2014 Autumn Buzzard

Come out, ’tis now September

In this edition:

A busy summercontents

Oilified rendering of a scene at the Stag's Head, Swalcliffe.

A scene from the Stag’s Head, Swalcliffe.
(The photo didn’t scale well, but I thought this effect was rather pleasant.)

What a summer! It’s been packed with dance outs, weekends of dance, fêtes and festivals. Since the last Buzzard, we have danced:

  • 15 dance outs at 13 different pubs and villages;
  • at 8 festivals / fêtes or street parties (including one impromptu set at Towersey);
  • at two weekends of dance.

We’ve also made three appearances in the local press – twice for Botley Festival, and in one article about Levellers’ Day (albeit in a photograph from some years ago.)

We already have many photos (and a few videos) from these events in our blog and, thanks to internet trickery, you can easily review some of what we got up to in each of May, June, July, and August. I also stumbled upon this video from a spectator at Oxford Folk Weekend.

There were a couple of events of particular note for being a little different from our regular outings. First, we were invited to run a music and dance workshop at the Oxford Folk Weekend. This was thoroughly enjoyable for the Havocs and, I hope (and it seemed), its participants: Jim made an able instructor, and Mick learned how to count to four slowly.

The second unusual event was one at which Cry Havoc has performed before, but not for many years, namely the Woodstock Mock Mayor Election. Being unfamiliar with the custom, there were a few surprises, but that only added to the fun. In particular some quick thinking was required when, the musicians having struck up Skirmish on a request from the town crier to play, it became apparent that the Mayor and Mock Mayor were expected to perform a dance with us. Thankfully, Jim was able to get Havocs, Mayor, Mock Mayor and some of his entourage to form up into rows and perform Bonny Green to the tune of Skirmish. All this was achieved in the space of only a few steps, and seemingly effortlessly – all in all, we came out of it looking pretty sharp, and not one of us ended up in the river!

A photograph of Cry Havoc leading the Old Woodstock Mock Mayor procession in an unknown year.

Cry Havoc leads the Old Woodstock Mock Mayor procession, some years ago.

As any pessimist will tell you, though, every silver lining has a cloud; in our case, it is that we have had to say farewell to some good friends. Firstly, this summer was Claire’s last with Cry Havoc, as she moved to Cumbria in August. She will be missed (as, no doubt, will her pease pudding at the Vale Ale), but we hope she may be able to join us for our ale – and I’m sure we’d be able to rustle up some kit if she were visiting Oxford any time when were dancing out! Secondly, we were sad to say goodbye to Karen and Phil as they left the Prince of Wales in Shippon, this summer. During their 5-year tenure at the pub, they have made excellent hosts for the Havocs, for dance outs, sessions, Christmas dinners, and, of course, our 20th anniversary celebrations. We hopefully gave them a good send off, and there have been sightings of them at both the PoW and the 8 Bells since handing over the keys. To the new managers, Cheryl and Kevin, we offer a warm welcome, and I’m pleased to say that they are happy for us to continue dancing at the pub.

Claire at the West Berks. Brewery

Claire at the West Berks. Brewery

Our AGM will take place this week, and then it’s on into practice season in earnest, next Thursday. Hopefully, we may be joined by a few new faces.

Thanks to Pete, Charlotte, and John for doing excellent jobs as Squire, Bagman and Foreman, to Jim for keeping our blog current with photos and videos, and to all those who have submitted photos and videos. Finally, thanks to all the Havocs, family and friends for turning up, dancing, singing and playing, and making our events over summer so enjoyable!

Meet the morriscontents

Name: Oliver Northcott

Current Status: student (15)

Special morris skills: youth!

Young Oliver

Instruments played:
violin, cornet, trumpet and concertina (very beginning!)

How long have you been a morris person?
About two years.

How did you become one?
Dad needed someone to remind him it was Thursday (practice night). And he said it was fun – it is!

Oliver and Nigel

Interests outside morris:
drama, scouting, swimming, dystopian novels and films, and teenaging (sleeping, eating, watching TV and YouTube, texting, etc.)

Are you a ‘folkie’ and, if so, is there a cure?
I think I am. There’s a cure?

Tell us about your other folkie activities.
Playing the fiddle in our school ceilidh band and folk group.

Do friends think you are strange?
Eccentric, maybe!

Reasons to be morris?
It’s important to keep traditions alive.

Morris turn-offs:
belly-dancers muscling in on morris!

Best morris moment(s) so far:
first dance out.

Most embarrassing morris moment so far:
dancing Jenny Lind from position 2 and realising I had never danced it from there before, and had no idea what came now or next.

This Morris lark is hard work!

Favourite dance and/or tune:
Vandals of Hammerwich.

Least favourite dance and/or tune:
not keen on Hunt the Squirrel.

Best place to do morris in:
indoors – on a sprung floor that’s flat and level!

What is ‘cool’?
A fan!

Tell us something about you that we don’t know.
From 4 until 13, I took tap and modern dance lessons.

What does next year have in store for you?

What advice would you give someone just starting morris dancing?
Go for it!

What question should I have asked you that I didn’t?
Where is the most exciting and interesting place that you’ve seen traditional dancing?

Sum up morris in one word: exciting!

Havocs at Wellingborough, 2014


Another collection of bizarre headlines from the last few months.

  • Giant inflatable whale too ‘religious’ for London park
  • Dinosaur rampages through Oxford city centre
  • US airforce PR officer found ‘astride topiary dog’
  • Pope Francis says Martians have a right to be baptised
  • Huge octopus causes travel chaos in central London
  • Sheep wearing national team jerseys ‘play’ friendly football match
  • Two piglets smuggled into Uganda parliament ‘tested for terrorism material’
  • Cycling does not cause infertility, British scientists find
  • Warwickshire man nose-pushes brussels sprout up Snowdon

And finally …contents

One for (recently-retired) Mick.
Early retirement