The Shave The Donkey News Archive

Adderbury tunes go on-line 26 April 2001
Adderbury Morris Men have made posted recordings off all the tunes from their vast tradition - including modern compositions - on a new website. The tunes have been recorded by Steve Wass and site is called Wassail.
See Banbury Bill's April 2001 column in our Features section for details of the tune bank and also the Adderbury Day of Dance, a spirited celebration that takes place each year on the last Saturday in April.

Ex-dancer wins a million 21 April 2001
Quiz wizard Dave Edwards has become only the second person to win the ultimate prize on the UK television programme, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? But his performance came as no surprise to friends who knew him during his morris dancing days.

Sculptor Steve offers a course for horses 21 April 2001
Morris and mummers' sides that don't own a hobby animal are being offered professional help this summer.

News in Brief 10 April 2001
New site promotes all type of traditional Performance in Oxfordshire; Pace Eggers; Jig Contest doubles up; Helm Archive

Sidmouth organisers optimistic in face of disease 9 April 2001
The organisers of Sidmouth International Festival of Folk Arts say they're hoping the UK's foot-and-mouth epidemic will not wreak havoc on one of the major events in the morris calendar.

Sweet Rag Ale 6 April 2001
Rag Morris of Bristol reveal their Ale plans

Date set for Wantage workshops 20 February 2001
The celebrated instructional weekends run for several years by Roy Dommett are to be revived - but with a host of expert practitioners to take his place.

Shakespeare's Revenge 20 February 2001
The Kemps 400 year celebration re-enactment from London to Norwich which took place last year was great fun and successful.

The swords are out for the New Year 26 December 2000
TREVOR STONE has once again compiled a list of all longsword performances over the New Year. He strongly urges readers to confirm details before setting out. The Donkey wishes all performers an excellent winter season...

Fezheads seek spit personalities 26 December 2000
All dance teams and individuals are invited to attend the highly bizarre International Fig & Date Fayre on 31 March, 2001.... but be advised: the invitation comes with a warning that it's not an event for the feint-hearted...

Beast hunters seek an uncommon herd 13 November 2000
They don't leave tracks, and if they smell funny, it's no help to those who seek them. Somewhere out there, strange beasts are roaming free, unaware they're even being hunted.

Fools and animals suffer beastly behaviour 13 November 2000
The motley mob at the annual Fools and Beasts Unconvention have experienced assualts on their dignity - and worse - reports MIKE WILKINSON of Dolphin Morris Men. Perhaps that's why they're meeting in Holland next year...

Morris Federation AGM 13 November 2000
Fee Lock, the Federation's Secretary reports.

Blood, Booze and Doc Rowe 14 September 2000
The celebrated folklorist Doc Rowe is giving a talk and showing some of his films at Tate Britain in London on Saturday, September 16. It promises to be entertaining stuff.

Hattie's the youngest champion 17 August 2000
Fourteen-year-old Hattie Vail has become the youngest-ever winner of the John Gasson Memorial Solo Jig Competition at Sidmouth - with the president of the Morris Federation, John Bacon, as her musician.

Results: John Gasson Memorial Solo Jig Competition 2000 12 August 2000
All the results - direct from Sidmouth

Folklorists' guide to 'stubborn prejudice' 1 August 2000
The morris and related arts are featured in a new tome from the Oxford University Press - A Dictionary Of English Folklore - and written by two leading lights of The Folklore Society

Dome deal at last - but why did so many miss out? 9 July 2000
Morris performances have finally got underway at the Millennium Dome in London after months of prevarication by the attraction's management. But many teams have been left asking why they were excluded, after originally being allocated slots.

Unique camera gets all the angles on dance 6 July 2000
Norwich have been captured in performance by a unique camera that can film from five different angles simultaneously.

Trad meets contemporary in a blitz of stepping 6 July 2000
Some of the most innovative traditional dance performers will be out to grab the attention of the arts establishment in London on 30 July, 2000. Organiser Anthony John Allen makes a rallying call for support.

Step forward for new competition 13 May 2000
Competitors are wanted for a new step dancing competition being organised at Moreton village day in Essex, with prizes in memory of dancer and musician Steve Monk.

Press raises a glass to Kemp's merry company 27 April 2000
The Eastern Daily Press has praised the six dancers and musicians who re-enacted Will Kemp's famous jig from London to Norwich at the weekend - along with all the teams that supported them. In a leader item under the headline, Merry Dance, it cited the feat as proof that the English truly cherish their heritage.

Marathon dance is triumph of Will 27 April 2000 They made it: six dancers and two musicians who undertook to recreate Will Kemp's morris dance from London to Norwich have all survived the journey. But as JON WELCH has reported in the Eastern Daily Press, one ended up going to hospital.

'Kempís jig heroes battle through the pain 22 April 2000
The dancers and musicians taking part in the gruelling Nine Daies Morris from London to Norwich have refused to give in to painful injuries and foot problems. One has told how he seriously doubted he could complete the journey, after sustaining an achilles tendon injury only two days into the re-enactment of Will Kempís original jig in 400 years ago.

When it's springtime in Helsinki... 18 April 2000
.... has mpooved to the Features section

My years with the Bard basher: actor tells all 17 April 2000
Will Kemp's jig? That's nothing: the actor Chris Harris has spent nearly 25 years on the road with Shakespeare's rebellious clown, and shows no sign of stopping. In fact, he's working on a book about his long-running one-man play, Kemp's Jig. Visit our Recycling Depot to read Cameron Robertson's report from The Stage newspaper.

Shakespeare's clown - the story so far 14 April 2000
Will Kemp was born in London, but is thought to have had relatives in Suffolk and Norfolk. He was already aged 50 or more at the time of his famous dance from London to Norwich, with a reputation as a comedian in Europe as well as throughout England.

Nine Daies Morris - the route 14 April 2000
Where to be if you want to witness the re-enactment of Will Kemp's dance from London to Norwich between 15 and 22 April, 2000.

Hobby Horses win the Lottery 11 April 2000
Banbury Hobby Horse Festival has been awarded £4,330 under the National Lottery's Millennium Festival scheme.

No decision on women and the Ring 4 April 2000
The Morris Ring remains a strictly male preserve: a discussion on whether to allow women musicians to attend Ring meetings prompted earnest debate, but no firm outcome.

Dancers wanted for Belgian bun fight - updated 2nd April 2000
A Belgian dance team has put out an urgent call for a foreign side to join its festivities in May after the booked guests dropped out. UK morris man Howard Mitchell has attended the event in the past and urges other dancers to try it out.

EFDSS boss is a man of many hats (mostly silly) 30 March 2000
The new chief executive of the English Folk Dance & Song Society is a true finger-in-the-ear man. But the ear in question may be someone else's. Visit our Features page to read the truth about Phil Wilson, ex-morris dancer and all-round showman.

News Briefs Latest 29 March, 2000
William Kimber- an absolute sell-out;UK National Lottery pays for clogs - the full story; Sussex Folk update; Dancers and green men feature in London exhibition. Watch for updates to this column

Roots guide goes back to its drawing board 27 March 2000
Plans to publish a comprehensive new guide to the UK folk scene this summer have been abandoned - but some of the material compiled for it will be published on the Internet.

Maudlin news for Oxford May revellers 27 March 2000
THE bridge at the centre of the famous Oxford May morning celebrations is to be closed off on the day because it's not strong enough to cope with the crowds.

John projects village music 23 March 2000
John Adams will talk about the Village Music Project - which covers some of the areas associated with traditional dance - at a special event in Sussex, UK, on 29 April, 2000.

Waste not Wantage - bid to continue instructionals 15 March 2000
ROY Dommett has taught his last Wantage instructional weekend, but already plans are being made to carry on where he and organiser Tony Forster have left off.

Bring me the head of Roy Dommett... 15 March 2000
THE MAN who dragged the morris out of the 19th century - better late than never - has had his head frozen for posterity. It's followed his absolutely-final Wantage instructional weekend - and it's not as severe as it sounds. JILL GRIFFITHS reports.

Help bring more to Moreton 14 March 2000
Folkies and morris types are invited to host workshops or simply join the fun at a weekend event in Essex this summer.

DERT leaves its mark on the Dome 12 March 2000
London's Millennium Dome has been broken in - by an eye-opening rapper sword team that defies all preconceptions about traditional dance.

On a point of order: sword contest ends in a duel of honour updated 12 March 2000
There were hugs. One dancer kissed a rival full on the lips. The Tommies swapped jackets.... DERT 2000 rapper championship has ended with the closest result ever recorded.

EFDSS announces new Chief Executive 1 March 2000
The English Folk Dance and Song Society has announced the appointment of Phil Wilson as its new Chief Executive.

Sculptor pays tribute to Kemp's clowning achievement 29 February 2000
The Shakespearian fool Will Kemp and his dancing companions are to be celebrated in a life-size sculpture, as HELEN ASHWORTH writes in the Eastern Daily Press.

A Tribute to ∆gle Hoekstra 21 February 2000
Spring Grove Morris Men have sent us this tribute to ∆gle Hoekstra, inspirational figure in the Dutch morris, who died last year.

Forrest provides a feast of history 17 February 2000
John Forrest's book, The History Of Morris Dancing 1458-1750, contains "a feast of entertaining illustrative material," says fellow-author Ronald Hutton. Read the press release here - and buy your copy on-line.

A Donkey in a China Shop? 17 February 2000
We wouldn't advise trying that. However, there is now a shop in The Donkey. It's a service we've decided to offer to help you easily find books that could be thought of as somewhat obscure in a high street bookshop. And many of these books are discounted below the high street prices.

Taborers beat a path to international festival 12 February 2000
Musicians from across Europe are lining up to perform at the first Gloucester International Pipe And Tabor Festival.

Papers wanted for pipe and tabor symposium 12 February 2000
A call has been made for papers on the pipe and tabor, for an international symposium on the traditional morris instrument. It's being held at Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester on 9 June, 2000.

Why beer won't be flowing in Ock Street as horns turn 300 9 February 2000
A familiar part of the famous Chairing of the Mayor of Ock Street will be missing this year, for the first time in more than a century. Morland's brewery in Abingdon, whose workers have had voting rights in the election of the mock-mayor, has been sold off. The last mash of ale has now been drawn.

Beast festival makes a date with co-incidence 4 February 2000
The organisers of the proposed Banbury hobby horse festival have made an uncanny discovery. It turns out the event will take place exactly 400 years after two of the original Banbury crosses were destroyed by puritans.

A place in history for the fool they couldn't hang 4 February 2000 Old Mettle, the legendary Adderbury fool, is to be given a public hanging - more than 150 years after he escaped execution for robbery.

'Morris won't last another century,' says Roy 1 February 2000
Roy Dommett has declared that the morris in its present form won't last out the 21st century. "I give it fifty years at most in England," he says in the Winter 2000 issue of Morris Matters magazine.

MP puts the morris in motion 14 January 2000
A House of Commons motion praising morris dancers has prompted The Daily Telegraph to defend "every true-born Englishman's right to strap jingle bells round his knees and make a hanky-waving wally of himself in public."

Free Dome deal for rapper sides updated version
Free tickets to the Millennium Dome in London have been negotiated for performers attending the DERT2000 rapper sword gathering in March. 11 January 2000

Centenary success for Quarry
Members of Headington Quarry Morris Dancers have been looking back with quiet satisfaction on their big day - the centenary of their team's meeting with Cecil Sharp on December 26. 7 January 2000

Win a prize in our horrible competition
We're giving away a CD and one pack of the EFDSS "Images of Tradition" collection in our first (and possibly last) Shave The Donkey competition. You don't need any knowledge of the morris to enterÖ.but you may want to ask yourself, 'Is there more to life than solving dastardly word grids?' To find out more, see A Bunch Of Posers.

'Loaded with preconceptions' - The Yorkshire Post
Visit our Recycling Depot to read Stephen Biscoe's article on Flag Crackers Of Craven.

The winter of the long swords
Trevor Stone's guide to longsword dance outings over Christmas and the New Year, from Rattle Up, My Boys, the quarterly sword dance magazine.

Helmond's farewell to a much-loved teacher
Morrisdansgroep Helmond have published a heartfelt tribute to their instructor and "inspiring friend" ∆gle Hoekstra, who died in November, 1999.

Librarian's 20 happy returns...
Malcolm Taylor has clocked up two decades of helping researchers dig out the treasures of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

Press Release: EFDSS
The English Folk Dance and Song Society has sent us its press release announcing the departure of its chief executive, Martin Frost. We're glad to publish it in full.

Bennett and Wells star in new pack of images
Some of the great figures from morris history are being featured on a set of collectors' cards put together by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

EFDSS boss departs after blowing out cobwebs (revised version)
The man brought in to breathe new life into the English Folk Dance & Song Society has left the job after just over a year - but with colleagues praising his dynamic new initiatives.

Journal marks 100 years of publication
The Folk Music Journal is celebrating 100 years of publication - within days of the centenary of Cecil Sharp's historic first encounter with the morris.

Keep beast away from us, says 'mad' Jacks man
A statement denying involvement in the disappearance of the Hammersmith hobby horse has been issued on behalf of two "respectable" morris teams.

Archivist finds a grand home for papers
Adrian Williams has been doing a spot of "home hunting" since rashly taking on a substantial property with scope for expansion - namely, the Morris Federation archive.

Hammersmith horse off, horror
A strange beast with an evil stare has not been sighted roaming the streets of West London. Not for some months, anyway - because Hammersmith Morris Men have lost it.

New prize for Sidmouth jig contest
A prize for newcomers is being introduced in the morris jig contest at the next Sidmouth Festival to encourage more dancers to take part.

Desert Orchid for hobby horse festival?
Britain's first-ever festival of hobby horses is being planned for the Oxfordshire town of Banbury - and there'll be no shortage of troughs in the town.

Bedlams plan a lovely bunch of surprises
The famously inventive Berkshire Bedlam morris team is cooking up some surprises for Sidmouth festival 2000 - and it's anybody's guess whether it will involve coconuts.

Strange bears get a Whittlesey willkommen
The celebrated straw bears of Whittlesey will be joined by similar creatures from across the north sea at their annual outing in January, 2000 - and it's all thanks to a school exchange trip.

Centenary blast for Quarry
Headington Quarry Morris Dancers are planning a strictly local affair to mark the centenary of the day their team was "discovered" by Cecil Sharp - the encounter that led to the worldwide revival of morris dancing. 1st December 1999

Sword team's debut on 100th anniversary
A new team of rapper sword dancers in Oxfordshire could not have picked a more notable date for its public debut. 1st December 1999