Jonny’s Tour of Hull

This weekend was Jonny’s tour of Hull.  It was Jonny’s birthday 2 weeks ago, and in order to celebrate said birthday the tour was organised.  Coming from Hull the tour was held in Hull.  In attendance was Leeds Morris Men and Briggate from Leeds and Rackaback from Hull.

Leeds Morris Men outside Hull City Hall

Leeds Morris Men outside Hull City Hall

We started outside the Hull City Hall in Queen Victoria Square next to the maritime museum.  We started at 11, unfortunately not able to get a pint from the local pub the punch.  We did a few dances, and were joined by Rackaback and Briggate.

The weather held out rather well.  The forecast had been fairly terrible leaving several people to worry about the rain.  It turned out to be quite pleasant.

Briggate in Hull

Briggate in Hull

We were joined by a local side called Rackaback:  a relatively new side who had only been dancing for about 3 years.

After about an hour we moved onto the next spot which was the Trinity Church.  The largest parish church by area according to the guiness book of world records.

The ground was nice and flat, but unfortunately due to the fortunes of Hull many of the shops were shut and the footfall was rather low, leading to fewer crowds.  There were lovely people from Holland there to watch us.  During this dance out there was an incident where a morris dancer’s shoe had become loose, and it flew off in the direction of Jonny’s dear old gran, who luckily enough just laughed her head off at it.

Some of the lucky people of the tour got to enjoy the lovely pattie and chips that Hull has as a delicacy.  Deep fried Mashed potato with herbs and spices with a side of chips.  Lovely.  A great Hull delicacy.

After moving from dinner we moved on to the minerva where we did a few more dances looking out near the deep and looking out over the estuary.  Rackaback taught us a mass dance involving some clashing.

Afterwards we moved back to the trinity church, and then back to queen victoria square.  Unfortunately a potential dance spot would also have been possible near the black boy pub.  This are would have been fantastic if you consider the great pubs, and the potential footfall around this area, as well as it looking rather nice, but due to the flat ground area being boarded off due to the bridge being opened in a few days.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

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Oakworth’s easter dance out in Haworth

The wind was bitterly cold this Easter Monday at the dance out in Haworth.  It has been cold for far too long, but that didn’t stop Oakworth, Leeds Morris Men and 400 Roses from dancing out in Haworth.  The day began at the train station

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With 2 cotswold sides and 400 Roses each cotswold team danced twice each, with 400 Roses inbetween.  The Oakworth tails gave them a distinctive advantage for warmth, however the Leeds waistcoat didn’t provide much warmth.  Luckily enough with 7 dancers the Leeds dancers were involved in most dances, with the capering, and jumping keeping us warm.

The side was relatively new with 2 of the newest members taking part.  Leeds danced some of the newer Ascott under Wychwood dances, returning to Bampton.

Leeds Morris outside the Fleece in Haworth

Leeds Morris outside the Fleece in Haworth

Moving up towards the Fleece pub for more dancing, the winds were even colder on the main street and the view for miles around was covered in snow, reminding us how winter was still here.  It’s important to be reminded that it’s a summer tradition dancing from time to time.

The cobbles on the main street had been filled in and it was no longer as unstable to dance on the main street.  Always useful in some of the Stanton Harcourt dances we were dancing out.

The traffic caused some concerns.  While dancing, an impatient taxi driver bibbed the dancers.  While the dance was still going on he also tried to drive through.  It does amaze you sometimes how people will try to drive through a set.  After a stern talking to he, again, nearly drove over a morris dancer.

Moving further up the street we danced outside the Black Bull pub, the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and back outside the Fleece.  Unfortunately the Bronte Parsonage museum was snowed over, and so we were unable to dance there.  More snow was in place at the Black Bull but the dance spot was lovely and clear making it a great dance spot, and the Edinburgh Woollen mill, while being a slightly smaller spot had lovely staff who brought out whisky, and shortbread for all to share.

Whisky and shortbread at the Edinburgh Woollen mill

Whisky and shortbread at the Edinburgh Woollen mill

The day ended with dancing at the Fleece with a mass dance of Bonny Green including 400 Roses, Oakworth and Leeds Morris Men.

Beside the wind that chilled everybody to the bone, the day was rather good.  Leeds had a side of their own, which compared to previous dance outs in Haworth included slightly fewer people.  Most likely due to the cold weather.  We hope that the weather does improve, but signs of the snow melting and the roads being clear and dry was a positive sign for future dance outs.

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Leeds Morris Men AGM

Leeds Morris Men’s AGM – 23.03.13

The AGM began as usual with a meet up at noon in Whitelocks, just off Briggate. Discussions were predominantly centred on if we were actually going to be able to dance at all in the wintry, -2℃ and snowy conditions. Not particularly perfect for Cotswold!

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The conditions were far from perfect

Plans began to be formed, with Moss ringing Radio Leeds in an attempt to let as many people know that we were still going to be dancing out in a hope to achieve some spectators and maybe an offer from somewhere to let us dance out of the cold. Jonny & James were also hitting the social media through Facebook & Twitter in a similar attempt.

We decamped to an area just outside the new Trinity shopping centre where there was a clear patch of ground whilst we sent in some willing volunteers to kindly ask if we were allowed to dance inside Trinity itself.

The initial dances went well with Paul dancing his out for the 1st time (congratulations Paul!). The Stanton Harcort dances looked good with people enjoying them and looking forward to the new addition into this year’s repertoire. We were limited to only hanky dances however, as the sticks had been left behind that morning, oops.

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Leeds Morris Men brave the cold weather to dance outside the new Trinity shopping centre

The discussions with Trinity didn’t go too well. We were told that it shouldn’t be a problem, had we filled in a risk assessment the week previously. However, the power of Twitter came through (with some help from Katie Bolton of Briggate) and The Light shopping centre offered to take us in out of the cold. A flurry of messages and phone-calls, coupled with a swift drafting of a risk assessment over a very nice pint in the North Bar, meant that our 2nd dance spot would be much warmer and drier than the 1st.

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A swift drafting of a risk assessment over a pint

Risk assessments exchanged, we assembled inside the lower auditorium in The Light for the dancing. Moss was particularly enjoying the acoustics of the venue, announcing the dances with booming, echoing joy to the onlookers from the nearby restaurants and cafes. Twitter came into its own once again with most of the restaurants and cafes posting pictures online and spreading the word about Leeds Morris Men.

The dancing culminated with 2 large set dances of Jockey To The Fair Jig (Ducklington) and Bonny Green Garters (Bampton).

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Impressive set for the Jockey To The Fair jig

We then moved onto Midnight Bell with a couple of pit-stops en-route. This did cause a few members to become slightly waylaid but the AGM began on time with the late arrival apologising when they finally arrived.

The AGM saw the election of 2 new officers, Alastair Hutchinson as Squire and Steve Fox as Treasurer (congratulations to both). James Baldwinson and Paul Hurley were both voted in as full members of the side (congratulations also to both). Aside from Joe kicking over Moss’ tankard, the AGM ran smoothly with a nice selection of sandwiches, wraps & chips to feed the hungry morris men and quieten the room for 15 minutes or so.

The day concluded with a selection of dances inside the Midnight Bell. The limited space (and the bottom step of the stairs) made the figures a tad cramped, especially when Moss decided to lead willing members of the crowd through the middle of the set.

A big thank you needs to be said to all who came, for persisting through the less than ideal weather conditions and making the day incredibly enjoyable. Extra thanks goes to The Light (and those involved in organising the location) for allowing us to dance in the warmth & dry.

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IVFDF Sheffield

IVFDF, Sheffield – 02.03.13
Hosts: Sheffield University Ceilidh Society

The February morning in Sheffield had an excited buzz in the air. Folkies were starting to gather around the city centre, some a little worse for wear after the previous night’s ceilidh with Blackbeard’s Tea Party. After a somewhat pointless trip across the town centre to let the organisers know that Leeds Morris Men had arrived, we were told that we needn’t have bothered and were sent back across town to where we began.

The dance spots were all really nice with ever increasing crowds as the day progressed. The dancing we saw from all the invited sides was really good. Boggart’s Breakfast in particular, were on fine form with some impressive air-born stick swapping and technical stick percussions.

Leeds finished the organised part of the day with a combined Jockey Jig alongside Jig crew and a mass-dance of Bonny Green with the remaining sides at the final dance spot. We quickly popped into the Winter Gardens for an impromptu couple of dances as Geoff had decided that, “It looks nice in there”. And it was indeed very picturesque and a nice way to round off the day.

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Leeds Morris Men – Look at those lines!

Some of the side headed off home, whereas a large number stayed around to get involved in the IVFDF events that were happening in the evening; gigs, drinking, sing-arounds, drinking, rapper crawls, drinking, etc. etc.

 

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Grenoside – Mock execution during the dance

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Jig Crew – Getting some “good air”.

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Rhubarb Festival – 23/02/2013

Rhubarb Festival
Hosts: Rhubarb Tarts​ (Molly)

Teams:
• Leeds Morris Men​ (Cotswold)
• Briggate ​(North West)
• Slubbing Billys ​(North West)
• Thieving Magpies ​(Border)
• Wayzgoose ​(Border)
• Hornbeam​ (Molly)

Dancers:
• Rob
• Alastair H
• Ben
• Jonny
• James W
• James B

Musicians:
• Mark
• Brian

The weather was a typical February day in Wakefield, but even though it attempted to snow nothing actually laid on the ground.

There were 3 locations for the dancing. The indoor market was cramped and had minimal spectators, whereas the outdoor location at the market offered much more room and a smattering more onlookers. The best spot of the day by a country-mile was the Bull Ring location. This was situated in the centre of a circle of local food stalls which included a bar offering some very fine Rhubarb Blonde from Ossett Brewery and a wealth of awe inspired (maybe) spectators.Wakefield Rhubarb Tarts Day of Dance

Despite the cold conditions, Leeds Morris Men put on a fine array of dances with some of the newer members learning brand new dances right there on the spot.

Rhubarb Festival 2013 Wakefield

Notable points of the day included the Slubbing Billys not being happy with the floor surface inside the market. The combination of the smooth floor and their irons didn’t mix well, so they decided to dance outside the market on the flagstones instead. Unfortunately this surface proved to be not much better, as early on in their 1st dance one of their dancers took a quite spectacular face-plant into the pavement. He did manage to quickly get back to his feet and finish the dance without any lasting injury it seemed, so all OK in the end!Rhubarb Festival 2013 Wakefield

We also found out further insight into Jonny’s personality…He dropped one of his churros (Spanish doughnut thing) on the floor and although we tried to encourage a dog to eat it, the dog refused. We tried to explain to Jonny that if a dog wouldn’t eat it, then maybe it wasn’t fit for human consumption?! Jonny, however, proudly proclaimed, “I’ll put anything in my mouth, me!”… Quite!

The day concluded with some mass dances. Jonny, James, Ben & Mark all flexed their

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dancing prowess by learning and joining in a Border mass dance. And I think that they did themselves proud, showing the versatility of the Leeds Morris Man.

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Buns and Roses WI

As the dance out season approaches, more and more events are coming up, such as the Rhubarb Festival on the 23rd February.  On Thursday the 21st we were invited to show off our skills and to show off some of the history and culture of Morris dancing for a WI group called Buns and Roses.  The talk took place at the Cosmopolitan hotel near Leeds bridge just off Briggate.  Several dancers arrived from Leeds, Briggate Morris, Rhubarb Tarts and Wayzgoose Border Morris.  The hotel offered one of their rooms where the powerpoint presentation was projected onto a wall explaining briefly about the history and myths of morris dancing.  There was also a demonstration of the different kits and styles of dancing.

Leeds Morris Men at the Buns and Roses WI

After the meeting each side danced one or two dances as a demonstration including the new(ish) Ascott tradition for Leeds.  As the time comes up where we will be dancing out more reguarly it’s important to get this streamlined as much as possible.

After demonstrating the dances it was time for the ladies of the WI to take part.  First they were taught the North-West dance Plymouth Reel by the Briggate women.  The clogs made a great resounding clonk on the wooden dance floor, which was full of dancers learning the moves.  After this Leeds taught the clappy bampton dance Glorishears with a room full of women holding paper napkins as handkerchiefs.

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At the end of the night as the room cleared Liggate Breeds, the new(ish) rapper side with members from both Briggate and Leeds took to the floor to perform their dance, albeit to a much smaller crowd.

One myth that was explored during the evening was the superstition that a woman, after wearing a Morris dancers hat will become pregnant by Christmas.  Several months ago during another WI meeting, Ali and little Jonny danced several jigs for a crowd in the centre of town.  Many members were trying on the hats unaware of the superstition, and were quite shocked about it when told.  Little Jonny was held outside the meeting room, until the meeting to be used as an example of a morris dancer, but during the lecture when little Jonny was mentioned a woman stood up at the back; the woman who had worn his hat at the previous event was rubbing a bump.  Little Jonny was speechless, however she wasn’t actually pregnant, and it was all just a big ruse to wind him up.  Mirth was shared by all.  Little Jonny bears no responsibility for any pregnancies experienced in the months following the wearing of his hat.

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Dance Out Season 2013

There are only a few months left of the practice season 2012-13.  It won’t be long before Leeds Morris Men start dancing out again.  When details of dance outs are finalised they’ll be placed on the blog, and the main Leeds Morris Men website.

We hope to see you out at one of our Thursday Dance outs starting in May.

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