Help please – our Liver Bird needs a name!

Regular readers of our website will already be aware of the arrival of a young male Liver Bird into the midst of Mersey Morris.

But he doesn’t have a name yet. So please help us by suggesting suitable names.

Only a few guidelines:

  • Alliteration is good!
  • Name must be suitable for a  ‘male’ bird (it has some pride!)
  • Liverpool/Wirral/Mersey connection?
  • Obscenities and other inappropriate suggestions will be ignored.
The final decision will be made by the Bird itself – we’ll shout all the names and see which triggers the most positive reaction.

You can post your suggestions on the Mersey Morris Facebook page

New Liver Bird Spotted on the Wirral

For many years, Mersey Morris Men have had a ‘semi-tame’ Liver Bird as their team mascot. Or rather they have had a succession of Liver Birds as nature and Old Father Time have taken their course.

Mersey Liver BirdThe Mersey Morris Men’s Liver Bird appeared regularly with the dancers at special and important events, often putting in an appearance in Willaston on Boxing Day. The Bird even accompanied the Mersey Morris Men on some of their overseas tours, although EU Veterinary Regulations are now proving increasingly problematic.

From time to time, the chosen Liver Bird has brought along a younger member of its family to an event. Long-standing followers of Mersey Morris will recall that for many years, one Bird was almost inseparable from its egg, which developed a personality of its own.

Arthur and Liver BirdMore recently, a small orphaned Liver Bird has been putting in an appearance, sometimes by itself, sometimes with the team’s Bird,  but always accompanied by Arthur, the Mersey dancer that had adopted it.

However the Mersey Morris Men recognised the increasingly elderly status of their current Bird was beginning to affect its willingness to appear in public. And some ill-advised remarks about its weight were probably not helpful either.

And so a project was launched that the team hoped would ultimately result in the next generation of Liver Bird to appear in their performances.

With guidance from a local vet and other specialists, a careful breeding program was put in place to produce the ideal Liver Bird to appear alongside the Mersey Morris Men. And they believe it was successful!!!

After the normal period of hatching, fledging and maturing, Mersey Morris Men now have a Liver Bird with striking, almost iridescent plumage. And because it has grown up alongside morris men, it appears at ease with the dancers, the music and the audience. It should be pointed out that this is in marked contrast to some of the previous generations of Birds which have been decidedly irritable, some might say almost evil!!New Mersey Morris Liver Bird

As a result, Mersey Morris Men are hoping that their new Bird will be seen out around the Wirral a lot more regularly, and hopefully further afield as its strength and confidence grows. So whenever you see Mersey Morris Men, the ‘new’ Liver Bird is probably not far away….

Now, he just needs a name!!!

Reality Strikes and the 2014 Summer Challenge!

We have gone speeding past the end of January and I realise I have now been officially ‘in post’ as Squire of MMM for almost a month, since the MMM AGM in early January.

At the AGM, there were no last minute electoral shenanigans, due process was observed and Squire regeneration took place painlessly.

Mersey Morris Squires at agm 2014I was presented with the accoutrements of office :

  • Two Staffs of Office from the Morris Ring for my safe-keeping. Why two? One was presented to Mersey Morris Men and we also have the original Staff of Office presented to our predecessors at Liverpool Morris Men in 1936
  • The Squire’s tankard, freshly engraved with my name below the names of those that have held the office before me, starting with Ken Winter in 1959.
  • And for my baldricks? The Squire’s badge which has the normal blue and yellow colours reversed. Great for those ‘spot the difference’ competitions!

Then, the grim reality of my predicament began to sink in. When you are a ‘normal’ member of a morris team, whether dancer or musician, you can turn up to practices and events, and just wait for something to happen, because someone will tell you what to do.

Apparently that life of being a ‘passenger’ is behind me for the next three years! People are waiting for someone to tell them what’s happening, and then looking at me to do it!!

Luckily, during the practice season, Richard our Foreman is actually the one to be obeyed.

With our dance season kicking off with Devil’s Dyke Ring Meeting in early April, my first intellectual challenge as Squire will be creating a mental matrix of our dance repertoire – easy/intermediate/challenging + hankie/stick + regularly danced/never practised etc, and mapping the varying abilities of our team of dancers and musicians on to it.

I can see without that picture, it is difficult to build a sensible dance set list for any specific event with the dancers available. And I applaud those that have done it before me!!

This year, jigs were introduced as an integral part of every Monday night practice for the first time since I’ve been a member of Mersey MM. This has given members of all abilities an opportunity to have a go at a jig from each of our main Cotswold traditions – Fieldtown, Bampton, Headington, Bleddington and Sherborne. More recently, four of us attended the excellent Jigs Instructional organised by The Morris Ring to be immersed in dancing morris jigs from multiple traditions for a complete weekend – knackering and totally mind numbing!

As part of this re-introduction of jigs back into the wilds of the Wirral,  I decided that jigs should form an integral part of our performance repertoire this summer, and that this dance ‘burden’ ought to be shared by as many as possible(!) rather than by just 2 or 3 long-standing members as has happened in the past. And so to make things easier, jigs will not only be performed solo but in twos or threes.

Turning this “Squire’s declaration” into “performance reality” will be an interesting summer challenge for everyone, and the team have already been warned!! We will get there 🙂