Spotlight:Taylor Campbell ‘11, President of MEaD
By Jean Luo
Published on Friday, February 22, 2008
Taylor Campbell '11, President of MEaD
What is Medieval Enthusiasts at Dartmouth?
MEaD is a group of people who are interested in medieval recreation and ideas and food and culture and games. Our College group is known as The Inn at Knottyng Cross. The world is divided into several kingdoms; most of the East Coast and Canada are the East Kingdom, and New Hampshire is specifically known as the barony of Stonemarche.
What sort of games?
Sports, fencing and various forms of combat recreation. People in the SCA -- that's the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international society started in Berkeley that now spans the world -- do archery and heavy list fighting, which is combat with much heavier weapons like swords, spears and armor, things like that.
How many people are in the club?
There's a lot of people who have been involved, but there are about five or six people who regularly attend meetings and about 80 or 90 people on the mailing list.
What is your role in MEaD?
I'm a member. I'm also incidentally the president, but that's primarily a technicality that doesn't confer some status.
How did you cultivate this enthusiasm for medieval culture?
Oh, I think there are a lot of neat arts and crafts and food that you don't really see much anymore. I was personally made aware of MEaD by my brother, who was a former member and an '04.
Tell us about your next event.
It's called the Inn at Knotty Crossing. It's a giant feast; last term was Middle Eastern food, this year is French food. Frenya -- that's her SCA name, her real name is Christine -- makes a huge spread.
What do you mean by "her SCA name?"
Well, members of the SCA choose a medieval name and persona based on a time period and place. Christine-Frenya, for example, is a Viking. Brian, whose SCA name is Joris, is from the Languedoc region in the south of France. He's a Cathar heretic from the 13th century. Kevan's SCA name is Altani and her persona is Mongolian. So people usually dress, create crafts and fence in the style of their persona.
So do MEaD members address each other by SCA names?
It varies depending on context. I don't actually have one yet.
Where do you get your medieval clothes?
We make a lot of them from raw fabric -- a big strip of cotton or linen. Sometimes we purchase from other people in the other SCA groups at events like BIRKA and PENNSIC, which are medieval markets full of medieval wares -- anything from clothing to archery equipment to utensils to books to herbs. BIRKA is held yearly in Manchester; I just went a couple weeks ago with some people from MEaD. PENNSIC is a gigantic event in August where tens, even hundreds of thousands people from many different kingdoms go to Pennsylvania to participate in battles staged with weapons like these [lifts meter-long sword] and castle sieges or gigantic melees in the woods. Also a lot of drinking and many people who sell more medieval wares.
Why is your hair so long? Does it have to do with being a medieval enthusiast?
I just like long hair.
Is there a such thing as too long?
My hair doesn't get any longer than this because the longer hair will fall out since it's curly at the end and gets tangled.