short while ago I tried describing Morris Dancing to some American friends
and I could see they were having difficulty believing me.
Hmmm, thinks I.
Why not introduce Morris Dancing to America by way of a story involving
one or more Morris Dancers...?
And so, with tongue firmly
planted in cheek (not that cheek!) I began to work on some details
for Maurice, Dancing (which is how I envisaged someone - who's never
heard of the subculture - would interpret the phrase).
And then it got out of
hand, as these things so often do. I'm sorry, but I can't help it.
It's the exposure to the writing of Spike Milligan, Douglas Adams, and
the Monty Python crew...
One principal character
arose out of correspondence with a gifted and talented friend (Dave
Leigh) who accidentally introduced me to her when he mentioned Myriad
Peeves in an email to me.
Immediately the name
conjured up a stereotype (or as she might have said: "sterotype").
Mrs Myriad Peeves of
Bethnal Green and Bolton twice yearly (to steal from "My Favorite Year").
More on Mrs Peeves:
Her first name came about
because her mother liked the look of the name Mairead (Mary) but couldn't
spell it properly and also didn't know how to pronounce it. Hence
(How she managed to not
know how to spell it or pronounce it and yet still like the look of it
is part of the magic of storytelling. Or bad story planning.)
Her husband is Maurice
Alphonse Gervase Peeves, a refuse collector - and proud to be the son of
a refuse collector - and part time Morris Dancer with ambitions to take
America by storm - if only he can persuade Hollywood that Morris Dancing
is a genuine piece of cultural heritage and not just a bunch of drunk effeminate
loonies prancing around whacking each other with inflated sheep bladders.
Not to mention the accordion playing. Did I mention the accordion
They have one son - Oo-ow-gerroffmefoot
Peeves - so christened by a liberal-minded vicar with a malfunctioning
deaf aid who mistook Maurice's protestations during a key moment of the
christening as Myriad shifted her weight from one foot onto the other (which
turned out not to be her other, but her other's other).
other name is Brian but it doesn't appear on his birth certificate.
The wacky adventures
of Myriad, Maurice and Brian have yet to be more clearly delineated, but
as long as I have a large tub of Vaseline it shouldn't take too much effort.