What is a Pure Speculation Festival?

Its the weekend where I am to keep myself busy and entertained as the wife is off to another city to train people.

I came across a posting in the local Meetup Edmonton board about a event called Pure Speculation Featival

My imagination ran wild with what could be “speculated” ? I sought out details on their website: http://www.purespec.org

Not exactly the most detailed website but it did stick to the “what could be speculated”?

That’s when I decided to give it a go. Upon arrival, a nice lady in a very large multi-coloured hat, glasses and a bright pink top welcomed me to the festival.

Hello. How are you today? Are you a guest or speaker?”

“Hi. I am a guest.”

“Ok. Here is your name tag. It can be whatever you would like it to be or your actual name. Here’s a brochure. And if you like you can have a poster.”

“Thank you,” I said retrieving the brochure to see what a Pure Speculation Festival is?

After perusing the brochure, my eyes locked onto the first demonstration… Parasol Dueling (back garden, 10-11:30am)

  • Gentlefolk! Join the Ladies of Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Dueling League to learn about the history and rules of this ancient and honourable Lady’s sport. An elegant sport from an elegant time!

Without asking how to get to the back garden I went back outside and walked to where I would expect the entrance to be? Nope. Just a tall chain linked fence with a locked gate.

I could see and hear them but it just wasn’t spectacular yet.

Back into the front door to ask how to get to the garden.

Excuse me, how would I get to the garden?”

“Oh. You go through that door and it takes you to a hallway. Turn left and you’ll find a door which will lead you outside.”

Before entering the door, a sign in BIG BOLD RED LETTERS said…

  • Please be queit when entering this area, panels are in session!!!

Upon entering, I could hear the people laughing and chatting away in the lounge area to my right. Over to the hallway I strolled, confident in my prescence in the room. At the hall turned left walking as quietly as possible down it past a ladies washroom then a mens’ until I noticed another room with people in it on my right. I picked up the pace a littke bit and ran into a door at the end of the hall.

Reaching out my hand gripped the door handle, depressing it and yanking on it only to realize its locked!

Darn it.

Must be another hallway. Back down I went past the participants in their rooms. Turning left, I spotted a door with a window to the outside. Perfect.

To the door I went, expecting to escape into the back garden and instead it lead me out of the building! Giggling I looked around. Thinking to myself, I’ve found a rabbit’s hole that wont lead me to the backyard.

Back around the building to the front door to speak with the greeter in the multi-coloured hat I went. Upon entering and before I could speak about my lost ways, she says, “My apologies. The entrance to tue garden is at the back of the big show room here,” as she pointed to her right.

“No worries. Its all part of the adventure to get to the duel,” I quipped with a bit of a chuckle.

Through the hall I went, into the back hallway and out into the garden to watch the parasol duels. Stepping out the door their were two ladies, dtessed in Victorian period clothing standing back to back.

The man in the tall black top hat with silver goggles began with “Ladies are you ready?” in unison the replied, “Yes”. As he counted out the women moved in opposite directions, “One, Two,” and they spun around on their heels each of them manuvering their parasol into a different position, “Three” and the ladies changed poses, “Four” again a pose change, “Five” they moved into another pose and froze.

The man says “Plant beats stub” and the crowd applauds the decision. Then a woman in the crowd asked, “how do you tell who the winner is?”

This is when the man in black top hat said, “Thank you miss for asking. You see I am the Doctor. And as the Doctor, it is my job to be the judge unless it is a street duel than I am more likely not to be present.”

“For a duel to take place one woman has offended another and they must duel with their parasols. There are three poses.”

  • Plant
  • Twirl
  • Stub

He continued, Plant is when a lady stands in a sturdy pose with her parasol pointed at the ground. Twirl is when the lady pulls the parasol, over her shoulder and spins it in one full circle for it to count and finally Stub is where she points the parasol at the other person and opens it fully as to protect herself from the other woman.”

“These three gestures or poses, are like if you were to play the modern day game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. And a duel is played three times. Best out of three wins.”

  • Plant beats Stub
  • Stub beats Twirl
  • Twirl beats Plant

Article by James Curtis

Photographs and Video by JacksonCrabb Photography (c) 2018