Well, not exactly, because we at Steampunk Morris don’t do waltzes. But metaphorically it is because the side has done its last public performance for 2014 (well, that’s unless anyone is offering us up something between now and New Year…). So the side’s second year of existence is completed and what a year it has been. We have danced at Morris events (Grimspound’s May weekend, Seven Champions day of Dance, Brighton Morris Day of Dance, Croydon Night of Dance, Boughton’s Annual picnic), we have performed at biker’s events (Teddy Bear Bikers and English Roses), we’ve been to a Space Rock Festival (Sonic Solstice), we have strutted our stuff at Folk Festivals (and what a time we had at our second outing to Lyme Folk Weekend!), and we have morrised our way through a number of steampunk events (Surrey Convivial, Eastbourne, Chatham Dockyard Festival of Steam & Transport, and lastly the first Convivial at Crossness Pumping Station). And what a venue that is! My last post introduced the pumping station and its history but to really get the idea you have to visit it and see how beautiful the place really is, including those parts that have not (yet?) been restored. Stunningly beautiful painted columns stand alongside their rusting siblings, a lovingly restored steam beam engine sits across the way from its three corroded kin. The location was a fantastic venue for a steampunk event and the old boiler house was an excellent performance space – good floor, good light and a lot of reverb for the music.
Apart from ourselves performing the day included the old steampunk favourites of umbrella fencing and tea duelling with quite a few new, and young, participants. But possibly the most attractive of the goings on, with the exception of Bazalgette’s architecture and engineering prowess, was the demonstration of Tesla coils. Only in such a large space could these amazing examples of high voltage transformers be set up and switched on emitting amazing bolts of purple light flickering from the coils to the floor and iron columns of the building accompanied by a tremendous roaring sound. Absolutely incredible and something that attracted all those who attended the day (which was a total sell out incidentally).
So what happens now? Well Steampunk Morris now go back into the true practice season which means that on Monday evenings we’ll be found in the crypt at the George Vault’s on Rochester High Street teaching the dances to those newer dancers that have joined us during the past year, improving the performance of the existing dances – sorting out issues and general tidying up where necessary, probably creating one or two new dances. On Tuesday evenings, again at the George Vaults, the musicians will get together to practice not just the material they already have but new tunes for any new dances, musical interludes, and also some more traditional, folky-kind-of-stuff for those times when having that kind of material is useful as a morris side’s band. So, if you’re thinking ‘I wouldn’t mind a crack at this’ or ‘I like this Steampunky-morris malarky and would like to know more’, you know where to find us: The George Vault’s, High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1LN. We are looking out for new members – dancers and musicians – no previous experience is needed, so why not pop in and see us – we’re in the Crypt!