Little Egypt at Rochester Sweeps
April 29 2006

"Rus in Urbe"


Such a clutter of sticks and Fine Gentlemen

"An account arranged in two parts"
or:
"Make what you will"


Little Egypt's participation in the Rochester Sweeps Festival
is almost as old as the side.

 
 

The centre of town is not the normal Little Egypt environment,
but just as with our descents on Ennis, Bantry, A▀lar-Werdorf,
Bury St Edmunds and Shaftesbury, so in Rochester our bucolic origins swiftly seem quite at home.

 
Why Sir Jukes, what a big bus you have, to  be sure 

But first things first:
getting to Rochester is part of the fun,
and this year we had a Really Smart Bus,
which dropped us off in good time.


Persuading some of the men
that dancing was the main point of
the day was a little more difficult.

 
Yes but we try to not talk about it ... 

Brian "Baggie" Stephens offers his own thoughts:
Rochester was another triumph for LE. The coach left Glemsford almost on time - Squire was only 5 minutes late - and we bowled down to Rochester arriving well before the end of the first stand.
Almost unheard of.

It all seemed a bit quieter than usual, with only two sides out of a booked four on the first stand outside the Gordon Hotel, home of the infamous Beer Festival.
Strangely most men went for beers in the upper o/g range, of which there were plenty.
No Chatham brewery beers this year to the disappointment of some.
"Frigging in the Rigging" was missing, "Nelson's Blood" also absent, some may say just as well.
If you can read my mind, dear ...  

Once the confusions and misunderstandings were sorted out (Your Honour), we were able to settle down to Some Serious Urban Street Dancing, innit?



But not before certain other ceremonies.

Good to see Mr Hartley, by the way.

 
First things first 
Have you read the wescut regulations lately? Er, and what about shoes, then? 

Appropriately, one of our early dances, in this urban setting was "Beaux of London (City)", outside the Gordon Hotel.

Those with sharp eyes will notice that His Squireship employed the "Brarn-Shoe Variation" to this old favourite.

 
Sir! Do you point your stick at me? 
The Cleverdon Hey at its peak 

The performance at the Gordon attracted much interest and comment, particularly on the mesmeric nature of Little Egypt's Sticking Style.

As ever, the Little Egypt Consort and Conservatoire fought off all attempts to undermine the precison of the performance.

 
It's ok, we've got them on the run 
I close my eyes and think of England 

Martin, as can be seen, was totally oblivious to the Saturday crowds of shoppers.


Meanwhile, just how far the local hooded-yoof culture had percolated down the age-range, was a little alarming, particularly when they offered to "keep an eye on" our beer.

This is obviously an unforeseen by-product of the changes to the Licensing Laws.

 
Mine's a pint too, you old git. 
At the count of 2 

We were particularly proud of our short-stick dances.
Without actually witnessing them, it is difficult to understand the precison and timing needed to create the full impact of the double-back, cross-stepping, reverse hey, as seen here, with every man in exactly the right place at the right time.

 
Almost metronomic timing and precision 

At this point, Baggie has more to say:
Along with Westrefelda and Bullnose Morris we set up our own second stand and some fine dancing was demonstrated.
A triple sided "Sweet Jenny Jones" was particularly magnificent, and all without the aid of a safety net.

We had just two injuries of the day:
Greg was caught on the hop by a kerbstone which suddenly leapt out at him, and Geoff grazed an elbow after what looked suspiciously like foul play by another side.
Or even our own side.

You're my besht mate, you are. 

This immaculate choreography was carried forward into our definitive version of "Whiteladies Aston", in which the position of the stick in particular phases of the dance carries additional significance and meaning - hence, what seems like random and casual stick carriage, is actually carefully planned and executed.

Or not.

Then, of course, there was "Ring O' Bells".
There always is.

 
Just a minute, where's Trevor? 

Bagman Brian has a final interjection:
A new timetable saw lunch start at 2.30 to the positive benefit of dancing quality, and the day ended in style with another Westefelda/Little Egypt combo and much audience appreciation.

Amazingly the coach was able to leave on time, which left a whole evening for topping up in the Black Lion.
Magic!


I'm banking on the sympathy vote.

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Page maintained by Stephen Clarke, steve@little-egypt.org.uk. Copyright(c) 2006. Created: 01/05/2006 Updated: