So...our holiday was great. In fact it was so great that I have the post holiday blues or at least I did until Sunday night my entire star wars related facebook f-lists went wild as the news spread that next year Star Wars Celebrations Europe will be held in Essen, Germany.
We were at Celebrations Europe in 2007 in London and it was a blast but this time I expect it will be even more fun because this time we are going as members of the 501st and we know a HELL of a lot more people in this circle of hobby. It's 333 days away and I am so jazzed it's scary.
It wasn't until after we had already booked our hotel and then went to bed did we think to ask if this event clashed with the other big event next year,namely Drachenwald 20 year celebration. My immediate statement was that if it did, then Star wars wins because right now we are having a LOT more fun with the 501st / sci fi crowd and events than we are with the SCA.
Luckily for us though there is no conflict. I'm relieved because there will be people coming I really want to see and hang out with it would be sad to miss them as well.
Still it got me thinking this morning about the two hobbies and how very different my current feelings are for them both. I know there are politics and nasty things that go on in the 501st, no group when it gets to a certain size is immune but so far we've managed quite deftly to stay the fuck away from any of that. What I love about the 501st and the star wars costuming groups in general is that there is a single thread that binds everyone, our love for Star wars. And it's fun. I mean it's Star wars come on it's not rocket science, it's fiction and fun. There is a desire to make fabulously exact costumes and be a part of the magic but it's not academia, unless you want it to be then I am pretty sure you could write a thesis about Star wars stuff if you really wanted to.
What I find is pushing me away from the SCA more and more is the ever present push towards extreme periodness and 100% accuracy. While this certainly is a nice goal to move towards the trend these days seems to be if you are not with us on this then you don't belong and I find that sad. This is not what the SCA WAS about. It's certainly not what I look for in the SCA. While I enjoy learning about the medieval world and even enjoy some aspects of recreating that world there's a limit and I don't much care beyond that limit. I'm not going to write lengthy academic papers on anything arts and sciency, and while it's cool that people do wish to do this, not everyone does, wants to or is even able to. Personally I did that for years in University and I've had enough. I know how to research and look stuff up but that's not something I want to do for this particular hobby all the time. I don't strive to be an exact copy of a painting although I admire it when others do. It's not my thing.
Someone asked me recently why the SCA doesn't feel like fun any more and I've done a lot of thinking about this. I can't say why other people don't find it as much fun but for me it stems from the lack of fun, relaxed social gatherings at events. For me the SCA was always a social thing before anything else. My friends play and events are often the only times we get face time to chit chat. So my being told that my chit chat with friends about life the universe and everything is destroying the game for others is like being told no shirt, no shoes, no tie = no entrance go home we don't want you here.
I don't get that feeling with the 501st. At troops where we don't know anyone I feel like an odd stick and it takes a bit before that newness wears off and we find people to talk to but it does happen and then once that barrier is down...the magic starts. At Bayern Park we made friends, we baked in the sun, it was an arduous troop but it was FUN. Although in the 501st vs the SCA in the arena of cooking over fire the SCA wins hands down.
In the last 24hours I have translated an announcement, booked a hotel for a friend and created a list of useful links on a couple of forums and everyone was really happy about this. I don't think I would ever attempt to do this in the SCA anymore without someone saying I am doing it wrong, or complaining about a lack of disclaimers or moaning about the hotel not being period. Hell it seems that anything one does for the SCA is never good enough.
I kinda miss the church basement, broad cloth, T-tunic, cooking on a hot plate and telling stories to pass the time days.It seems now more people are far more concerned with being important, getting rewarded and awards than just having some fun.
In the 501st and the SCA there is a definite push to be as accurate as possible but I guess since the 501st has a totally different social function and is also a public thing rather than a closed private club in terms of events we behave differently.
I had a very long talk with Marcus about the SCA the other day in the car on the way home and we both came to the same conclusion, we're tired of the crap. The bull shit garbage. People being totally mean to each other, people pulling really stupid power plays by withholding information and making a person beg for it, or trying to destroy a group by spreading a bunch of rumours or worse. And I know this happens in the 501st too, god knows we've heard our fair share of the horror stories but we've not stepped into anything so it's fine. I don't mind listening but I hate it when it effects everyone around me to the point that no one is happy.
Right now, given the SCA emails I and Marcus had had to deal with lately no one is happy at all. Not really what you want in a hobby.
Hobby: A hobby is a regular activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure, typically done during one's leisure time.
There are 2 huge events happening next year 20 years Drachenwald and star wars celebrations Europe. The SCA event has generated little to no enthusiasm that I can find openly online and it takes place next June. Knowing the people who are organizing the 20 years stuff I have already donated quite a lot of artwork and help and honestly it all leaves me flat. The last big anniversary bash at 10 years was chaos mostly and a lot of things were not done very well.
In 24 hours of the announcement the Star Was Celebrations announcement created a wild fire of excitement and I felt proud to be a part of this in a teeny weeny way. We're already planning stuff, costumes, and parties and hotels and just stuff.... and it's going to be just fun fun fun ( with the usual con ups and down one has)
I remember that feeling for the SCA as well. I remember being excited at events and in awe of the crown now I have to drag my ass to an event and any awe I had at the magic or royalty went out of the window a while back for a bunch of reasons I can't get into here.
I, along with others, miss the "old days". We miss the fun when fun meant being social and having a party, some drinks, some food, some songs, a court, some helping out and lots of friendship and joy. I've heard it said a few times that it sucks now because at events person X won't talk to person Y and this group hates that group and it's all THE LINES ARE DRAWN HERE. And I know this story well because we, as a small group of people also drew a line and caused a ruckus. Ultimately I think I am just getting too old for this shit and I lack the patience to try and work with all the special snowflakes out there. Make the job too tedious and we walk away. After all it is a hobby. Right now the 501st doesn't feel like work, the SCA mostly does.
We are missing charismatic people who just do stuff for the joy of it, who don't go overboard on the period "naziism", who accept that the SCA is huge, vastly full of variety and enjoy it for what it is. These folks bring ear plugs to camping events and don't get cranky when kids shriek for joy. These folks help out when needed but are not martyrs to the cause. These are also the folks who get that not everything at an event will be tailored to fit their every whim and need and pack accordingly.
For those who want the über period, do it perfect and never discuss anything modern at all stuff well you know there are other groups for that like the Company of St. George. Maybe instead of trying to force everyone to convert it would be better to find a group that fits your needs better.
For me right now, the Star wars stuff is just so much more fun. I will never truly leave the SCA and as I hold an office atm I'm here for the next 2 years at least but I don't see us going to many events in the future especially as so many of the 501st troops and sci fi cons actually conflict. If I have to choose I'm going to go with fun and easy going every single time. Life is too short to waste it on not fun stuff.