Saturday, 7 May 2011

Your country needs you

Do the wonders of this land never end? Here is another British pastime that is totally, totally brilliant. The way that your men dress up in frock coats and armours, then take to the fields.

They do it not because they want to make sociopolitical statements about male oppression, or campaign on a fashion label called Men Can Wear Skirts Too. No, they just like dressing up in fancy clothes and pretending to hit each other, and sometimes really hitting each other.

It's those period reenactors. Today we're seeing them at Milton Keynes Museum, a local museum that you can add to Grit's Highly Recommended Local Museum List, alongside Dunwich and Andover. (Here are telephones! And a railway office!) But today we head for the Jacobite Rebellion and an odd assortment of Plantagenets, probably soon to bash each other about at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

These people are utterly brilliant. They prove that in England the sun never sets on the independently odd.

Yes, I know I am of the converted. My head has already been turned. I feel the importance of dressing up in eighteenth century replica stockings. I appreciate how vital it is to the national pysche that Derek runs about in woollen worsted. I understand the lure of shiny armour. These are our contentious national stories, dammit! They are a practical reinvention of our narratives!

As such, it is a national duty to take part. So I think you should all find out where these people are running about next, come down to the field, and support them. I can tell you, it's better for the brain than a hundred school history lessons.