Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Do trousers matter? - slight return

                    "The four stages of acceptance:

                         1. This is worthless nonsense.
                         2. This an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
                         3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
                         4. I always said so."

                                      - J.B.S. Haldane

Yesterday's post went off - perhaps appropriately given its subject - a bit half-cock. I had meant to also note that I had bought a copy of the January edition of Miniature Wargames. You may recall that I eschewed purchasing the December issue because it had a picture of an elf on the cover. They still dedicate far too many pages to hobbitses for my liking, but issue 429 also contains a report on Fiasco, which is illustrated with three nice photos of the Ravenna game that we (i.e. James) put on. The reason that I was going to mention it becomes apparent if you study the main picture (on page 14 should you have a copy to hand). The principal figure shown, seated in the white shirt, is Bob, my fellow commander and let's face it pretty much the sole reason for our dismal failure in the refight; if you look carefully you can see him using his left hand to surreptitiously drop a D8 into his bag. But if you scan across to the left hand side of the page you can just make out above the marsh which runs to the table edge the very abductor muscle that has been causing all the problems at the Casa Epictetus. Or at least you could if I hadn't been wearing trousers at the time. Now, you might think that the concept of not having one's strides on at a wargames show is a bit, how can we put this?, odd. But I have actually written a blog post putting forward the suggestion before - here, albeit that it did not catch on either at the time or in the five years since. Perhaps revisiting the proposal is overdue; allow me, if you will, to do so now and to further develop my thinking.

"Do you wear trousers, Fozzie?"
"Why would I? I'd still have bear legs."

There are many different approaches as to what constitutes a sport and what doesn't. Various authorities would automatically eliminate anything that involves music; or petrol; or animals; or subjective evaluation of artistic impression, technical difficulty or some other nebulous term; and so on. I myself have always favoured the view that a sport is anything for which one is required to change one's shoes. Were a similar logic to be applied to hobbies we would find that they naturally fall into two categories: those which are carried out in trousers; and those where participants go without. The latter, and I am thinking primarily of course of the Finnish pastime of kalsarikännit, seem to be rather hip and happening at the moment. If wargaming wishes to hitch itself to this bandwagon then it is clear that a bare legs policy is imperative. This insight is my Christmas gift to the hobby and, once again, you are all welcome. But we need to be quick, other hobbies are beating us to it:

In the meantime I shall be off pursuing one of my other great interests, reading poetry. But first I need to get ready:

                                           "Shall I part my hair behind?
                                             Do I dare to eat a peach?"


  1. Perhaps wear trousers of the white flannel variety and walk along the beach?

    I like your definition of a sport. To lift and drop a question on your plate, if a participant changed shoes *during* a sporty activity and then resumed play, would the post-resumption session be considered an entirely new sport, or is the shoe changing to be treated as an interruption to the old one?

    At any rate, I hope things are improving on the physical front so that you can be back changing shoes and trousers before too long.

    1. A good question. On the one hand...but then on the other hand. Time yet for a hundred indecisions.

      I shall have some tea and toast, ponder on it and deliver my judgement in due course.