Old Gold Folk Club July Meeting At Mogo

Fertility Rites at the Old Gold Folk Club!

Tim Beckett Old Gold Folk Club Guest Performer
Event Date: 
6 Jul 2014

The Winter Solstice is just behind us, so it's definitely time for action. Otherwise, as the ancients were convinced, the sun might just continue on its merry way, and never come back to us! To make sure that doesn't happen, the Old Gold Folk Club has attracted a leading practitioner in the fertility rites field....

Tim Beckett lives in Bawley Point and has an ill-kept secret: he dances Morris. He came to the Morris in 1977 as one of the founding members of the Canberra Morris Men. When asked why, he pleads the Streaker’s Defence: it seemed like a good idea at the time! The beer, bells, sticks, hankies and flowery hats - in fact, the whole outrageousness of the Morris - were also attractions! Over the years he has danced variously with the Sydney Morris Men and Black Joak, also in Sydney, and currently dances with Surly Griffin in Canberra (although the fortnightly 300 km round trip to practice is a bit of a pain). Although Tim is rusted-on Cotswold-style, he has been known to dance the odd Border dance (very oddly) and Rapper. He is the current Squire (President) of the Australian Morris Ring, the organisation of all the Morris “sides” in Australia.

Morris Dance in England dates back at least six hundred years - recent research places the earliest Morris records in the time of Henry VII (circa 1500) - and the tradition may be much older. While the style is peculiar to England, the origin of the dances is a matter of continuing dispute and argument, and variously involves ancient pagan rites of fertility, the Moriscos of Spain and the folk traditions of Continental Europe. In fact: who knows?

The typical picture of a Morris dancer involves sticks and bells and hankies and flowery hats and an awful lot of beer all set in the rolling Cotswold hills of Oxfordshire and Gloucester. This is the Cotswold tradition and each little village has its own version of dances, many with the same name but with different moves. There are, however, other traditions of Morris. Border Morris, where the dancers wear “disguises” of tattered coats and painted faces, comes from the Welsh marches and is based around mining communities. Northwest Morris, traditionally danced in English clogs with leather uppers originated in the mills of Lancashire. And the North-east counties of Northumberland and Yorkshire gave us Rapper, where the dancers are linked together by double-handled swords of spring steel, and Longsword dances. Although traditionally danced by men only, most modern Morris sides thankfully include women. Indeed, it was often women who kept the traditions alive after the carnage of the First World War reduced the ranks of young men in rural and industrial England.

Apart from the Morris dancing, resident band Ballyhooley has lots of new and old songs and tunes for you as usual, and there will be no shortage of other performers to entertain you. The Old Gold Folk Club runs from 3pm to at least 6pm, Sunday 6 July, at the Digger's Rest Tavern, Original Gold Rush Colony, Mogo. There's no charge for admission, and drinks and snacks are available from the bar. But remember, EFTPOS hadn't been invented by then, so bring some cash!

More Details
Cost: 
Free Entry - Food and Drinks available CASH ONLY
Location: 
Diggers Rest Tavern
Hosted By: 
Old Gold Folk Club
Contact Details: 
Gold Rush Colony - 0244 742123