you can do the highland fling


Australia in the early 20th century was not a country where dancing was encouraged. Several church ministers banned this scandalous activity, though the Highland Fling was permissable on the grounds that it was viewed as a pastime.

conquest in scotland

In 1928 a troupe of American entertainers performed at the Tivoli Theatre.

Melbourne’s Tivoli celebrated the jazz age by importing the Colored Idea, 35 singers, musicians and dancers fronted by Los Angeles bandleader Sonny Clay. The police went undercover among the jitterbug crowds to monitor fraternising between the black performers and local white women. At 3am on Sunday, March 25, the police raided a city flat and six musicians were sprung drinking and dancing with six white Australian women. The Truth headline: “White Girls With Negro Lovers: Flappers, Wine, Cocaine and Revels”.


image of Louis Armstrong by Lisl Steiner found here

They were quickly deported. Or maybe allowed to dance the Highland Fling instead – I’ll have to check.


Dulcie Deamer was better known as a writer but she loved to dance at the notorious Artist’s Balls in Sydney. An urban myth arose that she liked to dance the streets of Kings Cross at night wearing nothing but a leopard skin. Though photographed in this outfit, in reality it was only ever hired overnight from a fancy dress shop. Dulcie claimed to be too busy raising her children and writing novels and plays.


I don’t know if she could do the Highland Fling but splits were her specialty…..


Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 8:07 am  Comments (23)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ‘The Truth headline: “White Girls With Negro Lovers: Flappers, Wine, Cocaine and Revels”.’

    Its like the movie ‘footloose’, but with slightly less rascism…

  2. Exactly!

  3. “Hi:

    Two things

    1) I’d like your permission to (re)print your article on Flight of the conchords
    for our website

    2) I was hoping we could use your ‘scribing’ talent for our website.

    The Best Shows Youre Not Watching (dot) com [all one word]

    ‘The Clone Wars’ is one of our featured shows. We’re hoping to round up a few people who can occasionally contribute perspective (via an article/blog) on the shows – maybe a recent episode, future direction, plot shortcomings etc.

    What’s in it for you?
    Primarily a larger audience back channeled to your blog. We don’t pay but the site has a lot of promise and we’re pretty excited about getting it off the ground. Let me know what you think.


    • Delicate Flower got EXACTLY the same message on her blog!

      • Yeah I know they didn’t actually read my blog because it was only a video I posted…. busted!

  4. I can confirm that the Highland Fling is not a dance, but rather a primitive celtic form of masturbation. Unless of course you live in Aberdeen, of which it is then deemed as foreplay to the local clergy.


    • hahahahaha….. (by the way jimmy, I won several competitions for Irish dancing when I was a child – reels and hornpipes were my thing)

  5. That does it! I’m changing my name to Berkely Gray. Then, watch out ladies.

    [Side note: I took Mrs. Wife’s name when we were married. Long story. If I knew how logistically complicated it was I might not have bothered.]

    [Side note to Jimmy’s comment: There’s nothing “primitive” about masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love. And I don’t have to talk afterwords if I don’t feel like it.]

  6. Circus porn. Just entrancing. Are you going to scribe for that non-TV blog business? How truly flattering of them, bloody internet nosey-parkers!

    • I don’t think they know about corset friday. It won’t work with their current manifesto 😉

  7. So I am guessing that’s why they don’t wear anything under their kilts. Bless :).

  8. another reminder that our ‘sanctioned’ racist days are only a few short decades behind us…

    oh, and we want pics of you dancing – in costume, i hope?

    • Only one exists and yes it is in costume. I’m not sure where it is, maybe my brother in New Zealand has it

  9. Those cops were probably feeling threatened after hearing the saying “once you go black, you never go back…”

  10. If you think those Artist’s Balls were fun, you should come over here and see mine.

    • I’m not that easy to lure….. 😉

      • I’m willing to come there if that works better for you. I am nothing if not accommodating. 😀

      • ok, that works for me

  11. Nursemyra as an Irish dancer… that explains the shapely legs.

  12. My loads of my ancestors who gravitated over to Oz in the early 20th C must have been relieved they couldn’t fling their Highlander.. although to split like that last guy is a talent to behold .. his pecs must hold his balls in place surely???

  13. Musicians were sprung singing and dancing? What next!?

  14. So uptight about race. Sad isn’t. I’m glad the worst of it is behind us but the nonsense still looms in the background.

    • Yes, unfortunately it does

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