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Author Topic: Incest and Morris dancing
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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It seems there's no definitive answer to this question, but who originated this saying?

quote:
You should try everything once except incest and morris dancing
A quick web search suggests that Sir Thomas Beecham is the most popular candidate, but it's also attributed to Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir Arnold Bax, Stephen Fry, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and WC Fields (as well as being referred to in the title of books by Jonathan Meades and Linzi Drew). And if I'd been asked before searching, I'd probably have said Noel Coward.

Personally I find it slightly worrying, as my sister has recently taken up morris dancing...

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I'm 20th Century Fox
Happy Holly Days


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OK, not knowing what Morris Dancing is, I looked it up:

http://www.streetswing.com/histmain/z3moris.htm

Perhaps I'm not the only one who'd never heard of it before?

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Ghost on Toast
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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It's a British tradition so there is no reason why you should know about it unless you'd been here really.

There are some things America doesn't have to know about you know! [Big Grin]

Yes, I've heard that quote a thousand times but never knew who said it .

It's wrong though - morris dancers are as funny as hell and as English as crumpets.

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Moosedog
The Red and the Green Stamps


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In school we learned a simplified version of Morris Dancing in PE.
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I'm 20th Century Fox
Happy Holly Days


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They call me the trivia queen here at work, so I was just surprised I'd never heard of Morris Dancing, that's all. Just a compulsion of mine, like looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary.

There are some things America doesn't have to know about you know!

Ghost, you're too funny! But it's not a secrect anymore, bwaahaahaaaa! [Smile]

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When my chin is on the ground I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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My mother was quite an accomplished Morris dancer.

Silas

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Billy Biggles
Deck the Malls


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I heard it as incest and folk dancing, and it was supposedly Sir Arnold Bax who said it. Du Lieber Gott, he was a Streatham boy, do you suppose he ever met Naomi Campbell's mum?

I reckon in the early twentieth century it was considered a slightly daring thing to say , which is why it gets foisted on Beecham as well, conductors being allowed to get away with risqué comments to hype up the orchestra.

By the by, the usual Laphroiag and Old Peculier to anybody who can spot the connection between Sir Thomas Beecham and a British English slang term for testicles.

By the by the by, Silas
quote:
My mother was quite an accomplished Morris dancer.
Sparkhammer, I am stealing your line, but I will always acknowledge you as the progenitor.

Billy "Orchestra Stalls" Biggles

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Cogito ergo sum, non sum qualis eram. Putting Descartes before the Horace every time.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Billy Biggles:
By the by, the usual Laphroiag and Old Peculier to anybody who can spot the connection between Sir Thomas Beecham and a British English slang term for testicles.

Didn't you just give it away? Orchestra, as in orchestra stalls, as in balls? As John T. Sladek noted, the orchestra is named because it is before the dance. Change one letter and you get orchis, which was named by the Greeks because they thought it resembled the scrotum.

Silas ("I'll never think of 'ball-room dancing' the same way again") Sparkhammer

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Billy Biggles
Deck the Malls


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posted by Silas Sparkhammer
quote:
Didn't you just give it away?
No, I gave nothing away. I said British English, not rhyming slang. But top marks for the Greek, and an astonished coo for the John Sladek reference.

Perhaps this will help. (Don't go further than the first line.) Keep digging. Find an Urdu dictionary.

Billy "Pillicock sat on pillicock hill" Biggles

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Cogito ergo sum, non sum qualis eram. Putting Descartes before the Horace every time.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Billy Biggles:
No, I gave nothing away. I said British English, not rhyming slang. But top marks for the Greek, and an astonished coo for the John Sladek reference.

Nope, then, way out'n my depth.

(Oh, how I adore Sladek! I was even able to find a couple of his "Thackeray Phin" mysteries!)

Silas

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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Folk singer Stan Rogers describes Morris Dancing tongue-in-cheek in his live intro to his song, "The Idiot"
Stan Rogers intros

Scroll halfway down for the text.

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my blog
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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I thought Morris dancers were the 'dire warning' consequence of incest? [Wink]

I've not heard Beechams used for bollocks in a loonngg time...i'll have a pint of OP Billy', but you can keep your Laphroig, peat flavoured parafin - neat gin tastes better! [Smile]

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Ghost on Toast
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Carolina Grill - Oh no!

She must be stopped she knows THE SECRET of Morris Dancing - argh!

[Big Grin]

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Top Kat
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
It seems there's no definitive answer to this question, but who originated this saying?

quote:
You should try everything once except incest and morris dancing
A quick web search suggests that Sir Thomas Beecham is the most popular candidate, but it's also attributed to Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir Arnold Bax, Stephen Fry, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and WC Fields (as well as being referred to in the title of books by Jonathan Meades and Linzi Drew). And if I'd been asked before searching, I'd probably have said Noel Coward.

Personally I find it slightly worrying, as my sister has recently taken up morris dancing...

I seriously doubt whether WC Fields (or any American) would have said it. As has been seen in this thread, Morris dancing is not well known in the US.
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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
A sympathetic Scot summed it all up very neatly in the remark, "You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing."
Sir Arnold Bax, Farewell my Youth (1943)

quote:
Graham Parlett informs me that the 'sympathetic Scot' mentioned here can be identified as Guy Warrack (1900-86), the Scottish composer and conductor. This was confirmed in a letter from Warrack to Colin Scott-Sutherland, when he was working on his biography of Bax. Thanks Graham! Guy Warrack's youngest son, Giles, confirmed this in January 2001 and is happy to see this famous quote attributed to him as many people attribute it to Shaw (unlikely) and Thomas Beecham (more likely, and my father knew him pretty well). He wonders if anyone has a copy of his father's letter to Scott-Sutherland? If so, contact Giles Warrack at 2412 Springwood Drive, Greensboro, NC 27403-2030, (336)-292-9272, e-mail warrack@earthlink.net. Source
Kathy "Bax to the future" B.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Billy Biggles
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:

I've not heard Beechams used for bollocks in a loonngg time...i'll have a pint of OP Billy', but you can keep your Laphroig, peat flavoured parafin - neat gin tastes better! [Smile] [/QB]

Oh well, de gustibus ain't what they used to be. Holland or London or Bombay?

But the connection I was really after was this: the soldiers in India during the Raj giggled boyishly when pedlars wandered around selling headache tablets as "Doctor Beecham's goolies." Gola is Urdu for pill, and the word came into British English. These are not the same thing at all at all...

Billy "From Ghosties and Ghoulies, and long leggittie beasties, and things that go bump in the night... Good Lord Deliver Us!" Biggles

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Cogito ergo sum, non sum qualis eram. Putting Descartes before the Horace every time.

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Top Kat:
As has been seen in this thread, Morris dancing is not well known in the US.

One of the great accomplishments of the "Pilgrims".

Now playing: Plain Capers - Morris Dance Tunes from the Cotswalds

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I should have known that Kathy B would find the answer! I missed it at the time... thanks!
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