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