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About this issue of "Morris Matters"

Summary: Vol. 31 Issue 1

Published: January 2012

Table of contents

  • “It’s Got Bells On” by Stewart Lee
  • Norris ‘Win’ Winstone MBE, 1913-2011 by David Robertson
  • Norwich: Dragons and Kemp – Tradition and Revival by George Frampton
  • Len Berry of Kirtlington Morris by Tim Radford
  • Blacking up and “Border” Morris by Roy Dommett
  • The Way of the Morris by Tom Moyser
  • Dance with Dommett by Beth Neill
  • Here’s a Health to the Barley Mow by Christine Dover
  • Playing the “Music-Over” for the ‘Health To The Barley Mow’ DVD by Laurel Swift
  • Roger Ring Morris by Andy Hilditch
  • The Olympics? We’re better off out of it. by Long Lankin


Welcome to 2012 – and how much has morris been high profile since I last wrote! I’ve heard references on the radio, on TV, on film and in the news.

In December 2011, Stewart Lee on BBC Radio 2 had a great selection of guests including John Kirkpatrick, Ashley Hutchings, Mike Heaney and Laurel Swift. So good to listen to someone not making fun of morris for a change. I’m printing his blog to give a flavour of the themes in the show.

In November 2011 Jarvis Cocker over on BBC6 music in conversation with Andrew Logan (featured in “The British Guide to Showing Off” film) was discussing the Norwich Kitwitches and morris dancing – wondering is it part of our psyche to dress up? See the Kitwitches mentioned in the article by George Frampton.

This issue includes a review of the film, “The Way of the Morris” and also one of the excellent DVD compilation, “A Health to the Barley Mow” along with the ‘insider’ musician’s view.

A bit late for this issue to seek out opinions on it, but thanks to George Frampton for also alerting me to the old debate which seems to have resurfaced in Colchester, where someone is objecting to Chelmsford Morris blacking up. Has anyone else come across it? I have included some thoughts from Roy Dommett touching on the subject.

I am really enjoying reading (but will not finish in time to do a review of it) the biography of Maud Karpeles which I mentioned in the last issue, “Singing and Dancing wherever she goes”. I am amazed by the long-term struggles and privations she and Cecil Sharp went through in their American travels 100 years ago. I want to quote one line: “a nation with such huge coal stocks and the best railway system in the world could find itself unable to cope with a few falls of snow…” – no, not England but America!

Alas, I have to include recognition of the deaths of two more characters in the morris world – we have lost both Norris Winstone (Win) of Kemp’s Men, a regular correspondent to this magazine, and Len Berry who helped to found the Kirtlington revival side and the Lamb Ale.

Barry Goodman has been responding in various newspapers to the lack of formal support for morris at the Olympics and others focus on the suggestion of flash mobs to promote awareness of morris dancing. I do hope morris gets a look in somewhere after all the publicity efforts. Long Lankin has some thoughts on it.

Whatever you will be doing in the run up to the Olympics, enjoy your dancing.


#Editor: Beth Neill
#Citation: Morris Matters, 31(1),




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