mudcat.org: Scratch Morris sides
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Scratch Morris sides

Related threads:
Help me undestand Morris Dancing (79)
Morris Dancing in US/Canada? (26)
Morris Dancing in America (51)
Steve Last/Morris Men@ Bull 19/04 (65)
Morris Dance query (6)
Hexham Morris - 25th Birthday (16)
Clubs and Morris in Oxford? (19)
'May' in Morris dancing? (31)
Folklore: Future of Morris Dancing? (27)
Origin of Morris Dancing (66)
Singing in Morris tunes (34)
Folklore: Morris mystery (8)
Morris dancing - what's it about ? (65)
Seattle Morris (7)
what's this uproar about Morris dancing (22)
This Dangerous Business of Morris Dancing (20)
morris dancing video (12)
The origins of Morris Dancing (45)
Morris Dancing in Hull (35) (closed)
Lyr Req: When this morris dance is over (27)
Morris Dancing Rocks! (34)
morris dancing jokes (7)
Hey- want to see some morris dancing? (12)
Morris Dancing? (25)


Wyrd Sister 03 Sep 04 - 04:43 PM
Bernard 03 Sep 04 - 04:49 PM
Liz the Squeak 03 Sep 04 - 04:51 PM
Manitas_at_home 04 Sep 04 - 03:29 AM
GUEST 04 Sep 04 - 06:21 AM
Wyrd Sister 04 Sep 04 - 01:50 PM
Folkiedave 04 Sep 04 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 04 Sep 04 - 09:23 PM
Liz the Squeak 05 Sep 04 - 03:52 AM
jonm 05 Sep 04 - 04:15 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 04 - 08:14 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 04 - 08:19 AM
Folkiedave 05 Sep 04 - 08:26 AM
ced2 05 Sep 04 - 02:10 PM
M'Grath of Altcar 05 Sep 04 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,nikkih 05 Sep 04 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 05 Sep 04 - 08:09 PM
Geoff the Duck 05 Sep 04 - 08:16 PM
Geoff the Duck 05 Sep 04 - 08:37 PM
Geoff the Duck 05 Sep 04 - 08:42 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM
Geoff the Duck 06 Sep 04 - 05:01 AM
Sttaw Legend 06 Sep 04 - 06:56 AM
Mrs.Duck 06 Sep 04 - 01:35 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 04 - 02:03 PM
Folkiedave 06 Sep 04 - 03:16 PM
GUEST 07 Sep 04 - 03:38 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 07 Sep 04 - 01:19 PM
Wyrd Sister 07 Sep 04 - 02:29 PM
Les from Hull 07 Sep 04 - 02:40 PM
Folkiedave 07 Sep 04 - 03:06 PM
alanww 07 Sep 04 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 07 Sep 04 - 06:49 PM
jonm 08 Sep 04 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 08 Sep 04 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Jess A 08 Sep 04 - 06:18 AM
GUEST 08 Sep 04 - 06:58 AM
GUEST 08 Sep 04 - 07:08 AM
GUEST 08 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM
Geoff the Duck 08 Sep 04 - 08:23 AM
Les from Hull 08 Sep 04 - 08:45 AM
Folkiedave 08 Sep 04 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck - don't know where my cookie 08 Sep 04 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 08 Sep 04 - 07:18 PM
Folkiedave 08 Sep 04 - 07:37 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 09 Sep 04 - 07:15 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 04 - 05:02 AM
AggieD 10 Sep 04 - 06:46 AM
Paco Rabanne 10 Sep 04 - 07:02 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Sep 04 - 07:08 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: Scratch Morris sides
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 04:43 PM

Here is a letter sent to the Morris Ring Circular Number 46, Spring this year and therefore referring to 2003.
Comments please!


"This is the time of year that we review the highs and lows of last season and make plans for next year. There is ( quite rightly) some debate within the morris movement about how we maintain standards. However, most of us agree that we should avoid giving ammunition to those members of the public who are all too ready to mock morris dancing. In this regard, two events last summer caused concern to a number of dance sides and festival organisers. Both involved unscheduled performances by 'ad hoc' dance teams. Neither did anything to enhance the reputation of Cotswold Morris. We witnessed both, and have been encouraged by a number of people to raise this matter openly.
The first event, at Sidmouth Festival, involved 'Motley Morris'. Not the established border side of the same name, but a random group of dancers who were not even in kit and who had clearly made little or no effort to standardise their dancing. Nevertheless, they danced at an official performance spot alongside invited teams, from England and overseas. Sidmouth calls itself 'First Amongst Festivals' and has a justified reputation at home and abroad. Consequently, members of the public, and international dance teams, could assume that the cheerful shambles of Motley Morris represents an acceptable standard for English traditional dance reinforcing the poor public image of Morris dancing.
Although their stunt backfired, at least Motley were well-meaning. The same cannot be said of 'Scratch Morris' who disrupted another excellent festival at Whitby. In past years their stunts at Whitby have included 'gatecrashing' the 1999 dance finale photo (which was meant to be used as the millennium programme front cover), and offending many by starting to carry a mock coffin in the parade. This year, they invaded the parade, barracked and attempted to trip dancers from another team, and 'gatecrashed' the finale at the bandstand after being explicitly told by the dance coordinator not to perform there. They had clearly set out to annoy Organisers and performers alike.
There is a long history of fooling in Morris and the best teams (Great Western, Windsor etc) can hardly be accused of lacking in humour. Their comedy, however, is an adjunct to the dance. The clown on the high wire is the best acrobat, not someone larking about and bringing the show into disrepute. As the squire of one team said to us ' there are enough people taking the mickey out of Morris dancing without morris dancers doing it'. Every experienced Morris Fool knows that there is a fine line between being funny and silly. This stuff is well the wrong side of the line.
There may be debate about the value of such performances on aesthetic or historical grounds. After all, some of these folks are experienced dancers. They may genuinely believe that what others regard as their tatty kit and their erratic dancing are representations of the anarchic, anti-authority spirit of the "real" Morris tradition. We should try to avoid becoming embroiled in a sterile internal wrangle, and think instead about what the public might want to see. Roy Dommett wisely observed (albeit in a different context) that what matters is not so much what dancers think, but whether they perform what the audience enjoys watching. Judging by the hostile reception they received from the crowd at Whitby, Scratch Morris still have a good deal to learn about pleasing audiences. Be that as it may, their habit of wilfully disrupting performances by booked teams at public dance events is wholly unforgivable.
Best wishes"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 04:49 PM

Rather pompous... making a valid point, but badly...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 04:51 PM

Hmm... at least when Hammersmith disrupt a dance, they do it in full and proper kit, with the good grace to accept it back when it happens to them (even if it's a giant doing it!)

One day, someone is going to turn on the likes of Scratch Morris and it's not going to be pretty or a good advert for Morris dancing.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 03:29 AM

Just a point,the Motley Morris at Sidmouth is, in fact, very well established and has been running for at least 20 years. It's a good opportunity for people to learn new dances and refresh their knowledge of old ones.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 06:21 AM

This is extracting the urine, it's not a serious letter, IS IT?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 01:50 PM

I'm afraid it is a very serious letter, faithfully transcribed. No catheters inserted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 02:18 PM

The letter was serious and was first published in the Morris Federation newsletter. I was unaware of it being republished elsewhere.

I can only agree with the sentiments wholeheartedly.

When Morris dancing is treated so badly by the media in general (and often deservedly so) then to give people the opportunity to mock it further seems daft to me. Some people treat their traditions seriously (the rest of Western Europe for example)and are treated equally seriously by their media. We often don't, and thus we get the media we deserve.

As for giving people the opportunity to learn new dances I am all in favour. But then to show the public an ill-practised, recently-learnt, dance? Why? Poor singers do it and they remain poor singers.

If people need to behave like prats perhaps they could do it in the privacy of their own homes.

Incidentally the person who wrote the letter was happy to include his name. Why has it been omitted?

Best regards,

Dave Eyre
Sheffield City Morris.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 09:23 PM

I have gone along to watch the Motley Morris during Sidmouth week for many years, but am unaware of any 'stunt' they were involved in last year. This year I decided to get more involved and took my drum along, and it was great.

I feel that there is a basic right to be an amateur, fundamental to the British psyche - in an environment where there are lots of polished performers, dozens of well rehersed and uniformed groups there has to be a place for those who arrive without a team, without 'the right kit' - and the Motley Morris provides it.

The dancers do go wrong sometimes, they are not always in step and their performance of the steps varies - but why is that a bad thing?

Are we so fixated with Performance Art that the dance is not important? As for 'the audience' - we don't have to accept a TV mentality, total separation between performers and audience is a very modern concept. So is the Morris Ring come to that.

I am a singer - but I do not perform for an audience, I expect the involvement of others, that is Folk.

The Motley Morris is just people being there and doing the dances for the dance - not for the side - not really for the onlookers, just for the joy of it.

They have not disrupted other sides or performers, not that I have ever seen - I have never even seen a dancer get into a pet, or an argument of any kind. I have seen them demonstrating steps, explaining the order of the dance, first one person then another, so as to make the best they can of their diversity.

That is not anarchic behaviour - that bit of the promenade that week is possibly the only bit of truely democratic ground in the country.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 03:52 AM

Actually, I've seen a world reknowned (sp? - it's a bad day) team dance, in a highly public format, using different styles within the same dance. It all depends on whom they learned the dance from. Two part (i.e., not complete) teams combine to form one whole team and they deliberately stick to their own style.

At least Motley admit to being bits of allsorts - that's what Motley means!

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: jonm
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 04:15 AM

When the morris is done abroad, both local folkies and the general populace love it - it has the tradition and obvious history in the movements and the music, but it also has the vigour, violence and often the precision that European folk dances lack, even though they are taken vety seriously by their public and their media.

On a world-class stage like a major festival, reported in the international press and televised, English traditions need to be presented at the highest possible standard - quality music, precise, vigorous dancing by well-practised sides, where only those teams with a track record of quality performance are invited. Anything less is inviting the press to ridicule the whole folk community.

We need to be taken seriously by audiences, particularly on a major stage, even though I know of no morris man who actually takes himself/herself seriously. It is more than possible to have a laugh while putting on a high-standard show. This is what ALL the other teams at ALL the other festivals were doing!

I dance with three Ring clubs who all put on good shows while having a good time. Unfamiliar dances get practised at pubs with no audience and we turn up the wick for a good crowd. I have also danced or played with half a dozen Open/Federation sides with the same philosophy.

There is a place for the motley morris - it's good fun, but, since it's not done for the benefit of the audience, why not do it away from crowds? I have danced with scratch teams in the past most enjoyably, although they were generally made up of dancers with enough ability and experience to put on a credible showing even when performing dances for the first time (!) - and we all made the effort to turn up in kit!

The Hinckley Bullockers go out on the Saturday nearest to Plough Monday. The dances are simple, most men have only practised them once beforehand, the kit is basic but distinctive (most men could knock it up from what's already in the average morris wardrobe) and the performances are entertaining and anarchic, increasingly so as the beer wears on. Dancing is done to small audeinces who enjoy the anarchy, but recognise from the "team" element that this is intentional. Any old scratch team with random kit or no kit doesn't have this - and the Bullockers are performing in small villages.

The One Day Wonders are another side - they get together on a Friday night once a year, seven dancers and a musician, and an appointed foreman teaches half a dozen dances nobody has ever done before. On the Saturday, the team goes out and performs those dances at pre-booked venues. The "buzz" of the unfamiliar is there, but the standard of dancing is extremely high.

Dancing unfamiliar dances with new friends is good fun and most enjoyable, but it's place is in massed morris or away from critical audiences. On an international stage, the only way to give credibility to the tradition (something we need if we are going to attract new recruits) is for performances to be of the highest possible standard.

My equally opinionated two penn'orth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:14 AM

"Fifty years on and the Morris Travellor seems set to provide comfortable, reliable transport for some years to come. It's been said before that the Morris Minor was a vehicle ahead of its time. Who would have believed fifty years ago that we'd be talking of the Traveller as everyday transport in the 21st century"

So please don't scratch the sides respect them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:19 AM

Readers of Practical Classics magazine have voted on their top 100 favorite cars, and top of the pile came the Morris Minor beating other favourites such as the E-type and the MGB.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:26 AM

Ann,

This basic right to be an amateur that you believe in - who are the professionals?

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: ced2
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 02:10 PM

Do scratch morris sides have fleas? If so I really pity them, in addition to the leg-bell affliction to have fleas must drive them to distraction. Come to think of it does that not explain something?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 03:08 PM

Not many morris tunes are minor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,nikkih
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 07:38 PM

when I first went to Whitby the scratch morris was made up of morrismen who had turned up without the rest of their side/team and who wanted to dance. They got together and made up a team for the week and performed Cotswold morris. They were all good dancers, enjoyed the week and the audience showed their appreciation with a generous contribution to the 'bag'. In recent years it has become something else that is not as well received and is at times as previously mentioned an embarressment to the morris world.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:09 PM

The professionals?

Anyone who wants to be - apparently.

It seems that these days there is no room for doing things on an ordinary level, just for the enjoyment of it.

Surely at Sidmouth, where there are places people can go and pay money to see morris sides go through their hopefully polished and perfect performances, there should be somewhere for the waifs and strays who just like dancing.

Anyone offended by the happy souls they find dancing or playing for one hour (6.30pm onwards opposite The Marine)need only shield their eyes and pass on.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:16 PM

I'm not really sure why this letter has been stuck into this forum. I don't actually see it as being relevant to anything. The letter itself is certainly either misinformed or mischievous and if it had been sent here by the original author (I don't know who that was) I would have regarded it as Trolling.
I assume that our respected Wyrd Sister is NOT the author of the original letter.

The letter appears to have the purpose of denigrating two morris dance teams. One which appears at Sidmouth Folk Festival and calls itself "Motley Morris" or something similar. The other being Whitby Scratch.
I have never been in a position (due to either finances or holiday allocation from work ) to be able to get to Sidmouth, so I don't know who dances there. I do, however, know a lot about Whitby Folk Week, as I have not missed a year there since 1981.
I arrived in Whitby the year I had finished University and made friends with an assortment of people. That first year I was invited to join the Friday end of festival parade by the musicians accompanying a country Dance display team. I can't after all this time recall what the dancers were called, but the musicians who made me welcome were Mick Peat and Barry Renshaw of the Ripley Wayfarers.
The following year I had started dancing with Boars Head Morrismen of Bradford. Before going to Folk Week, I was advised to take my morris kit along with me. I did so, and found myself dancing with Whitby Scratch.
I could at this point give you a brief history of Whitby Scratch Morris Team, but 22 years with the same dance side does not fit in a single paragraph. In fact, it would not even start to be covered by a pamphlet. It has covered friendships, marriages, births, deaths (Not ALL of these during the actual week), floods, scorching sunshine and some of the moments in my life which I am most proud of, in particular some of the best Morris Dancing I have ever witnessed. I have watched the children of Scratch morris men grow to be adults with children of their own.
One thing which the Whitby Scratch Morris Dance Team is NOT is Ad-Hoc. We have a long history of organisation and performing in public, in fact we have danced during Folk Week more frequently than any other dance team I am aware of. Our aims and goals in life are to entertain an audience and put on a show. Something which many "dance sides" do not do.
We are a "Scratch" team in the definition that we round-up stray moris dancers and invite them to dance out with us, but the core of the team are people who have danced together for up to two decades, which is considerably longer than the members of some "Booked" dance sides.
(THUS ENDS PART 1)
(several other bits to follow!!!!)
Quack!!
Geoff the (Whitby Scratch)Duck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:37 PM

Whitby Scratch (History - Part 2)
When I first danced with Whitby Scratch I was a member of Boars Head Morrismen (Bradford). We wore blue tabards and a 3 cornered hat.
I danced with the scratch wearing a 3 cornered hat and blue tabard.
Other people out dancing that year belonged to different morris teams. They did not wear 3 cornered hats. They danced dances I didn't know and if they did a dance I knew from Boars Head repertoire, they did a different version of it.
It didn't matter!
The audience - once it was explained to them - could understand that people who dance with an assortment of different dance teams should not be expected to do steps in the same way.
What the audience did appreciate was the fact that we were performing for THEM. We were not hiding away in a darkened room "playing with ourselves" we were out trying our best to entertain them.
Years have passed, and these days we have our own "team colours", but our agenda is still to dance to the best of our ability and to entertain an audience. Some people seem to have a problem that our crowds enjoy what we do. I cannot understand why! Perhaps it is because our collection is no longer handed to the organisers of the folk festival. It buys T-shirts for the dancers instead.
Quack!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:42 PM

It's getting VERY late - further parts to follow another day.
Quack!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM

What if Morris' sides don't itch?

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 05:01 AM

We used to itch when we spent the week in tents on a temporary campsite with very limited washing facilities. Things are not so bad since I have been in cottages with proper baths and showers.
We did try to sell a "Scratch and Sniff" book one year, but there were no takers...
Quack!!
GtD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 06:56 AM

The Morris Traveller had automatic de-lousing fitted as standard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 01:35 PM

I'm a little unsure where the idea that the Whitby Scratch Morris is not well received. They draw an audience wherever they go and they all seem to enjoy what they are watching. Obviously since meeting Geoff my involvement with the Scratch has changed from audience to participant as a member of the band but all I see is a lot of people getting a lot of pleasure out of watching some extremely good dancing!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 02:03 PM

Why on earth has this thread been started. Some one obviously has an axe to grind but this is not the place to do it. The various joke posts (NOT malicious may I add) have tried to ease the tension.

"Wyrd Sister" you've stated you are not the author so WHY put it in, it appears just to cause ill feeling which you have certainly achieved, if you have a gripe, pick up the phone or use PM.

I am not a follower of Morris but I thought it was for fun and entertainment, I was not aware it had become a den of political intrigue and one up-manship.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 03:16 PM

Ann,

If by professionals well-practised sides who perform for the benefit of the public then say so.

If by amateur you mean sides that haven't bothered to practise together performing for the benefit of the public then say so.

GeoffTD, can you address the specific complaints since here is one side of the story taken from the first posting.......

"In past years their stunts at Whitby have included 'gatecrashing' the 1999 dance finale photo (which was meant to be used as the millennium programme front cover), and offending many by starting to carry a mock coffin in the parade. This year, they invaded the parade, barracked and attempted to trip dancers from another team, and 'gatecrashed' the finale at the bandstand after being explicitly told by the dance coordinator not to perform there".

So did Scratch Morris with its long history gatecrash the finale photo; did they carry a coffin and if so why; and did they in 2003 invade the parade, barrack etc....and were they asked not to perform somewhere and then do so? And was it funny, serious or what?

I am happy to read both sides of the story.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 03:38 AM

Well their's a good bit to go at their, the plot thickens, any answers anyone please?

I will be looking at Morris teams in a whole different light.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 01:19 PM

Hi Folks,

Sorry to play Johnny-come-lately, but I've been off the net for the past few days, and unable to contribute to this thread until now. May I please make a couple points, and try to clear the air a bit?

First point. Although I didn't write the letter which started this controversy, the author did consult me during the drafting, because I also witnessed the events it describes. The concern which underlies this letter is shared by a considerable number of people. Some Mudcatters may believe this concern is misplaced, but please accept that it is genuine.

Second Point. I am entirely in favour of informal, impromptu, or "scratch" Morris teams performing in public. I think they are a Good Thing, and should be encouraged. So do the organisers of the Sidmouth and Whitby festivals, who clearly state that any such teams are very welcome to participate – PROVIDED that they do not interrupt, or disrupt, the official dance programme. This is the key issue.

Now for the air-clearing.

The Sidmouth incident took place during a programmed display in the garden behind the Anchor inn, in front of an audience of at least 200 people. The headline act was an excellent dance team from Spain, who put on a stunning show. Supporting them was a bog-standard English Morris team, trying hard to perform their dances as well as possible for the enjoyment of the punters.

Motley Morris turned up uninvited, just before the start, and asked if they could dance as a part of this show: the MC said "yes".    In fact, Motley were not at all bad, as scratch sides go. Most of them could dance a bit, and quite a few seemed to know the particular dance they were supposed to be doing (though not all of them knew the same version of it). But inevitably, their sets were fairly ragged, and with most of them wearing ordinary beach clothes, rather than Morris kit, the overall impression was fairly shambolic. On the promenade, or out in the street, a performance like this would have been perfectly appropriate. But as part of the official programme of an international festival, it was, I believe, out of place.

As regards the Whitby incident – well, there is a long history of scratch teams dancing there, and I'm all in favour of them continuing to do so. What kit they wear, and what style they dance in, is entirely their own business. But gate-crashing official festival events and deliberately disrupting the dancing of other teams is not acceptable, and they should stop doing it. End of story.

Wassail!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 02:29 PM

A few clarifications: I am not the author of the letter. I did not include the author's name as I wanted comment without any side issues arising. I did not wish to gripe or cause ill-feeling or troll or other nasty things. I was aware of this letter but few of the other people I spoke to in Whitby this year had seen, heard of or read it. I thought that since some of them were those being written about it was only right they have the opportunity to do so, and to reply if they wished.
If I have mistaken the nature of 'discussion forum' so be it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 02:40 PM

I've always thought that Whitby Scratch Morris were one of the most entertaining sides that I've seen at Whitby. Years ago (when it was an EFDSS festival) I was always happy to contribute to their bag, and they easily collected more money for the Festival than any other team.

Later on, I was happy to join them regularly as a musician. I'm not particularly a Cotswold player but I'm happy to contribute both in and out of pubs to what is still a very entertaining team, who welcome new dancers every year and give them a chance to dance.

The comment about a hostile crowd is simply untrue. Whitby Scratch Morris get better crowd reaction than any other dance team I've seem in Whitby.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 03:06 PM

I do think it is a legitimate item for discussion for Mudcat. And I do know the author and I have asked him to comment - unfortunately it is probably his busiest time of the year,,,so it may be a week or so.

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: alanww
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 04:06 PM

Oh dear! Yet another Mudcat thread which is too big for its boots, fuelled by mischievous comments by unnamed GUEST(s?)! If there is a scratch morris side at a particular festival, which is recognised by the management of that festival, and it arguably oversteps the mark, then it up to the festival management to sort it out with the organisers of the scratch team! And that should be an end to it!
It certainly does nobody any good for Mudcatters to pontificate about it, thus generating bad feeling all round, which seems to be exactly what the unnamed GUEST(s?) seem to want!
"Dancing and singing, bell ringing ...!"
Alan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 06:49 PM

Hmm Folkiedave has got entirely the wrong end of the stick.

I don't mean anything to do with the public at all in any way -

Perhaps if I use an analogy - perhaps tennis would be a good one.

During Wimbledon there are the top players - battling it out after practising for hours every week, dedicating their lives to being the best, perfecting serves and buying the ultimate in top technology rackets, wearing whites with a discrete but visible to TV audiences logo.

They have an audience, but they don't really care, the audience is not important to them. They are there to be the best and would probably not be bothered if there was no one in the stands - in fact they might prefer it, less distraction.

All over the country there are parks with tennis courts, and there the amateurs meet to play. They go and play because they like to - they meet people and get a bit of exercise out in the fresh air. The next people on the court might turn up and watch, the last people on the court might stay for a while, passers by might pause, there might even be applause, but the players are there to play the game, because they like to. There might be some who are young and inexperienced, or old and getting slow - the youngsters might run and get the ball, the old might explain top spin or tactics, or offer to umpire.

Do you see what I mean? It is the interaction, the doing of the thing - and 'the public' are really irrelevant.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: jonm
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 03:01 AM

I'm not quite sure I agree with the tennis analogy, it's more a question of concerts vs. busking:

If you have paid for tickets to a public performance, your expectation is to see the best possible show. This is certainly what the tennis players provide, but their lack of interest in the audience (Ilie Nastase excepted!) is due to the competitive nature of the activity. If you go to a concert, you expect the performers to be well turned out and well practiced, entertaining to the best of their ability.

Busking is done to a transient audience - if you don't like it, you move on, you are in no position to demand your money back or to express disappointment with what you witnessed. If the buskers are poorly turned out and less well-practised, that is to be expected.

It is also the case that many impromptu street shows are more entertaining than formal concerts.

My issue with scratch morris teams is if they cross the boundary and participate in formal events where public expectation is particularly high. I must say, I have danced with many scratch teams at festivals and morris events, we have often outshone the "official" teams and have put on a highly entertaining show, but on none of those occasions did we try to gatecrash formal shows uninvited.

IF the Motley and Whitby scratch teams are guilty as charged, then while it is true that this is an issue the festival organisers must deal with, it is also the case that they are opening the whole of the morris to unjust criticism and/or ridicule (i.e. for the standard of what they do, not the nature).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 05:01 AM

Oh wow

Turning up at a scheduled event in a pub garden and being not bad at dancing but wearing ordinary clothes!! - I can see how that would deface the whole of Cotswold morris in the eyes of The Public.

I do find it amusing in a way - that some people can only thing of doing dancing or playing as something with an audience and money involved.

There must be other people who do folk things because that is what they do, surely?

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Jess A
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 06:18 AM

Anne,

nobody, as far as I can see from reading all the previous posts, has been suggesting that there is no place for Motley Morris or other scratch teams, or that the only reason for doing morris is for an audience and money. YES there are plenty of people who do all sorts of folk things because that is what they do for their own enjoyment, and that is fine.

BUT

plenty of people involved in morris are distressed by the fact that in England, morris is often seen as something to ridicule or be embarrassed about, whereas in other countries national dance teams are accorded a lot of respect. This may not be something that bothers you personally, but it does bother me!

When you put a scratch side (who by their own admission are just doing it for fun and by their nature can't be _that_ tight dancing-wise because they don't practice together) side by side with a booked team who have been working for months to polish their show, you are inviting comparison. Your average non-folky audience member might easily go away thinking 'if that is my national dance it doesn't look too slick compared with the romanian/swedish/tibetan team, oh dear, how embarrassing, is that the best the english tradition can offer?' thus reinforcing the idea that morris is something done by a bunch of enthusiasts for their own pleasure and not something that your average non-folky english person might want to admire or be proud of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 06:58 AM

"if that is my national dance it doesn't look too slick"
Now you are extracting the urine, come of cloud nine and stop trying to be elitist about people dressing up and dancing with sticks, which I dont have a problen with if thats what they want to do. It's not a national disaster, we dont have to call out the troops if they have the wrong clothes on, or indeed no clothes at all.
Just enjoy you are looseing grip on reality.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 07:08 AM

Intresting thread creep
But are not a lot of the scratch team regulars of The Tap & Spile wich has an intresting thread elsewhere


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM

they all need to grow up
stop being so elitist
and start to enjoy life


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 08:23 AM

I am known to sing in the Tap and Spile on occasion. My family are often with me. Les from Hull sometimes sings in the Tap and Spile. At other times in the Endeavour or the Black Horse. Apart from that I can't think of anyone else from Whitby Scratch who does anything other than pass through the Tap in the way every other morris team passes through when not dancing. (obviously this makes me part of a conspiracy to make folk elitist and exclusive??? I somehow think not!).

FolkieDave -
A coffin... belongs to a local celebrity name of Count Dracula. It was first seen being carried through the streets of Whitby carried by a number of men in black. I think it was advertising the Dracula Experience. For two or three years someone from the Scratch borrowed it from the Count and toted it during the final parade.
At no point has ANYONE suggested that it might have caused any offence, and I would suggest that any such suggestion is simply manufactured to suit somebody's attempt to denigrate our presence.
Personally I never really saw much point to the coffin. It took too much effort to carry and prevented at least 4 of the crew from dancing. That said, it is more appropriate to Whitby's legend of literature than anything else in the procession.

Tripping of dancers :-
NEVER. We are dancers and know the problems which can be caused by a fall during dancing. Nobody in the Scratch - or any other dance team I can imagine, would deliberately cause another dancer to fall. Mishaps and accidents happen, but no morrisman or woman would EVER deliberately cause one.

Right - I've got work to do, so may return to this discussion at some later point.
Quack!
Geoff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Les from Hull
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 08:45 AM

Start to enjoy life? Actually that's why I play with Whitby Scratch and sing and listen in the Tap 'n' Spile! Isn't it elitist to exclude people? We welcome any (male) Cotswold dancer and any musician and I've met lots of new friends this way.

Geoff's right - I never saw any Scratch member tripping dancers. I've only seen two dance team members who seemed upset with Scratch's attending the final dance display. On each occasion I thought they were having a laugh as it seemed so out of character. For the rest of it it seems that the dancers were glad to meet up with old friends from the dance fraternity.

It does seem odd that Whitby Scratch Morris are only now getting criticised for doing exactly the same things they've been doing for more than 20 years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 02:42 PM

Ann,

If you feel that audience is irrelevant than do it in the privacy of your own home. To me it is essential - though I have been known to perform in front of a man and a dog. They got as much of the "show" as the ten thousand did on another occasion.

Guest, Jess A has it precisely to my way of thinking.

Geoff - the original comments were:

"In past years their stunts at Whitby have included 'gatecrashing' the 1999 dance finale photo (which was meant to be used as the millennium programme front cover),

Did you?


and offending many by starting to carry a mock coffin in the parade.

I can see how this was an attempt at something though clealry not everyone appreciated it.....

This year, they invaded the parade, barracked and attempted to trip dancers from another team,

I accept that you didn't attempt to trip but what about the rest?

and 'gatecrashed' the finale at the bandstand after being explicitly told by the dance coordinator not to perform there".

Did you gatecrash the Bandstand. Were you told not to perform there?

I am not having a go at Scratch/Motley or any other side. I happen to think that well-practised morris is great to look at and that the opposite is also true. I am therefore happy to support the original letter writer in his general contention.

As for street clothes, no objection to them whatsoever and nowhere have I suggested such. Tyler's Men danced precisely like that and I loved them.

But if the original complaint is true then IMHO there is a case to answer...... but no compulsion....

Dave Eyre
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk
Sheffield City Morris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck - don't know where my cookie
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 03:52 PM

FolkieDave - Get a life.
I am NOT going to justify myself in the face of made-up accusations.
Whitby Scratch ARE and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN a part of Folk Week. We have ALWAYS been part of the final procession and have ALWAYS danced in the final dance display.
On certain years we have carried and escorted the Garland, collected officially and maintained order within the proceedings. We have asked no special treatment for these services to the festival and quite frankly have received none. Last year during the final approaches from before the Pier Hotel to th bandstand I did not see much of the procession. There was an obnoxious person driving a white van who was attempting t run into the collectors and the musicians belonging to the last team in the procession. I had to stand between him and them as a barrier, to give them safe space without him accelerating sharply up to them as he wes doing when I became aware of the situation. I also took the abuse from him after I very conspicuously borrowed pen and paper and wrote down his registration number plus description of the van and driver, so that if he did actually run over anyone I would be able to give the police full details.

A couple of years back the parade was cancelled with no given notice because some dance team complained that it was raining on that afternoon. There were several groups who had NOT been informed of this unprecedented decision. (I can recall very few occasions during my 22 years at the festival when it has not rained through the final procession. ) One of these groups who had turned up was the Childrens Orchestra, who in the light of poor weather had acquired Kazoos instead of their violins etc. They were very disappointed about the cancellation, and also were ready to process. Nobody had the honour or guts to actually arrive at the Crescent and speak to hem personally - all was via hear-say. I was asked by one of the parents if I could help, so did with pleasure. I spoke to the police officer in attendance, and he decided that he could not justify closing roads, but he would help us carry on. As a result I led the procession of children from the crescent to the spa.
Perhaps some of the people who claim to be running bits of the festival should take as much responsibility for the people who attend it as those in the Scratch do.
Subject closed.
Quack!!
Geoff the Indignant Duck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 07:18 PM

Sigh.

Folkiedave - Again you totally miss the point - have you ever heard the suggestion that men came from another planet? Not the mars venus thing. My personal suspicion is that men came on a club trip from Alpha Centaurii and got so drunk they missed the bus back.

I do folk - me and other people altogether singing, playing music dancing - can I explain it any simpler?

I am not claiming Copper Family status but my father's father played little devil doubt in a mumming play - somewhere around Youlgrave in Derbyshire I think, my mother's father was a good Irish tenor when not drunk, my mother's mother had a tendency to sing quite a lot and so do several of my aunts - my mother always sang around the house, but she is gone now - my dad played an autoharp in his youth but seemed to take no injury from it, and we had a piano in the house for my sister to play - I always favoured more portable instruments.

I do sing at home - and in the car, and in the garden - and when I go out it is to the folk club and I go to Sidmouth, even if only for one day in the year, every year for the last 26 years - so I can sing with other singers - does a pattern begin to emerge?

This year I took my drum and went to find the Motley Morris - and I bought a whittle - one of those three hole whistles. The fun is in joining in.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 07:37 PM

Ann

I didn't write "the audience is irrelevant" you did.

I question that. Simple enough. I happen to think that people often (but not always) do dance to entertain an audience. It isn't compulsory, but if you do it for an audience then to my mind you respect them and do it to the best of your ability, practised and together. "Scratch" IMHO is not really good enough. Otherwise you do it in the presence of consenting adults.

Geoff - I can only take the diatribe to mean that despite all your good works, that Scratch Morris did do those things.

Geoff - you are correct - subject closed. Unlike most who have written to this discussion (and thanks for that Anne I really do appreciate that you do it too)I am happy to sign my name to my opinions. As I always do.


Dave Eyre
Sheffield City Morris and Collectors Folk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 07:15 PM

Who is Morris, and why should we scratch his sides?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 05:02 AM

I'm back from my hols to this bloody hell !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: AggieD
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 06:46 AM

I have kept my silence so far, but our unamed GUEST has made my blood boil totally.

Les from Hull, if it isn't elitist, then why only male dancers?

Anne if you are involved with a regular team you will surely know the hours of practice that are put in by every side, mostly trying to perfect what they do. Many teams do go out & regularly dance to one man & a dog & it makes little difference to them as they do enjoy what they are doing & do so as much for their own pleasure as for a display. However I know how embarassed many teams are by scratch sides who insist on dancing in very public arenas, no matter how good the individual dancers are, they are still shambolic because they never practice together.

As FolkieDave has pointed out Morris & for that matter most folk music & dancing is ridiculed by the general public & the media, & many people have been striving for years to pull it out of the mire & into a respected form of entertainment.

While I do feel that people should enjoy the paticipation of all types of folk music & dance, I feel that if we as a genre are presenting ourselves to the world, then we shouldn't on very public occasions present ourselves as a load of bunglers. I am sick of people taking Morris as a joke. In England we have no other form of National dance & Morris is the nearest we come to it, so if you want to go out in a scratch side, then at least make the effort to make sure that you have some kind of uniformity in both what you wear & the performance that you give.

Angela


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 07:02 AM

All fascinating stuff! How come Hull folk club hasn't got it's own Morris team then chaps? Fancy starting one Les? jOOhn?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Scratch Morris sides
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 07:08 AM

Or at least erect a small billboard explaining just why you are not dressed all the same, and maybe doing slightly different versions of the steps, and just what a Scratch Morris Side is - and why you do it just for the fun of doing the dancing....

I had a Morris Major for a while once, and I parked badly and scratched the side...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 5 April 12:31 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.