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Everyone’s talking about Bardcore: The TikTok trend that takes inspiration from medieval times

Good morrow!

Sorry?

How fare ye?

We’re fine. You, however,sound deranged.

Fie upon thee, for ’tis massive on TikTok.

Is there, by any chance, some kind of medieval trend going on?

Correct! It’s called ‘bardcore’.

And to take part you need to talk like a medieval squire?

Partly, but the main thrust is musical.

We consider ourselves amateur medieval scholars and also like traditional music.

Hot Wench Summer videos feature a young woman skipping around in medieval-style dress with the caption 'It's 1452 and you just had your monthly river bath, so you go to the tavern to seduce a lord' Hot Wench Summer videos feature a young woman skipping around in medieval-style dress with the caption 'It's 1452 and you just had your monthly river bath, so you go to the tavern to seduce a lord'

Hot Wench Summer videos feature a young woman skipping around in medieval-style dress with the caption ‘It’s 1452 and you just had your monthly river bath, so you go to the tavern to seduce a lord’

This is more modern music reimagined for the Middle Ages.

Please don’t say you’re listening to Taylor Swift on a harp.

No, I’m not, but I can’t get enough of Bonnie Tyler.

Are we talking about the music?

Yes, and the lyrics have been reimagined too. That’s the best bit. Bonnie’s ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ is one of my favourites.

Any chance you’re not going to sing it?

None.

Go on, then.

Whither have the worthy gone. Oh, where is fair Gawain? Where is gallant Galahad to take the bridle rein?

Very moving.

Thank you. I’m surprised you aren’t into bardcore.

Baffling, isn’t it?

Maybe you know it by its other name, ‘tavernwave’.

Nope.

If you want to hear more there are entire YouTube channels devoted to it.

To medieval history? Yes, we recently watched an interesting lecture on Thomas Aquinas.

The popularity of doublets, corsets, lace-up bodices and even pieces of armour led i-D magazine to declare recently that 'fashion's going medieval' The popularity of doublets, corsets, lace-up bodices and even pieces of armour led i-D magazine to declare recently that 'fashion's going medieval'

The popularity of doublets, corsets, lace-up bodices and even pieces of armour led i-D magazine to declare recently that ‘fashion’s going medieval’

I’m thinking more Hildegard von Blingin’.

Who?

The YouTuber who is best known for her ‘bardcore for the discerning clergyman, noble, or muck-gathering peasant’.

Right. Presumably this is the same person responsible for medieval Bonnie Tyler.

That’s her. She’s a genius. If you’re not digging Bonnie Tyler, try Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ (9.1 million views), Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ (5.5 million) and Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ (4.7 million).

Let’s move on. You said this trend was big on TikTok too.

Indeed, it is – #bardcore videos have 17 million views on the platform.

What sort of things are people doing?

Hot Wench Summer videos feature a young woman skipping around in medieval-style dress with the caption ‘It’s 1452 and you just had your monthly river bath, so you go to the tavern to seduce a lord’.

And how is she planning to do that?

A woman sitting among autumn leaves under a tree, playing a lute as a man listens, in a painting by Edwin Austin Abbey A woman sitting among autumn leaves under a tree, playing a lute as a man listens, in a painting by Edwin Austin Abbey

A woman sitting among autumn leaves under a tree, playing a lute as a man listens, in a painting by Edwin Austin Abbey

A model wearing an original creation from the womenswear winter 2023 2024 collections in New York from the house of Rodarte Womenswear in February A model wearing an original creation from the womenswear winter 2023 2024 collections in New York from the house of Rodarte Womenswear in February

A model wearing an original creation from the womenswear winter 2023 2024 collections in New York from the house of Rodarte Womenswear in February 

TikTok doesn’t reveal – but she is twerking (as far as you can in medieval costume) and it has 400K likes; you’ve got to assume the lord would be verily into it.

Are you now trying to sell this to us as a fashion trend?

The popularity of doublets, corsets, lace-up bodices and even pieces of armour led i-D magazine to declare recently that ‘fashion’s going medieval’.

Not at John Lewis, it isn’t. Type ‘medieval’ into its website and you get Lego.

OK, if fashion doesn’t convince you that this trend has cultural heft then you can’t argue with the healthy sales of mead.

What, during the plague?

I’ll have you know that the country’s leading mead seller…

Also, we imagine, the country’s only mead seller…

There’s more than one, actually. Lyme Bay Winery in Devon sells 116,000 bottles a year and Tom Gosnell runs a mead bar in London’s Bermondsey called Gosnells Meadery Taproom.

You can sell anything to London hipsters.

OK, as you’re more a literary type, did you know there’s a book coming out called Weird Medieval Guys: How to Live, Laugh, Love (and Die) in Dark Times?

That sounds promising. Will it explore key medieval thoughts, such as the cosmological argument for divine existence?

Not so much, but it’s brilliant on how to survive a wolf attack.

Pass the mead.

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