Posts Tagged ‘glory’

Towards Vinland’s Black Horizons

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

So all summer long the Draken Harald Hårfagre is harrying Vinland’s coast, starting with New England and gradually making its way down towards the unsuspecting peasants who live in quaint, easily-pillagable places like Philadelphia and Washington D.C. And the norns smiled upon myself and my brothers-in-arms, as we rode our 4-wheeled short steeds to witness the ships’s arrival in Salem, MA and then again to tour its deck in Newport, RI. It’s a very impressively crafted vessel and we uniformly lamented our ill-informed decisions to keep our real jobs in lieu of conscripting ourselves to the cause. So maybe the norns weren’t that happy with us after all.

Anyway, it’s well worth a visit for anyone who gets the chance. The deck tour is inexpensive and provides the chance to view the craftsmanship up close and personal, learn how the crew lives onboard, and see which modern accoutrements have been by necessity added to the otherwise authentic ship. The Draken’s homepage has a schedule of when and where the Norsemen intend to bring their wrath before returning to Mystic, CT in October to hangout with the local Guardsmen and eat pizza while conducting ship repairs and maintenance in the winter.

Runic carvings about materials and dimensions, etc.

 

Arrival in the Witch City. Where are the shields and swords?

 

Solid wood from a fir tree

 

Huginn and Muninn watch over the vessel’s fire extinguisher and report back to Odin

 

Some good, old-fashioned Viking ingenuity

 

No trip to Newport is complete without a visit to the great stone tower famed for its role in erroneous New England Viking history

 

And what would a post to this dumb little website be without a clip of appropriately Viking themed death metal?

Longships and Mead

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

So today is National Mead Day, thank Odin! And thanks to Illinois’ own stone-carving mead-maker for imparting this wisdom, because otherwise I would probably have remained as ignorant as a giant’s hair follicle. And what better way to celebrate this holiday than by spontaneously visiting a random liquor store in the suburbs for some mead tasting hosted by the good folks from Groennfell and Havoc Meaderies?

I got all excited (like an 8 year old kid who just spent his allowance on the coolest Batmobile toy of all time) yesterday when I happened upon Groennfell’s Valkyrie’s Choice Mead completely by chance. And then also by chance, I discovered that they would be hosting this tasting event, and that it was less than half an hour away. So logic and necessity dictated the course of events that followed, and I am now one 4-pack of cranberry flavored Nordic Farmhouse Mead richer. And I was also able to try a couple of Havoc’s offerings in the process, all of which were also worthy of a horn-clinking skål. My only disappointment with this expedition was that there were only four samples to try, and that I learned that the Fire on Snow Mead (“smokey maple cinnamon mead”) is only available in the winter and at the source. But maybe that will provide an excuse to drive the chunky, 4-wheeled short-ship 3 hours north to the Colchester Mead Hall after the first snow has fallen. And is it just me or does the lower half of Groennfell’s logo strike a certain resemblance to Mjölnir? Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see.

And on a final note, it is not only a good day for mead, but also for longships. Or more accurately, a good summer for longships, because the Draken Harald Hårfagre is plying the waters up and down the New Englandic coast all summer long. A plan to hail their vessel next weekend with a couple of my brothers-in-arms is in the works, but I sure do hope they update their schedule so we know where to go. In the meantime, this just feels entirely appropriate:

Winter Ravaging of the Theater District

Monday, February 19th, 2018

This February has been an unusually devastating month for Boston’s theater district, in all the right ways possible. First, Wardruna descended upon the neighborhood, bringing with them songs of ancient lore performed with appropriately ancient instruments like the kraviklyra and goat horn.

Then, when the smoke cleared and the dust settled, Myrkur and Enslaved sailed in to finish the job. Praise be to Odin for delivering this two-pronged sonic attack!

Now, if only Fejd could figure out a way to visit Vinland.

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

It’s not often that I add new Heroes of Norse Proliferation to this shining (but sadly virtual) hall, which is probably because I’m a rather uninspired individual, but every once in a while motivation strikes and I bother to add a newcomer to the ranks of the mighty. This time the honor goes to Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, associate professor of medieval history and literature in the department of history at Durham University in merry olde England.

Barraclough’s book, Beyond the Northlands, was released last year, and thanks to my tendency to be both trend-sensitive and timely, I just finished reading it. The book is good—definitely worth a read for anyone who spends their free time intentionally or accidentally visiting obscure blogs about Vikings. The book’s perspective is unique, and presents a solid historical overview of the Norse world by delving into the mingling of fact and fiction found in the Icelandic sagas. In addition to tracing the often highly imaginative biological origins of both men and monsters, Beyond the Northlands also presents a fresh take on the geographical limits of the known world as the Norse experienced it. Rather than just stating where the Vikings traveled to and what they did there, Barraclough herself literally followed in their footsteps, which must have been awesome. Her book discusses her own impressions of these exotic locations and the challenges/danger/excitement/etc. they must have presented to the Norse voyagers +/- 1000 years ago. It is also very accessibly written (which I condone, as mentioned in a prior hailing to Nancy Marie Brown) and full of great photos, maps, and illustrations.

So cleary, I like the book, but unlike a few of the other Heroes of Norse Proliferation, Barraclough has only written one so far (she has, however, edited another), so why include her here? Well, for starters, those other academically-oriented Heroes are all over 50, and it’s exciting to see someone comparatively new enter the field and make some serious headway. In addition to her book, Barraclough has also published a number of academic articles on Norse matters, and has branched out into more mainstream outlets as well, which is great for proliferating Norseness. This is primarily occurring in the UK, with BBC having produced radio shows featuring her discussing her work, such as the Supernatural North episode, and various British newspapers having published a few of her general interest articles relating to Vikings. You can find a full list of these if you click on the link attached to her name at the top of this page, which you should do, while also raising your horn and skåling in salute!

Boston’s Viking Irish Bring Massive Slaughter to Assisted-Living Elderly Home

Sunday, September 24th, 2017


Boston’s own Viking Irish march to war on the premises of the Scandinavian Living Center

“On this yesterday in the year of our Lord 2017, the forces of northern darkness descended upon the vulnerable and defenseless Nordic assisted-living home for the elderly in Newton, Massachusetts, wreaking much havoc and slaughter. Few were spared as the heathen host desecrated the grounds of the institute with the blood of the innocent, taking slaves among the able-bodied few, and plundering everything of value, including all of the oxygen tanks and the vast assortment of Scandinavian language books kept behind locked doors in the central quarters of the establishment. Never before has such senseless violence been inflicted upon Newton’s flock as punishment for the sins of man.”
   —An imaginary medieval monk living in Massachusetts in the 21st century

Sorry, but I just couldn’t refrain from introducing this entry in the tone of a disapproving monk, it was just too fun (especially given the elderly home setting), but in actuality this wasn’t the first time that such a wanton scene of death and destruction has occurred at the Scandinavian Living Center, courtesy of the Scandinavian Cultural Center and in conjunction with the Viking Irish of Boston. It was all good, clean, safe fun, conducted as part of the 4th annual Nordic Bites Food Festival, which featured various food samplings from each of the Nordic nations, live music by local band Night Tree, and, of course, the highlight of the event: epic slaughter graciously provided by the Viking Irish of Boston, who took the field promptly at 2:00 pm and battled to the death in authentic Norse fashion to the pleasure of all onlookers. It was a good day, full of merriment and celebration of both ancient Irish/Norse and modern Scandinavian culture.


The Viking Irish encampment on the lawn of the Scandinavian Living Center


Entry to the field of battle, surrounded by the booths of vendors and other representatives from across the land


The Wolves and the Ravens face off as the battle begins


Viking versus Viking


Clearly, he shall join Odin for a drink in Valhalla tonight


And the field lay strewn with the bodies of the dead


I didn’t battle, unless eating all the snacks counts


And last, but not least, the replica commemorative rune stone in front of the Scandinavian Living Center is a sight for sore eyes

Birch-Shoe-Wearing-Guys, Save the King!

Saturday, November 12th, 2016


So this one’s deviating a little from the strictly Norse theme, but how can you not like a painting like this? Even if they’re aren’t technically Vikings, these guys are still hardcore. They’re skiing across Norway in medieval times in the dead of winter to save the baby infant king, being followed by assassins who just killed the little guy’s dad in a diabolical plot to steal the throne. Plus it’s just a cool looking painting.

This one was done by good ole Knud Bergslien, who painted many, many portraits of well-to-do Norwegians back in the 1800s, as well as a few landscapes and scenes from the country’s past, such as the one of the birkebeiner above (the birkebeiner were a group vying for political control of Norway and take their name from an insult in the day–that they were so poor they could only afford to make their shoes out of birch, and if that isn’t degrading, then I don’t know what is.)

The mad dash across the country on skis is one of Norway’s special historical moments and has been commemorated over the years, not just in the painting by Bergslien, but in a recent, full-length Norwegian film named “Birkebeinerne.” There are also races every year honoring the event in Norway and in Wisconsin (since they got lots ‘o Norskies up there too). The film is currently available on Netflix, under the title “The Last King” (since a movie with an accurately translated title like “The Birch-Legs” or “The Birch-Shoe-Wearing-Guys” apparently isn’t sexy enough for English-speaking audiences):

And, last but not least, here’s one of Bergslien’s majestic landscape paintings to end on an scenic note:

Kristine Jensen Gets Jelling with It

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

The Scandinavian countries are known first and foremost throughout the rest of the world for their achievement of producing Vikings 1200-900 years ago. While this was an undeniably badass achievement, the rate by which they have been producing Vikings since the year 1066 has really taken a nose dive. Thanks to the centuries of stagnation within the Viking-producing industry that have since followed, the region now produces other things instead, such as edible rotten fish, extreme death metal, ice hockey superstars, grim and frostbitten mystery novelists, large public sectors, North Sea oil, cheap furniture, toy building blocks, and last but not least, sleek modern design. It is this last item that is the point of my blathering online today, because the ancient burial mounds of Jelling in Denmark recently got an extreme modern design makeover.

For those unfamiliar with it, Jelling was a major center for Danish royalty in the Viking era. It was the home of good ole Harald Bluetooth and is regarded as the birthplace of Denmark as we think of it today. You can read more about its historic importance in any book on Viking/Norse history, but here is the link to Visit Denmark’s official page about it: ttp://www.visitdenmark.co.uk/en-gb/denmark/jelling-viking-town-and-world-heritage-gdk608047.

In 2013 a major landscape face-lift was given to the site. New discoveries had been made by archaeologists in preceding years, including a palisade fence and ship burial formation. These new discoveries have been highlighted in the design by Kristine Jensen, a Danish landscape architect, so that visitors gain a better sense of the historic layout of the site. The website Landezine describes the design rationale in detail, and is very much worth checking out for anyone who is interested: UNESCO World Heritage Site Jelling.

Kristine Jensen’s own design studio also offers some insights into the project and its relation to the Viking past for those who can read Scandinavian. Lastly, I should note/cover my ass that the images here were pilfered from Landezine’s page on the project and are credited to Jesper Larsen and Kristine Jensen. Definitely click the Landezine link above if you want to see more photos.


Barbarian Lord Tells It Like It Is

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Barbarian Lord is both a hardcore boozer who possesses extremely violent behavioral patterns and a keen appreciation for poetry AND the name of the recently* released graphic novel dedicated to portraying his adventures in boozing, brawling, and poetic appreciation. As Barbarian Lord’s own personal real-life skald, Matt Smith sings Barbarian Lord’s praises and spreads his renown to those of us who are not fortunate enough to lift a sword and join in his adventures firsthand. Matt’s also an all-around good guy who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a few horns with at local venues ranging from “the highest hall” to “the lowest cave” (in his own words, and if you know the area then you can likely guess what those are).

But getting back to the book, this is the sort of work for people who like the following:

-Vikings (obviously)
-Icelandic sagas
-Heroic understatement
-Badass illustrations
-Evil trolls and other monsters
-Vicious conniving
-Sexy witches who maim innocent birds
-Demonic possession of domesticated farm animals
-And, last but definitely not least, death metal allusions

If you’re even at this weird, little website, then that should be enough to convince you to hail the hero himself at http://barbarianlord.com/ and to join his quest for justice, drinking, and killing all who stand in his way.

*I say “recently” somewhat loosely because it was actually released last summer, but being only half a year behind the times is a step in the right direction for me. The last time I blogged about a book, I was three years late. Skål for punctuality!

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Eben Norton Horsford

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Leif Erikson Day 2014 is nigh upon us (Thursday, October 9) and so that makes it perfect time to raise horns to the memory of the great Bostonian proliferator of Norse awareness, Eben Norton Horsford. For those of you unlucky enough to have attended a high school that didn’t cover Horsford’s Norse achievements in history class (which is all of us), let’s just say he was something of an eccentric, law-abiding, late 19th century equivalent to Walter White and he had a huge boner for all things Viking. Clearly, this is the sort of person that I hold in the highest regard.

The short version is that Horsford was a chemistry professor at Harvard who invented an improved formula for baking powder, got rich off the manufacture of the stuff, and then quit his job at Harvard so he could pursue his true passion in life: populating the Boston area with statues and other relics dedicated to Norse greatness, part of which involved a full-scale effort to un-scientifically prove that Boston was the site of the great Norse Vinlandian city of Norumbega. I have a visual tour of these sites on my Boston Monuments to Norse Greatness page. I think a few people have actually maybe visited it over the years.

Anyway, a very good article (and main online source) about Horsford’s achievements can be found at the Needham Historical Society:

http://needhamhistory.org/features/articles/vikings/

And the American Chemical Society has detailed information on the baking powder side of things:

http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/
landmarks/bakingpowder.html

On an interesting side note, Horsford’s old baking powder factory in East Providence is now home to an upscale bakery (among other things) which is cool because nothing screams “blood-thirsty berserker violent-ass seavoyaging motherfucker” like “multigrain bread made with an organic mix of 7 grains, sunflower seeds and a touch of honey; available as a round or pan loaf.”

Last but not least, here’s a view of the old factory and Horsford’s commemorative plaque in East Providence:

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Quorthon

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

It was only a matter of time until Quorthon’s name was added to this not-so-golden hall of Heroes of Norse Proliferation, and that time has finally come. I unfairly prolonged that time with my uncanny ability to slack off at updating this obscure blog, but despite my best efforts to be ineffective and lazy, I can’t fight fate forever, and neither could the All Father of Viking Metal for that matter. He’s dead, and here I am, no longer going on a full-out berserker-level rampage of neglect and laziness at promoting his glory.

I hope most of you who have somehow managed to find this website know who he is. If you don’t, check out this short biography, then drink some mead and watch this video:

A Brief Overview of the Lifestyle Altering Technological Accomplishments of the Original Norse Bluetooth for Bostonians

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

The true origins of Bluetooth wireless technology are Norse, and what better way to learn about them than being sworn at by a foul-mouthed fucker from Southie.

A Brief Overview of the Lifestyle Altering Technological Accomplishments of the Original Norse Bluetooth for Bostonians

Leif Eriksson on the Rocks

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Highland Park has gone and done something wonderful: they have produced Scotch in honor of Leif Eriksson. Why did no one think of this sooner? It took the discoverer of North America approximately 1012 years before he had a Scotch whiskey named in his honor? Sometimes I am ashamed of the world we live in. That sense of shame almost outdoes the sense of shame I feel from not having bought a single bottle of this magical liquid because a) it costs nearly $100 and b) even it it was less expensive, it can still only be found at international ports of entry.

Click here to visit the official Highland Park Leif Eriksson webpage.

Saint Patrick Visits Ossian and Listens to a Poem About Deteriorating Irish-Norse Relations, Retold for Bostonians

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Saint Patrick Visits Ossian and Listens to a Poem About Deteriorating Irish-Norse Relations, Retold for Bostonians

Saint Patrick gets shitfaced and listens to some heavy Irish poetry about Vikings.

A Short History of the Norse Conquest of England for Bostonians, Part 2

Monday, November 28th, 2011

A Short History of the Norse Conquest of England for Bostonians, Part 2

In which Svein Forkbeard utterly dominates Ethelred the Unready.

A Short History of the Norse Conquest of England for Bostonians, Part 1

Monday, November 21st, 2011

A Short History of the Norse Conquest of England for Bostonians, Part 1

In which the Danes and English succeed very well in not getting along with one another whatsoever.