1. Tony Jackson says

    Old joke:

    Villager: “That’s Morris dancing.”

    Perplexed tourist: “er… which one is Maurice?”

  2. says

    Someone dropped dead doing that in the market place here last year. The others thought for a little, then resumed their performance. He would have wanted it, they explained.

  3. Joe says

    Get yourself to Borough Market, just behind London Bridge tube station, about noon on Saturday if you’re still here – all the morris dancers you could ever want and then some.

  4. Richard Harris says

    Now here’s a question for evolution. Did Square Dancing evolve from Morris Dancing, or was it irreducible complexity requiring a designer? Well, the callers act like they think they’re god.

  5. Bob O'H says

    I once got chased around the UEA students’ union by some Morris dancers during Freshers’ week: they wanted me to join (I think it was the beard). The big sticks are a bit worrisome.

    Of course, only southern pansies do Morris dancing. Us Northerners think it’s a waste of good drinking time.


  6. says

    This reminds me of an exchange from the TV series My Hero (quoted here from imperfect memory):

    Janet: You don’t even laugh at my jokes.
    George: I laugh when you do your Morris dancing.
    Janet: Everyone laughs at Morris dancing, George.

  7. Paula Helm Murray says

    I agree with Tristram Brelstaff, once at a demo for our local SCA chapter, one of their sticks exploded while they were dancing (probably had a crack and when they whacked two sticks together the weaker one failed), shooing a piece of wood off into the audience. Fortunately we’d all been a bit leary of the big sticks and didn’t sit close…

  8. Ross says

    At the risk of lowering the tone but out of duty to my US friends I shall report the (in)famous local saying.

    “A man should try everything once. Except *nal sex and Morris dancing”

    Now you’ve seen the video, you know why they’re viewed as equivalent.


  9. says

    In defence of Morris Dancing, in my many years of living in a village in rural england I’ve witnessed Swan Upping, Maypole Dancing, Cheese Rolling, Well(as in water well) Dressing and a Chimney Sweep Festival.

    Oh yeah and don’t forget cricket.

  10. zzz says

    The quote is from Sir Thomas Beecham and it is “A man should try everything once. Except incest and Morris dancing”.

    Hang-ups about anal sex are another issue entirely.

  11. JM says

    British humour:

    It was the great collector of English folk songs Cecil Sharp who accidentally invented Morris Dancing. One fine summer’s day, whilst on his way to a village in the English countryside that he had not previously visited, Cecil drove his Morris Minor motor car onto the village green which served as the villager’s cricket pitch. The male inhabitants of the village were all dressed in their cricket whites, and carrying sticks with which they intended to kill a troublesome mole which had been burrowing under their proudly-maintained greensward.

    The men were furious at this act of vandalism, and surrounded our Cecil, brandishing their sticks, shouting “Go back”, “Whisht with ye” and other such admonishments. Since it was a warm day, most of the men brought out their hankies to mop their perspiring brows, and also to wave at the townie who had driven onto their place of recreation, shouting “Get yoor Morris off of here!”

    Cecil being a literal sort of fellow, having seen many strange customs in his travels, duly noted the details of their performance. And thus Morris Dancing was born.

  12. Ross says


    I’m sure you’re accurate about Thomas Beecham’s quotation (thanks for the info) but I did say “local”.

    Round here incest isn’t quite so singular ……allegedly


  13. Keanus says

    Whatever one can say about Morris dancing, it beats ID hands down. Much more creative, far more graceful, and a hell of a lot more disciplined. Dembski, Luskin, Wells, Nelson, et al, could learn a thing or two from these guys.

  14. G. Tingey says

    “Of course, only southern pansies do Morris dancing. Us Northerners think it’s a waste of good drinking time.


    This is complete codswallop.
    Clog-dancing, as originally performed in Lancashire and Yorkshie an Durham is also a form of Morris.

    I do both.

    Of course, as Terry (P) says, it is usually done outdie Public Houses – followed by a certain amount of alse consumption.

    See also:
    I’m the one at centre-rear, with the long beard, just behind the musician.
    On the right….

  15. Norsecats says

    You know, PZ, there is Morris dancing right here in your very own state of Minnesota. The Twin Cities have at least four active Morris teams, and our own May Day celebration, where over 60 Morris dancers and assorted hangers-on gather at sunrise (6:02 a.m., every year) on a hilltop on the Minneapolis side of the river to greet the spring.

    That Morris side was kinda sloppy; their turns and leaps weren’t in sync.