Saturday, 22 August 2009

Extreme moon metal

Through research for Moonwalking, I've stumbled upon several full-moon-named shops, websites, celebrations, groups, stories and more that continue to reappear. If I speak to people about the full moon, they tell me tales of tides and insomnia; however, if I ask internet search engines, this is what they tell me.

Full Moon Party, Thailand
It's a way of getting drunk...

Once a month, by the light of the full moon, lots of twenty-somethings seem to travel to a beautiful Thai Island called Koh Phangan, make their way to the long, soft, sunbaked sands of Haad Rin Beach, and imbibe enough alcohol to ensure a stomach-pumping next morning. From the YouTube video I've just watched through my fingers, the moon doesn't really matter; its good name is just abused for the sake of a regular drinking day.

Full Moon Festival, Germany
It's a way of getting drunk...

"An experience of psychedelic trance and culture." Not my cup of tea, unlike a cup of tea, which is my cup of tea. But I'm sure psychedelic trance has its charms. The dance festival usually takes place around the July full moon, but this year it's been cancelled due to environmental laws. Again, I don't believe the full moon plays a major role in the festival, but it's there if anyone falls backwards or needs to locate east.

Full Moon Productions
Not moon metal, extreme metal

Full Moon Productions is a Colorado-based extreme metal label and distribution company. I'd never listened to extreme metal before so, as research, I just popped a little Willow Wisp on. I plumped for one of the cheerier numbers, "Bastard". Willow Wisp appear to sit somewhere between Nirvana, The Smiths and Pearl Jam. From "Bastard", I managed to exhume the following lyrics #bastard bath without little swans#. I can't guarantee this is 100% accurate, but swans appeared somewhere. I feel Full Moon Productions are using the dark, horror associations of the full moon. Other Willow songs include "I watched you drown" and that other little sing-a-long "Sodomized by God".

So most full-moon events are inspired by alcohol and horror - under a full moon, or with a picture of a full moon. But sometimes there's something deeper. A mystery connection that a quick internet search doesn't solve. All to do with morris dancers (so again it's music, dancing and getting drunk - but in a far nicer fashion).

Full Moon Morris

The morris people of South Wales

When I was a boy, I used to enjoy watching the morris dancers of Waltham Abbey ting and ding around the maypole, ribbons swirling and twisting, accordions being squeezed for full volume, for the town's traditional community day.

Sadly, that doesn't happen any more.

So when I found Full Moon Morris on the internet earlier in the year, I had to investigate further. What did I find? In 1997, six dancing folk decided to get out more and learned three dances to perform in Ireland that Easter. The group gained popularity and others joined. Soon, the group was 20-strong and attracting morris people from around the south of Britain.

And the name? Now here's where I'm intrigued.
...we take our name from a small hamlet near to Cross Keys in the South Wales valleys. There's not much to see of the hamlet now, but the Full Moon name lives on in a roundabout on the nearby A467 dual carriageway!
I've researched Cross Keys, South Wales. I've read about the existing roundabout. There's the Full Moon pub nearby. Near the Full Moon Centre. But why full moon? Sadly, when I spent the June full moon in Carmarthenshire, I had no time to meet Full Moon Morris. So I'm going to start my research proper now and see what I can find.

Perhaps there's a William Lower connection. Perhaps the people of Cross Keys used to listen to ye olde extreme metal under full moon. Or perhaps there's a horror connection.

The hunt begins.

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