On women having sex with themselves

This week I have extremely been back on my bullshit talking about and thinking about medieval dildos, as ones does. Real fans of the blog, of course will remember that I have written about dildos before, but this week over on the We’re Not So Different Podcast Luke and I were having a bit of a chat about them as well. One of the things I mentioned there was the fact that dildos have a specific place in the medieval mind because of the way that medical and religious writers thought about sex. Then I opened twitter this morning, because I am a masochist, and saw an honest to god neo-Nazi talking about dildos in the exact same way. Behold:

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On the commemoration of royal death

So, Prince Philip died. You probably heard about that. If you live in the UK, like I do, it is completely impossible not to hear about it because they declared eight days of mourning and have largely suspended reporting on any other news. What has struck me thus far about this entire experience, other than the fact that it was incredibly over the top and just strange, is the interest that a select group of royal people have in involving an entire country in their own mourning process. It was a sort of mourning done at us in the UK, despite our generalised disinterest in the activity.

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So I made a TV series

I am very happy to announce that I have a new series on life in medieval England out on the History Hit online channel. It is four episodes focusing on peasants, guilds, clergy, and the nobility, respectively. If you would like to watch more than the trailer here you can find it at https://access.historyhit.com/checkout. If you subscribe you get a 30 day free trial (£5.99 a month thereafter). I also have another episode on there about medieval London.

I hope you enjoy!

On canonical hours, comfort, and daylight savings

I want you to know that I hate Daylight Savings. I began writing this blog on Monday, when I was cruelly forced from bed an early hour for nebulous reasons, none of which I find particularly compelling. How, pray tell, am I meant to entertain and delight you, my very beloved readers when I have had a precious hour of my life stolen from me? Truly, no one in history has suffered as I now currently suffer by virtue of being slightly sleepy. Now we can all agree that time is a construct and obviously that a delicate flower such as myself should not be held in such constraints, but I suppose it is also an opportunity to think of the reasons that we keep time.

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On pickup lines

This week, I was very pleasantly alerted to the world of AI generated pickup lines via the medium of Janelle Shane’s substack. There were any number of beautiful, bonkers, lines from, “Hey, my name is John Smith. Will you sit on my breadbox while I cook or is there some kind of speed limit on that thing?” to “I’m losing my voice from all the screaming your hotness is causing me to do.” I was, however, struck by the very good pickup line by one AI called Babbage which was heard to remark, “You’re looking good today. Want snacks?” and I am still in awe.

Anyway, I was posting away about my now blossoming relationship with Babbage over on twitter when Kara wrote to ask me to write something about pickup lines in the medieval period, and I will be damned if that is not a great idea. Don’t we all deserve a little light diversion on a Friday in the midst of all of the pandemic, ships stuck in the Suez canal, and police brutality? So, here is one for Kara.

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Podcast alert: The myth of the “Dark Ages” on History Hack

I sat down with the lovely ladies of History Hack once again to discuss the myth of the “Dark Ages”, what was actually going on in the early medieval period, and how when I see Voltaire in Hell it is on sight. Enjoy!

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There are no white knights

Here in London we are currently a bit of turmoil. The other day a woman named Sarah Everard was walking home across Clapham Common and she didn’t make it. A metropolitan police officer has been arrested for her kidnap and murder and we are all pretty mad about it, understandably. A vigil in her honour the other day was violently broken up by the police, and we subsequently have been protesting, having the cops come in and do some inappropriately violent policing, rinse, repeat.

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On the myth of short life expectancy, and COVID complacency

When you are in my line of work, well firstly, you don’t have any. (Zing! LOL, help, join my Patreon.) Secondly you spend a bunch of time fighting against the myths about a thousand years of history or so that we have created to feel better about ourselves. One of the really rampant myths that I deal with on a regular basis is about life expectancy in the medieval period. What gets trotted out, over and over, is the idea that “the average life expectancy in the medieval period was 35, so when you were 32 you were considered an old”. Friends, this is extremely not true, and this myth is also damaging to us now. Allow me to elaborate.

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On history versus chronicles

I wrote a piece, years back at the beginning of the Trump administration about the difference between journalism -wherein facts are both reported and various narratives scrutinised to a larger public- and chronicles, a sort of narrative timeline wherein various theoretically important events occur. This week I have been thinking about this again, as well as the general public’s relationship to how we transmit information, given a fairly chilling announcement from the UK government.  

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