MMIW#13 Virtual meeting 12 Jul:  Nick Bush and World Heart Beat
Summer Celebration 21 Jul:  Museum of the Home — Hoxton
Click here for our rolling calendar or here for City events

Game of Moans....

So we have seen another of the five year gatherings of the tribes and armies of the four kingdoms.... 

In times past these tribes would have drawn swords and clubs and fought a bitter battle until a number of the leaders were defeated and the field was strewn with the bodies of the hapless peasants. One tribe would then take control of the kingdoms for another five years, occasionally sending baskets of fruit and sweetmeats and ornate mirrors to the minor kings of the other three kingdoms. It is rumoured that the sweetmeats contain large doses of psycho hypnotic substances and this encouraged the minor kings to spend even more time before the mirrors admiring their own beauty and intelligence. This together with the continuous chatter and navel studying of their minions has been sufficient to keep the peace between gatherings. After years of intermittent war the kingdoms became depleted. The kings and their ruling court found that so many peasants died in the course of the battles to rule that they were inconvenienced by the lack of cooks and other servants to ensure they lacked none of the comforts to which they had become used. The moneylenders petitioned the kings to find a way of ensuring a steady supply of peasants to be sold into financial servitude to their usurious and complex schemes. They had become used to vast reward for little effort and were suffering great psychological pain. So the scheme of five yearly gatherings was devised. Each peasant would be entitled to raise a hand on the appointed day, not in battle but to choose a king to rule over the lands. It was a good scheme and the kings and their courts found that by judicious use of levying taxation and then by the distribution of these taxes back to the peasants who provided it, having plied them with cheap beer and by assuring them that this was not their money but sovereigns from the personal pockets of the court, they could ensure the outcome of the raising of hands.

The courts of these four kingdoms have been a source of great entertainment to the citizens of the lands around them. Largely drawn from the favoured children of the rulers closest groups they take up many of the positions of power in the factories, on the land, amongst the moneylenders who prey on the peasants and of course form part of the ruling Council which oversees the kingdoms. Those occasionally rising from the peasantry were given complex tasks and then rows of medals to ensure they complied with the courts directions.

So much so good for many years. Despite much gossip the various courts built well feathered nests no matter the representation of the kingdoms on the council. The rulers would have liked to keep knowledge from the peasants as this would have made their task of persuasion easier but over time better forms of communication awoke in many of them a desire to understand better how the courts worked. By this time the peasants lives were generally easier. The days of gathering round the village green to set fire to someone with suspicious warts or throw fruit at the feckless in the stocks had passed and many who were not content to while away the days in idleness were looking for better understanding of their own kingdoms and the others around them.

Development of a worrying  new mind-enhancing substance...

Time passed and to the kings and courts this all seemed ideal, however, much was to change. It began with the rise of the use of a new mind enhancing substance amongst the moneylenders. This was generally called Venalgreed and had the effect of enabling even the most stupid of them to make a mystery of simple fraud and usury. It had the effect of massively increasing the vast wealth of this group at the expense of the peasants. A small secretive group held sway over the administration of this drug, rewarding the compliance of the court and council with excessively paid roles within their inner circles for them and their children. In the end the addiction began to embarrass even the council and internal strife amongst the moneylenders made the council take the obvious course of summoning the Venalgreed addicts, licensing their drug and waving a finger in admonishment. The moneylenders were bereft at their loss and blustered and threatened, but luckily the council decided that there was no real harm done as the peasants would pay back all the money that could no longer be accounted for.

Confusion over the predicted raising of hands...

Before the recent five year gathering the usual bunch of court jesters gathered. They usually had no real purpose and mainly lived by combining the sale of snake oil remedies with tarot readings for money. Each gathering however was a highlight for them as they had the task of reassuring the court and council about the number of hands the gathering would raise for each of the council members. This time they predicted much confusion, with many council members from many different clans and tribes. They could be seen as the tribes gathered, crazed by their own sense of importance, dancing manically and beating passers by with their feathered sticks predicting eternal war. The tribes observed the cavorting of the jesters and the court and council in silence, and particularly noted the arrival of a tiny tribe from more distant parts who held a key bridge between the kingdoms and promised to extort a high price from all the other tribes if confusion followed the raising of hands. The gathering was further complicated by the arrival of a new tribe. They held new views on the way the council and court should work and many nodded in sympathy. There was however a major obstacle for their many supporters. At birth their culture demanded the amputation of their right arms, and the raising of arms was very specific about the arm to be raised. At the final showing large numbers raised their left arm but to no avail and the tiny northern tribe gained many more representatives on the council.

The people had spoken and, unconvinced that they could all be as rich as the moneylenders if only the council was as some wanted and fearing additional burdens of tax and levies from the northern tribe they settled for the old king and his court. The jesters and forecasters were humiliated and despite their best protestations were stripped naked, paraded through the streets and cast out of the kingdoms for their perfidy.







Liveryman - and Councillor Weymouth & Portland - (elected 2015)

Jeff Cant