Another music video featuring morris (this time Adlington Morris Men) has appeared this week from a Manchester singer-songwriter styling himself Darkbloom. Its slightly art-house, scratchy quality got me wondering whether a theory I’ve had for a while might be coming true; will morris dancing become hipster?
Now, the last few years has also seen an explosion of traditional pastimes and hobbies becoming mainstream and ‘cool’ again, often fitting into this alternative, hipster sub-culture. Fuelled by programmes like the Great British Bake Off and anything presented by Kirsty Allsop, new branches of the WI have been cropping up around the country, many with big waiting lists, and events ranging from vintage picnics to bikerides and fairs attract huge numbers. Craft beer and expensive beard oils are all the rage.
So, with all this going on, I’ve often wondered whether morris would see an influx of hipster-types looking for the next underground so-uncool-its-cool trend. There are already a lot of similarities; the beards, the beer, the liberal politics, the slightly crafty, make/grow-your-own culture. And, if there’s something we can all agree on, it’s that morris dancing has something of an image problem when it comes to being cool – something a lot of self-avowed hipsters certainly wouldn’t mind and might positively thrive on.
As I said, this is something I have pondered for a while. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with anyone taking up morris, whatever their motivation and even if their tongue was wedged slightly in their cheek. I think most of us realise it’s a bit silly anyway; if you wanted a serious hobby you wouldn’t become a morris dancer. And once someone gets a taste of morris they’re unlikely to leave.
So, all that’s really left to do is work out how to tap into this vast pool of potential recruits. I think I’ll start with a poster in my local Brewdog.