Trendy birthday gifts for late medieval English kings
So, I admit that I almost missed this birthday, so I’m doing that thing that the overworked middle class does when they don’t think of a birthday on time: rush out and buy an expensive gift and then bask in the recipient’s (sometimes feigned) appreciation of one’s thoughtlessness.
Salving my conscience with money, that’s how we absent-minded profs do it!
Yes, I’m getting Richard III an iPhone 5. This is really nice of me, because I don’t even have one. I still have a Nokia clamshell with no data, no photos, no nothing. A dumb phone, so to speak. So I really am sacrificing to make a truly regal gift!
And, yes, this post would be better with appropriate graphics, but that would verge onto the terrain of me having remembered the birthday in advance.
In other words: I’m grading today, Your Majesty!
I think Richard III is going to love this phone. In particular, he’ll be able to keep up with Richard Armitage very easily. They’ll be able to talk about when Mr. Armitage is going to be able to fulfill the terms of the charter and keep each other up-to-date about what’s going on with regard to Richard III’s mortal remains.
Now, with the iPhone, everyone knows, yeah, yeah, phone calls, but the real pleasure of the device lies in connectivity and getting the most useful apps. So I am equipping the device with the most generous data plan available and loading Richard Plantagenet’s iPhone 5 with the following ones that I think will be really useful.
iTunes: This app will make it easy for King Richard to keep up on the fifteenth-century English, French, and Burgundian Top Forty. He’ll thrill to the latest musical stylings, both secular and spiritual, of composers like John Dunstable, Josquin Desprez, and Robert Morton. And be able to crank his favorite versions of those fifteenth-century hits he just can’t forget, like “L’homme armé” (“The Man at Arms”), “Mille regretz” (“A Thousand Regrets”) and “Le souvenir de vous me tue” (“Your memory slays me”). I just learned that iTunes has a special extension app for fifteenth-century listeners that allows them to hear all the music that the Tudors destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries.
Infinity Blade, War of the Roses edition: This realistic medieval combat game will allow King Richard to practice hand-to-hand combat with Sir Wyllyam Gardynyr. Pointless, you say, since he’s already dead? Ah, but when the Apple Time Travel app finally goes live, Richard III will be ready to travel back in time. If he practices enough, he may be able to right the wrongs enacted upon him at Bosworth Field.
Instagram: I suppose King Richard can use this tool to take pictures of defensive fortifications, but really, I think it will be particularly useful for those times when King Richard and Anne Neville have to be separated. If they can’t be together, Richard and Anne can sustain their intimate relations and romantic interest in each other with sexting. I think that the ability to send erotic pictures is going to really spice up their marriage.
Dropbox: King Richard can use this to download bootleg versions of Mr. Armitage’s latest work and thus keep up to date on the career of his favorite actor. Let me know if you’d like his email so you can share with him.
Ancestry: This app allows you to identify and keep track of all of your relatives. Particularly useful is a reminder function that tells you where your nephews are at all times, so that you don’t get blamed for their murders when they get forgotten in the Tower of London.
I know there are some notable omissions here, but the phone and the data plan were expensive all by themselves, and so I thought maybe all y’all could chip in, if you liked this idea. When you buy him apps, though, please keep the following things in mind. I decided that encouraging him to play Words with Friends could only exacerbate political tensions around him. King Richard would probably want to play with his fellow nobles, but in an age of non-standardized English spelling and too many ambitious nobles with weapons and armies at the ready, the resulting disputes over spelling could make the Wars of the Roses look like child’s play. Finally, although I know this decision will be controversial, I decided against Angry Birds, since pigs take a real beating in that app, and because Richard III’s heraldic device includes the wild boar, I thought he might think it was an evil propaganda tool of his Lancastrian opponents.
Have I forgotten any really good apps? I wondered if Richard III would like to use pinterest to assemble creative ideas for improving his battle strategies, but I didn’t know if there was an app.
If you like this idea, you might want to consider getting one for your own favorite late medieval English king.
(Or your favorite slightly neurotic grading history professor. Who is going to stop procrastinating immediately!)
Speaking of ambitions: support those of Richard Armitage to act, direct, or produce a Richard III project here!