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Me and my health: Elvis tribute act Jim Brown on his lifestyle


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King rocker: Elvis impersonator Jim Brown

King rocker: Elvis impersonator Jim Brown

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Jim with his wife Anne Marie

Jim with his wife Anne Marie

King rocker: Elvis impersonator Jim Brown

The 51-year-old Elvis tribute artist, from north Belfast, is one of the acts performing for free in Trib Fest at Bangor Complex on March 25 to raise money for Bangor Foodbank and Community Support. The former postal worker is married to Anne Marie and has five children, Denise, James, Megan, Patrick and Robert.

Q: Do you exercise regularly and if so, what?

A: I aim to, but these last 18 months to two years I have been plagued with bouts of gout, and that would put me off for two or three weeks at a time. I try to go to the gym two or three times a week but it never works out like that, with jumping between work and family as well as health problems I've been having in the last few years. I use the treadmill and focus on that for a bit because it gives you more stamina for stage performances. When you're performing live, it helps to have a good cardiovascular system. Then there are the usual weights but I would never do any heavy weights - I'd keep it to light reps to try and stay as trim as possible. With the gout, going to the gym does help reduce the pain in my joints.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: It would be between a couple of things. When I was 13, I had a real bad case of shingles - it was all up under my hair and I was very, very ill with that. I couldn't even drink a glass of water because 10 minutes later I was throwing it up. A few years ago, I had a bad illness - the enzymes in my liver skyrocketed and the doctors couldn't get to the bottom of what was causing it, but I was very jaundiced. Thankfully I haven't had anything serious where I was at death's door.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I try to have as healthy a diet as I can - rice and pasta, and I stick to white meat because red meat isn't good for gout. I love Chinese food, I love Indian food, and I love KFC - I'm a sucker for all that stuff. Years ago I got one of those allergy tests, and one that came up was potatoes. So I can eat them but they will pile the weight on very easily and bloat me out. I love fries and chips but I have to avoid all that stuff. I'd say I've a healthy diet. I'd have a salad instead of potatoes with my dinner every night.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: At night I would be watching something on TV in bed and I tend to dabble with a bit of chocolate. I can't have a cup of tea without a biscuit - I've a bit of a sweet tooth and I just can't drink a cup of tea by itself like a lot of people can do. I have to have something sweet along with it. I'm a sucker for a Jammy Dodger. I eat one, then I eat another and before I realise it I've eaten half a packet...

Q: Do you drink and smoke?

I don't drink or smoke. If I had a drink now it would only be a couple of glasses of wine, and it would be for a special occasion like Christmas or a birthday or if I'm on holiday. I was mad for a drink when I was younger but I couldn't have a few. I drank until I was legless almost when I was a younger man, but as I get older it doesn't appeal to me the way it did in the past. When I got a record deal I saw a great opportunity and that was the start of it. All through my 20s I had a mad charge at it - they were my drinking days and then I wised up.

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: Last year my doctor discovered that I had a severe Vitamin D deficiency so I am on Vitamin D3. I have to take those every day for the rest of my days. I was taking ill a lot and somebody suggested multivitamin B complex. I take a couple of supplements every day. It's all part of getting older really - I'm into my 50s and after a certain age your immune system is not as strong as it used to be.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I like to go on short breaks to Europe. My main holiday is in summer, usually going to the US for at least three weeks. I love movies and Netflix. I've just finished the second season of Ozark - the language is a bit bad but it's a great show and it's very addictive. It's like Breaking Bad. My wife and I started Breaking Bad and we couldn't even go to bed at night because we had to watch another one. We go to the cinema once a week on hump day - Wednesday night - to break up the week.

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Jim with his wife Anne Marie

Jim with his wife Anne Marie

Jim with his wife Anne Marie

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Not well because of the joint pain. My doctors suspect I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, but I've been told it could take up to five years before I get a scan.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I think everybody does really. If you are in the entertainment game you always want to look your best on stage, especially doing what I do and having to maintain the image of Elvis on stage. It's very hard to do it when you're in your early 50s. It's hard to maintain and keep your weight down. I suffer for my art!

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: I try to drink as much water as I can every day because of the gout and to flush it out of my system. I love McDonald's coffee. I drink coffee from a lot of different places, but McDonald's cappuccinos are beautiful.

Tribute artists already confirmed on the Trib Fest bill include Jim Brown (Elvis), Jason Hughes (Garth Brooks), Flashback to the '80s, Nashville Show and Joe Mac as Kenny Rogers. Tickets, which are £10 each, are available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/bfcsevents. Tickets also available at Top Spot in Newtownards, Mace Brunswick Road, Pickie Fun Park Cafe and Bangor Elim Church

Belfast Telegraph