Back to Features index

Kimber joins the greats... but it grates

Morris people should feel flattered.... or maybe not. William Kimber, Headington Quarry's late lamented concertina player and "Father of the Morris", has been included in "a celebration of outstanding people", alongside Winston Churchill, Lewis Caroll and even Alfred The Great. The composer George Butterworth, who was prominent in the early revival of the morris, is also featured on the Oxford Mail website's list of a hundred personalities with Oxfordshire connections.

On the one hand, it's good to see the recognition of the significance of Kimber's contribution to English culture.

On the other hand, this is what it actually says:

High point: Through his work with the musicologist Cecil Sharp, he was responsible for the English folk-dance revival of the 20th century.
Down side: Through his work with the musicologist Cecil Sharp, he was responsible for the revival of morris dancing

ThisIsOxfordshire - Oxford Mail

A fin story from Notts-by-the-Sea

What's that funny yellow thing on the Dolphin Morris baldrick? And how come Dolphin Morris is called Dolphin Morris when it's based in Nottingham, quite some distance from the sea?

"If I had a pound for every time I've been asked that," says Mike Wilkinson, "I'd have two pounds."

He tells the story on the side's website:

"We were named (writes Mike), after the Dolphin pub, the hostelry to which we retired after that first practice. The pub is now closed (we deny everything) and the pub sign is kept at a secret location in foreman Ian Stewart's garage.

"A few years ago, the old Dolphin pub reopened as the Lord Byron Wine Bar. We discussed changing our name, and also considered digging up the poet's remains, and using his skull as the basis for a unique 'beast'. However, with Ian Stewart's bad back, and John, Phil and a few others working away so much of the time, we decided against this on the basis that it would be too much like hard work.

"Our kit - or for Radio 4 listeners and Guardian readers, our Colourful Traditional Ritual Costume - consists of white trousers and shirt, straw hats, and red and green baldricks. On the baldrick is a leather badge depicting a bright yellow dolphin. Yellow was chosen because the original badges were felt, and we had lots of yellow. They're not meant to be realistic; if they were, we'd pour salt water on them, and feed them fish.

>From time to time, the dolphin badge has been mistaken for a banana, a canary and a chicken. But the funny thing about having a dolphin on the badge is that the pub was almost certainly, probably, named after the Dauphin, heir to the French throne. The badge is therefore wholly inappropriate, but have you ever tried making an heir to the French throne from yellow felt? No? Then I don't think you should criticise."

Dolphin Morris


2000 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers, The Outside Capering Crew

Back to Features index