HiStory by Nick Booth 22/8/2016
Many moons ago (December 2009 by my arithmatic) my wife, Diane, saw an advert for a New Year’s eve ceilidh. We decided to have a change from our routine of quizes and Jules’ Hootenany and went along. We had a great time at Max’s ceilidh and followed this up by starting to attend Reely Grim folk dance club which we also really enjoyed.
At several meetings of Reely Grim I was approached by a cunningly disguised morris man, in the form of Dave Laister, who repeatedly intimated that I had the makings of a fine morris man and mumbled something about “young blood” (Ha!). I said I’d think about it. Early in January 2011 we went along to the Skidbrooke Wassail and had a great time. Alcohol was clearly consumed as I was finally persuaded to give the Morris a go and wandered along to my first practice later that month.
At first I found the dances challenging and was flumoxed by the change from Boarder to Cotswold but, despite the pain and humiliation, I was enjoying myself. With the help of every member of the side I slowly improved joining in Green Garters in civies a couple of times in 2012. Finally, in December 2012, I had my first public dance-out in that year’s Boxing Day tour, complete with an L plate on the back of my rag coat, placed there by my wife, Diane. By coincidence Ian Riley and I turned up for our first practice together and danced our first public dance together, Market Rasen Stick Dance. I made quite a few mistakes but from that time my dancing has gradually improved
Since that time I have become more and more involved in the activities of the side. In 2013 I took over the management of the side’s website, updating the content and giving it a more modern look. In the same year Diane took over the running of Lincoln BIG Morris, stepping in to prevent the demise of a festival that we had both enjoyed under Liam Robinson’s command, and I helped out by contacting sides and producing dance rotas. This was a great learning experience and helped to build my knowledge of the morris scene.
In 2014 our long standing bagman, Steve Massen decided not to continue in the post. He kindly nominated me to take on the role and I was elected at the AGM that year, fighting off the many other contenders keen to take up the role.
Around the Christmas period GMM rehearse and perform a Lincolnshire Plough Play. My first part was in the 2013/2014 season as Indian King and I have sinced played the Doctor in pubs around Lincolnshire and at the side’s Waes-hals.
In 2016 some of the side travelled to Seelze near Hannover to visit the side's long standing friends in the Spiel und Tanzkreitz german folk dance group there. Spiel und Tanzkreitz Seelze had visited us in 2013 and it was our turn to travel to them. We did some dancing, notably in Hameln, and were well fed and entertained by our hosts. We had a great time and I for one will do my best to maintain this friendship in future years.
Now we are approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the side and we are making plans for all sorts of celebrations. I feel genuinely honoured to be a part of a side with such a long history and high standards in dancing.
All in all I can only say that joining GMM is one of the best things I have ever done. I love the dancing, the plough plays, the singing and music and I also love the banter and cameraderie. My only regret is not joining sooner than I did.