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Druid King Arthur Pendragon and The Knighting Ceremony filmed by Sky TV

Updated on February 9, 2016


Tinkinswood Burial Chamber showing the gap in the stones Pixi and I emerged from
Tinkinswood Burial Chamber showing the gap in the stones Pixi and I emerged from

Sky TV Documentary

I had written back to King Arthur to tell him what my friend Pixi and I had decided about his proposal of knighting us both. A date had been set for his arrival with the Sky TV crew.

We’d been spreading the word around town to try to ensure a good turn-out for the day and even advertised the event in Gair Rhydd, the Students Union paper of Cardiff University, just in case.

We thought the students might be interested but maybe this was just wishful thinking? The plan was that I was going to meet Pixi on the big day at the Four Bars pub at which he used to run an "Off-the-cuff" jam session and from there we would make our way to the chosen site.

Off The Cuff

Poster for Off The Cuff
Poster for Off The Cuff | Source

Party till you puke

At last it was the date we had been eagerly awaiting and there was a knock at my door around noon. It was King Arthur, himself, and the Sky TV crew were waiting out in the car, parked in my road. After greeting them all we went into town to collect Pixi.

We didn’t want to lose any time because it was early in the year and the daylight hours weren’t yet long enough to wait around till later. If there was going to be too much delay then we wouldn’t have had enough light for filming.

Now as it turned out, Arthur hadn’t slept for several days, so hectic had been his schedule and this will have bearing on the story a bit later on as you’ll soon discover.

We entered the pub and found Pixi and a bunch of other people who wanted to be in on the act. One of these was a young bloke called Bill. Now Bill knew nothing about any of us or this proposed ceremony but happened to be in town to try and get concert tickets for Nirvana, a band that he was a big fan of. On this he had failed as it had been cancelled, so he was consoling himself with a few pints in the nearest boozer.

Obviously, there wasn’t enough room for us all to go with the TV crew, so they gave Arthur money to pay for a taxi to take the rest. There was Nick, aka "The Man in a Beret," and there was Pixi’s girlfriend, Sioned, looking colourful with a feather in her hat.

Everyone finished their drinks and off we set, confident that other people would be making their way there independently.

When we arrived the Sky crew wanted to first of all film Arthur walking across the fields carrying his Holy Lance but before this he felt like a drop of cider, or "Druid fluid," as he calls it, and so he opened a flagon we had with us.

We also had some home-made wine with us that Pixi had brought with him and this will come into the story later on. We all made our way over the field to the site and all went according to plan so far.

We thought it would be effective if Pixi and I emerged from the chamber through a gap in the front to be met by Arthur outside on the grass. It would be symbolic of being reborn and of starting a new life as a knight of the Loyal Arthurian Warband, so this is what we went for.

Kingfisher - a song by Bard of Ely

There weren’t any more people there yet but we decided to carry on. I had my guitar with me and played my song Kingfisher as well another of mine called Real Love and Communication .

“Kingfisher’s green, kingfisher’s blue,

He’s so lovely but I love you;

I’ll be your kingfisher.”

This is a very popular song of mine even though some people don’t understand it. Of course, this just goes to show that understanding has very little to do with enjoying a piece of music; it’s more to do with feeling. Mind you, I always think the explanation is simple: I was fishing for a king and I found one, (or at least that’s what I tell them!)

The television crew were filming as we went along and seemed very satisfied with the results. Then we got on with the actual ceremony. The burial chamber has an enormous capstone, supposedly the largest in Europe, and this is supported by stonework all around.

Kingfisher acoustic by Bard of Ely

The sword Excalibur

We both took turns to come forward and kneel before the King as he knighted us with his sword Excalibur and we swore to uphold the ancient virtues of Truth, Honour and Justice.

It was a magical moment and one not easily forgotten. It’s not every day that you find yourself being knighted by a legendary Celtic hero. It’s not every day that this happens with a television crew capturing the moment for posterity.

In the meantime, while we were being knighted and filmed, some other friends had arrived. Nick Costard, a photographer accompanied by Karen Lewis, his flat-mate, and Amanda Cummings with her twin little girls.

Nick started to take pictures while we finished off the flagon of cider and opened another bottle. It must have been mid-afternoon by now and already the light was starting to grow less. The television crew were eager to get started back and we had a few words and bade goodbye.

It was then, after they’d gone, that King Arthur said “give me some of that Pixi piss," and taking a hearty slug from the bottle he announced: “and now you can all party till you puke!”

This was the signal for people to be celebrating the event and Pixi and I went gathering wood for a campfire. We carried on with more songs and more to drink.

Arthur had some more of the home-made wine and was getting noticeably drunk. In fact he was starting to slur and sway and finally ended up crashed out completely in the muddy grass in front of the ancient stones.

Now, some of us were well aware that he hadn’t slept for days and the brew he was drinking was very potent stuff, so we were not that surprised by his behaviour. After all he had kept it all together while the TV crew were there and now they’d gone it didn’t matter.

For me it was a sign of a true Celtic chieftain to be leg-less and crashed out in the mud, oblivious to it all.

It was around this time that a woman called Angie and her friend Ray arrived and saw Arthur lying on the ground snoring with mud all over his robes. “This isn’t the real King Arthur,” Angie said. “The real King Arthur would never be like this,” she added, but I disagreed; for me this was just the way I would expect him to act.

Fierce Dancing by C.J. Stone

As a matter of interest, a version of this part of the story appeared in CJ Stone’s book, Fierce Dancing-Adventures in the Underground. The author, however, got the incident mixed up with another time in Cardiff where Arthur had ended up drunken and asleep on the grass and was disclaimed by someone who saw him like this.

CJ says in his version that Arthur had puke in his beard but Arthur, whilst admitting that he was completely blotto says he never gets sick so that can’t be right.

I was under the influence of "Druid fluid" and "Pixi Piss", at the time, myself, so my memory of exact details is somewhat sketchy in parts but I don’t really think it matters. For me this only serves to make Arthur more of an ordinary bloke, someone you can easily identify with, not some mystical airy-fairy, holier-than-thou pretender to the crown. And as Arthur himself is often keen to say: “It all goes into the making of the legend.”

Eventually it was getting dark so we were all grateful for the warmth of the fire, which every now and again Pixi would replenish with more sticks and fallen branches. He is something of an expert at finding suitable stuff to burn even when hindered by the darkness, being a veteran of "wood-runs" as a traveller and in his time spent with King Arthur in the past.

A somewhat disgruntled Angie and her friend had left long ago and so had Nick the photographer, Karen, Amanda and the twins. Bill, the Nirvana fan had had to find his way back to Barry and I had pointed him in the right direction. I’m sure the whole day must have been a bit of a surprise for him to say the least. We finished off what drink we had left and Pixi valiantly kept us entertained with campfire songs as the night grew darker and colder.

At last, Arthur woke up and had sobered up enough to make it back across the fields to the road, aided again by the faithful and ever-resourceful Pixi. We all found ourselves on the deserted country lane from St Nicholas to Dyffryn Gardens and sat ourselves down on the low wall of a garden of a group of houses on the outskirts of the village. None of us felt like a long walk back to my place, cold and hungry as we were and carrying musical instruments and baggage and we were trying to work out a solution.

We must have looked a real motley crew though: a be-robed and fully-bearded Celtic king, two minstrels with guitars and mandolins, a bearded bloke wearing a beret and carrying bongo drums and a hippy chick with beads and a hat with a feather. Not the usual sort of people you’d expect to find sitting on the wall at the end of your garden in a secluded country village at all!

Well, Pixi decided that it would be a good idea to try and get a taxi so went and banged on a door of one of the houses to ask if they could please phone for a taxi for us and offering the money for the call. He came back and told us that the lady of the house was seeing to it and a taxi would soon be here.

The time dragged on though and we all got colder and colder when we all saw a bloke walking his dog and he stopped and chatted to us. It didn’t look as if the taxi was coming and we explained our predicament. The bloke very kindly said he would order us one as soon as he got back to his house around the block and this he did.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, a taxi arrived but there was yet another problem because the driver said there wasn’t enough room for all of us and so one of us would have to get back by some other means.

Pixi said he didn’t mind trying to hitch it and Arthur gave him the Holy Lance to aid his quest. “Take my Holy Lance. Its’ magic will speed your journey.” King Arthur told him.

We got in the taxi and within minutes were safely back in the comfort of my house. Only a few minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was Pixi. Apparently he’d walked up to the main road, held up the staff for the first car that was going by and it had stopped.

The driver had taken him to the bottom of the hill just down the road from my place. The magic had obviously worked very well indeed!

© 2010 Steve Andrews


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