Nik Butler: A Day of Dance in Morris, Media and Politics

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

This weekend will see dancing in the streets; and this is not because what has felt like an endless journey towards the election will finally be over.

Instead Horsham will again be the centre of attention for the annual gathering of Morris sides who arrive from around the county descending upon Horsham to bring the Day of Dance to our town.

In place of spectacular parades of wealth, and fuel consuming admiration, there will be examples of heritage, crafting skills, and art, exemplified in voluntary display of enthusiasm whose barrier to entry is the willingness to twirl a hanky not a credit rating.

When the Broadwood Morris day of dance arrives will Horsham routine be once again set aside for every hop and skip? It appears not. Will there be brochures printed and sponsors and promoted? I doubt it.

Here we have an event linked to Horshams history, built on Memories of Morris, and speaking to a very British culture. One would think we could muster the same promotional enthusiasm as we do for food or cars? With over a hundred years of history linked to the name of Broadwood whose contributions to English folk music some had felt went unrecognised; the Broadwood Morris men are continuing to acknowledge a cultural relevance between Horsham and its contributions to our countries past.

In considering the spectacle of the sides, their styles, their sounds, their rhythm and their routines it is hard not to draw comparison to the manoeuvring of our own political parties. Their own history founded in events and ideology and practiced regularly in membership meetings set aside from community until they are brought out to be displayed upon special occasions. Indeed the rosettes and banners are worn with pride as banners and flyers and campaigners moved between the crowds in a their own political dance; seeking partners in the next round of promises, marching to a media beat, and stepping on some public feet.

As we enter the weekend there may be much change in our media and political landscape both nationally and locally. We enter the unknown territory of tomorrow and we cope with these changes by bringing our experiences, our histories, and our communities with us. This may just be the moment we need to enjoy the noise, and the dancing, and the rhythm, and ceremony, in both a day of dance and a new government forming.