Combat is imminent at Caerphilly Castle. It’s a bright, chilly morning at the imposing 13th century fortification in South Wales, and we’re about to witness the kind of brutal violence this historic site hasn’t seen for half a millennium.
Huge, hulking men covered head to toe in glistening steel are sizing each other up, slicing immense swords through the air, or reacquainting themselves with the heft of their favorite axe. Visors are dropped with menace. We hear the fighters emerge before we see them, rattling sheets of chain mail echoing through the castle’s Great Hall before a long shadow announces another arrival. The courtyard shivers with anticipation as the arena fills with around 25 brutes.
A flag goes up, swords are raised, and any last prayers uttered before — wait. Someone’s missing. “He went to Morrison’s for food,” a voice ventures. “He doesn’t have time to go to Morrison’s,” another retorts. “Well, we can’t start without him,” a third decides.
And so the latest battle of Caerphilly is delayed while the missing fighter picks up provisions. There are a few more delays: Crowd barriers need readjusting; one warrior has a broken visor; another’s not wearing his helmet. But when war finally commences, it’s sudden and chaotic and instantly the stuff of George R. R. Martin’s most bloodlusty prose.
Steel kisses steel. Actual sparks fly. An axe snaps in half as it dents a helmet. A municipal garbage bin, carelessly left at the fringes of the fight, implodes in a sorry mess of dented plastic as four armored men collapse onto it.
I’m witnessing, from the far side of a flimsy rope, something much more violent than your average historical battle reenactment. These men are engaging in full-contact medieval combat in an open training session for Battle Heritage GB, one of two UK-based national teams that are part of a growing, if fractious, global society. More GBH than LARP, it substitutes foam weaponry for real steel and scripted acting for unpredictable scuffling, and despite the mayhem, operates under tightly controlled rules and regulations.
And then Dave the large predator expert said to Tyson the 5-week-old lion cub, “These are BuzzFeed employees…”
In which BuzzFeed launches a music section.
I wrote a piece about Ben Smith’s troll-filled comments section last year. Politico has since gone to Facebook Comments. Today it was announced Smith will be new Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed, no stranger to crazy Internet people! (via moneyries)
Internet watchers and usenet fans this past week may have encounted Horsemaning, an internet trend many are calling “the new planking.” Some foolishly believed it hit the high-water mark this morning with the Horsemaning of Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today show. But nope! Moments ago, Newsweek & The Daily Beast teamed up with BuzzFeed to bring you Horsemaning 2.0, the future, and it’s fueled by the connective infrastructure of Google+.
History will never be the same.