"Wonderful, as always" (2022)
"Ulverston/s Finest Christmas Tradition" (2021)
"Brilliant... Locals just walk past saying Hi Oss, and continuing as alls normal..." (2022)
Commissioned from Alex Blackmore during the Artspace Manners And Amusements project, the OSS has never gone away. Jockey: Mark Borthwick, and previously Alex and Chris Dennett. Ostler/ Orator: John Hall; the Human Organs Pipe Band feat Jo Wade, Neil Wade, Jamie McPhie.
December 19 2018. Publicised with surreptitious fliers and a last minute Short Notice, the Short Ritual and its participants muster in a light drizzle under the Christmas lights.
At 6.10 the oss raises its head and launches itself into the available space of the season.
Throughout the year whether suspended from the workshop beams and caught in the sunlight under the low cottage ceilings, the skull has acquired the look of something unearthed, awaiting notice of its purpose.
12 feet plus of occupied hollow, A Tower of muslin, backpack, poles and modelling material, the oss soon attracts a crowd. Others are drawn out from the pubs by outriders.
A harmonica, caught in the same wind that caused the oss to sway, makes the pace and calls the Human Organs Pipe band to order at 6.30 with a tune that has made its own slow progress from Derbyshire, via Staffordshire, the East Coast and the West Riding to Ulverston.
Photos: Lindsay Ward Photography
"What benefit can historians derive from the study of invented tradition? First and foremost, it may be suggested that they are important symptoms and therefore indicators of problems which might not otherwise be recognized, and developments which are otherwise difficult to identify and to date. They are evidence."
Eric Hobsbawm, "The Invention Of Tradition" Ed. Hobsbawm /Ranger
"It appears that the need to define one's community as valid -- by reference to an historic past -- is most acute when that community is only just established or is in decline."
Judy Koren, Amazon review of Hobsbawm/Ranger
Alistair Anderson - attrib on reliable authority- "you've no traditions? Make some up"