Pour cowslip dew into my cup; a puritan am I!

Morris dancing is a mostly English tradition of highly stylized folk dance. It is definitely old -- Shakespeare's Dauphin mockingly compares the English preparations for war to a Whitsun morris dance. But like most things in the English folk tradition, it is not as ancient as we like to pretend: it goes back centuries, not millennia. I think I am correct in saying that without exception, present-day Morris sides all go back only to the Victorian folk revival; there are no places where there is a continuous tradition going back to the fifteenth century. Almost certainly it wasn't an ancient pre-Christian fertility dance, but it's quite fun to pretend that it was. Everyone involved seems to agree that on one level its quite silly: beery men with bells on their fingers and toes and waving hankies in the air -- but its also colourful and fun and almost always involves good tunes. The idea of a lot of groups of people taking a lot of trouble to keep up a tradition which is on the surface a bit ridiculous seems a properly English thing to be doing.

Every few years someone in the unfolkie media spots that a few Morris sides perform with black make-up on their faces.

I am not sure whether anyone is really (as opposed to theoretically) offended by the sight of fat white people with boot polish on their faces waving handkerchiefs in the air. (I thought that all the most important philosophers of the age were agreed that there was no such thing as giving offence or if there was it didn't matter?) But I am completely certain that no serious harm is done to the Tradition if the flanneled fools leave the boot polish off. I didn't see a single black face side at Sidmouth; I think all the Border groups have taken to painting their faces red or blue or green. Which definitely offends no-one and is actually more fun.

The etymological fallacy is just as much a fallacy when applied to folk traditions as when applied to -- well -- etymology. A word means what you mean by the word, and what other people understand you to mean by the word -- not what Simon Heffer says the word "originally" meant. Grammar nerds may or may not be correct in saying that at one time decimate meant "to reduce by one tenth": but right now it means "to lay waste to" because that is how people use it. They are both wrong and offensive when they claim that wog is not "really" a racial slur because it "originally" meant Worshipful Oriental Gentleman.

Blackface Morris may not originally have had anything to do with making fun of black people. I am inclined to think it did not. The boot polish represents the fact that the people who invented the dances were coal miners, or chimney sweeps, or people who didn't want their wives to spot them Morris dancing after curfew. But it doesn't make a blind bit of difference what it originally meant. What matters is what "white men doing song and dance routines in black make up" means right now.

Yes, there is some evidence that prick and cunt were at one time perfectly neutral medical terms for those particular parts of the body. No, that doesn't mean it's fine to say them kids TV.

"Blacking up" means a great deal more than "I am playing the role of a person of a different race from the one I happen to be." It means something morel like "I am well aware of the whole patronizing black-minstrel tradition and the whole sorry history of white people appropriating black people's art and I don't give a damn. My right to wave hankies in the air with black boot polish on my cheeks is more important."

God knows, it's not a great idea for a European person to pretend to be an Asian person either. There was a Doctor Who story in which that happened: I forget the title, but I understand that it still polarizes opinion. But "yellowing up" does not carry the same cultural baggage as "blacking up". I think that's why Johnny Depp got away with playing a Comanche where he would never in ten million years have got away with playing a Negro.

I don't think that it follows that you can merely add the suffix -up to the name of a particular group and take that as incontrovertible proof that no-one outside that group can represent a member of that group on stage or screen. I don't know if Christians can ever properly understand what it is to be Jewish. Probably they can't. I don't know if  Jews can convincingly play Christians. (I might be inclined, like Laurence Olivier, to ask "if they have ever considered acting, darlingBut I am pretty certain that it is not helpful to accuse Kenneth Brannagh of "Danishing-up" or "wearing Dane-face" to play Hamlet.

There are exceptions and special cases and everything is a negotiation. Yes, I understand, you are constructing an authentic historical re-enactment of a festival in fifteenth century Shropshire and you want the Morris dancing to be exactly the way it was then, period instruments and period shoes and period face paint and all. No, that isn't at all the same thing as some big beery guys doing a country dance on a windswept Devon seafront. Yes, I get that your movie about the antebellum South included a loving recreation of a minstrel show; no that doesn't make the Black and White Minstrel show perfectly okay. If a lady can play King Lear, Prospero, or Hamlet, then a white man can probably have a go at Othello. But probably not with boot polish.

"But then won't all the racists just gravitate to the historical re-enactment events?" Aye, there's the rub. I came across a YouTube stream in which a fellow was working his way through the complete songs of Stephen Foster, Camptown Races and Hard Times Come Again No More and all. He explained that since this was partly an historical endeavor, he was singing the songs as Foster wrote them, while acknowledging that some of the language was offensive. Sure enough the comments section filled up with white people saying how wonderful it was to hear Oh Sussanah! with the n-word intact and how great it was to be standing up to the force of political correctness etc etc etc.

A man in the Guardian -- where else? -- went a bit further. He managed to go from "blacked-up Morris dancing has quite definitely had its day" to "the whole idea of folk music is inherently racist." This seems to be a caricature of a liberal position, the sort of thing that the sort of people who read the Daily Telegraph imagine that the sort of people who read the Guardian would think Yet here it is in, er, black and white:

But former Green councillor and parliamentary candidate Ian Driver has been campaigning for years against the way Broadstairs folk week supports blacked-up morris dancers. He calls the festival “institutionally racist” and says the organisers are all white and the acts are 90% white even though there is African-Caribbean, Hispanic and Eastern European folk music which would better represent the local area.

It is entirely true that from an ethnomusicological point of view, a traditional Afro-Carribean drum performance "is" folk music whereas Richard Thompson singing Meet on the Ledge is not. This is precisely as interesting a distinction as the pub bore who explains that there shouldn't be a Star Trek panel at the Science Fiction convention because there is no proper scientific rationale for warp drive. Yes: by one definition science fiction means "stories based on solid scientific conjecture". And those definitions might be quite helpful if you are writing your thesis. But what people at the science fiction convention are interested in is "stories about robots and space ships and aliens and shit, and, incidentally, dragons and swords and magic as well."

The line between folk music and not-folk music is very wobbly and entirely arbitrary. No-one raises their eye-brows if someone sings a Johnny Cash number or some blues tunes at Sidmouth; Jackie Oates includes a John Lennon cover in her set. But folk festivals play the kinds of music which the kinds of people who go to folk festivals want to hear; and there is a pretty broad consensus of what kind of music that is. There is a clear connecting line between English, Scottish and Irish folks songs; and between them and Canadian and Appalachian traditions; and between that and the singer-song-writers who were influenced by that tradition. The people who want to hear Nick Hart singing Child Ballad 10 demonstrably also want to hear Ralph McTell singing Streets of London. They mainly don't want to hear Dakhabraka's high octane purist baiting sound clash. And I suspect that man singing John Barleycorn with a violin in his ear would be laughed off the stage at WOMAD. A huge festival like Glastonbury represents a much wider range of taste.

Would it be a good idea if everyone had much broader tastes? Yes. Would it be a good idea for folkies to sometimes listen to something other than folk music? Maybe. Is it unhealthy to only read superhero comics? Probably. Would it be a good idea to insist on seminars on Racism in Mansfield Park at Comicon and panels about the Anti-life Equation at the Jane Austen Conference? Actually, that might be a really cool idea: get everyone to step outside their comfort zones. I'd like to imagine that that comic book nerds "get" Jane Austen better than the Eng. Lit. profs. "get" comic books, but I think it would probably be the other way round. Is it rather more important for white people to listen to non-white music and read non-white literature than the other way round? Yes, definitely: because everything you read or listen to or think about is part of "white culture" except when you make a conscious effort for it not to be. That's what "privilege" means. Is it institutionally racist for straight white middle class home makers to mainly read books about straight white middle class home makers or at any rate the kinds of books which straight white middle class home makers tend to like? That sounds an awful lot like political correctness gone. an attempt at political hyper-correction.

Not too long ago I mentioned to a friend that I was bingeing on Karl Ove Knaugsgaad, who they happened not to have heard of. I described the books, and they respond "Ohhh...Fathers and sons... It's a bit straight white male, isn't it?"

To which my only available response was to point to myself and say "Er...Hello."

I'm Andrew. I write about folk music, God, comic books, Star Wars and Jeremy Corbyn.

Or consider supporting me on Patreon (by pledging $1 for each essay)


Andrew Stevens said...

Yes, there is some evidence that prick and cunt were at one time perfectly neutral medical terms for those particular parts of the body. No, that doesn't mean it's fine to say them kids TV.

Fight the Normans! Have you ever noticed that it's all the Anglo-Saxon words which became "vulgar" and "uncivilized," but the Latin/French terms are still considered acceptable? (I actually agree with SK, contra Gavin Burrows, that ultimately the Anglo-Saxons assimilated their conquerors, not at all uncommon in world history, which is why we all speak English rather than French. But the Normans' cultural impact is certainly not negligible.)

Andrew Stevens said...

E.g. Chinese history is an endless cycle of being conquered and then assimilating their conquerors. English history is mostly unlike that - the Celts exterminated Briton culture, the Anglo-Saxons exterminated Celtic culture, but it does accurately describe the centuries-long struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans.

Reverance Pavane said...

There is strong evidence that Border Morris was actually seen (at least legally in some jurisdictions) as begging in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Probably because they would also solicit donations whilst performing. So they'd soot up their faces to allow the illusion that they not be able to be recognised - lampblack (or coal dust given where it was most often performed), being the easiest and cheapest available historic material for doing this. It also had the advantage, unlike most of the other paints and dyes available at the time of not being extremely toxic. [For example the very popular Prussian Green often used for dying wallpaper, bedspreads and women's dresses was actually a water-soluble cyanoate. So sweat too much whilst dancing, or lick the wallpaper, and you died.] You generally only start getting "safe" dyes in the 1920s-1960s.

It really had nothing to do with the tradition of musical blackface in minstrel hall and vaudeville. Or as was frequently the case in English and American movies and cinema, so that white actors could perform in ethnic roles. Particularly Asians (both Far East and South) in English cinema, and Native Americans in American.

Most of the Border Morris groups no longer perform in blackface, and usually choose some other colour scheme or simply perform bare-faced (just keeping the style of the dance). Mainly because of the outrage that this tradition inspires in many people.

And I heartily disagree with you that using makeup to play other ethnicities is less racist, especially since in the cinema and movies of the time they were often little more than clumsy stereotypes. [The Dr Who show you are thinking of was The Talons of Wen Chiang, by the way, (in)famous for the line "One of us is yellow." Although it is entirely accurate for portraying a music hall performer of the time, who would likely a white performer in yellow face (one of the problems with having a passingly accurate time travel show).] By modern sensibilities it is all rather pitiful.

SK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SK said...

It's an interesting one because while it seems like it's a minor change that doesn't affect the essential nature of the thing, I can also understand why people might object in principle to having to change something totally innocuous (if indeed it is) because some other totally unconnected people on another continent used something superficially similar to be horrible.

It feels a little like collective punishment: when the teacher says that because two of the boys were naughty at the back of the class, the whole trip is cancelled and now nobody gets to go to the zoo. You can understand why that would get people's backs up; even if the change they are being asked to make is in itself not a big deal, the very fact they are being asked to make it could be taken to suggest that they are being implicated in crimes which are in fact nothing to do with them.

What, if anything, is the approved woke stance on Buddhist use of the swastika?

Andrew Rilstone said...

It really had nothing to do with the tradition of musical blackface in minstrel hall and vaudeville....

My argument was that "it originally had nothing to do with..." and "it REALLY had nothing to do with..." are not at all the same thing. (If I say "it's a nice day", I don't REALLY mean "it's a pedantic day" even though that is what the word "nice" originally meant.) Morris is demonstrably older than the minstrel tradition; but there is strong evidence that it was "originally" Moorish Dancing, which suggests that it had an African connection. And the tradition could easily have developed -- 19th century Morris dancers might have started blacking up because they'd seen Minstrel shows and liked the idea. The Mummers play is older than the Commedia Dell Arte, but characters from the Commedia seem to have worked their way into the Mumming.

Most of the Border Morris groups no longer perform in blackface, and usually choose some other colour scheme or simply perform bare-faced (just keeping the style of the dance).

As I said...

And I heartily disagree with you that using makeup to play other ethnicities is less racist, especially since in the cinema and movies of the time they were often little more than clumsy stereotypes.

Well, I think that the blackface Minstrel tradition has a particular history and a particular meaning and is therefore particularly offensive. (All racial slurs are bad; but the n-word has a particular and unique power because of its context.) As a matter of observation, Johnny Depp was allowed to play Tonto with only a minimal fuss and Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado is still produced.

[The Dr Who show you are thinking of was The Talons of Wen Chiang, by the way,

I know.


Although it is entirely accurate for portraying a music hall performer of the time, who would likely a white performer in yellow face (one of the problems with having a passingly accurate time travel show).]

The problem with Weng Chiang isn't, I think, the make up per se: it's that the story is consciously drawing on negative stereotypes of Chinese people -- particularly Fu Manchu. The fact that the Chinese villain is played by a white actor is almost incidental. It isn't drawing on Victorian yellow-face traditions, incidentally: all the Chinese characters are actually meant to be Chinese. It isn't about time travel so much as doing a loving pastiche of pulp and penny dreadful novels. Which it does brilliantly, of course, which is why it is so controversial among the show's fans.

Thanks for some interesting feedback.

Andrew Rilstone said...

It's an interesting one because while it seems like it's a minor change that doesn't affect the essential nature of the thing, I can also understand why people might object in principle to having to change something totally innocuous (if indeed it is) because some other totally unconnected people on another continent used something superficially similar to be horrible.

That's a very convoluted way of putting it. People are doing a thing which, right now, has a particular meaning. If they carry on doing it, that has a particular meaning ("we don't care about the feelings of minorities".) If they stop doing it, that has a particular meaning as well ("we want our hobby to be inclusive").

I understand that the Mendips Morrismen have changed their name to the Mendips Morris Dancers for the same reason. (They haven't yet decided with to go the whole way and become the Persondips Morris Dancers.)

The "approved woke stance on the Buddhist use of the Swastika" is, I assume, that it depends on context, and that it would be possible to display the geometrical swastika in a way that was highly offensive, and in a way that was fairly innocuous. If someone published a huge black leather guide to meditation, and put a huge gold swastica on the spine, I would be careful where I displayed it, as Jewish people, if no-one else, might easily think that it is a book of an entirely different kind. As I said, everything is a negotiation.

Gavin Burrows said...

I know not of Morris dancing, except that you are best off avoiding it. I would be willing to cross the road or enlist in lengthy space missions to avoid such a thing. But I had always thought that the folk tradition blacking of the face came from the practice of poachers, who weren’t keen on their faces showing up at night when gamekeepers with guns might be about. They were commonly referred to as ‘blacks’, to the point the 1723 Act of Parliament designed to suppress them was called the Black Act. This became a kind of ‘bad boy’ image, the way a black scarf round a highwayman’s face went from function to look.

So I'd imagine the origins were probably not racist. But I don’t see why this should matter. Mention ‘blacks’ to random people in the street today, and I wouldn’t expect “oh, you mean those rascally Eighteenth Century poachers” to be the majority response. Short of Morris dancers wearing signs round their necks complete with footnotes and references, I’d say we’re better off avoiding the whole thing. Especially in a case such as this where it is so very easily avoided. (Examples already given above.)

Andrew Rilstone said...

Gavin: I know that you aren't averse to bit a bit of folk music from time to time. Does your aversion to The Morris extend to disliking Morris tunes?

The Mother Of All Morris by Ashley Hutchings https://open.spotify.com/album/4UklSEc4t23H308kBtvkFu?si=QeaGSVEkRaCeyRycLmkhhA

Adam said...

1/2 I have been following this debate for some time (full disclosure: son of a dancer), and think the debate will remain unsettled until it is properly picked apart (anyone got a PhD fund?).

The origins of morris, and border morris in particular are conflated. It pretty much depends on how old the morris side is as to what origin story you hear. However, whichever wave of revival the side comes from, it pretty much started with "It looks cool and imposing outside a pub".

Both the accusation - that the act itself is the offence - , and the defence - that it is a celebration of guising - are both problematic and a dead cert guarantee that this debate will not disappear.

Modern morris pretty much was a niche and undocumented activity between the usual references of Shakespeare et al, and the drive by the likes of Cecil Sharp, Percy Grainger et al of the nineteenth century idyllic reactions to the industrial revolution.

Border morris itself as we know it is pretty much the child of the 1960s folk revival, the garrulous simplistic style heavily linked to guising, begging and violence didn't appeal to the previous efforts.

The primary driver in Shropshire was the pairing of John Kirkpatrick and Roy Dommett in their early twenties, forming Shropshire Bedlams. They drew on guising as their primary influence, and saw the theatricality as a good response to the technical and 'clean' Cotswald and the regimented Northwest styles.

Unfortunately for the defence, Dommett is on record at saying Minstrelsy was a contributing influence for him. This is to be honest unsurprising, as the BBC retained the Black and White Minstrel Show far later than people think - up to the 1980s Thus, right from the start there is a mote in the Border eye. To date, I am yet to find a comment from Kirkpatrick though.

Guising is a very strong folk tradition. It is evident in many areas of England in particular. You reference several reasons already. What is often ignored is the political connotations - both the Rebeccas in Wales, and the Luddites in the North sooted up as part of their disguise, contributing to their reputation.

More mundanely, the Vagrancy Acts also caused sooting up as a way to beg for money (often including menaces) and also to threaten landowners to raise wages. It is also seen in agricultural labouring communities in the Fenlands. This can sometimes be seen in Molly and other sides in East Anglia (Writtlesford festival for example), Seven Champs were a side who danced in labourers clothes and stubble soot.

The white privilege element comes in when most border morris dancers do not even connect looking like a loon, whirling about and drinking beer with public and institutional racism, as to them their folk tradition is coming down from the presentation of that socio-economic experience (that also underpins the wider musical folk traditions).

Sides like the Witchmen and Wolfshead and Vixen for example do not present a race-based presentation and it takes either an in-depth knowledge of morris history, or a cursory assumption that it is so-linked. This overt callback to a supernatural element is also seen with Terry Pratchett and Steeleye Span’s collaboration in Wintersmith. If you want fireworks, ask a Pratchett (or Steeleye) fan how they feel about their idol countenancing privileged racism.

I can understand why people who are literate in folk history and customs can’t see the connection between such symbolism, and overt racial caricature like the Minstrels, and SchwartzPieter in the Netherlands. They see it as an attack on local traditions, not helped by Americans wading in over such examples as photos of coal miners have a pint down the pub having pride of place in said pub, or a South African white female singer anthropromorphising from a black panther and retaining the cat’s colouration.

Adam said...

2/2 Such debates continue elsewhere, in the historical re-enactor and Pagan communities there is a battle over appropriation of historical symbols. The Swastika has been the obvious one, appearing in several religious and historical contexts across continents, but pretty much lost in spite of some purists trying ot reclaim it. There are fights over Norse runes (Tyr in particular) and even Dragons as they attempt to invent white-only traditions.

The fear is continued contamination of symbology with new meanings, and effectively abandoning that symbology to corruption by association/equivalence without a fight and allowing expansion of that corruption. In this case, traditions referencing guising, socio-economic folk history and neo-paganism So, reluctance and resistance to changing symbology that is held by the followers of traditions is not surprising, and thus not a clean, clear or satisfactory resolution.

Andrew Rilstone said...

Adam: Thank you for one of the most interesting and informative posts I've ever had on my blog. (I know John Kirkpatrick as a singer and accordion player but had no idea he had a hand in creating the modern border "tradition.") If we get many more posts from people who know what they are talking about, this forum may have to close.

Gavin Burrows said...

Thanks for the link. Much of it does sound better without all those blokes prancing about.

I am exceedingly partial to folk music. I may have said this before, but I tend to like all forms of folk except of course that traditional kind. In the great Fairport Convention split, I am not greatly on the Ashley Hutchings side. I actively avoid anything using the dread term ‘authenticity’, which has the same effect upon culture as embalming fluid does on the human body.
However, regarding our Guardian writer friend, my own anecdotal experience suggests the folk scene, while often aesthetically conservative and definitely overwhelmingly white, is generally liberal in outlook - certainly less racist than the general population. The people who like to hear Somerset farmers singing about scything tend to be the same people who like to hear Ethiopian cattle herders singing about… well, if anyone knew their tribal language I suspect it would turn out to be herding cattle. Our Guardian writer friend is just filling up column space.
However, it’s also true the far right has often to see the folk scene as something to infiltrate. They tend to imagine its white people instinctively uniting to defend their culture against incursion, even if they’re unaware of it themselves. For that reason if nothing else I think it needs to remain vigilant.
(The music scenes the far right have tried to stick their paw in seem to be folk, oi and black metal. They must have the strangest record collections of all time.)

Andrew Rilstone said...

Serious question: what is an example of this moribund traditional folk you don't like? One feels there *ought* to be lots of earnest young men in cardigans with their fingers in their ears, but they rarely seem to actually come across them.

Is this the kind of thing you don't like:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Gavin Burrows said...

Perhaps inevitably, none of those really match what I meant. (In fact the first two at least sounded pretty good.) These days, I have enough trouble trying to remember the things I like. If I come across an example I’ll mention it.

I’m not sure earnestness is really the best way of describing it. There’s punk music which sounds pretty earnest, which I’m still good with. Indie punks even wear cardigans, sometimes, though I suspect in an ironic way. But while there are approximately a million and four punk bands who all sound (for example) like early Black Flag, the ideology around punk means that bands at least try to sound like something new. (Often failing, yes, but at least trying.) The problem with folk music (when it arises) is the desire to preserve and reproduce, which really pushes in the opposite direction.

Let’s say a folklorist finds an old sailor on a remote Scottish isle, who knows traditional songs previously unheard. (Unlikely in this day and age, true enough, but go with it.) Of course the best thing is that he manages to record those songs. But when they reach the ears of you and I then a kind of inevitable collision occurs, because we’re not of the world those songs came from. The best modern folk music doesn’t treat that as a problem to be overcome but as something to use. Perhaps not in an obvious way, but that feeling is there. This is where I am, my music should come from where I am.

The story (perhaps legend) is that both Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings left Fairport within a short period of time, she because she thought things had got too traditional and he because he wanted them to go further. Though I doubt she ever articulated it in anything like that way, I think that was more Denny’s approach.

Of course there’s others who go off on the other extreme, and very ostentatiously add a hurdy-gurdy to a grime beat (or whatever) then expect a Mercury prize. That may well be a worse thing, because the desire to preserve at least has good intentions.

Now to prove I’m not a robot again. Sean Young had it easier than this.

Andrew Rilstone said...

Sorry: I thought I'd switched the verification thing off.

I guess this is my point: on the modern folk scene, even the people who are very interested in the history and traditions of folk music are always putting their own interpretations on the material. Thom Ashworth (the guy doing the highwayman song) is at the most traditional end -- and even he is playing a not very traditional base guitar. Granny's Attic (the three young guys doing the song about spinners) are playing traditional instruments. I think that Cohen the accordion player did a masters thesis on styles of accordion playing in the Victorian music hall. But it's their own arrangement. Jim Moray does Another Man's Wedding completely straight and unaccompanied but seems to me to carry it off through the beauty of his voice and the power of his story telling. And Sam Kelly never fails to get young audiences singing along to Jacky Boy / Master even if the lyrics do go hey down ho down derry derry down. I believe his grandad was a traditional Irish flute player, but there's a lot of modern pop in his delivery.

I did once go to a concert by a guy called Tom McCarthy, who grew up in a traditional Romany family and genuinely learned songs from the oral tradition. (He sings songs that no-one else knows.) I must admit that after about an hour, the traditional "drone" type delivery became wearing... Although any one of them is good fun


Andrew Rilstone said...

You belong to us... You will become like us...

Andrew Rilstone said...

That seems much better.

Gavin Burrows said...

The last time I was only asked if I was two robots. Before, I was suspected of being six or seven robots. It was giving me a pain in all the diodes down my left side.
Maybe the obstacle here is language. It’s by nature conceptual, and can lead you to assign things to neat categories. Whereas of course most things exist on a spectrum. There may be no more to this debate than green shading into blue at a different place for you than me. The Hutchings Morris Dance album you linked to is for me already getting a bit blue. (Please don’t take that out of context.) I was happy enough listening to it, but would probably not choose to hear it again.
I realise this agreeing to disagree business is not the way the internet is supposed to work. If I think of some way later on where I can make some shrill denunciation of you over something or other, I’ll let you know.
One more way I’d say folk has specific features as a genre, at least to me. As a youngster I lacked older siblings, so the first music I heard was my Dad’s. His Blues records fascinated me because they were so strange and exotic, so unlike the music of the radio. But the folk music he had sounded equally strange. And the fact that English folk was theoretically our musical history only made it sound stranger. It was like inheriting some family heirloom, but having no real idea what it was or whether you could feed it after midnight. I think I still go with that feeling a lot now.

Let’s try to complete the colour wheel. Is something like Tunng too yellow for you?

Mike Taylor said...

Wait, what happened to my comment?

Mike Taylor said...

Oh, well, it seems to work now.

Andrew Rilstone said...

i don't recall seeing anything from you in this thread, but a Bad Thing could have happened while I was trying to remove the robot purity test thing.

Mike Taylor said...

I think it got confused when I tried to submit a comment before logging in. It prompted me to login (fair enough) but while I was doing so forgot my comment. Not to worry, it wasn't very exciting.