From: SEFAN [admin_at_sefan_dot_org_dot_uk]
Sent: 03 July 2006 09:48
Subject: SEFAN:2006-07-03:01.ANNOUNCE. Dwyle flunking at the Lewes Arms, Sunday 9th. July, 2.30 pm onwards

Begin forwarded message:

From: ValmaiGoodyear_at_aol_dot_com
Date: 1 July 2006 14:47:31 BDT
Subject: Dwyle flunking at the Lewes Arms, Sunday 9th. July, 2.30 pm onwards

Dear Everyone,
The annual fixture between the Lewes Operatic Society and the hop-based life-forms of the front bar will be held at 2.30 pm on Sunday 9th. July. All musicians are not only welcome, but protected by heavy fines from being splashed with stale beer and eligible for bribes in the form of free drinks.
For those of you who have not witnessed this ancient and almost mystical sport, there are two teams of twelve. They dress themselves in bucolic gear and their kit is inspected by the umpire before play begins. Points are deducted for poor turn-out, such as the absence of twirlers (string tied round trouser legs to keep rats out) and excessively flarksy weskits.
The first member of the batting side takes a position next to a bucket of carefully-matured beer in which is a swadger (broom handle) with a dwyle (bar towel) wrapped round the end. At a blast on the umpire's duck whistle, music strikes up and out desperately (that's where you come in) and the members of the fielding team join hands and dance round the batsman in a circle. When the umpire blows again the dancing team must immediately stop, but must not break the circle. The batsman must then immediately flunk the dwyle at any member of the opposing team. He scores one point for a hit on the arms or legs, two for a hit on the body and three for a hit on the head. If he misses, he has to drink a pint straight down in less time than it takes the fielders to pass the swadger from hand to hand round the circle or lose a point.
The batsman may be fined for hesitation; the fielders may be fined for breaking the circle or moving after the whistle. Anyone may be fined for intimidation. A batsman who splashes the band or onlookers is fined. A side whose score is weak can improve it by bribing the umpire, scorer or the band with drink, gifts or sexual favours. One year every member of a team gave the umpire a scented candle, so this is not necessarily as attractive as it might sound. Bribes are declared to the scorer and registered in the score book. At the end of the match the losing side may empty the bucket over the umpire.
This is obviously a pagan survival which has evaded religious persecution by adopting a faintly Christian disguise. Students of folklore will recognise elements from the Grail legends: the Holy Spear, the vinegar-soaked rag and the vessel of bitter drink. The dancers in their circle echo the twelve apostles, but also the members of a coven. The batsman is a sacrificial victim who spreads blessing in the form of a stylised asperging before being despatched for the good of the community. The umpire's fate would have originally been ritual drowning, but appears to have been converted to stylised baptism in accordance with the practices of the more modern religion.
This is a much more venerable and stimulating sporting contest than any other which may be on display before the public at the same time.
(N.B. Not indoors if wet.)
Tootle pip,
Valmai Goodyear
20, St. John's Terrace, Lewes, BN7 2DL

01273 476757

Lewes Arms Folk Club
Residents: Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard, Valmai Goodyear, Steve & Diane Nevill, George Oakley, Robert O'Mahony, Derek Seed

Workshops last a full Saturday and the tutor performs at the club in the evening. Booking forms are available from the club and can be printed from the website.

Mick Ryan & Pete Harris - Songwriting & folk drama, 18th. February
Coope Boyes & Simpson  - Vocal harmony, 1st. April
Georgina Boyes  - Early song collectors in Sussex, 1st. April (p.m.)
Gavin Bird, Melodeon, 3rd. June
Martin Carthy -  Guitar & song, 10th. June
Sandra Kerr -  Concertina (all systems) 8th. July
John Kirkpatrick  - Anglo concertina, 16th. September
Nancy Kerr  - Fiddle, 7th. October
James Fagan  - Bouzouki & cittern, 7th. October
Alistair Anderson - Concertina (all systems) 28th. October (a.m.)
Dave Townsend & Phil Humphries  - West Gallery Carols, Saturday 18th. November
Dave Townsend  - Sacred Harp, Sunday 19th. November
Phil Humphries  - Early Music for Folk Musicians, Sunday 19th. November
Brian Peters  - Melodeon, 2nd. December
Gordon Tyrrall - Whistle & Flute, 2nd. December
Brian Peters - Ballad Forum, Sunday 3rd. December

Penny Allen      /      Anthony John Allen

South East Folk Arts Network:
Charity registered in England and Wales No: 1111883
Company Limited by Guarantee No: 5114495 registered in Cardiff

Meltdown English Ceilidhs:

89 Hollingbury Park Avenue, Brighton,  BN1 7JQ
Tel.  +44 (0)1273 541453
Fax. +44 (0)1273 554189