Sunday, 9 January 2011

Keyboard Monday

Though looking forward to Suroopa's post, I thought you might like another brief interlude in the round robin.

In researching the seventeenth century, one of the more interesting customs that I have come across is Plough Monday - still celebrated in many part of this country, though not so much in Islington these days. Plough Monday is the first Monday after Twelfth Night, when traditionally the farm workers would return to the plough (or other fine agricultural implement of their choice) after the Christmas festivities. Of course, it was also an excuse for a last round of celebrations, including dancing, dressing up, parading a decorated plough round the village and collecting money for some vaguely defined cause. In some places it seems to have resembled trick or treating (you can do quite a lot of damage with a plough, if somebody declines to pay up).

Of course, not many of us plough these days, but office work does follow a similar pattern. London has been fairly quiet since Christmas - you can still actually get a seat on the tube. From Monday though things will be largely back to normal. And for us writers too, I guess. It's been easy for the past couple of weeks to find reasons for not getting down to the w.i.p. - the Sales have to be visited, the tax forms have to be filled in and the Christmas tree has to come down - but from Monday there can be no further excuses. In the absence of a plough to decorate (and I've promised my family never to do Morris Dancing again) I think we need to come up with a few suitable customs for Keyboard Monday. Any ideas?

12 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

Oh, please do a spot of Morris Dancing Len, and post a photo! (Or Morris Dance round a plough in Islington - dangling copies of your novels instead of bells - and The Sun might take the picture for you...?)

Tim Stretton said...

Let's load up a handcart of our unsold novels and hawk them round the streets - and to satisfy Frances, all attired in Morris dancing outfits.

At the end we can light an enormous bonfire of all the celebrity biographies keeping our finely-wrought prose from the shelves, perhaps in the square outside Len's London home.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Tim, that sounds very disturbing and loads of fun. I'm in! I think we need a catchy song as well, such as 'Hey Nonny With My Wrist Splints' or 'The Hay-on-Wye Hawker Hop'.

Tim Stretton said...

Of course, I can't conceive of any meaningful celebration which doesn't involve setting fire to something. A nice sing-song would add to the occasion for sure - perhaps you can practice on the Singstar?

Aliya Whiteley said...

La.

Frances Garrood said...

Actually, let's make it Trafalgar Square (no offence, Islington). Publicity guraranteed, if we make enough noise. And plenty of room for Tim's fires.

Eliza Graham said...

I think I should mark the day by MENDING my keyboard. I still don't have a 'c' and when I need one it's quite a faffle.

Len Tyler said...

Good to see we are all hard at work this morning! Frances - there is a very old picture of me dancing with the Hong Kong Morris Men, but it is safely under lock and key. Tim - I agree that this is exactly the sort of custom we need - with a Writer's Curse being placed on all who refuse to buy. Aliya - yes, a rousing song is definitely required. (The Writers' Flag is deepest red, Just like our bank accounts, it's said.) Eliza - if you don't have a 'c' how can you type "I don't have a 'c'"? Writing a novel without a 'c' in it would certainly be a challenge, though.

Frances Garrood said...

Len dancing with Hong Kong Morris Men...this has to be worth seeing. Would you take a bribe, Len?

C. N. Nevets said...

If only I'd known, I would have overnight airmailed you all some Morris Dance handkerchiefs embroidered with the words, "Thank you very much for the opportunity to read your excellent story, but we regret that we are unable to us it at this time. Kind regards and best wishes."

Aliya Whiteley said...

I want one! All writers should have such a handkerchief for Keyboard Monday. Or any day, in fact.

C. N. Nevets said...

*googles* "how the heck do I embroider a couple and a half dozen words onto a handkerchief when I haven't sewn much since the seventh grade?"