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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Morris dancing for the 21st century

Concerns that the brand of rather gay gingham skippy Laura Ashley Morris Dancing of the type that appears in Midsomer Murders is dying off are misplaced. Let it go.

To see the future of English subversive folk display, visit the Rochester Sweeps Festival this May.

Imagine Christian Bale's dark, brooding Batman. Imagine teams of men big as Shire horses leaping their way down the street, the smash of heavy sticks hitting the cobbles in unison, the gutteral shouts, flying black plumage like so many psychotic crows diving at the crowd. This is folk display with attitude. Even the policemen's grins fade from their faces and they look slightly nervous as the bands pass them. Small children hide behind their mothers' skirts. The heavy thud of war drums keeps the rhythm, and not all of the anger is feigned.

Imagine 'V' masks .....


Guthrum said...

Right on ! Camp 19th Century Morris dancing has very little to do the rites of our pagan past

Sue said...

I like watching Morris Dancing, there's something very "English" about it (it makes me smile) and we are losing too many of our traditions.

John M Ward said...

Yes, our annual Sweeps Festivals are a bit special, even if the true aficionado has to get up before dawn that morning to go and wake Jack on Blue Bell Hill...

It's a ll good fun, and a little different from the norm; but that's Rochester (and Medway in general) for you!