The price of performance – Tallis Steelyard


Occasionally one gets called upon to perform at one of the great formal affairs. Such a call comes perhaps once or twice a year and I always feel that it is worth making an effort and attending. Admittedly one never gets paid and rarely gets tipped, but one meets people and it’s rare I do not get a couple of new patrons. Still it comes at a cost.

The biggest issue is the ‘outfit.’ I do not own a formal coat, britches and wig. Such garments are a century or more out of style and men are only forced into them on these very rare occasions. Indeed they are obligatory only for the top-table and those asked to perform, although many who possess such garb will turn up wearing it if only to flaunt their affluence.

I will instead turn to Saval who hires out suitable garments. Initially his prices seem reasonable but closer inspection can be revealing. A vintenar to hire the costume for an evening may not seem expensive, but you dress in his shop and what is more have to have it back to the shop before midnight the same night. I recommend that you hire the day before the event and return the outfit the day after, which means you’re committed to three vintenars already.

Not only that, but your work doesn’t end with the hire. When I get an outfit home the first thing I do is turn everything inside out and work the seams slowly and methodically with a lighted candle. I’ll then put everything in a pan of very hot water and stir in some shavings from a block of hard soap. Whilst doing this, you can bake the wig in the oven as well.


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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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