This thursday (a little late now I know) the Leeds Morris Men danced out in Tadcaster and Saxton. I remember this dance from last year, because my friend visited me while watching the dancing. It was maybe the first time anyone from my work saw me dance, and the first one I went to by myself (so no lift etc.) so it represented quite a bit step for me in living in Leeds as well as being a Morris Dancer.
Tadcaster is of course the home of quite a lot of brewing history. It hosts the John Smiths brewery (now part of a huge conglomerate), and also home to the Sam Smiths brewery with an absolutely massive Sam Smiths pub concentration. We started dancing at the Howden Arms, right next to the John Smiths brewery. The area is quite small, but secluded, with areas round the back to go and drink while everyone else is dancing. There has been a spot of bother at this location before, as one of the Morris Dancers ended up doing his ankle in after cockling over near a hole (which I’m now informed has been fixed since 2 years ago when he did his injury). They still remember him in this pub, which is nice.
We danced a bit of the standard dances…Bampton, Oddington and a bit of Sherborne. We’re definitely getting more into the swing of things during the dances, but there’s a lot left to do. There’s a lot of line issues, during heys in particular that make the set look messy. Without uniformity it can often look a little messy, which you certainly don’t want. The Howden arms clientelle always seem to come out and watch: at least for a little bit. Then vaguely, randomly they’ll go back inside to grab a pint, and some come back out again, and some go back in, and then they meander around, but mostly the crowd is very supportive. There were a few kids who were being arseholes(1) but shutting the gate seemed to sort them out quite nicely. Well done to the fool for dealing with them. There was a lack of audience participation this year compared to the last. The landlady was new this year, but it’s understandable for it to be low anyway…it’s quite a small area and quite intimate.
After this we moved across to Saxton to dance at the Greyhound. The greyhound is a lovely little pub with low ceilings, and little snugs here and there, although because of the Sam Smith rules they couldn’t bring us out some sandwiches (that would be food preperation), but at least we weren’t told to leave the pub because our bells were classed as music. (yes I know it’s the daily mail, but just go with it). We danced here with the molly side Rhubarb tarts. They do their faces in pink, and green and it looked a lot like border, but hey…I’ve only been here about a year and a half so give me a bit of credit. I know there are differences; I just don’t know what they are…and I understand I’ve probably pissed off anyone who’s border or molly. There’s lots of whooping, and closed fists. One of Rhubarb tarts looked a lot like Monkfish in the fast show sketches, but with make up on.
We danced for a little bit here until it got dark, then moved on home. A few people stayed, and got the bagging and then went home.
The weather was quite pleasant, if not a little cold, but it’s all ok, because the weather was absolutely fantastic on Saturday in Liverpool, and it’s bound to be fantastic for our Diamond Jubilee Dales tour which is coming up in only a few weeks. You can find out more information about the Dales by visiting the Leeds Morris Men website.
p.s. There was only one “arsehole” this post, but also one “pissed”