Dancing Up the Dawn on May Day is one of the earliest Little Egypt traditions


Not-very-promising weather could not prevent its continuation in 2004


A photographic record

One of Brian Stephens' moody shots - you can tell he used to work for the Beeb

Pictures courtesy of Alas-a-dair North and Brian "Free The Mill Hill 20" Stephens


Part of the tradition

is to assemble at Park Farm (thanks to Peter Ford) before sunrise, and even before first light.

Notice the rain on the lens

I have it on good authority that, at the appointed hour, and well before this shot was taken, the early turn out was a promising 4 musicians and a dancer.
You may notice the spots of rain on the lens.

At some stage in the proceedings, more people always turn up for the fun.
It is good to see Messrs. Hartley, Shipman and Proffitt so obviously up for it

even if Nunu felt he had to slip away for one of those Early Morning Moments.

We all have them, Sebastian.

Another traditon has it that, at some point, Neville will turn up, announce "Getting Upstairs" and stand back, proudly, to watch ... .
2004 was no different

Who's in charge here?

Nunu's trip had obviously been successful...
I should point out that Tommo looks Very Tired because he has been Gigging with A Band all over the UK and Tamworth. He is, after all, a Rock God.
The character to Neville's left may be Andrew, one of those Men who has yet to supply a potted biography.

The Little Egypt Orchestra continues to grow.

Fiddle, pipes, squeeze box and a properly-muted drum create a wonderful atmosphere.

And here is the inevitable group photo.
But mock not: I reckon that makes 20 people, plus the photographer.

and probably a few more who didn't quite fit in the frame.

Little Egypt is good at group photos.We have so much practice at standing around, informally discussing the weather, or the Squire's embonpoint, or so-and-so's Bacardi habit.

In fact, these seemingly-informal discussion groups are formalised in the Constitution as the main decision-making forum, officially known as "The Huddle".

This is a classic
May Day Dawn photo.

If you look back through these electronic annals, you will find similar in each year that has been recorded.
All joking aside, this is what it is all about.

As mentioned above, "Getting Upstairs" has a time-honoured ritual function as The First Dance.

Neville not only called it, but danced it.

Here we see Little Egypt presenting their interpretation of the DNA double-helix conundrum ...

... in other words, just how do you perform a double "Ring of Bells"?

But it looks as though they managed it ...

... and even achieved a certain amount of "Stickus Erectus" - quite an achievement at their age and at that time in the morning.

Final pride of place goes as ever to the musicians, who risk life and limb to accompany the dancers in their antics.

Extra credit must go to Martin Barrett for his rural interpretation of the stovepipe hat and his new ragcoat.

Metereological reports speak of the dancing being accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Just as long as no-one got struck in the bells.
Perversely, having come out in sympathy with MMLE by getting up at 3.30 a.m. to take part in a Dawn Chorus walk in Portree, we were treated to a most glorious, if chilly, dawn, accompanied by Gold Crests, Willow Warblers, Tree Creepers and the Cuckoo.
My Culinary Correspondents, meanwhile, report that, in the best traditions of après danse, Little Egypt repaired to the Black Lion for an excellent repast to break their fast, before being shipped en masse to Rochester for the Sweeps Festival.
Rumour also speaks of plenty of internal wetting to match the weather.

Quite by chance, I was browsing my Earlier May Day files when I encountered this photo from years ago.

Catch the moon

It shows Mark Mikurenda demonstrating his consummate Morris skill, in catching the Moon on his Broom, an esoteric feat rarely captured on film.
But we were there...



Page maintained by Stephen Clarke, steve@little-egypt.org.uk 09 November 2005 Copyright(c) . Created: 24/06/2003 Updated: 04/05/2004