June 13th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Had discovered that our films which we’d put in wouldn’t be ready until at least Monday, so decided to vacate the M + P pad for the weekend.  Walked a couple of miles and hitched south to go to the Renaissance festival, an American re-creation of a mediaeval European fair.  It took two lifts, one short one, one long, the latter with a friendly girl.  She took us right to the gates of the festival site, which helped considerably.  We paid our $6.25 and went in.  First we tried to find a) a place to camp for the night or b) somewhere we could park our bags for the day.  Unfortunately, we had  no luck in either case, there being no such places.  However, even despite the severe disadvantage of having to carry a bag with a tent, 2 sleeping-bags and various clothes, we enjoyed the festival very much.  There were, of course, lots of craft stalls and shops, with expensive goods for sale, so we avoided those for the most part, but there was still plenty to see, with different sorts of theatrical events going on at loads of different venues within the site.  The best things we saw were a falconer, a magician (Magical Mystical Michael) and a theatre company called Sak theatre.  They did a hilarious version of Romeo and Juliet, using audience involvement for at least 50% of it.  There were also plenty of singers, jugglers, mimes, clowns – and a theatre group doing extracts from Shakespeare – they did a good 25 minute Shrew.  Best of all in general were the atmosphere and setting.  The buildings there seemed to be more or less permanent structures, and there was much to see all over the place, all in higgledy-piggledy streets ‘n squares.  And so many people were in costume and entering the spirit of it.  Also, immediately we got there, I was more or less forced to buy lots of messy kisses from a couple of buxom wenches.  We left at about 5, and walked for about a mile before getting a ride to Colorado Springs with a nice woman, who gave us her address.  We had to walk a long way before we found a place to pitch our tent, on a piece of common land near a plush housing estate.  Pitched tent – pulled shoes off (they’d killed me) – slept.

First point is the then tyranny of the camera.  Photography has changed so much in the intervening period. First it was the bulky, heavy equipment.  Then the expense of film, meaning that shots had to be rationed, maybe one or two on each occasion.  Then the fact that, even when you’d clicked the shutter, you had no idea of the result – it might be days, weeks, months before you completed the film and handed it over to a developer, and relied on their competence and honesty to do a good job.  It is something of a small miracle that we ended up with any decent photographs at all.   

However, clearly a relaxing and enjoyable day, and good to be independent again for a day or so.  It had been good to meet people, and obviously good to be fed, boarded, entertained, but after a while we just wanted to be by ourselves.  Later (much later) we would describe this experience, of having someone else make decisions on your behalf, being yoppied…  but it’s quite a while before we come up with that name.

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