Celebrating English Eccentricity 

Melody had been looking forward to attending the Euro Trash spectacle of the year in Ukraine for months now and Marsh had been plucking up the courage to tell her he didn’t want to go, not because he didn’t appreciate Euro pop songs ( he does have several Venga Boys albums in his vast collection Rocksey told me )  he was scared to death of  Russians ( particularly after an incident in Dubai with a Russian Prostitute called Olga which ended up with Marsh parting with a serious amount of cash for a ‘night to remember’ but as he drank so many zambuca shots he woke  up with a headache that lasted for 2 weeks and a nasty little rash which even a hefty course of Anti-biotics couldn’t shift). Although Melody told him ( patiently at first and then with less diplomacy) that the Ukraine was not now part of Russia and that no one was going to poison him with an umbrella tip or throw him from the top floor of a multi-storey car park –  he point blankly refused to go . Melody thus stormed off with her best Euro gay friend in tow threatening Divorce at every step on to the private plane ( laid on by the book publishers who were also celebrating Melody’s latest ‘who dunnit’ shifting over a million copies –  funnily enough the main plot of the thriller was based on a Russian Protitute living in Dubai…..there’s nothing as strange as fiction mirroring real life I mused whilst watching Marsh scratch absent-mindedly whilst discussing his change of plans with Rocksey).

Rocksey and I had been invited to a different event on Saturday, no less glamorous than Eurovision, it was the 12th National Dance event held in our City which was a celebration of English Eccentricity – or a union of Morris Men and Women descending on the City and dancing their little bells, clogs and sticks off to the amusement of locals and tourists alike. Since the finding of King Richard III in a car park in the town and his subsequent internment at the cathedral, the City has become a tourist attraction second to only London and Oxford on the Japanese tourist circuit. As Rocksey is ( still) a bit of a celebrity figure in the Far East he can be found strutting his peacock suit around the City walls smiling , pouting or growling for a million selfies with grinning Japanese tourists and appearing on as many Instagram feeds.

However, today was different as Rocksey was going to be a Judge of the dancing and leaving the actualities of the dancing to those who actually know what they are doing. –  a stick the size and weight of a baseball bat and some intricate steps needs practice in order not to bash your partners head in with it after a ballet style twirl! Rocksey was collecting material for his forthcoming video – a cover of Grand Funk Central’s ‘American Band’ and wanted some fresh ideas for incorporation into the video.  As we headed off to watch the merriment, me pulling Rocksey towards a group of Border Morris dancers who looked intriguing with their pheasant strewn hats and purple and black attire, I caught sight of SP and Suzy amongst the crowd.  SP looked suspiciously like he was wearing a white Morris dancers costume ( although it could have just been a white cat suit – he had suddenly got heavily into wearing 1970’s style clothes and it was Eurovision day after all perhaps it was his homage to Abba? ).

The afternoon progressed, Rocksey soon tired of moving around the different areas where the dancers were dotted around the centre of town and settled himself on a bench by the Cathedral where each group of dancers eventually ended up before the final ‘Dance Off’ in the Jubilee Square. My enthusiasm held no bounds though and armed with my camera I left Rocksey to it and moved around the town snapping pic and after pic of the most bizarre people I could find-  however in in mind,  I had decided to be the main Sleuth in Melody’s latest Thriller and was actually trying to track down the suspisiously dressed SP.

At 4pm the dancers congregated in the main square ready for the judging and the final Dance off. Before the winners were announced, we were given an impromptu dance of men bizarrely dressed as animals, dragons and other mythical creatures whose costumes glittered in the afternoon sunshine. Again, out of the corner of my eye I spotted the white cat suit now ensconced underneath a black cloak with a glittering gold lining. A tap on my shoulder and Suky was by my side. What’s going on? She asked lookingwide eyed in amazement at the dragons breathing fire at several pantomime horses. As I told her, her eyes got wider and a look of horror crossed her face. Rocksey is doing the judging shhhh I said nodding over in his direction where Rocksey was sat on a small throne with the City Mayor and the Master of ceremonies flanking his sides.

Oh no , oh no I heard her whisper to herself and looking frantically around- What? I stage whispered back and then following her gaze found myself watching SP taking his place  in the centre of 7 Morris men all dressed in white with bells around their knees and hankies held aloft ready to start their dance. SP was not dressed as a homage to Abba as I first thought, but with a black wig on and rhinestone sunglasses  he was actually dressed as Elvis. What does he think he’s doing? I nudged Suky and then glanced over to Rocksey -oblivious to the debacle unfolding in front of him , he was chatting amicably to the chaps in purple and black who I had chased around after earlier.  He thought it was Rocksey directing his video –  for American Band – Rocksey told him he wanted some Elvis impersonators in it, Suky stuttered as the accordian started up  – SP saw lots of men in white costumes and thought that Rocksey had hired in an Elvis impersonation contingent……….As SP shrugged off his black and gold cloak revealing the biggest ruby studded leather belt around his hips which he was about to start swaying , I automatically pressed the record button on my camera catching him starting off his first hip shake before suddenly realising that his fellow dancers were not going to join in a line dance of Jailhouse Rock but a full bodied Floral Dance with hankies a fluttering, SP howled and dashed off into the melange of dragons and mythical creatures who had set up a stand on the other side of the Square selling mystical paraphernalia. I don’t think anyone has noticed – I hiss at Suky, Rocksey certainly hadn’t, although he was now sitting on the throne withe most enormous hat of pheasant feathers and skulls adorninghis head smiling and waving his hands in regal formation.

After the final of the dance off and the winners revealed, Rocksey saunters over sans said hat ( which had been reclaimed by its rightful owner), I have my ideas all wrapped up fro my video – he grins excitedly, the Morris men have agreed to dance for it but I still need an Elvis  –  not sure where I am going to get one from though or how it’ll work. Don’t worry babe, I say pointing at my Nikon bag – its in the bag…….

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