December 2016 A NEWSLETTER No. 147
It’s the time of year again – no, not when we are madly trying to prepare for Christmas, but when we are into the last three weeks of Strictly Come Dancing (it’s Week 10 as I write). It’s not the first time I’ve written about Strictly, but it’s been a while, so indulge me!
In this current season we must have seen the highest standard ever from the dancing celebrities. Each week, as the eliminated couple has said, they have had “the best time” and they don’t want it to end. All the practice studios appear to be in the same building, so that a real camaraderie has grown up between the dancers, and in their tea and lunch breaks (when they’ve had them!) they have got to know each other well, and to like each other. It’s the same with Scottish Country Dancing – we only get to know each other chatting between dances and at the tea or supper breaks, but I’m always struck by what a nice lot of people we seem to be and how much I like my fellow dancers.
Then there are the judges. Len Goodman has the reputation of the avuncular, high-
Which brings us to the tricky topic of Ed Balls. It may be hard to see why the general public keeps voting for him. However, unlike Ann Widdecombe and John Sergeant, he has gone through the sympathy/ ridicule vote stage, and is actually dancing these days, usually in time to the music, though perhaps without the finesse you might want. As Bruno said a few weeks ago: “Most of those steps were recognizably jive steps”. Ed keeps trying, learning and improving, and this is recognized by the voting public. Perhaps he is the one most of us are like, even if we want to be Danny Mac or Oti.
A few weeks ago in the Radio Times someone asked why the music was so often pop-
And then of course, there are those fabulous costumes. It was good to see so many
people dressed up at Tadcaster, whether you choose long, shiny or a sash – as Lynne
says, the men in their kilts are always well-
MRS STUART LINNELL – AFFILIATED!
Thank you all! Years of persistence, innuendos and nagging have finally paid off
and Mrs. S. L. is now in the York repertoire. Thanks especially to Sheila, who has
included it in her Monday programme more than once, and to Michael, who made us practise
it at nearly every Askham Bryan meeting this summer. Judging by what I heard after
last Monday’s largely successful effort, a good number of us now agree with me that
it is a lovely dance, enhanced by its music. Officially the music is Johnnie in Nether
Mains by Neil Gow, and Sheila used this, I think, played by the band Ceol na h-
Much as I try I can’t find anything about the real Mrs Stuart Linnell, if there was one. The alternative, unofficial, name for the dance is ‘Mrs Stuart Linoleum’, a disgracefully disrespectful nickname! I wonder if she was the sort of person one could walk over. Or perhaps Linnell should really be pronounced to rhyme with vinyl – and thus she becomes updated and we don’t tire of her?
It was John Bayly who devised the dance, in 1976, and I don’t have any information on him, either. He is also responsible for about seven other dances, and to my mind the five I’ve been able to examine are pretty ordinary compared with Mrs S.L. One of them reminds me of Postie’s Jig, while another, Milton’s Welcome, rings a faint bell – we may have danced that at some point.
Since I don’t know anything about Mr B. and Mrs L. I can make them up:
John Bayly went to a ceilidh
Mrs Linnell was there as well
She smiled at him sweetly, he nodded discreetly
But he was on fire, doubly inspired
By her glance – hence the dance!
LOOK BACK IN …JEST
The welcome arrival of newcomers to our group has prompted recollection of our own
beginnings some three seasons – and 267 dances (!) – ago. It especially recalled
the acute awareness that SCD can be a rather daunting experience, particularly where
Despite the invariably friendly integration, the reiterated encouragement, the unstinting efforts to ensure fun, and the touching reassurances of progress – all of which have been essential in maintaining our commitment and morale – one word sums up those very early and (literally) hesitant steps: panic.
The fear already started with a glance at the names of the dances on programmes, which provided few clues and seemed typically characterised by a mix of various Misses / Mrs, Lassies, Dukes, Royals, Trips, Ramblers, Rants, sheep counting, a Recumbent Stone, and a trouserless Willie. And Mairi must be the most married woman in history.
The unease was intensified by the new vocabulary, where otherwise ordinary and familiar words assumed perplexing new senses: a corner was no longer part of a table, a room or a street but a person; casting had nothing to do with fishing or knitting; and setting did not refer to jelly.
The confusion was further compounded by an admixture of French, bringing back nightmare struggles with the language. We couldn’t tell our barattes from our bourrels, or our a...allemandes from our e...espagnoles.
Even when we thought we had grasped something of the ‘theory’, the whole world of ‘practice’ developed as a swirling mass where mind and body lost connection –as evidenced specifically by the fact that left and right often became synonymous. (Some of that has not changed !)
Perhaps the best way to convey what those early experiences could feel like is through some sample new ‘reels’ (pun intended):
THE BIRL R 32 Book 3426
IT WIS ME R 32
(As a follow-
HOGMANAY DANCE 2016, DUNNINGTON
As many of you will remember, last year Michael and Susan East retired after 25 years from organising the New Year Dance at Dunnington. The Branch has taken on the running of this event (with some trepidation as it was such a well organised evening). There will be one or two minor changes in the way the evening will be organised but basically “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”! One of the changes will be in the ticket/crib. Susan used to try to organise a balance between sweet and savoury for the Faith Supper so we are experimenting with “sweet” and “savoury” tickets.
The price for the evening is £5 per ticket and, as above, contributions are asked for a Faith Supper. We look forward to seeing you at the Reading Rooms, Dunnington on New Year’s Eve.
The Branch Committee
GOODBYE, BRENDA AND GORDON
If you have attended a branch dance this season, you will have noticed that two very familiar faces have been missing: Brenda George and Gordon Campbell.
Brenda and Gordon have been dancing with the branch for many years and are hugely
experienced dancers. Brenda came along with Mike to look after the Cottingham group
at Arlington Hall when we were teacherless in in the 1980-
Gordon has danced in the UK and beyond, wherever his life took him, starting as a child in the famous city of Dundee. Ah yes, I can tell you already knew that! If Brenda has an encyclopaedic knowledge of dances, Gordon can match it with dance bands, tunes, Scottish history and Burns poems. He was first on the Branch Committee in 1987 and altogether served 9 years. Both Brenda and Gordon have felt they need to give up dancing now as health reasons have meant that they are dancing less and less.
Gordon and Brenda – the Branch will miss you, the Cottingham class will miss you, and I will really miss you both. I hope to keep meeting you in cafes in Cottingham!
BRANCH BURNS AFTERNOON DANCE, 28th JANUARY 2016
As for the last few years, we are holding a Burns Dance followed by a Burns Supper in the Reading Rooms at Dunnington, on the afternoon of Saturday, 28th January, beginning at 2 pm. There will be a short interval.
The dance will be followed by the supper and there will be the usual Address to the Haggis; the whole afternoon should end about 5 pm. The dance, including supper, will cost £5 RSCDS members/£6 non members. The programme, to recorded music, has been devised by Chris Hare.
Y & NH BRANCH DANCE, WILLERBY, 25th FEBRUARY
Our Branch Dance on 25th February – AN AFTERNOON DANCE – will be held in St. Luke’s
Church Hall in Willerby, beginning at 2.00 p.m. This is the first time we are holding
an afternoon tea dance, and there will be scones, both sweet and savoury and cake!
The price is the usual for the “special” branch afternoon dances, i.e. £5 for RSCDS
members and £6 for non-
For full details of our Branch dances see our Events page
For other events use our contacts SCD links page
Copy date for next issue: 11th February 2017