What Hat-tricks have we been up to?

14Mar20: Shortly after our gig on 14 March at The Ship, the Government's Covid-19 Virus measures placed the country in 'Lockdown'. As a result, pubs, bars, cafes, etc are shut down until further notice. Please follow Government advice to STAY SAFE - PROTECT THE NHS - STAY AT HOME so that we can beat this virus, not lose loved ones and we can look forward to a safer future when we can love, hug, laugh, sing and dance together again. See you on the other side!

29Jan20: 3 Hats at The Engine Room (D, G & P). Such a fantastic atmosphere that John and Lisa have created in The Engine Room, with delicious beer, and other intoxicating potions. It feels like we're playing to a room full of friends ... thank you to those 'friends' for supporting live music, The Engine Room and of course ... us. The friends included 2 drummers ( I believe that the collective noun is 'a racket of drummers'), guitarists, singers and an extrovert tambourine artiste! Remember, Wednesday night is music night from 8pm in The Engine Room.

21 Dec19: Daybreak Christmas Party at Glen Vue Centre, East Grinstead. D, G & P had the honour of playing at the Daybreak Christmas Party. A great crowd you turned out to be with your dancing, singing and percussion. Thank you to Kate Strong and the Team for making the party go with a swing. Anyone wanting to find out more about Daybreak, please contact Kate Strong on 01342 327046, or email on shortbreaks@ageukeastgrinstead.org.uk. Daybreak provide care and support so that people can live well with dementia and in older age.

2Nov19: The Ship PH, EG. Thanks to all you folks who travelled out in the fizzing rain to singalong with us Hats. A good crowd of chirpy birds you turned out to be too. We look forward to seeing you here again in 2020.

25May19: The Ship PH, EG.It was nice to be back at The Ship. A lively crowd ... some singing and some dancing ... one of the lights went into retirement ... one of Stevie P's fingers went into spasm ... "a show to remember" I remarked to myself. Only time will tell if our return gig on 31 August can top this 'high octane' performance ... hang onto your seats ladies and gentlemen, there could be some turbulence!

Please note that our 7 September gig at The Ship has been rescheduled to 31 August. I'm not sure why, but YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD!

Apologies, but due to Pete being incapacitated (slipped disc), we have had to cancel the 1 September gig at The Ship. Sorry for any inconvenience and we hope to be able to announce a new date soon. Get well soon Pete.

28July18: Stevefest, Maidenhead. ELVIS has a twin! Imagine our surprise when they both appeared in a marque at Maidenhead, and they've still got all those iconic dance moves and poses. It also made the appearance of Wonder Woman kind of normal. Every year Stevie-baby goes one better, this year everything was groovy as everyone was transformed back to a time of peace and love. "If you remember the 60s man, then you weren't there!" ... I suspect that there are quite a few of those Stevie-festers who won't remember much of the goings on ... or will claim not to! "Not me babe, I wasn't there." Brilliant Steve ... thank you.

13July18: The Ship PH, E Grinstead (a.k.a. Mary Celeste) ... it was Friday 13th ... not a soul could be found ... we checked the Ship's log and the last entry found was dated 11 July ... it said "following the HarryKane devastation, we've mutinied and joined the Croatian frigate SS Modrich and set sail for the finals" ... But would a little thing like that put off A Bag Full Of Pirate Hats? No way. Thank you to the old couple Flotsam and Jetsam (possibly lost, deaf or both) that looked a little bit like an audience, or 'punters' as we water rats call them. No need for the rest of you to feel guilty for not turning up ... we don't bear a grudge ... it's all water under the bridge to us ... JUST MAKE SURE YOU TURN UP ON 1 SEPTEMBER.

1July18: East Court Live - Party In The Park: List of requirements ... sunshine, people, fun. What a fantastic mix ... a tasteful choir, some heavy metal, Into The Blue, and A Bag Full of Hats. We'd put together our singalong family set list that would allow people to rock in their deck-chairs, sway on their picnic blankets or dance on the grass. A great honour to be part of this East Grinstead event that is increasing in popularity. Thank you to all those who organised the event and all those that came along and supported it. The magic seemed to emanate from the close proximity of the Meridian Line ... if only there was a suitable song linking East Grinstead to the Meridian Line ... oh hang on ...there is! Check out Meridian Line - East Grinstead official video on YouTube.

4Mar18: 4 Hats at Dave's 64th Birthday Bash at Chequer Mead Theatre, EG. Jess returned from Maternity Leave to play drums. Stevie Pea was on Jane caring duty. There were many magic moments, including Dave astounding the audience with his singing debut of 'When I'm 64' ... unforgettable! The show started off with Dave Beckett, followed by Anna Howie (and her all star band), and The Hats were followed by the ever-touring Andy Twyman (having played in Swanage Blues Festival earlier in the day). St Catherine's Hospice received the profits from the night. (On behalf of Dave) ... Thank you for all who played at, and supported this evening of entertainment and raising money for such a good cause. Happy Birthday Dave.

16Nov17: George at Songwriters Night, upstairs at The Dorset Arms: The evening was started off by Sheila Ballard singing in her melodic flower power / pop style. Sharing intimate secrets of yearning to meet Bono (allegedly). Marshall Burns (trio) then raised the roof and volume with their foot stomping style of accordion jazz rock. I've not seen someone laying almost horizontal across a bar stool, while singing, playing accordion and tapping their foot on a tambourine! Meanwhile, the guitarist (who was claiming to be called Dave - an ancient charter requires at least one Dave in every band), was manipulating the wonky floorboard to make the PA speaker rock at alarming angles, To complete the musical variety, I then closed the show with a tranche of songs under the genre of wrinkle rock. This included a tribute to Dave Phillip's legendary career as Cashier No 1. Please look out and support this monthly event. Dave does a fantastic job of organising such events, and manages to find an eclectic mix of performers that proves that we must KEEP MUSIC LIVE.

10Nov17: The Old House, Dormansland welcomed us to the recently refurbished splendiferry that is the new old house ... and very nice it is too. The joint was jumping (allegedly), and the elusive Harry Spadge was believed to be in the building. Note: The Harry Spadge Band is believed by some to be a Hats tribute band, but this has been vehemently denied by Harry.

30 Sept17: Chartham Park Golf and Country Park welcomed us to the clubhouse for an evening of exquisite musical entertainment. Dave utilised his multi=faceted bits and bobs by interchanging between guitar and percussion ... an intriguing juxtaposition. We made considerable effort to look exotic and as if we knew what were doing, by wearing a selection of blue-ish shirts. Top class. The L-shaped room meant that we couldn't see all the audience, but rumour has it that most of the 600 members were discreetly placed round the corner.

29 Sept 17: The Ship had reinvented itself by moving the band area from the starboard, to the port side. This makes us virtually inaudible to anyone who might of complained ... clever stuff. This was the first gig with Joe Martin on drums while Jess relaxed at home knitting booties with her temporarily redundant drums sticks. A great job he did too, and he helped bring the band's average age down a tad ... unlike me, some of the band are no longer 59! Thanks for the loyal support of friends and neighbours.

5 Aug 17: You simply can't risk having too many Hats in a single vehicle ... everyone knows that. So we boldly set off in a convoy of three ... Maidenhead bound. Steve-Fest was our destination, and how our hearts swelled with joy and pride when we saw the super-marquee that awaited us ... a stage and dance floor and an expectant crowd (and drummer!). It was to be the last 'pre-baby' gig for Jess so we had to finish on a high. Who wouldn't love a crowd who got up and danced from the outset? Forty four songs later we all ended the evening tired but happy. A brilliant "fest" thank you Steve. Good luck Jess ... can't wait to hear the patter of a tiny snare-drum! (That well known saying!).

1 July 17: Shiphams Bloater Paste is not on the marvellous Ship menu, not even on this weeks 'Specials' Board. Despite this disappointment, we cracked on with our performance for what is Jess's penultimate gig before maternity leave. Just to add to the drama, she disabled her hi-hat and made out is was broken ... what a joker! Many familiar faces (and other body parts) were in the audience ... thank you all for coming. We return again on 29 September with Joe Martin sitting-in for Jess on drums.

15Apr 17: The Ship again proved to be a home from home, with welcoming hosts and friendly audience. Old and new friends in the crowd ... who seemed to know the words better than we do ... thank you. Our last gig here was on the 18 March, and we had much the same experience. Most recent song additions have been REM's 'Losing My Religion' and 'Shiny Happy People', with a couple of spoonfuls of that old favourite 'Brown Sugar'. Our next Ship gig is on the 1 July, but if you can't wait that long, D, G & P are due to do an acoustic set on the front lawn of Sackville College at noon on 1 May (May Day) ... weather permitting ... after all, it is a Bank Holiday!

22Oct16: Spick and Span had been busy redecorating and refurbishing The Ship, and what a marvellous job they've made of it. Thank you for all those friends, family and neighbours that came along to inspect the transformation, and then stayed on to listen, sing and dance along. Very much appreciated. Be sure to look at our website to check out when we are back there again in 2017.

19Oct16: Upstairs at The Dorset, everything was strangely spooky ... we were booked to entertain the Rotarians, but have no idea who actually turned up ... there was even a lady in red, but not a red dress ... she was just bright red! Aaaaahhhhh

17Sept16: D, G, P & S: Claridge House has been refurbished, revitalised and rejuvenated. As part of the celebrations, we were invited to share a bag full of songs - acoustically of course. Peter Horsfield recorded the event with his sketch pad, and the song that seemed to hit the right note was Spirit of Music ... "When I entered this house I could feel it pulling my heart. When I entered this room I could feel it calling my soul.

28Aug16: G, J, P & S went forth to Maidenhead for the second time this month. This time to cover for a band that had cancelled for a charity (Sue Ryder) beer festival at The Horns PH. Lovely folk in that neck of the woods, especially with the appearance of Mustang Steve. A fab evening and the Bank holiday drizzle kept its distance.

27Aug16: Cinestock at Sackville School was the playing field for D, G & P to perform a sizeable trick of looking shorter ... or was it that the mega-size screen was being used? Difficult to fit a T-Rex on the smaller screen as their tail goes off the edge ... that's Jurassic Park for you!

14Aug16: It's always nice to receive great feedback from our gigs, thanks Steve:- 'Bag full of hats a most unlikely name to inspire you to hire them, no you couldn't be further from the truth. A fabulous band of really nice people who gave me and my guests a night to remember. We always said that a good band or DJ for that matter was so because they kept there audience on the floor, this they did with great tunes well played, targeted to the crowd and consistently good. Thanks guys and girl for a fantastic evening. More to come I hope.'

6Aug16: Maidenhead - Mustang Steve's Summer Party. P, G, J & S set forth on a 'road trip' in search of an exotic oasis near Maidenhead. An eager crowd of friendly folk welcomed us into a fantastic 'garden of many rooms' and we were treated to a gazebo of twinkly lights and hanging baskets ... we were later to discover that the adjoining field contained sheep that had been trained to perform synchronised munching in time with the music. (I'm not sure that I saw this mentioned on our contract, but it certainly made my night!). From the first song, the crowd were up dancing that unique style that dancing on turf requires. We had an awe-inspiring visit to admire The Mustang, which of course required the playing of Mustang Sally. When the load-out was complete, the dew started to form on the grass and we set-off for home tired, but happy. Thanks Steve for letting us join you in the garden of twinkly tents.

23July16: Cinestock at the Llama Farm, Ashdown Forest was our first opportunity to entertain the punters as they arrived and girded their loins ready to watch 'The Hangover' in this fantastic setting under the stars. We had a number of exotic birds providing ad hoc backing vocals (the dream finally came true!), and the view we had across Ashdown Forest was breathtaking. It's the first time I'd seen the Cinestock inflatable screen, which to my eyes looked like a bouncy castle's bottom (Note: this is a good thing!). Please take the opportunity to experience the upcoming films, which should have something for everyone except the agoraphobics amongst you.

7May16: The Ship, EG. The weather was hot ... bring on the fans ... Dave was left back at port bailing out water ... we decided that we should use the highly successful MCE set list and add extra lights to dazzle the punters so that they couldn't see that we had a crew member missing. Amongst the crowd were a few seldom seen cousins and there seems to be a new sport of waving at the band from the side window! (Yes, you Nigel).

23Apr16: The Mayor's Charity Event (MCE) at The Sports Club, EG. We were honoured to be asked to play at Mayor David Sweatman's charity event. The transition of the main Sports Hall with the installation of an indoor marquee was an amazing sight. Approx 300 guests attended this highly successful charity event which raised in excess of £2,000.

30Jan16: The Star, Lingfield was full of party people. Having crossed the border into Surrey, we seemed to be able to communicate perfectly well. The world is certainly getting smaller!

29Jan16: Wet and windy (enough about me), but the show must go on ... so we did our little show up on the plinth at the Sussex Arms. Dave's super speakers ensured that every last whisper could be heard. Although I seem to be the only one who can hear those voices ... is there anybody there? Hello?

10Jan16: Acrostic Sonnet anyone? Following my sketchy blog review of our performance of the gig at Claridge House gig on 3 Jan, one of the audience (Peter Horsfield), was moved to compose the following Acrostic Sonnet (the first letter of every line spells A Bag Full Of Hats) - thank you Peter:
A gentle folk-band plays for our delight;
Bewitching melodies and rhythms flow
Along the strings of instruments sublime,
Give body to the voices' blend that grows
From George, supported by Steve, Pete and Jess,
Until the room reverberates the sound,
Light-heartedly with ditties that address
Liquidity to cloak us all around -
Of poignant subjects feed our deep concern,
Find love, compassion, for us all to share.
How joyfully we dance the drum-beats' turn,
Allow the music's message to ensnare
The rapt attention of our company,
Sustain the Oneness of this harmony.

3Jan16: Claridge House (the sequel), saw the addition of Steve to the throng. We were pleasantly surprised when a few of the audience were drawn to the dance floor (a.k.a. the carpet), and one plucky chap was inspired to sketch us as we played (why has no one mentioned my striking resemblance to Prince Charles before?). What a pleasure it was to play 'unplugged' and to people who not only want to listen to the lyrics, but also to find out what inspired the writing of the song in the first instance.

27Dec15: Claridge House, Dormansland saw the first of our 2 unplugged evenings in this Quaker sanctuary. With Dave in search of castanets in Spain, Jess took over the Cajon throne, shaking and whistling like a trooper. The chairs were formed into a magnet shape, Pete and George warbled without the comfort of microphones and not a single oat was harmed.

21Nov15: The Ship - It was so cold that there was frost forming on our rollocks and oars. Relatively quiet too until we were subjected to P.U.D.S. (Pop Up Dancer Syndrome). There was no knowing when they would arrive and then all of a sudden they were there ... could it have been the lure of the 'Great Balls' (Rock n Roll) Medley? The Elvis Medley? Or were they just medley-maniacs? Whatever it was, please feel free to do it again.

31Oct15: What do you get if you cross a Pirate with a Ghoul? I don't know either, but it was a whole bucket of bloody fun! The (creaky) Door set Arms was awash with strange looking types, and as well as the regulars, there was an eclectic mix of witches, warlocks and seamen! In recognition of Halloween, we murdered Devil Woman, Busted some Ghosts, did `the Mash and even Warped Time (and the less said about Pete's Ring of Fire, the better!). It was great to have the opportunity to play down in the main bar area, and a big thank you for so many of you making the effort to look gruesome! Ha Ha Haarrr me hearties.

30Sept2015: What comes around, goes around ... so it was that we turned up to the Dorset Arms Function Room for a night of dinner (song) and dance with the Rotarians (following the spherical / rotary theme, it probably should have been called a Ball). Powered by Scampi and Chips, we soon warmed to each other and a fun night was had by all, (that I could see, because a couple of folk placed themselves behind columns so they didn't have to look at me). Thanks for being such a lively crowd of singers and dancers.

5Sept2015: The Ship, East Grinstead saw the untried format of Jess, Pete, Steve and George. Dave had gone 'Back to the Future', while we concentrated on bringing the past to the future. Lots of praise afterwards and plenty of singing and dancing throughout. Thank you all, it warmed our cockles.

15Aug2015: The Meridian Hall was bursting full of love and birthday wishes for Brenda. For once we kept to the set list, which included a red hot performance of 'Ring of Fire' ... not wanting to blow my own trumpet, I made ridiculous noises with my mouth instead! A vocally refreshing performance all round!

13June2015: The Three Crowns PH, Ashurst Wood was a new venue for the Hats. Thanks to the friends and family celebrating Martin's and Danni's birthdays, there was a fantastic party atmosphere before we'd even played a note. Once we were off, there was no looking back ... the lip-smacking smell from the BBQ ... giant badges ... helium balloons ... Dad dancing ... Aunty singing ... 'Get In!'

5June2015: The Ship, East Grinstead on a hot Summer night. Most of the crew were on shore leave. My microphone went on shure leave ... then got better. Man D'Olin went quiet ... then turned up with a Galway girl. The impossible light show refused to work ... then possibly cured itself. Less Gremlins and more people please for when we play here again on 5 September.

30May15: The Star, Lingfield saw the rare combo of George, Pete and Steve. Dave was off Greecing himself up on a plate-smashing tour of an exotic island. Meanwhile, back in Lingfield, people were travelling from as far away as Maidstone to experience this rare event. A lovely time was had by all, and what was lost without the sporadic comment of "good choice of song", was gained with the heady smell of Olbas!

22May2015: The Dorset Arms Beer Festival was a barrel of laughs as D, G & P found themselves in the former stable block surrounded by the fabulous aroma of beer. By the end of the evening the happy punters were anything but stable. The only request was for more enthusiastic use of the smoke machine ... that never happened when we were younger and prettier!

8May2015: The Old House At Home PH, Dormansland ... a set list by Jess included some of the 'new to us' songs, including Already Gone, Mustang Sally and Willie And The Hand Jive. We all started and finished at the same time, so we consider that a moral victory!

4May2015: Sackville College front lawn ... a chance to sit IN THE SUN ... ON A BANK HOLIDAY ... D, P & G had the lunchtime slot to play a lively acoustic set for those folk wanting a spot of entertainment while they took a break from all the fun of the fair. All we asked in exchange was for a few coins to be thrown in a bucket to stop it blowing away and to contribute to 'save the leopard up the pole' fund (it is probably called something else, but that's what we believe the money will go towards). There's something special about playing in the great outdoors and I'm sure I saw McIndoe's statue turn his head and wink ... probably sunstroke! Looking forward to playing at The Old House At Home PH, Dormansland on Friday 8 May.

25Apr2015: The Sussex was the first venue that A Bag Full Of Hats played over 10 years ago, at an open mic session that Andy Millen used to run on a Sunday afternoon. The plinth (raised stage) is still there ... our eyesight has deteriorated (don't even go there with your smutty talk) ... pardon? ... the hearing is dodgy too. The crowd was lovely and the beer was drunk ... which was reversed by the end of the evening.

16Apr2015: Songwriters night upstairs at The Dorset. Going solo for the night gave me the opportunity to expose the unsuspecting public to the weird world according to George. Subjects covered included dogging, exotic dance / lap dancing, being buried in the back garden, terrorism, Pagan weddings ... all the usual old stuff! There was a room full of people thanks to Dave P's continued skill to promote such events and find a variety of new (and old) musicians. 3rd Thursday of every month ... don't forget 21 May.

28Mar2015:The Star, Lingfield saw the Twiffic Fwee boldly performing what we call music. No over exuberant race goers to gee us up, just some friendly and appreciative locals (and Fireman Paul, of course). Definitely our best gig this year.

27 Dec: "Return to Claridge House' sounds like a novel and it was a novel experience. Returning after our initial gig here in the middle of August, it had a cosily festive feel to it, including a splendid Christmas tree. We received the same level of attention to our songs, performed acoustically. We've always thought that our looks are our fortune, so not having microphones obscuring our pretty little faces must surely enhance the overall experience? Dave even managed to flaunt his talents on the washboard ... he danced amongst the audience tempting some lucky participants to squeeze his hooter ... further developing his role in the band as a sex thimble. This was a nice gig to finish off our year. Thanks to everyone who has come along to support us in 2014 ... we hope to see more of you in 2015.

20 Dec: Browndog Hay ... Upstairs at the Dorset Arms ...and lo, they did travel from afar with hats of joy and tinsel abounded. Oh how we wanted to let it snow and for santa claus to come to town as we rocked around the Christmas tree ... the fairy lights twinkled, the reindeer horns nodded and a surprising number of songs finished with 'cha cha cha". Merry Christmas one and all.

16 Dec: Groundhog day ... Danny lead the way with a classy set ... I followed my brief of "lively, crowd-whipping" ... Nick, Jono and Joolz then showed their wisdom (and other teeth) to an adoring capacity crowd. Another triumph for Dave (D P Productions) Phillips ... a great treat for East Grinstead ... proof that Mr Eede has still got it ...

16 Dec: I know that a blog is supposed to be about something that has already happened, but I'm going to buck the trend. I'm getting myself in a lather of pride and excitement about being one of the two support acts to the promising newcomer to Popular Music, Nick van Eede. The gig is 'upstairs' at The Dorset, E Grinstead on 16th Dec from 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 from Bullfrog Music.

22Nov14: The Star PH, Lingfield was heaving with 'celebrants' … it seemed that anyone who wants to celebrate their birthday gravitates towards The Star … they all believe they can sing and create the perfect set list. If drinking was a science then there was a large schooner of alcohologists under that roof. We had fun … they had fun … we can remember it the next day, with clear heads and pure hearts … Time now to whip out the Christmas baubles in readiness for 'Party Night' upstairs at The Dorset Arms, E Grinstead on 20 Dec … Ho Ho Hope to see you there.

11Oct: The Ship, EG was the place to be. Pete & Di's set list was radical … starting with 3 mandolin songs! … 6 songs not previously played live … living life on a knife's edge. Newees were: Dancing In The Dark, Route 66, Hard To Handle, 20th Century Boy, Sweet Home Chicago and Bad Case Of Loving You. Just when it looked as though we could give no more … Sophie demanded King Of The Swingers … Ooo Bee Doo.

5 Oct 15: Anyone who has met Dave knows what a good egg he is, but he has received official recognition of his egginess. Well done that man … forever Mr Modest, he went along to the function simply to enjoy a 'nice cup of tea' and was honoured to receive the Mid Sussex Community Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

18 Sept 2014: Upstairs at The Dorset, EG. Another one of Dave's enterprises under the guise of DP Productions, this is a fantastic opportunity for local songwriters to show off their talents to an audience eager to listen and experience a variety of songwriting styles. Pete and I were honoured to be the 'sandwich filling' between James Morris and Jono Harrison. We even had Dave join us on a couple of songs … his usual multi-functional performance of playing guitar while entertaining me with his glowing red ears trick by strategically placing himself in front of the bank of lights … what a trouper!

12 Sept 2014: The sun was almost over the yard arm when we kicked off the music at the Old Dunnings Mill Beer Festival. Our back-drop looked like a library and that cosy position in the pub made sure that the sound didn't bother the neighbours. This is the final Beer and Music Festival before Jan and the gang hand back to Harveys Brewery. It's hard to imagine anyone making a greater success than Jan with the roaring trade created by the hog roast and all those beers … after finding myself 'Dazed and Confused', I moved on to a 'Ginger Tosser' … once upon a time in the innocent days of yore, you just asked for a pint of best bitter! Despite having a very "on trend" croaky voice, we received some kind words of appreciation. Of course, the comments might have been influenced by the Ginger Tosser? Cheers mate.

16 Aug 2014: Unplug your hats, we're off to Claridge House. Having an audience who not only want to hear your 'original' songs, but also hear the inspiration / background of why / when the song was written, was a rare treat. It was also great to go back to basics with unplugged acoustics, percussion and vocals (none of that reverb, chorus and jiggerry-pokery). Pete might have had a small bass amp … but it was only on volume 1. To my knowledge, none of us wore make-up and (because we were on our best behaviour and indoors) we didn't wear hats. Thanks to everyone at Claridge House for making us feel very welcome in this very tranquil setting.

9 Aug 2014: The Star, Lingfield - Pete was unwell, leaving George and Dave to run amuck in the candle-lit ambience of this premiere establishment. Close scrutiny of our implements, counting of strings, etc gave one bunch of punters away as musicians "resting / drinking". The ever loyal John and Lisa showed their support (bar stools), and a young couple from Basildon warmed our hearts by singing along with much gusto. They also found much merriment with Dave blowing his train whistle during 'Meridian Line' (I never know what entertaining antics Dave is getting up to behind my back, but as long as we keep out of court and it keeps the punters amused, then that's fine by me). Thank you to the makers of Covonia cough mixture (chesty?) for making this gig possible!

5 July 2014: The Ship, EG - As the 3 crews went onboard the ship, who knew who would emerge the winners. Holland and Costa Rica kept up a valiant attempt to steal the eyes of the crowd, but the wise could see the toes tapping and lips moving to the thrill of the Hats' 1 : 5 formation. An early knee injury to Jess threatened the rhythm of the team, but she showed her true grit (to anyone who asked to see it!) and carried on 'til the end. Thanks to the lone dancer that jiggled and tempted the ladies to join him … it was only a matter of time until they succumbed to his charms … his goal celebrations were a blur of latin jiggery-pokery! Holland and Costa Rica kindly waited until the Hats had finished before playing the fruity classic hit - Penalty Shoot Out … a Kruel ending, that only fans of the citrus could enjoy.

7 June 2014: Rose & Crown, EG - Some are born to party and some parties are born for Summer … that aside, we had a fun night not watching England not playing football. Loud shirts, novelty inflatables (yes, really), male knees and shins on show, summer frocks and a set list to Di for. Thanks to all our favourites for turning up to sing and dance and have the odd drink! (Pimms and Marmite shandy). Great of Rob to join us to sing the Elvis Medley … he's still got it, despite his age (and the ointment!). Meridian Line became an express train with Jess The Steam in control and those Galway Girls run away from us (very wise), Gemma narrowly avoided becoming a Husky and Dave went home happy with one the aforementioned inflatables! Whip out your dinghies, we're looking forward to seeing them on 5 July at The Ship.

31 May 2014: The Bull, Newick was an attempt to be discreetly entertaining (to not bring on indigestion to the diners) and laid back and yet scintillating entertainment to those who were lucky enough to be located at the fireplace (stage) end of the bar. Speaking on behalf of myself and me, I find it both confusing, challenging and yet strangely satisfying to be all things to all people. I think I noted a few looks of disappointment when I didn't sing the 3rd verse of Meridian Line while laying on a gurney being pushed along by 2 lovely nurses, but such luxuries will have to wait for the 'Stadium Tour' (which is still to exist in anyone else's mind). Looking forward to next Saturdays gig at the Rose & Crown PH in East Grinstead with a theme of 'Summer' … so plenty of socks with sandals, string-vests and knotted handkerchiefs please Matron!

24 May 2014: Balloons and banners a-plenty … The Meridian Hall, East Court was festooned with the fanfares of festivity that was Rob's 50th birthday bash. A gathering of family and friends were blown away by Rob's performance of some classic Elvis, Buddy Holly and songs of that era (not to mention his 'party shirt')! A guitar shaped cake, probably the best (All Seasons) caterers in the world and the chance to celebrate on the Meridian Line (shameless reference … time to view it on You Tube again?). Rob was not the only 'honorary' Hat, as we were joined by Dave Trigwell on drums, who kindly deputised when 'Deputy Joe' (get well soon mate) burst his ear-drum, (there's obviously a cruel joke or ironic pun there, that I won't lower myself to). A fun time was had by all. Next gig (acoustic 4some) at The Bull PH, Newick on 31 May.

13 May 2014: 5,250 views onYouTube! As 5,243 of them happened to be me, who did the other 7 views and why didn't you like it? Or was it the same person who viewed it by accident, didn't like it but thought they'd give it a second chance only to confirm that they didn't like it … this continued until they finally gave up after the 7th viewing being absolutely certain that they were right in the first place. Thanks to all those that have viewed / shared / spoken to others about it …

6 May 2014: The Meridian Line - East Grinstead Official Video finally went live on YouTube today youtu.be/z4n4RwOjsZY

19 April 2014: Rose and Crown, EG. More bonnets than a car show room! Bunny ears, Australian chick-corks, nests, Ladies glamour, lambs (polar bear?) … so many categories … (and of course, 1 Turkey … bootifool). No prizes, but you are all winners …it's the taking part that counts. Thank you all for coming along to support our little show. You made the 6 Bonneteers very happy.

12 April 2014: Hark, what mad man is playing that Bazouki? Shocking, and in a fine traditional English pub like The Star in Lingfield. Whatever next … and how do you know the player is a mad man? Well, no sane being would play Hi Ho Silver Lining on such a classical instrument, surely? On a day when the bluebells were transforming the woodlands into an 'Ocean of Blue' and runners were stuffing themselves with pre-London Marathon pasta, D, G & P went at the songster business with merry hearts and much gusto. Thanks to those friends that turned up to support (and drink, shout abuse /encouragement) … much appreciated. Must dash now, we've got appointments at the Milliners in preparation for next Saturdays Easter Bonnet party at the Rose & Crown, EG.

5 April 2014: The Ship, East Grinstead saw the Fab Five thumping out some Hatastic Toons. Some folk decided to boogie, some to sing along, some to nod their heads and tap their feet and others just simply to get comfortably drunk … whatever rocks your ship! Another medley joined our repertoire, we discovered that 8 mandolin songs is probably 2 too many and Jess was probably even faster at the finish of Galway Girl. Well we enjoyed ourselves and hopefully so did the punters. All aboard for the next sailing on 5 July.

16 Mar 2014: Meridian Line was once again running right through us … the final filming for the video found us meeting Laura Donaldson at the Queen Victoria Hospital, waiting on a sunny morning for nurses Julie O'Grady and Vicky Herbert to roll up with a gurney and some scrubs for Stuart (thank you doctor) Scholes. This relates to the reference to Archibold McIndoe in verse 3 of the song. As always, thanks to everyone involved for your time and effort. Now Jonty Eggington (Egg Media) has the task of editing the footage into something wonderful which will get everyone flocking to East Grinstead. If anyone can, Jonty can!

10 Mar 2014: The venue - Chequer Mead Theatre, The Occasion - Dave's 60th, The Charity - St Catherine's Hospice, The question - would anyone turn up? Not only did the place fill up, but it was a resounding success. If Carlsberg made nice blokes, they'd be called Dave Phillips! Such an apt way to celebrate your 60th birthday by surrounding yourself with music in a theatre full of friends and family ... and to top it all, a guitar solo of understated brilliance. To everyone involved … thank you. To St Catherine's … a much needed and deserved donation of £1,000. What extravaganza will he be planning from his next milestone birthday? Will his taste in shirts mellow with age? … let's hope not!

8 Mar 2014: The Crows Nest, EG saw the return of the D, P and G acoustic extravaganza … Pete sporting a new hair-cut, George with no blood in one arm and Dave making his final ascent to the summit of the hillock of life. We played some new songs (including Relentless and Cock-a-hoop) and tried to keep the "ladies" entertained with what I believed was described as our bizarre performance skills (I might have misheard … it could have been 'bazaar'). Looking forward to Dave's 'big doo' at Chequer Mead Theatre on Sunday all in aid of St Catherine's Hospice … hoping this is well supported. At Dave's age, he needs a support (allegedly).

22 Feb 2014: Make A Wish Foundation held their 'Disney' fancy dress event at The Rose and Crown, with many weird and wonderful characters turning up and some of them in costume! A number of the ladies had a "sweepstake" on whether or not Fred Flintstone was wearing under garments … this ended in it being declared a draw after it was confirmed he was allegedly wearing bear-skin pants … the punters are never satisfied with drawers! Dave worked up a lather behind us sitting on a box and claiming to be drumming … he's making the most of things as he approaches the "top of the hill"! Thanks to all who turned up and supported this charity event.

12 Feb 2014: New page on the web site … Lyrics: Islands in the flood. The song was written on 24 Oct 2005, but the title seems to fit the mood of the moment! The meaning could have something to do with relationships, but hey, one persons puddle is another persons embarrassment!

1 Feb 2014: Nutley Social Club. Boy oh boy, what a filthy night … not in the "don't tell the wife" kinda way you understand, just wind and rain as part of the relentless deluge that has heralded the 'year of the seahorse'. Not that I'm trawling for excuses, but the Nutters (the jury is out on whether or not that is what you call someone from Nutley) didn't quite outnumber the six of us. Thank you to those that did make the effort to come along and join our sing-song and remember to tell those fair weather Nutteenees (what the inhabitants of Maresfield call the Nutters) that when Keith invites us to play there again, they really should come along and support their wonderful club … "use it or lose it". Finally, thanks to Keiths everywhere for their dedication in the art of 'gig arranging'. Just to balance matters, Nutters call Maresfield inhabitants 'Bloody Marys" and people who don't like the band call us 'Two Ats'. Enough, I say!

28 Jan 2014: Punch & Judy PH, Tonbridge: I still had the remnants of a fringe last time we played here ( I always carried it with me in a matchbox!), but the place hasn't lost its edgy charm. Its always a pleasure to have a stained-glass back drop (as the actress said to the Bishop!). Thanks to Keith Rule for making this foray into Kent possible. If you want to find a way to bridge that Sussex / Kent gap, have some Harveys Bitter available … "That's the way to do it".

3 Jan 2014: Crow's Nest, East Grinstead. As we walked down the dark, wet back alley leading to the Goods Lift, it was like a scene out of a Mickey Spillane novel. Of all the stages in East Grinstead, we had to perform on this one! During the evening we murdered a couple of songs, but there wasn't a violin case in sight. With 'punter encouragement', we played a larger selection of originals than we often can get away with … which was nice! Although it did prompt one remark of "I liked your music, but it was a bit weird". This of course was taken as a compliment. Thank you to those who came along and listened, particularly the folk whose New Year resolution was to get out and support local musicians and venues. Can we play here again please / thank you?

21 Dec: The Rose & Crown PH, EG was the venue for the utterly fabulous, spectacularly Christmassy, mad as a hatter ... doo. Wet and windy (sorry matron), competing with the 'Strictly' final, but still the fabulous Santas and elves came fourth (!). To the sound of jingling bells, we followed Pete & Di's set list for several songs (possibly a record). The second set became a cornucopia of all that makes Christmas special ... 4 blokes singing in a pub (one fortunately without a microphone) … having let it snow, we also dreamt of it snowing, then explored the merits of supporting rather than mocking animals with unfortunate facial disfigurements … and so it went on until the midnight hour. Jess (aka 'The Blur') broke her record for the fastest ever finish on Galway Girl. Thank you everyone for coming along, wearing hats, jingling bells, singing, dancing, accidentally clapping on the off beats (you know who you are!) and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2014. Ho Ho Ho.


12 Dec: The Dorset Arms, East Grinstead was the venue for another of the fabulous Dave Phillips Productions. A clever mix of fairy lights and candles transformed the upstairs function room into the perfect ambient setting for a night of showcasing local singer-songwriters. For those canny enough to find the staircase (a similar skill that Harry Potter used to find Platform 9 and three quarters perhaps?), the mix of Alice Rose, myself, Danny Bridle (Bullfrog Music) and Andy Twyman gave the lucky muggles a night to remember. Keep a look out for similar future Thursday night spectaculars at The Dorset Arms.

7 Dec: The Star, Lingfield. A change of position in the pub kept us away from the open fire! We played through our greatest variety of music, but cunningly avoided Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and 'I can't get no satisfaction'. Leave 'em wanting more, that's what I say.

30 Nov: Special thanks to all concerned with the Philippines Charity Concert at Sackvillle School (Dave, Olly, Rod, Mary and all). It was a pleasure to be part of this worthy cause. Great organisation with the acoustic and main stages enabling all the many, varied acts to follow on without too much of a gap. After all the team's hard work, together with all the acts contributing their time and talent free of charge, it was a shame that the punters weren't as plentiful as the event deserved. I don't know the final sum raised, but optimistic estimates suggest that it could be close to £800. Whatever the numbers, lets hope it makes a real difference.

21 Oct: George spent the day being filmed by Jonty Eggington of Eggmedia (and his able assistant, Stuart Scholes of EGBA) as the part of the Meridian Line video that will be showing on the EGBA website in the coming months. The Bluebell Railway kindly gave us permission to film on unused parts of the track and full use of a compartment on the 2.15pm Autumn Tints service. "East Grinstead town ... keep coming back to you."

20 Aug: Special thanks to Jon Astley of Close to the edge Mastering for giving his time and skill to Master the song free of charge and adding to Martin Smith's skill at recording and mixing at Garage Studio East Grinstead (also free of charge).

17 Aug: The Star, Lingfield saw the cunning attempt to sneak Dave in at the back of the musical alcove come to successful conclusion. Obviously, he was then trapped until the "uncomfort" break. Not that it stopped him displaying his unique range of whistles, bangs and stick-shaking. The first set was lovingly received by a mixture of family groups and friends. The second set saw the arrival of the Lingfield Park racing set, who found refuge under the star having been told there was no room in the stable (almost got a bit biblical then!). Lo and behold, the 3 wise men went away happy having given their gifts of music.

7 Aug: A fantastic day at the Garage Studio working with Martin Smith to create a recording of Meridian Line. We were joined by Stuart Scholes of EGBA for part of the day, who wanted to experience the process of multi-tracking a song. Stuart hopes to get Meridian FM to play the song on Monday 12 Aug (11am ish) where he is promoting the Retro Ball on 14 Sept - one of the many events that EGBA are organising to raise funds for the McIndoe statue. Many thanks to Martin for giving his time and resources to enable the recording to take place, along with his contributions and inspiration throughout. Looking forward to working on the associated video of the song.

Excitement is building for 7 August when Dave and George are going to the Garage Studio, East Grinstead to record Meridian Line under the expert guidance of Martin Smith. This is the next stage in the process of providing EGBA (East Grinstead Business Association) with a promotional song for the town . Then will come an associated video involving a local dignitary! "Whoo hoo, can you hear it coming?"

3 Aug: If anyone had predicted that The Rose & Crown, East Grinstead was going to be full up with partying hairdressers, I would have curled up and dyed. That dedication to team building certainly in Spires. There was also first one couple and then another, who must surely be professional Ballroom Dancers judging by the way they cut the rug. It surely shows that when it comes to weekend entertainment, The Rose and Crown can provide "something for the weekend".

20 July: ... and the Bride played drums ... surely that's part of every wedding ceremony! After a fantastic day of "I will" and "I do", Rosie-May Hugget singing 'Let The Sun Shine", Simon Casciano entertaining the Diners with his Lounge Lizard repertoire, the evening approached and A Bag Full Of Fascinators took the stage. A couple of songs, followed by cake cutting, before the first dance ... 'Woman I Love' (Jason Mraz). The lure of playing drums on Galway Girl proved to much for Jess, as she stretched the capabilities of her wedding dress. Jess and Kate joined us on stage to sing the 'na, na, naahs' on Centrefold. Next guest appearance was John Brinkhurst (back from Oz, rather than Oz back from the john!) playing a storming guitar throughout Sweet Home Alabama. And finally, Nick Eede joined us for the latter part of the set, bringing his unique blend of charm, charisma and talent - whatever the venue or occasion, he just can't help but perform. The finale was Nick playing a solo version of 'I Just Died In you Arms Tonight' ... cheers mate, icing on the wedding cake to the whole performance. Thanks to Pete, Dave and Stevie P in their continued friendship as "The Hats" celebrate 10 years together. Thanks to Steve Boorer on his final performance on drums - he originally helped us out of a tight spot when Jess broke her ankle 2 years ago and has stuck with us until Jess was ready to return. Good luck with your various other music ventures. A special day indeed ... the day the bride played drums.

13 July: The Ship, E.G. Sun-hats at the ready, we prepared ourselves for a hot and steamy night full of trauma and tension. What happened instead, was the return of the prodigal daughter as Jess got back behind her drums and played as if 2 years absence with a badly broken ankle was all a dream and we'd woken up in Bobby Ewing's shower! We also had the opportunity to play some songs that we hadn't played for a while as the set list had been adapted in Gemma's absence. It was great to see John & Kristy who had (possibly) travelled from the other side of the world just to see us, and thanks to those other folk who sang, clapped and generally made it all worthwhile. Welcome back to Jess.

29 June: Rose & Crown PH, East Grinstead. A hot and steamy session at the R&C. Thanks as always to those who came along and showed their supports!

11 May: The light fantastique. As if it wasn't enough to have a band full of top hats, we were bedazzled by the new lighting set-up. Oh how's those lights changed from one to another ... a veritable rainbow of delights ... and the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow? Well it was Stevie P's golden sun-tan. Perhaps he shouldn't stand so close to the lights in future!

5 May: CJs, EG was the setting for this celebration of 20 years of Bullfrog Music. David, Ann and Danny were surrounded by a collection of folk who, regardless of their original status of customers, business associates, etc, had now been united under the collective heading of 'friends'. You can't help yourself ...
one day you go into shop for a plectrum and before you know it you feel part of the family that is Bullfrog Music. The Hats felt truly honoured to be the 'house band' and it was nice to meet up with some old and new friends. Congratulations for 20 years of great service and encouragement to local musicians.

27 Apr: The Rose & Crown PH, EG is the 'sister-pub' of The Star, Lingfield. I'm not sure who was the most welcoming, but they both showed us their charms and we ended the night warm and satisfied! P + G were enhanced by the addition of Dave the guitar / percussion king, Gemma (voice of an Angel) Dandy, Sweep (brass section) and a frog (inconveniently lodged in George's throat), the evening progressed like a blind-folded walk though a groper's reunion party. Sweep transformed 'Valerie' into a symphony of unforgetable class and 'Get A Hat' into a miliner's epiphany. The jewel in the crown though was the unique rendition of Superstition ... sometimes a moment of musical magic happens (modesty aside), and I just feel honoured to have been part of it.

6 Apr: The Star, Lingfield was a new venue for us, and jolly nice it was too! Great atmosphere and a cozy open fire. It was a refreshing change to have the remit of 'original' songs only. Pete and George had to search the memory banks for a couple of the older tunes, together with the first duo rendition of Meridian Line. All went well (and we even managed to sneak in a couple of subtle covers - forever the rebels!). Looking forward to playing the "sister" pub (The Rose & Crown, E Grinstead) on 27 April.

23 Mar: Facebook - abagfullofhats: Video of Meridian Line released to the unsuspecting public. Dave "Strategist" Phillips is drip-feeding the release from the 7 second "Take 1", followed by the 2+minute "Take 2". Only he knows when the full 4 minute "Take 3" will hit the Book of the Face! Sponsorship is being sought from Oil of Ulay and a 'count the wrinkles' competition is being proposed. Congratulations to the Bluebell Railway for steaming through the snow and making the "middle 8" of the song true.

16 Mar: Back aboard The Ship was a smooth cruise up the Swaney in comparison to the Titanic storm we experienced when we played here last Summer. Rain hats at the ready, we launched into our set to the smell of burnt cheese! Other bands go for special lighting, but we experimented with a nasal sensual experience. Sorry if you missed it, but I hope not to repeat it. Sorry if you missed it, but I hope not to repeat it. Looking forward to May 11 when we return to port.

2 Mar: A full hat-bag played at The Nutley Social Club (a new venue for us). Thank you to Fleur and the gang who made us feel very welcome. Hope to see you all again soon.

11 Jan: The Old House at Home, Dormansland. Temperature outside was -1. Hat count inside was -1 (Stevie P on nursing duties). Stevie P's absence gave us the unusual luxury of having room to swing a Hat. Some punters even took the opportunity to "cut the rug" and a good time was had by all. (Note: "cut the rug" refers to jumpy dancing. To the best of my knowledge the floor is actually wooden, no rugs were harmed during the course of the evening and I was not aware of anyone wearing a wig). It was nice to see a representative from the 'Shooshies Poe' appreciation society allowed out for the night. And finally ... not only was Gemma's voice on top form, but her new dance moves were unbelievable!

3 Jan 13: Out of hibernation ... Pete sporting a new shoulder ... D, P & G chanced upon a opportunity to air their talents in CJs (Court Case to follow). The lucky few were treated to some "old chestnuts". A good warm up for the 11 Jan at The Old House, Dormansland.

5 Oct: The Old House At Home offered a warm cosy-fire welcome out of the evening drizzle. As the mayhem of boxes and cases morphed into the Magical Arena of the Hats, the tension built like an over-tuned G-string. A lively crowd were kept on a knife's edge as the 6 Hats performed without surgical supports or such like. Thank you to all those who risked dampness to come along and support us and to partake in the fine ales and beverages served at this most splendid of establishments. Hoorah. Top drawer. What what?

4 Oct: I wasn't sure if my solo gig at CJs would be watched by one man and his socks, but Dave Cash Ear Phillips had hijacked the evening to be his Retirement Doo. 40 years (man and boy) as Cashier No 3 was due to come to an end on Saturday and friends + family were out in force to celebrate this milestone achievement - a 1st class male! The set included a few surprise packages + the one man and his socks enjoyed the company and the slice of cake.

17 Aug: It was a tall order ... living up to the billing of A Bag Full Of Cats without Gemma and Stevie P (nursing duties). The result was a rough and ready 4-piece producing the kind of caterwauling only previously heard from a hot tin roof - this (of course) was just what the veterinary surgeon ordered.

28 July: Despite being out of site of the great Racecard Bob, we managed to keep our spirits up - helped by the many parties of hens. By George, those races seem to be going quicker every time we go to the races ... Wham, Bam and they've finished. Is someone taking the Michael?

15 June: The atmosphere was electric with anticipation in The Old House At Home. Once we started, the crowd watched every move, gasping at the excitement, going through a whole smorgesborg of emotions.... Once the footie had finished and we had beaten Sweden 3-2, the band began to play! Jubilation reigned supreme for those gin-fuelled ladies in celebration of the football being over and having the opportunity to twist and shout.

2 June: The Ship, East Grinstead gave us the chance to see old friends and make some new ones. It proved to be one of those gigs where everything goes right. Helped along by "gals that dance" (and play tambourine). This is what it's all about for us Hats ... all those hours dedicated to thinking about finely honing our musical talents (but never quite getting round to it) ... culminate in a couple of hours of fun, fun, fun. Thanks to all those who danced, sang or just simply listened. The evening finished with a fantastic lighting / drum & bass display outside as monsoon season began and we needed a ship to travel home.

19 May: The Old House at Home, Dormansland was packed to the gunnels with hot bodies determined to have a good time and that's what they jolly well got ... giving anything less would have been rude! Thanks to all those hot bodies that made it all worthwhile and welcome back Steve "the heart" Boorer.

21 Apr: The East Grinstead Mayor's (Masked) Ball saw a unique line-up following Steve Boorer suffering a mild-heart attack during the week. While Steve was forced to put his feet up, we drafted in "super-sub" Joe Martin. Thanks Joe, very much appreciated and it certainly brought the average age down! I'd forgotten that unique sound of dancing chains ... those Mayors sure know how to boogie! Even that was outdone by the heroic sound of Richard Leman's Olympic medals. Get well soon Steve.

16 Apr: The 'a bag full of hats' facebook just got better thanks to Dave and Deej adding a picture montage with sound bites from the 2 Jan gig at The Old House At Home.

14 Apr: Lingfield Park Discover Racing Day - D, G & P took over the reigns to cover another filly cancellation and were fortunate enough not to get rained upon. A quick hello from John Francombe, a group of hens who claimed to know us (although one or two of them did look familiar!), a couple of "Galway Girls" twinkled their blue eyes at us, we sang to Mr & Mrs Noon's wedding guests and a camera crew from Channel 4 Racing who granted us 43 seconds of fame ... a tally-ho day all round what what?!

7 Apr: Laura + Duncan's Wedding party at the Meridian Hall was an out of this world experience. Thank you Doctor for bringing your friend Mr D A Lek. Special appearance by Duncan Guitar Fllght. All the very best for the future, no matter which Galaxy that girl in the fireplace should take you to.

23 Mar: Lingfield Park Blue Square Raceday - D, G & P trotted over to Lingfield Park to welcome the punters through the gate. A beautiful sunny day saw us put out to graze on a grassy bank opposite the ever popular 'Race Card Bob' ("all your runners and riders"). The highlight of the afternoon was the stately walk-past of Dame Judy Dench.

8 Mar: CJs on a Thursday night - a good turn-out. Full of happy, smiley, chatty people ... not a night for quiet balads! A respectful rendition of Daydream Believer in honour of Davey Jones. Bravery of the highest degree by Pete the croak Burton.

3 Feb: The Old House At Home with a new landlord but the same "old faithfull" locals. The weather outside was frightfull, but the folks were so delightfull. Let it snow!

2 Jan 2012: The Old House At Home for Landlord James' s leaving doo. A good mix of regulars, friends and family, other bands (Sliproad and Harry Spadge) and all captured on DVD! What a perfect way to celebrate the marvellous hospitality of young James. Six Hats playing sardines in the corner, with a guest appearance from Harry Spadge on harmonica! Thanks to everyone who came along to drink and listen.

18 Dec: Forget the Strictly Come Dancing Final, The Red Lion, Chelwood Gate was the place to be. A festive menu was served with some magical performances of timeless Christmas classics by some turkeys in Santa Hats. Live entertainment at its best?

28 Oct: The Red Lion gave us another very warm welcome ... well that's log fires for you! Pete served up the nights "special" - a large slice of American Pie, then we sailed off down Moon River.

22 Oct: A thoroughly enjoyable 3 hours in the "fun room" at Whittington College. The 1st set included Gemma, who managed to give a typical top class performance despite the mouth-watering aromas of the meal invading our nostrils! After that, we settled in to entertain with a different "fab fourmat" (Pete not well) and with Steve Boorer on a variety of percussion implements. As the evening progressed, the "hard-core" party animals lead the way to a great evening. Thanks to all involved.

15 Oct: The Old House At Home, Dormansland saw the much anticipated Sensational Six Hats. There was an Autumn chill outside, but with that many hats in one corner there could be nothing but warmth. Thanks to all those that made the effort to explore the back passages of Dormansland to stumble upon this home from home.

24 Sept: The Old House At Home, Dormansland saw a new line-up in the autumn hat range - The Fab-ish Four consisted of Steve Starr, Pete McCartney, Steve Lennon and Mr Harrison. (Dave was in exotic climes and Gemma was on "new Auntie" duty - welcome to Georgie). Our lively mixture of covers and original songs seemed to please the punters. We even added a bit of feedback for those with troublesome earwax and Mr Harrison experienced G-string loosening for that comedy element during the encore. Leave 'em laughing! We hope to get the opportunity to show just how good the 'Sensational Six' can be sometime soon.

17 Sept: The Red Lion, Chelwood Gate hosted another Hats acoustic special. Another busy night for the ever popular pub and restaurant.

9 Sept: Help4Heroes at Chequer Mead Theatre - What a fantastic supportive crowd ... only a few seats not taken ... somewhere in the region of £1,000 raised (TBC). We started off the evening and the crowd were soon singing along. We had Steve Boorer joining us again on drums and with Gemma Dandy's vocals just getting better and better. Next up were In Choir who gave a fantastic and rousing performance. The finale of the show was Champagne Supernova - (main organisers of the show) - the end of their performance was celebrated with fireworks.

20 Aug: Dave & George on a rooftop ... close to a graveyard ... in the dark ... a few songs were murdered ... the bells tolled. Apart from that, it went very well. Even the power failing didn't stop us. Local celebrities Mr & Mrs Robert Redford made their excuses, but couldn't resist coming back for more. Thanks C & J for a great night on the tiles.

3 Aug: Steve Boorer had kindly agreed to become an honoury Hat to cover for Jess drumming at the Stand Up Inn, Lindfield tonight following Jess breaking her ankle, and he did us proud ... a true pro. We also welcomed back 'new mum' Gemma, who reminded us what a brilliant voice she has. The Stand-Uppers did their bit to make this hot, steamy night fun, fun, fun.

31 July: Sunday at the Red Lion ... D, G and P endured the perfect Summer's afternoon in the perfect pub beer garden ... it's a tough ask, but someone had to do it!

22 July: Why hadn't anyone else attempted the dynamic spinning on the heel of a stiletto on a wet dance floor? ... because you will probably break your ankle. Jess got plastered ... no drumming for 6 weeks.

3 July: Sunday lunch/afternoon in the beer garden at the Red Lion: beautiful setting, beautiful weather and us (well 2 out of 3 isn't bad!). We like to think that the sporadic calls of "new balls" had something to do with the Wimbledon Men's Final, but sometimes the heckling can be very cruel when you get to our age. No need for us to 'get a hat' on this final gig of the mini-tour, as we performed majestically under the 'jumbrella'.

2 July: The "Get a Hat" mini-tour continued at the Organic Cafe, Sharpthorne. The first hour being D, G & S and the second hour with D, S & Jane. The Spice of Life ... variety.

30 June: 'If you want to get ahead' raised the bar tonight at CJs when Desperate Dave's suggestion to get the punters to sing the "get a hat" part turned into a Miliner's Symphony. Many will claim that they were present for this moment of sublime musical history, but that lucky band of Hattinies will be bonded for life ... spiritual ... (certainly alcohol related!)

11 June: Those that joined us at The Red Lion were treated to newish song 'If you want to get ahead, get a hat' - featuring probably the best kazoo solo in the world! We also gave 'Small Talk' a run through (written on that morning, and probably a little too fresh for public consumption). Next Red Lion gig on 3 July is a Sunday lunchtime special.

4 June: A last minute call to cover for a band who had to cancel saw us galloping off to Lingfield Park Racecourse on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We set up on a grassy bank (opposite "Racecard Bob") and entertained the punters (approx 2,500) as they entered the course. Thanks to Michelle and Kerry for looking after us on the day.

14 May: The 'avoid the Eurovision Song Contest' crowd had filled the Red Lion. Not a single 'boom bangabang' was uttered and we managed to resist ripping our clothes off to reveal mini-skirts beneath. Sliproad were amongst the audience of happy punters hoping to hear us play Far Away. Such fun!

23 Apr: St George's Day at the Red Lion, Chelwood Gate was a fine example of what makes England great ... great food, great beer, great company and a grate for an open fire. Nice to see old friends (and relatives!).

16 Apr: East Grinstead Mayor's Ball: Our patience paid off and we played for the finale of the Ball. There was much clinking of chains as the dancing got underway and hopefully much clinking of money being raised for the Mayor's nominated charities.

10 Apr: The Ship, East Grinstead: Sometimes everything just falls into place ... maybe it was having rehearsed recently! ... or just us wanting to show the ship-mates what we can do and taking that opportunity by the scruff of the neck ... (it went quite well)!

26 Mar: Red Lion, Chelwood Gate. A Bag Full Of Frogs performed a vocally croaky acoustic set for the foody connoisseurs of Chelwood Gate.

12 Mar: The Organic Cafe hosted the 3 hat race that is Steve, Dave and George. There can be only 3 winners ... us, because we get to enjoy the delights of the Organic Cafe kitchen.

25 Feb: Red Lion, Chelwood Gate. Since recording our 'LIVE' cd at the Red Lion on 1 Dec 2007, there have been a lot of changes, most importantly, the arrival of Mark and Paula. Pete, Dave and George provided an evening of songs in "acoustic" mode for the appreciative crowd of drinkers and diners. Don't worry if you missed us this time around as we are booked to return on Saturday 26 March.

17 Feb: CJs East Grinstead saw an acoustic session from Dave, George and Pete. Nice crowd who soaked up the relaxed ambience that CJs exudes in bucketloads (thats a good thing!).

14 Feb: Valentine's Night at Tarana ... following the poor health of John Gowers (get well soon), we were asked to perform at the eleventh hour. Two acoustic hats in a high class Indian restaurant. Not an obvious combination, but somehow it worked. We sang as many love related songs as we could, not easy with so many delicious spicy smells making your mouth water! Thanks to everyone at Tarana for making us feel welcome (and I'm not just saying that to curry favour).

2 Feb: The Stand Up Inn, Lindfield. Are Wednesdays the new Sundays? Don't be daft. Did anyone notice that Jess wasn't on drums? Yes we did. Get well soon Jess. Once we'd got used to the idea, then we got into the swing of it and the usual good vibes of the StandyUppies made it all worthwhile. Gemma sang with the mother of all voices and kept the crowd on the brim of their hats. First airings of A.I.G. and Weather With You went very well. We are booked to return on 3 August ... you have been warned.

22 Jan 2011: The unusual formation of G, P & S wowed the lunchtme crowd at the Organic Cafe with a varied set that included some songs that we'd not aired for a while (e.g. Ocean of Blue, Train leaves here this morning). The triangular formation produced a pleasing sound that only Egyptian minstrels had previously managed to create. Special thanks to the table of 'ladies that lunch' for their support, particularly their vocal and percussion skills that raised 'Pick a bale of cotton' to a new level - magically transporting us to the cotton fields of the deep south.

17 Dec: Having battled through snow and ice (-6C), it was a relief to cosy up in CJs to play to the merry revellers. ( Apart from Stevie P who was frozen in his igloo). Gemma joined us for the first set, bringing her ever-impressive touch of class to the hat experience. The second set was a much rockier sing'n'dance experience, with the Christmas Medley proving that live music doesn't need to involve rehearsal! Thanks to all those that braved the weather, including the Chequer Meads Friends out for their Christmas Bash, and of course our wonderful hosts Chris and Julie.

4 Dec: Snow show. Sorry that the snow and ice meant that we couldn't get over to Sharpthorne to play at the Organic Cafe today. We are due to play there next on 22 Jan. If you can't wait that long then come along to CJ's on the evening of 17 Dec.

21 Nov: Stand Up Inn, Lindfield. It happened again, the best pub in the world just got better. Hats aplenty ... dancin' and frivolity ... angelic(ish) singing. Thanks to Lucy for leading the dancing. Jess was much admired by the drumming fraternity. Thanks to all you StandyUppies for making us Happy Hats. See you again on 2 Feb 2011 (Wednesday).

15 Nov: 3XBAND=Fun @ Chequer Mead Theatre in aid of The Mayor's Charities. Jono Harrison kicked the evening off, followed by String Theory + Leijsha on Harp. Dave Bridle (Bullfrog Music) was MC for the evening. For some reason (modesty aside), everything went right for us and when Gemma (the voice) joined us on stage, we could do no wrong. For the finale, String Theory and The Mayor joined us on stage for a rousing rendition of Let It Be. If only you could bottle that feeling you get after a good gig ... historically, the Stand Up Inn gig provides that 'feel good factor' thanks to probably the best crowd in the world. I can hardly wait for our return there this coming Sunday ... hope to see you there!

30 Oct: Halloween Ball at Chequer Mead Theatre, EG to raise funds for the 'ChequerMead Friends'. Well you'd be hard pressed to find such a collection of Ghoulies. Oh how they lurched! Monster Mash, Time Warp and Superstition went down well. Thanks to 'Head Ghoul' Tasha for leading the Rocky Horrors' in their dance routine.

11 Sept: Just a few select customers/audience to start with until a few blokes wearing lycra arrived. I like to believe that they had bicycles outside, but was too shy to ask! Gradually the cafe filled to the rafters. Nice to have a large crowd for us and paying customers for the cafe. We were rewarded with the most delicious fish pie ever. Hard to believe that it was the first time that Dave had eaten fish pie! He's not a young man after all.

24 July: Roll up, roll up for the East Grinstead Summer Fair. 3 blokes and a girl playing music inside a gazeebo. Be surprised by the sudden gusts of wind! And the sun shone ... and all was well in the world.

17 July: D&G at the Organic Cafe. Resurrected a few old favourite songs that needed an airing before they were lost at the back of the drawer of time. Dave's percussion prowess was showcased on the 'Mark 3' in the shaker series - this is the 'bottle tops on a glittery coathanger' model. Dave shook himself into a frenzy, which has sparked fears of what will result when he unleashes the 'Mark 4" - bottle tops on a tennis racket. Is the world ready for this?

5 June: D&G play support for Tinderbox at Grub Cafe, EG. The evening started with Grace, a young lady with a very powerful voice, who with a bit of stage-craft could be an awesome talent in the future. Always a pleasure for us to play a set of all original songs, Dave got so carried away in Spirit of Music that he unplugged himself! Then Dan and Monique of Tinderbox treated us to a set of new and old songs, finishing off with the haunting 'Broken Trees'. Dave's night was made when he whipped out his lager stick and joined Tinderbox on stage in a Country' song ... yee haa cowboy!

! May: It was the 5th anniversary of the Organic Cafe. The bunting flapped majestically and the organic balloons bobbled in the electric pre-party atmosphere. As the guests started to arrive, the magic began ... how many people can you squeeze into this TARDIS of a cafe? Great crowd who sang along and seemed determined to enjoy themselves and celebrate 5 great years. Laura, Lesley and Leisjha (possibly the correct spelling), along with all the other willing helpers, did a great job to feed the throng. The final magic was conjured up by Leisjha on harp. The perfect sound to eat celebratory cake to.

28 Apr: We boldly strode into the unknown of Whittington College knowing only that we had a set list laden with 60s songs. What a night - what a welcome! I'm not sure what they were eating but once they started dancing, they didn't stop.

23 Apr: 3 X BAND=FUN@ Chequer Mead Theatre - Danny Bridle led the way with a skilfull set which makes you wonder why he keeps his talents hidden away in Bullfrog Music (get out there and show off a bit more)! Next came the Blue Sax Quartet who wowed us with a great variety of musical genres and took "walking on stage" to a new and exciting level. That left the Hats to finish off the evening ... the fab four (Jess was on DJing duty) played a mixture of originals and covers which got the audience to sing, clap and whistle along. The finale was all players onstage for a Beatles Mudley - quite an experience! The evening was in aid of Court Meadow Special School and it was nice to see some of students and staff in the audience.

17 Apr: Scene 1 - "The Mayor's Ball" - Music - Action. Well, those well known local faces certainly scrub up well when there's a posh doo. The 100+ guests were spoilt rotten at this "Oscars' theme Charity Ball (East Grinstead & District Association for Mental Health). Once those dinner jackets and posh frocks had filled themselves with fine food and wine, they soon showed that they can boogie the night away. Well done Mr & Mrs Mayor for organising a fun night and raising funds for a deserving local charity.

10 Apr: Dave and George 'unplugged' at the Organic Cafe, Sharpthorne lunchtime slot. 2 hours of tension as Brynie the Chocolate Labrador threatened to upstage us by producing her puppies! Sadly, no puppies yet, but we remained dogged throughout despite some whining from Dave. Thanks to Charlie and Cozie (and their Mum) for their percussion skills in 'Pick a Bale of Cotton'. We're back again on 1 May to celebrate the cafe's 5th anniversary.

14 Mar: The full bag of hats returned to their favourite Stand Up Inn. Much hat wearing, dancing and singing. Thanks to those who made the trip over from E Grinstead to join the festivities. A special Stand Up welcome was given to Gemma Dandy who treated us to her classy vocals as the finale of each set. She's a top hat that adds an extra dimension to the 'Hat' experience.

13 Mar: P,D & G play the opening set of the evening at Grub Music Cafe. A veritable feast of covers, including the ever flirtacious Dave going amongst the audience with his washboard during the skiffle numbers ... a number of the ladies couldn't resist a squeeze of his hooter!

27 Feb: P, D & G did the afternoon slot at the Grub Music Cafe. An appreciative crowd of varied ages were given a mixed set of 'new' and old songs

13 Feb: 2 Hats come out of hibernation to play at the 'un-plugged' Organic Cafe. Dave even gave us the benefit of his wash-board skills on a couple of skiffle classics, ably assisted by a 'customer based youth percussion orchestra' (the customer's children were given shakers).

22 Nov: The Stand Up Inn, Lindfield is simply the best! We took the challenge to out-hat the audience but they topped us again...if in doubt, wear a saucepan on your head! Pete played through the pain barrier after suffering a pain in the bass. Dave 'the wheels' Martin answered our transport dilema. The people of Lindfield came along determined to enjoy themselves and it proved infectious. Thanks for all the singing, dancing and yes, the saucepan!

17 Nov:30 min set to kick off the Grub Music Cafe open mic session. Congratulations to Grub on their 2nd birthday. In a relatively short time Steve has established this as a high calibre music venue. Gemma (bonnet) Dandy joined the hats for this prestigious session.

10 Nov: Guest band for the open-mic session at The Bull, Newick (cheers Andy). Armed with acoustic guitars and Gemma's vocals, the village yokels were given a treat. Even the barely practiced Paolo Nutini song Last Respects went better than we could have hoped for. Sadly, the dog whisperer couldn't stop a yapping hound from contributing to nearly all the songs.

6 Nov: George's solo support for Vanessa Peters at Grub Music Cafe was attended by a very elite crowd of people who actually listened! A chance to play original songs (some never/seldom played by the band), made for a varied set. Vanessa (and guitarist Manuel) played a very entertaining and professional set and were both very friendly and approachable. Grub's reputation as a music venue is making it possible to attract high quality acts (Vanessa, not me), but it needs a decent sized crowd to make the venture viable.

5 Nov: A reasonable turnout for this Chequer Meads Friends fund-raiser. Much fun and fab food. Hats were joined by Gemma Dandy for part of the evening, giving an extra dimension to the repertoire. Some of the dancing became a little raucous towards the end, but the bruising won't last for long!

26 Sept: The doors opened and we were welcomed by the smell of beer... It should have been bliss, but then it became death by sound-check! After a brief appearance by lookalike 'Hugh Fairly-Witless', we launched into a lively set that had a refreshing nose and hints of chocolate and marmite. Despite attempts to whip the crowd into an angry frenzy by mentioning Guinness and Newcastle Brown Ale, we managed to retain our heads to the end. I think we all know that the only real ale is Dark Star. Cheers Daisy.

21 Sept: The Spires Hair/Fashion Show at Chequer Mead finally happened. Everything was Bouffon, some people curled up and others dyed, but actually.... it went real well. The highlight of the show was Gemma's voice... true quality. So good that we actually enjoyed playing 9 to 5 and Can You Feel It, and as for I Try and Valerie... class.

2 Sept: Gfest at Chequer Mead Theatre, EG was supposed to be a showcase of 'young' local musical talent that had performed at the Grub Cafe, with 'musical legend' George Brinkhurst as master of ceremonies...but as the 'Midsommer Murders' type plot unfolded, acts started to suffer various fates leaving a 'slot' for George to duet with Pete. Meanwhile, Matt Fallows, Andy Twyman and The Jono Harrison Band performed with youthful exuberance all in the good cause of The Peanut Ward, QVH. Another Dave (Bob Geldof) Phillips Production.

29 Aug: Much organic fun was had by D & G.

18 July: There was a storm coming ... but it held off until G & D had performed a storming set from the back of a lorry in the High Street as part of the EG Mid Summer Market extravaganza.

17 July: D, G and S rock the Luxford. Uckfield will probably never be the same!

11 July: What happens if a control freak having a mid-life crisis invites a band to play at her birthday party? She has a hissy fit and won't let the band play their second set. Purely fictional of course... no one would be stupid enough to ruin their own party, would they?

4 July: D & G show their independance by playing like a pair of good ol' Yankers. A good crowd of cake eaters meant all the coffee cake was gone before we could get our hands on it. Tense moments in the kitchen as Lorna attempts to give up smoking...good luck.

28 June: When you navigate by the stars, these long days play havoc with your wayfinding! The fantastic crowd at the Stand Up Inn excelled themselves with singing, clapping and hat wearing. The song of the night turned out to be Galway Girl with its new supersonic speedy ending. A couple of encores finished off the Lindfield experience. Thanks, we look forward to seeing you again in September.

27 June: We closed the afternoon of entertainment in the grounds of Sackville College, E.Grinstead with a satisfying hour long set. Always special to play in the open on a sunny day and great to have the famous five together. The day is part of the 400 year anniversary of the building of these Jacobian Almhouses (famous for being the place where the carol 'Good King Wenceslas' was written). a nice warm up for the Stand Up Inn on Sunday (28 June).

12 June: Age Concern gig at Grub. A packed house...the final amount raised was £358. G, D and S stormed through the set list composed by Di. The crowd joined in with some singing and some of that slightly out of time clapping that is so adorable.

6 June: The dynamic duo boldly dueted as only they can. A first public appearance for G's new guitar 'Dot'.

30 May: The Crown PH, Capel turned out to be the perfect village pub on a perfect Summer's evening. A friendly, appreciative crowd of approx 140 danced and sang along to the Hats. The gig is part of the lead up to the Capel Music festival which takes place on 16 August 09, and hopes to raise funds and awareness for Surrey Young Carers. Our special thanks to Mark Sugden-Best of Treetops Studios, Capel who provided us with a replacement mixer when ours refused to work.

22 May: 3 X Band = Fun. A great audience that sang along and enjoyed the 3 very different bands. Jemima Price Band wowed and out-prettied the other bands. String Theory took us on a debonair ride back to the 1950s and charmed the ladies with their retro-sexual magnetism. The Hats got the audience singing from the start with the aid of songsheets. The only downer was George's guitar misbehaving and sounding like a flatulent robot...live music at it's best! The few children from Court Meadow Special School were enjoying themselves and £268 was raised. Dave won the award for the loudest shirt (again) ... this tasteless number could be heard from John O'Groats.

2 May: Chocks away, George flies solo. A flight of three thirds...quiet...busy...quiet. sold a CD and enjoyed a veggy quiche and Ulla's Almond cake.

25 Apr: D & G return to the Organic Cafe. Papperazi Queen Steph was on hand with her shoe-box camera, hoping to catch Dave with the first showing of his new stage spectacular "hitting 2 plastic bottles together". How he manages to recreate the sound of African drums is quite simply the eight wonder of the world. Apart from the unique musical experience, he hopes that it will have physique improving effects that only the lucky few will ever appreciate!

21 Apr: The 4 old boys played a couple of 1/2 hour sets at The Bull, Newick. A bit rusty to start with (scared by a couple of menacing bikers?), but we soon got in the swing. A few sang along with the covers...nice pub...nice beer ... we hope they liked us enough to offer a proper gig sometime soon!

27 Mar: D & G at the Organic Cafe. Following on from 31 Jan, we resumed our alphabetical set list at 'Jim's Garden' and worked our way through to the end with a couple of detours to Ireland....Galway Girl, Whisky in the jar, black velvet band, etc.

17 Mar: Live music at The Star, Felbridge...a first as far as I know. Dave and George (The Ol'Tools)went a bit Irish to celebrate St Patricks Day. The highlight being Dave's washboard performance on Seven Drunken Nights. I was assured by a table of Irish folk that I was actually singing in a West Country accent (Pirate-ish) rather than an Emerald Isle lilt!

15 Mar: '5 Go Mad In Lindfield.' Without a doubt, we all enjoy "Hatting" so much more as a 5 piece. The honour of playing at the Stand Up Inn was made even specialer by some of the appreciative crowd treating us to their dance moves. Daisy re-booked us for the 28 June.

21 Feb: Georgie (no mates) Onehat at the Organic Cafe. A chance to play those songs that nobody else wants to play. First playing of "Don't Look Away". The massive crowd included Bob & Linda, Hugh, Paul Wilson (former Hats drummer) and some appreciative cyclists. Ulla's cheesecake is the probably the best in the world.

8 Feb: Pete, Dave and George "rock The Broadway" nicely. Not a throat infection in sight. Whatever next?


31 Jan: Dave and George do a duet. (Tip: never say "two hats" quickly). In the absence of a set list we work our way alphabetically through our song book...starting with A Bag Full of Hats and finishing 2 hours later with Macy Gray's "I Try". Looks like we'll start next time (28 March) with "Jim's Garden".

14 Dec: The Broadway, EG. George, Steve & Dave. George's throat infection started off as Rod Stewart..>Lee Marvin..>Barry White..>nothing. Steve bravely stepped in with vocals for the last 30 minutes and we also did some extended solos. The "management" didn't notice anything wrong, so perhaps I should work on my low-growling vocal style!

4 Dec: The Cardinal's Error in Tonbridge was a new venue for us. The area usually reserved for bands was mostly taken up by Jess's drum kit (see photo on Home Page). Nice pub and nice support from representatives from various bands; Dangerous Age/ A Band Called Dave, Pig's Ear and String Theory. All the Hats enjoyed the gig ... nice to play as a 5-piece.

16 Nov: The 4 old hats played at The Broadway PH, E Grinstead...good to have Pete's expertise in control of the PA again. Some nice feed-back from punters. Narrow playing area saw us adopt the 'bus queue' formation.

12 Nov: It's the first time we've played at The Old Eden PH in Edenbridge (thanks to Keith Rule for getting us the gig). The evening kicks off at 8.30 with an open mic session (including Sue, Lyndsay and Keith Rule, and Andy & Liz of the 'Wasps'). Dave, Steve and George play 9.30 - 11.30 (Pete on compassionate leave). We received good feedback from crowd and landlord, but we missed Pete's bass and vocals. If we get a return gig, we realise that the venue is suitable to have Jess on drums too.

8 Nov: Dave and George play at the Organic Cafe, Sharpthorne. A rainy day with just a few hikers and Bob & Linda to entertain, but the show must go on. Thanks to the ever smiling staff and a really tasty portion of vegetable pie, the two hats went home happy.

Finally achieved this year's New Year resolution (in November) by creating the band's web site. Need to add photos and music snippets to add interest. Also need to get Google, etc to realise it exists!