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Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve, Brown Edge Village Hall



Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone who came to see in the New Year with Moody Food, especially Neil from Jigsmith for coming all the way from Shropshire for a bit of a bop. You all helped us to raise £400 for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

We all had a great time (I especially liked the ceili conga at the end) and even managed to fix the raffle so that Emma won first prize – a first for the band. We were also treated to Victoria dancing a solo Irish reel with Sue playing the Nine Points of Roguery, otherwise known as The Nine Pints of Pedigree which is what we usually have to drink before attempting to play it. Also, thanks to Mike and Warren for taking the photos and to Roo and Indie for guarding the door by being cute.

It looks like this will be our last time at Brown Edge for some time as we will be seeing in the next new year at Betley – see you all there!

Here are Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Sylvia's Simple Longways Set
Drops of Brandy
Dorchester Caper
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Haddenham Square Set
Old Swan Gallop
The Barley Reel
Molloy's Favourite / The Foxhunter / Cooley's Reels
The Dashing White Sergeant
The Siege of Ennis
Jack's Alive
The Weaving Dance
Polka Off
Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
The Gay Gordons
The Chimes of Big Ben
Auld Lang Syne
The Circassian Circle
The Siege of Delhi / The Earls Chair

Fix!




Indie, the Zen guard dog.


Thanks for raising £400 for the DMH.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Old Brown Jug, Newcastle-under-Lyme


Christmas started early at Moody Food Towers when Wendy and the Lost Boys came down for a Christmas Ceili The Old Brown Jug. Look out for more Moody Food gigs at the jug in the new year!

Here's Collin's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Big Maggie's Set
The Snowball
Thady U Ganda
Uncle Albert's
Boston Tea Party
Molloy's Favourite / The Foxhunter / Cooley's Reels
Nova Scotia
Clopton Bridge
Virginia Reel
Old Swan Gallop
Falling Masonry
The Foula Reel
Cumberland Square Eight
Circassian Circle
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Betley Village Hall


Another sell-out show at Betley, this time with added morris dancing! Thanks again to Tom for taking time off from rioting in London to play bass for us whilst James was knob-twiddling for Peter Pan at the New Vic in Newcastle (it's fantastic by the way). Looks like we will be celebrating New Year's Eve 2011 here in Betley, so put it in your diary now.
Clean Round the Bend Morris Side

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Ashes, Angela and Andrew


Congratulations Angela and Andrew from the Moody Food Ceili Band.

An autumn day meant that we arrived in darkness so that the beautiful stone work of the old farm buildings and the lake below were hidden from view, but it's a pity that the dance floor is so out of character with the rest of the buildings. The strings of fairy lights on the trees outside made up for this, reminding me that Christmas is not far away and we had a very enthusiastic and lively set of dancers – nice to see so many young men sufficiently in touch with their feminine side.

Here are Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card.

Angela and Andrew's first dance (Heaven by Bryan Adams)
The Snowball
Circle Hornpipe
Cumberland Square Eight
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
The Flying Scot
Lucky 7
The Oxo Reel
Strip the Willow
Postman's Knock
Circassian Circle
Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers

 The main hall taken from the gallery and bar above the dancing area.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Keele Postgraduate Association, Ghoulies Ball

'When the full moon shines
On the village green
And ancient chimes
Strike thirteen . . .'

It was a bit early, I know, but I celebrated Halloween performing with StringFing at the Ghoulies Ball in the KPA up at Keele University. There were lots of pumpkins, witches and skeletons abroad and Terry and Emily got into the spirit of things by blowing the gig money on face paints from the Pound Shop. Emily changed into a witchy thing whilst Terry resurrected his Heymaker persona. For some reason neither of them thought that I required any modifying to get into character and that a cheap suit and a general demeanour of melancholia was horrific enough. The lack of a camera protects us all from the judgment of posterity.

Spike was AWOL as his son Doug had a play, Life Support, being staged at the Royal Theatre in York and, unaccountably, Spike preferred to be up there with him rather than with us. If York is too far away, you can catch the play at the KPA on Wednesday 10 November.

These days Halloween is not so much a Celtic festival when 'the summer goes to its rest' but a triumph of consumerism as it is has become the third biggest money-spinning festival after Christmas and Easter. For a gigging musician the ritual year can be both a blessing and a curse – bookings on these feast days, like buses, tend to come in threes. Only a musician can truly understand the trauma of refusing a gig, and thus money, because you are already booked.

It was well past the witching hour when I got home but the weird sisters were nowhere to be seen.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Moreton Millennium Centre, Shropshire



We set off westwards into a beautiful autumn sunset which made the whole world look like a  watercolour painting. I love travelling to gigs in the country at this time of the year. You can feel your consciousness shifting as you leave the town behind you; the light darkens and the lanes become narrower and narrower an everything becomes mysterious and exciting as if you are in a Samuel Palmer painting.

This was our second gig with Cate calling and she brought along lots of new dances again, mostly written by Cate herself, except for 'Wits Alive' which was by Hilda Evans. 'Turntable' was fantastic, with a great spinning figure for the couples and there were some new moves I've not heard of before such as the Californian twist, Becket's formation and the pousette which is posh for pushing and pulling your partner about. 

It was a great night but I think a special mention should be made of Chris who organised the dance for STAG and spent most of the night in the kitchen sorting out the food whilst her husband danced the night away. Oh, did I mention – it was also their Wedding Anniversary! He doesn't deserve you Chris ;-)

Here are Cate's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Ceili Cate's Circle Mixer
Cate's No.2
Great Western Four Step
Discouraging Waltz
Turntable
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Yarmouth Long Set
Goatland Square Eight
Stoke Golding
Wits Awake
Circassian Circle

Are you sure this is right?
The curse of the sound meter strikes again.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Meerbrook Village Hall


Happy Birthday Wendy!

I have a little confession to make. I nearly made a terrible faux pas during the evening. After we had set up for the gig I noticed an artfully constructed pyramid of pretty cup cakes by the entrance. How considerate of Wendy and Maria to provide a little snack for their guests as they arrived I thought. Well you know how awkward that period between tea and supper can be, when only something sweet will do. I was about to help myself to one or three when I remembered that treacle sponge and custard was on offer later and so with heroic self control I refrained. I was very glad that I did because during the singing of Happy Birthday I realised that the pyramid was the birthday cake as it was ceremoniously brought into the hall for Wendy to blow out her candles. Sorry about that.

Anyway, moving swiftly on, here's Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Circle Mixer
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Siege at the OK Corral
Great Western
Southern Flavor
Old Swan Gallop
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Circle Waltz
Oxo Reel
Shebag an Shemor / Give me your Hand
Barndance
Strip the Willow
Circassian Circle
Happy Birthday Wendy

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Old Brown Jug, Newcastle-under-Lyme



Eeek! I think I've gone deaf after standing in front of James' wall of sound for three hours (he was on  eleven all night). Still, it make a change to play The Gravel Walks without the worry of being asked to turn down. Thanks to everyone who put on their glad rags and dancing shoes to get jiggy at another night of ceili chaos at the Jug. We even got a few bemused clubbers dancing. Thanks to Soo for taking all the photos.

Here's Collin's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Big Maggie's Set
The Snowball
Thady U Ganda
Up the Sides and Down the Middle
The Gravel Walks / Crowley's Reel
La Russe
Clopton Bridge
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Nova Scotia
Collin's Alcoholic Haze no.1
Collin's Alcoholic Haze no.2
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Falling Masonry
Strip the Willow
Circassian Circle

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Coven Memorial Hall


Congratulations Tim and Tracey on your Silver Wedding Anniversary. What better way to celebrate twenty-five years together than with family and friends? As there were so many 'little ones' in the hall Sylvia decided top and tail the night with the Circassian Circle so that all the children could have a go at a really easy dance early in the night.

Emma brought along her new puppy, Indiana Bones, as the Moody Food mascot. He quickly made friends with everyone and was a very well behaved boy even though he did somehow manage to blag a bit of hog roast (don't expect that every gig, Indie). I on the other hand went straight for the cakes and after an eternity of dithering finally selected a Victoria sponge – bliss. Speaking of cakes, we get to see quite a few at gigs but this one takes some beating. It was too nice to cut other than a single slice for the photos of Tim and Tracy.


Here's a list of Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
The Circassian Circle
The Flying Scot
The Siege of Ennis
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Circle Hornpipe
Oxo Reel
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Sylvia's New Invention Hornpipe
Waterloo Dance
Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
The Willow Tree
The Circassian Circle

Thursday, 2 September 2010

StringFing at Neston Library.














A jolly jaunt with StringFing up to Neston library on the Wirral for a bit culture amongst the books. We usually play in pubs, so it makes a nice change playing for people who are actually listening.

We were supported on the night by the rather wonderful, and frighteningly young, Red Voix – a family band formed especially for a GMTV competition.

According to the poster in the library this was a "toe-tapping fusion of traditional Celtic, English rural, classical, blues and rock and pop to get you going on a late summer evening" – so pretty much all tastes covered there! Anyway, this was the set list for the night:

Champion of the World
Down on Poison Farm
Winsford Town
Ram Yer Spike
Ballad of Francis Adams
Sad Song (Something Wrong)
Priest and the Witch
Exile’s Song
On A New Years Day
That Love of Mine
I Want You
Pity the Poor, Poor Pig
Talking Revolution
Big Pearl

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Congleton Jazz and Blues Festival

Woke up this morning and it was pouring with rain. StringFing back on the street at the Congleton Jazz and Blues Festival. We haven't played on the street since our busking days but we've moved on up in the world and now have a nice green gazebo thing to keep us dry. Thanks to everyone who braved the showers to listen to us. We're going to be inside next year!

Monday, 9 August 2010

NORSACA, Hanley


A short set from StringFing at the North Staffs African Caribbean Association (NORSACA) in Hanley as part of the artists' collective No Left Ear which promotes artistic and cultural projects between the cities of Stoke-on-Trent, Gdansk and Le Havre.

Our rather surprising link with Gdansk goes back to 1995 when an early incarnation of StringFing (then called 'Set The Milkmaids Free') went to Gdansk for a week of gigs. As far as I can recall we were paid in goldwasser (Polish vodka with little bits of gold floating in it), so memories are a little hazy but I do remember playing at The Bohemian Club. To gain access you had to go up some narrow stairs and knock on the door at the top at which point the gate master would peer through a spyhole and if he thought you looked sufficiently 'bohemian' would let you in.

I don't remember playing on Radio Arnet during the 1995 election but the photo below says that we did. In spite of our best efforts Lech Walesa lost the election – probably because of this broadcast.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Rosehill Manor, Claire and Paul


Congratulations Claire and Paul from all in the Moody Food Ceili Band.

We had another guest caller tonight to guide everyone through the dances,  Jeff – an old pal and alumnus from the New Victoria Theatre – who brought with him a few new dances and a couple of different versions of some old favourites. I especially liked Jeff's instruction to 'clap, leap, and whoop with joy' in the Circassian Circle, which is how I think it should be done. There was also a determined effort from the floor to morph the Holmfirth Square Eight into the Hokey Cokey – probably from the same group who were to later give an impromptu and 'enthusiastic' acapella version of 'I Will Survive'.

As there was no stage and the band was so close to the dancing we had the unusual sense of being in amongst the dancers which probably explains why Sue's bow and assorted mic stands feature so heavily in the photos. It also allowed me to overhear one young lad emphatically rationing his mum to a single dance – bless. The girls, of course, needed no excuse to get up and dance the night away.

Here are Jeff's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

The Muffin Man
Caledonian Gallop
Cumberland Gallopede
Jeff's Virginia Reel
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Buffalo Girls
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Holmfirth Square Eight
Buttered Peas
Maggie's Mixer
Molloy's Favourite / The Foxhunter / Cooley's reels
Circassian Circle

The Mohican is back!
Those of you who have been following the fortunes of Tom's Mohican haircut will be gladdened to know that reports of its demise last week have been greatly exaggerated and that it has now been restored to its former glory. We're all waiting for you to dye it shocking pink now.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sandbach, Sophie and Gary


Congratulations Sophie and Gary from all in the Moody Food Ceili Band.

We had a new guest caller tonight – Mo Waddington – who was very sweet and brought along with her some new dances. I had never heard of 'The Road to the Aisle' which had a wedding story to go with it, and it was lovely that Mo chose Rosa,  a beautiful couple dance, for Sophie and Gary's first dance together.  

Highlight of the night was Sophie stepping up to the mike with her tin whistle to rip through a blistering set of reels, The Mason's Apron and Drowsy Maggie,  whilst the band struggled to keep up with her (well, it is bad form to upstage the bride).

Here's a list of Mo's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Rosa
The Road to the Aisle
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Blaydon Races
Gallopede
The Gay Gordons
The Humours of Scarrif / Some Say The Devil is Dead
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
The Barley Reel
Yankee Doodle Dandy
The Mason's Apron / Drowsy Maggie
Circassian Circle

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Grosvenor Centre, Gnosall


Congratulations Storm on 'twenty-five wonderful years'.

Another gig, another guest caller. Tonight it was Jason who was wearing a very snazzy shirt which he bought in Nashville, which seems a very long way to go for a shirt. Anyway, we like Jason calling as we get to do the Salutation Square Dance which we think really ought to be danced to the Benny Hill theme tune Yakety Sax – we'll get around to learning it one day.

In fact there's more than a little of Benny Hill in Jason's style of calling. This is how he checks that the top and bottom couples know which is which – 'Hands up tops' followed inevitably by 'Hands up bottoms' – no sniggering at back please.

In spite of that it was another top night with lots of banter from the dancers, loads of posh nosh for the band and a hog roast which seems to be present at nearly every gig we do these days. There was also a very sweet moment whilst we eating together in an empty side room before the gig; a little boy came in looking worried and asked us in a very concerned way if we were feeling lonely eating on our own. We assured him that we were all OK, but it was nice of him to ask.

Here's a list of Jason's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Behind the Haystack / Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife
Jason's Big Set
Flying Scot
Salutation Square Dance
Barley Reel
Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
Cumberland Square Eight
Stoke Golding Country Dance
Old Swan Gallop
Circassian Circle

On a sadder note, Gnosall is where our friend, the guitarist and singer, John Clifton came from; he wrote a lot of fine songs and we all miss him very much.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Quixhill Lodge Farm



There are barns and then there are really BIG barns. In fact everything about the night was big from the barn to the tractor and trailer that acted as our stage. Besides the dancing we had a hog roast and a charity auction and raffle with the money raised going to the 'Reaching Out to Children in Staffordshire' appeal. This will be used to build a centre in Stafford to help vulnerable young people at risk of cruelty. The building will be an environmentally-friendly, purpose built centre that will offer all of the NSPCC's specialist services under one roof and will be accessible to every young person across Staffordshire.

Here are Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Oxo Reel
Goatland Square Eight
Clopton Bridge
Postman's Knock
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Old Swan Gallop
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Polka Off
Circassian Circle

Here's a bit of LoFi video of the Goatland Square Eight,
video
and a big yellow tractor for Finn.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Marthall Village Hall



Happy Birthday Sarah and well done Martin for arranging such a fun evening. The food was great and everyone danced even though it was a very hot evening. By the time we arrived the kids seemed to be experiencing a sugar rush – they were obviously having a good time and the huge dancing ballon man was very popular. Tonight was also the first outing with the Moody Food Ceili Band of Tom's Mohican – keep up the good work Tom, you're only young once.

Here's a list of Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food dance card.

Behind the Haystack / Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife
Glasgow Gallop
The Snowball
Happy Birthday Sarah
Circle Hornpipe
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Goatland Square Eight
Postman's Knock
Polka Off
Midnight on the Water / Valse Vienna
Old Swan Gallop
Cock o' the North


video

Monday, 28 June 2010

Tittensor, Anthea and Mike



Congratulations Anthea and Mike. What a wonderful way to celebrate your wedding – set up a marquee in a hayfield on a beautiful summer's evening and dance the night away – your very own Glastonbury. When we arrived Anthea mentioned that she might be the only one dancing, but she needn't have worried as we had a good crowd for every dance even though one chap insisted on clinging onto his beer throughout them all. As the light thickened and the shadows lengthend the 'polka dot sisters' and their friends shouted for more at every break whilst their mums and dads chilled out on the grass outside. Children just love to dance. We left happy and content under a yellow moon and with the sweet smell of newly cut hay lingering in the night air.

Here's a list of Steve's dances for those of you who kept your dance cards and would like to fill them in as a keepsake.

Behind the Haystack / Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife
Lovers' Knot
Cumberland Long Eight
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Lucky 7
Circle Waltz
Ashokan Farewell
Happy Birthday
Square Set
Southern Flavor
Drops of Brandy
Shebag an Shemor / Give me your Hand
Barndance
Circassian Circle
Cock o' the North

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Wolstanton, Barbara and Steve



Happy Birthday Barbara and Steve. Was it really 10 years ago that we all met here to celebrate your 50th birthday? How time flies.

This time around we came to help you 'strut your stuff at 60', Victoria sang about her big knickers and we all sang along to Delilah and Leaning on a Lamp Post to the gentle strum of a ukulele. In between dances we ate Hazel's amazing choclate cakes whilst the young at heart blew bubbles. Thanks to everyone for making it such a great night, and well done the little girl with a butterfly in her hair for dancing so enthusiastically all night long. Thanks also to Mike for taking the photos and a special thanks to Richard for depping for 'super drums' aka Emma.

Here's Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Southern Flavor
The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Oxo Reel
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Circle Mixer
Clopton Bridge
Waltz Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Siege of Ennis
Happy Birthday
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Dave Hunt's Gallop Dance
Sicilian Circle Hornpipe
The Willow Tree
Waltz Shebag an Shemor / Give Me Your Hand
Keswick Square Eight
Circassian Circle

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Etruria Canal Festival


Two days for StringFing in a marquee at the Etruria Canal Festival along with fellow musicians Andy Casserley and Michelle Martin. I love playing in marquees in summer – it's a bit like camping, what with the smell of grass and canvas, but without all the fuss of putting up a tent. A heavy shower on the Sunday afternoon ensured that we got a good audience for the last set as the entire festival sought shelter.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Caverswall Castle, Sarah and Geoff



Congratulations to Sarah and Geoff on your wedding.

After Sarah and Geoff danced their first dance to 'Gin Soaked Boy' by The Divine Comedy we had a short and sweet set of ceili dances. It was fierce hot inside and we were not allowed to open the windows – well you know how loud and raucous these ceili bands can be. Thanks to Martin D'Arcy for depping on fiddle for Sue – it was the first time Milly had played a gig without Sue in twenty-five years.

Here's Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Oxo Reel
Goatland Square Eight
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Circle Mixer (Blaydon Races)
Waterloo Dance
Old Swan Gallop

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Old Brown Jug, Newcastle-under-Lyme





Thanks to everyone who came along and made our first gig at the Jug such a great night. See you all again in September.

Here's a list of Collin's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Big Maggie's Set
The Snowball
The Gravel Walks / Crowley's Reels
Strip The Willow
Thady U Ganda
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Doxie Marches
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Nova Scotia
Cumberland Square Eight
Molloy's Favourite / The Foxhunter's / Cooley's Reel
Circassian Circle
Cock o' the North /100 Pipers

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Great Bridgeford Village Hall


Happy birthday Sam – we hope your party wasn't too much of a surprise.

It's always fun to play with a new caller and tonight we had Cate Bannister who brought along lots of new dances and fancy moves like 'threading the needle' and the 'star lady's chain' (same old tunes though). My favourite was Billy's Hornpipe with its 'reel of four' but we also had a fantastic and spotaneous reworking of Circassian Circle with a little girl at the centre of the circle and the women rushing in to tickle her and the men roaring like monsters. She probably had nightmares that night. Other than that all I can remeber is a lot of balloons and a mysteriously floating coke can. Bishy Barnabee is a southern name for a ladybird by the way.

Here are Cate's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Falling Masonry
Holmfirth Square Eight
The Snowball
Wooly Jumper
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Billy's Hornpipe
Drops of Brandy
Happy Birthday
Bishy Barnabee
Square Dance
Boston Tea Party
Wring Out The Dishrag
Circassian Circle

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Brown Edge Village Hall, June and John



Congratulations to June and John on your belated wedding party.

With a hall full of ceili virgins, some tottering around on vertigo inducing heels (swiftly abandoned), ceili chaos ruled the dance floor, but there was to be no supper until everyone had got up and danced. John confessed that although he'd been to many a barn dance he had never actually participated before – we hope it won't also be the last time! So, well done everybody for giving it a go and well done little Lewis for managing to dance The Snowball with his Dad.

Here's Sylvia's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card:

The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
Glasgow Gallop
The Snowball
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Goatland Square Eight
Old Swan Gallop
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Clopton Bridge
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Waltz Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
Simple Longways Set (Nova Scotia)
Molloy's Favourite / The Foxhunter / Cooley's Reel
Circassian Circle

Lewis relaxes with a pint after mastering The Snowball.
 Yes!
 No!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Carden Park



Another first for the Moody Food Ceili Band, this time to Carden Park in Cheshire for a Vertu Car Dealer Conference – the scrappage scheme obviously worked. We had a long wait from setting up to the first dance but the staff looked looked after us well with food and drink – pasta for the veggies and cottage pie for everyone else. The dance hall had a eerie indigo hue but it didn't stop everyone having a bit of a bop.

Collin finally came clean about the origins of the dance Nova Scotia which he had always claimed to have written whilst flying over Canada but, as Sue noticed last week, it is in fact the same as Sylvia's traditional simple longways set. Never believe anything Collin says.

And for those of you who did, here are Collin's dances for your Moody Food Dance Card.

The Cock o' the North / 100 pipers
The Snowball
Doxie Marches
Thady U Ganda
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Nova Scotia
Clopton Bridge
The Gay Gordons
Waltz Shebag an Shemor / Give Me Your Hand
Cumberland Square Eight
Circassian Circle

A beautiful bright moon shrouded in clouds to guide us home.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Ashes, Rosie and Robbie



Congratulations to Rosie and Robbie on their wedding at The Ashes.

We like playing here – the stone buildings of the old farm set on the side of the hill above the lake make for a very tranquil setting. The evening had a very Scottish flavour with kilts and bagpipes and as usual it was the little ones who kept dancing the whole night through whilst the adults were dropping like flies – where do they find the energy?

After Rosie and Robbie's first dance to Sharon Corr's It's Not a Dream, the company danced the night away to the Moody Food Ceili Band. Here's Sylvia's dances for your Dance Card:

Rosie and Robbie's first dance
Glasgow Gallop
Goatland Square Eight
Clopton Bridge
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Flying Scot
Waltz Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
Barndance
Simple Longways Set
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
The Snowball
The Humours of Scariff / Some Say the Devil is Dead
Strip the Willow
Waltz Shebag an Shemor / Give me your Hand
The Gay Gordons
Circassian Circle

Here's a couple of photos of the inside of the barn taken by Mike. You can see some more fine pictures of Rosie and Robbie at JMK photography.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Genetix Gymnasium, Leek



Happy Birthday Chris! Remember, it's been scientifically proved that the more birthdays you have the longer you live.

As we set off from Stoke we could see in the distance a hot air balloon floating over Leek – good to know that there's at least one form of air transport not affected by volcanic dust. We often see see balloons on the  way to a gig and for us the first sighting of the year is like hearing the first cuckoo of spring –  summer is surely on its way.

Around ninety people came to celebrate Chris's fiftieth birthday and just about everybody seemed to be sporting the very popular Daisy Duke look to dance to Collin and the Moody Food Ceili Band.

During the interval we were fed with a hog roast, admired the golfing birthday cake with the legend 'Don't Ask' – so we didn't, and were entertained by a David Brent style dance routine from Chris's work colleagues.

Sorry the photos all went a bit Pete Tong – we'll get around to reading the manual one day – but in case you can't see through the digital haze, this is what you danced.

The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
The Snowball
Doxie Marches
Thady U Ganda
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Nova Scotia
Boston Tea Party
Old Swan Gallop
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Foula Reel
Cumberland Square Eight
Circassian Circle

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Caverswall Castle, Laura and Leo



Congratulations to Laura and Leo on their wedding at Caverswall Castle. What wonderful friends you have to come all the way from America to share the day with you. This was our first time at Caverswall and whilst the room was a little smaller than we are used to  it suited the assembly and there was no difficulty in filling the dance floor throughout the night.

During the interval we roamed around the castle and admired the fireplace with its tiles, the wooden  panelling and wacky tapestries, potted the black on the full-size snooker table and rummaged through the books in the library.

Outside in the garden, amidst the chains of fairy lights, we watched as Chinese lanterns were released  to bring good luck to one and all. They looked very pretty, rising slowly into the night sky until the wind caught them and they drifted ever higher out of sight (even though one did get caught in a tree – everyone denied responsibility for that one).

Back inside the dancing continued even wilder than before with one of the dancers cavorting with a helmet 'borrowed' from one of the household suits of armour  to protect his head from the lights on the low ceiling. Unfortunately this image, a ceili first, has been lost to posterity as Mike, who took these pictures,  was at the time making up the numbers dancing. Has anyone got a picture of this?

Later we overheard another one of the guests say that  she had always wanted  to go to a dance from a Jane Austen novel. I don't think Jane ever danced whilst wearing a metal bonnet but the elegant room, the posh frocks (daps excepted), the screams of laughter and the wild romping through the figures did remind me of a scene from Kilvert's Diary. You can read it here.

Anyway, I'm sure Jane  always had a full dance card so here's a list of Sylvia's dances for you to fill in your own:

The Cock o' the North / 100 Pipers
The Snowball
Goatland Square Eight
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Clopton Bridge
Old Swan Gallop
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Circle Mixer
Strip the Willow
Midnight on the Water / Waltz Vienna
Waterloo Dance
Shebag and Shemor / Give me your Hand
Polka Off

And finally, can anyone explain  Sylvia's cryptic comment made after after the spontaneous display of dancing during Ragtime Annie: `What a wonderful display of conkers'. I have no idea. Whilst you're all pondering that here are some pictures inside the castle.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Perkins Engines Sports and Social Club, Stafford



Happy Birthday Marie and Sean. What a great way to celebrate your fortieth birthday – find a mate with a birthday close to yours and have a joint party. Well done all the little ones for dancing all night long, where do they get their energy from? And a special mention of little Erin who entertained the band with her bubbles and happy nature. Keep playing the fiddle Erin.

Here's a list of Sylvia's dances for your Dance Card.

Cock O' The North / 100 Pipers
Glasgow Gallop
Goatland Square Eight
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
The Snowball
The Gravel Walks / Crowley's Reel
Old Swan Gallop
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Postman's Knock
Circle Waltz
The Humours of Scarrif / Some Say The Devil is Dead
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Siege of Ennis 
Shebag an Shemor / Give Me Your Hand
Polka Off 
Oxo Reel
Circassian Circle

Erin's first fiddle lesson.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Keele Postgraduate Association, St Patrick's Night

StringFing plus a leprechaun – it can only be St Patrick's Night at the KPA up at Keele University. Back in my day it was called the KRA when much of the 'research' took place in the bar, so it's very reassuring to see that in spite of a name change a fine tradition continues.The leprechaun, by the way, is some local critic Spike brought in to review our performance and ensure the correct ratio of trad / WT Fox songs on St Pat's.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Longsdon Memorial Hall


Dr Jimmy's retirement party.

Here's a list of Sylvia's dances for your Dance Card.

The Snowball
Goatland Square Eight
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Simple Longways Set
Circle Hornpipe
Old Swan Gallop
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
Circle Waltz
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Shebag an Shemor / Give Me Your Hand
The Humours of Scarrif / Some Say The Devil is Dead
Polka Off 
The Willow Tree
Circassian Circle

Psychogeographical Trivia.

I love these old fashioned village hall stages with their rickety steps and vertigo inducing height. They provide a panoramic view of the ceili chaos below. Longsdon competes in height with Endon Village Hall and so merits a stage diving rating of Awesome.

For reasons I'm not entirely clear about Longsdon proudly displays a framed photograph of former Bond girl, star of the Wicker Man, and occasional Fairy Godmother, Britt Ekland. What a trouper. I suppose we can all gain comfort from the the thought that no matter how far you climb up the slippery pole of success we all end up in Panto.








Saturday, 27 February 2010

Eccleshall Village Hall

 
Happy birthday Peter and Josephine. No photos this gig due to a catastrophic camera failure (left the battery at home). However Emma did take a few on her iPhone – whatever that is – which might make an appearance one day. In the meantime here's a picture of Lou Bega's Dance Card so that you can fill in your own.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ashbourne, Empire Ballroom



Another great night up at Ashbourne – I love it when everyone dresses up – and James won the raffle!

The programme for the night.


Behind the Haystack / Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife
Cutting Bracken / The Connaughtman's Rambles / My Love in the Morning 
Ashbourne and District Pipe Band
A Highland Welcome
The Gay Gordons
Ashbourne Scottish Dance Club
The Dashing White Sergeant
Ashbourne and District Pipe Band
Address to the Haggis (Warwick Adams)
Supper accompanied by Jonathan Whilock on Uileann and Small Pipes
Drum Salute
Ashbourne Fling
Highland Dancing (Alex Lowe)
Robert Burns' poetry (Warwick Adams)
The Dashing White Sergeant
Pipe Major James Dungavel
Prize Draw
Cumberland Reel
Strip the Willow
Auld Lang Syne
Awa Hame

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Haughton


Are we having fun yet? It was great to be back at Haughton for our annual January gig – enthusiastic dancing, a double birthday celebration, top food, and it snowed as well! Thanks, as usual, to  Mike for taking the photos. See you all again next year.

Here's a list of Sylvia's dances for your dance card.

Beccles Slide
Orcadian Strip the Willow
Discouraging Waltz / Ragtime Annie
Happy Birthday Boys
Sicilian Circle Hornpipe
The Gay Gordons
The Siege of Delhi / The Earl's Chair
The Siege of Ennis
Circle Waltz
The Humours of Scarrif / Some Say The Devil is Dead
The Dashing White Sergeant
Shebag an Shemor / Give Me Your Hand
Swedish Masquerade
Circle Mixer
Circassian Circle