The big news in the village is that we have decided to resurrect the local morris side. DH and I went to the very first meeting of interested parties last night and discovered that of the 20 people who said they were coming, 14 had begged off because it was Burns Night.
However, six is enough to start with. One of the people there used to dance with the old side, so was able to give us some information on what their kit used to be like. Black skirts and tops, green and yellow ribbons? Sounds boring, and four of us were men of a certain age, who felt a little odd about the idea of dancing in skirts.
There were vital questions to be answered. Were we going to be a Border or Cotswold morris, or Molly, or even longsword side? With the village fete coming up in June, we wanted something fairly simple we could learn quickly – which ruled out Cotswold. Some of us didn’t feel right with the idea of dancing Molly dances at any other time of the year but the traditional plough Monday events – which ruled out Molly. Some of us felt that longsword was really boring to watch. And two of us already danced Border, so could teach everyone some of the dances we knew.
Hence the new side will be a Border side. That made choosing the kit a bit easier. Traditional Border kit involves black trousers and boots (which already echoes the black of the old kit, so bonus!) and a big jacket with strips of cloth sewn on it to make it look ragged. It also usually involves blackened faces and some kind of flamboyant hat.
We thought the big jackets would be far too warm for the summer, so we’d go for tattered waistcoats in the green and gold of the past side’s colours. We were so-so about hats. Hats remain to be decided upon. We were all unhappy about the face paint, but we were also all a bit unhappy about being completely untraditional and having bare faces. So I said “well, how about masks?” and everyone loved that idea so much they even named the side after it.
So, if you see a new side around in black trews, black shirts, green and yellow ragged waistcoats and elaborate masks, I invite you to give a wave to Sutton Masque. And also maybe to think about joining because we desperately need musicians
I will post a picture of the new kit once it has been made, but if you happen to see an amazing (relatively cheap) mask on your internet travels, I would really appreciate a link!