Sunday, 13 March 2011

Valhalla Bound

A friend sent me a link to this fun animated film, The Saga of Biorn, a few weeks ago - I like it better each time I see it. It is technically accomplished for a student film, which is apparently what it is. It eschews clichés successfully and has some good visual jokes. I would even venture to say that its insights into Viking concepts of death and the afterlife for warriors are not entirely to be sniffed at. Well done to those at Animation Studio in Denmark who made it.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Working Towards Vikings

The big Viking exhibition of 2013-14, about which I have blogged before, is now being prepared in earnest. First out will be the National Museum of Denmark, after that it will travel to Berlin and then here to the British Museum in 2014, I believe, from Deep Throat in the British Museum. The group preparing the Copenhagen exhibition now has a blog, where you can follow their work as they travel round getting inspiration from other displays. The blog's in Danish, but no doubt my readers can cope with that, especially after all those episodes of The Killing? There's a nice photo here of Gareth Williams at work among his coins in the British Museum  Your blogstress and a small group of her students had an excellent day in London last Monday looking at various runic objects and coins, with the kind assistance of the very same Gareth.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Burning Ice, Biting Flame, and a Bracelet of Bones

All the b-words above are quotations from the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland. The man himself ventured into Viqueen territory earlier today, to take part in a round table of writers of popular books about the Middle Ages, organised by a most estimable colleague of mine. A good time was had by all, the speakers were all engaging, the audience all engaged, and I'm told that the subsequent workshops fairly zinged with excitement. The day was tinged with some nostalgia for me, since K.C-H. and I have a long-ago connection (strictly professional of course, but hugely important to me) that goes back some twenty years or more - the interested reader can certainly discover it by diligent research - and it was the first time I had seen him since then.
More importantly, Kevin is a prolific and successful poet, prize-winning author of works for children, and skilful interpreter of Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures. For his views on burning ice and biting flame, see this guest blog on Norse mythology for one of his publishers. As for the bracelet of bones, that is in fact the title of Kevin's forthcoming children's novel on a Viking theme, to be published within the next month or so. Definitely something to look forward to.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Runestone Red

There is a danger that this blog is just turning into free advertising for variously more or less vaguely Norse and Viking-related products. I'll try to get more serious next time...promise. But I can't resist providing a link to this article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, celebrating their local Claiborne and Churchill winery. The Tribune is not my regular rag, I have to confess, but clearly a noteworthy organ in the Californian media landscape.
Claiborne Thompson was once upon a time a runologist in Michigan, but gave it all up 30 years ago to become a vintner in California (quite a choice, eh?). At the Seventh International Runic Symposium in Oslo last year, we all had the pleasure, not only of meeting Clay and Federicka, but of drinking their fine 'Runestone Red' (actually a Pinot Noir) at the final banquet. Many persons younger and more susceptible than I had very sore heads the next day (they know who they are), pretty much as if a rune stone had fallen on them (it's a 13.9% wine).
As for myself, I do hope one day to drink another bottle, and to be able to keep the empty bottle in my special Viking wine holder.