On Alternate History

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Once upon a time...

You may have noticed that I and others post images and stories that put a Parasol Duelling Spin (TM) on otherwise historical events.  This may be an affectation but it is also intentional. Very early in the modern (re-)creation of our sport Jayne (Madame Saffron) and I made the conscious decision to always treat parasol duelling as a real historical competition. Surprisingly our friends and fellow Duelists agreed to play along.

I was asked once by a Steampunk blogger if Parasol Duelling was "real". My answer was, "Of course it is real!" Then he said, "No. I mean is it really a Victorian sport?". I paused for a moment and said, "In our Steampunk world it is" :-)

At all the demonstrations and competitions we have done we always treat the sport as real, and therefore worthy of taking it seriously, at least a little bit. By placing Parasol Duelling in the context of real Victorian and Edwardian history we get to tag along with all the wonders, and gorgeous clothes, of that age. But in order to make that work we have to be a bit subtle. This works best when our stories, and the "gloss" that we add to otherwise mundane history, are just realistic enough that the greater non-steampunk world is likely to ponder whether it is true or not.

Steampunks, of course, do not have a problem with alternate histories. In my experience of large Steampunk gatherings there are likely to be any number of alternate histories being discussed, sometimes as many as there are people present in fact. People like to have a back story for their costumes and personae after all. But what makes the one in the background of Parasol Duelling so much fun is that it is shared.

It is not just Steampunks either, our sport has attracted people in various historical re-creation groups as well. The very thing that would have made Parasol Duelling a good sport for Ladies in Queen Victoria's time, elegance, skill, honour, and decorum with a touch of aggression, and intense competition, make it a great sport for cosplayers,Victorian/Edwardian aficionados, steampunks, and even our non-costumed friends and families. 

There is an alternate history in the back ground, you can read it here on this blog and on the pages of Madame Saffron Hemlock's Parasol Duelling League, but all of you who enjoy our elegant sport are helping to write a very real history indeed.

Thank you for joining us on this journey to create the real sport that is Ladies Parasol Duelling.

Spread the word!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.


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