RIP Brian Collins

It is with sadness that we report the death of Brian Collins  on the 18th February after a long illness.

Brian was our musician for many years before handing over to Brian Stewart. He did, however, still come out to play for us on special occasions several times each year.

He will be much missed – do come along and raise a glass to Brian at his memorial tour on June 3rd

South Bank Day of Dance 2022

On 14th May we were joined by the Greenwich Morris Men, Old Palace Clog and Marlings Clog to dance at the George in Southwark then up the river from the Golden Hinde to Blackfriars Bridge.

Old Palace Clog
Greenwich Morris dancing “Constant Billy”
Stephen, Squire of North Wood

North Wood dancing “Country Gardens” (with thanks to Terry Holland)

Brian, North Wood’s musician
Greenwich (yellow/brown) and North Wood (green) dancing “Postman’s Knock”
North Wood & Greenwich Morris
Marlings Clog
Greenwich Morris dancing “Constant Billy”
Marlings Clog
Sticks a-flight!

Balance the Straw (with thanks to Anne Whitehouse)


The Lone Morris

We are indebted to the Bourne River Morris Men for this.
There has been much talk recently of Lone Morris, in which a single dancer performs in his or her own garden, as a means to maintain fitness and continuity of the Morris.
Following recent clarification of Government guidelines, it seems there may be scope to maintain a more familiar form of Cotswold Morris at least, and the following is offered for consultation.
Obviously we must respect the need to avoid non-essential outings. The Government has recognised that exercise is a necessary and permitted activity, and since, for many if not most dancers, Morris dancing includes an element of exercise this should be acceptable under current rules.
The second requirement is to limit the frequency to one such activity per day. Since most sides are completely knackered after one practice per week, this should again be easily met.
Since shopping for essential supplies is also permitted, it may be permissible to include a brief dance stand on the way to, or perhaps from, the supermarket to get a six-pack and a couple of bottles of ale. Supermarkets and other stores are not yet banning entry to customers with tankards, although these should be empty on entrance and much preferably also on exit.
We must also, of course, maintain the two-metre separation rule. This will bring a few wry smiles from Foremen who will undoubtedly point out that when they call for a wide set, this time they bloody well mean it and are backed up by Her Majesty’s Government.
It has been pointed out that, due to greatly increased separation in the set, some dancers might not be able to hear the music. Upon consultation, the overwhelming majority of musicians observed that most of the dancers took no bloody notice of the music anyway and they really couldn’t see this being a problem.
Stick dances bring a particular set of challenges. It was noted that, with a two metre separation, the machine gun rattle of sticking so characteristic of many dances would not be readily achievable with the average two-foot stick.
Dance historians have suggested that this might be an opportunity to reverse the decline of earlier stave or pike dances, in which a mere two metres is easily achieved.
The Royal Air Force have also asked that versions of Skirmish be avoided since, due the extra length, the tips of vigorously wielded sticks might exceed the speed of sound and they do not wish to get the blame for any consequent sonic booms.
Risk assessments have highlighted possible problems keeping spectators at safe distances. Meeting risk assessment requirements is a particular issue for some teams, who are not used to having spectators at all, let alone interfacing with them. For other teams the prospect of having spectators, and telling them to go further away, is proving difficult to reconcile and it may be necessary to seek further advice and counselling.
Hanky dances generally offer fewer problems. A warning has been issued to the effect that less fit dancers should consider avoiding corner dances since, due to the longer distances, they might run out of puff before they reach the other corner.
One issue yet to be resolved is the current requirement for over-70s to remain isolated at home until further notice. Due to age demographics, this may reduce some sides to one member dancing jigs in their back garden to a Sony Walkman.

Xmas Day of Dance 2019 – Pictures

Our annual festive tour on London’s South Bank accompanied by Greenwich Morris, Marlings (Edenbridge,Kent), Neap House (somewhere oop north) and Old Palace Clog (Croydon).

More pictures and video to follow

The Bridge saluted us just before we started dancing
Team effort twixt Greenwich, Neap House and North Wood with Brian on the pipe.
Greenwich Morris Men in Hay’s Galleria.
Old Palace Clog at London Bridge Pier
Marlings at London Bridge Pier
We weren’t the old ones dressed up
Contemporary architecture taken from the Thameside Inn
All too much for our Squire!
Marlings at the Golden Hinde

Dancing with Old Palace after their delightful audience participation.