Oxford Sunday, practice Tuesday: mind the lights!

curfew-lightsWe’re going on our yearly trip to Oxford to join the redoubtable Mabel Gubbins on their annual day of dance, and we could scarcely be more excited. It all kicks off in the Royal Blenheim at noon, and after several hours of pub-related shenanigans we’ll all meet up again for a rappertastic display of epic proportions in the King’s Arms at 4pm. Wow.

In other news, after last week’s triumphant return to practising in the glorious Curfew, we will be back again this Tuesday.

The upstairs floor is even better than we remembered following the recent refurbishment, although we were worried as we left a few scuff marks on its otherwise pristine surface. But no worries, the delightful new owners forgave us.

However, there was one moment of concern for us when we saw the lovely lights hanging above the dance space. Now, we do have something of a reputation in this area so a load of lightshades made from crystal decanters was a bit of a worry.

Never fear. We broke nothing. But that might not be the case this Sunday as some of those Oxford pubs have very low lights indeed…

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Practice is back in The Curfew!

Emily and Dan

Emily and Dan

After many months of living on the streets, Northgate are finally returning to The Curfew!

The pub, now owned by the enthusiastic and capable Emily and Dan, has been refurbished throughout in a manner which has preserved the most important aspects of the past (ie the wooden floor).

We visited with Thrales on our Anniversary Weekend, and Emily was so impressed that she immediately asked us to come back. Further negotiations (well done, Jack the Bag) led to our being invited back to use it as a practice venue once more.

So we’re home! Come and join the celebrations on Tuesday night from 19:30 onwards. And be sure to ask Dan to let him try his nuts.

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Practice venue becomes building site: read all about it!

Jack cleans up

Jack cleans up

Well, last week’s practice was notable for two reasons.

The first was that we had a surprise visitor, who was staying with Nat and Joe. Actually, I think she may have been more surprised than we were.

The second was that the basement bar at the Assembly Inn, where we practise, had been converted into a bijou building site, with tools, bits of wood and rusty nails all over the place. Pictured is Bagman Jack, who is manfully sweeping the floor while Squire Martin helps by taking photos.

It all underlines our need to move venue, as this sort of thing can really cramp your style. Martin and Jack will have a little word with the new owners of The Curfew. Wish them luck.

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25th Anniversary done; AGM this Tuesday.

Northgate and friends

Northgate and friends

And so here we are with our friends at the beginning of our 25th Anniversary weekend. We had a great time, and invaded many, many pubs throughout the day, with much beer and gin being consumed. Thanks to all that came!

We’re taking this week off for our AGM, and we’ll be back next week. Laters.

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Anniversary countdown: it’s tomorrow!

Modern times

It’s tomorrow. TOMORROW! All the waiting will soon and the big day will finally be here!

Ahem. Well, we’re glad to have got that out of our system. Suffice it to say that we’re quite looking forward to the arrival of our chums from Silver Flame, Dorset Buttons, Thrales, Mabel Gubbins and Tower Ravens, who are all no doubt as keen as mustard to show genteel, Georgian Bath what they can do with a few bits of sharp bendy metal and some hard-soled shoes.

Now, there are a lot of pubs to dance in tomorrow, so we did some Research. We found out about something called carbo-loading and have decided to give it a try. The current team plus as many old members as we could track down are meeting up for an evening of carbs in both liquid and solid form, courtesy of The Raven, The Star and The Eastern Eye. Surely nothing could put us in a better physical state for tomorrow’s fun!

And speaking of tomorrow, is Bath ready for us?stickman-small

Well yes, of course it is. The lads of Northgate used last Friday as a kind of warm-up and danced in the majority of the pubs to check if they were still up to snuff(*).

(*) This is a lie. We wanted to go on a crawl and this was the excuse.

Today’s Photos

Today we show a couple of photos with the current team getting up to mischief in a selection of Bath pubs. Where did they learn such bad behaviour? The answer may be the two gentlemen in the foreground of this photo:


Today’s Soundtrack

Morris on the Road by Ashley Hutchings. Stirring stuff, and great prep.

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Anniversary countdown: 2 days to go

Walking Dancing on water

Walking Dancing on water

Where does all the time go? Just two more nights to go before our big Bath birthday bonanza, offering sumptuous cider, dazzling displays of superlative sword-handling, and alluring alliteration. With Northgate, all associates adore alliteration.

Tonight is to be spent in gentle and solitary contemplation, meditating on the oncoming storm. Well, the dancing in thirteen pubs without breaking too many lights, or hearts, or limbs. For Northgate that’ll be easy(*), but the more frail members of the other sides may very well suffer. We lads of Northgate are made of sterner stuff.

(*) except for the lights.

Today’s Photos

Topless rapper

Topless rapper

Today’s first countdown photo is taken in the late 1990s as we danced on a pontoon in the Thames. The pontoon was much narrower than it looked when we first had the stupid idea. Oh, and the spin was bloody scary.

The second photo is from Sidmouth Festival in 1996 and, for some reason, we have sunglasses on and shirts off. Oh, the heady days of youth. Rumour (and indeed truth) has it that the rest of the evening involved young lady morris dancers and a bouncy castle.

The Soundtrack

Findings by Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkware. Lovely stuff.

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Anniversary countdown: 3 days to go

DERT 1993

Our first DERT, 1993

As our anniversary creeps ever closer, the excitement here in Bath is now palpable, and you could cut it with a knife (metaphorically speaking).

Last night we had a splendid practice, and in our normal spirit of putting on a good show we pretty much ignored our current dances and played around with some new figures, each of which you can be sure will have an “amusing” name. How we will laugh.

Today’s Photo

Today’s countdown photo is from 1993 and captures quite beautifully our first appearance at DERT in Derby. What a charming kit we had! We note that the gentlemen of North British have adopted such splendid waistcoats as part of their apparel and wear it to this very day. They look most dapper.

Anyway, enough of that. We promised the schedule for Saturday, and here it is.

The Schedule


Now, from this it is clear firstly that we’ll be splitting up into groups, and secondly that the first group seems to get an easy time of it.

Anyway, there you go. Come along to the pubs listed here and you can see amazing derring do and buy some sword dancers a drink. See you there!

The Soundtrack

These Gathered Branches by the Foxglove Trio. Quite entrancing, even the bits in Welsh.

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Anniversary countdown: 4 days to go

In a Belgian butcher's shop

In a Belgian butcher’s shop

Can it really only be four days before the hordes of rapper dancers from the south of England descend upon the fair city of Bath to give dazzling displays of superlative sword-

Yes. Yes it can.

And no one is more excited than the lads of Northgate. We can’t wait for Saturday morning when our friends (and Silver Flame(*)) turn up and strut their funky stuff with blades of death in the gorgeous Georgian streets of Bath. Ooh, exciting.

The Schedule for the Day

We’ve had many people asking for Saturday’s schedule, and as we like to maintain an air of mystery, we’ll publish it tomorrow. However, we realise that too much suspense can be bad for you, so here’s the list of the pubs we’ll be appearing in:

The Ale House, The Barley Mow, The Bell, The Boater, The Curfew, The Griffin, The Hobgoblin, The New Inn, The Old Green Tree, The Pulteney Arms, The Raven, The Westgate and of course The Star.

Only thirteen? We were hoping for more.

Today’s Photo

Today’s countdown photo is from 1995, when the plucky lads of Northgate had travelled to visit their Belgian friends Boerke Naas for much dancing, a crawl of the churches in Sint Niklaas (really) and of course chips with mayonnaise. Oh, and they asked if we’d dance behind the counter in a butcher’s shop, which of course we did. We were only a little scared by the sign reading, “Englische Rapper €5/Kg”. Luckily, no one was hurt. Except for Mike, who lost his penis to the bacon slicer. Lovely girl. (© The Two Ronnies, 1976).

Today’s Soundtrack

Keats by Keats, 1985. I used to love this album, but now realise it’s pretty poor, except for Walking on Ice, which is still OK.

(*) This is a lie. We have no friends, not even Silver Flame, who are legendarily gregarious.

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Anniversary countdown: 5 days to go

95-knackeredFive days to go until our Silver Jubilee, and preparations continue apace.

Jack the Bag is making last minute arrangements with the pubs, Ioan the Squire is working on his twenty minute presentation on the History of Northgate (including Powerpoint slides and several very funny jokes(*)), and Martin the Money is updating the website and listening to Living in the Past by the awesome Jethro Tull.

In many ways, this is a perfect evening. Especially the music.

The photo above shows the team in the mid 1990s, in the The Bulls Head in Delph, during a Saddleworth Rushcart. From the look of it, the lads had been pulling the cart very hard indeed and no doubt dancing a lot, because frankly, they’re knackered.

(*) This is a lie. Ioan doesn’t have any funny jokes.





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Countdown to Silver Jubilee weekend starts tomorrow!

Northgate in The Past

Northgate in The Past

It’s now less than a week until Northgate’s celebrations for their twenty five year anniversary kick off, and what a weekend it promises to be!

We’ll be kicking off with a quiet evening of beer and curry for the current team and as many old members as are still breathing can make it along. It is entirely possible, of course, that there may be some dancing. Rumour has it that we’ll end up in The Star. That seems fitting, somehow.

The big day, of course, is Saturday, when our friends from Bristol, London, Oxford and Dorset join us for a rappertastic(*) tour around the pubs of Bath, starting at The Bell at 11 o’clock and ending in The Westgate some six hours later. The evening may very well include some more dancing, and will certainly involve some more beer. Rumour has it that we’ll end up in The Star. That seems fitting, somehow.

Sunday is very much reserved for recovery. Rumour has it that we’ll end up in The Star. That seems fitting, somehow.

More Information

Keep an eye on this very website and our Facebook page for a countdown to the weekend, and perhaps even a list of when and where you can find us on Saturday. Come along, marvel at the dancing and buy us a pint.

(*) Sorry. We will never use that word again.

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