Mabel Day: no lights broken (in any room we danced in)

We had a lovely visit to Oxford for this year’s Mabel Day, and spent most of our time dancing in various pubs with the splendid Birmingham Rapper.

True to form, and contrary to any silly reputation we might have, we broke literally no light fittings whatsoever in any room we danced in.

There is a rumour (and indeed strong evidence) that a light in a room directly beneath us broke QUITE COINCIDENTALLY whilst we were dancing, but the connection is tenuous at best. As we all know, correlation does not imply causation.

We have only a few things left this year, including the Bradford on Avon carols (listening, not dancing), then a ceilidh down in Hampshire, a day in Bristol and, very best of all, a trip to Bridgnorth to dance with the wonderful Shropshire Sharpshins. We can hardly wait!

In the meantime, please forgive us the woeful lack of updates here. We’ve been busy with two things:

  1. Prep for our AGM next week; and
  2. Working on a new dance. Shh! It’s secret.

The AGM next week means there will be no practice. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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Bath Time success: no lights hurt.

And so another year has passed, and another Bath Time has been and gone.

And what a great time it was! Our guests, Mabel Gubbins from Oxford and Shropshire Sharpshins from Bridgnorth, were on great form, and both put on some really top quality shows.

We, of course, were our normal, understated and restrained selves.

Highlights of the weekend include the Sharpshins introducing a plastic bat into their first dance (and nearly a light fitting, too), Mabels smacking one of there own so hard on the head that she could barely walk straight, let along dance, and Northgate eating a giant birthday cake.

It was a very good cake.

 

Oh, and Richard was four hours later for the start. A new record.

The final tally is twenty seven dances in nine pubs, which much in the way of beer, gin and cake to keep us going. And garlic mayo burgers from Schwartz Bros, of course.

Special call out to our The Curfew which not only opened early for us as a starting point but also fed us in the evening. Many thanks to Dan for his chilli and Emily for her patience!

Do we have to wait a whole year to see you again?

Surely not. We hope to practice this Tuesday, again at the Curfew, but it’s entirely possible we’ll take the week off to recover, so if you’re planning to come along, drop us a line here first to check.

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Bath prepares for mayhem as Bath Time looms

The pubs of Bath are increasing stocks of beer and gin, making sure they have plenty of plasters, and raising their light fittings, and it’s all in preparation for Bath Time tomorrow!

As regular readers will know, we’re being joined on our annual outing this year by two other teams. The first is Shropshire Sharpshins from Bridgnorth, famous for their innovate dances. The second is Mabel Gubbins from Oxford, famous for their ability to consume gin in vast quantities.

We and our friends will be starting at The Curfew at 11am, before plunging into the very heart of the city to dance in as many pubs as we can before teatime, at which point we’ll take a break for food, drink and cake, followed by a final dance-off back at our starting point.

The Plan (and why we don’t have them)

Jack the Bag has looked at the timing and, being the professional he is, has cut back on our rather ambitious plan of several days ago to give us an evens chance of getting round them all in time. This is why we never plan anything. Anyway, the new (shortened) plan for Bath Time is:

The Curfew                       11am
Barley Mow
Pulteney Arms
The Griffin
New Inn
The Bell
The Curfew again

You’ll notice there’s only one time given here, because we know our limitations. And I suspect we’ll slip a few more in. Indeed, they’ll probably be the one’s we’ve just taken out…

How do we find you then?

If you’re trying to track us down, go here and just ask.

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Saturday 28 October is Bath Time, with very special guests!

Northgate had so much fun at our 25th Anniversary celebration last year that we’re doing it again this Saturday, 28th October. Oh yes, Bath Time lives!

This time we’ve invited two very special guest teams to join us. Firstly a relatively new side from Bridgnorth, called Shropshire Sharpshins. Just a few years old, the lads and lasses of that beautiful town have stormed festivals, pubs and indeed whisky shops in the West Midlands, especially Shrewsbury Festival and of course Bridgnorth itself. They have some very innovative figures and more energy than seems fair.

Oh, and they have a true TV star from Countdown, but he can rest assured that we will make no stupid jokes on that subject. Because we’re grownups.

But who are the other team?

The other team are, to put it bluntly, not quite as young as the Sharpshins. Indeed, some of them would give Methuselah a run for his money.

They are the delightful, if gin-soaked, ladies of Mabel Gubbins.

They come from the screaming spires of Oxford and bring with them a spectacular display full of vim, vigour and quite possibly spunk.

So what’s the plan?

Well, we have as much of a plan as we ever have, inasmuch as we know the starting pub, the end pub and even all the pubs in between, although not necessarily the timings. But the plan so far is:

11:00  Start dancing! First pub is The amazing Curfew.

After that, with no particular timing:

The Barley Mow
The Pulteney Arms
The Boater
The Ale House
The New Inn
The Griffin
The Westgate
Old Green Tree (if our guests are tough enough)
Pig & Fiddle
The Bell
The Star

…then back to The Curfew around 16:30 for food and final dances.

So, twelve pubs in a reasonably short time. It’s entirely possible that more dancing, or even more drinking, might take place after this.

Keep an eye on Facebook for last-minute changes, photos on the day and descriptions of any interesting injuries as they happen.

See you there!

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A short break to regrow our skin…

Ouch

Well, that’s our festival season over for another year, and it’s time for us to take a little break to recover.

Indeed, some of us need some time to heal our wounds after the rather over-enthusiastic final dance at Priston Festival last weekend left Squire Martin without an epidermal layer on the knuckles of his left hand. But did he complain? Did he whinge? Did he even flinch?

You bet he did. Wimp.

Anyway, we’ll be taking a short break while our skin grows back, and then we’ll return with a vengeance.

You seem pretty keen to practice…?

Indeed we are, because we have Bath Time coming up at the end of next month, when we once again will be visited by some of our friends for a blood-soaked extravaganza of sword wielding fun.

Watch this space!

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This weekend: Bristol crawl and Priston Festival!

It’s a busy weekend coming up for Northgate. On Sunday, we’re appearing at the wonderful Priston Folk Festival, and we’re excited about that. And as a warm-up we’re off on a crawl around Bristol on Saturday night, and we’re excited about that too!

In fact, when we consider both these things, the word “excited” is no longer adequate, and we will have to resort to “super-excited” or “trembling with anticipation” to describe how we feel.

We know what you’re thinking: a major crawl running into the early hours immediately before a festival sounds like a recipe for disaster. But the lads of Northgate are made of strong stuff, and will not let this faze them, nor affect their performance on the Sunday.

When will you be dancing?

The Bristol crawl will start at 7pm in a pub yet to be announced, and will continue until we run out of time.

We’ll be dancing at Priston from 10:45 onwards.

Will you be practising next week?

Oh yes. The Curfew in Bath, 19:30 on Tuesday night. You know, like we always do.

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History Today: Northgate’s first panto appearance

Some History

We have recently been contacted by local historian Dr Vin Rouge, who works in the Department of Historic Panto and Dance  the University of Bathford near to our lovely home city. It’s fair to say that the good doctor was in a state of some excitement.

He is currently working on a project to shed some light on the mysterious roots of Bath’s favourite sword dancers, and has recently gained possession of what he describes as “a treasure trove of swordly delight.”

Dr Rouge added, “It’s evidence like this that makes my life complete. Imagine, an old photograph of some people dancing. In a panto!”

Some people are very easily pleased.

Nevertheless, we were pleased to see this early photograph of Northgate in action at a production of the pantomime Eric the Viking, either at the London Palladium or Bathford Village Hall. Looking at the stage, it’s probably the former.

The photo was taken in the late 1990s by the look of our fashionable kit.

Now, it’s been some years since we trod the boards in panto, but we always thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re running a panto and want to add some mild peril, give us a call.

Yeah, Whatever. Are you practising this week?

Of course we are. Join us at The Curfew at 19:30 on Tuesday night.

Thanks, but where is that?

It’s behind you(*).

Actually, it’s in Bath.

(*) Obligatory panto joke. Sorry.

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Extra special appearance at CurFest festival this Sunday!

Just when you thought the season was coming to an end and that we had only one more festival left, we’ve been booked for the awesome CurFest on Sunday!

This is, as you have no doubt worked out, a festival at our beloved home, The Curfew in Bath. It runs from noon till very late at night, and it’s all for a very good cause: Dorothy House Hospice Care.

We’ve got the much sought-after opening spot, which coincidentally frees us up for a party in the afternoon followed by a crawl in the evening. That’s a bit of luck.

Enough about you, what’s at the CurFest?

Oh, OK then. Well, there’ll be a day full of live music, barbecue, awesome popup bars from the great Corkage wine bar and the amazing Hideout whisky bar, and a raffle with some spectacular prizes, including brewery tours, distillery tours and, erm, tattoos.Obviously.

It promises to be a great day, so get on down there!

Will there be blades of death?

Oh yes.

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Controversy as Number One Regenerates into a Woman

The Doctor Dances

There was uproar in Bath today as Northgate announced that their Number One was going to regenerate into a woman during their anniversary crawl.

“Jerome has been fantastic in this position for the last few years,” said Squire Martin, “but times change, and so must we.”

The role will be picked up by Jodie Whittaker, the much acclaimed dancer who played the sword-dancing mother-of-a-murdered-child in ITV’s Broadchurch. Jodie said, “Anyone who doesn’t understand why we’re doing this should pay more attention. We need to bring Northgate into a new era by piggybacking on a massively controversial announcement by the BBC, thus gaining ourselves loads of free publicity.”

Squire Martin added, “Indeed.”

Several whining manbabies on the internet have complained about the move, some saying it’s political correctness gone mad, but most of them upset because they’ll miss Jerome’s trademark hipster beard. We understand their concern, and Jodie has therefore promised to wear a fake beard for her first few performances.

She went on to say, “Actually, I’ve just seen a video of that forward tumble thing… I’m not so sure about this now.”

Correction

This is all a clever and convincing work of fiction backed by super high tech CGI. A lie, if you will. Nevertheless, you can still come along an join practice with the unregenerated Jerome tonight at 19:30 in the splendid Curfew in Bath.

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Priddy Festival done, and Gus pops his cherry

Jumping Jonathan

Well, that’s the end of Priddy Folk Festival for another year, and what a delightful time we had in the beautiful Somerset village. And Gus had something even more exciting in store for him!

The weather was great, the music was superb (special call out to Flook and Lasair), and the dancing was most entertaining.

Well, ours was, naturally, but our good friends Silver Flame Rapper  from Bristol were as amazing as ever, especially their superb (and slightly faster than normal) ceilidh spot on Saturday evening. Pigsty Morris also put on a fine show, and NYFTE covered off more dance styles than anyone could ever have though possible. Fantastic!

Gus’ First Time

Now, whenever we’re at a festival, we make a special point of dancing in all the pubs in town and Priddy festival was no exception. Indeed, we had such a good time we went back to it again and again.

Our first dance there saw new member Gus perform his first public dance and, as it was deemed of a high enough standard, he was ritually debagged by an attractive member of the audience as is our tradition. His mum shed a tear when she saw him dance a bit later, dressed to kill in his grown up short trousers.What a proud moment it was for her. Every mother’s dream.

Special Thanks

We’d like to pass on our special thanks to Priddy Good Farm Shop for their most excellent breakfasts, the huge number of breweries and cider presses who provided the liquid refreshments, and of course the Queen Victoria Inn for their addictive cheesy chips.

Quo Vadis?

Well, we’re going to The Curfew in Bath on Tuesday night at 19:30 for practice, and you should jolly well come along and join us.

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