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Healey is perhaps the politest person Hook Eagle has ever known. He goes round telling the dancers how well they’ve danced, the caller how well he’s called and the squire how well he’s squired. He’s even told the musicians how well they’ve played. But they don’t believe him. Nobody ever tells musicians how well they’ve played and means it. It’s just a way of dancers trying to take the moral high ground because they do all the hard work. Try buying them drinks, Healey. It’s a lot quicker, more effective and usually works out cheaper in the end.
Now returned to his rightful position as bagman, John is a musician and all round the Mrs Doubtfire of the side. He is responsible for keeping the dancers under control and cross dressing when required. (Always thinking of the sides’ finances.) A highly successful PR consultant running his own company (Proactive), in 2006 he PR’d Hook Eagle into winning the prestigious EFDSS St Georges Day Promotion competition.
Running a PR sweatshop has its ups and downs: the lunches are fun but for business reasons he has now had to learn how to lose at golf. He doesn’t find this as hard as he expected.
Foreman of Dance
Ninja has gone from being a newbie who didn’t understand the dance calls (2006), to a veteran Foreman of Dance (2016-21) who understands all the calls, but just forgets to shout them out in time – must be his age.
Rarely seen without a camera in hand (unless he’s left it behind somewhere), Ninja is also the side’s official photographer (see our Gallery pages on Flickr), which is why he rarely appears in any of them.
Foreman o' Music
Carol is not as blonde as you might think. She uses her natural advantages in the aid of local charities to charm money from the pockets of eager young men in the audience.
Recorder player in the Hook Eagle Band, she can blow practically anything. All for charitable reasons, of course.
The baby of the side, Shaun has an uncanny knack of picking up dances which baffle the rest of us – ‘the easy ones’ is the technical term. Eventually, exhaustion and alcohol poisoning will bring him into line with the others – if they ever get into a line.
Apparently Daniel won a scholarship to HEMM as second prize in a raffle or something. Run by the DoE, although some suspect the DoJ, as part of an experimental ‘cruel and unusual punishments’ programme.
Rob joined Hook in 1998 for purely altruistic reasons. His joining extended the Basingstoke Boys driving roster by one more week giving each one more night off for drinking. Also, he inherited the complete kit from one of those rare beings, an ex-member who remembered to give it away!
He claims that he got into Morris far too late (all those nights getting drunk alone). Too late to manage the dances, so yet another sad old git with a melodeon (no it’s me wheezing!) Like Bill, he too plays for BasingClog Morris and shakes a leg for Hook.
James has been known to play with Basingclog – or is that just slander? – in his spare time.
We’re not exactly sure what his spare time is. In fact the band have never been sure what any of his time is.
Dancing Cotswold with Bath City and Angel Morris of Islington, John always wondered whether the hanky waving in between the real dances with sticks could be omitted. One day he discovered that by an amazing coincidence folk from the Welsh borders had had the same thought only a few hundred years earlier. It was love at first sight and he is now well and truly Hooked.
John knows all the dances backwards, but is working hard to correct this. He can occasionally be spotted playing spoons, which he says fit more comfortably in his pocket than his guitar, but is a fiddle player for Hook.
Barry is another bloody Australian. Why can’t they stay at home and enjoy their own culture rather than coming here and taking ours? Wait – their own culture… maybe that’s rather stretching a bit. Did you know that on Sydney Opera House’s opening night the star of the show was Des O’Connor? OK, OK, we’re very sorry. Please feel free to come and join our Morris side. You need all the help you can get.
Jan was until recently Head of History at St Trinian’s School for the Optimistic in Aldershot. Well-used to handling testosterone-fuelled angst in teenage boys, she finds dealing with Hook Eagle no problem at all. She keeps the unruliest in check by deftly flicking that little round thing covered in skin. She calls it “her tambourine”.
When male company gets too much, she reverts to being a girlie with JackStraws Morris.
“Anne, The Nutter’s Sister-in-law” is an ex-member of Shinfield Shambles and stalwart of the Hook Wall of Sound, Anne is an excellent fiddle player who also played in Tarrantella [RIP] with Derek the Nutter. Anne’s photo is wider than it is deep – this is to allow full inclusion of her fiddle-arm.
Brian is our newest recruit, if not the newest individual on the side. Previously a squaddie, he’s obviously missing the continued exposure to mortal danger and is therefore often seen opposite Barry in the set. Either that or he hasn’t cottoned on yet. With no (common) sense of danger, and evidently a slow learner, he’ll blend in seamlessly with the side by the end of his first season.
Steve is Hook’s first second generation morris man. Son of Will (hence the name…geddit?), who drank himself to a standstill in the late 1990’s. Steve is carrying on where his father left off, halfway down a bottle of whiskey.
Turning his back on his Celtic origins by joining a (wrong side of the) Border Morris Team, our latest recruit turns out to be a natural Morris Dancer as the binary nature of our calling is completely in synch with his robot programming talents – being either on or off the beat! When not supplying the side with pork pies Heatwave is active in Chilli eating competitions.
Survivor of both the army and police force, now travel writer, broadcaster and Irish Wolfhound aficionado with an healthy interest . . . unhealthy interest . . . in all things Zombie who wishes he had joined us “twenty years ago”! (? What happended then – did I miss something?)
There is very little to say about Tony that can’t be said better, and at greater length, by Tony himself. A life-long Cotswold Morris Dancer, he joined Hook Eagle on permanent loan from Pilgrim Morris in 2007 in a last ditch attempt to bridge the yawning chasm between the two traditions.
Most of the 2007-2008 practice season was spent trying to cure him of his little girly skippy Cotswold dancing habits, but with little success. If these continue much longer we will quite simply beat him to death and send the remains back to Pilgrim.
Chris is a burgeoning musical talent recently discovered – by HEMM scouts – playing guitar by himself late at night in one of Hook’s better car parks. When approached and asked what he was playing he said it was a request from his wife. Presumably she had asked him to play somewhere else.
After interview, the HEMM HR committee took full account of his prodigious musical skills and decided he should become a dancer. Well, we wouldn’t allow him in the band would we? He’d only unbalance things.
Gareth is Lifetime Foreman of Music Hook Eagle Morris. He plays Accordion although he’s now on a course of Hormone Replacement Therapy which we hope will provide a cure. “Do you need a light for that box Gareth?”
A well-booked ceilidh caller, and stalwart of Bismarks dance band, this man has some strong views on formalising the relationships between the Hook Musicians and Dancers – See his page for these. Now retired from life as a senior executive, Gareth is a gardener. Yes, gardener. That such a promising career should come to this…
Mike is a bit of country member (I think that’s what they said!). He is a dancer and occasional musician (Melodeon, whistles and Bodhran – oh no!).
He has been spotted in the past with Dubai Sharjah Morris, The One and Only Iffy Morris, and Belchamp Morris Men.
Tim is a Musician (Accordion) and Dancer and is seen above wearing the latest Claire Rayner style of headwear which gives him freedom, confidence and freshness: A hat with wings!
Tim is another founder member of Hook Eagle Morris, although he currently enjoys “country” membership.
Currently enjoying “country membership”, Roger was a dancer and is an extremely competent Bodhran player. He has, in the past, managed to turn Hook Eagle into a passable imitation of Lemmings with his masterful rendition of “The Whale Song”. Twenty black-faced dancers flinging themselves off a cliff in suicidal desperation was a sight to behold.
Roger has disappeared into a Celtic fantasy somewhere in the north of the British Isles. Find out what he’s doing at Fluke Jewellery
Jameson has now returned to his day job – dancing with Berkshire Bedlam. He also plays drums for Windsor Morris and has been spotted leaping about on his own at Sidmouth – this is the jig competition, not the incident with the flannel and the camping lamp.
[We’ve been asked to remove some of the more scurrilous info from here as potential lovers keep Googling him and finding it. If you’re one of these, contact the webmaster for the truth].
Nick, the Nutter’s Brother, has more hair than most of us and is a very sensible dancer who has been known to do an odd Cotswold spot (a very odd Cotswold spot).
Nick Earns his meagre crust doing something unfeasibly technical with Personal Computers.
Tim is an accomplished Cotswold Morris dancer, a skill which is of no use whatsoever in Hook. However, after an extensive period of limb reprogramming he has found his place – buying drinks for the rest of us.
When not with Hook, he spends his leisure time Humping with his wife. Yes – they are both members of HuMP Morris, one of England’s foremost politically correct mixed Cotswold sides and once featured on the BBC’s Food and Drink Programme. No wonder he joined Hook.
Most of our current repertoire of non-traditional dances are the results of Richard’s warped mind. As well as being an accomplished Workshop Leader (Sidmouth ’96), he also played a mean tambourine. Richard had previously been a “Cotswold Man” with Yateley Morris. He was also a member of the Mayflower Morris band.
Sadly, Richard passed away on the 28th August 2000. He was much loved and is sadly missed.
Joined in the 1999 season. Craig is a man with several dark secrets. Firstly, he doesn’t drink beer; secondly, he works for a government agency. Thirdly, he took a trip to Berlin dressed in women’s clothing.
Obviously this caused us a great deal of concern and he was investigated thoroughly by the Hook Eagle Vetting Department. It turned out he drank cider in preference to beer, so he was admitted to the side.
Having spent many of his early years with Hook as the side’s only part-time alcoholic, Will can now be seen nursing pints of orange squash and muttering foul imprecations into his beard. He spends much of his leisure time as a melodeon player for BasingClog Morris. However, when it comes to Hook, Will is indeed a gentleman: he can play melodeon but chooses not to. Apparently too many melodeons can be a bad thing (which came as a shock to the rest of the band).
Jon is the second vicar to dance with the side, and the first to do so without carrying a clove of garlic and a crucifix while doing it. He joined as part of he and his wife’s decision to try some of England’s finest ancient and most threatened customs. He’s tried two so far: morris dancing, and being a CofE vicar.
Rob is one of Hook’s larger dancers. He shouts a lot and complements the banter with occasional original stuff. He is responsible(?) for the editorial cant which can be found in this season’s very rare and inexpensive programme.
When he can get a break from playing for (with?) Jackstraws, Norm is one of Hook’s ace musicians. He is also a dancer. Sometimes, when we have been short of performers, Norm has managed to play and dance at the same time – a feat for which he usually insists on payment in strong ale. That the sun continues to shine and the corn continues to grow is Norm’s main reason for performing the Morris. He is also an ex-smoker – well done Norm!
(Latest – he’s now an ex-ex-smoker. Well done again!)
John is another of the founder members of Hook Eagle Morris. He was unfortunately expelled from the village of Hook after a bout of marital strife and still lives in exile in North Warnborough.
By day John runs a successful plumbing business.
Geoff is one of Hook’s mainstay melodeon players and probably travels further than any other member to get to practices. He is skilled in working with leather and produces fine tankards which, to order, can have that most necessary of features: a 1.1 pint capacity.
Although he has a fine collection of squeeze boxes, Geoff’s preference is for one-row machines.
Strictly speaking, Graham is not a morris dancer. He is a musician, photographer and international man of mystery. The mystery is mainly concerned with why he thinks he’s a musician, but he has recently been installed as Hook’s only full time male percussionist.
He specialises in Cabassa, Tambourine and Nikon F1. The Nikon makes easily the best noise when banged with a stick.
Colin never ceases to amaze us with his culinary expertise. When most of us are just coping with a bacon sandwich on our campsite, Colin will be tempting us with wafts of garlic and exotic spices. He can cook a four-course gourmet meal in a single billy-can. This is despite a long career in the Army Catering Corps and having his taste buds shot off in the war.
Rob number 3 is a look-alike of Normski and Les but smaller slimmer model – evidence of Darwinian natural selection at work in the Morris world.
A miserable little tripehound at the best of times, and a pain in the a?se at all others*. Maker of jingle-sticks and jackets, Rob also juggles, stiltwalks and dances with The Witchmen.
*his own words
Dave is a well-known tart who has been had by many sides. Having failed miserably at Cotswold (with Yateley Morris) he had a go at Longsword and North West, and then put himself about a bit with Hart and Sole (now defunct). He spent some years crying in the wilderness before joining BasingClog, bringing his career to a peak by joining Hook Eagle in 2004. He still peaks regularly on Fridays.
Fisherman, rugby player, and chief barbecuist, Geoff knows nothing about morris whatsoever. This makes him in many ways the ideal squire (2004-2009), as he can concentrate on leadership and charisma while the rest of us get on with the real work. He runs an engineering company by day and a Morris side by night.
Another of the 2008 intake, Mark came ready-made as an experienced dancer and musician from the Ironingmen and Seven Gliders, shortly after their relegation to the Third Division North. There was some reluctance to take him after his involvement in the “stick money” scandal of 1998, but he has now repaid his debt to society. We’re still not letting him play in the band, though.
Jonathon was brought into the side in late 2008 to strengthen the commercial operations. With the gradual move to professionalism in the Morris world, it was felt that our core business wasn’t providing the revenue to support the over generous pension arrangements. Jon has since overhauled the sales function and the side are beginning to see a marked improvement in his Bottom Line. But in his case it’s more of a Visible Panty Line. Looser trousers, Jonathon…
Mandy Whittaker is the mother of the twins (right) who play as guest percussionists in the band. She is multi-talented and plays a variety of wind instruments (see Martin Whittaker below) and Melodeon. One of the more petite members of the Hook Wall of Sound, she makes her presence felt in her active management of many of our social events.
Martin is the brains behind the selection of Hook Eagle Music and is another ace Musician (melodeon and unlicensed trombone), amateur Rastafarian and the Team’s thinker.
Quote: “I’d prefer to be referred to as a “multi-talented trombone maestro who should have been a seminal influence on Jamaican music in the past three decades”.” Previously played with Yateley, Fleet, Mayflower, The One and Only Iffy Morris, Jenny Geddes and Wrigley Head, plus the 9 Days Wonder dance band, or so he thinks.
Maggie – or Mrs Nutter to her husband Derek – is yet another recorder player on the Hook Eagle Band. What is it with women and blowing and banging things? Her day job is playing melodeon with Fleet Morris – a local ladies side who presumably don’t want blowing or banging.
Derek the Nutter (or DTN as he’s known) is a musician who plays melodeon very quickly. Where most melodeon players have been known to leave out the odd note, Derek invents places to put in extra notes, all of which sounds great but leaves the dancers exhausted. The Nutter will also dance when he has to, but claims his fingers are now too valuable to risk as he has a ceilidh band, The Dire-Tonics, who are nuttin’ without him. He has also been a Morris Tart in sides such as Rampant Rooster, Fleet Morris, Shinfield Shambles and others.
We don’t think that Derek has a day job as he’s intolerant to daylight as well as garlic, crucifixes and running water. Don’t let this man pass in front of a mirror!
Jim the Cabin Boy single-handedly represents the Next Generation of Hook Eagle. The son of an ex-squire of Victory Morris he decided at an early age that his father’s rather strange friends were not for him and that all the real men were in Border sides. Being an accomplished dancer and musician he scored highly in the aptitude test and is currently the only member to have been granted a central contract by the Hampshire Morris Board. This gives him the right to dance or play at any Hook Eagle gig to which he turns up, and a limited number to which he doesn’t.
Nine o’clock Nigel is not the most punctual of people. He can always be relied on to arrive for a 7:30 gig by 9:00, though not necessarily on the same day. Large and generous by nature, he largely dances with the side but generously plays with the band.
Nigel came to Hook on free transfer from Alton Morris, who recognised his need to play his melodeon elsewhere. Unfortunately it’s one of those weak Italian Castignfetti things, so you can’t hear him against the strong and manly Hohners played by the rest of the band.
Graham is the man with the oldest knees in Morris dancing and can often be seen hobbling along behind the set. When brave, manly Border Morris gets too much he can be seen doing a bit of rapper, but spends most of his time offering sweeties and alcoholic drinks to underage girls. (No – not underage in that sense. You must bear in mind that Graham is 103 and therefore anything below 80 is underage.) Candy is dandy, but liquor certainly is quicker.
Andy has wanted to be a Morris Man all his life. Obviously he didn’t want it that much cos it took him 62 years to get round to it. Yes, he’s the oldest recruit ever to the side, but he brings some much needed experience with him from his day job at Waitrose. Having spent the past forty years stacking tins of beans on the shelves in straight lines we are hoping he will do the same for the dancers. Line ’em up neatly. Or sell ’em off cheaper as packs of four. Or put lots of little ones together and call it a Fridge Pack (see also Sean above).
Quite simply the biggest dancer in the history of the Morris in North-East Hampshire, Sean Larger-Oneway is Australian. He is therefore a living testament to the benefits of English beer. Only having moved to the UK a year or so ago, Sean has spent his entire life drinking that fizzy Australian rubbish that only serves to make you big, tall and capable of beating the world at Rugby. Drinking fine English ales, however, keeps you slim and well proportioned – as the pictures on this site show so well.
Big Sean: 17 June 1964 – 3 October 2020. RIP.
According to Google there are two Nigel Leakys in the world*. One is a sergeant who, with both legs blown off, crawled into a German machine gun nest and killed the lot of them with a sharpened thimble. The other one is a man who perspires so heavily that it has come to the attention of Devon’s Western Morning News
Guess which one we had? (Now donated to Basingclog.)
*at the time of writing
Since the inception of Hook Eagle, Les Morrisman has manfully hidden the fact that he is a bit of an ace bagpipe player (thanks Les, keep it under wraps). Les is a dancer and plays flute when in need of a rest and, yes, he does look like James Galway. Les’s other interests include Amateur Dramatics. He and his wife (the other Les Morrison) are both active with Hook Players. He’s now so old that he recently retired. Unfortunately he discovered the pension didn’t keep his beer consumption in the style to which it had become accustomed, so he’s had to go out to work again.
Kev has gravitated (sunk?) towards Hook; you might see traces of Borderline on his face. Speculation about how it got there is not enocouraged; Kev has a handy right hand.
The Committee had yet to determine whether he had any other useful parts before he ran away to join The Wreckers .
Andy is another member of the 2006 New Wave. A lorry driver by trade, he is on the road most of the time and is the only person in the side not to have access to the Internet. These means we can write all sorts of defamatory nonsense about him and he’d never know. But being gentlemen, we shall refrain.
Oh, and that light in the middle of his forehead is for driving at night.
Luke comes all the way from Hungerford so he can Border Morris!
Sounds like specious reasoning until you realise that no-one else on the side does. Looks like years of sending people to Coventry won’t pay off after all.
Ed is a Communities Engagement and Urban Design Associate. No, I don’t think he has a clue what it means either, but one day he found himself planning the redevelopment of part of Hook on behalf of an architectural practice. They told him to Engage with the Community so he did – with the first community he found: Hook Eagle. But you can tell that he’s not fully Engaged by the half-hearted approach to blacking up. Or is he just the side’s latest eminence grise?
Graphic designed and created by © Catherine Wilson
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