Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dark Age chic

This morning as I walked past the Ashmolean on the way to Mass there was rather more than usual amount of noise emanating from the forecourt. This was occasioned by a considerable assemblage  of youngsters from summer schools - there seems to be an unconscionable number of them in Oxford this year - awaiting admission and surrounding two sentinal figures clad in reproductions of the garb, and complete with helmet and spear, of the occupant of the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Very impressive they looked too. I assume this was for an Anglo-Saxon themed activity day.


A reproduction of the Sutton Hoo helmet - available for purchase
Image:Dave Gunn on Flickr

However it did occur to me that maybe with so many youngsters around that this was a fashion parade for the latest in Dark Age repro- or reto - chic. Could it be that the Beowulf-look is the thing this summer?  After all Tolkien's commentary on the epic has just been published. Are these the must-have designer items? Just the thing for partying, or clubbing (pun intended) or even slipping down to the supermarket for a bit of rapine and pillage.

Meanwhile we still await Beowulf -The Musical ... go on, think about it, imagine casting it, staging it, filming it...


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