Every year, as May 1st approaches, I start making plans to see the Brighton Morris Men dance in the summer at Hollingbury Fort.
The night before, the Morris Men dance at a series of Hanover pubs. They retire to someone’s house for a few more drinks and then head out onto the Downs in time for dawn.
Every year, almost without fail, I decide against setting my alarm to watch the dancers. I’ve only actually made it once, back in the noughties. I remember trying to find my way in the dark, following the sound of bells. As the sky lightened, dancers circled the fort, just about keeping their footing on the damp grass. It was a magical experience, and I wish I’d taken the opportunity to do it more often.
I love the rituals that mark our passage through the year. There’s an importance to the continuity of these things. Obviously, I could not go and see the ritual this year – but I hope it still took place. I’d like to think there were a handful of socially-distanced dancers, setting the summer in motion.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list