Monday, 8 August 2016

On Proper Vikings.

I just listened to one of those 'Oldë Scandinavian Folk Songs’ on YouTube. They’re usually played to clips from feature films in which Viking warriors battle sea demons and other sundry but worthy enemies in a subdued, foam-flecked maritime landscape shot in depressingly grey half tones. And in deference to modern times they always have a heroine who’s supposed to be a Dark Age Nordic damsel but looks like she just spent half a day in a Beverly Hills beauty salon, and a handsome hero with designer waves in his hair who does a nice line in cutesy submission when said damsel yells at him for trying to play the macho superior while threatening him with an undersized battle axe.

(And commenters on YouTube come out with such profundities as ‘I’m so proud to have Viking blood in my veins.’ That’s the amusing bit.)

Nevertheless, tonight’s offering did have one scene worthy of note. The hairy and intrepid warriors are gathered around a notably macho bonfire some time after nightfall being lectured by the hairy chief with the vomit-encrusted beard (and whose designer waves have been liberally treated with old axle grease so we know he’s definitely a death metal fan and never listens to Scandinavian folk songs.) Tonight they will have beer and brotherhood, he tells them, but with the coming of the dawn they must be prepared to fight for their place in Valhalla. The dawn will bring a new day, and the new day might be the last they spend in Midgard. It was truly heroic stuff, engendering an uplifting sense that extreme violence is the only way to attain spiritual advancement.

But you know, I couldn’t help imagining one guy at the back putting his hand up.

‘Excuse me, chief.’

‘What is it, Sweyn son of Eric the Ever Ready of Hardangerfjord?’

‘Well… it’s just that… well… erm... I’m not really a morning person.’

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