Posted tagged ‘civil war re-enactments’

The Battle of Corsock Bridge

August 21, 2012

NBC executives, smarting from a drop in ratings, had held emergency talks about broadcasting a new one-off live reality show. Historical war documentaries had always had segments of actual footage, if available, with some scenes of actors re-playing crucial events. This would be different as the whole show would be re-enacted exactly the way the battle happened. It was decided that a voiceover would only speak a few times during hostilities.

Using the American Civil War re-enactment society as an inspiration living historians from the British city of Glasburgh re-created The Battle of Corsock Bridge. At the top of Corsock Bridge was an unused railway line that had all its track stolen. Underneath the arch shaped bridge was the graffiti-ridden dividing line, the border, between the warring housing schemes- Carntown and Dennistyne.

Many skirmishes had taken place between gangs at Corsock Bridge- verbal baiting, rock throwing, the odd punch. For the most part an uneasy peace had ensued until the fateful day in 1980 that one of the commanders of Dennistyne gave the order to invade. This was the famous battle that keen re-enactment gangland enthusiasts accurately portray. NBC were going to film the scripted fight.

The venue of Corsock Bridge had changed little. It was the same dump it always was. With the battlefield set all the actors needed was to get into uniform of the time. This meant wearing Adidas Kick and three-button T-shirts. The weapons used were sticks, broken bottles and sharp implements, home-made chibs as they were called. A cordon was put up keeping spectators out of the way of the cameras. Ice-cream vendors did a roaring trade as the crowd was sizable; the sweet tooth option was the staple diet of Glasburgh. A mobile memorabilia shop sold scarves and pennants of the protagonists. Preparations were complete. Authentic onlookers that were present that day were in position as were the two armies. NBC started to roll.

“Who you lookin’ at?” an all too familiar call to arms was uttered by a foot soldier of Carntown.

“You” answered the monosyllabic Dennistynian.

Young children, cadets from the academy, aiming to make a name for themselves began to throw rocks at one another. A very young trainee did not have much strength and his rock hit one of his comrades on the front line. The victim, not happy with this friendly fire incident, slapped the errant thrower in the face who ran away saying.

“I’m going to tell my mammy.” Internecine warfare was a regular occurrence.

The Dennistyne gang advanced into enemy territory. They chased the young team away. One of these youngsters who was eating a Marathon bar raced to the headquarters (an old pigeon coop) of the Carntown general to warn him of the raid.

Sitting on a ravaged bench at the edge of Carntown two winos were finishing off another bottle of super strength wine. The two drunks were an inebriated version Of Statler and Waldorf. The Dennistyne ranks approached them. One of the sots said.

“Awright boys, have you any change?”

The Carntown gang made their appearance and an ugly stand-off developed. There were lots of shouting and swearing, bluster and bravado being meted out. At last someone from Dennistyne took the initiative and swung his stick at an opponent. He ducked and the stick wielder twirled round. Nonetheless this lit the toilet paper and both sides engaged in conflict.

There didn’t seem to be any military tactics in the battle. The free for all was freestyle fighting that was not very fierce. If you said Clausewitz to any of the soldiers that day they would have guessed, does he play with Bayern Munich? The battle continued with a series of forays and backtracks until a woman passed by with a pram. She spotted someone in the melee.

“Johnny MacGregor. Is that you?” Both sides backed off and Johnny MacGregor sheepishly stepped aside. “You wait ‘til I get you home.” The mother moved on with Johnny in tow. The re-enactment began again with a war of words.

The watching crowd, off camera, were unhappy with the fare that was being dished up. Some had came miles to see this. A loud chorus of “We want our money back, We want our money back” was screamed from the terraces until someone pointed out that today’s proceedings was free. NBC tried to hush the hullabalooists. The unforeseen interruption broke the concentration of the re-enactors and they had lost the plot. Dennistyne soldiers were beside Carntown soldiers as everyone was out of position. Lines and cues were forgotten in the mix-up.

“Cut, Cut.” shouted the NBC director.

“That’s not right,” said a Dennistynian corporal “nobody got cut that day.”