I was born in ‘The Bulge’ in London way back when the pace of life was so different…but I have kept up with the times and in our busy world am enjoying a lifestyle which encompasses many hobbies and creative activities.
I am single, divorced and still have a close friendship with my Ex and her family.
From living and working in London in the 60s, 70s and early 80s I moved down here to the south coast in 1984 and am currently living a few miles along the coast from Brighton where the sea is wonderful, exhilarating and stimulating and the beautiful South Downs are close by.
My life is full of constant changes (because I want it that way) and being a ‘Jack of all Trades’ sort of a fella my thoughts are ‘There are too many activities in the world for anyone to ever get bored’.
BUT the whole world has now changed with the coming of Coronavirus and it really became a reality for me on 15 March 2020 (‘Beware the Ides of March’).
I am a creative musician who uses his guitar singer-songwriter skills to earn a living by entertaining the elderly in Sussex Residential and Nursing Homes. I use my large repertoire of songs as an entertainment and therapy for the many elderly people that I encounter week by week. I am a lucky man because I am working at a job I really enjoy and after 24 years of doing this had no intention of stopping…but since March 2020 nearly all of my work has now stopped!
In this role I use my ‘Stage Name’ TIM WEST and have got to meet and know many, many lovely people here in Sussex over the years.
I sing and play acoustic guitars and a keyboard and have, since 1984 in Sussex, played solo and in many duos, bands and groups. My current duo is The Hat Band which has been in existence for nearly 16 years and in its present format (with my mate Bing) has toured Denmark during late August every year….that has now stopped due to Coronavirus!
I also sing unaccompanied acapella and barbershop music with a 5 year old 24 strong male-voice ensemble called Vocal Fusion Acapella based in Steyning. In our world of Barbershop singing we currently ranked the best ‘Small Chorus’ in the country and are ranked 9th out of 38 in The National Barbershop Convention…of course this has been affected by Coronavirus too and I only ‘Zoom’ at present…and our weekly rehearsals keeps the chorus motivated to carry on and hopefully continue to perform in local venues and musical events either as a single Choir or in combination with other choruses too in the future. I sing Bass.
Since 1984 I have run several Folk Clubs here in Sussex and have taken numerous photos of the many people I have had the pleasure of encountering. Attached to this website is a retro memory in the form of many pictures of my folk clubs like “Noblefolk” (at Nobles Wine Bar, New Road Brighton…later to become Mrs Fitzherberts), “Hanburyfolk” (at The Hanbury Arms, Kemp Town Brighton), “Folk at The Elephant” (at The Elephant and Castle pub in Lewes), “The Wizard Folk Club” (at The Prince Albert pub under Brighton Station), and “The Harbour Sessions” (at The Schooner Inn, Southwick) which I co-ran with JC way back in 2001-2004. All of these clubs had amazing entertainers pass through them…all leaving a trail of happy memories. In the late 1980s I spent 5 years behind the controls producing the BBC Radio Sussex’s Folk Programme “Minstrel’s Gallery” with Jim and Vic being the ‘Presenters’…that was an experience too!
At the start of 2018, after 14 years absence, I was asked to host another acoustic music session and so re-started THE HARBOUR SESSIONS FOLK CLUB on the 2nd Sunday of the month first at The Schooner Inn at Southwick and then at The Gather Inn at Hove Lagoon. For two years and three months (up until April 2020) we had excellent folk club evenings which included many old friends and faces from the past folk scene. We, as a club, collected and donated £1000 to The Guide Dogs for The Blind Association in the first year…£1000 to The Martlets Hospice in Hove in the second year…and £740 to The Alzheimer’s Society up until Coronavirus made us stop in April 2020. I hope to be able to re-start The Harbour Sessions as and when.
I have had many other hobbies centred on modern technology. I learned to edit and produce music online and from 1998 to 2011 recorded and produced 56 CDs for many local artists, singer / songwriters, duos, trio, groups, school orchestras, brass bands and a local male-voice Welsh choir. My cottage-style CD making came under my banner of “Hat Records” and today I am very proud of all the recordings and productions I made for all those people who put their trust in me to make them batches of CDs at affordable prices and to re-order fresh batches as required. Of course CD making had taken a backseat these days as “Downloads” are the fashion…so what did I do in 2011…I started making video films of many local musicians (having been taught the PC technology again) and today you will find 80 of my musical videos under my banner “Hat Music Films” on You Tube (check out www.YouTube.com/timofhatmusic ) or they are listed and linked here on this website.
Taking photos has been and still is a great pleasure in my life. I use Facebook frequently as a special medium for this. When I’m gone on to the next world and people will say “What did that chap do in his life” there will be many photos, videos, CDs and MP3 files of the songs that I have created and been a part of, together with links to all other parts of my life on this website to give an accurate answer.
My other hobbies include Pottery…making ceramics…bowls, plates, pots etc. all with different shapes, colours and carvings…I do this at a studio in Shoreham once a week for 2 hours…I feel totally at ease with my hands in clay! All these creations are my originals and it gives me great pleasure to give many of them away to my friends all over the world…a little bit of me spreads a long way!
I love playing cards and doing extreme Sudokus too! My card playing goes in two directions. On one side I love playing Duplicate Bridge in local clubs here in Sussex. I am an above average card player and have achieved the current status of “1* Master” with the EBU…Bridge is a game that will stimulate the old grey cells forever…there is always more to learn in ‘bidding’, ‘tactical play of the cards’ and in ‘defence’ too…I am still taking lessons today…you are never too old! The other side of my card playing is Texas Hold ‘em Poker….Wow! What a fantastic game of bluff and counter-bluff…in the 20 years I have been playing Tournament Poker I think I am just about getting an inclination on how to come to grips with this amazing game and before you ask I am NOT a gambling addict! Tournament Poker is a ‘fixed amount’ start-up stake…that’s all you can lose…but the winning amounts in prize money are always very attractive and constantly challenge me to get better and better at this game. I’ve written and recorded a song about it which will be in the form of an original video attached to this website. In the current Coronavirus Pandemic I am enjoying playing both Bridge and Poker online both of which I find very stimulating…Yay!
As I’ve aged a little my philosophy on personal health has changed…it is probably one of the most important issues for me today. Touch wood I am healthy…and I listened to the quacks who said give up ‘sugar’. Nearly seven years ago I gave up eating sweets, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice-cream, fizzy drinks etc (all the things I used to crave)….best thing I ever did! I also no longer eat convenience foods (those processed to heat in a microwave etc. I only buy food that has no more than 3 ingredients in it. Does all this work…it does for me…I still like beer however and drink in moderation…and since Coronavirus has been with us I have cut my alcohol intake really down! Health does matter! I exercise in moderation…walk a little, use my bike a little AND for the last two years have attended a special Yoga class twice a week and since April 2020 this has been on Zoom…Yoga is fantastic…just the ticket to re-jig muscles that have been dormant for some time. I, just for the record, also love meditation and healing is within me too.
Over many years I have built up a large circle of friends. My years living in London started this circle (funnily enough not my schooldays)…and every year I organise a get-together in Central London where many of us meet for lunch, tea and an evening full of music. Chums from all over the globe still attend and of course as the years go by more and more of them are passing on, especially in these last 10 years, and are sorely missed…BUT as of 2020 my Reunion is on hold and hopefully will return as and when…and as my life goes on I feel that it is very important to stay in touch with my friends and I treasure my annual reunion and linking in with my past. Sons and daughters of my friends attend this reunion so the circle will never be broken…Yay!
So there you have a picture of me… still very keen on living life to the full. My Philosophy is “Life is too short and there are masses of things still to do”…I hope that my existence on this planet will have made a positive difference to many people and what I leave behind me in friends, music, photos, ceramics and songs will be a good legacy. If I have moved the world forward a few inches in a positive way during my time on this earth then all has been worthwhile.