Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Bacup Nuters and Racism

GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Apr 14 - 07:26 AM
Leadfingers 23 Apr 14 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Apr 14 - 09:14 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Apr 14 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Apr 14 - 09:34 AM
Mr Red 23 Apr 14 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,henryp 23 Apr 14 - 09:52 AM
doc.tom 23 Apr 14 - 10:43 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Apr 14 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 23 Apr 14 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 23 Apr 14 - 12:12 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 14 - 12:13 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Apr 14 - 12:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Apr 14 - 12:37 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,henryp 23 Apr 14 - 12:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Apr 14 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Apr 14 - 01:07 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Apr 14 - 02:01 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Apr 14 - 02:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Apr 14 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Apr 14 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 14 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Apr 14 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Guest Betsy 23 Apr 14 - 05:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 03:39 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 04:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 04:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 04:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 04:44 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Apr 14 - 05:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 05:28 AM
Jack Campin 24 Apr 14 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Apr 14 - 05:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 05:54 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,matt milton 24 Apr 14 - 05:56 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,matt milton 24 Apr 14 - 06:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 06:43 AM
TheSnail 24 Apr 14 - 06:49 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 24 Apr 14 - 06:54 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 07:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 07:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 24 Apr 14 - 08:31 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Apr 14 - 08:59 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 11:22 AM
Old Grey Wolf 24 Apr 14 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 24 Apr 14 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at Work 24 Apr 14 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,henryp 24 Apr 14 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 24 Apr 14 - 12:07 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Apr 14 - 12:33 PM
TheSnail 24 Apr 14 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 24 Apr 14 - 01:58 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 14 - 03:20 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 24 Apr 14 - 03:24 PM
TheSnail 24 Apr 14 - 03:49 PM
TheSnail 24 Apr 14 - 04:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Apr 14 - 04:38 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 14 - 04:55 PM
TheSnail 24 Apr 14 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 24 Apr 14 - 05:01 PM
Lynn W 24 Apr 14 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,# 24 Apr 14 - 10:27 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Apr 14 - 01:40 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 02:45 AM
GUEST,matt milton 25 Apr 14 - 03:16 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Apr 14 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Eliza 25 Apr 14 - 03:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 04:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,matt milton 25 Apr 14 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 25 Apr 14 - 05:43 AM
MartinRyan 25 Apr 14 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,matt milton 25 Apr 14 - 06:18 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 06:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 06:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 08:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 08:16 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at Work 25 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM
TheSnail 25 Apr 14 - 08:22 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 08:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 08:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 09:29 AM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Eliza 25 Apr 14 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,henryp 25 Apr 14 - 10:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 10:20 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Apr 14 - 10:31 AM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 10:31 AM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 10:52 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 10:54 AM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 11:06 AM
TheSnail 25 Apr 14 - 12:18 PM
TheSnail 25 Apr 14 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Eliza 25 Apr 14 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 25 Apr 14 - 01:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 14 - 01:55 PM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 02:04 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM
Vic Smith 25 Apr 14 - 03:46 PM
TheSnail 25 Apr 14 - 07:44 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 03:05 AM
Mo the caller 26 Apr 14 - 03:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Apr 14 - 05:18 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 06:10 AM
TheSnail 26 Apr 14 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 06:39 AM
TheSnail 26 Apr 14 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,henryp 26 Apr 14 - 07:22 AM
TheSnail 26 Apr 14 - 09:16 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 09:39 AM
TheSnail 26 Apr 14 - 10:42 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 11:21 AM
TheSnail 26 Apr 14 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,CS 26 Apr 14 - 12:03 PM
GUEST 26 Apr 14 - 12:09 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 14 - 12:18 PM
Les in Chorlton 26 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM
Vic Smith 26 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Apr 14 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Eliza 26 Apr 14 - 02:21 PM
meself 26 Apr 14 - 09:01 PM
TheSnail 27 Apr 14 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,# 27 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 27 Apr 14 - 02:52 PM
Gibb Sahib 27 Apr 14 - 09:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Apr 14 - 09:25 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Apr 14 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Eliza 28 Apr 14 - 10:35 AM
IanC 28 Apr 14 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Eliza 28 Apr 14 - 02:43 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 28 Apr 14 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Eliza 28 Apr 14 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,# 28 Apr 14 - 05:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Apr 14 - 08:39 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 29 Apr 14 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,Eliza 29 Apr 14 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,# 29 Apr 14 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,CS 29 Apr 14 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Eliza 29 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM
Howard Jones 30 Apr 14 - 03:59 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Apr 14 - 04:06 AM
Howard Jones 30 Apr 14 - 07:23 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 07:26 AM

There was an interesting discussion on BBC 4's Today programme yesterday about the Britannia Coconut Dancers and racism.
It can be heard here, about 40 minutes in. Needless to say I strongly dispute any contention that the Bacup dances are in any way racist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 07:29 AM

As has been shown in posts on this site , there area always people who want to read all sorts of rubbish into any thing they come across , with NO regard to the facts


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:14 AM

They're excellent and should be supported to continue their dancing. I seem to remember that 'objections' to one of their events were in fact on behalf of the Local Authority who were merely concerned about spectators standing in the road and risking an accident. My husband's black and has seen them on TV. He thinks they're great and doesn't see anything racist in their costumes or dance. Neither has he ever felt uncomfortable about 'blacked-up' Morris dancers, and has even danced with some of them at Sheringham and Wittlesea, after being kindly invited to join in! If black people don't care a pin why should anyone else?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:22 AM

The origins of many traditional dances are lost in the mists of time and no one can say with any certainty how they came about,

The dances they perform are actually Folk Dances and the custom of blackened faces may reflect a pagan or medieval background which was done to disguise the dancers from being recognised by evil spirits afterwards, it may also reflect mining connections.

The picture is by no means clear and tales have been related by word of mouth, however, the dances are supposed to have originated with moorish pirates (hence the costume). Some of these sailors are said to have settled in Cornwall and become employed in local mining. As mines and quarries opened in Lancashire in the 18th & 19th century a few Cornishmen came North bringing with them mining expertise. It is with these people that the dances were reputedly brought to this area. In particular two Cornishmen who came to work in Whitworth (this was related by a former team member many years ago).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:34 AM

'Guisers' in Scotland blacken their faces too, and possibly to dis-'guise' their identity. Unlike the Black & White Minstrels who were actually imitating black people, the Morris/folk dancers who black-up are not trying to look African at all. It's perfectly obvious that no racism exists in this tradition. I doubt if any black person has ever complained, only well-meaning but misguided white folk who should mind their own business. I'm certain that any offended black people would be capable of complaining on their own behalf if necessary!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:37 AM

What annoys me is teachers - probably history teachers - who cannot accept that customs are customs, statements of being er um hmmm - English as it happens. What better way to accept the range of people that live in the UK than to include them.

These history teachers love to spout about Kings and politicians and dismiss the common working man with a "it was a time of poverty" rather than "this is what they did".

There are Egyptian (border!) morris dancers and members of Flash Company who just enjoy the crack without raising objections to the face painting.
Though it has to be said the morris fashion (morris fashion?) for garish colours is a welcome development now that face paint is cheap and burnt cork is pretty rough on the face. The face paint is much better at distancing the person from their antics. And morris dancers never beg these days - or do they?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 09:52 AM

Devon and Cornwall Police deployed 11 officers in Padstow to monitor and shoot video footage of the Darkie Day celebrations on Boxing Day 2004 and New Year's Day 2005.

The Crown Prosecution Service concluded that no offence had been committed.

This year, the police declined to accompany the Nutters on their annual journey. So it was left to Doc Rowe to record the proceedings. The crowd, which included Derek Schofield, showed the affection in which the Nutters are held.

And there was a rival group of nutters too - manning the UKIP stand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: doc.tom
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 10:43 AM

'I doubt if any black person has ever complained'
- just Diane Abbott if memory serves!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 10:57 AM

One of the problems that lingers around folk and traditional customs, apart from the difficulty and agreeing what these words mean, is that people say all kinds of things with out offering any evidence.

Many Morris sides still perpetuate the ideas that Morris is somehow related to a fertility and / or a pagan past. I have never been offered evidence that this is so.

The BCND seem to have sprung to life in the 19C at a time when carnivals, fetes and music hall performances often featured Blackface Minstresly an influence from the US. Border Morris shows those links.

Are the stout defenders of the BCND prepared to explore possible links between BCND and Blackface Minstresly?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 11:46 AM

I'm no expert on Bacup, but I'm inclined to think that there is a strong music hall influence in the custom. So maybe reports of them being rooted in blackface minstrelsy aren't that wide of the mark.

Having said that, I can see no similarity whatsoever to the demeanour, or the costumes, of the Bacup dancers and the awful fawning, eye rolling, Jim Crow spectacle that was the Black & White Minstrel Show.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:12 PM

the black and white minstrels were not racist, unless you consider blackface minstrelry to be racist. The clue is in the name.

If blackface is racist then surely all blackface is racist. Cue special pleading.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:13 PM

The 'Moorish pirate' claim was nipped in the bud by dance a researcher who claimed that the 'blacking-up' was influenced by Sharp's and his Victorian colleagues' concept of how black people should be represented, an image taken from the Minstrel shows.
The pirate thing seems to be a rationalisation
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:17 PM

I wouldn't say I was an expert, Fred, but I do know quite a lot about the 'nutters. As far as I know there is no Music Hall link at all.

I would never say there is no link between the 'nutters and Black-face Minstrelry but I am pretty sure that there are black face traditions that pre-date black and white minstrels. I am also aware of a white-face pace egg tradition - I think it is on St Kitts but I could be wrong.

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:37 PM

It was a friend of mine that mentioned the white face mumming or pace egg and while I could not find it in a search I did find a piece of his work about Caribean traditions that really is quite fascinating. Well, to me anyway.

Enjoy.

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM

The earliest reference to the custom is the mid 19th century, and the present form of it dates back to the 1920s
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:54 PM

In 2006, Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney, asked the government to stop the annual Darkie Day festival in Padstow.

In 1998, Bernie Grant, the late MP for Tottenham, condemned the tradition as "offensive to black people all over the place".

I never saw either of them in Padstow.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:56 PM

Did they not have black face performers earlier than that? I am thinking of the Greeks actors particularly but something at the back of my mind is niggling me about earlier English traditions as well. Elizabethan possibly? Probably not as I cannot find reference on Google :-( But if the earliest reference is mid 19th C. is it not logical that the tradition itself pre-dates that? And there is no indication as to why they started to do it? Sometimes the right answer, as it is with me in this case, is we just don't really know!

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 01:07 PM

If one is going to find 'racism' in depicting a person from another race, then what about Wishee Washee etc in Aladdin? In fact that pantomime would be censored from start to finish as it's a bizarre mix of Chinese and 'Arabian' costumes, names, speech and make-up. Or indeed, The Mikado? If one takes this ridiculous stance to its conclusion, then depicting anyone at all could be banned. I do wish black, Asian etc people were credited with enough nous to distinguish for themselves between true, malicious racism and harmless, traditional fun. (Even recent 'traditions' such as the Bacup crew or the pantomime). It's insulting to them to assume they can't complain if they want to, and generally they don't! I feel I'd like to print and distribute giant posters of the photos of my husband dancing with Leeds Morris, Red Leicester Morris and sitting beside a very blacked-up Old Glory dancer.
Suggestions please for the caption!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 02:01 PM

I have to say I am surprised at the general quality of this discussion. I guess that's pretty patronising isn't it? But thanks all the same.

Most of us enjoy folk music and related customs and we are curious about their origins. We wont get there unless people dig deep and show us the evidence for what they have found out. This is called scholarly study and in terms of history it's the only way.

Finding stuff in totally unrelated cultures is fascinating but it doesn't really help.

As for white people blacking up most people white or black either don't know or don't care. But some do.

Morris etc. is a public performance. Does it matter if some people are offended? How about 1 or 2 or 20? As we have no way of knowing we have a problem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 02:26 PM

I used to think that it did matter, Les, but as the years went by I realised that some people will just take offense at anything. They are often working to an agenda that is unknown to us and the alleged offense is sometimes politically motivated. But having said that I do agree that if someone genuinely takes offense then something must be done about it. It is most often a misunderstanding of intentions. As an example a friend of mine who had a severely disabled son took offense at a what I found an innocent remark about Siamese twins in Derek Brimstone's patter at a concert we were at. Fortunately, as I knew both, I introduced Derek to her after the concert and the result was that they both learned something new and both went away happy. The answer to most things is educate, communicate and compromise. Well, I think so anyway.

I do think that the link I gave is helpful though. I know it is from unrelated cultures but the tradition seems to be the same. I was hoping to show that people disguise themselves regardless of the colour of their skin, as do the mummers on St Kitts. Perhaps it has nothing to do with either tradition or racism? Maybe people, especially us repressed blokes, just enjoy painting their faces? :-)

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 02:32 PM

Oh, and sorry, another anecdote. I know anecdotal evidence is unlikely to prove anything but I like the tale. I was running a course during the lead up to Easter. A time when I a humble UNIX tutor through the day and Bold Hector, the champion of the King of Egypt by night. One morning I found that the shower had not removed all the face blacking but did not notice until too late. When the students started to take the piss I explained why we blacked up. Quick as a flash a black student in the class said, "Makes sense. Most white men really want to be black." Still cracks me up now :-)

D.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 02:39 PM

I think it's a relic of primitive culture where one masked one's face and 'became' something else, maybe a spirit or representation of a god.
Having watched the Witchmen and other Border Morris blacked-up sides, (and Red Leicester), it's strange and rather wonderful how the 'magic' is generated when their faces are disguised. When my husband first watched the Witchmen, he was astonished and remarked how similar it all was to many W African costumes and dances. He couldn't believe we Europeans would indulge in such a 'primitive' exhibition. Masking is very common I believe throughout many cultures. Funnily enough, I've watched dancing in Senegal where the (very black) Wolofs and Serrers 'white-up' and become various spirits. And I most certainly did NOT object on racist grounds that they were insulting white people!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 04:08 PM

"And I most certainly did NOT object on racist grounds that they were insulting white people! "
Nor would I but I hope that Diane Abbott would!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 05:18 PM

Some fool would probably try to object on my behalf. Have they nothing better to do?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Guest Betsy
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 05:29 PM

What about the Australian Aborigines during the recent Royal Visit dancing with their faces whitened.
Didn't offend anyone that I know - and why should it.?
Good luck to Bacup they're an honest bunch of dancers and fun lovers and I'm sure wouldn't dream of insulting anyone.

Stop fucking about with Tradition and looking for Ghoulies - they don't exist in this case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 03:39 AM

Thanks Dave and Eliza for much considered opinion.

It's clearly true that doing things to our bodies and particularly our faces is a very old feature of human behavour and in the broadest sense a feature of a theatrical tradition. The colouring of the face is particularly effective. I think their is evidence of Neanderthal people colouring and using jewelry - and they are not even our ancestors.

I assume, based or almost no knowledge at all, that none of this is racist. Although across the planet people clearly use hair styles, dress codes, tatoos and so on to draw lines between different groups. But I leave that alone - I don't think it's relevant to this discussion.

In another context I think racism is a common feature of many societies across the planet. Many countries have a minority that is discriminated against by a majority. What makes Western European and North American racism different was the industrial scale of sending between 6 and 10 million Black Africans to the US to tend cotton which came to Lancashire to make cloth to sell all over the place including ...... Africa. You all know the story of the Slave Triangle.

Black people in the US were and in many cases still are treated unspeakable but still went on to be some of the most imortant writers, artists and musicians the planet has ever see.

One of the features of 19C US music hall was Blackface Minstrelsy. It came to the UK and was very popular.

Those of us who have dug around in this a bit suggest that Blackface Minstrelsy is the major origin of the black faces of bacup and not some old English tradition.

Again this is my challenge:

Are the stout defenders of the BCND prepared to explore possible links between BCND and Blackface Minstrelsy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:03 AM

"Are the stout defenders of the BCND prepared to explore possible links between BCND and Blackface Minstrelsy?"
Wouldn't have thought there was a great deal of doubt about this Les, the dates seem to indicate that it was originally, but the 1920s revival was influenced by the early collector.
I don't think it helps to ignore the fact that there is a 'racist' problem attached to the tradition, just as there was with the 'blackfaced' artists like "The Chocolate-Coloured Coon" et al - it gives offence to some - some people are sensitive to how they are depicted nowadays, not without cause.
This is in no way claiming that the 'Nutters' are doing anything other than what they claim to be doing.
These public displays need to be aware of these sensitivities, it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.
The one time I visited Bacup I thoroughly enjoyed it - the dancing, the music and the festival, and found no particular harm in it, though I did find it rather 'quaint' - but that's me.
It's a bit facile to compare Bacup with what happened in Australia - if the native Australians did mean any offence, Queenie had the Dook to put them in their place, as he's shown more than adequately in the past - and anyway, it is their country anyway, so they are fully entitled to dress up in millenia-old traditional make-up to entertain the visitors, should they wish to.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:08 AM

Thanks Jim I agree with what you say.

Perhaps the folkie world could recognise another sin - not racism bit denighing the "Tradition"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:34 AM

Are the stout defenders of the BCND prepared to explore possible links between BCND and Blackface Minstrelsy?

More than prepared to explore them, Les, I have already done so. My considered opinion, and bear in mind that this is all it is, is that the 'nutters did black up for some reason unbeknown to any of us. Jim's view that the dates make it certain it was related to minstrelsy is tentative at the least. While American minstrelsy seems to have been popular as early as 1848, the Tunstead Mill Nutters were formed in 1857. I very much doubt that popular American culture would hold sway with a small Lancashire Mill community at that time. And do bear in mind that Lancashire mill workers received particular praise from non other than Abraham Lincoln himself for putting themselves in peril by supporting the stand against slavery. OK - Bit of a tangent but could be relevant.

There is also ample evidence of early European black face traditions, often representing longer nights or winter, that could also have had an influence in the UK prior to minstrelsy. Anyway. In the words of the 'nutters themselves, "The origins of many traditional dances are lost in the mists of time and no one can say with any certainty how they came about, but if you go to the small Pennine Town of Bacup situated between Rochdale and Burnley on Easter Saturday you will be confronted by a band of men the survival of which is as unexpected as is fascinating and whose strange appearance could be described as exotic!" Whatever the origins, they have very little relevance now and as long as it is obvious that no racial slur is intended I believe that the tradition, properly explained, will not cause offense to anyone.

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:44 AM

Oh, and Jim, they are fully entitled to dress up in millenia-old traditional make-up to entertain the visitors, should they wish to.

I fully agree. Likewise I believe that the 'nutters are equally entitled to dress up in centuries old traditional make-up to entertain visitors, should they wish to. The difference is only in the time periods involved. Do we really know that the Australian tradition is millennia old BTW? Was it cave paintings or some such? If so, then, there are plenty other cave paintings from around the world that show painted people. Maybe it is in our genetic make up? (Pun intended)

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:16 AM

Just had another thought. probably had it before but the old memory ain't what it used to be :-S Even if, and I think it is a big if, someone from Bacup had witnessed US minstrelsy or a US minstrel troupe or a UK based copy had performed in black face in Bacup prior to 1857, I doubt very much if the locals would have seen it as poking fun at black people. I doubt that they had seen many black people let alone had decided that they were in some way inferior. As I said - Just a thought.

D.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:21 AM

Not so sure about that one, Dave. The Victorians were great evangelists, and viewed the Black Ungodly with an enormous urge to civilise and convert them. They went everywhere around the world with this fervour and seemed to see all other races as inferior and in need of our superior intervention. They were IMO racist to a huge degree!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:28 AM

Thanks Dave, BTW I loved your story about the young black student:"Makes sense. Most white men really want to be black." Still cracks me up now :-).

Now to quote yourself Dave:
"My considered opinion, and bear in mind that this is all it is, is that the 'nutters did black up for some reason unbeknown to any of us."

I can't really argue with that - and don't wish to.

But it does seem clear that popular entertainment in urban areas, and parts of Lancashire were such, were affected by trends in music halls and such like.Lancashire also has a long a detailed history of carnivals, fetes and so on which have revealed a lot of history of Northwest Morris.

The Border Morris was clearly affected by Minstrelsy:

A quote from the another thread about Blackface here on Mudcat, 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 I can add from my own experience. A friend of mine grew up in Hume in Manchester in the 1950s and tells me she "went out n*ggerin" - effectivel going from door to door in somekind of dress up and collecting money.

Can I suggest that those who deny the link with Minstrelsy are committing the unforgivable folk crime: Ignoring the roots of a tradition?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:32 AM

In many cultures dancers "white up" to represent spirits or the dead. Maybe a similar meaning is behind this?

The spelling in the thread title suggested "Bacup Neuters" to me. Beardless dancers with pairs of leathery ovoid clackers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:40 AM

To be honest, having watched the Bacup Nutters on YouTube loads of times, I reckon it was created just for a bit of fun. The dance is really very funny, and to my eyes not in the least 'traditional'. The costumes and movements actually remind me of those tin automaton wind-up monkeys dressed as black men and wearing a fez, with a coconut shell in each hand. I'm now wondering exactly how many complaints from actual black people they've received? (ie not 'on behalf of' but directly.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:54 AM

Thanks Eliza that's most inciteful:

"The costumes and movements actually remind me of those tin automaton wind-up monkeys dressed as black men and wearing a fez, with a coconut shell in each hand."

Such music hall acts and related activities mocked black people - and that lies at the root of the concern that some of us have.

And as for:

"The dance is really very funny, and to my eyes not in the least 'traditional'"

If the 'serious' BCND defenders read this you may have to join a witness protection scheme.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:56 AM

"are equally entitled to dress up in centuries old traditional make-up to entertain visitors"
It would appear that this particular tradition is not "centuries old" and possibly had its roots in those "good ol' slavery days" - it certainly seems to be contemporary with the mid-19th century when North and South were slogging it out on the other side of the pond.
Eliza's point is spot on too - I was still being taught about 'the white man's burden' and singing hymns telling us that to be foreign was to be "in error's chain" when I started school.
As I said - sensitivity and awareness does it.
The problem with all this, of course, is that lack of sensitivity can lead to over-sensitivity.
I'm still sad about the number of good songs we lost when over-zealous feminists decided to clean out the folk song Augian stable, when a deftly applied bit of flyting might have done the trick
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:56 AM

It's worth pointing out that no legal body has suggested that the Bacup Nutters should not be allowed to continue their practice: nobody with any power has suggested they've contravened the race relations act.

However, I do think it's a BIT of a shame that they don't have, say, anything on their website stating unequivocally that they have no affinity with or for the derogatory practices of blackface minstrelcy.

That would go a long way to keeping a lid on this controversy. They have some info on their origins, but the references to Moorish pirates don't exactly do them any favours from a race-impersonation point of view. It wouldn't take much for them just to make a few things plain, to at least acknowledge that there is something that needs stating here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:08 AM

Thanks Matt - I am all for getting the lid off and getting at the true history.

As for 'Border'
They dance 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.

The thing is BCND are a living tradition - inlike aboy 90 odd percent of Morris sides - can't they live a bit and paint their faces a number of coolours? Wouldn't that be less anti-tarditional than refusing to aknowledge their relationship to Minstrelsy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:36 AM

yeah, I wondered the same thing - it'd put a whole different complexion (no pun intended) on the thing if they painted their faces blue...

By 'keeping the lid on', I just meant from their perspective really. I think it would go a long way to taking the edge off accusations of racism if their website said in no uncertain terms that the practice today has nothing to do with the impersonation of race, and that, today, any connections with blackface minstrelcy are unfortunate, regrettable and tangential.

I know one person (who happens to be black) who would say that the Nutters' face-paint is racist irrespective of their own motives or origins. He would say that they are referencing blackface minstrelcy whether or not they intend to: their indifference to a historical change of circumstances, to the changed symbolism of their actions, is racist.

Or, to put it another way, it's all very well saying that the swastika is a symbol of the goddess Lakshmi, featured in centuries-old Hindu, Jain and Buddhist tradition, but you shouldn't be surprised if everyone assumes you're a neo-nazi if you have one tattooed on your neck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:43 AM

It would appear that this particular tradition is not "centuries old"

Sorry, Jim, but I must disagree with you there. 1857-2014 = 157 years. Just over 1.5 centuries. Surely our definition of century is not different is it?

Les - You are quite right of course. Denying origins is as bad as making them up. The trouble here is that, at the risk of repeating myself, no-one really knows the origins. Anyone that claims categorically that it stems from Moorish pirates, fertility rituals or imitating minstrelsy is probably wrong. Not necessarily in what they are saying, but in saying it is unequivocal. I think it is pretty much like the theory of evolution. But let's not go there!

Out of interest, do you know Eddie Cass? Folklorist and expert in all things to do with Lancashire, and other, traditions? Without giving away any secrets he is not far from you at all and is very approachable. If you don't know him and need an introduction just let me know.

Matt - Exceptionally good point. Education, communication and understanding. The way forward :-)

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:49 AM

Jim Carroll
it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.

A rather neat metaphor for anti-Islamic prejudice starting with a total disregard of the facts. Why is condemning "the good people of Lewes" in their entirety for the misjudged actions of a few people in a village five miles away* any different from condemning Islam in its entirety for the actions of the extremists?

*They had their reasons which you could find out if you were genuinely interested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:52 AM

I was refering to your point about putting something on the web site BTW, Matt, not your last post. Interesting that you have put if they painted their faces blue... on your last one though. I am pretty sure that someone would take offense at that. Maybe a close relative had just gone blue before dying of a lung or heart complaint?

Well, OK, that is partly jocular but I am pretty sure it would not be long before it is mentioned so I thought I would get it in first!

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 06:54 AM

Matt - I don't think the Nutters saying "we're not racist" would an iota of difference because those who choose to believe they are would not believe it and most other people proably don't care.

Les, racism as a concept did not exist in the 19th century so judging from a modern perspective is, imho, nugatory.

Lastly, I doubt many blackface morris know or care about minstrelsy and anyway why should they not appear as they wish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 07:12 AM

"Why is condemning "the good people of Lewes""
I wasn't condemning them Brian - I was commenting on how innocent enjoyment can be hi-jacked for malicious purposes
Whatever their "reasons" might be, there can be no conceivable excuse for ritually burning a family of Travellers - it's something that happens all-too-often in real life.
Despite the fact I am an atheist, I feel exactly the same about fire festivals where effigies of the Pope are burned too - that doesn't happen in Lewes, does it?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM

What about effigies of Guy Fawkes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 07:43 AM

"What about effigies of Guy Fawkes?"
Now there is a centuries old tradition which originated around an act of terrorism - another facile analogy.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 08:10 AM

a centuries old tradition which originated around an act of terrorism

Was he a terrorist or a freedom fighter? I guess we are not straying too far from the point here. When does a tradition become acceptable? Why is acceptable to burn an effigy of a Catholic every November but not to do some other things? We used to black up for the Abram Pace Egg play every year, which as per discussion, may or may not be offensive. But is it also offensive that St George kills the King of Egypt's son?

Not arguing. Just developing :-)

D.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 08:31 AM

Les, the quote "and called it 'Goin' out a-niggerin'". Doesn't necessarily mean it came from the minstrel tradition. Hoover didn't invent the vacuum cleaner but nearly everyone in this country calls them hoovers. It could be that this term was originally used as an insult which was then appropriated by the objects of the insult.

I tend to support the theory of blacking up originating as a disguise rather than as anything else (although it's not uncommon for something to have more than one element in its origin). Having painted up for morris and seen plenty of other teams white people with black face paint are a lot harder to recognise than if they wear other colours such as blue, green, red or white.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 08:50 AM

"When does a tradition become acceptable?"
I think this is an extremely relevant point
I thing when it out-lives its original purpose and when that purpose is no longer offensive.
We used to crowd into King George's Park every year to see the bonfire along with Catholics, Prods, Muslims, Jews.... none of them taking offence, or even being aware of why the ceremony started - a wonderful get-together for the people of Wandsworth.
Not sure whet would have happened if the feller in the fire had been the Pope - or a Traveller (the park was 200 yards away from London's oldest Traveller site.)
Burning the Pope would certainly help oil the wheels for a permanent settlement in Northern Ireland at this time, wouldn't it.
We have the effects of another good ol' traditional ceremony to cope with here in Ireland, come the second week in July - look forward to it no end!
I'm sure there are those who would be happy to turn up for some of the old-time traditional customs of bull-baiting or dog fighting - or paying their penny to taunt the 'lunatics' at Moorfields, were they allowed to.
Good-days, eh?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 08:59 AM

I still say that unless and until black people here actually register formal complaints about the Bacup Nutters, we should take a back seat. Objecting 'on behalf of' a minority group in society is demeaning in itself. It implies they're powerless and deficient, incapable of making their own decisions about what is offensive to them. I have just run this thread past my husband and he thinks all this fuss is utterly ridiculous. The very behaviour of Morris dancers etc towards him in real life negates any lack of respect whatsoever on their part towards other races. We're actually 'stirring up trouble' where there is none. (But if black people are indeed offended, and they say so in formal complaints, I would of course endorse changes being made. Nobody wants anyone to feel demeaned or mocked. This just seems common sense to me.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 11:22 AM

"I still say that unless and until black people here actually register formal complaints about the Bacup Nutters"
I agree entirely, though Diane Abbot is one of those depicted by the dancers costumes - thereby hangs a problem - and despite my reservations of various aspects of her behaviour - if she believes it offends her she has every right to say so - as a politician and a human being.
The problem is that, on both sides of the argument, there are those who overstate their cases - playing it down or building mountains out of molehills.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Old Grey Wolf
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 11:31 AM

Having watched "The Blue Man Group" I think I really must ask Diane Abbott to complain that they insult Martians!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 11:38 AM

Don't be silly, every one knows Martians are green or grey


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Dazbo at Work
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 11:41 AM

Oh, and I didn't know until this week that you're not to use the word "slope" when making TV films in Thailand as it is offensive. I didn't notice the context that Jeremy Clarkson used the word when I watched the programme but I guess that's another thread


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM

Speaking of Jeremy Clarkson, I don't much like the chap but he is very funny. In the paper today it says he's been criticised for calling his black labrador dog 'Didier Drogba'. What's wrong with that? Very good Ivorian footballer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 12:02 PM

Date: 23 Apr 14 - 12:54 PM

In 2006, Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney, asked the government to stop the annual Darkie Day festival in Padstow.

In 1998, Bernie Grant, the late MP for Tottenham, condemned the tradition as "offensive to black people all over the place".

I never saw either of them in Padstow.

Or in Bacup, for that matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 12:07 PM

Dave the Gnome;
I'd be interested to hear about the sources you've used for your Bacup researches.
Derek


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 12:33 PM

The mumming tradition - for want of a better word is an intrestin case here. Mummers across the UK have stuck to the old collected plays with St George ( possibly Turkish or Palestinian is if anybody knows or cares) kills a variety of Turks and such like whilst others have traded in George for just about anybody from Geofrey Boycot to Tony Benn and John Lennon and have slaughted half the villians from Lands End to wherever.

What seriuos historical research into folk traditions has shown is that they change and evolve over time and so we call this the living tradition. I hope it continues to evolve. I would like to see more Sikh drummers in folky events - they certainly added some guts to The Imagined Village.

Sensitivity has been mentioned a few times here abouts. Somebody said to me down The Beech - don't you sing a lot of beery songs - I wasn't aware of this. In a singaround a few weeks ago a choir turned up by chance and we swapped songs back and forward - us and then them and so on. Great fun. I think it would be fair to say the womens choir in question were mostly younger than me and gay. I sang whatever and somewhere about my third contribution I realised that I was a 67 year old bald man singing songs about making love to young women.

Nobody commented and the atmosphere remained very cordial but I felt vaguely uneasy.

Why are Irish jokes so simple? It's so the English can understand them.

Finally on the point Eliza made about waiting for Black People to complain. Nobody knows the colour of our skin on here or how many black people have simply walked away from Blackface morris without comment?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 01:36 PM

Jim Carroll
I wasn't condemning them Brian - I was commenting on how innocent enjoyment can be hi-jacked for malicious purposes

No Jim, you said -
it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.

Pretty unequivocal.

Just a few things wrong with that. The incident didn't take place in Lewes, did not happen at Lewes Bonfire or even the same day and did not involve any residents of Lewes. No 'Pikeys' or anyone else were burnt. Where did you get your "facts" from? I gather the Daily Mail went big on the story. You are behaving just like the bigots you condemn. Never mind whether the story is true as long as it supports your prejudices.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 01:58 PM

In view of various postings I'd better make it clear that I am not advocating the retention of any and every custom purely out of a love of tradition. If a custom causes genuine offence to people, or for that matter involves unnecessary cruelty, then it should either be abandoned or drastically modified.

By people of course, I'm not including bankers or the aristocracy, or filthy rich capitalists who live off the backs of zero hours workers whilst avoiding tax by stacking their money where the chancellor can't get at it. They deserve whatever abuse they get. Ordinary black and Asian people, however, have to live with and do not deserve the systematic attacks which are heaped on them by the BNP and UKIP, and by one or two other political parties who are rather closer to the centre ground.

The point about Bacup is that, despite the blacking up, I have never ever heard a racist comment there. Neither have I seen anyone, dancer or audience, do anything which could in any way be considered racist.

For me, racism is a dead issue where Bacup is concerned, although I shall continue to fight it wherever it does rear its ugly head.

Oh, and I went to the Lewes bonfire festival once, many years ago and was disgusted. The mock bishop who advocated staying out of the Common Market (as it was then), because it was allegedly an evil Catholic influence, was bad enough. So too was the bloke I met who told me that "there's a terrible amount of papism in Liverpool. It needs a good determined Protestant effort to stamp it out". But the bit which turned me apoplectic came when they set fire to the Arab terrorist, and people started shouting "Burn the Jews".

(Sorry to go on like that, Vic. I'm sure most of the people in Lewes are as delightful as the town itself, and as delightful as you and Tina. But it would take a pretty determined pack of wild horses to drag me back there on bofire night.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 03:20 PM

Sorry Bryan
Should have said
"people of Lewes were being entertained by the symbolic burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.
I recall protests in the press - don't remember many from Lews - though I may have missed them
Maybe I was thrown by your "They had their reasons which you could find out if you were genuinely interested."
No excuse for that garbage, if they did it - I read it in The Times, BTW - one of the few English qualities we get over this side of the country.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 03:24 PM

Just thought that I should point out that the Bacup mutters dance on the day after Good Friday, and refer to that day as Easter Saturday, but several other people have pointed out to me that they refer to that day as Holy Saturday and that the following Saturday is, to them, Easter Saturday.
I don't want folks turning up next Saturday expecting to see the Nutters.

On a separate issue who is impersonating the Ancient Brtitons by painting their faces blue?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 03:49 PM

Fred, I admit that there is much that is contentious about Lewes Bonfire but I have been going, on and off, for around forty years and your experience bears no resemblance to mine. You seem to have missed the point that the Archbishop's address is rabble rousing parody.
"the bloke I met who told me" er, right. Out of the Lewes population of around 16,000 rising to about 60,000 on Bonfire Night you met "a bloke". Right.
"Burn the Jews". I honestly think you must have misheard on this occasion. Let's face it, it's very noisy. The standard cry when they are about to burn the effigy is "What shall we do wuth him?", "BURN HIM!". It is the same whether they are burning Osama bin Laden, Margaret Thatcher, or Postman Pat.

A couple of years ago, a nasty piece of work caused a lot of trouble here, on Facebook and elsewhere which led to Morris dancers being condemned as right wing racist bigots. Please don't fall into the same trap. Try and be informed about the things you so easily criticise.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:14 PM

Jim Carroll
Should have said
"people of Lewes were being entertained by the symbolic burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.


Perhaps you should, but you didn't, you said -
it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.

but then again, perhaps you shouldn't because, as I have already pointed out, this incident did not take place in Lewes and it did not take place during Lewes Bonfire.
A word of advice, don't call it a festival, you are likely to annoy the good people of Lewes. You know what will happen then? You will be declared an Enemy of Bonfire and blown up (not burnt), an honour which you will share with The Reverend Doctor Ian Paisley, the local traffic wardens and many others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:38 PM

Hi Derek - Primarily Eddie Cass, Peter Bearon, Geoff Hughes, being involved in a couple of other Lancashire traditions for a long time (Abram Pace Egg Play and Dance and, more recently, good old Google! Hope this helps.

Cheers

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:55 PM

Snail. The archbishop's address might have been rabble rousing parody. I can only say that, as a Liverpool protestant (Yes, I know all about religious sectarianism. I've witnessed enough of it right here on the streets of my own city.), I found the speech extremely offensive.

"The bloke who told me" was the occupant of something called The Ulster Cottage. On that occasion, it was decked out in all the Orange bigotry of the day, and it had a loudspeaker which was pumping out Orange marching tunes, and it was open to the public. So I hardly think he qualified as a chance acquaintance.

"Burn the Jews". I did not mishear it. In fact both the people I'd travelled down with heard it, and were as offended as I. Moreover, this took place, not during the preamble, but while the effigy was burning. As you'll know, the effigy is stuffed with fireworks, and my humour was not helped one jot by the huge cheers which went up every time one of its limbs was blown off.

Dave Bland, who managed to cop a firework in the eye on that occasion, recorded the whole thing for Leader Sound. Perhaps the recording still survives.

I'll grant you the vast majority of the paricipants were probably just up for a good night out. However, what I heard and saw that night put me off the festival for ever.

Morris dancing. I've no desire to start a right wing bigots under the bed scare, especially as none of the morris dancers I have personally known would qualify as right wing bigots. However, I do think it's important to contextualise your comments. IE., it's as well to remember that Rolf Gardiner, yes the geezer who founded the Travelling Morrice, was a notorious Nazi and associate of Oswald Mosley. No, he wasn't typical of the Morris community, then or now, although I suspect most of his acolytes shared his views. Nevertheless, there has existed, practically ever since the word volkslieder was coined in the late eighteenth century, a vicious strain of far right nationalism, which has sought to portray various aspects of folklore as symbols of racial purity and superiority.

Which brings me onto my final point, namely the RWB episode of which you speak. It centred round a particular individual who plays the melodeon and is a card carrying member of the Britsh far right. The campaign of Internet harrassment which he conducted had as its sole aim, the destruction of Folk Against Fascism, which at that time was trying to prevent infiltration of the folk revival by the far right.

What's more I have good reason to believe that the campaign was not orchestrated solely by this creep. In fact, it was organised and authorised by some of the highest ranking members of the party. It's a standard tactic which they use to try and scare off anyone they deem to be their enemy, and they call the members who engage in these deeds Attack Dogs.

Yes, the vast majority of folkies are ordinary decent people, and no, Bacup isn't racist. But it's as well to keep a weather eye out now and again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 04:55 PM

...and forgot to say -
Jim Carroll
I read it in The Times, BTW

Ah, yes. Sister paper of The Sun, part of the Murdoch stable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 05:01 PM

Sorry, I forgot to put my monicker on that discourse about Lewes and orangeism and folk and fascism.

In any event, I will be away from my computer for the next few days, so I won't be able to participate in this discussion until I come back.

I'd love to know what The Times has got to do with any of this though. The paper which sparked this whole issue off was the Telegraph, which allegedly accused the local parliamentary Labour candidate of racism because he posed with two of the nutters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Lynn W
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 09:21 PM

There are many references in nineteenth century newspapers to "cocoa nut" dances being performed as part of theatrical or musical entertainments. There are references to the performers being blacked up and using the coconuts as castanets. I believe the original ones were intended as copies of East Indies dances but I don't have the reference for that to hand at the moment. Here is an extract from Home News section of the Bradford Observer November 22 1838-
"The Chiarini Family, in their admirable Cocoa-Nut Dance, seem likely to become as popular here as they were at Halifax. The following is copied from the Halifax paper. "The Cocoa-Nut Dance has now been performed four weeks, and it appears likely to run another four - it is a most decided hit. At every street corner in Halifax, and in every bye lane in the country, young men and children may be observed imitating the grotesque features of the Cocoa-Nut Ballet, and it is ten to one that out of 20 lads whom you meet whistling in the streets, 19 have the Cocoa-Nut tune in their mouths.""


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,#
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 10:27 PM

"It is the same whether they are burning Osama bin Laden, Margaret Thatcher, or Postman Pat"

I agree with the first two.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 01:40 AM

"black and Asian people, however, have to live with and do not deserve the systematic attacks which are heaped on them by the BNP and UKIP" - F McCormick
.,,.

Should be interested to see any authentic quote from any authorised UKIP spokie making any point that could be remotely thus interpreted as an "attack" {"systematic" or otherwise} on black & Asian people.

What you on about, Fred?

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 02:45 AM

"Should be interested to see any authentic quote from any authorised UKIP "
Covered in full on the BBC (Northern Ireland) news report last night - I'm sure it's traceable.
Wonder if you saw the series of statements put up by Ukip nutter(nothing to do with coconuts or dancing) politicians, including parliamentary candidates for forthcoming elections , about Europeans, emigrants and women in general.
There are overtures being made at present by French fascist, Marine Le'Penn, to get Ukip to join her in her new 'European alliance of (fascist) organisations) - she is tipped as being a future French prime minister.
Bryan
The bonfire took place in the Lewes District and the organises allowed exactly what I said they did - the burning caravan was cheered loudly by watching crowds, who added comments of their own,
For all your bluster - and whether it appeared in The Sun, The Times, or Blackpool's, 'Billy's Weekly Liar' - it is a fact, and the details are still fully accessible on the internet; Lewes is not in a position to disassociate itself from what went on.
I mentioned it because it was a public (whatever) and such events need to be monitored and should be liable to Britain's laws wherever they take place.
I have musician friends living in Sussex who won't go near the bonfires because of what they describe as the "sectarian" events they witnessed when they did attend.
You mentioned "reasons" for the caravan burning - I would be fascinated to learn what they were.
I was instrumental in preventing a planned petrol bomb attack on a caravan site full of Traveller men, women and children in the 1980s and I have since been told and seen the result of a number of these attacks - not a thing to promote as far as I'm concerned, and certainly not a thing to appease considering the position Britain and Ireland's Traveller population find themselves in today.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:16 AM

"The point about Bacup is that, despite the blacking up, I have never ever heard a racist comment there. Neither have I seen anyone, dancer or audience, do anything which could in any way be considered racist. For me, racism is a dead issue where Bacup is concerned"

i know someone (who happens to be black) who would say the Bacup Nutters wearing of black facepaint is racist. He would say, and regularly does, that all instances of white people wearing black facepaint is irredeemably racist.

Because all instances of white people wearing black facepaint is too close to racist blackface traditions of the 20th century for comfort. Plain and simple. The intentions of the people doing that are neither here nor there for him, they're an irrelevance.

One point made above in response to one of Eliza's comments – that we don't know how many people who, when faced by blackface morris simply turn away sadly shaking their heads rather than making 'formal complaints' - is a very good one. Most of the people I know - whether black or white - who might find this sort of thing crass or distasteful wouldn't make 'formal complaints' cos they are radicals who cherish freedom of speech and go more for protest and direct confrontation than appeals to the local council.

Me, I think it's fine as a local tradition, but I wouldn't advise any blackface morris troupes to perform in public around Tottenham or Brixton.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:39 AM

That is probably good advice; but there might be more than one view as to the desirability of the necessity for it.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:54 AM

We've been to Morris events for years, all over our region, but we've never ever seen a black or Asian person among the spectators. My husband often says he's the only black chap there. Having considered the above posts, I'm now wondering if they do indeed feel uncomfortable or insulted by the blacked-up Border or Molly dancers? If so, I can only say we've been overwhelmed many a time by the determined attempts by Morris folk to make my husband feel welcome. He's been hugged, photographed in his African outfit, invited to dance (which he does!) and generally treated like visiting Royalty. He absolutely loves it, and has had tears in his eyes more than once. There is absolutely NO racism to be found, in our experience. But maybe this is a rather rosy picture?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 04:01 AM

It's intrestin that nobody so far has commented on what is clearly the most imortant post on this thread:

"Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Lynn W - PM
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 09:21 PM

There are many references in nineteenth century newspapers to "cocoa nut" dances being performed as part of theatrical or musical entertainments. There are references to the performers being blacked up and using the coconuts as castanets. I believe the original ones were intended as copies of East Indies dances but I don't have the reference for that to hand at the moment. Here is an extract from Home News section of the Bradford Observer November 22 1838-
"The Chiarini Family, in their admirable Cocoa-Nut Dance, seem likely to become as popular here as they were at Halifax. The following is copied from the Halifax paper. "The Cocoa-Nut Dance has now been performed four weeks, and it appears likely to run another four - it is a most decided hit. At every street corner in Halifax, and in every bye lane in the country, young men and children may be observed imitating the grotesque features of the Cocoa-Nut Ballet, and it is ten to one that out of 20 lads whom you meet whistling in the streets, 19 have the Cocoa-Nut tune in their mouths.""

Thanks Lynn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 04:18 AM

I did see it, Les, but was very remiss in not acknowledging it. Thanks for doing so and I add my thanks to Lynn for a very insightful posting.

I find it quite significant that the mention was made as early as 1838 - Pre-dating the popularity of Minstrelsy. Maybe both Minstrelsy and the English black face tradition had the same roots but went their own separate ways on opposite sides of the pond? Whether that root was racist or not is lost in the mists of time but as no-one knows maybe it does not really matter?

I am also grateful for Matt's friend's comment. If a single person finds it offensive or distasteful then we do need to review it. I am not saying it should be stopped but maybe we should be more sensitive? However, as we have had anecdotes of black people both finding it distasteful and enjoying it maybe we should just let those who enjoy it enjoy it and those who do not enjoy it ignore it. But let us make sure is does not turn into a major contention or a political tool!

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 04:43 AM

Just for the record, it wasn't a mate's comment per se: I'm just repeating, pretty much verboten, things he's said in the past (about Julianne Hough, about Robert Downey Jnr and other things)

I don't think anyone's suggesting Bacup Nutters ought to be banned, but I do think you'd end up hearing precisely that were they to become more prominent: eg performing at the Royal Festival Hall, appearing on the X Factor or something.

There was morris dancing featured in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony shenanigans. Can anyone really imagine the BBC would have let blackface morris be featured?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 05:43 AM

I have seen the Chiarini family mentioned before for their stage cocoa-nut dance. The press report quoted is very interesting because it talks about people imitating them....
Last Saturday, the Nutters danced on the stage of the Royal Court Theatre in Bacup - a (presumably) Victorian building, past its best, now being renovated by volunteers.... oh to have a list of all the acts that performed on that stage over the years....

The fact remains, that the Nutters:
a. don't actually use coconuts.
b. perform 5 garland dances - clearly derived from 5 figures of the quadrille.
c. conform to a street performance format that is clearly linked to the region's morris dance tradition.

Derek


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 06:08 AM

I'm just repeating, pretty much verboten...

Wonderful!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 06:18 AM

Yeah, really "wonderful". Verbatim, obviously.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nutters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 06:28 AM

Good points Matt. I think the most depressing thing is many who blackup would revel in being excluded.

I could be wrong, as ever, but I don't think their is any evidence, not that has anything to do with the folkie view of historical evidence, of women dancing Rapper. But go and see Sisterinarms Rapper


Sisters

You will be pushed to see a more exciting performance of this fine old (?) tradition (?). It's a Living Tradition - make it live

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 06:35 AM

Are the Sisters still based in or around Salford, Les? My daughters were interested at one time. Ironmen and Severn Gilders are (or were - not seen them for years) both brilliant individually but when they danced together it was wonderful. I have never really understood this male only tradition business and am more than glad it seems to have fell by the wayside in most places.

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:11 AM

Couldn't agree more Dave. If people can change the gender of the performers, the kit, the tunes, the instruments why not the colour their faces?

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:16 AM

I think Kiss style make-up would work :-) In fact, thinking about it, our 'Miser' for the pace egg play had a black and white pattern which was very effective. I have often wondered though if some of the revivals chose black or black/white makeup because that is what they had a photograph of :-) Does anyone really know what colours were used when referring to a monochrome photo?

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:18 AM

Kiss - brilliant Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Dazbo at Work
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM

There's a quote some where (on an EFDSS CD) where you can hear William Kimber saying that without women the morris would have died out - I take that to mean that the women knew the dances well enough to preserve them and therefore must have danced them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:22 AM

Bryan
Jim Carroll
The bonfire took place in the Lewes District

Why stop there Jim? There are bonfire societies all over East Sussex. Why not condemn the whole county while you are at it?

and the organises allowed exactly what I said they did - the burning caravan was cheered loudly by watching crowds, who added comments of their own,

Really? That rather contrasts with this -
Residents of East Sussex village were shocked and horrified after a caravan with effigies of Gypsies was burnt at a village bonfire party organized by the Firle Bonfire Society. http://veshengro.tripod.com/id61.html Not a site that is likely to be biased towards the bonfire society.

For all your bluster - and whether it appeared in The Sun, The Times, or Blackpool's, 'Billy's Weekly Liar' - it is a fact,
Do I have to keep reminding you that your original statement was -
it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.?
You said your "facts" came from The Times. Not a word in that statement is true.

Lewes is not in a position to disassociate itself from what went on.
Why not? The only people who knew what the tableau would be before it appeared were the 12 members of the bonfire committee who made the decision and built it. To return to my original question which you have craftily avoided, why is this any different from holding Islam as a whole responsible for the Twin Towers or the murder of Lee Rigby?

I mentioned it because it was a public (whatever) and such events need to be monitored and should be liable to Britain's laws wherever they take place.
Monitored by who? All the bonfire societies are independant organisations. Nobody has authority over them. Of course they are liable to Britain's laws. All twelve were arrested. The fact that, in the end, I don't think they weren't prosecuted was up to the police or the CPS not "the good people of Lewes".

I have musician friends living in Sussex who won't go near the bonfires because of what they describe as the "sectarian" events they witnessed when they did attend.
But by your logic, if any of them live in Lewes they are still culpable simply by virtue of living in Lewes.

You mentioned "reasons" for the caravan burning - I would be fascinated to learn what they were.
As you said "the details are still fully accessible on the internet". If you are really interested, put in some effort and find out. You could start with the link I gave above. What the Firle Bonfire Society did was terribly wrong and terribly stupid but to fail to find out the full circumstances stinks of the lynch mob.

I was instrumental in preventing a planned petrol bomb attack on a caravan site full of Traveller men, women and children in the 1980s and I have since been told and seen the result of a number of these attacks - not a thing to promote as far as I'm concerned, and certainly not a thing to appease considering the position Britain and Ireland's Traveller population find themselves in today.

You might be interested to know that an unnofficial caravan site existed about half a mile from the village for several years after the event and there is an official site with full facilities about a mile away. I have never heard of a travellers' caravan being burnt in the Lewes area. Burning people alive went out of fashion around here after 1557.

I am glad you included Ireland above. Perhaps ypu should get your own house in order before slagging off places you've never been and know little about.
http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/takes/dail2003120200193#N2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:46 AM

What the hell is your point Bryan -
What the Firle people did was wrong - which was my only point here - it was part of their bonfire celebrations and it was an example of what can happen when bigotry takes hold of innocent ceremonies
I do't damn well care where it was and who did it - it was wrong - you suggested "reasons" for what happened - there could be no possible "reason" for such behaviour which I would find acceptable - what are yours?
I know about the shameful Miltown incident - as a resident here for only a year, I was one of those who stood up at a public meeting and condemned it - are you suggesting that because Miltown did it - it's ok in West Sussex - is that your "reason"?
Is not Firle part of the Lewes district - have I read that wrong
I saw the photographs at the time, and I read some of the shouted taunts about "Pikeys" from onlookers - invented.
Such behaviour is racist hatred, it's unacceptable whether it happened in Sussex, in Miltown or on Ursa Major
It's wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself by suggesting there might be a "reason" for it.
It was a bloody disgrace
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:53 AM

Good discussion BTW - apart from one or two obvious spats. Thanks for starting it, Fred and thanks to all who kept it civil and interesting.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 09:29 AM

Seconded


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 09:58 AM

Each year from 2004 to 2007, we organised British tours for the great Gambian kora player, Jali Sherrifo Konteh, a musician and person that I have the highest regard for. He is a Manding which must be amongst the blackest of the African ethnic groups. When we are in one another's countries we are both concerned to show one another our traditional cultures so I was delighted to take him to a Bonfire night in Lewes which he loved.
We were also very pleased to have him booked into Tenterden Folk Festival and amongst his heavy schedule, I was able to take him to see the dance displays. On came a very energetic Border Morris side.
"Why do they black their faces, Vic?"
I remember thinking that I would have handle this carefully and I answered, "It's to disguise themselves and to make them all look alike."
"Ah yes," he answered, "Do you remember when I took you to see all those Fula men dancing in that ceremony at Busara? They covered their faces with white river mud. I think they do that for the same reason."
He watched their loud and energetic dances for a while and then asked, "Who is the wildest and the loudest, the Fulas or these people?"
"Not much in it." I answered.
As we walked away, he put on his mock-serious face and pointed a finger at me, (This always means that he has silly comment ready.)
"Look at your watch, It has got a black face. Mine has got a white face." As frequently happens when we are together, we collapsed laughing in each others' arms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:13 AM

What a wonderful post, Vic. He sounds rather like my husband (a Senoufo, also very black)
I watched Pig Dyke Molly at Whittlesea Straw Bear one year, and their make-up is interesting because it's black AND white in roughly equal measures!
I'm afraid I rather like golliwogs (terrible name, I know) because I had one as a small child, and must have knitted dozens for other children. I suppose this is a no-no too. Actually, any African child lucky enough to be given a doll (not many I admit!) is presented with a white one. I asked my husband why they don't want a black one, which can easily be obtained, and he replied that they'd be disappointed - white dolls are much preferred!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:18 AM

"it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival."

No, Jim. Travellers/Gypsies were chosen as the the Enemies of the Bonfire at the bonfire in Firle in 2003. A caravan was decorated with images of them and then burnt.

This article gives an insight into the bonfire at Firle.

Bonfire at Firle

A burning issue in the village; The Bonfire Night torching of a Gypsy caravan effigy, and the arrests of 12 Sussex villagers on race hate charges, are the latest twists in a long-running conflict, reports Mark Townsend

The Observer, Sunday 16 November 2003

Post Script

Twelve members of the bonfire society were accused of inciting racial hatred after the event in 2003. In July 2004, the Crown Prosecution Service found insufficient evidence for a prosecution after the arrests.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:20 AM

One of my wife's favourite dolls, as a child, was a black doll called black Betty. Mind you, she also had one called bald-headed bugger. Not sure what that says about her...

:D


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:31 AM

Well, having read all the posts on here it looks like The BCND have there feet fairly well planted in Lancashire in the middle of the 19C. And it looks to me like an influence from Blackface Minstrelsy is considerably more likely than some idea of disguise from ealy folk customs.

Are they racist. I don't think so. But some people are made uncomfortable and some are offended by this practice in a public entertainment.

Will the BCND or the Border Morris know or care of our discussion? Almost certainly not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:31 AM

As has been pointed out, the "Pikey Caravan" incident took place in Firle and it happened early in the Bonfire Season - each village has their own weekend date. As a result of this incident the Firle Bonfire Society was banned from taking part in the main Lewes celebrations.
Word went around that the rougher element from Firle would be out to disrupt the Lewes celebrations that year but I don't think anything came of it.
I can remember a few shouts of "Nobody likes us, we don't care - we're Firle!" but compared with the same chant from a Millwall football crowd it sounded pathetic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:52 AM

Eliza wrote -
" Actually, any African child lucky enough to be given a doll (not many I admit!) is presented with a white one."


Last month, whilst we were in The Gambia, we were invited to a birthday party of a seven year old girl. I asked her dad, a good friend of Sherrifo's, what she would like as a present and he said she wanted a doll. We scoured the large markets in Brikama and Serrekunda for a black doll without seeing one.
Every doll had European coloured skin and European features. Every doll was stamped "Made In China" (which made me wonder about the dolls sold in the Far East.)
Soon after being given it, she took her party blouse off and was pretending to feed it. Everyone at the party was amused and I remember wondering if this action would cause some embarrassment at an English party.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:54 AM

Thanks for the fillers-inners Vic and Henry - I watched a report of it on televiseion - where it was referred to as happening in Lewes, and I read couple of news items on it later.
I am fully aware of the 'ethnic cleansing' level of hatred towards Travellers, both in Britain and in Ireland and tend to react badly towards it - as I do with suggestions that there might be a "reason" for that level of hatred to wards any other group of human beings.
I meant no offence towards the people of Lewes - must rethink my planned holiday in Furles!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 11:06 AM

Another memory stirred by this is also from our frequent visits to The Gambia where attitudes towards racial differences are very different from PC Great Britain.
I have another great friend in The Gambia, Lamin, and I am frequently in his company. When he is introducing me to people I haven't met before, he takes delight in throwing his arm around my neck and saying, "Have you met my brother?" When he gets a puzzled look, he says, "Yes, he's my real brother, the only difference is..... (dramatic pause).... I was born at night and he was born during the day!" Much laughter, arm-punching and High Fives.

I am never quite sure how to react to this but can anyone imagine such a thing happening in the UK?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 12:18 PM

Jim Carroll
What the Firle people did was wrong
I know Jim. I said so myself.

which was my only point here
No it wasn't. You were convinced that it happened in Lewes (you read it in The Times) and by some sort of twisted logic you are still trying to hold "the good people of Lewes" responsible. In fact you have now extended the guilt to the entire administrative unit of Lewes District which seems a trifle arbitrary. You have stopped short of taking in the whole county which must be a relief to Eastbourne, Hastings, Battle, Robertsbridge and all the other towns and villages with bonfire societies in East Sussex.

I didn't say that the reasons made it acceptable. You seem to think they plucked the idea out of thin air. They did not. They had their reasons; they just made the wrong response to those reasons. Earlier you said "You mentioned "reasons" for the caravan burning - I would be fascinated to learn what they were." Now you refuse to contemplate the possibility. "No need for a trial. Guilty as Hell. You can tell by the look of them. String 'em up."

are you suggesting that because Miltown did it - it's ok in West(sic) Sussex - is that your "reason"?
No, I'm accusing you of double standards. When looking for examples of racism in modern society you ignored the incident on you own doorstep which caused real problems for a real family and went instead for a symbolic act which did no actual harm to anyone in an obscure East Sussex village and then tried to blame it on people who had nothing to do with it.

At least have a look at this article http://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/nov/16/raceintheuk.uknews. rest assured that it is hostile to Firle Bonfire Society and bonfire in general in fact, it seems to rather have it in for Sussex. It does, however, look at the whole issue.

The point I am trying to make or rather the question I am asking is what is the difference between blaming the the entire population of a town (now extended to an administrative district) for the actions of twelve people and blaming all Islam for the actions of the extremists? You continue to avoid answering.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 12:39 PM

I seem to have been overtaken by events.

"I meant no offence towards the people of Lewes"

Really?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 01:25 PM

Vic, I'm very interested in all you write. I've come to the conclusion that W African black people have no experience of the type of racism one gets/used to get in South Africa or here in Europe. My husband is just like your friend Lamin. He just doesn't see the problem. I stupidly explained about the 'n' word and ('honky' for white) and he thinks it's tremendously funny to bellow at our front door when he gets home,"'ello darleeng! Your N***** ees 'ome! 'ow ees my 'onky doing?" People over the other side of our road can surely hear it and I hide my face in shame. But black people born here are far more aware of the undercurrents of recent history and more sensitive to implied insults.
I'm coming round to the fact that some may indeed be upset by black-face Morris etc. I wouldn't want that for them, so I wonder what can be done about it? A disclaimer sign displayed before the dance? Maybe if they could get some actually-black dancers it would prove there's no prejudice (which I'm sure there isn't.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 01:36 PM

"I am fully aware of the 'ethnic cleansing' level of hatred towards Travellers, both in Britain and in Ireland and tend to react badly towards it - as I do with suggestions that there might be a "reason" for that level of hatred to wards any other group of human beings."

Really, Jim? The whole of the population of Britain and Ireland have an "ethnic cleansing level of hatred towards travellers"?

Where is your evidence?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 01:55 PM

I think I am warming to the idea of black and white, Eliza. Sort of symbolic of racial harmony. Could become a tradition :-)

DyG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 02:04 PM

The incident of the burning of bonfire replica, a tableau of a travellers' caravan at Firle Bonfire more than a decade ago was a totally unacceptable perversion of the aims of Bonfire and it reflected badly on the whole Bonfire movement and this was realised immediately on that occasion by the vast majority of people who attended the event.
The reaction of many national newspapers at the time and the misunderstanding of how these things are organised locally by the press and by those who have quoted them as gospel in this thread does not reflect well on them either.
These public displays need to be aware of these sensitivities, it isn't too long ago that the good people of Lewes were burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.
Just how many misconceptions and misinformation are included in this statement?
The tableau that are burned at bonfire are controversial figures from either local or national news - last year Assad was the choice of many societies as were various expenses-fiddling MPs the year before. How many people know who is going to be parodied in this way? Very few indeed. The societies keep it a closely guarded secret with watchmen on the construction sites. Do society members have a say, a vote on who the target should be? No they do not. It is a closely guarded secret and most people are pleased for it to be a surprise on Bonfire night.
What the Firle people did was wrong
Did the people of Firle know what tableau was going to be burned that night? No they didn't. How many would have known? Perhaps ten or a dozen. Was this tableau well received when it was unveiled? No, it there was revulsion and horror in many people's reaction and people who were there tell me that it was booed.

But the newspapers decided it was a blot on the entire community and a decade later those opinions are trotted out again here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 02:51 PM

No Brian - I did not "ignore" what happened in Miltown - I condemned it at a public meeting at the time, I wrote to the local people over it and I have mentioned it several times on Mudcat - and have included it as part of several talks we have given on Travellers.
How dare you accuse me of "double standards" and at the same time talk about "reasons" - there can be no "reasons" for such disgusting display - non at all - and you continue to allude to them.
I had not realised that they were not part of the Lewes Bonfire Night, but that is beside the point - they were part of a bonfire night in Lewes District.
I suppose I assumed they were a Lewes happening because of the reputation Lews has for Secretariat displays of the type which we are acutely aware of, living in Ireland
You are wriggling and blaming "them next door"
Do not damn well accuse me of double standard - I've got myself in trouble on this forum for attempting to stop one of the usual suspects from having his pop at minority cultures.
I've spent thirty years advocating for Travellers rights - take your own "double standards" elsewhere.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM

From - non "Murdoch" Guardian
Jim Carroll

Yet for many travellers encamped near Firle, the police investigation has highlighted a very modern problem. Firle's 'caravan of hate' is not the first time this year that travellers' vehicles have been deliberately set ablaze in Sussex. In Peacehaven, a petrol bomb attack against Gypsies was reported to police. At Crawley, Margaret Murphy woke last April to the smell of burning. A petrol-soaked firework had been lit beneath a van next to her caravan. Within seconds, the vehicle was engulfed in flames. Her three-month old puppy, Spot, stood no chance.

'If the alarm on the van hadn't gone off, the gas canisters and petrol generators would have exploded, the whole camp would have perished. Hundreds would have been killed,' she said.

Now camped 40 miles south in a park above Brighton, she feels safe. Yet travellers nearby say that, only a few weeks ago, they were attacked with a barrage of fireworks aimed at the renovated coaches they call home. Others claim to have found stockpiles of rockets alongside petrol cans close to their camp. Bricks hurled through windows and verbal abuse are among a dossier of complaints.

Elsewhere, 'No Travellers' signs have been hung outside a launderette at nearby Hove and also at a pub in Lewes. Although there is no connection between events in Firle and such complaints, campaigners insist the occupants of the 62 official travellers' caravans in East Sussex are by far the most persecuted minority in the region.

'Attitudes towards travellers remain comparable to those experienced by Black Americans in the 1950s', said a spokesman for Brighton-based Friends, Families and Travellers.

Last summer, the 12-strong committee of the Firle Bonfire Society faced a familiar challenge to choose the 'Enemies of Bonfire', the reviled local figure or group whose effigies would be burnt and paraded along the single narrow street of their village. As always, it was a heated debate for the committee of 'everyday working folk', whose members include an electrician and carpenter. 'They're just good village lads basically,' said George, a lifelong resident of Firle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM

From - non "Murdoch" Guardian
Jim Carroll

Yet for many travellers encamped near Firle, the police investigation has highlighted a very modern problem. Firle's 'caravan of hate' is not the first time this year that travellers' vehicles have been deliberately set ablaze in Sussex. In Peacehaven, a petrol bomb attack against Gypsies was reported to police. At Crawley, Margaret Murphy woke last April to the smell of burning. A petrol-soaked firework had been lit beneath a van next to her caravan. Within seconds, the vehicle was engulfed in flames. Her three-month old puppy, Spot, stood no chance.

'If the alarm on the van hadn't gone off, the gas canisters and petrol generators would have exploded, the whole camp would have perished. Hundreds would have been killed,' she said.

Now camped 40 miles south in a park above Brighton, she feels safe. Yet travellers nearby say that, only a few weeks ago, they were attacked with a barrage of fireworks aimed at the renovated coaches they call home. Others claim to have found stockpiles of rockets alongside petrol cans close to their camp. Bricks hurled through windows and verbal abuse are among a dossier of complaints.

Elsewhere, 'No Travellers' signs have been hung outside a launderette at nearby Hove and also at a pub in Lewes. Although there is no connection between events in Firle and such complaints, campaigners insist the occupants of the 62 official travellers' caravans in East Sussex are by far the most persecuted minority in the region.

'Attitudes towards travellers remain comparable to those experienced by Black Americans in the 1950s', said a spokesman for Brighton-based Friends, Families and Travellers.

Last summer, the 12-strong committee of the Firle Bonfire Society faced a familiar challenge to choose the 'Enemies of Bonfire', the reviled local figure or group whose effigies would be burnt and paraded along the single narrow street of their village. As always, it was a heated debate for the committee of 'everyday working folk', whose members include an electrician and carpenter. 'They're just good village lads basically,' said George, a lifelong resident of Firle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 03:46 PM

Well, hands up, Jim, you are totally correct. If it is in the non-Murdoch Guardian it cannot possibly be wrong. and if is so important that you have posted it twice, it must be true. The whole article is from sources that are reliable and can be thoroughly checked (including 'George').
Let's admit it. Sussex is a hotbed of unreconstructed racist fascists, so we have no hope. We might as well use all the gunpowder in Lewes just to blow the whole place and the people in it up and let other people come in and start again (though hopefully not with immigrants).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 07:44 PM

I'll try again -

The point I am trying to make or rather the question I am asking is what is the difference between blaming the the entire population of a town (now extended to an administrative district) for the actions of twelve people and blaming all Islam for the actions of the extremists? You continue to avoid answering.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 03:05 AM

Apologies for the double posting Vic - it keeps happening and has been mentioned before - not intentional - something to do with my mishandling my posting.
Anyway - apologies if I mistook the incident as happening at the Lewes bonfire - my error.
The point of my comment in the first place was to illustrate the sensitivities that lie behind some of these ceremonies and the raw nerves they are capable of touching - illustrated pretty graphically here, I think.
Unfortunately, these events are the responsibility not just the organisers, but those who attend them (and, as in this case, who respond positively to them), and those who allow them to happen by licencing them - there should be no "reason" for them.
This was not just the action of twelve people, but of all those who were there.
The Traveller situation is not a "Sussex" one, but an international problem - it concerns me - my "raw nerve".
Burning effigies representing any culture or religion, and carrying banners such as those of one group that declares "no Popery" is inflammatory (pun intended) and verges on the illegal.
My apologies for my mistake, but my point remains
Finis
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 03:59 AM

Going back to 'blacking up'.

I suspect that, from before a time when we saw many people with other skin colours, the colour black had certain resonances. Darkness, the night, dark deeds, sin.
Other cultures used different colours for some concepts - "though your sins be scarlet".
The symbolism could leak into our thoughts about other races.
And now the symbolism of the Black & White Minstrels has leaked (or returned if it was there in the origins) into black-faced Morris.

So maybe time for a rethink rather than relying on the 'I don't mean any harm' plea.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 05:18 AM

Sorry people, thread hijack here, but I do hope this will clear up something.

Unfortunately, these events are the responsibility not just the organisers, but those who attend them (and, as in this case, who respond positively to them), and those who allow them to happen by licencing them - there should be no "reason" for them.

Jim, that seems rather hypocritical. If it is not just the responsibility of the organisers, but all involved, then why do you keep insisting that the Islamic religion is not responsible for the actions of a few extremists? Don't get me wrong - I agree that the whole of Islam is not responsible etc. But by the same token the whole of the people who attend the Lewes area bonfires are not responsible for the actions of this few. I am interested to know how you are differentiating between the two situations.

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 06:10 AM

Because it is the "extremists" who cause the violence Dave - not the religions involved.
It may be extremists who organise the symbolic burnings of caravans and Papal images, et al, but it is those who allow them to continue and proliferate by their attendance, support and encouragement, and by the authorities continuing to licence them.
The Caravan burning led to ten arrests - no prosecutions - due lack of evidence, no doubt
Happy to discuss this off-line, but I suggest we cease nausing up this discussion
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 06:13 AM

Jim, when I posted this link (not realising that someone else already had done) -
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/nov/16/raceintheuk.uknews
I said "It does, however, look at the whole issue". You went though it and picked out the bits that suited your prejudices and ignored the rest. Utterly dishonest.

When I quoted this -
Residents of East Sussex village were shocked and horrified after a caravan with effigies of Gypsies was burnt at a village bonfire party organized by the Firle Bonfire Society
from an account of the event on a Romany website http://veshengro.tripod.com/id61.html you ignored. It didn't suit your argument. That account also quoted a statement from the chairman of Firle Bonfire Society giving their reasons. He described it as feeble. It was.

You pick and choose your evidence. Is that a technique you learnt from Keith A. of Hertford?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 06:39 AM

Sorry Bryan
It is you who is being selective - mine was a general point about parades with racist and sectarian content.
You wan't to fiscuss what happened in Firle, I suggest you open a thread bout the burning of religious effigies at public celebrations and let's slug it out there - not here
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 06:51 AM

Vic Smith
"Have you met my brother?"

I was once involved in a similar incident. I was following our mutual friend Sandra out of the Lewes Arms when she turned to say something to me. I had stepped aside and she found herself addressing Peter who is six foot, short haired and black. I am none of those things. Sandra giggled and said "I'm sorry". I siad "It happens all the time. we're brothers actually." to which Peter replied "Yeah, separated at birth.".

I'm told that when Peter marches with Cliffe Bonfire he is known as The Invisible Smuggler.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 07:22 AM

"The Caravan burning led to ten arrests - no prosecutions - due lack of evidence, no doubt"

Precisely, Jim. If no crime had been committed, then there would be no evidence. But that doesn't mean that the event didn't cause offence.

There were no prosecutions at Darkie Days either. The police - like many others - don't seem to understand the legislation.

No record of complaints at Bacup, except from Lancashire County Council on grounds of road safety.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 09:16 AM

Jim Carroll
It may be extremists who organise the symbolic burnings of caravans and Papal images, et al, but it is those who allow them to continue and proliferate by their attendance, support and encouragement, and by the authorities continuing to licence them.
You finally got round to (sort of) answering my question when Dave the Gnome asked it (Thanks, Dave) but your answer is just the sort of thing that the Islamophobes and racists use to justify holding their chosen hate group collectively responsible for the actions of a few.

It is you who is being selective
In what way? Specific examples please.

mine was a general point about parades with racist and sectarian content.
No it wasn't. You explicitly accused "the good people of Lewes" of "burning a caravan full of 'Pikeys' at their annual bonfire festival.". Since this pack of lies is clearly a deliberate attempt to stir up trouble between the settled and traveler communities here in East Sussex, I wonder if you might not be liable to preosecution under the race relations act yourself.

You wan't to fiscuss what happened in Firle
No, Jim, I want to discuss why you consider it acceptable to spread misinformation and to make blanket accusations of racism against entire towns (later extended to entire administrative districts) to further your cause. In short, why are you using the same tactics as the bigots you oppose? That has been my point from the start. (Not the burning of religious effigies at public celebrations which you have twice on this thread described as "innocent".)

The Caravan burning led to ten arrests - no prosecutions - due lack of evidence, no doubt
Whereas you, in Miltown Malbay, KNOW THE FACTS. You read them in The Times. All the CPS needed to do was read the same articles and they'd have all the evidence they needed to prosecute not just the Firle 12 but the entire population of Lewes District. Perhaps they did and that's the problem. They were looking for evidence of something that happened in Lewes on Bonfire Night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 09:39 AM

As I said Bryan - not here
Why not use one of the other threads which are being used for just about everything at the present time?
Or feel free t open a specific one - Ican't see what more there is to add to this on a thread about a specific subject
It really isn't fair for us to monopolise this discussion with our arguments - give them a break
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 10:42 AM

Jim, I am responding to things you have said on this thread which is about racism (perceived or actual) in traditional customs. You seem to be demanding the right to hand out deeply offensive allegations without any comeback.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 11:21 AM

NO I don't - I demand we let others who were specifically discussing Bacup get on with it.
I really have said all I have to say on the events at Firle, but am happy to fine tune anything you wish but not here
You want to discuss it - fine, open another thread - you don't, then I suggest you do the other thing!!
I've got myself into far much trouble in the past by allowing head-to-head arguments spoil discussions
Feel free.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 11:51 AM

Then don't start them.
Byee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:03 PM

Haven't read the whole thread, but of tangential interest might be the memories of the late Diane Easby of this forum, who reported here on a couple of occasions the local (Yorkshire I believe) tradition her grandfather partook in, of using local red clay soil to colour the face.. err red.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:09 PM

Jim

If you are not willing or able to back up your outrageous allegations, it might be wise not to make them in the first place.

If your response to being challenged is then to suggest the discussion is moved elsewhere, I suggest you know you have no basis for those allegations.

Put up or shut up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:18 PM

I've backed them up - you don't accept what I've said, your problem, not mine.
Someone just restarted the discussion we interrupted - please piss of, the pair of you.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM

Fred started an important thread on here and I think most people have responed thoughtfully and I think the thread has explored a number of issues well.

Please don't post unless you have read most of the above. I am with Jim on this please stick to the premise of the OP and don't get side tracked.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM

"piss of, the pair of you.

Exeunt all who came here for reasoned discussion rather than to read insults... as well as those who favour correct grammar and spelling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 12:58 PM

Good point, CS. That was another thing I had forgotten. Surely, people would use whatever was available in abundance to colour their faces at the lowest cost. Red clay in that case. Maybe coal dust in coal mining areas or soot in others? Another possibility to add to the dozens of other theories :-) And perhaps blacking up would be more acceptable if it was not the solid black of greasepaint but the smears provided by coal or it's derivatives. Although I don't know what health and safety would have to say about it!

Cheers

DtG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 02:21 PM

I should think that lamp-black was very easy to obtain, as it's basically soot from burning wicks of lamps or candles. One can also use the burnt end of a cork. I know the 'guisers' I had at the door in Edinburgh used burnt cork to blacken their faces. For red faces, sheep-farming areas would use 'reddle' (used to daub the ram and indicate which ewes he had serviced). This was a brownish-red colour and sold by the block by travelling reddle men. Thomas Hardy wrote about them. I believe some Molly Dance sides allow their members to use whatever colours they like, including blue and green. The more I think about it, the more I'm tending to the idea that the Bacup crew were in fact meant to look like black people in the early days. But I still don't see any harm in it. (But then, I'm not black am I?!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: meself
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 09:01 PM

The "reddle man" is a character in Return of the Native.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 07:25 AM

Les in Chorlton
I am with Jim on this please stick to the premise of the OP and don't get side tracked.

Well, actually, the OP had some things to say about Lewes Bonfire that I'd quite like to reply to but in the current atmosphere I don't know if I can.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,#
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM

I understand that Donald Sterling will be having them do the cheerleading at the next Clippers' game.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 02:52 PM

Sorry M, but which planet are you living on these days? I ask because it's not so long ago that a senior member of UKIP was foaming at the mouth about bongobongoland. Then there's this other eejit who's been telling Lenny Henry he ought to live in a black country. And there's many other examples I could cite.

Then there's that latest round of UKIP posters, which I find offensive, never mind the ethnic minority.

No, the United Kingdom Independence Party isn't racist. Just every goddamn member they've got.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 09:56 PM

There were "blacking up" customs (I think "custom" is a better, more neutral term than "tradition") before American blackface minstrelsy.

However, I think minstrelsy assigned it's own meaning to blackface — even if the similarity to earlier customs influenced the use of minstrelsy blackface. That is, prior customs of blacking face are not irrelevant to minstrelsy, however, minstrelsy's blackface is appreciably distinct.

Blacking up, of course, went on to become a custom or performance practice of minstrelsy that was also perpetuated "just because." Most probably know that there were African-American minstrel performers who also blacked up - because it was the way one performed minstrel music.

Blacking up means several things. And the act of doing it wasn't always (and in some periods/contexts, wasn't most of the time) a gesture of racial hatred.

However, nonetheless it was largely a product of racism, no matter what the intent. And it had negative effects of a racial nature.

I think it's very possible to understand blackface minstrelsy as "simply the way it was" AND also as deplorable racism at the same time. Awareness of that has caused it to be discarded, even if the practice persisted in some enclaves where audiences did not find it objectionable (e.g. local productions, with mainly non-Black audiences). The point is that the ethics of blackface were interrogated.

The ethics of the Morris blackface can also be interrogated.

Have the Border sides performed as such in USA? Whenever I hear about them, I think about how I can't imagine their being accepted in USA. My assumption, perhaps false, is that they are able to continue in those "enclaves where audiences did not find it objectionable."

I think it is possible to do racist things without having "racist intent."

After a point, in blackface minstrelsy, performers could reasonably argue that their blacking up did not have racist intent. However, it did have (however unintended) racist repercussions. Serious repercussions.

I can understand if Morris performers are not interested in dealing with these questions. The places where and the audiences for whom they perform, possibly, allow them the "luxury" of not having to fully deal with it.

I don't object to them existing. I do think, however, that framing their practice under the magical concept of "tradition" might not be adequate if one is interested in ethics. "Tradition" makes it sound like things are inviolable and inevitable. "Custom" opens the possibility of assessing whether a change is appropriate.

I'm rambling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 09:25 AM

No more that the rest of us, Gibb. Welcome to the club :-) I think you make some very valid points.

Cheers

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 10:35 AM

Thanks Gibb, one of the best pieces of writing on this thread


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 10:35 AM

Just had a look on Youtube, and could only find the border side called 'On The Border' performing in Vermont. But they weren't blacked-up. Quite a few Cotswold sides have performed in USA, but they never black up. So it's a good point Gibb Sahib. I too wonder whether Americans would accept either Bacup Nutters or any black-faced Morris side dancing in their country?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: IanC
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 11:36 AM

Raddle isn't really an option. Its great advantage for marking sheep is that it's permanent!

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 02:43 PM

I know that, IanC, but I was thinking about the far distant past. If my memory serves me aright, the reddle (sic) man in Hardy's novel Return Of The Native had a permanently reddled face, so the dye obviously stained his skin red! (I wonder if that's the origin of the phrase 'looking a bit raddled'?)
Any American folk on here have an opinion on whether blacked-up Border Morris dancers from UK would be looked at askance if they performed over there? Interesting to know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 04:25 PM

I would have thought that the use of black for a face colouring by white people is to achieve the most effective disguise, and that the use of white colouring by black people is equally effective.

Wasn't there a film about a black guy waking up and finding that he had become white overnight? (No jokes about Michael Jackson please). It was quite a shock to the eye to see how different the actor in the film looked just by having a change of skin colour. When I saw the film I had only had experience of the "Black and White Minstrels" on TV (strange that it was one of the first programmes broadcast in colour) and it made me realise just how much I was conditioned to regard skin colour in general.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 05:15 PM

We are I think very 'programmed' by the skin colours we see around us. I'll never forget the first, magical visit I made to a village in southern Senegal. It was extremely strange to be surrounded by a sea of totally black faces in the street, and the people there were amazed to see me too, and kept calling out,"Toubabe! Toubabe!" (White person!) But that isn't racist, just a natural reaction to something different. We must be careful before bandying around the term 'racism'. There are nasty racists about, but I believe most people are perfectly okay with different skins, just curious and interested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,#
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 05:22 PM

This might help, Eliza.

http://black-face.com/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 08:39 PM

Black belt,

The film you might be thinking about is _Watermelon Man_.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 02:23 AM

Yes, that was the film. I found it quite a profound experience to realise how much I was programmed into how I regarded people based on their colour when I superficially thought that I was above such things!
I had it slightly reversed (I saw it back in the 70s), a white man wakes up to find himself black after an accident with a sun tan bed or similar. The lead part was played by a black actor.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 02:49 AM

I found that site black-face.com very informative, GUEST#. Certainly the history in USA of representing black people by whites as certain unflattering stereotypes isn't very edifying. I suppose we in UK may have 'imported' some of these attitudes, but I do believe it's slightly different here. We haven't the historical connotations of freed slaves, black 'mammies' etc that the black-face.com site explains pertain in America. Uncle Ben's Rice is widely sold in Ivory Coast and eaten by the rather better-off Africans, (and by my husband on rare occasions when they could afford it!) I've just asked him if his family ever resented the black face on the box of this rice and he laughed. He thinks it would be weirder to have a white man on the packet for a product sold in an almost entirely black country! I have to say, after participating in this fascinating thread, I've shifted my perspective quite a bit. I now feel the Bacup side could be seen as insulting to black folk if taken the wrong way. I also see that the origins of this particular black-face entertainment could be derived from American stereotyping. And I also agree that if black people here in UK are offended, then perhaps some modification of the costume/make-up could be considered. So I admit I've learned a lot!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,#
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 09:07 AM

"So I admit I've learned a lot!"

That's part of what makes you one of the more respected posters on this site, Eliza. IMO.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 09:52 AM

"if black people here in UK are offended, then perhaps some modification of the costume/make-up could be considered. So I admit I've learned a lot!"

There's an awful lot of contemporary 'tradition' in Morris dance; biker morris (with motorbikes) steampunk morris, pagan morris - as such and as there is both an historical and contemporary precedent for alternative colours to black-face, it probably couldn't harm - at least where it's become a contentious issue - if black-face sides were to simply adopt ivy green, maroon, or midnight blue, or even patterned faces?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM

Thank you for your comment GUEST#.
I've just been watching Ouse Washes Molly on Youtube (dancing 'Criss Cross' at Whittlesea Straw Bear) I've seen lots of Molly dancing and come to like it very much. No sticks or hankies, just some very strange multi-coloured costumes and often coloured faces of blue, green, pink, white and, yes, black. I think this might be 'a way forward'(as they say in business meetings!) for all Morris sides. I'd like to keep things as they are, but if anyone is hurt or offended, then I see that minor changes could remove any unpleasantness and make Morris dancing of all sorts able to be enjoyed by everyone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 03:59 AM

There is already a lot of discussion on blacking up within the morris world. The origins are unclear, and some attribute its origins to minstrelsy although there seems to be some limited evidence of earlier blacking-up.

I'm inclined to think that blacking up was part of morris and other traditions before minstrelsy. Minstrelsy was an huge part of popular culture for a long period and it would be remarkable if it did not have an influence on existing traditions as well as spawning new ones. However, whilst Cotswold morris, to take one example, adopted many minstrel tunes it did not adopt blacking-up. This suggests to me that minstrelsy merely reinforced those traditions such as Border where blacking-up was already part of the custom, rather than being the origin of the practice. However this is pure hypothesis on my part.

I don't think morris need be ashamed of the practice, although there are good reasons in our modern more multi-cultural society to consider whether it should continue. Many modern morris sides have made the decision to use different colours to avoid giving offence. Others take the view that there is nothing else in the tradition to suggest that black people are being imitated, let alone ridiculed, and that it is important to preserve our customs against political correctness. I think both attitudes are deserving of respect provided they have been arrived at after careful consideration.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 04:06 AM

Howard:


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 '

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bacup Nuters and Racism
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 07:23 AM

Les, "nigger" didn't carry the same offensive overtones (in the UK at least) that it does today. I find it unsurprising that people going out blacked-up might refer to it as "niggering" without necessarily implying that they were pretending to be black people.

Of course it could also derive from minstrelsy - we don't really know. I don't doubt that "traditional" blacking-up and minstrelsy became confused and intermingled. I do question whether minstrelsy was the origin of blacking-up in morris and other English customs. As I explained, the fact that it only appears in some customs and not others (despite other aspects of minstrelsy appearing) suggests to me that these already had a practice of blacking up before minstrelsy came along.

The question whether or not morris sides today should black up is a different matter and a complex one. The origin of the custom is just one consideration, and perhaps not the most important.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 June 2:17 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.