08 September, 2008

Morris dancing: I'm with Oscar on this one

We were wandering through town the other day when we happened on this in the market hall.
Sorry about the poor quality of the picture - we didn't have our camera so this was taken on Tom's phone. I had to have a picture.

I just don't get morris-dancing. Whatever its long and illustrious (?) history in Britain, the fact is that it is usually a bunch of mostly bearded men wearing loads of ribbons skipping with bells attached to their feet. Oh and the music is lousy.

There were two worrying things about the morris-dancing on Saturday. First there were lots of women doing it. I'd always bunched morris-dancing with trainspotting, dungeons and dragons and other activities that strangely appeal to men. The second thing, was that there were some people wandering around with blacked-up faces. Sorry I didn't get a picture, but really there were. Several. I was a bit stunned. Why? And how do they still get away with it. I've looked it up on the ubiquitous Wikipedia and apparently this is Border Morris Dancing, an ancient form with origins shrouded in the mists of time. Which means no one is sure why they black up. On the one hand, perhaps it is a way to disguise oneself that has nothing to do with other examples of blacking up (Al Jolson et al), on the other hand, ??@!*!?%??!

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