Lost rapper teams:
Eastwood Rapper was born out of the Sheffield University Folk Society. They burst onto the scene and meteor like, blazed a brief but luminous trail across Rapperdom. The fledgling team enlisted the help of the legendary Joss Mellor - then teaching in Sheffield, and who had earlier collaborated with Bill Cassie in collecting the Amble and Bedlington dances. Joss taught the team a series of figures which they used at random, in what he described as ‘Festival Rapper.’ Eastwood man, Pete Mackey recalls, “If we were performing at a booked occasion, then we would decide which figures to dance in advance, and practice them, but otherwise it was dancing to the call.”
With the passage of time, the memory starts to fade and there is some doubt about exactly when Eastwood started their career, but 1989 seems to be favourite. The original line up consisted of, Jim Hogan, Pete Charlesworth, Pete Mackey, Peter Jones, (Aka Piper - cos he was!) and Steve Petherwick. Steve subsequently gave up dancing and was replaced by Tony Rattigan who was so moved by the experience of rapper dancing that he took Holy Orders and left to join a monastery. This effectively, brought about the demise of the team who from the outset had enjoyed the benefits of the same 5 dancers practising and performing together.
Despite the pressures of University life the team managed to get about a bit. There are clear memories of dancing in Manchester with Chorlton Green Morris Men, and at a ‘Five Towns’ festival somewhere near Stoke. This last was memorable for itís all day drinking - something of a novelty back in those days. On one occasion, the team were dancing at Fox & Dove in Fulwood, Sheffield when Jim Hogan caught his lip on a sword early in the dance. He ploughed on, deep in concentration and by the end, his shirt front was completely red - as were the rest of the team. Eastwood made one appearance at DERT in 1994, being placed a creditable 6th. They were supported musically by one Pauline Cato, then a champion piper and now a professional musician and academic.
Music was provided on other occasions by members of the University Folk Society. The pictures on this page were all taken when the team busked at Whitby in 1991 and throw up some jolly points of interest.
- Somewhere between Toast Rack and Choker, Pete Mackey has removed his specs (maybe the choker did it, though he is still smiling?)
- In the background, the observant will notice a sylph like and colourfully garbed figure who can only be Stuart Higson of Sallyport. (Eastwood knew him as ĎMozí because he was a Morris dancer at the time!)
Perhaps this was his moment of conversion, his Road to Damascus. By 1995 it was all over, graduation, work and the church had all taken their toll and Eastwood was no more, though certainly Pete Mackey, (Handsworth) Jim Hogan, (Sheffield Giants) and Pete Charlesworth, (Musician and sound engineer) are still contributing to the folk scene.
And the name? You couldnít make this up!! Eastwood were invited by Sheffield City Morris to join them on a dance out at Edensor in Derbyshire. “What are you called” they were asked. “We donít have name” they replied. “Oh” said some wag, “Like the Western with the man with no name - whoís the actor?” “Clint Eastwood” came the reply... And it stuck!