livingoffside.com considers the cultural significance of sport and in doing so the potential impact of the sports media in constructing local and national identities.
While researching, teaching, illustrating and writing on this subject we hope to make a contribution to the sociology of sport as well as to Welsh, UK and international sports and academic institutions.
About Tim Lewis
Born Cardiff, Wales, UK 14.05.1960
Since leaving school Tim has been involved with advertising, sport & music promotion and has created a large collection of cartoons.
Selected examples of Tim’s background
In 1982 Tim, along with his friend Gareth Morlais, set up the Welsh language rock band Ceffyl Pren (which is Welsh for Wooden Horse). Gareth sang and Tim drummed as the group performed on Welsh language television throughout the 1980s. They also appeared on shows outside of Wales such as TVB Jade’s Enjoy Yourself Tonight (Hong Kong TV) and the BBC TV’s Blue Peter (UK TV).
In Wales, the group headlined at venues such as St David’s Hall, Cardiff – the National Concert Hall of Wales and toured in countries such as the USA & Canada, as well as in Europe and the Far East.
Ceffyl Pren developed a reputation of staging high profile publicity events such as arriving at a concert promotion by helicopter – something that was far from common place in Welsh language music circles.
Record success included two of their songs going straight to number one in the Welsh music chart. And in 1990 the band recorded “Ennill Dros Gymru” (Winning for Wales – lyrics by Cerith Lewis) the theme song for the Wales Commonwealth Games team which competed in New Zealand.
While Ceffyl Pren toured and recorded Tim created the cartoon character Dai Draenog (Dai the Hedgehog) which became the band’s logo. The Welsh government went on to use Dai in a series of road safety campaigns over four years and Dai eventually fronted the government’s anti-drink drive campaign which also featured Tim’s slogan “Be a Smartie, Don’t Drive to the Party!”.
In conjunction with promoting the group and working on advertising campaigns, Tim became increasingly involved in sport and event management. This came about when Tim and his good friend Keith Tabatznik (an American soccer coach and now sports broadcaster from Washington DC) started to organise US soccer trips to the UK for American State and Regional teams along with club and university sides. These teams included the Maryland Olympic Development Program (ODP), the Region 1 ODP and Georgetown University.
The visiting US athletes often received high levels of media coverage when playing against teams such as Cardiff City, Swansea City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs. Indeed in the case of Georgetown University it was the team’s first trip outside of the United States and it culminated in a US Embassy reception in London.
Over time Tim designed an educational programme which introduced the US athletes to the unique cultural and sporting identities of the UK.
Tim continued to promote and educate visiting teams and in 2000 his interest in the sports culture led him to graduate with a Master degree in the Sociology of Sport and Sports Management from Leicester University.
Also in 2000 Tim met his now wife Eva while she was teaching German in Wales and in 2002 they went to live in Eva’s native Switzerland where Eva completed her studies and where they married in 2003.
Tim worked at The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in Basel where he taught Sociology of Sport, Media and Event Management.
During Tim’s time in Switzerland he set up this website livingoffside.com which is a platform for Tim’s cartoon work, sociology of sport courses and his sports research.
In October 2007, in the same month Tim and Eva returned to Wales, Tim was asked to participate in the Welsh language programme “Lle Aeth Pawb?” on S4C television. The programme featured Tim’s old group Ceffyl Pren who had split up in 1990, and involved a film crew travelling to Switzerland to record interviews with Tim. A few days later on returning to Wales Tim concluded filming the programme. The final work included Tim and Jon Bockelmann-Evans the group’s former keyboard player surprising Ceffyl Pren’s original lead vocalist Gareth Morlais by arriving in a helicopter during one of Gareth’s interviews for the show.
Life in Cardiff took a further twist when in August 2008 Tim was asked to help support the Football Association of Wales’ International Department by hosting the Mediaroom on match days during senior internationals matches.
This work took place at the Millennium Stadium (now the Principality Stadium), Cardiff, the Liberty Stadium, Swansea and the Cardiff City Stadium as well as other venues. Lots of FAW work followed such as being a Team Liaison Officer working with visiting teams – something Tim loved due to the unique cultural story each team had.
Also in 2008 Tim wrote and illustrated an online book featuring his cartoon character Coach Ronnie Rout. The book was entitled “Coach Ronnie Rout: Building for Next Season” and featured a message from former Real Madrid and Wales team boss John Toshack.
The here and now
In 2011 Eva and Tim had little boy named Rhys John Lewis.
Today Tim creates and teaches Sociology of Sport and Event Management courses mainly for Swiss, German and French students who attend academic courses in Wales.
In 2016 and in collaboration with his friend and fellow Welsh sports fan Tim Evans, a report was presented to the UK and Welsh governments arguing for the setting up of a Welsh sports museum under the title “C’mon Cymru! The Welsh Sports Experience”.
Tim is currently writing a Sociology of Sports book – due out in 2017 – entitled “The Unwelcome Sports Commentator” which considers sport, media and power ratios.
Out in 2018 will be Tim’s non football cartoon book “The A – Z of Work”.
These are only examples of Tim’s work but they give a flavour of his creative and academic approach to interpreting sport, media and culture.