Meet the Team

Northgate Rapper are a fine bunch of chaps, ably played for by Rhianne and Peter. We wear white collarless shirts, green hoggers, and bright yellow sashes, finishing off this fine attire with white knee length socks and shiny black shoes. Simply a sartorial and visual delight. You can see more of us on our Facebook page. Why not ‘Like’ it whilst you’re there?

We’re always on the look out for new blood dancers. It’s dead easy to learn, and hardly dangerous at all. Edwin has never had his elbow, nose or forehead damaged. Ever. And even if he did, he’d man up about it and never, ever complain.

Below you can meet the current dancing team members and find out a little bit about them.

Rhianne the Squire and Head Musician – Rhianne recently consolidated her vice-like grip on the team by staging a coup d’etat and snatching the role of Squire. After discovering that this is largely a figurehead role limited to being pompous and acting as a shoulder to cry on, she decided to keep Head Musician as well. On crawls, we just have to follow this simple rule: Do not give her any more than a half pint of Honey’s cider, else there will be anarchy. We have video evidence of this.

Martin the Bursar and Choreographer – After deciding enough was enough re: the shoulder to cry on thing (see Rhianne above), Martin is in charge of the chequebook and the team’s dancing. The exception is the mythical New Dance, which he has left to Jerome, mainly because it’s insane. He’s also a member of North British, a rapper and longsword team dressing in the most excellent tweed. He’s organised two DERT competitions so far, and promises never, ever to do it again, but then he has said that before.

Jack the Bag – Jack has returned to his spiritual home as Bagman . He’s known as “Gorgeous Jack” or “Bieber” to his friends and has a penchant for wearing his girlfriend’s underwear. We have the photos. If you want to book the team, or indeed his Justin Bieber tribute act, just drop him a line.

Jerome the partial Choreographer – Having picked up the thankless task of developing our mythical New Dance, Jerome has taken to it like a duck to orange sauce. He’s also the team’s practitioner of the forward flip. Ever graceful, he defies gravity with aplomb.

Timmy the Webslinger – attractive and informative, our website is now maintained by Timmy who, according to a recent update from trusted technology, is accurate to within four metres. This explains a lot. He’s also the most well-informed person on the subject of clouds that we’ve ever met.

Peter the Head Falconer – a concertina player par excellence, Peter doesn’t fancy himself as any sort of dancer and has consistently refused to don the hoggers to join the rest of the team. Pete was desperate to be appointed as the team’s Chief Falconer, and fought off a strong bid from Martin. He hasn’t found the bird yet though.

Edwin – This outgoing fella was issued from the loins of another trad dance family, he prefers rapper to Cotswold and Northwest (aren’t we lucky?). Co-organiser of DERT 2015 and now returned to Northgate from a treacherous decamp over the water to foreign climes (South Wales), where he set up Taff Rapper; named after the Cardiff river and not the dodgy term for a Welshman. Ed is also one of the organisers of the amazing Dancing England.

Jo Boj – Coming from a long line of sword dancers (well, his father and sister mainly), Joe has become a mainstay of our ceilidh spots and festival appearances with his lovely single jigs. Oh, he dances with swords too, of course.

Richard – sometimes known as ‘Young Dick’, Richard is an ex member of Birmingham Rapper and NYFTE, i.e. he’s young-ish, skinny and can jump really high. We try to force feed him cider and pies in order to bring him down to our level. Unique among Northgate members, Richard’s arrival time for any event can be accurately predicted: it’s any time after he was supposed to arrive. Current record: four hours late. It’s a kind of genius.

Gus – an enthusiastic chap firmly ensconced in the traditional music and dance scene in the UK, he got us a prime gig at the awesome Priddy Folk Festival in 2017. Northgate were so pleased at this, we continued to let him dance with us. Gus also gets the team many, many invitations to dance ceilidh spots, so he’s doubly welcome.

Dave – Dave is an ex member of those rapper icons, the Newcastle Kingsmen. He gets a bit grumpy if he has low blood sugar and hasn’t eaten for a while. At university his nickname was Brownfridge. Student japes eh? What larks. Dave has rotated in, out and around all the official team and dance positions, and also dances with Haymarket Rapper; a team for those that know the Kingsmen dance. And are mostly old. And retired.

Doctor Ioan – now having stood down as Squire to concentrate on becoming more of an academic doctor. He clearly misses being in charge of discipline, timekeeping and telling the Chief Falconer to find the damned bird. Plucked from relative musical obscurity with some sort of prize-winning female team, Ioan has more than proved his worth in the usual series of Northgate’s manly challenges; namely bickering during practice and how to keep your socks up during a dance.

Northgate’s ‘resting members’ (i.e. on call when we’re short)

Jonathon – Northgate’s only habituee of the ginger beard, Jonathon is an utter Morris tart. Member of at least six different sides, we do wish he would put down the hankies and take up our highly polished blades of death on a permanent basis. That said, he did rock Sidmouth 2015 with a Morris jig, and is Northgate’s only authentic Welshman.

Brian – another ex-Kingsmen member. He occasionally performs as our Betty, but much prefers putting the younger team members to shame with his fancy fleet-of-foot rapper moves. He is the proud possessor of one of Northgate’s two full beards.

Natasha the Box – A fine practitioner of the melodeon and, even more happily for us, appears to be able to count to 8 repeatedly. Always a useful skill for a rapper musician. Also writes and composes tunes for us to dance to.

Lucy the Fiddle – cleansed and birthed in the warming embrace of women’s teams Star and Shadow, and Silver Flame, Lucy now seeks the company of males. And who can blame her?

Henry the Piper – our original musician and a long time Bath legend. Henry is often to be found in the gent’s toilets at the Star on a Friday evening, warming his pipes and entertaining the crowds with traditional tunes. His tweed plus-fours are to die for and his feet are very very wide. He’s currently learning the Punjabi language, very handy to converse with the locals in Bath we think.

Nicol  Recently returned back up North using the frankly disappointing excuse that that’s where his job is, Nicol comes from a trad dance family (rapper, longsword and Northwest morris although thankfully he only dances rapper) and can talk an awful load of rapper bollocks. Competition for Martin then! Also dances with Four Corner Sword and Medlock Rapper.

Will – has finished reading bedtime stories at Oxford Brookes University and is now full time posting Marxist comments on Facebook. We miss his morris-type tunes on his fancy squeezebox. And his big bass shoes. And the way he holds his head on one side. And the halfmast trousers.

And that, good people, is Northgate Rapper.

About Northgate Rapper

Northgate Rapper are a fine bunch of chaps from Bath and beyond, driven by the twin dreams of rapper sword dancing and alcohol, all with a minimum of one left foot. We dance both traditional dances and our own, and have a reputation for leaving a trail of broken glasses, lights and hearts behind after every pub crawl.

Somehow we still manage not to be barred from any of the pubs in Bath or Bristol, despite each member carrying dangerously sharp swords into them on any number of occasions.

Northgate BreweryNorthgate Rapper is a men’s rapper team based in Bath, and named for the now-demised Northgate Brewery. We were founded over a quarter of a century ago in 1991 by Dave Brownbridge, a former Squire of the Newcastle Kingsmen, who had relocated to Bath. Dave, not the Newcastle Kingsmen.

We initially performed a variation of the Kingsmen dance, and indeed entered and won the Open Traditional class at DERT 1996 with a performance of that very dance.

Northgate Sidmouth paradeWe have since developed ourown rapper dances, very often true to the northeastern tradition, although we have an occasional presentation figure with sword ends released from one hand which has been criticised by some purists. Predictably, we care not a jot about this.

Our current dance is non-traditional but very crowd-pleasing, and we plan one day to reintroduce both our signature asymmetrical double somersaults and our spectacular forward tumble finish.

We think we are unique in the rapper fraternity/sorority by having dancing members from each age bracket from twenties to seventies! Although it’s not easy to spot which is which if you look solely at our behaviour.

We’re always on the look for new male blood. All you need is a desire to wave swords around in a controlled and responsible manner, and of course to experience mild danger.

In summary, Northgate Rapper perform predominantly in pubs, are based in Bath and Bristol, and imbibe the best beer and sweetest cider that Somerset supplies. Also, all associates adore alliteration.

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