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More on the Island Experiment

 By Wills Morgan

Nearly one sixth of the way into the year! And the adventures of the good ship ISLAND EXPERIMENT and its merry maritimers have made many an inroad into our collected memories.

As I write, Valentine's day will be soon in the trash can for another year. The gang has enjoyed some amazing mid-week nights at its home base in Kensal Green. You should be able to read this just after our visit to the MASONS ARMS for the HAITI benefit... and just before we return to THE HUB in KING'S X for the second of our monthly cruise voyages.

But what's this you cry? You didn't see what I wrote last month? What's this Experiment thing you're talking about?

Well, if you're still trying to catch us and find out what's up, here is a handy Alpha-guide to who's who, and what's what.
  
 
A is for ANTROBUS
Younger and much wiser than he looks, Dan Antrobus is the songwriting equivalent of a Merlin. My favourite songs of his include 'Wonderful' and 'Repetition'. For his regular partner in wizardry...see letter W.
 
B is for BAYLISS
Captain of the good ship ISLAND EXPERIMENT, the Wadeski is quite possibly one of the finest things ever to come out of his own shoes. We really must make sure them soles never find out who the guy they've been living with actually is.

C is for CUTHBERT 80
Blessed with beautiful Black hair that is the envy of all that see it. A soul seducer with a sound that is the envy of all who hear it.

D is for THE DAVE
Principal percussionist for the EXPERIMENT: it's not really an Experiment night without the sight and sound of his djembe. I might say that he has curly hair that hides a cool and crazy attitude... but hey, who am I to talk? 

E is for ETHEL BESSEM
A female version of Cuthbert 80 if Cuthbert happened to be a girl...just a little smaller, and with a different accent.

F is for FEATHERS
Mark has a way with a guitar that can be described in words: it's just that there are not words adequate enough to describe that way. When not on a gig, he looks after OLLY and JOE (see letter R for the latest on them.) 
 
G is for GIGI
There has to be a letter for a member of the ISLAND staff who keep us in line, fed and watered. Gigi is gorge. Gigi is generous. Gigi is a single lady...and before you put your hands up guys, that's the way it's staying. So. Dont. Even. Start. 
 
H is for H-A-Y, L-E-Y, MY NAME IS HAYLEY
Four words are enough to describe the genius that is Hayley Tucker: the words are "Don't turn me down". When Hayley wails, women weep. And so do I.

I is for I-MAN
Somewhere towards the end of an evening I-Man turns up. He's that laid back, is I-Man. But if it's been a crazy night and loads of people have yet to play, I's trademark speech "Streets are My Life" does not get heard. Which is not a good thing for us (or I) to miss.
 
 
J is for JOSEPH DEAN OSGOOD
The Resident Rocker and a real favourite act on the good ship EXPERIMENT. Often seen in the company of the 'Doctress': she who would otherwise be known as VIRGINIA DOC (look for her later on in this script). Jo steals your food - watch him.

K is for KARIN FRANSSON
My favourite song of this lady is a ditty called 'Pick yourself up'. Reason: I pick up a pair of scissors, head for the mike...and play. What? you haven't seen it yet?

L is for LONDON SOUND
Led by the irrepressible JAY-GUN, the Sound collective are sometimes frisky, sometimes fast, sometimes funky, sometimes female, sometimes funny and always full of flavour. The Sound have quite a following at the Island, but if you don't like rap music...well you don't have to.

M is for MATT
House sax man. His particular tool is the soprano sax...but before you start with the Kenny G images, that's not his look, nor is it his sound. Thank goodness.

N is for NOT MENTIONED IN THE A-Z
Take your pick. From Phil Ryan to Peter Conway. From Laura Matthews to Russian Rox. Also... there's Pedro, Andrija and Pierre. From Annie to Sandy...and even from Connor to Zany, the EXPERIMENT pretty much has it all.

O is for ORSON
His take on music is more experimental than others, as he sculpts his melodies over consistently shifting rhythms and time signatures. Often dresses in Black, but is not Johnny Cash by a different name.
 
P is for PATRICK LONG
A good ship needs an anchor, and the EXPERIMENT is grounded firm and deep in the Bass expressions of Mr. Long. If Wade is the equivalent of Robin the Boy Wonder, then that makes Patrick the BAT-MAN or (as he is otherwise known) THE DARK KNIGHT. Patrick is not the kind of guy who will tell you how cool he is: he will allow enquiring minds to look for the cool.
 
 
Q is for QUINTESSENTIALLY COOL
Ken Gibson is Quintessentially cool.

R is for The Band of ROGUES, RATS AND DOUBLE-DEALING DUELLISTS
It turns out that OLLY (or is it Joe? I'm not sure which) didn't like the previous name I gave to their band. So here's my second attempt at a title. You can call them The Rogues for short. And boys...this time I'm charging.
 
S is for SIMEON
If it's tall, young and with a beard it must be Peter Conway. If it's older, smaller, but still with a beard, then that would be Simeon. Both are brilliant. But even better than the two of these artists...Simeon's daughter, who is the youngest and by far the best performer of THE ISLAND EXPERIMENT.

T is for TAFF
Taff is brilliant. That's all you need to know.

U is for UNIQUE
The ISLAND EXPERIMENT is not 'nearly unique' or 'almost unique'. The ISLAND EXPERIMENT is that thing we call unique. It is one of a kind. It is....experi-mental.

V is for VIRGINIA DOC
She is tall. She is beautiful. She is so comfortable in her own skin that the aforementioned skin marvels at the wonder of it all. Often seen with that sneak who's eating my sausages, JO-DEAN OSGOOD.
 
W is for WIG
If Antrobus is Merlin, then the Wonderful Wig has to be Arthur. What I'm trying to say is that Wiggsy is an uncrowned king of Rock and Roll. And the singer of my favourite song of last year.

X is for X-PERIMENT
Yes, I know this is cheating. What do you expect? I'm not getting paid for this. Buy me a drink and I'll get brainy.

Y is for YET
As in 'Wade, when am I going on?' 'Not yet'.

Z is for EMMA LYNTON STANFORD
Why isn't our resident Dancing Diva included under the letters D, E, or S? Cause Ethel, Simeon and the Dave are in those places. She can't even go into the slot reserved for Opera Divas because Orson's got that slot. But look Emms...I've got you in the A-Z. And because you are in as Z, you get the last word, which is as it should be.



And what about me, you ask? I'm not in the A to Z. I am outta here. See ya next month.
 

Photos by Andrija Lekic 
 
The Island Experiment takes place on Wednesdays at the Island Pub in College Rd, Kensal Green.  
 
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