Brett Williams brettwi at
Mon Sep 4 15:02:24 PDT 1995

Greetings and well met!

I am Ciorstan MacAmhlaidh, a Scotswoman of the reign of the young James 
VI.  I, too, do not consider myself a bard as the term isn't in use in 
the land I am from-- though widely in use in the land in which I live, 

Persona aside, it has bothered me for some time that the use of the 
word 'bard' has been coopted for SCA use for a trait I find disturbing 
in the more mundane filking groups.  Specifically, a number of those 
who filk within the science fiction/fantasy crowd loudly proclaim 
themselves as filkers, proud to sing off-key and badly.

All in all, that's fine and good-- but on contact off and on for the 
last fifteen years or so it *has* distressed me that the majority of 
these folk are still at the same level of performance skills.  They're 
static in that I can reasonably expect to walk into a room where a filk 
is going on within the next five years and hear the same folk singing 
or playing at the same level of expertise/confidence they exhibited 
five or even ten years ago.  The word 'filker' in this instance has 
been conveniently used as a shield to hide behind, and a refusal to 
improve on a gift or skill.

Which strikes me as a colossal waste of an individual's precious time.  
Why engage in an activity one loves and enjoys and yet refuse to take 
advantage of the learning of skills such participation engenders?  I am 
tired of hearing songs constistently introduced by Society musicians 
and performers with an apology for something or's needless 
self-deprecation and for the most part, false modesty.

I have been seeing some of this same process happening in the Society 
as well, with the substitution of the word 'bard' for 'filker'.  Either 
word used, I believe it's something to be avoided.

Opinions? Brickbats?

ciorstan macAmhlaidh, CHA, AoA
Karen Jolley-Williams

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