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Motley Morris banned !

Related threads:
blacked up morris dancers abused in uk (323)
Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris (264)
All Black Tup (7)
Black-faced Morris dancers (286)
tunes for blackface Morris (9)


Jack Blandiver 31 Jul 09 - 03:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 09 - 02:49 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 09 - 02:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 09 - 02:11 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 09 - 12:41 PM
Banjiman 31 Jul 09 - 12:03 PM
banksie 31 Jul 09 - 11:49 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Jul 09 - 09:53 AM
Morris-ey 31 Jul 09 - 09:20 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Jul 09 - 07:05 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 09 - 06:47 AM
Howard Jones 31 Jul 09 - 06:15 AM
banksie 31 Jul 09 - 06:00 AM
Banjiman 31 Jul 09 - 05:45 AM
akenaton 31 Jul 09 - 05:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM
Smokey. 30 Jul 09 - 05:29 PM
Old Vermin 30 Jul 09 - 09:35 AM
Morris-ey 30 Jul 09 - 09:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jul 09 - 07:39 AM
manitas_at_work 30 Jul 09 - 07:17 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jul 09 - 07:10 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 09 - 06:50 AM
banksie 30 Jul 09 - 05:20 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 09 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Phil 30 Jul 09 - 03:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jul 09 - 03:52 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 09 - 03:35 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 09 - 03:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jul 09 - 03:00 AM
akenaton 30 Jul 09 - 02:39 AM
Smokey. 29 Jul 09 - 06:32 PM
Old Vermin 29 Jul 09 - 06:26 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Jul 09 - 06:14 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 09 - 05:54 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jul 09 - 04:53 PM
Smokey. 29 Jul 09 - 04:46 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 06:52 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 09 - 07:52 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Jul 09 - 05:44 PM
akenaton 28 Jul 09 - 05:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM
akenaton 28 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM
Smokey. 11 Jul 09 - 10:09 PM
Aeola 11 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM
Smokey. 10 Jul 09 - 07:50 PM
Smokey. 10 Jul 09 - 07:47 PM
Smokey. 10 Jul 09 - 06:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 03:25 PM

So why isn't morris dancing as much a component of a tribal culture as any other activity by another group of people might be considered as specific evidence of a tribal culture?

WTF????


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 02:49 PM

Not so much how it looks but how it sounds as if it might look, surely. Which is the point I made in a post way back up the thrad:

"I would suspect that it's the idea and not the reality that's the problem. Say 'black make up' and the image people have is of performers dressed up and behaving in a way that parodies black people. Which in this case could well be the image likely to be conveyed by children to their parents, which teh school was worried about.

The reality of blackface, whether Border Morris style or Rochester sweeps, is very different, and I very much doubt if many people coming across it in its natural habitat, the street, ever see this as being anything to do with parodying black people."


Context is important here - and dancing in the street is different from performing in a school. Motley Morris would have done well to take note of that, and pick a different colour for the occasion to avoid misunderstandings from parents who had not seen the dance when kids went home and talked about it.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 02:22 PM

suspect that is true for most people who ever get to see them dance, which would generally be in the context of folk festivals and such

Yes, but this entire discussion is about how blackface Morris looks to people outside the circle of Morris aficionados and folkies.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 02:11 PM

The only people for whom this won't be the case are people who have seen more blacked-up Border Morris than they have blacked-up minstrels - and I venture to suggest that there aren't very many of those, outside the ranks of the BM dancers themselves.

I know I've seen far more blacked up Morris Dancers than I have ever seen blacked-up Minstrel, and suspect that is true for most people who ever get to see them dance, which would generally be in the context of folk festivals and such. And in that conbtext the notion that they are somehow presenting a mocking stereotype of how black people are supposed to be is pretty ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 12:41 PM

on some levels the people involved have not even though about the implications these dances might have to people of colour

I like "on some levels".


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 12:03 PM

From some considerable way up the thread Ruth Archer said:

'Finally, a few people have said that it would be interesting to hear from a black person what they feel about all of this. Well, the article from EDS that I quoted earlier interviewed several people about the practice, including a dance caller named Nigel Hogg. This is what he had to say:

"I have watched many different dance groups around the country, and on certain occasions I have seen groups black up to perform. As a mixed race man I do find this tradition offensive because I see it as a parody mocking people of colour. I would imagine that the people who perform these dances are not racists, and on some levels the people involved have not even though about the implications these dances might have to people of colour." '


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: banksie
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 11:49 AM

> Morris Dancing to Tribal Culture is as fatuous and conceited as claiming no Black person has ever been offended by Border Black-Face. Bullshit.

So why isn't morris dancing as much a component of a tribal culture as any other activity by another group of people might be considered as specific evidence of a tribal culture?

And I don't recall anyone claiming `no black person' has been offended. No such blanket coverage of any racial group has been suggested. All that has been said is that there is anecdotal evidence of black people witnessing morris dancing and give every impression of enjoying it as street theatre, tribal expression or just an outburst of mild English lunacy. I have never witnessed any black person being offended or insulted, though my (and other) `survey samples' are by deinition both small and based on observation. They are not claimed as scientific.

You say you know of plenty of black people who are offended, I accept the statement as it stands, but (just as an observation) you don't specify under what circumstances that insult has been taken or in what form it was expressed. Have they been in the street when a side has been dancing or just seen pictures of dancers out of context? Have they talked to dancers or just responded to questions that might possibly suggest they should be offended (for example: `are you offended by this?' rather than `what is your feeling upon seeing this?').


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 09:53 AM

I don't like it, so you shoudn't do it;

Not true actually. Aesthetically, and instinctively, I find it quite appealing, as I have done since seeing the picture of a blacked-up John Kirkpatrick in his Bedlam garb that appears on page 223 of the 1982 paperback edition of Janet and Colin Bord's Earth Rites. I love Morris Dancing, Mumming, Ritual Garb, Masks, Guising and related Misrule, Mayhem, Merriment and all Manner of Folkoric Fiddle-Faddle Stuff, and I might even allow for non-racist reasons (even traditional ones) for blacked-up Morris Dancing (etc.) as I'm sure were touched upon on the Folklore: Blacking up for morris - origin? thread.

However...

See my posts above.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Morris-ey
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 09:20 AM

I don't like it, so you shoudn't do it;

I know more black people who don't like it than you know black people who don't give a damn, so you shoudn't do it.

I suspect for Sweeny only the first statement is really important...


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 07:05 AM

Reality check #2: The Black & Minstrel Show notwithstanding, more people would have the Jeeves & Wooster black-faced ukulele minstrel episode and subsequent repeats - (filmed at Sidmouth?) than have ever seen, or are likely to see, Border Morris. Al Jolson died before Border Morris was revived, yet he remains a far greater cultural icon than Morris Dancing.

Reality Check #3: Likening Morris Dancing to Tribal Culture is as fatuous and conceited as claiming no Black person has ever been offended by Border Black-Face. Bullshit. Go and dance it in Handsworth and see what sort reaction you get, or in Clapham High Street; or why not field a Border Black-face side in the Nottinghill Carnival?

I know of plenty of Black people who are deeply offended by blacked-up white Morris Dancers, and have told me so.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 06:47 AM

The only context in which most people in this country have seen anybody blacked up for entertainment purposes is morris.

Most people in this country haven't seen Border morris! I think the image of minstrel-style blacking up has long outlived its actual practice.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Howard Jones
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 06:15 AM

Pip Radish said "the minstrel tradition is the only context in which most people in this country have seen anybody blacked up for entertainment purposes."

I haven't seen anybody blacked up as a minstrel since the Black & White Minstrels came off TV in the 1970s. The only context in which most people in this country have seen anybody blacked up for entertainment purposes is morris.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: banksie
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 06:00 AM

>Morris Dancing and Reality?

Wrong connection. The reality check is not about morris dancing, but about people's reaction to it, and in particular the people who are presumed to be insulted and affronted by dancers blacking up. I have yet to see any person of any colour insulted by it. In fact I have seen many white English people at least embarrassed by morris dancing, as they seem to assume they are tainted by it by association.

I do have a memory of seeing one of those anthropological TV programmes of Africans dancing `whited up'. I seem to remember that the white dancers represented devils or evil spirits (probably quite fitting, really). But should they stop doing it for fear I might be insulted? PC logic would suggest `yes'.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 05:45 AM

".....don't allow it to be destroyed by some political fad!"

I don't think anyone suggested destroying Morris, just that a little sensitivity could be used around the colour of the make up used by "Border" sides.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: akenaton
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 05:33 AM

Well although there is no morris in Scotland and I have never seen it performed live, I have come to enjoy watching Morris Dancing on video very much.
I love the enthusiasm of the dancers, the interest of the audiance, the "spiritual" element in the performance...it all reminds me of the wonderful atmosphere surrounding Irish street music.

I think it should be enjoyed for what it is and what it generates in the onlookers.....don't allow it to be destroyed by some political fad!

I have a video of June Tabor singing accompanyment to a dance group on a dimmly lit stage somewhere in England...it is riveting...Ake


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM

How about applying a reality check?

Morris Dancing and Reality? No - Morris belongs to the liminal realm of cultural reaction which is part and parcel of England's most perverse and singular Dreaming. Of course that's traditional too; a festering continuance by way of a far from Innocent Nostalgia. Sad. Very sad.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 05:29 PM

Well said, OV.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Old Vermin
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 09:35 AM

Who was it said that the good man is not the same as the good citizen?

It strikes me that this thread is about the theoretical. It is a about the possibility, the hypothesis, that someone might be upset by seeing a Border Morris side in blackface [or indeed without - Ed]. Not about any such upset being in fact known to be caused, but about a purported possibility.

Yes, it can upset people how think that they know better, and believe, because they know better and have superior sensibilities, that upset may, in theory, be caused to someone else.

In one way it doesn't really matter whether it has been done since Adam was a lad or was cobble together last Thursday evening. The questions is whether it is overall a good thing, and whether any genuine rather than hypothetical offence is caused.

How about applying a reality check?

In fact, I have, from memory, seen people who were visibly of African or maybe Caribbean ancestry enjoying doing Morris and English ceilidh at Sidmouth and Swanage. The best bit was grins and good dancing from a young and rather pretty woman, who as the only black in a Border side hadn't felt the need to disguise her very pleasant face. A very good natured occasion.

At Swanage another year. A very memorable cluster of turbanned Sikh gentlemen and their families, very well turned out, enjoying and, OK, laughing hilariously at, a parade which had a mix from Border Morris to belly-dancing via Cotswold. A very pleasant memory.

This is factual, primary source. I was there, saw it in Southern England, it was good. People were happy.

In my experience, it's good stuff, people enjoy doing and watching it. No evidence of anyone being seriously upset.

Not to say that there isn't the occasional funny look,though. Cotswold seems to suffer worse from funny looks,but maybe that's me being over-sensitive.

I trust this reality much more than the neurotic hypothesising above.

And its raining, or I should be getting the car packed!


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Morris-ey
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 09:00 AM

Question:

How old does something have to be to be "traditional"?

a) As old as my mum
b) As old as her mum
c) If I don't like it, then it will never be old enough
d) I don't care, I do it for fun.

All answers correct.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 07:39 AM

In NW Morris perhaps but isn't Bampton's traditiom pretty much unbroken for longer than Carnival Morris has been about?

Would Bampton have survived if it wasn't for interest from the revival in 1906? By all accounts it was on its last legs. To what extent does the expectations of The Revival define Bampton thereafter? It's a fascinating history all the same. Read all about it at http://www.bamptonmorris.co.uk/.

The thing about Fluffy Morris is that it has nothing to do with The Folk Revival in any shape or form but remains a living, breathing tradition, no matter how old it might be. I might add I didn't even know it existed until moving to the North West a couple of years ago and even now view from a respectful distance, if at all. Maybe one day someone will do the definitive history; maybe they already have.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 07:17 AM

In NW Morris perhaps but isn't Bampton's traditiom pretty much unbroken for longer than Carnival Morris has been about? Other Cotswold sides have been dancing quite a long time if you trace continuity through family lines and family lines are quite important in passing on traditions.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 07:10 AM

b) it's Folk Art (cf. Rose Queens, fluffy Morris, Preston Guild, etc)

I disagree there. Fluffy Morris is a genuine Tradition in that it occupys Level 1 in Warshaver's 3 Levels of Folklore, which is to say customary practise principally defined by the participants remaining innocent of the folkloric significance or even provenance of what they're doing. Fluffy Morris isn't done in the name of folk, but emerges out of several cultural traditions of dance in the the North West, including actual Processional Morris, and Irish Stepdancing. I think the websites have their own folklore too, as might be observed by following some of the links at the North of England Morris Dancing Carnival Organisation.

In this sense Fluffy is the only Living Traditional Morris Dancing we have. The day it dies is when the dances are taken up by the members of the Morris Ring & EFDSS.

Discuss.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 06:50 AM

if the British can't respect their own traditions how can they respect the traditions of others

Is there any tradition in Morris dancing these days?

Quick quiz:

1. How long's this been going on?

a) What do you mean, how long? People have always done this here.
b) Ages. I don't know, really. The Secretary might be able to tell you.
c) Two or three years solidly, nine or ten off and on. Depends when people are available.
d) People have always done this, but if you mean this specific group, seven years and five months as of next Monday.

2. Will you be doing it next year?

a) Of course. Somebody has to.
b) I certainly hope so. It's good to put on a bit of a show.
c) I hope so, but as I say it depends on people's availability.
d) Why yes, the practice will go on and on, as it always has. As to this specific group, well, fingers crossed.

3. Can you put on a quick show for us next Pancake Day?

a) What do you mean? I don't think we could do that.
b) Not sure, I'll have to run it past the Committee.
c) Yeah, why not. I'll give you my number.
d) I think Pancake Day is a fine example of the old English high days and holidays which would traditionally be graced by our practice, so yes, why not. I'll give you my number.

4. Why do you do it?

a) [silence, puzzled expression]
b) Well, it's good to keep a thing like this going, isn't it? And it makes a nice show. The kids love it.
c) It's a bit of a laugh really.
d) We are honoured to maintain the unbroken tradition of our practice, and we go to the pub afterwards.

If you answered

a) it's a Tradition
b) it's Folk Art (cf. Rose Queens, fluffy Morris, Preston Guild, etc)
c) it's a Hobby
d) it's a Revival

I think there's an awful lot of Hobby music & dance out there now - from a variety of different cultures - and a fair bit of Folk Art. I don't think there's very much Tradition.

(As for Revivalists, the problem with them is that they tend to think they're Traditionalists, although really they've got more in common with Hobbyists and Folk Artists.)


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: banksie
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 05:20 AM

As the Captain observes:
"having said all that as a white person,who has only suffered a tiny amount of racial abuse,it is difficult for me to know, how it must feel to be a black person who has suffered racial abuse,and how the majority of black people,feel about Blacking/Browning up".

Having asked a (statistically insignificant) sample of two black friends their view on this, both stated similar views, paraphrased as follows: "that's the way you do it and I am not insulted. I think Morris dancing is silly, but that's different." And as a dancer (Cotswold, so not blacked up) I have danced in town centres, with blacked-up border sides, where Afro-Carribeans and Asians have been in the audience and been seen to applaud the dancing - appreciating it in its own right as something (silly) people do in these islands.

I know of no sociological study made of UK-domiciled Afro-Caribean or Asian communities' attitudes to blacking up in Border Morris, but would love to hear of any results and research methodologies.

And as someone else observed at the beginning of this thread - if the British can't respect their own traditions how can they respect the traditions of others - and I do sense a danger of building perceptions of the perceptions of others, seeing insult where no insult is taken, let alone intentionally given. I, for one, think the young men who run in front of the bulls in Pamplona are not just silly, they're barking mad. But I appreciate the fact that it is important to them both as a tradition in its own right and for what that tradition represents - achieving a state of barking madness as far as I can see. But I am not them or of them so it is unfair for me to judge them in their country and their traditions by my value set.

The ultimate result an over-indulgence in politcal correctness is that nobody will dare do anything for fear of offending someone. That will result in everyone sitting at home, never daring to do anything except watch Sky Television (for fear of offending Rupert Murdoch because he hates the BBC). And if people think that PC will help us defend against the odious BNP I can't help but feel it is exactly the application of `Enhanced-PC With Added Puritanism' that will drive more and more people into their arms. The BNP needs to be laughed at - loudly and longly.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 04:22 AM

GUEST - lots of references to Molly in this thread, most (but not all) of them making the same point.

But even if Molly blacking-up does predate the minstrel tradition, I don't think that gives contemporary Morris sides a good enough reason to black up. The problem is (if I can repeat myself), the minstrel tradition is the only context in which most people in this country have seen anybody blacked up for entertainment purposes. So whether you put a blacked-up white man in a tatter coat, a suit and tie or a spacesuit, those minstrel associations will still be there. The only people for whom this won't be the case are people who have seen more blacked-up Border Morris than they have blacked-up minstrels - and I venture to suggest that there aren't very many of those, outside the ranks of the BM dancers themselves.

I just don't see a problem with not using black.

Other colours do not disguise white/pink people.

Oh really? Disguise in blue

and
dese guise are in white.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:59 AM

It's been very interesting reading this thread, but why no mention of Plough Monday, Molly etc in East Anglia. Simply a disguise, everyone who went out on Plough Monday blackened their faces, nothing to do with pretending to be black people. Other colours do not disguise white/pink people.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:52 AM

If you, as a white person, feel the need to paint your face any colour at all, then paint by all means it white, as The Pierrotters do.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:35 AM

As for the Nutters, I do think they've got a better excuse for using blackface than Motley et al. That's not to say it's a good excuse!


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:32 AM

as the posters above have said every colour could give offense to some minority or other

I don't know which world you live in, akenaton, but in this one there's a long history of White people blacking-up in imitation of Black people. Browning-up, yellowing-up... not so much. And do tell us who is likely to be offended by dancers with their faces painted blue, or purple, or khaki, or white.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:00 AM

The Bacup Coconutters have got a stronger justification, in the form of actual tradition.

Personally I don't think tradition is any excuse at all. And haven't they already been banned from dancing in Manchester? I saw them dancing last year at Fylde and found it uncomfortable to watch; disturbing to think that anyone, let alone the dancers themselves, could find this in any way acceptable in 21st Century England. Of course it is in no way traditional for them to dance outside of Bacup on any other day than Easter Saturday, so in this sense they're no different from any other folk dance troupe - just a bunch of burly blokes in extremely silly costumes. Their blacked-up faces not only offend my humanity, they also scare me shitless as to what they represent in terms of a far deeper tradition of xenophobia and racial intolerance that is the source & cause of most of the worlds tensions. Harmless fun? Hardly the wonder the BNP are hiking such things to their noxious cause. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Nutters : Image One

Nutters : Image Two


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 02:39 AM

There are obviously people here who know the dancers concerned, what they have to ask themselves is "do they think these people are racist"....if they know them and don't believe they are racist, they should shut the fuck up.

It is none of their business what colour the dancers paint their faces....as the posters above have said every colour could give offense to some minority or other. "Perhaps it requires intelligence."....I think I agree with Smokey!!


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:32 PM

It's a grey area.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Old Vermin
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:26 PM

And as for how that there new side from hold their sticks while the other side of the side beats 'em, why if that were to get into the Dreary Maul there'd be all manner of accusations - obscenity and who knows what.

Purple face -paint works far too well with purple rag-coast. Works so well your eyes'll cross just a-trying to look at it. An' as for purple and green, I asks you....

The way forward has to be green and purple. And black, which is the new black.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:14 PM

I think any blacking-up needs to be justified, and the justification needs to be a bit stronger than "because we felt like it" or "because we wanted to dance Border and that's how you do it". The Bacup Coconutters have got a stronger justification, in the form of actual tradition. So no, I don't think they're 'next' to be criticised after Motley - that would be A. N. Other Border Side, closely followed by Yet Another Border Side and Oh No Not Another Border Side.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:54 PM

I would like to ask ,whether is it true,that Morris sides that black up will not be booked at Sidmouth.
I see this as a very grey area,the morris sides that are blacking up,are not putting on the same disguise on as the black and white minstrels,or the earlier minstrels[please note I am not using the offensive word]
there have been suggestions that the morris sides should be masked,because that removes the minstrel association,but then the corking up of morris sides is different from the minstrels[although, it is closer than the masked disguise].
are the bacup coconut dancers next to be criticised for blacking up?


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:53 PM

"Perhaps it requires intelligence."

Funny!

Because the most intelligently expressed posts on this thread by far (bar R. Bridge's IMO) have come from individuals articulating their thoughts about why blacking-up might not be supportable as a so-called 'traditional' practice.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:46 PM

I can see how some people might perceive racist implications, but not everyone. Perhaps it requires intelligence.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:52 AM

nor is the intention as far as I can ascertain,an attempt to ridicule black people.

It hasn't been made clear yet what the actual intention is, other than it being, somehow, fashionable to do so. Even if the intention is not racist, it is just plain stupidity than cannot see that a white person blacking up for fun has overriding racist implications.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 07:52 PM

I would like to put forward two points[these are not necessarily my opinions]but I think they are worth considering.
1.the blacking up is different from the blacking up of the black and white minstrels,there is no whiting up of the eyes and mouth.
2.the intention[as far as I can make out from discussing with morris dancers] is a disguise,not an imitation of black and white or earlier minstrels,or black people,nor is the intention as far as I can ascertain,an attempt to ridicule black people.
having said all that as a white person,who has only suffered a tiny amount of racial abuse,it is difficult for me to know, how it must feel to be a black person who has suffered racial abuse,and how the majority of black people,feel about Blacking/Browning up


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 05:44 PM

I take it by that reaction, that all Morris dancing is offensive....whether the performers are blacked up or not? :0)

I love Morris Dancing, even Fluffy Morris, I just flee in horror from discussions on the origins thereof - although it would seem Fluffy has the more genuine claim to being actually Traditional, as oppose to a revivalist fantasy.

Please note: I have no problem with revivalist fantasies, just as long as they don't pass themselves off as a) traditional or b) keeping the tradition alive.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 05:37 PM

I take it by that reaction, that all Morris dancing is offensive....whether the performers are blacked up or not? :0)

If it was originally performed by blacks (there is some evidence of blacking up from the early 1800's) wouldn't some here consider all Morris dancing as "racist"?


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!

Could we have a tune for that?


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM

What are the origins of Morris dancing?

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM

We don't have Morris dancing in Scotland, as far as I know, but I have read that the original "Moorish"? dancers were "black" or brown.
If this is true, would it affect how some here view the blacking up of the Morris team?
What are the origins of Morris dancing?


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM

Of course, if Motley Morris no longer have an outlet for their skills at school fetes, they could always turn their talents to Table Morris Dancing


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 10:09 PM

Perhaps they could wear black ski-masks or balaclavas.

That aside, I found this on John Kirkpatrick's website, taken from an old interview:

"We used to sing the words, "There was a little nigger but he grew no bigger ... " but we've changed them to avoid offending black people. I don't think there's any cause for offence in blacking up, but singing about niggers is rather different. I must say we have rarely come across blacks where we live, obviously by travelling around we see more, but they usually either seem to understand the point of the disguise or they don't make any connection at all. The first time we ever danced out, we were all driving up to the pub in our blacking for the first time, nobody could recognise anybody else, and this carload of Africans turned up in full flowing robes. This had been set up by one of our members and he hadn't told the rest of us, so we were shitting ourselves even more than we were already. But they loved it. "


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Aeola
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM

I wonder what our PC friends would make of our early miners returning from work!!


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 07:50 PM

I'm assuming Motley do primarily it because they want to

And I'll talk gibberish if I want to.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 07:47 PM

I'm still waiting for those non-racists reasons for blacking-up.

I can well see how blacking up could be used to highlight or enhance the offensiveness of some act of racial hatred or discrimination, but to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, morris dancing has never had that aim. I'm assuming Motley do primarily it because they want to. That is a non-racist reason I can certainly live with. I expect if they start getting significant negative feedback from black people at gigs, they'll think again, but if their 'gimmick' is not motivated by racial hatred, discrimination, mockery etc., then I don't blame them for their stance in this sorry incident.


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Subject: RE: Motley Morris banned !
From: Smokey.
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:39 PM

What on earth are 'non racist connotations', and how might morris dancers articulate them?


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