Yf ye wonder, lordinges and ladyes, wher Galfridus Chaucer hath been synce September, the answer is: in a verray purgatorie of busynesse. It pleseth me litel to labour as clerk of the kinges werkes, and yet labor ich muste, for Philippa forever addeth to our hous yn Kent and litel Lowys is beginning to speke of applyinge to Universitee next yeere (the whiche surpriseth me gretely – paraventure it is the ale of Oxford that lureth hym, not the bookes).
My lord Kyng Richard is a man of muchel ymaginacioun and many needes. Ich had thoghte that beinge clerk of the kinges werkes wolde involve sum smal calculaciouns of repaires to palaces and castles, or perchaunce sum litel arrangement of walls to be buylt and an odd tournament heere and there. By Seynt Barbara, not in eny way! Kyng Richard and hys fauorites Robert de Vere, Justice Tresilian, Bishop Neville, Nicholas Brembre and Michael de la Pole (the which clepen themselves the “brat packe”) alwey asken me to arrange sum project of construccion that semeth a thing of fayerye. Fountayns of red and whit wyn in Hull? Chekke. An reenactement of the battel of Hastinges wyth dogges and cattes in armour? Chekke. A monster trukke rallye the which involveth a trukke that transformeth yn to a dinosaur? Chekke. Makinge a giant elephaunt walk the stretes of Londoun? Chekke. A Carolingian Renaissance fayre? Chekke (thogh that was prety esy, for it was miniscule). Mesemeth yf thes counsellors to the kyng do not get their spendinge and extravagaunce under control, sum thyng bad myght happen.
But thys weekend my lord the Kyng and the brat packe haue gone to the Malvern hilles for sum maner of mystique ritual in which thei shal "fynde themselves." And so wyth a litel fre tyme, ich haue returnid hoom to relax and watch sum television. No thyng wolde plese me moore than to sit yn myn slothful-knave chayre wyth a caipirinha and catch up on sum muste-see tv. Or so thoghte I.
Yet allas, allas, the Lex Murphiae holdeth alwey trewe. In that gret and magique land ycleped Holy-Wood, from which cometh many a joieful showe of televisioun, the poetes and scrybes haue putte down their pennes in protest of the avarice of large corporaciouns. Al the gret tales and comedyes and shewes of talk haue y-ground to an halt and are no thyng but reruns.
Ich do thynk that the writers of Holy-Wood are goode folk and trewe and sholde continue their protest, but Philippa hath toold me that thys coud be an greet opportunitee for myn owene writinge (for alwey ich am scribling sum poem or anothir or having some idea). So ich am going ayeinst myn owene conscience to propose sum shewes of televisioun. Peraventure the mightie corporaciouns and compaignynes of produccion wil choose me to be an writere of televisioun ones see my wondirful conceptes heere on thys poost of blog. (It peyneth me soore to be an scabbe and an protest-lyne crosser, but my sone wisheth to goon to Oxford and my wyf desireth a patio. Forgive me, o ye merveillous writers of Holly-Wood: Chaucer nedeth a newe payre of shoes!)
Ich haue purchasid sun-glasses for my meetinges and ich haue practiced swich importante phrases as “Wayt for it...wayt for it...” and eek “This will blowen yower mind...” and eek “Ich wolde absolutely love to heare what revisions the sponsor hath suggestid for my script.” Myn experience at court shal serve me wel.
Heere, withouten further delaye, O Executives of Entertaynment, are myn proposales for shewes.
The Televisioun Lyne Up of Galfridus Chaucer, Clerke of the Kinges Werkes:
Sectes in the Borough: This hot and explicit showe wil handle religious dissent yn a more free and open way than evere bifor. Carrie Baxter is an underground writer of Lollard tractes in Norwich and the oonly thynge she loveth moore than questioning the validitie of the institucional church is her III best freendes: sexie Samantha, who seduceth many a preeste, intellectuale Charlotte, who speketh out ayeinst women being unable to preche, and Miranda Kempe, who receiveth visiouns from God. Thei meet every week to rede of the Bible in Ynglisshe and talke smacke about pilgrymage sites. Carrie is alwey resistinge the temptaciouns to submit to the orthodoxie of the Church, personifyed by Archbishop Thomas Arundel, whom she clepeth “Mr. Big.” (Paraventure for a cabel network, by cause main-streme audiences aren not redi for frank depicciouns of heretical practice?)
The Gower Report: Thogh Johannes Gower ys an horrible wankere, yet hys churlish maners and hys gret pryde and surquidrie aren ful amusinge to watch. Yn this showe, Johannes Gower wolde speke to the audience of hys writinges and hys gret feare of beares. He may weare hys robe of a man of lawe wyth its striped sleeves and shal stand in front of peyntures of hymself.
Flight of the Lombardes: In this syde-splittinge comedic satyre, two yonge Lombard marchauntz, named Brentano and Germano, comen to Londoun to make their fortune wyth trading and finaunce. Thei aren also makeres of songes, ditees, roundels, and ballades, the which thei singe as commentarie to their aventures in love and businesse in a mildly self-deprecatinge maner. Their gretest ballade ys cleped “Tyme of Busynesse,” and gooth sum thing like this:
”Ywis, it is tyme of Busynesse. Aw yeah.
How knowe I this, askest thou?
For yt ys Wednesday,
a day not forbidden for tradinge and bargaininge by the lawe of Holy Churche.
Yea, for al is right, condicciouns are perfect
for thou hast sheeldes thou wishest to selle in exchaunge
for merchaundise thou hast bought in Flaundres.
And ich haue soore nede of thy merchaundise.
Aw yea. And ich am yn my red hose, the which aren cleped
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge.
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge for two.
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge for two
Florins profit. For two florins profit is better
than the profit of one shilling. I schal put it on thy taille.”
Hawk the Bountie Hunter: Thys showe shal deele yn the materes of kinges and gret affayres of state, and thus shal be ycleped a roialtee showe. Ich shal arrange for many cameras of televisioun to followe the gret mercenarie Johannes Hawkwood, who hath risen from lowe birthe to serve as a puissant man at armes in Italye and hath y-weddid the fayre dogther of Bernabo Visconti.
The Privy Seel Offyce: Thys offyce of clerkes and scrybes produceth manye documentz and eek muchel laughter. An hilarious ensemble cast of quirkie folk shewe the dailye japeries and jolitee of roial bureaucracie. The privy seel offyce is run by Michael Scot, who doth gret deedes of magique and yet kan nat conjure good fortune for hymself. Yonge clerk Tristram Canterbury soore loveth the receptioniste Ysolde Beesley, but sche ys to be marryed to an oothir man. Yet Tristrames loue sickenesse preventeth hym not from makinge an ape of the haughtie clerke Gareth de Schrute, who oftymes findeth hys quill and ink put ynto a jello mold. Both Tristram and Ysolde mocke Gareth, callinge hym “Beaumains.” (Ywrit in collaboracioun wyth Mayster Thomas Occleve)
Doctor Hwaet: Thys showe doth chronicle the aventures of a solitarye one who must wander the wayes of water on the rime-cold waves, mindful of miseries, yn a large device ycleped the TOWAERDES (the which ys a grete magique ship disguised as a burial mound) that alloweth hym to travel in tymes to come and also yn the places that ben past and the far landes of fantaysye. Alwey he sercheth out and protecteth a poem ycleped Beowulf the whiche he saveth from a fyre and also turneth yn to several filmes in order that the beautee of Angeline Joly may drawe newe rederes to thys tale. “That ys fanTASTick,” he saith yn the rare tymes whan he ys of good chiere. He fighteth many enemyes, includinge the Cybermonks, the Daneleks, and folk who thinke that “Geats” is pronouncid “geetz.”