On Margery Kempe and the Bad Art Friend

So, I am like a week later than this than I wanted to be because I got really sick, but have you read “Who is the Bad Art Friend”? You should read “Bad Art Friend”. This will all make so much more sense if you just go read “Who is the Bad Art Friend”. If you do not want to go read “Who is the Bad Art Friend” I will do my best to recap one of the most bonkers pieces of writing that I have read in sometime for you so that the rest of this article makes sense, I guess. It is easier if you go read it though.

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On semen retention

Mostly because my life is cursed/an unending nightmare, I have been subjected to a lot of takes about semen retention lately. Part of this has to do with the fact that it is a specific alt-right talking point, with certain nazis going so far as to make statements like, “The (((elites))) [Jewish people] fear men who practice semen retention”, which…IDK man I don’t even know where to start with that one. Also, like, whatever the hell this is, which made me take psychic damage earlier this week:

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On bad summers

In London everyone is complaining because we are having one of those summers that just isn’t a summer. This happens, from time to time. Instead of temperatures in the twenties/seventies we get a progression of teens/sixties and a bunch of rain. The grass loves it, and most people complain about it, because somehow they have been fooled into believing that the Island of Britain is reliably a warm place. (Citation extremely needed.)

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On leisure in August

It’s August, and while you might not realise that here in London by looking at the weather, we are headed into the month that many Europeans generally associate with time off. As a rule of thumb, here when one is planning a summer holiday, one does so in August. In some places life shuts down specifically for the holidays, as a result, with offices running skeleton staffs. Usually, a lot of us slope off somewhere else for a while, though in the pandemic that is happening less and less of course. Travel plans notwithstanding, August is often the time when we expect people to relax more and work less.

This phenomenon is not exactly newsworthy. If you have every been anywhere in Europe during August I am sure you would have noticed the high proportion of tourists. What is interesting to me is that the association of rest with August is a relatively new idea. If you asked a medieval or early modern European, instead they would likely tell you that August was one of the busiest times of the year.

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On damsels and influencers

So, the other day I was over on my extremely good Patreon that you would like if you joined, having a chat in a video about my research methodologies and some books I have used lately. I gushed about one book in particular, Kim M. Phillips’s Medieval Maidens: young women and gender in England, 1270-1540, which absolutely rules. The book focuses on the idea of “maidenhood”, which especially for the aristocratic, was a phase of life was strongly correlated with the conception of a nebulous “youth” similar our own teenage.

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I assure you, the Black Death was actually bad

I cannot believe I am about to write this, after a year and change of saying that we really don’t need to keep comparing COVID to the Black Death, which was by all estimates the worst pandemic the world has ever seen, but yesterday I saw a take so hostile in its stupidity that I have been forced to counter it today.

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On putting sex work on the map

I have written before about the Agas Map of London (which you can find a fun zoomable version of here!) and how we can use it to find ordinary people and think about how medieval and early modern people thought about the world around them. Today, however, I have been thinking once again about how these same maps either show or hide sex work from us.

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Sneak Peek: The Middle Ages, a Graphic History (out now!)

Friends, my comic is officially OUT in the UK! (Americans and Aussie/Kiwi friends have to wait until September, I am very sorry.) To celebrate, or tide you over in case you are still waiting I thought I would give you my loves a peek inside, and give you a better idea of what happens when you put 1100 years of history into 176 pages, with pictures.

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A Very Short Introduction to the Black Death

The Department of Transportation invited me to come give a talk on the Black Death, and have kindly shared it on YouTube. One note for myself! In the talk I incorrectly state that peasants’ wages in England went from 15 Denarii to 17 Denarii. That is way too much! It is actually 5(.12) Denarii to 7(.22) Denarii. This simply reflects my desire to give all peasants a raise. I hope you enjoy!

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