Roy Smith of Hoghton Folk Dance Club, near Preston has written a poem in Lancashire Dialect about an unusual problem at their Club - more men than ladies!!
A PLEA FROM HOGHTON FOLK DANCE CLUB
Cum t'Hoghton-on-the-hill - it's allus bright an' sunny;
Cum ov a Toosda' evening' - tha'll hev value fer thi money.
But we've a problem, aw tell thee, as isn't verra common;
To' mony chaps an' nod enoo' lasses - it con cause commotion,
It's all awreet when we're sittin' reawnd, an' chewin' t'fat together -
But then yon Caller sheawts us up: "Ne'er mind beawt the weather!
Ged in her sets, an' maek lung lines; 'eeads up, an' smile a bit."
But then all t'ladies rustle abeawt - they just corned do wi' it.
They get fair giddy, quick as leet, an' look at each other funny:
"Us four's wrung i' this 'ere set - we'n getten a chap to' mony."
"Nay, nay, that's reet, aw tell thee true:
He's dancin' t'part o' one o' you!"
Well! Wimmen dancin' as chaps - what's new? Sum do that every wick;
But cum to Hoghton, lasses all, an' yo' can tek yer pick
Ov all them lads - spick, spon an' cleaun - awaiting' yo' in masses;
We're not stuck fer bobbins 'ere - but we're stuck fer mooer lasses!
The Two-Sex Country Dancer
I'm a two-sex country dancer
And may seem rather dim
But I never spend a full evening
As a full time her or him
I change my sex from dance to dance
My corners always alter
It's really not surprising
I occasionally falter
The old and simple dances
I can manage very nicely
And I can learn a new dance
And do it most precisely
But when it comes to next week
I don't know if I can
For I learnt it as a woman
And dance it as a man
And so you men have all the luck
To always stay the same
When female 'gentlemen' go wrong
Be sparing with your blame.
I'll add a postscript to this tale
One comfort I have got
When both the women change their sex
It doesn't show a lot!
A HEARTFELT PLEA
'You'll be the man?' they say to me,
'OK. then if I must',
But really there is no great thrill
In dancing bust to bust.
I stand outside the ladies star
And lead the best I can,
But when I curtsey to the floor,
They say 'Hey, you're a man.'
Sometimes I'm man,
sometimes I'm not,
It really is confusing,
Remember when I get muddled up
It's not of my own choosing.
At class we all have coloured bands
A most effective plan
For everyone who partners me
Knows this lady is a man.
If only men would come in droves
And line the ballroom floor.
At last that longed-for day would dawn
When I'd be a man no more.
So Alan 1 and Alan 2 And Ray and Jim and Brady,
Do come along and dance with me I'd rather be a lady.
My introduction to Folk Dancing
I went in very slowly feeling shy and oh so small
The room was full of strangers and they all seemed ten feet tall
So I sat down rather coyly on a chair beside the door
But they said "You'll have to dance, you know -
that's what you've come here for"
So, I said I didn't know it, but they said they'd pull me through
And then the music started - and my troubles started too
They pushed me and they pulled me and they whispered "Right-hand star"
Then they said, "Change with your partners", then hissed "Stay where you are !"
I listened to the music but I couldn't get the beat
(My mother should have told me I was born with two left feet)
And they spoke a foreign language which I found awful strange
Things like - allemande and siding and hey and swing and change
And then the big white chieftain (whose name I just forget)
Seemed to think that I was drunk - shouted "Reel across the set"
Well - I've always been teetotal so I didn't like it quite
Still - the other ladies did it, so it must have been alright
But when the man beside me - in the middle of the dance
Said "You ought to be improper"
Well, I froze him with a glance
There wasn't time to answer, though I could have said a lot
For I may not know the dances, but I hope I know what's what
Then they said "Don't look so worried, cheer up, relax, let's go
So I danced with gay abandon - right on my partner's toe
But they prodded me and swung me and hauled me back in line
Though they smiled on me quite kindly and said "You're doing fine"
Well, I'd laddered both my nylons and my right leg had gone lame
Still, I gave a ghastly smile and said "I'm awfully glad I came
They said "This keeps you fit, you know", I said "I'm sure it does"
(I knew my back was broken but I wouldn't make a fuss)
For when people's hearts are kindly, well, you leave some things unsaid
I just stuck my arms back on again and staggered home to bed
And the doctor's optimistic - says I'll soon be right as rain
So when I'm out of hospital - I'll be folk dancing again.
This is about sequence dancing rather than folk dancing but I am sure folk dancers will appreciate the humour in it - read it as an old fashioned dance programme
INAUDIBLE DANCE PROGRAM
1 - Senile Saunter
2 - Wrinkly Swing
3 - Rumba Rheumatica
4 - Quivering Quickstep
5 - Waltz Arthritica
6 - Splish Splash Polka
7 - Fandango Tango
8 - Stammering Two-Step
9 - Zimmer Along Blues
10- Incontinent Cha Cha Cha
11-Samba St Vitus
12- Flatulance Foxtrot
15-The Forgotten It Waltz
A Speciality Number
Billy Blow-Off and his Wind Instruments Trio
No Zimmer Frames or Walking Aids
All dance Nights will be Conducted
by our Own
Willy Wet Legs
A Very Special Feature of the Club will be
A Versatile & Frustrated Fomation Team
All Eight dancers are Lucid Together
Interval Entertainment will be Provided by
Displaying Her Wonderful Collection of Varicose Veins
Refreshments Kindly Prepared by
From the Famous
During the Interval Medical Staff will be on hand to Change Dressings and Bags etc.
EAR TRUMPETS FOR HIRE AT THE BAR
SQUARE DANCING FOR THE STUDENT
By Doug & Dorothy McLaren (Winnipeg, Canada)
If you can straighten out the square when all the rest are lost,
If you can dance with duffers and never count the cost,
If you can do a "bend-the-line" while another four "square through"
If you can still enjoy the dance and they enjoy it too.
If you can always wear a smile upon your shining face,
If you can swing your partner with gentleness and grace,
If you can dance with strangers and make them glad they came,
If you can meet with multitudes and not forget a name.
If you can go to any dance and willingly pay each dollar,
No matter the name or fame or skill of the individual caller.
If you can have a square break down upon a simple call
And yet you never get uptight and still can have a ball,
If you can walk a figure that you have known for years
And never get frustrated or get reduced to tears,
If you can listen to the calls and never lose your cool
If you can also "stack the wood" and never feel a fool,
If you can guide a dancer who feels a bit unsure,
And then can watch them make mistakes with thoughts that still are pure.
If you can come each night to dance and never pack a square
If you can dance with one and all, my God but you are rare!
If you can do all the above, I'll tell you what to do:
Come out each night and dance with us,
WE NEED LOTS MORE LIKE YOU!!
By Ella Umansky of Rokesley Junior School, Crouch End, London.
Country dancing with Ms Potter
is because she says you've gotta
Bnghton Camps and Cumberland Reels
Means tortured toes and blistered heels
Heel and toes and do-si-does
Standing stiff in two straight rows
It's amazing how half an hour goes
Standing stiff in two straight rows
Stamp stamp stamp, one two three
This is going to be the death of me.
Now I think I can safely say,
Country Dancing is OK.
THE BARN DANCE
Written by Denis Clarke
This verse is written in Lancashire Dialect - all Lancastrians don't speak like this now - honest!
They rang us up, sed, "Will t'a come and play some Sat'dy neet?
We'd like a barn dance in t' church hall", so we said, "Aye-Oh reet."
They said, "Ast got a caller, who'll tell us what to do?"
So we said, "Aye", and they said, "Oh, well tha'd best fotch her too."
A fee negotiated, wi'time and date agreed
We rang up t'others in eawr bond fer t'tell 'em of eawr need.
"Reight'ho" they said, "We'st all be theer, should be a gradely do.
They've getten Boddies in their bar, set up in t'Sunday Schoo"
Do I turn reet here?" said t'driver, t'front passenger said "no.
Ah've giet me street guide oppen. It's left as tha should go."
"Nay it's straight on", another voice from t'back o' t' car did call.
It's yon place theer, just through the leets, yon tatty, red-brick hall."
It were an 'aw', so in we went across a concrete yard,
Through rusty gates stood all forlorn, to t'door what stood ajar.
We parked us car and trailer and carried in aw't'gear.
Then joy o'joys, a van arrived, stacked up wi'crate o'beer.
The 'all itself were owd and tired but looked a bonny seet.
Straw bales stood reawnd on t'floor and t'stage, wi' coloured bulbs in t'leets.
Cowboy posters up on t'walls, "no guns allowed on t'floor",
And "Ony body shooting t'bond 'll get shoved out the door."
A trickle turned into a stream as dancers flooded in.
We recognized a few on 'em fro' places wheer we'd bin.
"I'n't that Charlie What's-his-name fro' deawn at Trafford Bar?"
And the fellers spotted sharpish like, t'big lass wi'out a bra.
They allus dance Virginia Reel when we begins the neet.
Wi' dos-i-dos and gallops deawn and turns to left and reet.
The neet rolls on, the dancers prance in cowboy hat and shirt.
Ah'm sure some fowk 'ave two left feet or p'raps their corns jist hurt.
Charley gets his leg pooed, just like he did last time.
But 'cos he's sich a gradely chap, he really doesna' mind.
And then a nod from t'boss man and we hear t'caller say,
"Last dance before the interval" - so supper's on its way.
Most places we get reet weel fed wi'tater pie all hot.
Once or twice we've e'en geet nowt, because we'em been forgot.
There was one special booking as we'd love to do agin.
Wimbledon Celebration wi'strawberries and champagne.
Back on't floor fer t'second hauve, "Charlie, leave that bottle!
Just fotch yon wench eawt on to t'floor. We'll show thee how to 'grottle'."
We're getting deawn to t'silly stuff, funny walks an' all.
"Flying Scotsman" 'as fowks dashing up and deawn t'big hall.
And so the neet goes swiftly by, seems we've nobbut just geet started,
When t'barman calls "Last orders!". Poor Charlie's brokken 'earted.
All too soon comes midneet when th'r' t' really having fun.
Thas feels as though tha could goo on 'till t'rising up o' to' sun.
Last dance is done, and th'encore too, eawr gear's all stacked away.
Fowks are gooing whom i'groups, "Good Neet!" we yer 'em say.
"Thanks a lot, please come agen" they tell us wi' a smile.
So, though we're aw' powfagged bi now, that meks it aw' worth while.
A selection of verse about
Leyland Morris Dance Men
(written by Colin Nicholson)
"Why do you practise?" a man asked me,
Well, there are reasons enough, as you will see.
Escape from the "box" in the corner - throwing out colours and the Nine o'clock News;
Escape from the dear old mother-in-law - and all her gossiping views!
To find freedom after a Monday at work,
Away from the factory, and the fussing desk clerk.
To work off the ale after a weekend's fun,
To joke of past "gigs", and plan those yet to come.
We practise ..... to get it right - the dancers both young and old;
And the musicians too - remembering tunes without being told!
The rhythm, the step, the sight and the sound;
Reasons for practise - when Monday comes round.
(written in Lancashire dialect by Peter Thornley)
Th'owd Leylan'ers still reminisce
'Beawt t'good times gone n' t'seets thi miss,
Yon Vicar's Fields 'n' Watter Street,
'N' t'seawnd o' clinker's shooon on t'feet.
Th'owd Maypow Donce 'n' t'Morris men,
Yon Mayfield wur a pitchur then.
Thur lung gone neaw 'r' t'good owd days,
Pre-motor works 'n' motorways,
When Leyland' folk wur gradely reet,
Nooan fricant deeath o' crossin' t'street
Fur lurris runnin' o'er thur tooas,
'N' t'smell o' fumes in aw thur cloons.
Mind - aw's nod lost, thur's summat left,
Tho' t'modern heawses are bereft,
O' th' ess-hole neaw, 'n' t'blackened oon,
'N' t'mantelshelf high up aboon.
Th'owd posser behin' t'weshheawse dooer,
Thick coca mattin' spread on t'flooer.
'N' t'knocker-up? 'Is pow's ad rest,
Th'ive gone 'ave to'days wi theawt wur t'best.
Bud as ah said, thur's summat lives,
'N' pleshur to a theawsand gives,
Wur preawd 'n' 'happy, young agen,
At seet o' Leylan' Morris Men
The Angers Visit 1990
(Written by Alf Bannister ex-mayor of South Ribble)
Come on - you Leyland Morris Men!
'Twas time to dance in France again
with flowered hats and tinkling bells,
To weave again those magic spells.
Onto the coach - Fishwick of course! -
Betty talking till we're hoarse!
All thro' the night and pouring wet
To Dover port and quickly get -
A boat to France in early morn:
Excuse us if we have a yawn.
And then at dawn, down Autoroute
It's Vive la France", and cars that toot,
And stopping at the bon Le Marche
Our Throats for tea - so very parched.
And then, at last, Angers we see:
Perhaps, at last, a cup of tea!
Mais non! I'm speaking French -
With good French wine our Thirst we quench,
And friendships once again renew
And kissing cheeks - with quite a few!
They greet us all with quite a fuss
As we and luggage leave the bus.
On Monday - after Sunday's rest
Our dancers passed the premier test,
And what a lovely time they had
Dancing with the Men from Glaz.
In town by name Possonniere,
Where we were greeted by 'le Maire'.
They danced thro' streets of Angers town
With Union Jack - and not a frown -
To meet the Mayor and people too
With good French wine: our favourite brew!
And then so sad - the final night
In Morannes' square beneath floodlight.
Oh how they cheered - our Leyland group!
And so again - with heavy heart -
'Twas time for us from friends to part
And travel home, with lots of wine -
to TEA that favourite drink of mine -
So VIVE la FRANCE et ANGLETERRE,
PLEASE - can we come again when you go there?!!
The Battle of Keston, 1977
A Monologue in Lancashire Dialect by Malcolm Deaking
Did you hear of the Battle of Keston?
It were fierce, or so the tale went;
'Tween two Morris musicians from Leyland,
And a wasp that lived somewhere in Kent.
Leyland Morris had gone to 't Ring Meeting,
Put on by t'Ravensbourne lot,
And had reight enjoyed the day's dancing
Which brings us to t'start of our plot.
It were their turn to dance in th' arena,
That wer set upon Keston Green;
And they looked reight smart, wi' big Smithy at t'front,
As fine a bunch as you've seen.
Well, Deakin and Chadwick wer playing,
And they stepped up t' mikes to begin,
'Cause all t'other musicians wer missing,
And we didn't know which pub they wer in.
Well, Smithy he signalled for th' Ashton,
And Deakin and Chadwick cracked off;
And strains o' t'Rose Tree wer floating through th' air
When Chadwick, he started to cough.
"Hey Deak, there's a wasp on yer keyboard,
And it's crawling towards yer hand;
And ah'll bet, in t'B music, yer gonna get stung,
If yer don't make a valiant stand!"
Well, Deakin wer faced wi' a problem,
'Cause the lads wer out there, on display;
And he knew that he'd either to stop - or get stung,
And he didn't like t'choice either way!
Well, t'wasp wer making' good progress
As it crawled in and out between t'keys;
'Till it perched there, on top of a black note,
Washin it's face wi' its knees.
Well, Deakin went into t'B music -
And up and down t'keys went his hand;
And t'wasp, it danced about better than t' lads,
And th'hairs on Deak's neck didn't half stand!
But at last he could stick it no longer;
He decided that wasp had to go;
'Cause all t'lads wer creatin' havoc
As t'music went fast and then slow.
Well, Deakin, he gave it one hell of a belt,
And knocked it reight off t'middle C;
But it flew two somersaults, and three half turns,
And landed again on top E.
Deakin, he cried "Bl**dy Nora! Oh heck!"
As quickly he glanced to his right
At Chadwick, who stood there, "killin' himself"
At Deakin's unfortunate plight.
But - just in time - the dance finished,
And off round th' arena Deakin went;
A Leyland musician, in full retreat,
From the little striped terror of Kent.
A TRUE STORY!!!