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Blurb for 'Festival of the Oppressed'

Love at first sight? Sometimes it happens.

The problem isn’t that first sight, it’s the days and months afterwards as you work out who this wonderful person really is.

Are they truly as good as you first thought? Do they have some dark secret hidden away? Can you live with it if you find out?

For Guillem d’Avignon it was love at first sight. The planets aligned and everything fell into place.

For Jehanne la Flèche it was more like lust at first sight. Her horoscope tells her it’s real but she refuses to believe. Once bitten, twice shy.

Yet they make sweet music together.

When the festival in Champagne ends they face a decision: stay together or go their separate ways. Either choice leaves them facing an uncertain future. Both know they are more likely to attract patronage if they stay together. Both have beaten their own path for so long it is difficult to forge a partnership. Will sweet music be enough to bind them and keep them together?

They head to Flanders but Flanders is a county in turmoil. The cloth industry is in trouble.

England is threatening to ban the export of wool—the lifeblood of the cloth industry—to Flanders. Merchants—anxious to keep profits buoyant—are trying to drive down workers’ pay and conditions.

Two itinerant musicians—Jehanne la Flèche and Guillem d’Avignon— travel to Flanders in hopes of gaining work and, if lucky, patronage.

Slowly, inexorably, they are drawn into the county’s problems, both internal and external.

Beset by misogyny, harassed by prejudice, nearly torn apart by jealousy, they struggle to keep afloat.

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