11 Replies to “Viking Kittehs”

  1. Hey! And as luck would have it, I’m re-reading The Long Ships right now. Here’s one of my favorite passages from the book, because work is slow and I’m bored. The scene is a group of several hundred warriors gathered in a banquet hall during the third day of King Harald’s Christmas feast …

    The next day, since they had finished the Yule pork, cabbage soup and mutton appeared on the tables, which they all agreed to be an excellent change. In the evening a man from Halland told them about a great wedding that he had been present at in Finnveden, among the wild people of Smaland. During the celebrations a dispute had broken out concerning a horse deal, and knives had quickly appeared; whereupon the bride and her attendant maidens had laughed delightedly and applauded and had encouraged the disputants to settle the matter there and then. However, when the bride, who belonged to a well-known local family, saw her uncle’s eye gouged out by one of the bridegroom’s kinsmen, she had seized a torch from the wall and hit her bridegroom over the head with it, so that his hair caught fire. One of the bridesmaids, with great presence of mind, had forced her petticoat over his head and twisted it tight, thereby saving his life, though he screamed fearfully and his head, when it appeared again, was burned black and raw. Meanwhile the fire had caught the straw on the floor, and eleven drunken or wounded men lying in it had been burned to death; so that this wedding was generally agreed to have been one of the best they had had for years in Finnveden, and one that would be long remembered. The bride and bridegroom were now living together in blissful happiness, though he had not been able to grow new hair to replace that which he had lost in the fire.

      1. I’ve always wondered if Plant got his opening wail from the horn and trumpet motif that occurs here from 0:03 to 0:10. There’s a slight difference, as Robert goes a half step up to dominant at the end. But it’s almost the same. The Flint movies were pretty big, so he certainly heard it.

        I’m sure I’ve heard his exact motif played by horns at the beginning of some other big-band piece, but I can’t place it. Then again, my brain tends to musically gaslight me, combining bits of various tunes into something that probably never existed but I’ve convinced myself did. I can drive myself crazy in this regard.

        If you aren’t familiar with the Flint movies (Our Man Flint and In Like Flint), and are into 60’s spy kitsch, they could be your fix. Flint’s presidential hotline is alone worth the price of admission.

        1. Ooh, good catch!

          I think I’ve seen both of those. How do you think they stack up to Dean Martin’s Matt Helm movies?

          1. If I recall correctly, the Flint movies were stronger in futuristic kitsch and in cleavage. What else matters? But then, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen any of them.

          2. Oooh–I remember buying weed from some guy, maaany years ago, in Austin, TX, and he took us out to the garage to show us something… it was a car under a tarp. He lifted the tarp and it was the Matt Helm car! Maybe not THE Matt Helm car, probably one of a bunch. The back seat was like a booth in a fancy lounge.

  2. I need to look those up. Our band played that song once, and our bass player sang it. It sounded ok in a little room w a lot of echo, but once we played it on a stage outside, it was awful. I didn’t even finish the song. I went and got a beer. I was impressed he knew the lyrics off the top of his head, though.

  3. Our Man Flint was actually my first “grown-up” movie, seen on the sly. When we moved back to the US ( I was 9), we crossed the Atlantic on the SS United States. The ship had a theater that showed movies all day and most of the night, familiy fare in the daytime and more risque movies after hours. My brother and I had a separate cabin. After our parents said goodnight and turned in, we’d sneak down to the theater and watch whatever was showing. And thus I saw my first boob-fest, although it was tame by young Bastard standards.

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