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OK. Technically this is day 15 in the ongoing saga, but hopefully it's a bit more like a regular update and rather less like me relentlessly documenting life without ligaments :) (Instead, I shall relentlessly waffle on about rapper.)

DERT practice )
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What with all the organising, planning and general cat-herdery of getting two rapper teams to Brussels (and back without mishap or arrest) last weekend, DERT has somewhat crept up on me this year. For those who haven't been listening to me bang on for years, DERT is the annual competition for the kind of sword dancing (rapper) that I do.

DERT 2015is in Bristol, and Mabel Gubbinsare back in their spiritual home of the Championship League.

We're a bit under-rehearsed. If last night is anything to go by, at least some of us will be a bit hungover. We are (it turns out) almost old enough to compete a veterans.

But never mind... Wish us luck!

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Those of you who have seen my rapper team's Facebook updates will already know the punchline to this story: we had to pull out of the competition at the weekend.

Some bad news )

So we went to spectate, instead )

And I had a lovely Sunday lunch )
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Long-term readers will know that around this time of year DERT happens. DERT - the Dancing England Rapper Tournament - is the annual competition for the style of folk dancing that I do. This year it's in Leeds.

This year it is also an unexpectedly big deal for Mabel Gubbins. Firstly, we're in Premier.

Aaaargh! )

Secondly, as of this moment there are no takers to run DERT next year.

Aaaargh! )

Anyway, if you're in or around the Leeds area, there will a range of opportunities for watching sword dancing in pubs a week on Saturday. You can watch the finest teams in the land, nay, the world! Or, of course, you could watch us (but only if you cheer violently and help increase our buzz score).

Which also brings me to my other question: I shall be free of swords and other such things by Sunday lunchtime, does anyone Leeds-based fancy meeting up for a pub lunch, beer, coffee, or other social engagement? [livejournal.com profile] strange_complex, [livejournal.com profile] maviscruet, [livejournal.com profile] nalsa, any others?
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Early March, you say? Doesn't that mean it's about time I wrote about the annual rapper dancing competition, DERT? Why yes, it is.

Going for a Burton )

Leodensians! People of Leeds! The dance extravaganza, beer bonanza and all-round travelling circus that is DERT rolls into your city next year. See you there ;)
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Last weekend, as I mentioned at the time, was the annual international extravaganza of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament. Yes, genuinely international! with England, Scotland and the US represented. Those three (and occasionally Norway) do tend to be the lot. Thrales Rapper, based in Southwark, were the host team and they centred the weekend's proceedings on Cecil Sharp House in Camden.

Confused reflections of a Mabel )

Our second competition dance, in the oddly-shaped Shaston Arms:



The whole YouTube selection of footage
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Don't forget, London-based persons... it's not too late to watch people playing silly-buggers with swords this weekend:

http://www.dert2012.co.uk

Read the saga of Mabel's DERTy shirts )
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And while we're on the subject of DERT... I don't think I posted much about last year's rapper competition (which we organised), because I was too busy, er, organising it.

However, someone got in touch with us just before the competition, and asked if she could come and make a short documentary about it. The trailer for the film she made is now up on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150604256509332

(You don't need to be signed in to Facebook to see it)
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Are you
(a) bored of the Olympics
(b) not bored of me banging on about rapper[*]
(c) conveniently near London in a fortnight's time?

If so, I commend to you The Rapperlympics, this year's incarnation of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament.

If you are interested, you have two options: paying lots of money for a ticket which entitles you to all manner of things, or paying no money at all and sitting in a Soho pub of your choice waiting for dance teams to show up and perform for you. Formal timetable for ticketed events is here, list of pubs in which you can sit and watch the fun for nowt is here.

If you're interested in seeing/avoiding seeing me dancing, I shall be in the Olympic class.

[*] Actually, I've done remarkably little banging on about it recently. For anyone who's forgotten or never known: rapper is a form of folk dancing from the north east of England. To do it you need five people, a bunch of flexible metal "swords" called rappers and very little sense of self-preservation or dignity. See my posts tagged rapper or dert for more waffly detail than you could ever possibly want.
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Do you live in Oxford? Do you have a passing familiarity with city centre pubs? Are you free on March 5th? Would you like to give up your entire Saturday for no money?

Excellent, sign up here! )
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A rapper team which is really going places probably wants a Tommy. The Tommy's job is to get the pub into order, drum up attention, entertain, and, as a last resort, cover up mistakes. Ideally, the Tommy can also slot in to replace any of the five dancers should one expire, and must be able to whip out a spare sword and get it into the dance should one break.

The observant will note that that means the Tommy ought logically to be the best dancer - able to fill any of the five slots. In practise, that's usually not true. Boojum's Tommy (who's called Ian) is actually able to dance all five positions but it's not common. On the one occasion we managed to shatter a sword, he'd palmed the spare he carries into the set and removed the debris so effectively that most of the audience didn't notice. He's great.

They also sing... )
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On Friday, I said I was off to compete in the national (nay, international) rapper-dancing competition. And that we were just going along for the fun of it, having not practised particularly intensively, and that we'd just sit back and enjoy the weekend.

Did we? )
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I don't seem to have done much rapper-related posting on here for a while (new readers who don't know what rapper is, begin here :)

Anyway, it's DERT time again - the national rapper competition where grown people wave bits of metal round their heads, suddenly take their dancing inexplicably seriously and, in some cases, drink too much. Derby beware.

Are we ready? )
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For those who like loose ends tied up, our fifth competitive dance went spectacularly well - it was in the Cumberland Arms (spiritual home of rapper teams), danced in front of a wall plastered with rapper trophies past and present, to an amazingly enthusiastic audience.

We also danced at the (non-competitive) evening gala, but that was a bit of a disaster )

Sadly, when the winners were announced we weren't in the top three of our class. The full results aren't out yet (or if they are, I haven't seen them) so I don't know how well we did do; the marks are always an interesting read and give us a hint on what to work on next.

A fun weekend, though.
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Just a quick note for those of you who like to keep up with the cut-throat world of competitive sword-dancing: this weekend sees DERT, the national rapper competition, in Newcastle.

Dance teams are marked on various technical matters, and on the elusive "buzz factor" - the rather unquantifiable quantity of being exciting. A recent reading of this year's rules suggests that any team receiving a standing ovation will automatically score full marks for buzz. So if anyone happens to be flapping around Byker with nothing to do tomorrow, feel free to come and stand-up while cheering wildly shortly after we've danced (or, if you're influenced by merit, after someone else has danced).

Careful studying of the world's most confusing timetable (Mabel Gubbins are on tour 7, cycle 2, rotating anti-clockwise[*]), our approximate plan with spuriously accurate timing is:

The Ship (11:37 - 12:13)
Egypt Cottage (13:00 - 13:36)
Eye of the Tyne[**] (14:57 - 15:33)
The Tanners (16:21 - 16:57)
Cumberland Arms (17:44 - 18:20)

There is an evening showcase of all teams in the Artworks gallery, though I believe there's a £5 charge for that.

Oh, and I'm not joking about the cut-throat. Competitive rapper is serious stuff.

[*] I have no idea.
[**] Yes thanks, I am going to be failing to make this scan to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. All day.
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Well, as I said around twelve months ago, it's that time of year again, kids. Once again the Dancing England Rapper Tournament is upon us.

Well, it's upon some of us, anyway :) )
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It's that time of year again, kids. Rapper competition time.

DERTy history )

The competition this weekend )

How art the mighty fallen )
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I met [livejournal.com profile] elethiomel for dinner on Friday night. Haven't seen him in a while )

Then I went to Glasgow for the weekend. This was good in several ways. )

Designated Hero of the Week )

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