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Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris

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blacked up morris dancers abused in uk (323)
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GUEST,Ed 26 Aug 16 - 12:44 PM
leeneia 26 Aug 16 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Senoufou 26 Aug 16 - 01:17 PM
Senoufou 26 Aug 16 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 26 Aug 16 - 01:55 PM
RTim 26 Aug 16 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Ed 26 Aug 16 - 02:57 PM
Dave Hanson 26 Aug 16 - 02:59 PM
RTim 26 Aug 16 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,The unicornman 26 Aug 16 - 03:20 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 16 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 26 Aug 16 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Psychomorris 26 Aug 16 - 04:02 PM
RTim 26 Aug 16 - 04:09 PM
Backwoodsman 26 Aug 16 - 04:18 PM
Jeri 26 Aug 16 - 05:27 PM
Senoufou 26 Aug 16 - 05:41 PM
Leadfingers 26 Aug 16 - 06:51 PM
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GUEST,Morris-ey 26 Aug 16 - 07:05 PM
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GUEST,Senoufou 27 Aug 16 - 07:50 AM
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Subject: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 12:44 PM

According to the 'Shropshire Star':

"While groups who paint their faces black in the Border Morris tradition have said it has no racial connection, organisers have been approached by a group complaining about the practice.

The tradition dates back as much as 500 years and was used to disguise dancers so they would not be recognised.

The festival has never wished to cause offence to any person and as such, from 2017, we will no longer book sides that use full face black make up."

Full story here

Very bizarre and rather disappointing, I feel.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: leeneia
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 12:49 PM

Naw, it's simple common sense. If you want to disguise yourself, there are lots of ways to do it without adding to the tensions of an unhappy world.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 01:17 PM

This makes me hopping mad. Exactly who do they think will be 'offended'? Unless some black people actively object and say they're insulted (which of course they haven't) then why is it necessary to change a long-held tradition? There are border Morris sides with different colours on their faces (Red Leicester for example) but they too have long traditions of doing so.
My husband is black, as many of you already know. He always goes to the Morris festivals and has had his photo taken with many black-face sides. He thinks it's all absolutely super, and would be horrified if people thought he was offended!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Senoufou
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 01:24 PM

To prove my point, you can see 2 pics of him with two different sides, one blacked up, on my thread 'Sheringham Potty Festival'. He doesn't look offended does he??!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 01:55 PM

I would be more sympathetic if a group representing Black people complained, but as usual it is a group of white middle class "liberals" who have chosen to object on behalf of others. There are far more dangerous and disturbing acts of racism happening in our society at present particularly since the "Brexit" vote. but these groups have little or nothing to say about this.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: RTim
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 02:10 PM

The Chair of the complaining group - FREsh, is NOT white!! So get all your facts right first.
Until John Kirkpatrick's Shropshire Bedlam's came into being in the early 1970's there were less than half a dozen teams Blacking Up. That team has now changed to wearing masks as a form of disguise. They are moving with the times, as have many other Border teams who now use a colour other than black.
Much else has changed with the times in the Tradition of Border Morris (and Molly Dancing) that makes it totally different from the Tradition as it was collected.
Also Border Morris does not have 500 year history.
Shrewsbury FF is just trying to encourage teams to use other forms of Disguise to replace Black Face.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 02:57 PM

The Chair of the complaining group - FREsh, is NOT white!!

Well, according to their website, the chair is a certain Peter Roscoe who looks pretty white to me...

Admittedly their site is somewhat out of date, so that may have changed.

Shrewsbury FF is just trying to encourage teams to use other forms of Disguise to replace Black Face

Come on, that's not really fair is it? Saying we won't book you unless you change your ways is hardly 'encouragement.' It's banning them, plain and simple.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 02:59 PM

Be honest at least Tim, admit it's political correctness.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: RTim
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 03:05 PM

My mistake - one of the board - Mr. Cunningham - is not white.
And Dave - No I don't think it political correctness.
It is something that has concerned many for awhile and has even had teams change their practice.
And I tell you - it is not going to go away.
All teams have to do is change the colour or wear masks - and there is no longer a problem.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,The unicornman
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 03:20 PM

I travel round the country watching Morris men and will be very afended if this is true


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 03:33 PM

Would anyone be offended if black dancers painted their faces white?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 03:44 PM

It is for organisers who books acts to decide what is acceptable for their venue and for their programme.

Border does not have 500 years of tradition anymore than Cotswold does.

As someone said above, Shropshire Bedlams kick started the "revival" of, mostly bad, Border dance.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Psychomorris
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 04:02 PM

So lets take this political correctness, thin edge of a wedge further. No songs about killing. No political songs. No songs unless sung by a person from country of origin.This should also preclude non Irish persons from singing Irish songs. No bawdy songs because they can upset and cause offence. In fact no song which demeans or portrays anyone as being less than equal.
As far as I am aware the blacking up of faces was in keeping with workers of the land who generally had little access to water and spent a lot of time in the sun.Also those who worked in pits and mines. Some, such as my father, had very darkened skin as a result of years of outside work. Morris dancers and Mummers have maintained a Traditional approach which represents our cultural past. Shame on you Tim. But then many of the wider issues we face today in our Society, can be traced to people who show no PC backbone.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: RTim
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 04:09 PM

Psycho - you are well named - and you really don't know what you are talking about. It would be nice to know who you are rather than hiding behind you Avatar.

But you can believe what ever you want, and I assume you will.

Tim Radford (60 years dancer and follower)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 04:18 PM

Ive always understood that 'blacking-up' was to disguise the identity of the wearer, nothing to do with black-skinned people.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jeri
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 05:27 PM

Yank butting in here...
It's hard for me to see "blacking up" as relating to race. I always thought of it as chimney-sweep related, disguise-related. So no, it doesn't offend me -- on my behalf or anyone else's.

Good Soldier Schweik writes "Would anyone be offended if black dancers painted their faces white? "
Perhaps if white people had been slaves whose music was subsequently usurped by black people wearing white make-up at a time when white people were treated like second class citizens. Perhaps after that, some well-intentioned black person would be offended on behalf of the poor, voiceless whites and take it upon themselves to speak for them and demand the practice stop.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Senoufou
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 05:41 PM

I think black people are perfectly capable of making a complaint on their own behalf, without others doing it for them, which in its own way is rather disempowering. I also don't imagine for one minute that any black onlooker of border Morris has ever been insulted, offended or put out by the spectacle of blacked-up dancers.
Next we'll be hearing that the hobby horse offends bloody horses!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 06:51 PM

Equating 'black face' morris with ANY racist ideas is SO stupid -
the 'black face' tradition pre dates the Black Face Minstrel by at least a hundred years !

if a few of these PC pillocks did just a little research , life would be a lot simpler


!



the


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 06:57 PM

However blacked up, Morris Dancers never look in any way as if they are parodying black people. If they did, and were, the objection would be appropriate, but as it is it seems misplaced.

Still, green faces look just as good, until the little green men from Proxima Centauri turn up and object. Not worth making a fuss about it really. Traditions adjust.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 07:05 PM

As I said above, it does not matter what anyone thinks other than the people booking and paying the acts.

Personally, I do not believe there is much evidence of a long standing Border tradition and even less, before Shropshire Bedlams (BSB), of blackface.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jeri
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 07:20 PM

Somebody actually PAYS Morris dancers???


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 26 Aug 16 - 07:29 PM

If free tickets for the festival for dancers and partners counts, then yes. Festivals are expensive these days.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 01:49 AM

I think Eliza's (Senoufou's) clear-thinking and common sense has, as usual, hit the nail squarely and firmly on the head.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 02:45 AM

the 'black face' tradition pre dates the Black Face Minstrel by at least a hundred years !

Whilst is is just about possible to allow for a non-racist reason why a bunch of ill-educated beer-soaked clod-hopping agricultural workers from darkest 18th century Shropshire would dance with blackened faces (and maybe even excuse if there were) for so-called educated people to do so in this day & age by way of revisionist reactionary cosplay and expect their non-racist folk doctoring to be taken seriously is an idiocy of the highest order.

if a few of these PC pillocks did just a little research , life would be a lot simpler

What we see today is in no way traditional practise but a particular fashion of a minority of revivalist folk-enthusiasts dating back no further than the 1970s.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 03:59 AM

'The Black and White Minstrels', on TV in the sixties (and very boring we youngsters thought it!) was indeed impersonating black Americans of the Deep South. It's nowadays quite rightly seen as offensive. But Border Morris dancers aren't in any way impersonating any race of people. It's no different to the Guisers in Scotland at New Year. They're blacked up but in no way trying to represent black or African people.
If an entire group of black folk rose up in a body and made strident complaints about border Morris, one would be only to eager to change things. Nobody wants to insult, mock or offend other races. But they haven't. And won't. They aren't in any way annoyed. We saw quite a few black people at Sheringham, including a lady from Ghana, who chatted to us. Obviously she was enjoying the event, and not smarting from the pain of watching border Morris in all their glory!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Murpholly
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:13 AM

Have the australians tried to stop their endigonous people painting their skins white for their tribal rituals?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:52 AM

"Not worth making a fuss about it really. Traditions adjust."

Which of course is why they are "Traditions" eh Kevin?

Makes a bit of a nonsense of the phrase, "Well traditionally it is done this way". If tradition changes then whatever "it" is can be done however anybody likes it


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:52 AM

Whether or not one finds Border Morris's blacking up 'offensive' depends to a very great extent, I suspect, on whether one is a member of that strange bunch who actively seek to be 'offended' at every conceivable opportunity.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:56 AM

Quite easily solved, use green or blue face paint.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:05 AM

Took the very black Gambian kora player, Jali Sherriffo Konteh, to see morris teams after he has given the first of his concerts at Tenterden Folk Festival a few years back.
He asked me why some of the morris sides black their faces. I was a bit embarrassed but replied that it was to try to disguise themselves.
"Ah, yes." he said. "Do you remember that I took you see those Fula dancers at Busera when you were staying in my compound? They cover their faces in river mud for the same reason."
He was a bit quiet as we walked away, then he said, "Mr Smith....." which was always a clue that one of his feeble jokes was coming. "Look at your watch face.... it is black. Mine is white." We then collapsed laughing in one another's arms; a thing that happened frequently on his British tours.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Megan L
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:23 AM

What sickens me is when someone chooses to complain on behalf of a whole group of people whom they have never bothered even asking. People are individuals regardless of race creed colour or sexuality and should be treated as sentient beings able to make a complaint on their own behalf if they feel the need. To make a complaint on behalf of a group of people without asking each and every one of them is in itself a form of paternalistic racism which the British empire indulged in and apparently still does.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:26 AM

What a lovely story Vic! I know a few Gambians, and they're all smiley, jolly people.
There's a Morris side called Old Glory, who specialise in looking very sinister. They black up, wear lots of leaves and green stuff, and deliberately stare at the onlookers to disconcert them. It's brilliant. Needless to say, there are photos of my husband sitting with a group of them, all laughing their heads off.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:34 AM

Well said Megan! I agree with every word of your post!

Our local library refused to put on their noticeboard a small bit of paper advertising the local primary school's Nativity Play, giving times etc. I saw the article about the resulting fracas in the local newspaper, and asked about it when next choosing my books. The librarian maintained that it might 'offend any local Muslims'. My husband stood there grinning. (He's a Muslim) Had anyone asked some Muslims? No. Had any Muslims lodged a complaint? No. Later, there was a follow-up article in the paper by a group of Muslims from a mosque in Norwich, saying they would have had no objections whatsoever, and to please feel free to stick the notice on the noticeboard. But no-one did. The Edict had come from Norfolk County Council I presume, and their Word is Law.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:36 AM

Political Correctness..... generally speaking, I am in favour of it because it can draw a line under coarse stereotyping. How I hated all those Irish jokes that used to be so prevalent. They can seep into people's thinking and instill prejudices.
Sometimes, however, I think that it can go too far and in this thread the comment by Dick Miles when he writes Would anyone be offended if black dancers painted their faces white? which effectively was what was happening with the Fula dancers that I mentioned in my previous post. The post about the ritual face painting of native Australians is also relevant here.

Certainly political correctness does not seem to have reached The Gambia where I have been a regular visitor for 20 years. Often I am walking around with my friend, Lamin. He delights in taking me into compounds where I am not known. He will fling his arm around my shoulder and hug me tightly and introduce me as his brother. After all the puzzled faces develop, he will continue, "The only difference is - he was born during the day and I was born in the darkest part of the night!" Hoots of laughter and high fives all round! I'm not sure that I am entirely happy about this but I can't say that it feels unhealthy or wrong when it does it. He is a great joker and loves to hear people laughing and that is just one of the ways he does it.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 06:55 AM

I often got people calling out " Eh! Toubabe!" or "Toubabou!" ("Oi! White person!") when I was out and about in Senegal. I really liked it and always laughed. They'd even put their wrists next to mine to emphasise the contrast. This wasn't 'racist' at all, just commenting on a difference.

Our lovely Norfolk neighbour calls my husband his "lorng lorst brother", and hugs him. He then adds, "Ah bor, yew dornt know what colour the milkman wuz, dew yew?" My husband adores him.

But I do agree, Vic, some of the effects of Political Correctness have been very good. Demeaning jokes about women, the Irish (my mum was Irish) and mothers-in-law could be very hurtful, and I'm glad they aren't seen as funny nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 07:18 AM

We've got a friend from Ghana who always calls me "Pappa" and my wife "Mamma", in keeping with our relative ages.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 07:26 AM

" Eh! Toubabe!" or "Toubabou!" **
Oh yes! That is always what I am called initially in both Senegal & The Gambia and even when I am asked my name, they sometimes have difficulty with my name because there is no "V" sound in Manding. I was introduced to an old man once and he said, "That name is no good to me." I replied, "Well, I am the oldest son in my family." I was told "Ah! So your real name is Lamin!"
Both my wife and I are often greeted as "Tina" as they have no problem with her name. We have sometimes gone to West Africa with a friend whose surname is Shepherd and his accepted name became Tony Canterla (Manding for shepherd).


**Sometimes when I am called that, I reply, "Eh! Morfayou" (Black Person). Another call for hoots of laughter.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 07:50 AM

Ah Vic, I would so love to be in W Africa right now (sigh) My husband is in Abidjan at the moment, visiting his very elderly parents and enormous extended family. I'm so jealous.
I've only been to Banjul in Gambia, in transit for Casamance across the border. I've tried to learn a bit of Malinke, but my naughty husband teaches me rude phrases such as "Eh bo dah" (don't even ask, it's very rude)
I'm hoping to go to Adjame Nord (shanty district of Abidjan) next year. Can't wait!

(Sorry about this flagrant thread drift!)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 09:22 AM

And yet it does seem odd that there are no objections to ladies morris sides wearing black stockings, and I dare say that many ladies present at the festival will be wearing those hideous black leggings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 09:28 AM

Haha Bonzo, you're being Leggist!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 09:37 AM

But not Adrian Leggist!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 01:48 PM

I haven't ever heard of any objections to anybody painting legs, or any other bits, for that matter. It's just faces. I think you could black up all over your body with no objection, so long as your face is left your natural colour- or green, red, purple. Or whatever suits.

I've always thought it's a shame weren't a range of different colurs, instead of the pretty limited range of pale to dark we do have. Green, blue, red...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 03:29 PM

a little off thread - but as a newbie folkie I found it strange that few sides used blue face paint, as it's traditionally the Ancient Briton body colour.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 03:49 PM

Boycott Shrewsbury

Simples....

Obviously, it's wanting to become a folk festival for idiots...in my opinion, of course.

I've never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life.

What's next? Historical 'political correctness abuse' over miners who DARE to come out with their faces covered in coal dust?

After all, someone, somewhere, who is just loopy enough will find this racist/sexist/blackist/colourist, surely?


"Lizzie, you can't use the word 'loopy' any longer, nor DARE to suggest that there are folks who are thus, because they've brought in all the new rules which gives them orgasmic smilies over getting the majority to bend to their bizarre and troubled wishes"

Shame on Shrewsbury for being so utterly daft.

They *should* have said "Bugger off and research the history of Morris Dancing, then, come back to us and apologize for being so ignorant that you don't even know the history of what you are watching."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 03:50 PM

"Obviously, it's a folk festival for idiots...in my opinion, of course."

Correction to the above:

Obviously, it's WANTING to become a folk festival for idiots...in my opinion, of course.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:19 PM

I agree with Vic Smith when he said
"Political Correctness..... generally speaking, I am in favour of it because it can draw a line under coarse stereotyping. How I hated all those Irish jokes that used to be so prevalent. They can seep into people's thinking and instill prejudices."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Peter C
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 05:06 PM

Glos Folk was last year accused of being 'institutionally racist' (because I refused to list an African Drumming Workshop in our folk diary) Instead of a knee jerk reaction, which is what I believe has happened here with Shrewsbury FF (I may be wrong)I got the local Equalities Officer with the County Voluntary Orgs Group to check my reasons, and our policies etc. and got a clean bill of health. Just because some one complains it is not always necessary to make great changes!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 08:57 PM

Well blacking up may well have started as a means of disguise. And gay once meant happy and queer meant the way you felt after too much stout last night. Hanging on to blacking is as futile as hanging on to those meanings of gay and queer. These days, it means something rather unpleasantly Black And White Minstrels-ish at best. You can't get away from that. While you're dancing you may well be feeling that you're hanging on to an ancient tradition, but it's a good bet that most of the punters watching you will think you're merely imitating those black chappies. I suppose the Farageophiles among them might actually approve. And, after all, if you blacked up in order to confuse your employer, you did it because, well, black people all look the same...don't they??

You don't have to do it. Move on. Use woad or something. Don't be pig-headed.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 09:14 PM

We haven't heard from the festival organizers yet. Maybe their motives are not quite as they might seem.

From other threads here about "blacking up", it is clear that some of the people who do it (though only a small minority) are in fact fascists who see it as a calculated insult to people of African origin. Whether the insult actually gets through is beside the point: it's what the racists intend. And a much larger group of racists will be cheering from the sidelines while not dancing themselves; we have already had people in this thread using Daily-Mail-speak cliches about "political correctness".

So, putting a stop to the practice has nothing to do with its actual offensiveness to people of African origin. It's to do with its status as a shibboleth among white supremacists. The festival organizers could well not be trying to be inoffensive - they could equally well have the conscious intention of being as offensive as possible to those racists who want to hijack English folk culture to serve their agenda. In which case, more power to their elbow. Racist cunts deserve to be pissed on. Though it would be better if the festival were explicit about what they were doing and if they named and shamed the specific people whose party they were trying to spoil.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 12:01 AM

Thank G_d I missed out on college...
https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2015/10/12/individual-racism-alive-and-well/


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: BobL
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 03:14 AM

Shame that black morris dancers are so few, their opinion might carry some weight.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 04:52 AM

What does it say if blue, green, red, white ... faces are acceptable, but black faces are not?

If I was black I would be offended.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: sapper82
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 04:55 AM

I'd have thought better of Bedlams.
The PC SJWs appear to have used the classic tactic of forming a minute, totally unrepresentative group but used that group to make a lot of noise.
Sadly, the old saying, "He who shouts loudest gets heard soonest," is still true and also true, especially in the case of Fresh, is the saying, "Empty drums make the most noise."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 06:54 AM

Shrewsbury[ as i understand] is a very commercial festival, could they[ amongst other things] be seeking publicity? this is what they have achieved publicity for their festival.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 07:44 AM

I agree Good Soldier.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Jon Heslop
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 07:47 AM

OK, which do you find more offensive; A black faced morris team or the beer bellied "Engerland" tee shirt wearing neo-facist jeering at them?
I know where my money is.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: BanjoRay
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 09:20 AM

Didn't the word "morris" come from "Moorish?". I doubt if there are many racist morris dancers, but I suspect there may have been some racism in it's origins.......

I do know that the banjo is only just coming back into use among a few african americans after many years of repugnance from it's association with black faced white minstrels.

Ray (who knows very little about morris, apart from enjoying watching it over the years)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 10:52 AM

I do know that the banjo is only just coming back into use among a few african americans after many years of repugnance from it's association with black faced white minstrels.

The first part of this sentence is certainly correct but I wonder about the second part. I think that the 1960s black consciousness movement in the USA turned its back on early black banjo music as well as the blues because they considered it to be "slave music". They wanted to be associated with "Soul" music and the more sophisticated side of Gospel music. It has taken a different generation led by the superb Carolina Chocolate Drops to reclaim their heritage in those early days of black American music.
I remember being totally bowled over by the CCD on their first tour. Two memories stand out from that concert. One was when Dom Flemons told us that even the black performers were expected to black up in those Medicine tent shows and Hokum concerts. It was these sources that the CCDs were reviving. The other was when Rhiannon Giddens came to the mic and said that many of the plantation owners in her area of North Carolina were Scots driven out during the highland clearances and earlier and they expected their slaves to learn their Gaelic language, songs and music. She then sung a lament in Gaelic that had been collected from a black woman in North Carolina. Afterwards I rushed up to a fiddle-playing Gaelic-speaking friend of mine who was in the audience and asked him what her accent was like. "Pretty damn good!" was his opinion.

The problem is that social history can sometimes seem to have a very short span; I was interviewing Guy Davis the excellent American blues singer, guitarist and banjo player before the "Reclaiming the Banjo" tour and he said:-
"When I was a kid and first heard the blues, I thought it was the music of young Brits in electric bands. They seemed to be the only ones playing it."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 10:52 AM

Nothing wrong with black faced white minstrels.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 11:00 AM

I asssume you mean that as a bad joke, Bozo?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 11:41 AM

The point being missed by so many is that a festival organiser or any promoter can book, or not, and for whatever reason they choose, whoever they want.

If you want to dance morris at Shrewsbury you cannot wear blackface - it is not difficult.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 01:05 PM

They'll be banning folk songs with "gypsy" in the title or lyrics next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 01:41 PM

{{Swoon}}


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 02:02 PM

"I'm off with the raggle-taggle itinerants oh!" doesn't have quite the same ring about it.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 03:25 PM

I think there's something in what Jack Campin said there. There are people who defend blacking up for the wrong reasons, and who have in fact made efforts to hijack English folk traditions for racist reasons.

People who go too far in the context of imposing PC play into the hands of the closet bigots who wax loudest about "PC gone mad" - in fact I suspect that sometimes they may in fact be the same people.

I rather suspect there's an element of getting free publicity for the festival in the way the organisers seem to have announced it publicly, rather than just dropping the word in the ear of the Morris sides who might be affected, advising them that say Green faces would be more welcome.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 08:08 PM

Let's have a little perspective here, if blacking up is intended to be a racist statement, then it fails miserably when accompanied by a hat decorated with pheasant feathers, bells and a tatter jacket!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 08:38 PM

There is a big difference between making an overt racist statement and being just insensitive, unthinking, or just plain ignorant. Whilst the latter may not be as deliberate, the upshot is the same. And, in this day and age, ignorance can look pretty wilful and, to my mind, is no defence.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 08:59 PM

ignorance ... is no defence.

But it sure is ubiquitous.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: BanjoRay
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 09:42 PM

Vic Smith: I think you'll enjoy this article in the Scotsman
Ray


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 01:56 AM

"Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw - PM
Date: 28 Aug 16 - 08:38 PM

There is a big difference between making an overt racist statement and being just insensitive, unthinking, or just plain ignorant. Whilst the latter may not be as deliberate, the upshot is the same. And, in this day and age, ignorance can look pretty wilful and, to my mind, is no defence."
But is blacking up an overt racist statement?
I was under the impression it was a disguise.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 03:19 AM

So was I, GSS.

For the record, are there any records of actual, genuine complaints, from real black- or dark-skinned people, of 'offence' being taken at blacked-up BM dancers?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 03:29 AM

Be careful of what you ask for.

I sang John Barleycorn at an agricultural show in the beer tent a few years ago and one of the organisers came up to me later and accused me of singing the BNP anthem...

Anything and everything can and does get hijacked. Presumably if I sang a MacColl song, that makes me a Stalinist.

On balance, explaining the "disguise and heritage" aspect of looking like one of the black and white minstrels is long winded. Perhaps accepting that 500 years ago, you wouldn't be mistaken for ripping the piss out of the family down the road might help the argument slightly? After all, far more recently than that, we were hanging a monkey for being French.

The swastika has ancient peaceful connotations for a number of religions but you don't see temples in The UK adorned with them*. Common sense can exist even in irrational places, it seems.


*That said, when in New Zealand ten years ago I saw the cathedral in Christchurch, since made derelict by earthquake, did have swastikas carved in one area, representing the multi cultural origins of the occupation of the South Island.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:18 AM

Backwoodsman, I bet there hasn't ever been a single complaint from any black person. I'd wager a half of Adnams on it. And to me it's rather an insult to their intelligence for people to imagine that they mind in the least.
It is a great pity that there aren't more black folk in the Morris dancing world. Once years ago, at the Morris Ring event in Weston-Super-Mare, I was delighted to see a Sikh, complete with a flower-decorated turban, dancing in a Cotswold Morris side. I did hope then that other 'ethnic minorities' (daft expression) would start to be more in evidence, but I haven't noticed any, sadly.
I wish we'd had a video camera to film my husband dancing with Moss Ambrose and Leeds Morris, clutching a stick and skipping along holding his hand. He also danced with Red Leicester at the Straw Bear in Whittlesea. I wonder if I could persuade him to apply for membership of the Witchmen, or Old Glory perhaps? Hook Eagle is another of my favourites, and they black up.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:24 AM

Defending blacking up by arguing that there haven't been any complaints from black people is entirely bogus. In my primary school we once had to witness another lad getting six of the best for a very trivial offence, pour encourager les autres. There were 48 of us in the class and not one of us complained about the brutality on show. Was the lack of complaint justification for the abuse? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:21 AM

Straw Man, Steve - I thought better of you. Primary school children fifty years ago were hardly likely to protest, the whole ethos in school then was that teacher was the boss and children had few, if any, rights. Certainly not the right to protest when one of their fellows got the stick.

And there's plenty of evidence in the media that our modern black population aren't in any way afraid to protest when they're 'offended' by something.

So please explain how a practice, any practice, can be outlawed on the grounds that it 'offends' a specific group, when none of that group has expressed 'offence'. How do you know that it's 'offending' that group when they don't actually say they're 'offended'?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: JHW
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:32 AM

Takes the biscuit...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:45 AM

And, to be clear, I'm not 'defending' anything. I'm proposing that, if a traditional practice is demonstrably 'offending' a section of society, it should stop. But if there's no evidence of such 'offence', then it should be allowed to continue.

That seems perfectly reasonable to me.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:05 AM

A large photo in today's The Guardian shows a member of the 'ethnic minorities' [(daft expression) says Senoufou and Vic Smith agrees] dancing in a highly exaggerated manner at yesterday's Notting Hill Carnival. The dancer's face appears to me to be blacked up. There are three policewomen watching the dancer's antics. All three are smiling and apparantly enjoying the spectacle rather than taking appropriate action against the terpsichorian offender.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:30 AM

Vic Smith: I think you'll enjoy this article in the Scotsman
Ray


Thank you, Ray, I did enjoy reading that Black music from Scotland article that you linked to. I think that I was aware of most of the musical points that were made in that unaccredited 13-year-old article but I don't think I have ever seen them joined together in such a well written piece as this unnamed writer contributes. Mind you, I have long been of the opinion that the highest quality of journalism in these islands is currently to be found in The Scotsman though a historical study I undertook had me gasping at the high standard of usage of English to be found in the defunct Cork Constitution.

The article that you link to, Ray, mentions that great trumpeter and all-round admirable guy Dizzy Gillespie. I was going to mention in my post of 28 Aug 16 - 10:52 AM that Dizzy was quoted as saying that his ancestors (the surname is a bit of a give-away) were Gaelic-speaking slaves - but I thought that I had made my point without this extra detail.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:52 AM

I have mentioned The Guardian and the Cork Constitution so now I will have to apologise for lowering my standards and mentioning something from last Saturday's Daily Telegraph.

This article has the headline:-

Grandmother defies convention to sell Golly dolls in effort to reclaim black heritage
It starts:-
Gollywogs have long been considered a symbol of racist stereotyping.

But a retired midwife from Hampshire is defying convention by selling the toys in an effort to reclaim black heritage and raise money for charity.

Charlotte Nightingale, originally from Ghana, is selling her Golly dolls at fairs, school fetes and village shows and wants people to re-think the taboo surrounding them.....


My own opinion is that Ms. Nightingale is a bit misguided and that the Torygraph's intentions in printing the article are dubious and facetious to put it mildly. However, read the article and you will see that it is relevant to this thread. You will see that she has raised a good deal of money for West African schools which is a subject very close to my heart as you can see from one of my websites .... and looking at that again for the first time in a fortnight, I can see that the sources of some photos needs updating.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 09:37 AM

Nothing wrong with gollywogs - just a doll unless you are PC obsessed.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:26 AM

Well, I am flabbergasted! Never has my gast been so flabbered! After listening for years (in company with my Lewis and Skye mates in our rented Glasgow flat) with enormous pleasure and emotional response to the Gaelic Mass, transmitted every Sunday from Lewis, I now see that this style of singing travelled across to America with Scottish slave masters, where the slaves picked it up (together with the Gaelic language!!) and it formed the basis of blues!!! How absolutely fascinating and astonishing!
I think, as it's nearly time for tea, this calls for a hot buttered crumpet!
Have to say, when I first heard this form of singing (first line sung solo by the Precentor, picked up in a rising wail by the congregation, so beautiful and moving) I thought then and there "This sounds African to me!"
Isn't Mudcat wonderful? You learn so much on here!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Guest Roger Jones
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:30 AM

Yet more drivel to fill the post-industrial, post-modern vacuum.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:46 AM

Nothing wrong with gollywogs

Same as blackface minstrels, eh Bozo?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: meself
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:47 AM

And aren't you a little ray of sunshine, Guest Roger!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:50 AM

Oh no. Not the racist Blacked-up Morris associations again ! I thought this subject had died it's death in the distant past ?
I am most disappointed. :-(
Good to see such a positive no-nonsense response on Mudcat.cafe, though ! . ;-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Roger Jones
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:53 AM

To prevent any misunderstanding, I merely meant the ban is drivel.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 11:02 AM

As a baby, I was photographed in my pram with a very nice golliwog beside me on the pillow. It had been knitted by my Irish Auntie Lil, and I loved it for years. It got rather chewed up, but my mother darned it regularly.
When I met and married my African husband many years ago, I showed him this old photo, and he laughed. He said, "Who's that African man in bed with you, eh?"
I used to collect the Robertson's golly badges.
But I do in fact think it was as well to stop using the logo. It's very like the Minstrels idea. Unlike border Morris blackface, it does, directly and unflatteringly represent black people in an unpleasant, mocking way.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 11:12 AM

After listening for years (in company with my Lewis and Skye mates in our rented Glasgow flat) with enormous pleasure and emotional response to the Gaelic Mass, transmitted every Sunday from Lewis, I now see that this style of singing travelled across to America with Scottish slave masters, where the slaves picked it up (together with the Gaelic language!!)

It didn't. It was a style of church singing found all over Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries, and most of the people who took it to America were English. During the 18th century it was suppressed on the mainland in favour of monophonic styles which made the words more understandable (and allowed for a greater variety of metres and texts), but survived both in the Western Isles of Scotland and in the less developed parts of American South, beyond the influence of musical modernizers. It is not of Gaelic origin.


and it formed the basis of blues!!!

Blues came out of completely different traditions.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 11:33 AM

Each tradition involving blackface should be dealt with individually. Whilst there is some evidence to suggest the element of disguise was important there is also in some cases a strong link to minstrels. Where the link is to minstrels the perpetrators need to have a rethink. Change is a big part of any tradition. Any tradition that is not prepared to change has become moribund.

Any tradition that contains elements that have lost their purpose should consider changing those elements if they might cause offence. Several people here have suggested using a more neutral colour if disguise is the only desired effect. I agree with them.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 11:54 AM

Ah, Jack, so BanjoRay's interesting link to the Scotsman article may not be entirely the truth? Yet the person who formed these conclusions is apparently an eminent academic who has studied the subject for a long time. Well, that's a shame, as I've now eaten my buttered crumpet and it was very nice!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 12:14 PM

apparently an eminent academic

Thought you folks across the pond were through 'listening to experts', hence Brexit.

;>)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 12:29 PM

Greg! Behave! 😎😄


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 12:52 PM

I was thinking that it might be helpful if the "offended" party took the time to look into the tradition that has offended them . They may discover that it had virtually no connection to any racists elements but was simply a long standing tradition in British culture. I would like to think that dialogue might take the place of instant accusations of racism. Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 01:30 PM

The connection is not long standing.

And it does, now, have a connection to racism, which has nothing to do with anything that happened 500 years ago. That's why the Daily Mailers are so enthusiastic about it. Not because of who it offends but because of who it appeals to.

I doubt if anybody would be offended by a Morris side using the Horst Wessel Song as a dance tune: just about nobody would recognize it. And the melody predates the Nazis by a century. Do either of those facts make it acceptable?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 01:55 PM

No, it appears not to have a connection to racism, all I am suggesting is that the intention is not to offend..people do sometimes take offence when none is intended.And I am not sure what you mean by "who it appeals to".


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:30 PM

Mark Stevens wrote:-
"Oh no. Not the racist Blacked-up Morris associations again ! I thought this subject had died it's death in the distant past ?
I am most disappointed. :-( "


It is disappointing, Mark, but we need to be aware that there are some people of extreme right wing tendencies out there who want to use the issue to further their own misguided and narrow-minded views. I am sure that you have come across some who think in this way.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:34 PM

it appears not to have a connection to racism,

It does, because racists think it does and want to have it performed because they feel it's a statement of what they believe in.


all I am suggesting is that the intention is not to offend

For some of the people doing it, it's an assertion of white supremacy and a gesture of contempt towards people of African descent. There are enough such people that it makes sense to stop the practice outright.


people do sometimes take offence when none is intended.

The majority do not intend it to cause offence. But the minority that do are deadly serious about it - murderous thugs who need to be stopped. How many targeted people perceive what they're up to and are disgusted by it is irrelevant.


And I am not sure what you mean by "who it appeals to".

Daily Mail readers. Nazis. People who want to treat anybody who looks African as a punchbag and who want Gypsies, Muslims and refugees dead.

I don't write that badly. You could have worked that out.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 02:56 PM

Backwoodsman, the point I was making is that you don't measure the moral acceptability of something by counting the number of people who protest about it.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 03:32 PM

I'm in the process of changing the words of Ye Mariners All to Ye Golliwogs All!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 03:42 PM

Ooops, I forgot to add my name....

I don't think so, Vic.
I've not come across anyone or suchlike....

In fact, I was out with a well known Sussex Mummers side several years ago. Whilst walking through Brighton on a hot Summer's day, a group of young Black guys called out to us, 'Hey, I know why you guys black-up! .... [it's] Because Black is cooooooll ! '
Well, that must be ok then, ;-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:12 PM

Well, Mark, I am really glad that those guys were not offended because no-one would want that, would they?
By the way, Mark, there was something I wanted to ask you. Recently, I was looking for that Youtube video of you playing your melodeon sitting at a table in a pub somewhere... was it in Hampshire? Surrey? It seems to have been removed which is a bit of a pity. Sitting on the other side of the table was a formerly well-known politician. The trouble is, I cannot remember his name. Honestly, my memory these days! Can you remind me who it was?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:23 PM

A thought has just occurred to me. If my (very black) husband DID join a normally blacked-up border Morris side, and they had to unblack themselves for Shrewsbury, would he have to white himself up to conform to the rules?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:34 PM

Jack, it was not your writing I had a problem with,it wasyourrather odd reasoning I had a problem with. So do we now banThe Merchant. Of Veniice because antisemites might like it?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:36 PM

Oh, I'm sure someone who it had nothing to do with would dream up some kind of imaginary ''offence' and declare it 'morally unacceptable'.

I'd love to see him 'whited-up' - hilarious stuff!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:37 PM

There's not much on YouTube these days, Vic.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:37 PM

That was for Eliza (Senoufou's) BTW.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:49 PM

There are traditional dancers in Cote d'Ivoire who actually DO white-up as a kind of disguise, and present themselves as dancing 'spirits'.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 04:58 PM

There's not much on YouTube these days, Vic.
It doesn't matter any more, Mark, because I have thought hard about it and remembered the politician's name.
Funny thing, though. When I googled your name, the only thing that came up as this long list of names with your name and address in the middle of it. After your details it said:-

Activist
BSc (Hons) Media Production. HND Moving Image/Photography. Semi-professional multi musician (traditional/British folk). Pagan. Classic motorcycle enthusiast. Huntsman


What on earth was that all about?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:17 PM

Good for you, Vic.
Why that special publicity ? I'm honoured. :-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:17 PM

do we now banThe Merchant. Of Veniice because antisemites might like it?

If it came to be something antisemites actually used to rally round, then yes there would be many occasions when it would be a bad idea to perform it, and it would be unlikely that many theatres would; it would occupy the same museum-piece territory that Little Sir Hugh does in British folksong. That isn't happening though.

Whereas British racists (like at least one participant on this thread) do, in present-day reality, treat blackface morris and gollywogs as triumphalist emblems.

The German state, in 1945, had no problem with banning a tune composed by Étienne Méhul in 1807 for an opera in which the heroes are all Jewish. They banned it precisely because the Nazis liked it.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:33 PM

Well Vic Smith, I just Googled my name and could only come up with an deceased American actor, solicitors, directors, builders, financiers, and barristers.

I don't know where you get your information from. Your university wacky-baccy smoking student days must have taken it's toll on your senior faculties. Is the scrap metal business not doing so well, these days ... ?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:39 PM

Why that special publicity ?
Because of your special interests and position, Mark, and your special background.
I shall be watching your posts carefully, especially any that have racism as part of the topic, in case people posting here need any reminders of that position.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:47 PM

Your university wacky-baccy smoking student days must have taken it's toll on your senior faculties. Is the scrap metal business not doing so well, these days ... ?

Wonderful! It didn't take long for your mask to slip and those 'special qualities' to show, did it? "university"? "wacky-baccysmoking"? "scrap metal business"? It seems that you don't know anything about me, whereas on the other hand.....


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:49 PM

One last time, not that anyone is interested other than in his/her own agendum, it is Shrewsbury's Festival and their rules apply. You don't like it, you don't go. They don't care what you think. Nor do I.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:09 PM

I know enough about you, Vic.
Ever since I borrowed Both Sides of The Downs LP from my local library in 1980...

Why are you so vindictive ? I guess you've got a chip on your shoulder . That is no longer my problem. :-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:12 PM

"Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey - PM
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 05:49 PM

One last time, not that anyone is interested other than in his/her own agendum, it is Shrewsbury's Festival and their rules apply. You don't like it, you don't go. They don't care what you think. Nor do I."
they have managed to get a lot of publicity though


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:14 PM

Googling "mark stevens huntsman pagan" told me what Vic was driving at.

I wouldn't say my life was exactly enriched by the information but I do know more than I did an hour ago.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:24 PM

Indeed, GUEST,Morris-ey !

I have better things to spend my money and time on .. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:29 PM

So let's see. Blacking up up can't qualify as a morally reprehensible thing to do unless actual black people complain about it. White people who share those exact same sentiments, though, have no voice. They may think the same thoughts but their complaints are contrived, bogus, condescending middle-class offence-taking.

Well strike me down. I've fought racism, as a teacher and trade unionist, both the deliberate and undeliberate kinds of racism, all my life. Blacking up doesn't directly affect me because I'm not a black man and I've never seen it done. It's not a question of my taking some kind of sanctimonious offence over it (of all the things on Mudcat I could take offence over, this is the least of my worries). This is the 21st century. We live in a global village in which racism is a big issue that is much aired. There's been progress. It is not sixties Britain in which you could run a successful election campaign with the slogan "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour" (Smethwick). You don't see postcards in landladies' windows any more that say "no coloureds." You can't kick black people out of bus seats any more. The world has moved on. Every tradition worth its salt moves on. Here's something: if you black up you just MAY offend someone - and you know it. You'd have to be pig-ignorant not to in this day and age. So just don't do it. You don't have to. Use blue and no-one will notice. I would never ban blacking up, but I would go out of my way to make its practitioners feel bloody uncomfortable if I came across them.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:39 PM

Is the scrap metal business not doing so well, these days ... ?

Scrap metal, naw, I'm a rag & bone man


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:43 PM

Any old iron, any old iron !!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:49 PM

You're thinking of Sam maybe
www.schnitzersteel.com/company_history.aspx


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 06:50 PM

Well I would stick to Blacking my face if I had to (my name seems to have blackened), but it does take a lot of washing off. Not that the scouts ever noticed any dirty washbasins..


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:08 PM

Pots and Kettles to mend ?

Your coppers, kettles, pots, and stew pans,
Tho' old, shall serve instead of new pans.
I'm very moderate in my charge,
For mending small as well as large.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens again....
Date: 29 Aug 16 - 10:59 PM

Therr's a hoole in my bucket dear Liza, dear Liza
Therrr's a hoool in my bucket, dear Liza,
A hooole...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 05:35 AM

Ouch


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vashta Nerada
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 09:12 AM

http://www.wildhunt.org.uk/index.php


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Snuffy
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 09:56 AM

There's a world of difference between colouring the whole of your face in a single colour, and painting various designs and patterns on it. The messages conveyed are totally different.

What is it that makes "the tradition" of totally blacking the face so sacrosanct that it's the only part of "the tradition" that can't be changed under any circumstances? Many (most?) border sides seem happy to discard large parts of the recorded tradition such as - only doing traditional dances rather than making up new ones; only dancing in the winter; only dancing at night; all-male sides; referring to their activity as "going n*****ing"; etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 10:49 AM

Saw the Wild Hunt Bedlam lot - face masks rather than black-face.

Really visceral experience!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 10:49 AM

If you're going to Shrewsbury fair.
Parsley . . . etc.
Please don't wear no black face paints there
. . .


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 11:03 AM

I think there's a world of difference between blacking your face to imitate a black person, and blacking it for other purposes. A blacked-up morris dancer doesn't resemble a BME person, and if they did then using a different colour wouldn't make it acceptable (would the Black and White Minstrels have become acceptable if they'd become the Blue and White Minstrels?).

There's also a difference between a side choosing to make changes to the tradition for its own reasons and having changes forced on it for reasons which it thinks are mistaken.

The current Border Morris was reinvented in the 1970s, but the blacking-up element came from the previous traditions and other folk customs. If a side chooses to use a different colour, whether for dramatic reasons or to avoid giving offence, that's up to them. However I find it disappointing that a prominent folk festival hasn't taken a stronger stance to defend the tradition, rather than caving in.

If we're talking about offence, I find FRESh's language offensive when it describes Shropshire as a "white highland" area , and its complaint about morris conflicts with its own policy on cultural diversity which says "Our diverse cultural histories and identities should not be discarded or ignored, but should rather be sustained and valued." Only some of them, apparently.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 11:19 AM

There's also a difference between a side choosing to make changes to the tradition for its own reasons and having changes forced on it for reasons which it thinks are mistaken.

A side doesn't have opinions, its members do. Most members of blacking-up sides genuinely think they're doing something innocuously traditional, but a few of them see it as an opportunity to express contempt for racial minorities. Those few (google the search string I suggested) are a real and very serious problem that needs to be dealt with. It's unfortunate that it's come to this but realistically there isn't any other option.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 12:27 PM

"a few of them see it as an opportunity to express contempt for racial minorities.."
I frankly just don't believe this. We've been to no end of Morris festivals over the years, in many places, and must have watched dozens and dozens of different blacked-up sides, both Border and Molly. My husband always tries to get photos of himself, posed with groups of various types of Morris, for his collection. No-one has ever edged away, been frosty, looked askance or uttered anything racist or discouraging.
On the contrary, they have hugged him, laughed with him, plonked their hats on his head for the photos, and invited him to dance so I can take some pictures. Many now recognise him from previous visits (he always wears his Ivorian costume)
I feel most indignant on their behalf that anyone could suggest there is racism among blacked-up sides. Morris folk are the most friendly, open and charming people you could ever meet.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 12:35 PM

And, even if there were, is it right and proper to punish the innocent majority for the sins of the minority? Of course not!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 01:09 PM

I feel most indignant on their behalf that anyone could suggest there is racism among blacked-up sides.

I have been closely involved in folk music for over 50 years; most of my friends come from the folk scene and I have met hundreds of people that I like and admire through my involvement in dance, song and mummers plays. The vast majority of the people that I have met are amongst the kindest and most considerate that I have met.
Sadly, though, about 10 years ago there began a campaign by an extreme right wing British political party to infiltrate the folk song and dance scene and subvert our traditional music and song and claim our cultural heritage as a tool of their vile and warped processes. Some of the methods they used against those who opposed them were entirely scurrilous and downright cruel. I was one of their victims because I opposed them and had to endure identity theft on social media and the internet including hideous photoshopped pictures of my wife being posted. Fortunately, many on the folk scene got together in a movement (rather than an organisation) called Folk Against Fascism. It grew very quickly, arranged concerts, produced T-shirts, posters and other artefacts, all to warm and oppose any entryism by those with intolerant racist attitudes.
By and large, FaF was very successful and the threat diminished as that political party descended into an internescine shambles.
However, remnants of this attitude remain and we must be constantly on our guard.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 02:04 PM

"a few of them see it as an opportunity to express contempt for racial minorities.."
I frankly just don't believe this.


You haven't actually done the Google search Vic and I have suggested, have you?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 02:23 PM

Has anyone actually suggesting that anyone should be "punished?" We're asking that you don't turn out pretending to be a black man. We're not saying don't wear that shirt, don't dance this step, don't play that tune. You'll survive and you may even feel happier. Move on.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 03:10 PM

But no one in the morris is turning out pretending to be a black man. They're turning out as white men (and women) with black faces.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 03:23 PM

Indeed so, Howard.

I only use this picture of Powderkegs because they are a side local to me, who I've often seen.

If they were pretending to be Black then surely ears, neck, chest and hands would be blackend? The thought that they look like black people, is frankly laughable.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 04:03 PM

It is totally laughable. In any case, nobody has the right not to be offended, and those that are offended are quite frankly idiots with nothing else to do!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Noreen
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 04:30 PM

"a few of them see it as an opportunity to express contempt for racial minorities.."
I frankly just don't believe this.

You haven't actually done the Google search Vic and I have suggested, have you?


Jack, could you elaborate on this please? I'm on my phone and can't easily find your earlier post. I've never come across the attitude you allude to in my years with Border Morris.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 04:51 PM

Noreen,

I believe that Jack was suggesting a search for "mark stevens huntsman pagan"

The first result, as I post, is from the fRoots message board which suggests that Mark Stevens is a Border style Morris dancer and is a BNP member and racist.

Quite why one bad apple should sully all others, I don't know.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 16 - 05:41 PM

"Quite why one bad apple should sully all others, I don't know."

My point precisely.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 02:57 AM

As Johnny Silvo had white hair, Tony Capstick used to call him "my negative friend."

Johnny laughed with the rest of us, although I'm sure some of the "you're black!" taunts from his school days were bubbling under the surface. We had a lad in our class who was half caste. As well as having to put up with the nickname "Hovis" (don't say brown, say Hovis) he can't have had a good time of school. I recall him saying when he grows up he can choose between black or white girlfriends. What is the betting his father said that to him to comfort his lad when he didn't want to face school?

The thing is, no racism was intended either with Tony & Johnny or indeed we school kids and Roy. Differences were being what our pc friends call "celebrated" and ripping the piss out of each other is what many of us do.

Reginald D Hunter got it right on Have I Got News For You" a few years ago, commenting on some celebrity get me out programme where a white actress was dancing with a black one and shouted "you pushing it out nigger?" Big uproar in the papers etc and Mr Hunter, after noting that we are crap st being racist in The UK, him having been born and raised in Alabama, said "A friend using street talk to you is just that. If she had been wearing a police uniform and using the same words, that's the time to start worrying."

Still, Morris teams have evolved in other ways to suit society, by modern fool props or even the advent of the melodeon (Cecil Sharpe may have thought it as odd as a Les Paul guitar and amp might seem to us watching Morris) so the term "unfortunate" can still hold.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 04:00 AM

Well, Jimmy Savile turned out to have been a prolific sex-offender, but we haven't banned all disc jockeys.
For all we know, there may be the odd racist Cotswold Morris dancer, or a BNP member among the Molly brigade (doubt it, but I suppose it IS possible)
Why not just ban the individual concerned, and let the border Morris blacked-up folk carry on as usual?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:36 AM

Two useful statements have recently been made; apologies if I've missed them earlier in this thread. One here is from the Morris Ring. The other appeared in a discussion on Facebook and is a quote from a letter from Prof. Ronald Hutton to a Facebook member. I hope I'm not breaking any rules/laws by reproducing it but it seems such a balanced and realistic response I think it's worth the risk. (Mods please delete if it shouldn't be here)

"What we see here is a direct clash between two different national traditions, one American and one British. The American consists of blacking up white people to impersonate black people for entertainment, often with connotations of condescension or mockery. This is, then, a tradition which could credibly be described as racist. The British one consists of blacking up white people to erase their everyday identity and turn them into symbolic figures of seasonal festivity, justice or rebellion: the overriding connotation is one of transgression of norms, and is not racist.
The problem is created when globalisation (which in this case, as often happens, means Americanisation) imposes the first set of reference points onto the second. It is the worse in that Border Morris, the tradition which blacks up, was reborn in the 1970s as the most dynamic and popular current branch of the Morris Dance family, playing up wild and transgressive traditional symbolism: it is itself a radical and counter-cultural performance art form.
There is no easy answer to this problem. It would be nice if those who make the accusation of racism against Border Morris could learn the difference in the histories from which each derive.
It is more likely, however, that the path of least resistance will be taken, and the dancers wear black masks, or paint their faces white, green or red to achieve the distancing effect, instead of blacking up; which would certainly preserve the basic symbolism, while satisfying those who relate blacked-up faces to different associations."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:37 AM

Senoufou The Wise hits the nail on the head again.
My heroine! 👍


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:43 AM

That's a sane and balanced statement from Professor Hutton. The globalisation genie is out of the lamp. I'd say that no-one should be ordering anyone to stop doing it, and I'd also say that it's unfair to call a whole bunch of Morris dancers racist. But it's just best all round not to be doing it any more. That's OK. Traditions can move on uninjured.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:50 AM

Backwoodsman (swoons) thank you! :)

Guest ST That quote from the Morris Ring is the most sensible and pertinent post in this whole thread so far. The two traditions are so different in intent and form, yet people seem to confuse them due to globalisation and modern international mixing of styles. The one began as "making mocking fun of n******" and the other is/was about disguise in English rural communities, albeit resurrected long after those times.

My favourite border Morris side is the Witchmen. I'm not totally knowledgeable about their ethos (far from it, I'm just an avid fan and onlooker) but they seem to me to have borrowed much from the Pagan type of style, with amber and black representing magical powers, and their aggressive fist-clenching dancing. Their blacked-up faces are meant (I think) to be sinister and threatening in a delicious way. There is absolutely nothing of the parodying of African-origin people in any of it. If they were blue, green, pink or yellow it just wouldn't be the same.

Need I add that my husband has been hugged by them too, and has loads of pictures of himself surrounded by their grinning blacked-up faces!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:54 AM

Ha! I see the clicky thing was about Professor Hutton, not the Morris Ring. But what I still think it's brilliant.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 08:40 AM

I guess this thread hs run it's course since most of us cannot find the time to read all the previous posts.

If my point has made I apologise:

Quotes from earlier threads on the subject:

Derek went on to add in the same thread:

'Having looked into blacking up for the EDS feature that Ruth Archer has kindly quoted from, there is undoubtedly an influence on English folk culture from minstrelsy. Bacup may be one, Padstow mummers may be another, the 20th century traditional Border morris which has been copied by revival sides might be another.
The question is ...has the blacking up transcended its origin and now have a life of its own?
Does this practice offend sectors of our society? (And I don't mean just the black members of our society ... white people might also be offended).
And if so, are we prepared to do anything about it?'


Another quote from the same thread, from Dave Hunt:

'A version of the 'A' part of the tune is also used for the tune known as 'Clee Hill' as collected from Dennis Crowther who is from that area, which is not far from Ludlow in South Shropshire. The tune was used by the morris/molly dancers from Clee Hill area and in 'pre-PC' days was known as 'The niggerin' tune' as the dancers went out with blacked-up faces and called it 'Goin' out a-niggerin' The use of the term molly instead of morris,was common in Shropshire and I have met people who remembers 'Going out molly-dancing' in East Shropshire in the 1930s-40s '

And something else that I said later on in the same thread:

'Finally, a few people have said that it would be interesting to hear from a black person what they feel about all of this. Well, the article from EDS that I quoted earlier interviewed several people about the practice, including a dance caller named Nigel Hogg. This is what he had to say:

"I have watched many different dance groups around the country, and on certain occasions I have seen groups black up to perform. As a mixed race man I do find this tradition offensive because I see it as a parody mocking people of colour. I would imagine that the people who perform these dances are not racists, and on some levels the people involved have not even though about the implications these dances might have to people of colour." '

Part of the problem is the almost total disregard in morris circles for historical and academic evidence.

The evidence seems quite clearly to link blackface in Border Morris to Minstrelsy but the people involved don't acknowledge this - please tell us why. It's a clever sidestep to point to backface in other much older folk activities - although the evidence for blackface in pre minstrelsy morris almost non existent.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 11:43 AM

Shrewsbury FF are not trying to ban blackface, simply saying they won't have it at their festival.

If Border sides want to black-up that is fine by me. It is equally fine by me if some festival organisers choose not to have them.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 01:09 PM

Intrestin point Morris-ey, would you be fine with you if some of them Border dancers acknowledged their roots in Minstrelsy?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 04:24 PM

Undoubtedly many of our traditions we like to think of as going back many centuries in fact are linked to minstrelsy. Some of the tunes used are indeed minstrel tunes and in my own part of the world in the early years of the last century the N word was used freely, but not in a derogatory way. Bacup has been mentioned.

To add a little to the historical context not fully explained by Hutton, minstrel-type blacking up by performers goes back to the late 18th century (solo artistes only). The main thrust in Britain came in about 1840 when following their enormous success in America the first troupes came over here and were equally an enormous success. (Think The Beatles) Their tunes and performances were understandably immediately incorporated into our existing traditions.

This is not to say blacking up did not predate this. The principal effect was disguise and the quickest/cheapest way to effect this was soot or burnt cork or similar.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 04:45 PM

The main thrust in Britain came in about 1840 when following their enormous success in America the first troupes came over here and were equally an enormous success. (Think The Beatles)

Apologies Steve if I'm being a bit dim, but I don't really understand The Beatles reference. Presumably you're thinking of the '64 'American Invasion' and their re-exporting Black American music?

I can't get the analogy though. But I'm really tired this evening...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 04:56 PM

Does this mean the band 'All Blacked Up' will be banned too ?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 06:02 PM

I feel I am reasonably well qualified to comment. I have danced black face. I have performed a mummers play in black face. As the son of an east European immigrant I have been the recipient of racist abuse which was part of the reason that my family changed our surname. Things do and should move on. When I suffered said abuse it was in a backwater Northern town in the 1950s. Never happened after 1964 when I attended senior school with a different set of people who did not know my original surname. In the light of recent news I am both relieved and angry that my surname is no longer east European and even more so that my sons and grandsons will never be called names, spat at, or worse for having a foreign surname or speaking a different language.

Sorry for the apparent drift but now you know part of my story I can get back to the thread. I never had a concept of colour being a definition of someones character. When, in those heady days of Bernard Manning and co, jokes were made based on racial stereotypes I never really understood them. When, in the 1980s and 1990s I danced and acted in black face it never dawned on me that some may see it as offensive and I argued strongly, using all the previous points, that black face was completely innocuous. However, it was pointed out, possibly on here, that it may be seen as parody and stereotype and could therefore be regarded as offensive. This planted the seed in my mind.

Some time later, possibly early 2000s, I had been away to the West Indies and returned with souvenir Rasta hat and mini steel drum with every intention of using both at the folk club one night. Well, the night came and, for the first time ever, a black man came into the club. The hat and drum stayed firmly in my bag and from that day on I have not blacked up. I have no idea if the black man would have been offended or not. The point was, if I did NOT do it, there was no chance whatsoever of him being offended. Apart from by my poor singing of course.

Sorry to ramble on so I suppose I should get to the point really. The type of racist thugs that beat a poor Polish man to death because they believe everyone else dislikes immigration could happily latch on to an excuse to take the piss out of black people by masking it (pun intended) as tradition. All I ask is, why risk it when there are many perfectly good alternatives?

Thanks for listening.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 07:03 PM

"Intrestin point Morris-ey, would you be fine with you if some of them Border dancers acknowledged their roots in Minstrelsy?"

Les, I doubt many Border sides would know what Minstrelsy is let alone base their blackface on it.

If, however some black up for that reason, then I would be happy if they acknowledged it. That is not to say I would approve.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Aug 16 - 08:58 PM

"I had been away to the West Indies and returned with souvenir Rasta hat and mini steel drum with every intention of using both at the folk club one night. Well, the night came and, for the first time ever, a black man came into the club. The hat and drum stayed firmly in my bag and from that day on I have not blacked up. I have no idea if the black man would have been offended or not. The point was, if I did NOT do it, there was no chance whatsoever of him being offended."

Well said!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 02:50 AM

No Ed,
The first troupes of Ethiopian Serenaders came over about 1840 and were immediately a massive hit to the same extent that the Beatles were in the 1960s. They continued to come over for at least the next 20 years or so until we had formed our own very successful minstrel troupes, many of them with Americans like Pony Moore who settled here. The Beatles obviously were a big hit here in the 1960s and then cracked America. The minstrel troupes were a big hit in America and also over here not long after.

This is well documented in many books on the subject. I have copies of some of the original sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 03:41 AM

Logically if it not acceptable to use brown or black, it must no longer be acceptable for black or brown dancers or guisers to use white? so is it acceptable to use yellow? would it offend yellow skinned people? so if people want to disguse them selves and they are pink or white they must only use green or blue, black or brown guisers must also use green or blue?
we had better all start getting shares in Woad making companies.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 04:11 AM

Their are no 'yellow skinned people' GSS. Please read what Dave wrote above it's the best post on the racist nature of this issue I have ever read.

As for the historical issue I repeat the question - will Border Morris acknowledge the historical link to Minstrelsy? If not why not?

"Les, I doubt many Border sides would know what Minstrelsy is let alone base their blackface on it."

They seem quite well versed in the link with the 'disguise' hypothesis and so to much earlier folk Art events. Where did they, and other defenders, get that from whilst being totally unfamiliar with the much more obvious evidence of the link to Minstrelsy.

Thanks very much to Dave above - well evidenced, argued and written.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 04:44 AM

Thank you Les. Pity I never made it to the Beech prior to emigrating to Yorkshire. :-) One day perhaps...

One thing I failed to note in my post is that this is the first time SFF has run after the massive increase in race hate crime following the EU vote. I am not trying to ban or even censure anything else but I would say well done to them for recognising that there could be a related issue and removing any excuse that the racists may use as justification.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 05:17 AM

Can we please stop using the term "blackface"? This has a specific meaning to describe a form of theatrical makeup used by non-Black performers to represent a black person, and as a shorthand for minstrelsy. I have never seen a morris dancer in blackface.

The fact is, we don't know the origins of blacking-up in English folk traditions. There is some sparse evidence that it pre-dates the minstrel craze. However minstrelsy was such a widespread and long-lasting phenomenon that it would be remarkable if it had not had some influence on morris and other customs. Nevertheless, Cotswold morris did not adopt blacking-up, although a few minstrel tunes came into the repertoire. A possible explanation is that minstrelsy was most easily tacked onto those customs, such as Border morris, which already had a tradition of blacking up, rather than minstrelsy being the cause of it.

What we seem to have is a long-established custom of blacking up for reasons of disguise, which for a period of time also adopted other elements from popular culture which today we regard as racist. However that ended 60 or 70 years ago, and certainly played no part in the modern revival which itself is now several decades old. I wonder why we are now putting such an emphasis on this particular aspect, when the real question is how we can maintain the tradition in today's society where some may perceive it as being racist (although even FRESh seems to agree it is not)

Personally, I don't think other colours or patterns have quite the dramatic impact of black, neither are they quite as effective as a disguise. I think it would be regrettable if blacking up were to be lost, although I recognise that in today's multicultural society, and especially one where people are quick to form opinions without bothering to understand the reasons, it is probably inevitable. What I find disappointing is that a prominent folk festival and even the EFDSS are not taking a more nuanced approach to explain and defend the tradition. By not doing so they are simply reinforcing the incorrect assumption that it is racist.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 05:50 AM

Thanks Howard, do you accept that the most significant effect on Border was Minstrelsy? I repeat the question - will Border Morris acknowledge the historical link to Minstrelsy? If not why not?

"A possible explanation is that minstrelsy was most easily tacked onto those customs, such as Border morris, which already had a tradition of blacking up, rather than minstrelsy being the cause of it."

Intrestin point, do you have the source of the evidence for blacking up in Border before the days of Minstrelsy?

"and especially one where people are quick to form opinions without bothering to understand the reasons"

I suggest the Morris community are just a little guilty of this don't you?

The EFDSS are staging a conference to explore the history of Morris Dancing and in the rigorous practice of academia the have issued a " Call for papers". This may through some light on something or other although if morris websites are anything to go by historical evidence is the last thing they will find.

Sorry you missed us Dave - still in the dulcimer every Tuesday - chucked out of the Beech some years ago.
Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 05:59 AM

Point taken, Howard. I was just continuing the earlier usage but I shall use the term blacked up in this context from now on.

However, I think that a lot of people may be missing the point I, and others, are trying to make. Whether it is in fact racist or not is irrelevant. The fact remains that some people will see it as racist and, for their own purposes, they will use the tradition to make a racist statement. Going back to Vic's point about the tradition being hijacked a certain organisation, including someone posting on here, to push a racist agenda is very important and now that race hate seems to be on the increase it is even more so.


Anyone removing an excuse for racist thugs to press their agenda is, to my mind, doing a good thing.

D


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 06:09 AM

"a few of them see it as an opportunity to express contempt for racial minorities.."
I frankly just don't believe this. We've been to no end of Morris festivals over the years, in many places, and must have watched dozens and dozens of different blacked-up sides, both Border and Molly. My husband always tries to get photos of himself, posed with groups of various types of Morris, for his collection. No-one has ever edged away, been frosty, looked askance or uttered anything racist or discouraging.
On the contrary, they have hugged him, laughed with him, plonked their hats on his head for the photos, and invited him to dance so I can take some pictures. Many now recognise him from previous visits (he always wears his Ivorian costume)
I feel most indignant on their behalf that anyone could suggest there is racism among blacked-up sides. Morris folk are the most friendly, open and charming people you could ever meet.


Hear, hear .. :-) x


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 06:31 AM

" began a campaign by an extreme right wing British political party to infiltrate the folk song and dance scene and subvert our traditional music and song and claim our cultural heritage as a tool of their vile and warped processes. "

It wasn't like that at all, Vic Smith. It was merely spreading out to a wider audience and EDUCATING some of our disenfranchised indigenous British citizens that were unaware of their roots, and tradition; the value of their own culture, instead of mere imported, and other mass media 'entertainments' .

Folk music (and it's enthusiasts) and Morris dancing have long been the butt of crass jokes, as portrayed in the common Media. I can see their point of view, with a Folk following usually identified by it's typical stereotypes. I do not class myself as a Folkie.

Or maybe Shrewsbury FF stance will bring about a new breed a FRESh-faced[sic] stylee, and the re-emergence of; Cotswold dancing ??


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 06:59 AM

Three points arising from some of the interesting contributions to this thread. -

1] 1840 and the first visit of the Ethiopian Serenaders is quite significant date. Let's look at a few significant events before that -
* 1792 Burns song/poem The Slave's Lament was published and had a huge impact on thinking. That Africans had the same feelings, fears, sense of loss etc. was revolutionary at that time. Burns was seen as the friend of humanity and an enemy of injustice or oppression and part of a growing movement particularly strong amongst Quakers and some other non-conformist churches
* 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act although Wilberforce had been campaigning about this for decades and first introduced an act in 1789 on the subject. His earlier efforts failed to get a majority.
* The next big step was in 1833 the Abolition of Slavery bill (in the British Empire) was passed - 3 days before Wilberforce died.

Great! British people had been in the forefront of Abolitionist thinking and action - but there was still a heavy residual guilt. Much of Britain's economy was still dependent on the existance of slavery. How many jobs existed because the the import of slave produced raw sugar, cotton etc. etc?
When the American minstrel shows came to the UK from 1840 with their message of the 'happy slave' it was just what the public needed to assuage this guilt. Decades ago I interviewed or spoke informally to many surviving old singers and musicians. Many of them remembered blacking up to sing in village concerts.

2] Some discussion has taken place about the existence of black faced dancers before the coming of Minstrelsy. 1840 could also be given as a date for the arrival of the popular press and photography in this country. Any social historian will tell you that any research to gain reliable information becomes much more difficult. As far as morris sides are concerned, it is difficult to establish just how widespread this was, never mind what music, costumes. dance figures were, never mind whether dancers blacked up or not.

3] This point is on a more personal level. As both a mummer and a morris man in my younger days, I have been challenged to think about things associated with it. Here are two questions that I asked myself.
What is your attitude towards black-faced dancers? Still fairly relaxed.
Would you ever black-up yourself? I never have and I never would.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 07:19 AM

It wasn't like that at all, Vic Smith. It was merely spreading out to a wider audience and EDUCATING some of our disenfranchised indigenous British citizens that were unaware of their roots, and tradition; the value of their own culture, instead of mere imported, and other mass media 'entertainments'.

Ah! Now, that must have been a point that I somehow missed... their mission was to spread information! They had a gently didactic programme of action!
I must say that methodology strikes me as something less the educative. When that particular form of fascism went into its own minor civil war, a lot more information came to light from their dissidents than merely their membership list. A lot more of it came my way. Would you like me share the instructions that were given to their appointed "attack dogs"? The discussions on the methods that these people were to use on those, including myself, who thought that the sort of "education" they were proposing was not beneficial to the folk scene?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 07:20 AM

Bloody crazy, political corrrectness at it's most insane. Morris men blacking up as in this case has nothing at all to do with race! It was no surprise at all to me that the main spokesman of this barmy org is a typical upper class WHITE man. What on earth next, morrismen/women can't wear bells for fear it upsets campomologists! AAArrrrrgh


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 07:26 AM

Les, I can't speak for border morris. For myself, I accept that minstrelsy had some effect on morris but not that it was the "most significant" effect. If it had been, I think other traditions such as Cotswold would also have taken it up. My interpretation is that it was those traditions which already blacked up which added aspects from minstrelsy, but that it was not the reason for them blacking up, and that aspect of it died out many decades ago, as did minstrelsy itself. (I know people are fond of referring to the Black and White Minstrel Show, but this was an intentionally nostalgic programme and no more indicates a survival of minstrelsy into the 1960s than the Good Old Days did of music hall).

I came across some earlier references for one of the earlier discussions on this topic but I'm not going looking for them now.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 08:29 AM

Given the thread subject why has no-one linked to http://shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk/statement-re-decision-to-phase-out-morris-te

Or did I miss it in a clicky?

How about extending the banning things because racists have adopted them to include the flag of St George?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 10:20 AM

Thanks for the link, Guest 01 Sep 16 - 08:29 AM. The festival statement makes perfect sense to me and shows no indication of the 'PC gone mad' that they are being accused of.

In answer to your question, the flag of St George cannot, in my opinion, be used to parody or ridicule anyone. As we all know St George himself is a mysterious figure of indefinite but probably middle-eastern origin who is the patron saint of many other countries and things than England. See this Wiki entry to confirm. It is a symbol, nothing more, while blacking up can be open to interpretation as parody.

We have, as ever, to be sensible with these things and where we draw the line. That it is a traditional pastime is, in my opinion, a poor argument. Bare knuckle fighting and bear baiting were once traditional pastimes and someone know where to draw the line then. Surely we are just as sensible as our own ancestors?

D.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Snuffy
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 10:25 AM

It appears that using black on the face is not, in itself, the problem. That link from Shrewsbury Festival says that it will not book sides using "full face black make up", but is happy with "other forms of colour and disguise"

So presumably the festival has no problem with sides that apply black to only some parts of the face (rather like military camouflage), nor with sides that use black and one or more other colours.

Both these alternatives preserve the element of blacking, while avoiding any implied racial mimicry, stereotyping or disrespect.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 10:35 AM

By way of a little light relief I was reminded of Cumbawamba's response to having traditions hijacked. Have a listen. :-) Beats any response I could have made :-)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 11:31 AM

these alternatives preserve the element of blacking, while avoiding any implied racial mimicry, stereotyping or disrespect.

Could I put in a mention for the superb Pig Dyke Molly? Firstly for the excellent and inventive quality of their dancing, then for the tight precision of their high quality musicians, the fine showmanship of any of their dance stands but also (and here is what is relevant to this thread) the thought and execution that goes into their costumes and face painting. This page from their website shows photos of their displays for 2016, all as they say, in "glorious black and white".

Surely this would met the Shrewsbury requirements (even if they have not already appeared there).

<><><><><><><>

A slightly more worrying aspect is that the Shrewsbury statement (linked to above) was brought about because -
the festival was accused of racial harassment and threatened with legal action by an organisation called FRESH


I would have thought that an accusation of "racial harassment" was putting it too high. The fear of 'legal action' seems to have been behind this Shropshire statement.
Did the organisation Fairness, Respect & Equality in Shropshire go to the police or the Institute of Race Relations with their concerns about what was happening at this folk festival or are we to regard this self-appointed body as the arbiters of what constitutes "racial harrasment"? Does anyone know the sequence of what happened?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 12:01 PM

Border Morris dance some dances they have made up, to tunes that were almost certainly never used for morris and on instruments sometimes invented in the 20C. They wear costumes sometimes unrelated to the custom they claim to be reviving. But they hang on to the bit of tradition that has one foot in 19C music hall racism.

I don't think those who dance Border are racists. The question within the "Morris community" is are they respecting their own history and origins in completely ignoring the contribution made from Minstrelsy.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Sep 16 - 01:10 PM

It might help if people had a read throgh this -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Morris

Interestingly, while looking for that, I also found this -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajji_Firuz


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 16 - 08:06 AM

Err.. Bell ringers, not campanologists. We call ourselves bell ringers.

Tsk


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Sep 16 - 12:37 PM

if they want to black up parts of their anatomy and jump up and down with bells tightly leather strapped to their appendages
in the privacy of their own homes, that's up to them and their spouses...
consenting adults and all that...

But no matter what colour make up is applied, a pasty flabby white man is still a pasty flabby white man... 👴🏻


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: CupOfTea
Date: 02 Sep 16 - 02:31 PM

As a white, female, American who can't dance anything anymore, I have no dog in this fight. But as someone who grapples every day with how to interact in a multi-racial society with various age groups who are likely to have different takes on perceptions of race, I can sympathise with both those who are exasperated and those who are offended.

As a liberal, living in an agressively "socially aware" suburb I have rolled my eyes at suggestions that it is racist of me to think of characterizing any sector of the black populous as having a particular characteristic, unless it is an expression of praise. Thus:
"The black kids at Heights High whose pants show half their underpants make me want to tell them to pull their pants up"= oh bad, very bad
" I love the call and response type of singing that happens with hymns in black churches" = just fine on the PC scale

In the first case, this is seen as racist by some of the youth, but black moms of my generation are likely to chime in with "amen" What is considered offensive - or perhaps more accurately, what people feel free to say is offensive - evolves with generations. There are also people of all categories and ethnicities who excel at what I see as the Olympic level sport of taking umbrage. It sounds like this situation has a bit of both. I am willing to go the extra distance in trying to avoid that which divides us. Sometimes I feel self conscious and a bit goofy for doing it. Since having a conversation with a batch of church friends talking about white folk crossing the street in fear of a black guy, I consciously greet with eye contact, smile, hello.

Those who take umbrage where no insult is meant have often caused me to feel like I have to prove I'm not a racist. But this is on a par with the absurd lengths we have to go to show we're not a pedophile or abuser in order to work with children. You have to constantly be on guard and aren't supposed to hug the wee child weeping in front of you. (Diocese of Cleveland VIRTUS training)

It is a different century, and traditions evolve, and not always as we'd want them to, and some of the ones we wish could change, won't.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 02 Sep 16 - 03:49 PM

"The black kids at Heights High whose pants show half their underpants make me want to tell them to pull their pants up"= absolutely bloody right, scruffy urchins.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Sep 16 - 04:09 PM

Then as some here might affectionately observe, there is a 'tribal culture' of white old fogies/folkies whose trousers and pants are pulled up far too high and tight..

they could do with loosening their belts and braces just a bit..... 😜

.. let it all swing and breath...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 01:33 AM

Or even breathe! Breath is what we breathe, pfr!

I have to say that I'm not fond of seeing saggy trousers displaying either arse-crack or dirty-looking shreddies. But, equally, I'm not a fan of tit-trousers either. On the waist is fine, AFAIC, and comfortable too.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 03:08 AM

bah.... bellocks to spolling and carrect grommar...!!! 🎓

Btw.. it's hilarious to see the usual sorts getting their knickers in a twist moaning about pc gone mad...



Our local cultural heritage is the west country carnival scene..

an over the top traditional folk custom celebrating popular culture of the here and now...???

I can't find any published statements regarding what is no longer acceptable for Carnival Float presentations..

or comment first hand, because I aint been arsed standing out in the winter cold wind and rain to watch it all drive past for several years

But a mainstay for many decades was pissed up young thug farmers blacking up as B&W minstrels, golliwogs, cannibals and zulus... 🙄


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 03:31 AM

LOL!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 03:44 AM

Well, my husband got back safely from Africa on Thursday, and I explained this thread to him. He's a bit timid writing in English but has asked me to post that he is very sad that people should think a black person would mind border Morris dancers being blacked up. He says he adores the Morris dancing and over the years has had so many photos taken, and he would like to say 'please don't worry or get upset, because there is no racism in Morris dancing'.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: BobL
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 04:00 AM

"On the waist is fine, AFAIC"
Fine for those who, unlike myself, still have waists...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 06:41 AM

A largely white organisation (FRESh) taking it on itself to speak for people who are capable of speaking for themselves (black people) seems rather paternalistic.

Paternalism implies an element of superiority...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 06:46 AM

To be clear I mean a feeling of superiority in those who are doing the speaking for others.

If the people who are offended really are unable to speak out for themselves then we have a bigger problem than a few blacked up dancers.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 07:08 AM

I `ad one of those Pig Dyke Molly dancers in my cab the other day. I recognised `im by `is clobber and make up. `e looked just like one of those Bassett`s Liquorice Allsorts.
I said, "Are you a whitey blacked up or are you a blackie whited up `cos there`s a lot of concern on that Mudcat about dancing and "guising" at the moment?
`e said, "It really don`t matter Jim. We reckon we`re a pretty democratic lot but we `ave `ad our problems."
I said, "Go on. What`s that then?"
`e said, "On of our lot once got mistaken for a zebra crossing and the crowd walked all over `im!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 10:41 AM

Never actually hear of these idiots called FRESh before, they can fuck off.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 12:09 PM

I suspect they won't, but I doubt they know this forum exists.

Why not post your considered response on their website? You might also like to do the same on the Shrewsbury FF site too...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 01:30 PM

So it's fair to consider that if it wasn't for old reactionary die hards like bonzo
there might not be so much need for zealously interfering zero tolerance activist campaigning equalities agencies like FRESh...???

It's your fault bonz... you got the morris black face make up banned...!!!!! 😜


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 04:22 PM

Not me squire!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 04:32 PM

Just to establish some facts,

1. Border Morris has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with Minstrelsy, although it would appear that Les in Chorlton is not clever enough to notice the difference as he keeps asking the question! To hopefully make it clear for Les, when did you last see a minstrel with a top hat decorated with pheasant feathers, wearing a tatter jacket and bell pads!

2. Blacking up as a disguise was banned by act of parliament in the 1700's so there is hard historical evidence that it was a recognised practice   

3. Morris is NOT sinister or pagan, earliest records of morris are 16th Century, and Suffolk diarist John Oakes records the morris men getting an allowance for bells from the parish church. Even what may appear to some to be a pagan dance, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, the horns are traditionally kept in the parish church, and blessed in and out!

4. Blacking up is very obviously not an attempt at caricature. The face paint is just part of an elaborate kit, and at the end of the day, black is just the colour of the paint.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: RTim
Date: 03 Sep 16 - 04:40 PM

And Guest:Guest - it would be a "Fact" to state who you are and why you are so biased.
And it again - doesn't matter what you think - it is about what others think!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 09:08 AM

Hi Tim
I agree posters should give some indication of who they are, but he/she is laying the glove down basically and challenging someone to come up with ANY evidence that border morris specifically is related in some way to minstrelsy.

I know of several seasonal customs involving dance that are directly connected to minstrelsy but I have no evidence personally to link border morris.

In view of the difficulties being described here would it not be enough for those customs/teams not linked to minstrelsy to carry with them a sandwich board stating that?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 09:15 AM

So...those who support blacked-up BM are 'biased', but those who are against it on the grounds of some imaginary 'offence' that 'might' be caused because it 'might' be linked to minstrelsy (for which they can provide no real, solid evidence, and even though those who have studied BM history and support it give clear evidence that it's a relic of historical disguising to avoid being identified), aren't?

What strange, topsy-turvy, illogical thought-processes some people have.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: selby
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 10:14 AM

There aré lots of references here about how this issue affects border Morris. There are other traditions that black up for their reasons is it just border Morris sides the ban is on or all Morris's sides that have there own traditions steeped in history
Keith


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 12:51 PM

Shrewsbury Festival are trying to distance themselves from Folk. They want to be as big as Cambridge or Cropedy. Look at the headline acts. They have to book acts that are not Folk.
And (as with Glastonbury) they will USE the word Folk until it interferes with the attracting of the wider public. Hence the pandering to "white middle class liberals".

Whatever they say (well they would, wouldn't they), they are in it for business. Their Folk pedigree is illusory, their business is glamping but the festival might be more lucrative.
The organisers don't use their real names in this parish either - read carefully.

I welcome the face painting we see today, it is fashion, it is living tradition, it is evolution, it is FUN. But we have to hold on to some legacy.

I suspect some of these "white middle class liberals" are history graduates who know nothing of the history of the people. Common working man is not "white middle class liberal" enough.

Blacking-up has many roots; mimicing athletic tumblers (Morresque) from the near east/India, hiding identities so farmers (etc) don't recognise them at hiring fairs, disguise when begging at Xmas & Easter. Pick a century and add more reasons.

The solution here is simple. Don't go to Shrewsbury! Towersey has better dancing - I can vouch for it.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 01:37 PM

Thanks to MrSnail for this - give it a read if you ahve time:

Wiki is helpful

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 01:41 PM

Just to establish some facts.......Blacking up as a disguise was banned by act of parliament in the 1700's so there is hard historical evidence that it was a recognised practice

This is an interesting statement and I never seen reference to this legislation before. Googling it suggests the GUEST poster is referring to the Black Act passed by Parliament on 26 April 1723.

Wikipedia tells us that this act was designed as a counter-measure to:-
the Blacks [who]gained their name from their habit of blacking their faces when undertaking poaching raids. They quickly demonstrated both "a calculated programme of action, and a conscious social resentment", and their activities led to the introduction of the Black Act to Parliament on 26 April 1723; it came into force on 27 May. The Act introduced the death penalty for over 50 criminal offences, including being found in a forest while disguised, and "no other single statute passed during the eighteenth century equalled [the Black Act] in severity, and none appointed the punishment of death in so many cases". Following a criminal law reform campaign in the early 19th century, it was largely repealed on 8 July 1823, when a reform bill introduced by Robert Peel came into force.

The societies of Bonfire Boys in my home town of Lewes all have a "Smugglers" section in their parades. Each member of that section will wear identical costumes - striped jumpers, blacked faces and identical caps pulled low over the forehead. These celebrate the various smugglers gangs which were very widespread in 18th century Sussex and for they dressed this way to facilitate disguise and to prevent individual identification. Those who benefited from poaching and smuggling were found in every class of society and the "Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by." attitude is well identified in Kipling's famous poem.
It seems entirely likely that there is blacked up morris was influenced by Mistrelsy after 1840 but is seems at least equally likely that dancers were influenced by the popular "criminals" who brought some sort of relief, employment and satisfaction at least 120 years previously.
The suggestion that black-faced dancers preceded the 1840 tour by the first American Minstrel parties seems to be very strong.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 01:54 PM

If the historical & cultural evidence is convincing enough,
hasn't any sensible credible person yet made formal approach to FRESh
to try to convince them to reappraise their understanding and actions on this particular morris issue...???


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,For it is he
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 02:38 PM

Mr Red exacerbates the silliness here by declaring what is folk and what isn't.

No chance of a grown up conversation when those organising what looks like a cracking lineup get tarred by those who get precious about their own misguided genre constraints.

As to the blacking up, most posts that cut through the crap, not just mine, mysteriously disappear. Since when did the land of Big Mac and Trump understand British traditions? Oh, they don't. Hence "moderating" perfectly reasonable posts.

Is there an equivalent of Mudcat that is mature enough to actually discuss such interesting matters without juvenile moderation by confused foreigners?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Linden
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 04:17 PM

Mac Donalds? I'll have a hung, drawn and quartered pounder, please, hold the pickle


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 16 - 04:51 PM

Thanks, Les
That Wikipedia article covers just about all of it. The last paragraph 'modern misinterpretations' is particularly useful. I like the final sentence which suggests that all of the influences on blacking up were probably relevant at different times in its evolution.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Stephen Foster's auntie
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 06:33 AM

Just responding to some "facts":


"1. Border Morris has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with Minstrelsy, although it would appear that Les in Chorlton is not clever enough to notice the difference as he keeps asking the question! To hopefully make it clear for Les, when did you last see a minstrel with a top hat decorated with pheasant feathers, wearing a tatter jacket and bell pads!"


In fact, the repertoire and instruments used in Minstrelsy heavily influenced historic border morris. And in Shropshire there is historical evidence that it was known as "going niggering".


"2. Blacking up as a disguise was banned by act of parliament in the 1700's so there is hard historical evidence that it was a recognised practice"   


Blacking up used by poachers is not the same as people blacking up to dance. Conflating the two things is fallacious academic practice. When Sharp was collecting morris dancing at the turn of the 20th century, he only came across two sides who were blacking up at that time; one would have been Bacup. So if we're being selective about evidence, one could argue that blacking up was never a significant factor in morris. This would be an equally fallacious conclusion to draw without further evidence, but you see how this works.


"3. Morris is NOT sinister or pagan, earliest records of morris are 16th Century, and Suffolk diarist John Oakes records the morris men getting an allowance for bells from the parish church. Even what may appear to some to be a pagan dance, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, the horns are traditionally kept in the parish church, and blessed in and out!"


While it's true that morris is neither sinister nor pagan, anyone who has seen the real Abbotts Bromley (as opposed to the "woo-woo" iterations) will know that it doesn't feel particularly pagan when they're prancing about to Isle of Capri. Also the practice of keeping the horns in the church is relatively recent - they used to be kept in the pub on the square.


"4. Blacking up is very obviously not an attempt at caricature. The face paint is just part of an elaborate kit, and at the end of the day, black is just the colour of the paint."


Blacking up NOW may not be an attempt at caricature, but there are very definite sources to link historic border morris with minstrelsy. The question is why so many dancers stubbornly refuse to acknowledge this link if they feel that what they're doing is okay. If you're going to "educate" those watching about the history of your tradition, you have to own *all* of that history. Not (ha!) whitewash the inconvenient bits.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 06:56 AM

At least the west country Carnivals, most notably Bridgwater, made no rationalisations, justifications, or excuses for decades of blatantly racist blacking up.

It was simply a culturally acceptable manifestation of the inherent racist norm of the era.

I can't vouch if it has completely disappeared from carnival floats in this hopefully more enlightened 21st Century,
as last time I watched it about 15 years ago I froze my bollocks off standing in the cruel winter rain and wind,
and haven't bothered since...

I've a vague memory they might still have been dressing up as 'comedy pantomime' china men and mexicans...???


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 09:56 AM

So the "Black Act" of 2016 will introduce punishment for "being at a Folk Festival with a blacked up face!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 10:49 AM

2. Blacking up as a disguise was banned by act of parliament in the 1700's so there is hard historical evidence that it was a recognised practice

The ban did not relate to dancing, but blacking up as camouflage (from the gamekeeper, not the prey) when hunting.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 02:06 PM

I wonder how many African immigrants fell foul of the Black Act by mistake!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 04:02 PM

Hopefully the Black Act distinguished between a black face and a blacked up face!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 16 - 07:00 PM

"Their are no 'yellow skinned people' GSS"
are you saying THERE are no yellow skinned people?
may i draw your attention to the following, yelow girl sung by leadbelly. and this
High yellow, occasionally simply yellow (dialect: yaller, yeller), is a term used to describe persons classified as black according to the one-drop rule, despite having primarily white European ancestry.[1] It is a color reference to the golden skin tone of some mixed-race people. The term was in common use in the United States at the end of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century, but is now considered obsolete and sometimes offensive.[2] It is reflected in such popular songs of the era as "The Yellow Rose of Texas"
LES IN CHORLTON, for god sake get your facts right


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 05:13 AM

Thank you everyone. Very informed reading Vic, but I was taught NOT to use Wikipedia for any research, whilst I was at college ..


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 06:05 AM

I was taught NOT to use Wikipedia for any research
Probably good advice.... but where do we go for reliable information these days? Just because books are written by academics does not mean that they are sources that can be trusted. Some highly qualified writers have written books in denial of the holocaust - yet there is firm historic evidence that it did happen. Recent events have shown us that as far as prominent politicians of a wide range of persuasions are concerned, we live in a 'post-truth' society.
Even when I was at school, I can remember people coming out with statements and ending them with ".... and that is the Gospel truth!" and I remember thinking, "... but the Gospels are riddled with fantastic lies!"


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 06:18 AM

but where do we go for reliable information these days?

Multiple well referenced sources, i.e multiple sources that use multiple sources. That combined with a faculty for critical analysis


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 06:53 AM

hasn't any sensible credible person yet made formal approach to FRESh
to try to convince them to reappraise their understanding and actions


... or to listen to what they have to say and try and understand their point of view. If nothing else you will stand a better chance of persuading them than by calling on a largely fictitious history and using Politcal Correctness as a term of abuse.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 06:55 AM

If I remember correctly...

My Polytechnic Humanities subjects degree back in the early 80s
emphasised that whilst the subjects being studied were important,
the primary priority was developing student's skills of independent critical analysis...???

.. probably why my sort have been such bolshy bastards all our lives...??? 😎


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 07:10 AM

Morris dancer, Munich 1480


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 07:11 AM

Endurance is Strength


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 07:15 AM

My mate, Dave Hunt of Sunshine Arts, has posted this today on Facebook. I checked the website of the festival that he refers to in his post and there is no reference to this apology so I cannot offer multiple sources that use multiple sources to authenticate Dave's post. I believe , but cannot prove, that Dave was a performer at that festival, so it could be that this apology was sent by circular email; I can only speculate. However, my faculty for critical analysis suggests to me that it has a ring of truth about it. I cut and paste his posting with no alteration:-

Now all you people who want to stay blacked-up....see this. and it ain't going to be the last festival to take this stance!
***************************
Lunar Festival, Moseley, B.ham

A LUNAR APOLOGY...
On a more serious note we would like to apologise to anyone who was offended at this year's Lunar Festival.

As you will have seen, we had a performance by a Border Morris team who cover up their faces with Black paint to replicate 16th Century impoverished workers who covered their faces with ash as a disguise whilst dancing for food.

We have received a complaint from customers stating they feel in the modern world this is inappropriate as it can be easily misinterpreted and can, and has caused offence. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive festival bringing artists and people from all over the world together so we have decided not to book any more Border Morris team's going forward.

We also had an unsavoury situation with a new trader deciding it was appropriate to sell Golly Dolls on site. We are a very small team over-looking the whole event with over 40 traders and concessions and were only aware when the issue was raised by a member of the public. We were shocked and disturbed and immediately asked the seller to remove them from sale which they promptly did. Needless to say they won't be returning to any of our festivals and we'll adopt a stricter vetting process for future traders in 2017.

We agreed with those who raised both issues to our attention that it was best to discuss both issues openly so anyone else who felt offended can see it was never our intention to cause offence.

For both issues we wholeheartedly apologise.

We'll be working hard to improve Lunar and bring you even more fun and entertainment in a safe and relaxing environment for 2017.
********************************************

TAKE NOTE!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 08:14 AM

There is perhaps an echo of this idiocy in the Black Lives Matter protest at London City Airport this morning. Conducted by guess who? White people...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 08:33 AM

My goodness Guest Ed, one wonders how on earth those protesters got airside and managed to manacle themselves together on a runway without being stopped immediately. Seems to be an enormous lack of basic security at City Airport!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 08:43 AM

I'd personally like to maintain a balanced view on all this...

Acknowledging the dubious racist taints of a tradition,
whilst preserving it's continuation within a specialist informed educated rational perspective...

Well.. that obviously aint easy....




btw.. I got an old black british made electric guitar
which is clearly a poorly applied refinish of the original white paintwork...
I'm fairly convinced that guitar is not, or ever been, knowingly racist..
Definitely not in all the time I've owned it....????

But it was hand crafted in a factory in Essex...
So I can never be too certain...

Any anti pc gone mad brigade want to argue passionately for it's right to continue pretending to be black...??? 😜


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 08:44 AM

Had the great pleasure of watching Hemlock Morris (Bedford) dance at Whitby Goth weekend recently. Some of them 'purple up'. It looks very effective and would probably solve the problem for all....... except perhaps the Purple People Eaters, who might be offended.

Mind you, they also dance mixed morris, very well as it happens, and that probably offends the morris ring.

As some great song-writer once wrote, 'You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself.'

http://hemlockmorris.com/#/about-us/4532899968


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:44 AM

Burnt cork was much easier to use, and wash off, than black grease paint. And it smells nice when preparing it through burning, too.
Was it traditionally used amongst the agricultural working classes Morris ?


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:54 AM

I would've thought cork wasn't easy to procure, except as stoppers for bottles, and they may have been saved for re-use. I bet they used charcoal to blacken their faces, or perhaps lamp-black (oily sooty residue on oil lamps)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:54 AM

some anonymous racist liar writes:
the Black Lives Matter protest at London City Airport this morning. Conducted by guess who? White people...

The pictures clearly show people of various ethnicities involved, pretty representative of the population of London.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 02:31 PM

Jack Campin posted:

some anonymous racist liar writes

Point 1,

I gave my name. It was Ed, It still is. As far as I'm aware, that does not constitute anonymity.

Point 2,

I am not a racist, have never posted any racist comment and consider it highly offensive to be labelled as such. An apology for that wouldn't go amiss.

Point 3,

I am not a liar. The only picture on the BBC page at the time I posted showed only white people. Indeed, Jo Coburn brought up that very point on BBC2's 'The Daily Politics' which her guest, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas agreed with. Or are they racist liars too?

That is all.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 04:02 PM

Lamp black very likely, but they would have used whatever was at hand. Burnt cork was the popular concept but of course anyone with a few bob would be able to afford greasepaint.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 05:13 PM

Soot and/or ashes would have been the easiest materials to acquire - much easier (and cheaper) than burning cork or getting charcoal.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:33 PM

so basically a bunch of full grown 'mature' men are still amused & excited by face painting...

ahhh.. aint that cute...

Why don't they just admit their desires and needs and employ a proper specialist kiddies face paint artist
to turn them all into lions, tigers, badgers, bunnies, pandas and dormice... [select other animal of your choice]...??? 🐵

.. they could even go full nude body animal paint and still strap on their bells and wave the hankies and sticks...
that'd be real morris men heaven.....???


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:49 PM

Seems a natural inclination

orig15.deviantart.net/622a/f/2007/203/9/2/sister_earth_by_selinakyle.jpg


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:52 PM

^^mine


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 03:34 AM

In the late forties, early fifties,one saw many chimney sweeps. We didn't have central heating, everybody had a coal/wood fire, and the chimneys needed to be swept regularly. Sweeps were either on a bicycle or on foot, with their special brushes over their shoulder. Also, men delivered the coal in open sacks hoisted onto their backs from lorries, and 'shot' the coal into one's bunker behind the house. They wore thick leather protective headgear that hung down their backs. Both these type of workmen had completely blackened faces. Not just smudged, but totally black. And in mining areas (my aunt lived in County Durham for example) the men came off shift covered in coal dust, again, black as the ace of spades. No showers at the pithead in those days, but a tin bath in front of the fire in the living room. It did give the appearance of something a bit sinister and strange, all these unidentifiable black-faced men. So blacking-up for Morris dancing would have been seen as an extension of this, and nothing whatsoever to do with African-origin people at all. In fact, while living at the edge of London, I had never seen a black person, until Jamaicans began to arrive. I used to think as a child that they were chimney sweeps or coalmen, until my mother put me right.
My point (after this long ramble) is that men with blackened faces were around long before we saw any African-origin people. So nobody was parodying or imitating them in any way.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 03:45 AM

punkfolkrocker, there's nothing childish about traditional costume and face-paint for dancing.

Women as well as men dance in border Morris sides, and paint their faces too.

No-one in a border Morris side would be seen dead waving a hanky. That's Cotswold Morris.

I know quite a bit about W African traditions, and painting the face is practised there in almost every culture.
Ivorian spirit dancers paint their faces white to look gruesome and strange, which adds to the sinister aspect of their dancing. Nothing about them could be described as cute or childish, it can be quite frightening and intimidating, (as it's intended to be).

I don't much like your tone to be honest. A bit sneery and demeaning to men... don't you like watching Morris dancing? (or men??)


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 04:55 AM

Senoufou - shame you are getting the wrong end of the stick...
I thought you would have gathered by now, my default mode is affectionate sarcasm...
life is too painful otherwise..

Can't ever miss an opportunity for a mild piss taking laugh...
friends or enemies, dished out in equal measure...

[though I don't really do hate and enemies, never been that good at sustaining the ill feeling towards even the most despicable pillocks..
I even regard bonzo as a weird kind of disreputable mate... 😜]

But beneath it all, there is always a serious subtext,
with a remote hope that it might provoke more tangential contextual consideration on a subject, for any who might be bothered thinking further


As it is, me and the mrs quite like what we see of the local [South West] Morris squad once or twice a year..
Even though it's obvious we know eff all about the intricacies..

We can watch them with a mixture of bemusement and enjoyment..
and admire their sheer determination to put on a good show in all weathers...

There's one young lad, we have observed growing from a boy over the last decade, whilst the others in the team are now more portly and white / less haired...

Mrs punkfolkrocker, almost feels like he is a distant nephew, she is so happy to see him improve year after year..

Good luck to 'em and long may they shake their sticks...

All seems positive, cosy, and inoffensive...

I'd actually prefer to see some of the more aggressively antagonistic controversial punk rock sides of morris..
but unfortunately not down here in bucalcoholic scrumpyshire.....

..and as you misconstrue malice in my writing, in this thread you could be seen as actively over pandering to and naively in denial,
trying to account for and dismiss possible taints of racism in our folk world...????

.. guess it's all down to appearance and misinterpretation...

Personally I think folks can get too worked up turning molehills into mountains and conflicts...

FRESh may or may not be acting like bellends...???

But some of the black face morris side's more reactionary supporters definitely are...!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 06:04 AM

The hideous music inflicted on us by black people is infinitely more offensive than any morris dancer with a blacked up face could ever be!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 06:17 AM

see.. if I was a mod, i'd let that last outburst of bonzo's remain intact for posterity;
damning evidence of the kind of mindset that apparently over-zealous organisations like FRESh exist to condemn and counteract...

.. thanks for that bonz...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 07:17 AM

"

The hideous music inflicted on us by black people is infinitely more offensive than any morris dancer with a blacked up face could ever be!!!!!!!!! "

Oh dear, oh dear ....... is the cat out of the bag so to speak?

Is that all music of black origin or just jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock, soul and hip hop or would you like to be more specific Bonzo?

We can't choose what kind of music we like - it just hits us and we either like it or we don't. If somebody is inflicting music on you perhaps you should try and escape you captors. Inflicting music has been used as a method of torture - I trust you escape.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 07:29 AM

From: GUEST,Senoufou - PM
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 03:45 AM
Quote: I don't much like your tone to be honest.

What have I said now? Oh. hang on. I'm not Punkfolkrocker's tone


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 07:40 AM

I am referring to hipperty hopperty, reggae gone wrong and worse only. I thank Peter Green for da blues - search John Mayall with Peter Green on youtube for the best unmatched blues guitar ever.......ah, I'm forgetting David Sanctious of course!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 08:05 AM

I used to have a baldy middle aged next door neighbour called Tone...

Me and my mates thought he was just a boring old bloke,
until we were in awe to discover he'd been to Eddie Cochran's last ever gig...




Eff all to do with morris....

.. unless we want to tie in concepts of white folks adopting, modifying and making success out of black folks culture....????? 🙄

but not exactly as contentious these days as blacking up...???


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 08:07 AM

We had no Colored folk in our town either, the law was they could work there but had to leave before dark, so, my mom was watching a woman's girl while she was at work (I think). I was in my mother's arms the first time I saw her. I reached out my hand to touch her face, she bit me.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 08:18 AM

I am referring to hipperty hopperty, reggae gone wrong and worse only.

Is this type of music only performed and enjoyed by black people?

Do you refer to all the music you dislike as "The hideous music inflicted on us by black people"?

I would also like that to stay for posterity and to show anyone who is of the opinion that racism is not an issue in the folk world. :-(

D.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 07 Sep 16 - 11:17 PM

Bonzo, I'm sure they grimace at your music too.
Maybe get some earplugs - that'll show'em ( ^ :


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 02:16 AM

No no no no no no no, come to "diverse, multicultural" Croydon and you will hear exactly what I mean!!!


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 02:42 AM

I don't see why you can't cruise round your hood
in a pimped up boy racer [or evens a sensible pensioners economy vehicle] with massive sub bass ICE sound system in the boot
blasting out your favourite folk tracks at top volume...???

You've got enough savings aintcha....

I'd opt for massed marching bag pipes & battle drums... 🙄


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 03:37 AM

I note with some amusement, Bonzo, that your favourite blues guitarists seem to be white boys from London who played the music at second-hand. So much for all those black guys who originally produced the music, eh?

Much as I loved Peter Green's playing (in his heyday) how could he have made the music without people like - for example - Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and even Chuck Berry. The Brit blues guitarists may have rejuvenated the music in its homeland in the 1960s - as Buddy Guy himself has said on many occasions - but the fount of that music is firmly within the southern states of black America.

And all of this without mentioning giants like Broonzy, Johnson, Patton, Jefferson, Lewis, Davis, McGhee, Blake, etc., etc., etc.

Do get a grip.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 03:38 AM

The reason Bozo's posts remain is that they strike a chord with redneck shit kickers, some of whom moderate this thread from a distant "land."


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,In good company
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 04:32 AM

come to "diverse, multicultural" Croydon and you will hear exactly what I mean!!!

I used to live in genuinely "diverse multi-cultural" (with or without the quotes) Salford. I now live near and work in even more diverse multi-cultural Bradford. I have enjoyed myself immensely on occasions in Moss Side, Brixton and many other places at sessions in pubs that have been culturally diverse since the 1960s. I have still never found myself referring to music I am not keen on as "The hideous music inflicted on us by black people"

Hideous music is perpetrated by all sorts of people everywhere and not all music played and enjoyed by black people is hideous. While blacking up may not be racist, stereotyping black people as having poor musical tastes certainly is.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 05:28 AM

Anyone wanting to check the research on blackface morris should read Teresa Buckland's article "Black faces, garlands, and coconuts" (Dance Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, Autumn, 1990) or the section on morris dance in Roy Palmer's "The folklore of Shropshire". There can be little doubt that the Lancashire coconut dancing and the border morris traditions were influenced by blackface minstrelsy. Alternative explanations (disguise, warding off evil spirits, miners) tend to be assertions made in more modern times, of the "it may be the case that" variety, with no evidence from contemporary accounts of dancers to back them up.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 05:52 AM

My ears tell me what I like to hear. I don't care where music originated, purely from an electric guitar viewpoint, to my ears, apart from Clapton during his stints with the Bluesbreakers and early Cream, nobody has ever got near to Peter Green's blues technique during his Bluesbreakers/early Fleetwood Mac period.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 06:17 AM

Oh well, there you go. It's always instructive to see a person with such a fully-formed and completely closed mind.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 07:24 AM

Some guys here remind me of a experience i had online round the turn of the century...Soul-patrol, a group of aging souls soulsingers who complained how awful Rap was. I only blundered in a few months before I decided to enlighten them on how Rap gave young people solace today the same as Soul did for you once. They ran me off.


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 07:49 AM

It's so sad that even well educated elder pillars [..pillocks..???] of society see life in such closed minded black and white..

..when according to a popularly acclaimed 21st Century writer,
there are 50 shades of grey......???? 😜






.. honestly everybody, we're not blacking up... it's just a very dark shade of grey...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 08 Sep 16 - 09:25 AM

Well a certain young mixed race person of my acquaintance seems to delight in listening to Holst's Planet Suite...


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 16 - 12:03 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 14 Sep 16 - 06:27 AM

At the end of the day, when it's all summed up, it's been great publicity


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 14 Sep 16 - 06:34 AM

Here's a Recap


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Subject: RE: Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 16 - 01:21 PM

Yes, I am suspect that is their motive, Shrewsbury is in my opinion an example of an aspect of a changing folk scene, I suspect but cannot prove that their primary purpose is commercialism,Shrewsbury is in my opinion primarily about bums on seats and possibly/PROBABLY about making loads of money.
Obviously any festival organiser has to cover costs, but if the principal aim is to make lots of money, it means[ in my experience] for "loads of money to be made" a dilution away from the roots of the music, that is not something I think is a good thing.
Have the organisers of this Festival contributed any of their profits to Anti Racism funds, if they have and can prove they have, I take back my comments, if not I wish they would desist


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