Monday, 3 June 2013

That Conversation.

As noted people love to come up to talk to you and if you are not prepared for this you should either not take up reenactment, stand next to someone who loves talking or pretend to be actually French and go 'pardon?' To every question.

My first blog post covered most of why I wanted to take up reenactment, a keen interest in the era and military history, and just experiencing how it was instead of just reading about it, anecdotal history and memoires have always been my favourite form of history book and here you can live that life.. or as close as a fairly comfortable approximation will allow short of half rations, fatigue, dysentry and various afflictions of the camp.. or being shot.. will allow.

One guy at Woolaton was almost flabberghasted that we all wanted to be French. THE ENEMY! I can answer this on several levels, firstly without French reenactors there would be no events, nothing beyond parade ground displays, it takes two sides to put on a battle and the French are usually outnumbered. Secondly being French I can go to practically ALL Napoleonic events, the French are everywhere.. Spain, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Eygpt, they even got to Ireland! 
Also I tend to root for the underdog. Being the ones to win on a given day is especially sweet when the crowd started off booing you and rooting for the redcoats. I also get the impression that life in the French camp is more relaxed and uniforms more of a campaign look, certainly in the 45eme no one minds if your not a chocolate box soldier.

Plus French uniforms; way cooler!

The hobby needs more French, certain British regiments *coughs* are quite oversubscribed so join the conquerors of Europe instead.

Having studied history any notion of 'them and us' is strange to me, as is the patriotic notion of 'my country; right or wrong.' so that combined with the above makes the French a fine choice.
The ideals of the revolution may have been undermined by the Empire but for many (especially a soldier of my age) memories of fraternite, equalitie, liberte! still cling on whilst the British seem intent on protecting their money/trade and helping the Spanish whose society is practically medieval. The lives of many French commanders read like adventure novels, the Marshals rose from all sorts of backgrounds, the sort of fiction that is Sharpe for the British is actual reality for many French officers, there are so many colourful characters.

vive l'empereur! is a fine thing to shout.

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