Gary’s youth was spent as a punk, and he still likes to wear bondage trousers at dance-outs. He has a vast knowledge of Morris, and spends hours researching dances and tunes. Gary’s commitment to English traditional dance is so strong that he named his two cats Morris and Molly.
Hilary danced with several sides before co-founding Styx with Gary. A teacher by profession, she’s great at explaining dances to newbies. Hilary’s commitment to English traditional dance is so strong that she named her daughter Molly. (Anyone see a pattern starting to develop here?)
Chris spends her life nagging Styxers (who she loves dearly – men, women and Jack Russells) about turning up at dance-outs, and organising the Squire (who she also loves dearly). Chris’s commitment to English traditional dance is so strong that she named her cats Morris and Molly. (Yes, they are also Gary’s cats – we’re not that sad!!) She plays flute and accordion.
If superheroes were real, foreman Rich W would be Morris Man. Gentle, self-effacing, wise and humorous in ordinary clothes, but put him in kit and he becomes a leaping, snarling, growling, stick-wielding maniac, hell-bent on ridding Border Morris of any dullness. When Rich dances, people stop to watch; they’re too scared to do anything else.
Alex is Alex and not Alexandra. She gets up before dawn to milk cows and can still be cheerful at evening dance-outs and practice. Alex is Caroline’s daughter and is definitely a chip off the old block. She’s also a member of the GB team for horseback archery!
Alexandra (who is definitely Alexandra and not Alex) lives her life in a state of perpetual surprise at how weird Border Morris people are. When not dancing, she can be found roaring round the countryside on her motorbike. Likes: Stewart. Dislikes: Gary calling her Alex.
Beanie travels all the way over from Wales to be with Styx – there’s devotion for you. As well as dancing with Styx, she’s foreman for another side (BUMS), but we let her off because she’s allowed us to poach a couple of their musicians in times of crisis.
Due to her stature, Cally is often confronted by boobs and sweaty armpits when dancing, but being a real trooper she always perseveres. Cally’s response to stress is to bake the most gorgeous cakes, but we try hard not to stress her out very often. No, we really do try hard. Honest.
One of the original members of the side, Caroline has managed to persuade two of her kids that Border is cool and to join Styx – that’s the sort of mothering skills that the world needs.
If Pippi Longstocking grew up and became a Border dancer, she would look just like Jayne. When not dancing Border, Pippi, I mean Jayne likes messing about with kayaks and canoes, and disappears up north from time to time to teach media stuff.
Jennie has a real gift for explaining dances to new members of the side, and can sustain a Border-style whoop longer than anyone else in the known universe. She is addicted to chips, but remains enviably slim and refuses to divulge her secret. She also makes amazing sculptures out of ivy.
Julia lives on a canal boat and we did wonder if she had webbed feet, but probably not as her stepping is too good for that. She is a florist by trade, so we’re looking forward to what she’ll be wearing on her hat this dance-out season.
When Michelle joined Styx, if she made a mistake she’d yelp and clap her hand over her mouth. But she soon learned not to make mistakes when she realised we’d be able to check by looking for facepaint on her hands. Styx doesn’t have a donkey – a good thing as the poor bugger wouldn’t have any hind legs with Michelle around.
Rach is full of energy and enthusiasm, a bit like Tigger on drugs. She is still waiting for the Squire to eat his hat when he thought she wouldn’t make it to the Bristol JMO Day of Dance after over-sleeping.
We suspect that Rich D has a secret yearning to be a drum majorette as he is always throwing his stick up in the air at practice. But he nearly always drops it, so the drum majorettes probably wouldn’t have him. And he hasn’t got the legs for it anyway. But we love him.
Rich M has the distinction of being the very first person to join Styx when we first started recruiting. He’s one of those people who can’t help grinning from ear to ear when dancing. He is also known as the Rhinestoned Cowboy. Don’t ask.
The children’s books and cartoon Mr Benn were inspired by Stewart. OK, they weren’t, but they could have been as he has a magic wardrobe that he can walk into and come out dressed as a Roman soldier, Steampunk, Viking or Border Morris dancer. Stewart proposed to Alexandra at our May Day dance-out and made us all cry! (She said yes, by the way.)
Sue came to Styx via Wild Thyme and has been a stalwart member of the side since the very beginning. She drives around in a van full of gardening tools, which could come in handy one day if we ever need to dispose of any bodies. It hasn’t happened as yet, but you never know.
Would it be unkind to say that Tony is the oldest member of the side? Maybe, but Tony wouldn’t give a **** because that’s the kind of bloke he is. He’s outspoken and tells it like it is. Every side should have a Tony. But keep your hands off because he’s ours. When he’s not dancing, Tony is the guardian of the Styx banner.
Charlie is uber-cool. In fact he’s so cool he’s smokin’ hot. He’s great at improvising riffs and licks and bizarre plinketty-plunketty sound effects, and is a real asset to the band. Rock on, Charlie. (He’s also really good with design-type stuff and organising our music archive.)
Dave does some very nifty work on the snare drum. His claim to fame was kissing the local UKIP candidate who’d been boring us senseless in a pub. Unfortunately he was blacked up at the time…
When he’s not playing sax or tin whistle, Derek invents stuff – if you need anything inventing, Derek’s your man. (But not when he’s been on the cider, or things could get very silly.) A useful person to have around, as he sorted out the delinquent stick trolley, which has been behaving itself ever since.
Doug knows a heck of a lot about music and has been known to pen the odd ditty himself. He was an early member of Styx, left to join a Cotswold side, then saw sense and returned to the dark side, where he rightfully belongs. Doug likes to wear a scaly red dragon’s tail. No one knows why.
Lorraine has a supernatural ability to be in two places at once, as she’s often to be found singing with her choir while drumming with Styx. How does that work? Who knows. When the Styxers are in a pub demanding beer, cider, wine, more beer, Lorraine likes to confuse the bar staff by asking for Earl Grey tea.
Malcolm is an International Man of Mystery. That is, he has a camper van and frequently disappears in it to exotic places. Sometimes he claims he can’t join us because he is marking exam papers, but we know that’s code for vanquishing evil despots in some far flung corner of the globe. Malcolm is so mysterious we don’t even have a decent photo of him.
Paul is a mean fiddler. No he’s not mean, he’s a really kind and generous guy who’s good on the fiddle. That is, Paul isn’t on the fiddle, he just plays the violin jolly well. (God, that was hard work!) He’s also great on the mandolin.
Sharon has drummed with samba bands for many years, but has diversified into the world of Border – and we’re glad she has. She usually plays a bass drum, but occasionally waves around a Latin American tambourine thingy with a strange name. Sharon designed our logo and designed and made the Styx of Stroud banner.