Culture vulture

11th February 2005 at 00:00
Morris, melodeon and movies hit the spot for Carol Macklin

Morris dancing

I'm in a morris team called the Slubbing Billys. We dance a particular style of morris called North-West, which creates patterns based on the movements of cotton-mill machinery. Our name is from the woollen mills, because that's what there was round here. There are more than 30 of us, men and women and a mix of ages from 12 to 70. We practise on Tuesday nights in a village hall in Slaithwaite. We perform all over the country. We've stayed in an underground Napoleonic fort in Kent and a medieval castle in Northumbria. We go as a family: my partner joined after me and my children dance as well.

I also play the melodeon. It's a bit like an accordion but it's diatonic: the note changes depending on whether you push or pull. It's very much a morris instrument; it has a very punchy sound.

Best book ever

Jung Chang's Wild Swans, about three generations of women growing up in China. A friend said, "you must read this" and I thought, "that will be heavy going", but it was engrossing.

Favourite outing

We have our own cinema, the Picturedrome, in Holmfirth, just down the hill.

You can have a glass of red wine sitting in the old-fashioned plush chairs and watch a film. It also holds live events, such as parts of the Holmfirth folk festival. I saw the Peatbog Fairies, an amazing folk band, there.

They're really dancy; you could almost call them folk rave.

Best film ever

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wonderful casting, wonderful directing, so exciting and dramatic. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen, pictured) was quite gorgeous.

Best museum

In the customs and excise section of Liverpool's Maritime Museum, which sounds dry but isn't, you look at the addresses on parcels and their shapes and decide whether they are suspicious. There's a toilet where you see what people have swallowed and how the customs officers retrieve it. When we left, my son said: "If there's one thing I've learned today it's how to smuggle drugs!"

Looking forward to

The morris season, which starts in April. And our own weekend of dance on May 20-22. It's on the Slubbing Billys website: Carol Macklin, 46, teaches in the early years unit of Fairfield special school in West Yorkshire. She was talking to Karen Gold

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