Molly’s up down Deptford

I appear to have neglected the folk dance this year, so tied up have I been with other stuff. But yesterday I went down to darkest Deptford to meet up with Molly dancing friends in the Fowlers Troop. Deptford, birthplace of diarist John Evelyn and the scene of playwright Christopher Marlowe’s murder, is for some reason always described as “dark”. It does seem fitting.

Fowlers Tropp Molly dancers in Deptford, 13 December 2009 (1)

Molly is a winter version of Morris dance, and grew out of the farm labourers’ community in East Anglia. It has been likened to Morris dancing with menaces.

Fowlers Tropp Molly dancers in Deptford, 13 December 2009 (2)

The venue was the free house Dog and Bell, an old back-street local that serves decent beer and has a friendly mixed-race clientele. It was a cold day, with an icy northeasterly wind. The dancers clearly had the better of it, with the rest of us shivering on the pavement, pint pots in hand.