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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Folk crime of the century, an update

Oh, the intrigue. Since posting about the strange case of the missing Morrissey dancer and folk's first family earlier in the week, several extra bits of information have come to light about events on the South Bank on the evening of September the 5th last year (goes into plod mode... 'ello, 'ello, 'ello etc). Here they are in no particular order.

* On the day in question there were 1,000 Morrissey dancers and 1,000 Stormtrooper morris dancer cutouts in London, left around the city as part of a guerilla marketing campaign for the 5,000 morris dancer event at the South Bank centre. Many of them were on the South Bank.

* Simon Emmerson of The Imagined Village and Walking with Ghosts was with Eliza and Martin Carthy during the events described in my earlier blog.

* Some ale had been consumed over the course of the weekend.

To the keener among you it may be apparent from scanning the tripartite list above that when you place the first and the third together there becomes some room for confusion, arising from a kind of "I'm Spartacus" situation. However, this will not defeat me.

After a certain amount of coyness from Eliza Carthy on Twitter (follow her on @elizacarthy and me on @emma1hartley) along the lines of "I wouldn't want to implicate anyone else in this crime", it eventually emerged that she and her father were not alone that evening and that Emmerson was - ta da! - the accomplice. Then this morning I awoke to this message posted by Emmerson under the previous blog.

"I have just been made aware of the mystery of the stolen Morrissey dancer. Can you tell Tim that the Morrissey cutout that Martin and Eliza put in my car was, as far as we know, the one David Owen signed and gave to me the night of the gig. Eliza was driving my car because I was 'on the ale' that night. I do vaguely remember going to the loo and leaving it outside, as Eliza does... when a switch may have happened. I can check once I am back in my studio to see if mine is signed, in which case it is the one David gave me. If it is not then someone has my signed copy (which I would like back please) and I may have taken Tim's by mistake - if he's absolutely sure he saw us pick his one up?? People were half-inching the cutouts all over the place that night. Regardless, I am in contact with David [Owen, the artist] and will see if I can get Tim a replacement. I do understand these things have sentimental value. I will not rest until this case is solved. Simon the super sleuth."

You see what he's done there? Cleverly turned himself from the criminal into the sleuth... he may never have to spend money on a PR person again.

So a fuller picture is beginning to emerge. I suspect that the flaw in this plan is that both cutouts were signed by the artist and that therefore Emmerson will inevitably conclude, when he checks his, that he has the correct one. But I've had an email from David Owen saying that he's got a spare Morrissey dancer in any case, so whoever doesn't get the one in Emmerson's studio can have another.

When Tim Plester is finally reunited with his cutout, or one very like it, I think I'm going to have to get some photographic evidence. So please watch this space. I'm going away for a week on Saturday, so there may be a hiatus.

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