Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A festive display for London Lite

In the words of Cosmo Brown, "Dignity, always dignity".

London Lite asked us to prostitute our art, and dance with tinsel and funny hats for a promotional calendar. We said yes, for a small donation, so we spent some time with photographer Richard Ansett on Monday night. He clearly has the gift of getting the best out of his subjects - here you see him capturing the umpteenth take of a festive leap.

We like his other work, and hope to see more of him.

We also hope to see the final calendar.

Dancing with the Esps

We had a nice Saturday afternoon, on 29 September, dancing with New Esperance and some other sides. They were in London for the Morris Federation AGM - and taking a tour round some of the best pubs near London Bridge - so we joined them and, with the loan of a musician, took part.

Thanks for having us!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Our own section in Waterstones?

Waterstones in Piccadilly has a section labelled London Pride!

Strange though, I don't recognise any of the chaps on the magazines in the picture...

Transformer Morris!

Practices start on Monday and this is the new uniform.

Here's Ezra wearing the headgear. Everyone else will be keeping to the usual costume.

We were given a Transformer helmet by a man in the audience at the Canal Festival.

It also suits Noah.

Help! It's stuck!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Angel Canal Festival

This was yet another enjoyable Canal Festival. We don't have any photos of us dancing yet, just climbing a wall we found before our last show. but we certainly got involved in plenty of other activities.

Before that, we paddled a large canoe - and chaollenged the Islington Boat Club to a canoe race next year (and maybe a dance-off!).

If we follow up on this, the canoe team will need to take spare clothes next year.

We had plenty of audience for all three shows, and plenty of dancers too. Roland joined us for all three shows, and extended his repertoire to Bampton Glory Shears as well as the sidestep - well done!

During out last show the audience included two lads on bikes, who earlier had to be persuaded to give back Peter K's hat, when it fell off from the top of the climbing wall. They seemed strangely impressed by the dancing.

But some young men were even more enthusiastic, joining in Bonny Green. One of them gave his transformer robot mask to the Kanssens. Expect some robotic Morris in future

Oh, and there was an angel, on a Segway scooter. There's a video here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Morris versus Hip-Hop

We nearly got involved in this video.

Moulton Morris take on Hip Hop dancers in a "viral" advert for Ribena.

They didn't need us in the end, but I'm putting the link here, as it might amuse you...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Photos from Cecil Sharp House's May Fete

We've been sent some photos from our show at Cecil Sharp House back in May.

For several of us, it was the first time dancing at Cecil Sharp House. We felt pleased and honoured, and enjoyed the nice shiny dance floor you can see in these photos.

Present were the two Peters, Antony, Nick, Michael Runge, Noah and Jeremy.

Jeremy was there in any case, playing for a children's display of Maypole and Garland dancing.

Thanks to Liz Hall for sending the photos!

Monday, July 23, 2007

TMO Fun Day, Holland Park 21 July

This picture pretty much sums up the TMO Fun Day, I'm afraid.

Some people there were having fun. There were moments when we were having fun, too.

With four men plus musician, we managed to put on a show in the drizzle, and then another one in the feeble emerging sunshine.

It had its dispiriting aspects, but the barbecue was tasty. And some children were quite enthusiastic to join in. Including one ten-year old girl that wanted to "borrow" a stick, and then got quite energetic with her sticking practice....

There could be official photos later....

Who was that Baroness?

We met a Baroness on our Fitzrovia tour, on 17 July. She came up to us at the Duke of York, very pleased to see Morris on the streets.

It turns out she was one of the peers who moved for Morris to be exempt from the Licensing Act 2003. The Act required all premises that have entertainment to have a licence. Morris was exempted, following an amendment in the House of Lords.

But who was she? We didn't catch her name except that it began with a B. Happily, the Morris Discussion List helped out. She is Baroness Buscombe, and she did indeed work on amendments to the Licensing Bill, to make it less hostile to live entertainment.

We thought she said Baroness Buskin (or possibly Busking?), and wondered if she had a professional interest in the Act. At the time of the debate, she was in fact Opposition spokesman for Culture Media and Sport in the House of Lords. Here's TheyWorkForYou's profile of the Noble Lady.

An exemption for Morris dance is a very good thing. Without it, we'd have to argue that Morris was automatically exempt because it isn't very entertaining, and who knows where that might lead?

We were so overwhelmed to have a peer in the audience, we made a bit of a fluff of Dearest Dickie.

Following that, at the Fitzroy Tavern - a pub we've been dancing at for probably 40 years or more - Richard Wyber turned up in his dog collar, added a fine touch to some Bampton, and talked to the audience.

Ezra was there

So was Antony

As well as Peter and Nick and Allan (and me).

More Lensbury photos

These aren't so good as the official chap's pictures of our dancing at The Lensbury Club Ball , but I think they give a flavour of what it was like.

Firstly, here's the Kanssen double jig outside the front entrance

Notice the lack of audience. Cars pulled up and people went inside.

We consider whether to change our hats from the traditional bowlers, or at least to allow Exra to wear a bearskin, to adjust the height differential....

... which looks particularly striking here. We danced in amongst the diners later, to some approval.

As the light fades and my phone struggles, Michael B looks almost incorporeal.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sheltered Housing in Notting Hill

It wasn't a very promising evening, with rainclouds threatening.

And when we got to the first stand they turned out to have got their wires crossed and had all waited for us the week before. (I've been on Jury Service so communication has been difficult.)

So we decided to repair to the pub before the next engagement, which turned out to be a good idea as the rain poured down just as we got there, and in the time that we would otherwise be walking between the two places.
"It never rains on the Morris" - "because they're in the pub"

We danced inside, even though it had by then stopped raining. As you can see, there was just about enough room for us and our audience.

Afterwards we joined the residents for Sundanese food laid on by one of them, Eh'san Khogali.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lensbury Club Summer Ball

We danced for the Lensbury Club's Summer Ball, a very prestigious do; with guests in DJs etc. (photos from the photographer for the evening, Chris Bissell)

They'd decided on a "Home Nations" theme this year, so guests were greeted by Pipe Major Roger Huth, us dancing on the lawn, the London Male Voice Choir and then irish band Waggle Taggle playing.

It was a lovely evening. Roger turned out to be a good sport and we persuaded him to play a couple of morris tunes on his pipes. When I looked him up later I found he's actually the "Pipe Major" of the Piping Society of London. I wish I had the time to take him up on bagpipe lessons.

When we got in I was surprised to see that the Irish band included my old friends Mick O'Connor and Mick Bailey. The pair of them for many years have done a spot at my work for our Sheltered Scheme's Christmas Party.

Mick O'Connor turns out to have a presence on You Tube

The evening all rounded off with fireworks over the lawn leading down to the Thames.

There are more photos (but not such good ones) later in this blog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's the sound of bells that I remember from Thaxted

There was a jingling of bells all day. Continually. It only stopped at night, to be replaced - in the school room where I slept - by the sound of exhausted, replete men snoring.

I enjoyed it mightily.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Thaxted Ring Meeting 2007

It's 80 years since Conrad Noel, the vicar of Thaxted, encouraged the formation of the Thaxted Morris Men. He turns out to have been quite a colourful character

We had more than a complete side, and enjoyed touring the countryside, the feast, dancing at the Guildhall and (as above, over the door of the pub we were visiting) disobeying "keep out" notices!
The sermon on Sunday was about David dancing naked in front of the ark of the covenant, followed by a warning that whilst Morris dancing was welcome in the town, we should keep our clothes on...

It's also 60 years that they've been doing the mystical Abbots Bromley Horn Dance:

(rather shakily filmed in 2006)

Kensington Tour

The power of the morris kept storm clouds at bay, and it was another lovely evening.
Ezra and I cycled up on our tandem.

Only five dancers plus John on his concertina, but still a decent, and apparantly well-appreciated show.
We entertained the folks outside the Elephant and Castle then clanked through Kensington to theUxbridge Arms , as welcoming as ever, with an interesting audience including a witch straight from the Festival of Mind and Body.

One of the things I like about tours is the walking through the streets in kit with bells ringing etc. Putting kit on transforms you from a mere mortal into a morris dancer and it's the most natural thing in the world to be there. (I'm not sure how much that makes sense)

Cecil Sharp House May Fete

Peter J had a call along the lines of:
"Hello we're having a May Fete the weekend after next, and the Morris Men we had have let us down can you step in...?"

Which turned out to be the English Folk Dance and Song Society's at Cecil Sharp House

We were honoured to be able to go and help out, and it was charming. Nice to join in some of the other dancing that was going on too.

More about the show, including photos in this blog now.

Islington Tour

This didn't seem like it was going to happen, as quite a few men had last minute problems that stopped us getting there, but too late to actually cancel.

Reassuringly, the men that did turn up still had a good time ("A rather boozy night" was one report). I had the sticks and couldn't go, but John turned out to have something like pick-axe handles in his car...

The dancers from Clockwork Morris that Jeremy have been teaching turned up and made a complete side for a Balancy Straw and a Bampton Side-step.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hey Nonny Nonny! Only Six Weeks Till the Nights Start Drawing In...*

It didn't rain all the time at Kew Gardens' Woodland Wonders on Monday, but it rained a lot and it rained quite hard.

The audiences still showed up and applauded from under their umbrellas, so we danced on. Two men slipped over in puddles. Roland danced his first public dance with us, and went off to another show he's doing - London with a swing about London history.

Eventually the sun came out and we were rewarded with a splendid audience who stayed on after the minstrels to see us, and all joined in a chaotic performance of something that seems to be emerging: "The Bonny Green Hokey Cokey".

There were other creatures here - and you can see Queen Charlotte in the background of the minstrels. We wished her husband a swift recovery from his melancholia, and applauded her and Joseph Banks for the fine surroundings.

And we met a tarantula.

* Quote from a famous Giles cartoon...