The Bard Within

I’ve finally got around to forging a tool! Not in the literal sense of molten metal and hammers, but in the metaphorical sense.

I’ve made myself a Facebook page!  The idea being that I can advertise myself as an actor and storyteller and that folks can see me (under my stage name) in action.  Then said folks can contact me to hire or have me perform for them.  Shameless link!

I made the page a bit post-haste as I needed something quick for a gig I’d been asked to this month.  One of my Druid friends has very kindly offered to help me make my own website, so watch this space!

Remember what I wrote in my last blog about taking advantage of offers Life presents?  Well, the week after I wrote that, I was contacted by a friend of mine who I’ve performed for previously and wondered if I’d be up for a spot at Nottingham’s SOBAR (a nonalcoholic bar, the whole weekend festival was for a charity for people recovering from alcoholism).  So I took it up immediately!

Last week, I headed a night of storytelling for my Druid Grove, which you can read here (it’s all about the links today!). It was a good night and it felt right.  I’m not naive or stupid enough to believe that after one night of MCing a story night with some friends of mine, that I can go around doing it professionally.  Truth is I’ve fought this.
Normally, I tell a story to my Grove a little unprofessionally, stumbling here and there.  But at last weeks meeting, it was the first time I did it properly, calmly and not without humour.

I spent seven years in a theatrical tourist attraction telling stories of the Horrible History kind, all in costume and make up.  I gave that up when I moved to Nottingham and lost a part of myself doing it.  It was only when I was challenged (the Best way to get me to do anything) to do a Halloween themed story piece that I realised I missed this!

So I made more! And there is more to come and more to develop on.  I even tend to tell stories when I do ceremony and ritual work with either my Grove or the Moot I co-run.  Its intrinsic to my sense of being, spiritually, holistically.  Even when using the Druid Animal Oracle there is one card I have difficulty remembering the meaning of, but the story behind it… that’s where the meaning comes out (its the Seal, card btw). So when that card comes out, I remember two of the three catchword and tell the story of the Selkie because its more in depth than the card meaning in the booklet.

The what I did on Sunday, was use my Highwayman character, The Scarlet Blade.  I was in this very modern cafe dressed as though I was an 18th Century vagabond.  As soon as I saw the children enter I knew I had to tailor this.  The first time I performed the SB was in a bar filled with merry poets and every filthy joke and bawdy line was used… couldn’t do that here, so I chopped and changed it.  With five minutes left, I pulled a bit of a history lesson out of my tricorn hat and told what Dick Turn was really like.

Ok, so I didn’t have the bawdy, foul mouthed jeering from the first time, what I did have was a dad telling me that through my set, his very young son kept telling him “Dad! Dad! There’s a Pirate over there!” The child gleefully hid away when I pulled my plastic pistol out at him and the dad told me “He’ll remember that for the rest of his life…” That made my day!

It appears that embracing my performing self, the actor, the storyteller has all come about after admitting who and what my Bardic self is.  Its just that I had to forget in order to find myself again. 

Me as The Scarlet Blade on Sunday 17th August 2014.  Photo by Amy Hills.

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2 thoughts on “The Bard Within”

  1. INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR PEACE STUDIES AND GLOBAL PHILOSOPHY
    Director, Dr. Thomas Daffern B.A. (Hons) D.Sc. (Hon) Ph.D
    Treasurer: Jenny Wheatcroft – International Secretary: Ruth Kempe – Media Office: Nicola Hague
    USA Coordinator: Almira Rzehak, Israel Coordinator: Gila Haron M.A – Balkan Coordinator Gordana Netkovska Italy Coordinator: Francesca Dell’Ova M.A. London Secretary: Nisa Saiyyid B.A.
    Commonwealth Interfaith Secretary: Maria Matulewicz (Australia)
    HQ: Castle of the Muses, Craigard, Carrick Castle, Loch Goil, Argyll and Bute, PA24 8AG, Scotland, UK
    Tel. Fax: 01301 703053 (m) 07500 238523
    websites: http://www.educationaid.net http://www.castleofthemuses http://www.lulu.com/iipsgp
    http://thomascloughdaffern.wordpress.com/ http://musespress.wordpress.com/ http://daffernfamily.wordpress.com/
    email: iipsgp@educationaid.net Faceboook: International Institute of Peace Studies YouTube: IIPSGP1

    Dear Fellow Bards and Druids,

    I am happy to invite you to attend the first ever gathering of all the Bardic Chairs of Britain, which is due to take place here, at the Castle of the Muses, on August 24, 2014. This meeting is being jointly hosted by myself as Archdruid of the Order of Peace Poets, Bards, and Druids (OPPBD) and also Peace Officer to the Council of British Druid Orders, and Kevan Manwaring, author of The Book of the Bardic Chair and Bard of Hawkwood. There is a strong crossover between Bards and Druids and some orders emphasize one, and some another. Some Druids connected with the Council of British Druid Orders over the years, such as the late Tim Sebastian, always envisaged a network of Bardic chairs working alongside the different Druid orders active in our lands. This meeting will attempt to bring together the various holders of Bardic chairs and to bring them together into a loose Harmony of Bardic Chairs (not quite a college, not quite a Counci), which could be affiliated to the Council of British Druid Orders and other Druid Networks in due course. Some orders, such as the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, require their senior Druids to have completed a Bardic training before moving onto the Druid grade. Some Bards may prefer to remain Bards and take it as their life’s vocation to bring harmony and truth to mankind through the power of music and poetry.
    It should be a very special weekend, since on Saturday night, August 23, 2014, Kevan Manwaring is doing a performance of his latest Bardic enchantment, entitled “The Snake and the Rose,” which is an interweaving of Midlands folktales, fairy stories , and legends on the perennial theme of love, eros and transcendence. Kevan is the author of the Book of the Bardic Chair, and he has co-created this ballads and tales show based upon his two collections, Oxfordshire Folk Tales, and Northamptonshire Folk Tales (published by The History Press), with folksinger Chantelle Smith. Kevan Manwaring is a writer, teacher and storyteller who lives in Stroud. Holder of an MA in the Teaching and Practice in Creative Writing from Cardiff University, he teaches creative writing for the Open University and Skyros Writers Lab. He also runs freelance courses in storytelling and various aspects of the writing process to a wide variety of students. As a professional storyteller he has appeared in numerous shows both solo and with Fire Springs, both in Britain and abroad (USA, Italy and Malta). He is the author of Turning the Wheel, The Bardic Handbook, Lost Islands, the ongoing Windsmith books and his poems and articles have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. He runs the Stroud Writers’ Workshop, having relaunched the Bath Writers’ Workshop, & is the founder of Awen Publications. In 2010 he was a Writer-in-Residence at El Gouna, a resort on the Red Sea, Egypt, where he worked upon his novel, The Burning Path. He is currently working on commissions for The History Press and Compass Books, as well as a screenplay or two.
    The meeting of the provisional Bardic Council (Harmony) of the British Isles will take place on Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 2-5 pm. You are very welcome to either attend in person or to send a representative of your Chair. You are also welcome if simply a solo bard and not currently a Chair holder. If you wish to stay over at the Castle, accommodation is available on first come first served basis. It is also possible to bring a tent and camp. On the evening of Sunday the 24th we will have an impromptu series of performances (music, poetry, storytelling etc.) by all the Bards present and stay up around the fire until late.

    Then, on Bank Holiday Monday evening August 25, at 7pm we will have a performance at the Castle by Paul Francis the Troubadour, who for many years served in France as Bard of Paris, and who has performed in numerous venues around Britain and France, including Bath, where he used to be Tim Sebastian’s “favourite Bard”. He will be delighting us all with a medley of Bardic songs and Druid chants that he has written over the years. His work is detailed on http://www.paulfrancistroubadourspacetoad.com Over the year Paul has performed in London, Brighton,Paris, Amsterdam, Venice and even Marrakesh. Paul continues in the Minstrel Tradition. In the last few years, Paul has played extensively throughout France ( Grenoble, Lyon, Marsailles, Ales, Nice, Montpelier, Nantes, Rennes, Brest, Lesneven, L’Orient, Bordeaux, Beziers, La Salvatat, Rouen, Aix en Provence, Limoges, Paris etc), Italy (Florence, Venice, Rome, Taranto), Spain ( Granada,Seville, Malaga, Xavia, Torevieja,Torremolinos,Fuengirola, Izalloz, ) Portugal (Porto, Faro, Albufeira), Switzerlan(Berne) and Holland (Amsterdam, Rotterdam. He loves Spanish guitar and now for a number of years, he has been studying the techinques of this incredible music including a number of classical pieces from the sixteenth century..He has also played in Czech Republic (Pilsn), Hungary (Bhudapest), Sweden (Gothenburg,Karlstad etc)and Norway. He has a degree in music and related arts from Chichester University, which helped to hone his ecclectic talents including opera singing.

    The new Harmony of Bardic Chairs which we will be inaugurating this weekend is an important new step for the Bardic and Druidical element of British and Irish culture, and will hopefully be supported by among all who appreciate and celebrate creativity, whether of poetry, music, dance, or the arts in general. The ancient Bardic Schools of the British isles and Europe were famed throughout classic and mediaeval times, and still to this day, a whole succession of poets and Bards form the British isles have gone out into the world cajoling and inspiring and pleading with our fellows to pursue peace and harmony rather than war and violence: there is a direct line of descent from Taliesin and Amergin, to Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sydney, through Iolo Morgannwg, Macpherson and Robbie Burns, to W.B Yeats, the Beatles, Van Morrrison, and The Incredible String Band, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, The Eurythmics, on through to Ross Nichols, Caitlin Matthews, Philip Carr-Gomm, Robin Williamson, Eric Maddern, and all the contemporary artists of complex sound, mind, musical and poetic landscapes of today. There are some 12 Bardic Chairs operating in the British Isles and the world today, including in Caer Wyse (Exeter), Northampton, Hawkwood, Bath (Gorsedh Caer Baddon), Malvern and Stroud, Anderida Gorsedd, Ynys Witrin (Glastonbury), National Eisteddfod of Wales (Chief Bard), Bard of Armagh, Clan MacGregor, U.S. West Coast Eisteddfod, Bards of the Lost Forest in Birmingham, Bardic Chair of the Silver Branch Bardic Network. All have been invited to attend this first ever attempt to bring them together into a Harmony of Bardic Chairs in modern times.
    Our purpose in calling this meeting is fundamentally irenic. We believe that if the true Bards of Britain and Ireland (and the rest of the world) can raise our voices in harmony together, to assert the rights and duties of the Arts Sublime, over those of the war-maker and the widow-maker, we can help turn the tide of the planetary changes that we are undergoing in the directions of peace and justice and enlightenment, rather than violence, fear and want. Please join us, either in person, or in your prayers.

    Yours in peace and service,

    Dr. Thomas Clough Daffern

    1. Hello Thomas, thank you very much for posting. I’m afraid its a bit short notice for me, but I’d love to find out more!

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