Singer and pianist Joe Stilgoe live-streams daily message of hope during the coronavirus crisis

Singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe is sending out a daily message of hope from his shed in his garden in Hove.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 7:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 7:34 am

Joe is performing live on Youtube every day at 1pm – half an hour of fun to take us all away from the ghastly coronavirus outbreak.

“Of course, I say hello and I hope you are all well, but this isn’t about the virus.

“You just can’t be thinking about it the whole time.”

The idea is an escape – and also plenty of musical fun, a great way to lift our spirits.

You can catch up with Joe on where you can also view back episodes of the new initiative, Stilgoe In The Shed.

“It was my wife (Katie Beard)’s idea because she comes up with all the good ideas. I write, I do gigs, but the online thing I felt I had probably missed the boat, but she ‘Look, people are going to miss coming to your gigs’ She said ‘You should try it.’

And so Joe started, every day except Sundays: “And people have picked up on it around the world.

“It seems people are really loving it. People are getting in touch. Companies are getting in touch, wanting to use it for corporate parties. It is great. I think people do very quickly adapt.”

It’s important too that you don’t have to be there to catch it live. Past editions are listed.

“I get a lot of people on the front line, people like teachers and NHS workers who catch up with it and are sending me messages that it keeps them going.

“You can watch TV all day, but then it just feels like there is no purpose. This is something different. I think people need some kind of routine.

“I could do just one a week, but it is great to do new songs and old songs and also do some requests. People ask for songs via Twitter or Facebook.”

And so it will go on. Joe anticipates absolutely no difficulty coming up with material: “There are infinite numbers of songs. I will do a few of my own, lots of favourites and lots of songs people ask for.

“I think half an hour is fine. You can’t take up too much of people’s time. It is just me in my shed. I am not able to pan around and there is a big band behind me looking wonderful!

As for the future, well, Joe isn’t trying to think too far beyond the moment: “We have got small children so things are a little bit testing, but things aren’t as bad as they are for others, and I am just grateful for the sunshine.”

All his bookings have disappeared: “But I try not to think about it. It is too depressing. But I am in a luckier position than a lot of friends. I have got writing projects as well. There is that side of my life. But the gigs have all gone… or been postponed. There is going to be a great glut of gigs.

“But I do think of my friends in theatre jobs whose work is week to week, and I think of jazz musicians. The jazz gigs have gone. The entertainments industry kicks on into so many different things in our lives.”

However, Joe’s instincts are to look on the bright side, he insists…. Hence the shed gigs, broadcast around the world via Youtube.

“I am sure there are thousands of people doing this kind of thing, but I think I am the only one doing it from a shed.

“And so for half an hour people just don’t have to think about what is going on. You really can’t be thinking about it all the time.”