AntiMorris & RTFM FAQ

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About the AntiMorris

What, exactly, is the "AntiMorris"?

"AntiMorris" is our term for the other morris dance that Terry Pratchett describes in Reaper Man.  You can read the relevant quotations here.

Are "AntiMorris", "Dark Morris", and "Other Morris" all the same thing?

Yes.  In Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett referred to it merely as the "other" morris, and when Ravenswood Morris started dancing it in 1999, we decided to call it "AntiMorris".  More recently, Pratchett began calling it "Dark Morris".  Ravenswood Morris switched to referring to it as "Dark Morris", but RTFM prefers to stick with "AntiMorris". 

History

How long has this been going on?

Ravenswood Morris, of Chicago, started doing it in October 1999.  This is the earliest instance known to us of a group dancing the AntiMorris -- aside, of course, from the Lancre dancers mentioned in Reaper ManRecently Traditional Fictional Morris (RTFM) was formed in 2001, when a trio of former Ravenswood Morris dancers moved to Boston and wanted to continue the tradition.  They recruited a sufficiency of additional personnel, and the dancing goes on.

Other AntiMorris Dancers

Does anybody else do it?

Other AntiMorris-dancing teams we have heard about include Ravenswood Morris (of Chicago, IL), White Rats Morris (of San Francisco, CA), Snowbelt Morris (of Rochester, NY), and Snag Morris (a mysterious group based somewhere in the UK).  We ran across a website for the Lancre Morris Men, and would love to learn more about their observance of this tradition, but the site appears to be gone.  If you dance the AntiMorris, or know of anyone who does, we would love to know about it.

Why

Why do you do it?

Because we're Terry Pratchett fans.  Because it's a silly thing to do.  Because we think balance in the world might be a good thing.  Because you don't have to get up so early to dance at dusk.  Because the sun might not go down if we don't.  Because it's become traditional for us to do so.  Or, in Terry Pratchett's own words, "To kill the trees and make the frost flowers bloom".

When

When do you do it?

On October 31, starting just before sunset.  We meet at around 5:00PM and sing a few pumpkin carols to set the mood.  The dancing begins at about 5:39PM, the local sunset time.
Note that, prior to 2007's change in Daylight Saving Time, sunset and our dancing were both one hour earlier according to local clocks.

Where

Where do you do it?

Since 2002, RTFM has always danced the AntiMorris at the Somerville Community Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave., Somerville, MA.

Kit

What do the dancers wear?

RTFM's official kit (costume) is black shirt & trousers, mottled gray double baldrics with octarine ribbons, white bell pads with black octiron sound-absorbing bells, black hankies, white shoes, and a hat that's not part of a morris kit for another side.

Terry Pratchett's Response

Did Terry Pratchett know about it?

Oh yes, he knew about it.  He definitely approved, and was quite amused by it.  He was also, apparently, slightly creeped out.

After the AntiMorris

If it's a silent dance, are people supposed to clap at the end?

Audience members can do whatever they want, but a "tradition" has sprung up of clapping silently (with the hands not quite making contact).

What happens after the AntiMorris has been danced?

When the final dance ends, the dancers lead a silent procession through the labyrinth.  Feel free to join in, just please maintain silence.  Also, leave plenty of space between you and whoever is in front of you, or there will be a pile-up in the middle.  After emerging from the labyrinth, the dancers of RTFM will quietly disperse, not to be seen again until next year.  However, as with that other dance that's done in the springtime, if you do happen to see one of the dancers afterwards, it's also traditional to buy beer or cider for them.

Are there other related activities that happen that evening?

Yes!  After the AntiMorris, the evening's festivities are far from over, because very shortly thereafter The Paper Bag Mummers (PBM) convene just outside the gates of the growing center and perform a short play.  This performance marks the starting point of PBM's annual Oxford Street Souling Tour, in which the group processes from the growing center to the far end of nearby Oxford Street, performing a traditional soul-caking play wherever they find an audience along the way.

This page belongs to and is maintained by Jeremy H. Kessler.  It was last updated on 16 August 2015.
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