Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just about up-to-date - practices resume soon

It's been a great year. Hopefully next year I'll manage to keep the blog up to date.
Our practices resume on 17th January - we are at Haverstock School in Haverstock Hill on Tuesday evenings 7-9

Morris and Feast 2011

We had the upstairs room at the White Horse
dancing around the cake
(click on it)

White Horse Ale Festival

29th November
we couldn't turn down the invitation of dancing for ale!
at the Sloaney Poney
"Old Ale" turned out to be the hearty winter ales chocolatey malts etc. Some of them very potent, and only to be drunk in half pints.

We hadn't quite as many as anticipated - I'd negotiated having our feast there the following week and I think the message got confused...

[Peter J adds:] We had enough for some four man Morris and a polite and appreciative audience. It was also good to be able to dance outside at the end of November.

As usual, we don't have pictures of all of us dancing, but here's a jig. People watched, took photos and even applauded.

Myrtle the Morris Dog enjoyed it as ever:

and we still did a good show

Dancing for "Hugh the Drover"

We'd been approached earlier in the year by Angela Hardcastle, who was directing the Hampstead Garden Opera's production of Vaughan William's opera Hugh the Drover.
It was a crucial part of the plot - morris dancers come on stage and beguile the company leaving Mary alone to contemplate why she was marrying the bully John the Butcher. London Pride shared the role with Thames Valley and Greensleeves.

It's quite different seeing opera up close - the Gatehouse pub theatre only seats 100, and the cast gave their all.

I came back midweek to see the whole thing. Terrific stuff.,
Here's Barry trying out the controls for the Horse (lent by Thames Valley) - a wondrous beast that could roll eyes, open and shut mouth and stick tongue out and wiggle ears. One could get carried away...

[Peter J adds:] Hugh the Drover is a very interesting opera, and I enjoyed this review in Opera Today, which doesn't gloss over its problems as theatre, but compares it with the incredibly-successful Cavaleria Rusticana.

It seemed to me that Hugh has masses of action and interest - bare-knuckle boxing, Morris and an effigy of Napoleon - all put together with lovely tunes. The story and the view of Merrie England might not appeal in a serious professional production (so Hugh never gets done at the serious opera houses) but it is perfect for a no-less-serious amateur show.

These people threw everything into the show. A cut-down orchestra and a chorus "singing their socks off" filled the room with an overwhelming wall of sound.

These two phone-pictures don't convey much except the amount going on on stage....

With a rotating cast of Morris men, we didn't get to dance in the dress rehearsal - we just rehearsed our steps in a break between other bits of rehearsing. This meant I could sit back and watch the whole of the first act rehearsal (with the Morris part taken by Greensleeves), and it was all marvellous.

Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival

the Pearlies have a Harvest Festival where they put on a show for the mayors of London, we were invited to be one of the acts.
It's quite a big space to fill at the guildhall, this is our new friends Liberty Morris, who turn out to dance with Scaffolding poles.
We still managed to do a respectable show despite the circumstances, and having to borrow a musician form Liberty as ours got lost in traffic somewhere ( I think)
I was chuffed to find out there is a society of women who wear purple with red hats that don't go - from the poem by Jenny Joseph, which I've always enjoyed.
There were all sorts of odd groups there, quite a mix.

Gillespie Park

11th September
nice little festival in an organic oasis.
we are hoping they'll let us dance longer next year...

Angel Festival


4th September [Peter J writes...]
Dancing by the canal, for the umpteenth year.

We had enough men to dance, and performed spots in several locations. We started at the Plaza, off City Road, then danced on the towpath, and at the Prince of Wales pub as well as on the lock island,

As usual, my photos are off my phone, and tend to be of jigs not dancing, owing to not being able to do two things at once.

Peter played Barry's hurdy gurdy for Nick's jig.

Getting across to the lock island was an adventure, especially if carrying Myrtle...

But the view was nice, and the space was just wide enough for some careful jigs.

St Giles Agricultural Show

3rd September
I haven't photos of us dancing but here's a prize gherkin:

The Phoenix garden is a lovely spot to get away from the hustle bustle - in the shadow of Centrepoint but you wouldn't know it when you're there. (here's the gardener's blog)

we admired fancy pidgeons, ate roast lamb and watched punch and judy.
And danced.

[Peter J adds:] A lovely afternoon. Here is Allan appraising the livestock....

... and Myrtle on a long lead, while Peter checks out the gherkins

North London Hospice FĂȘte

24th July
we alternated with maypole dancing and line dancing ?!?!

keen morris fan Angela Hardcastle from the Hampstead Garden Opera came to check us out for a role in the Opera!

Kings Cross

21st July
at the Norfolk Arms and then the Rugby Tavern
these always feel like there's no one there, then when we start dancing people come out of nowhere and we have an audience
it was drizzling by the time we got to the Rugby Tavern, here's Allen dancing a jig in spite of it.

Chelsea Tour

5th July
at the Anglesea Arms and the Scarsdale Tavern
apparently went well, but I coudln't get there this year

Fitzrovia Tour

22nd June
we danced at the Duke of York, where we had music from violinists Andy and Bethan and the Fitzroy tavern
and starred in celebrations for someone's 30th

Happy Birthday Katie
(good job I made notes at the time!)

Notting Hill tour

9th June at the Elephant and Castle, then up to the  ever friendly Uxbridge Arms.

Camden - with Sharp Morris

24th May saw an enjoyable evening with our friends the Sharps, who are based at Cecil Sharp House, developed from John Russell's Tuesday evening classes.

We went to the Spread Eagle and then the Albert - both popular for after-morris drinks.

I see they are showing me what I ought to do with their excellent facebook page

New year's resolution

I haven't been updating this as much as I should

New Year's resolution is to update it as I go along and keep it up to date, and maybe put the same stuff on our facebook
it's not that we haven't been busy over 2011.

I'm going to retrospectively blog since I left off in May

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dulwich Festival

Dulwich Village had the road closed for a village festival. You wouldn't think that you were in London rather than in some little village in the country. We enjoyed cakes from the Heart disease stall, watched the prams racing and listened to the Dulwich Ukelele Club - pretty good stuff.
We liked the Green Man Pram - a natural favourite

Impromptu morris dancing to the Ukelele Club music

David Mulany, the organiser, directed me to these wonderful photos of us dancing at the festival taken by Mary Linley (link to her Flikr photostream of the festival)

Thanks Mary!


Maida Vale Tour

Just around the corner from the Little Venice Canalside Cavalcade
we danced at the Prince Alfred in Formosa St and the Warwick Castle, once again joined by Thames Valley Morris Men - thanks for joining us guys it was a lovely evening.

We tried to tempt a trombone player for the BBC symphony orchestra into the dark art of playing for folk dance

Great Ormond St scouts and guides

Some of us have our third badge for being regular attendants - they give them to the children to commemorate their visit to the troupe. They've invited us along fro St George's day/ Mayday festivities and it goes down well.

Canalside Cavalcade, Little Venice

A lovely sunny day and a good start to our season, with Thames Valley Morris Men joining us. we started off by the beer tent which seems a good idea. I liked the "Worcester Sauce" beer particularly.
The Cavalcade is the largest get-together of canal boats in the country, they were having manoeuvring competitions in the triangular space of the Little Venice dock

There may be some photos of this from James, who took some, when he gives me them I will edit them in
I am proud to say that there was dancing to me playing Barry's Hurdy Gurdy, which I am learning.

You can see the brochure for the festival here

MTV in February

MTV were "filming a promo for a new US Series and we are trying to show off everything quintessentially English"

So a few of us went up to Camden to some studios and were filmed doing a stick dance.
we kept drifting to one side which was a mystery, till we noted that we were lining up on John playing his concertina rather than the camera - instinct of years dancing rather than it being a sloping studio

We had our noses powdered in between quintessential cricketers and tattooed builders

I thought I had a photo from as we emerged from the studio but if you picture 5 morris men surrounded by loads of complicated lighting equipment projecting a rosey background behind us.

Hopefully one day we'll get to see the promo, or maybe it's a station ID or whatever.

Morris and Feast 2010

A while ago... but I'm getting up to date.
London Pride always has it's annual feast on the first Saturday of December
2010 was no exception
we also combine it with our AGM and a bit of dancing.
I'm sure there must a have been some suggestion that an up-to-date blog might have been a good idea. and something about Facebook??
Barry's arm got twisted to being joint bagman, and Jeremy's into being joint squire. all seems to have worked so far (5 months later). I'm quite relieved not to be doing all the chasing etc. and Barry's excelling at it...

But then back to the dancing which is more fun than AGMing

We were dancing in the Primrose Hill Community Centre. for our feast we dance for ourselves. in kit. so it's possibly the same idea as an American convention ( not that I've ever been to one)

After dancing we broke with the last few year's tradition by going for a meal in a pub, the Prince Albert where we often go after our practices. (For a number of years we self catered! - quite handsomely). It went down very nicely and we toasted absent friends, the Queen and the immortal memory of Cecil Sharp, which we traditionally toast with a loving cup of wine and spices secret recipe passed down from times immoral,  passed around in a Mazer made for us in the 1960's with ancient rituals of guarding the drinker from attack.

Gillespie Park

We went to Gillespie Park again for their 24th Gillespie Park Festival

by way of consolation for lack of photos here is a King of Misrule from the Notting Hill Carnival.
He probably had some hankies tucked away for when he'd finished the stick dance

We danced at the grassy knoll in the children's area again, a relaxed end to our season's dancing, before going back to Cecil Sharp House for Autumn and Spring terms for our practices

there's been a bit of a hiatus on bog posts - sorry

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible