is that you try as best you can to wear something that looks sort of sixteenth century-ish".

I doubt I have ever seen anything so authentically pointless; it cheered me up enormously. There were a hundred or so people there and they all seemed to be having a great deal of fun.


  1. I knew a couple of people in Denver who belonged to the society. Despite my tolerance or fondness for the pointless, I never got the point of that particular pointlessness.

    A couple of Sundays ago we were in New Orleans. While taking the St. Charles streetcar back toward to downtown, we passed a library where two men wearing what I hope was plastic armor fought with what I trust were plastic swords. It was uncomfortable that day to walk at a strolling pace in the sun, so this mock combat looked like an invitation to heat stroke.

    1. Perhaps the point - although does there have to be one? - is to provide a spectacle, something unusual to look at for a passer-by. Actually, I think my lot were just having their own idea of fun