minstrel: Fyrewalking and hospitality

J. Michael Shew jshewkc at pei.edu
Sat Apr 26 09:55:02 PDT 1997

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, Edwin Hewitt wrote:

> Fyrewalking can be the voluntary service a performer gives to many camps
> at an event.  The event does not need to have a campfire.
> Fyrewalking can also be the activities of a "Bard" whose main goal 
> is not to perform, but to get free food and ego gratification.
	An interesting take on the concept.  However, doesn't a performer
always want to be accepted?  As a mundane teacher of art, speech and
theater, I can assure you that Ego is not always a bad thing.  It is what
inspires artists of all art forms.

> One sure way to tell one from another is thus:  If they offer their service
> freely and ask nothing but your ear, then give unto them bountifully.  If 
> they hold their talents hostage pending food and drink - let them go hungry.
	I agree.  I know that sounds odd comming from me, but I do.  I
have been paid in appreciation far more time than in food and drink.  And
most everyone knows that if they want to play the "game" of hiring a Norse
Skald, all it takes is a cup of water.  The only reason I play this way is
the pursuit of my persona, a Skald of Norway who would have been invited
in a treated specially.  I also entertain at camps who do not know my
rules, and I don't ask for them to.
	I know you aren't attacking me.  But who are you attacking?

> If you walk into a private camp and then tell them that bards expect to
> be gifted, then you are a boor and a churl.  You insult your host and
> yourself.

	Oooooh.  Harsh words.  I have never had the aquaintance of someone
like that, but I do explain my rules if I am asked about them.  Usually in
Norse camps, or in camps where the folk expect more "period" activities.
I am invited to a lot of camps with that in mind.  For that reason I ran
my experiment, the attempt to live like a Norse Skald in period, and
compose or perform for my keep.  It worked for three wars, but I would not
consider it unless there were people who would have cooperated and "paid"
me as a sort of contest.  

> If you give a performance freely, and are rewarded freely then both bard
> and host are exalted.  This is the time to tell of the greatness of the
> giver!
> Edwin

	And to this I echo "Amen" or whatever appelation is most
acceptable to you.  The bard who _demands_ food is not giving a host a
chance to be noble.
	Mikal Hrafspa

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