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Morris joins the Dodo?

Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 09 - 08:45 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 10 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jan 09 - 09:58 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 09 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 10 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 09 - 11:11 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jan 09 - 11:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jan 09 - 11:55 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jan 09 - 12:17 PM
squeezebox-kc 10 Jan 09 - 12:50 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 09 - 04:52 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jan 09 - 05:19 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 09 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 10 Jan 09 - 05:40 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 10 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM
LesB 10 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM
Ian Burdon 12 Jan 09 - 05:12 PM
Herga Kitty 12 Jan 09 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Neovo 13 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM
doncatterall 13 Jan 09 - 08:48 AM
Morris-ey 13 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM
robomatic 13 Jan 09 - 10:00 AM
melodeonplayer 13 Jan 09 - 06:41 PM
Ruth Archer 13 Jan 09 - 06:49 PM
The Borchester Echo 13 Jan 09 - 06:52 PM
johnadams 14 Jan 09 - 05:55 AM
BB 14 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM
Compton 14 Jan 09 - 07:17 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 15 Jan 09 - 05:49 AM
Kampervan 18 Jan 09 - 07:22 AM
Kampervan 18 Jan 09 - 07:24 AM
treewind 18 Jan 09 - 07:51 AM
the lemonade lady 19 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM
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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:45 AM

True enough Steve, their is a great piece of research showing how Morris traveled across Cheshire and into Lancashire from Crewe, railways being the root of travel.

But surely the Morris community, if it exists, cannot have it both ways. Can it be local - Border, Cotswold, Northwest, Rapper, Molly and all over the place?

Has Simon organised that Fluffy meets the Ring festival yet?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM

Les, you ask:

"But surely the Morris community, if it exists, cannot have it both ways. Can it be local - Border, Cotswold, Northwest, Rapper, Molly and all over the place?"

And I think the answer is "yes, it can" – for the same reason that we can be members of a global village while we're surfing the internet, and yet still reconnect with our local community when we visit the corner shop.

Of course there is something very special about seeing Headington dances performed by Headington men, in Headington – just as there is something very special about drinking Burgundy wine in the Duchy of Burgundy, or Scotch whisky in Scotland. (And long may all such activities flourish on their native soil.) But if we always had to travel to Avignon for a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape, or to Portree for a dram of Talisker, this would seriously diminish our opportunities for enjoyment.

And incidentally, when I last watched the authentic Headington men dancing outside the authentic Mason's Arms on one authentic Boxing Day, a few years back, they were dancing rapper! Rapper! I rest my case M'lud.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:58 AM

if people want to create Rapper sides in say Cornwall . . .

Create? Could be a genuine revival. There are, after all, tin mines.
Is there any trace of rapper in Kent?
Betteshanger Rapper has a certain ring to it . . .


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:48 AM

Mike,

"
And incidentally, when I last watched the authentic Headington men dancing outside the authentic Mason's Arms on one authentic Boxing Day, a few years back, they were dancing rapper! Rapper! I rest my case M'lud."

So do I

I don't think anybody has ever argued that everything might have been danced everywhere, in fact very much the opposite. And just as wines don't always travel well, I still maintain that Northwest in cobbles and terraces has much greater drama than Northwest in the Shopping Malls of Essex.

Diane you surprise me, that's all I'm saying because I think your might just be baiting people!

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

I'd have said that rapper is "old and strange" whether it's danced in the North East or elsewhere.

The simple fact is that we have just a handful of sides who are part of an ongoing tradition. We're lucky to still have them, and they're undoubtedly something special, but left to them alone morris would barely exist, and may well have died out completely by now. It was the morris revival of the 20th Century which revitalised morris, and without it who knows whether the traditional sides would have been able to sustain themselves into the 21st Century?

A revival side is a revival side, and it makes no difference whether it happens to be in an area which once had a recorded morris tradition or not. They are invariably starting something new, whether they are taking known styles from other places, or cobbling together a re-interpretation of their own area's former tradition from whatever scraps they can find.

Morris is undoubtedly "strange". If you insist on it being "old" as well you're refusing to allow any development of the tradition, instead it must be preserved in aspic at a particular (and fairly random) point in time.

Morris today is not what it was 50 or 100 years ago. But the morris of 100 years ago was not what it had been 100 years before that. This is what a living tradition means - it develops and changes, ebbs and flows. You may not like some of the changes, but without them the morris would surely die.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:11 AM

I have to say Howard that is the best and most compelling post I have read on this thread.

On issues like this their is often a tendency, which I believe has a name, to push the other argument to some kind of extreme to show its consequences. I don't think you have done that in this case but perhaps my age is catching up with me and I am actually arguing that more is worse. That doesn't have to be true but it can be.

I am all for the "Living Tradition" and have argued at some length against "Blacking up" because it is offensive and almost certainly owes more to, and I use the phrase carefully, the "Nigger Minstrel" tradition that much else, but the living tradition of Border Morris by and large wont even go green with the collection of dances and clobber that they have evolved from somewhere.

But I digress. I guess the world can never be as "old and strange" as it was and neither will the Morris.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:35 AM

I am asking whether there is a dance tradition attached to Cornish tin mining. Or, indeed, to Kent coal mining.
If you don't know, I suggest you stick your head down those treacle mines.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

Diane,

I rather suspect, given your experience of such things that you know that no such traditions have been noted, am I correct?

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:55 AM

I have absolutely no experience of tin mining in Cornwall, nor of coal mining in Kent. Indeed at the time of the first miners' strike I thought it was a wind-up when someone said there was a pit at Betteshanger,
So if anyone actually knows what dance traditions, if any, pertain to these industries, I'd like to know, minus smartarse comments.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

Pot, kettle.

Kettle, pot.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:17 PM

Since you live in Kent, Richard Bridge, it might have penetrated your consciousness whether anything vaguely cultural (especially dance) ever happens in the coalfield region. If not, then I see no reason why a revival rapper side couldn't be founded anyway if dancers wanted to. At DERT, there are sides from all over, just as Morris Offspring recruits Cotswold dancers countrywide. Travel and communication, in case you haven't noticed, are considerably swifter than in the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: squeezebox-kc
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:50 PM

regarding making up dances Kirkburton Rapier had to as the old lady of 90 years old from the village in 1973 remembered the kit and the swords but not the actual dance other than that the only time the circle was broken was at the lock at the end of the dance and it was danced with blacked faces on New Years Day.
We are proud that our dances copied by other teams, it is nice if it is acknowledged( we do workshops at festivals on occasions) and exactly how long does a dance need to be performed to be traditional. As it happens this is a male side with some female musicians and a fair age spread over the team members.
no problem with female sword teams but mixed is sometimes a bit odd looking.
In the same vein Bradshaw mummers (also blacked up)write most of their plays in the idiom of the tradition usually within reason ish historically accurate but still a male tradition (who would play the betsy in a female team)but some of the plays are written by the female supporters.
at the end of the day keep the tradition alive and find a team you fit in with otherwise form one that suits you.
Ken sword & mummer (old)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:52 PM

Irrelevant, Diane. The point was "smartarse comments". Shall we have it again without those?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:19 PM

So, like Manuel, you "know nothing".
Why am I not surprised?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:23 PM

Deja vu?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:40 PM

Black Swan Rapper come from an area not particularly noted for its mining tradition(Yes I know Selby coalfield, but that, though now dead, is of recent origin). Are they any good?

(Tongue not so much in cheek, as half way down my throat. Honest!)

Love and fishes.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

I don't see anything ridiculous in somebody asking whether rapper might have got down to Cornwall or Kent during the 19th century. Apparently it didn't, but nevertheless, it could have done.

In A L Rowse's book "A Cornish Childhood", he recalls that many young men left his area to work in mines as far afield as South Africa, Australia, and America, and adds that some of the lucky ones came home with enough cash to retire on. So, while the mines of Durham and Northumberland were booming in the mid-19th century, a "Cousin Jack" might have gone up north for a while, learned a sword dance there, and brought it back with him. It's unlikely, but not impossible.   

Likewise, one of the many Geordie pitmen who went looking for work down south might have ended up on the Kentish coalfield and taught some of his new marras how to dance rapper. Unliklier things than that have happened - like a sword dance turning up on Papa Stour for instance.

Asking questions that go against the grain of received opinion is often the way that new discoveries are made. If our ancestors had always been happy to accept the official wisdom of their day without challenging it, we might still be living in the stone age.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: LesB
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM

Dorset Buttons dance rapper. Not exactly next door to Newcastle is it?
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:12 PM

...and I dance Rapper in Edinburgh just as Gaorsach do, brilliantly, in Aberdeen.

Re Cornwall, I have a memory of reading that there was a mummers play recorded which featured an element of sword dance. No doubt there will be someone here who can either correct my memory or elucidate further.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 07:56 PM

At least the thread has been extended to Scotland. I haven't spotted any mention yet of Perth (Aus not Scotland) Morris, Bahrein Morris, Black Joke (Mass) Morris....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM

Made up dances and dancing "out of location" - absolutely fine provided the proper attributions are made. eg "this is a dance we wrote in the style of" .... or "our dances come from ...."


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: doncatterall
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:48 AM

Ian

I thought that rapper had died out north of the border since the demise of Clydeside - do tell me more!

Don


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM

Some random comments from what I (Cotswold dancer, and without false modesty, a bloody good one for 20 years until I retired) have read so far:

Morris will not die, the English tradition is danced all over the world;

The Morris Ring might well die, not least for their intransigence regarding women but also because any young dancers they recruit are immediately taught to dance like old men - I joined a well established Ring side when in London in 1979, the average age was about 55 and I was the youngest at 25. At practice, I was taken aside by the foreman and told that I was dancing too energetically and that "you cannot dance like that all day, you will be exhausted". I replied to the effect that yes I could dance like that all day but he and his pals probably could not.

Dancers should dance for their own enjoyment first, if they cannot enjoy it no one watching will;

Morris is neither old nor strange - all this talk of pagan ritual is bollocks. Cotswold is probably no older than late 18th or early 19th century.

All dances are made up - some made up earlier than others.

Location is irrelevant - enjoyment and performance is all.

There are very few people who care about "The Tradition" and those who make a big deal of it should be avoided.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: robomatic
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 10:00 AM

This topic came up on the radio show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" last week. Their no-brains solution:

1) Add rap
2) Carry bigger sticks


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: melodeonplayer
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:41 PM

Diane said "I am asking whether there is a dance tradition attached to Cornish tin mining"
I might be totally off the mark, but i had heard that the Bacup Coconutters have some family links to Cornish Tin Miners......
Not sure,, but worth investigation
Simon


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:49 PM

Unfortunately, there is no real evidence to connect Bacup to Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:52 PM

That would be prior to the construction of the M6 / M5 . . . ?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: johnadams
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 05:55 AM

There are links between Derbyshire and Cornwall because of the interchange of skills and manpower of the lead and tin mining industries. Possibly as a consequence of this there seems to be some similarities with the tunes eg. Tideswell Processional & the Floral Dance. These are, of course, processionals rather than dance traditions. Some research to be done there.

Never heard of a similar link between Bacup/Rossendale and Cornwall.


I've not read every post on this thread. Had anybody pointed out Elaine Bradtke's excellent article which appears on the Guardian web site?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jan/07/morris-dancing-longsword


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: BB
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM

I seem to remember that there was a theory that the Bacup dances might have originated with Cornish miners who moved up that way to work, but unless I'm much mistaken, the dances actually originated in the Music Halls. (Haven't read the learned writings on Bacup for a while.)

I also remember that Bell's 'Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry' mentions 'sword' dancing with wooden lathes in Devon - seemed to be similar to longsword.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Compton
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 07:17 PM

For waht it's worth, the three times I've been to Bacup and seen the dance, I am tempted to believe that it was simply some Northern Mill workers who got together and made the whole thing up and went out for Beer money...which, of course is what Morris dancing and everything was was all about!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:49 AM

Regarding a possible Bacup-Cornwall connection: what follows is only hearsay plus speculation, but for what it's worth …

A few years ago, when his side and mine happened to be dancing at the same festival, I asked one of the Bacup dancers about the origin of their kit. He said they believed the general idea for it had come from Cornwall, by way of a Bacup man who saw someone dressed as a "Moorish Pirate" in a carnival procession down there, sometime in the 19th century.

This story might repay further investigation. There is plenty of historical evidence that during the Middle Ages (and even on into the 1500s and 1600s) Cornish fishing villages were often raided by Moorish pirates. These corsairs carried off anyone they could catch, and if their relatives couldn't afford a ransom, the captives were sold in the slave markets of North Africa.

So, it would be understandable if a "Moorish Pirate" had appeared alongside other costumed figures in a 19th century Cornish carnival procession. And if someone from Bacup had been there to see, why shouldn't they have taken the idea home with them? As yet I've seen nothing in print to support this hypothesis – but perhaps better informed catters may have. Any suggestions?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kampervan
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:22 AM

I haven't read the whole of this thread in detail, but has anyone mentioned this film?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kampervan
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:24 AM

Sorry, there was supposed to be a link to

'Morris - A life with bells on'

oon that last posting.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: treewind
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:51 AM

Well...

Is it dead yet?

A.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM

you need the http:// to make it work


Sal


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