Joe Stilgoe - My favourite Sussex

Joe Stilgoe (C) Matt Humphrey

Joe Stilgoe (C) Matt Humphrey - Credit: Archant

Jazz singer Joe Stilgoe lives in Hove with his wife and two daughters. During the lockdowm he’s streaming daily concerts live from his shed

Home is…

Hove, where we’ve been for the past four years. We wanted to leave London, we had a new family, and we had lots of friends here.

Your earliest memory of Sussex?

I grew up in Surrey and weirdly I remember always wanting to live in Sussex. My mum was an opera singer who used to sing at Glyndebourne, and she would occasionally bundle me in the car to see friends she’d made there. I remember going to the surrounding villages and thinking they were just perfect.

Where do you go to unwind?

At the moment, my shed! Before all this, the Downs. Devil’s Dyke is so lovely – it’s not far out of the city and it always feels miles away. I jog, and I often get ideas for songs while I’m out. The trick is to keep them in my head while I’m bouncing my brains around, and then quickly scribbling them down when I get home.

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Favourite Sussex walk?

Saddlescombe – there’s a big walk round there which is lovely, especially in spring when the lambs are out.

Favourite place to spend time with the family?

At the moment, in my house. Pre-lockdown, it was Hove Beach. Our two young girls love going swimming in all weathers and all seasons.

Where is your favourite place to shop?

Is it sad to say garden centres?! There’s one on the way to Hassocks, South Downs Heritage Centre, which is enormous – like a theme park. It’s great at Christmas because there’s a huge display and Santa’s grotto, there’s a children’s play area – and there’s even a lawnmower museum!

Best Sussex night out?

Sadly Love Supreme isn’t happening this year, but last year I went to see my friend Jamie Cullum headlining the main stage. We put the girls to bed, hopped on a train – it felt so decadent – got into Glynde and walked up the road and there was this amazing festival. I ran up and saw loads of friends, Jamie finished his set and then Lauryn Hill was on afterwards.

Best place to eat or drink?

To drink, there’s a great pub down the road from us called The Watchmaker’s Arms which has its own brewery.

We had an amazing meal at Isaac@ in North Laine. Everything is sourced from within a 30-mile radius so they have wines like Wiston Estate and Bolney Estate. It’s just beautiful cooking – it’s a set menu and quite pricey, but I’d really recommend it.

If you could move anywhere in Sussex where would it be?

I think it would be somewhere like Glynde or one of those villages. I’ve always had a bit of a Miss Marple streak, not in the sense of solving murders but I’ve always loved the idea of having a village green, a cricket club and a pub by the burbling stream.

Your Sussex life in three words?

Beauty, tranquility, home.

Stilgoe in the Shed is live on Joe’s YouTube channel every day at 1pm