LETTERS / Morris dancers demand the ancient right to make merry

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your recent article (12 December) on the views of Mr "Binky" Braithwaite and the Campaign to Abolish Morris Dancing Absolutely produced a torrent of unprintable foldedollery among my bell-jangling companions. The women were especially enraged , as even the abolitionists fail to acknowledge that they too have been executing annoying, rowdy dances in public places.

We who dance for Jack-in-the-Green have always been encouraged by such attitudes, ever since dancing in animal skins was outlawed by the Pope around 600AD. Across Europe, nine million of ours sisters were wiped out in the "burning times" for such heathenpractices as natural medicine and circle dancing. During the late troubles the Puritans hacked down many a fine "stinckying idoll or May Poll". But mere mortals will never kill the spirit of the dance.

Mr Braithwaite may rejoice that the perfidious 1994 Criminal Justice Act outlaws morris dancing, as it involves at least seven people gathering to make music. Now he and his cronies in power are doubtless plotting to revive the Black Act of 1723, bringing back hanging for persons wearing face paint! Yours in wyldeness, MARC VYVYAN-JONES Rag Morris Bristol Crafts Centre Bristol 13 December