Viva Brighton April 2015 Issue #26

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.





BIKE-FIT WORTH £100 **<br />

*Visit www.giant-shoreham.co.uk to enter and for full terms & conditions<br />

**with every road bike purchase over £1000

vivabrighton<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> 26. Apr <strong>2015</strong><br />

editorial<br />

...................................................................................<br />

It’s long been a cliché to refer to <strong>Brighton</strong> as ‘London-on-Sea’, suggesting<br />

all the sophisticated benefits of an urban area, with the extra<br />

benefit of the beach and ocean. But have you ever heard it called<br />

‘London-on-the-Downs’. Thought not.Yet <strong>Brighton</strong> is as connected<br />

with the rural land behind it as it is with the sea in front, and while the<br />

town originated as a fishing village, it’s got plenty of agricultural heritage<br />

too. Check out the James Gray collection of old photos, and you’ll<br />

see turn-of-the-twentieth-century farmers, at work in Hangleton, who look like they belong<br />

in a Thomas Hardy novel; one of the city’s best-loved gig venues is still known as ‘the Corn<br />

Exchange’. In fact, the Downs that provide the backdrop to the city are by-and-large a big area<br />

of wild-in-nature farmland, mainly used for grazing sheep and cattle, criss-crossed with ancient<br />

footpaths. The <strong>Brighton</strong> and Lewes Downs, between the Adur and the Ouse, has recently been<br />

recognised by UNESCO as a ‘biosphere reserve’; the South Downs National Park nestles up<br />

to the eastern city limits. Beyond the Downs, viewable from Devil’s Dyke, lies the vast Weald.<br />

So in this month’s issue, to celebrate the onset of spring, we’ve turned our backs on the sea, and<br />

explored what’s going on north of the city: our <strong>April</strong> theme is ‘Land’. And our message? It’s easy<br />

in a city like <strong>Brighton</strong> to move in small urban circles, ignoring the fresh-aired splendours a short<br />

hop away. The hills are alive, in effect: go explore them. Enjoy the issue…<br />

The Team<br />

.....................<br />

EDITOR: Alex Leith alex@vivabrighton.com<br />

DEPUTY EDITOR: Steve Ramsey steveramsey@vivabrighton.com<br />

ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman katie@vivabrighton.com<br />

PHOTOGRAPHER AT LARGE: Adam Bronkhorst<br />

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Rebecca Cunningham<br />

ADVERTISING: Anya Zervudachi anya@vivabrighton.com, Nick Metcalf nickmetcalf@vivabrighton.com,<br />

CONTRIBUTORS: Black Mustard, Joe Decie, Nione Meakin, Chloë King, John Helmer,<br />

Ben Bailey, Lizzie Enfield, Rebecca Hattersley, Lucy Williams, Jim Stephenson and Yoram Allon<br />

PUBLISHERS: Nick Williams nick@vivabrighton.com, Lizzie Lower lizzie@vivamagazines.com<br />

DIRECTORS: Alex Leith, Nick Williams, Lizzie Lower, Becky Ramsden<br />

<strong>Viva</strong> is based at 52 Ship Street, <strong>Brighton</strong>, East Sussex BN1 1AF<br />

For advertising enquiries call 07596 337 828<br />

Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content. We cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations.

contents<br />

...............................<br />

Bits and bobs.<br />

7-23. This month’s cover, Mr Benn,<br />

<strong>Viva</strong> Pecha Kucha, Flow Magazine,<br />

The Robin Hood, Secrets of the<br />

Pavilion, Bob Copper on the buses,<br />

and much more.<br />

15<br />

Photography.<br />

25-29. Murray Ballard explores<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong>’s rural hinterland.<br />

Columns.<br />

30-33. Chloë King’s early-onset midlife<br />

crisis, Lizzie Enfield’s children’s<br />

frozen pastries, and John Helmer’s<br />

amazing technicolour dreamcoat.<br />

My <strong>Brighton</strong>.<br />

34-35. Huw Morgan, from the Sussex<br />

Wildlife Society, on park life and his<br />

Zap Club past.<br />

28<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> in history.<br />

36-37. Racketeering and bribes: the<br />

Police Corruption case of 1957.<br />

In town this month.<br />

39-53. Ben Bailey’s <strong>Brighton</strong> roundup,<br />

the Yamato Drummers of Japan,<br />

Polar Bear, Lordi, Mariana Sadovska,<br />

Noisy Neighbours, comedians Charmaine<br />

Davies and Jane Postlethwaite,<br />

and Yoram Allon’s new cinema<br />

round-up.<br />

Art and Literature.<br />

54-69. <strong>Brighton</strong> Festival guest director<br />

Ali Smith, Flash Fact short story,<br />

Sally O’Reilly’s Dark Aemelia, Marcus<br />

Coates’ Dawn Chorus, Katty McMurray<br />

by the sea and Dan Bowden on<br />

gig posters. Plus designer Fiona<br />

Howard, the William Morris of the<br />

South Downs (and LA), philosophical<br />

designs by Fina Boutique and the<br />

....4 ....

contents<br />

...............................<br />

41<br />

two’s company creations of Sarah<br />

Squared.<br />

The Way we Work.<br />

70-75. Adam Bronkhorst gets his<br />

desert boots dirty photographing<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> land-workers in situ.<br />

76<br />

Food.<br />

76-87. Authentic Chinese at the<br />

Sichuan Garden, brill brill at the Salt<br />

Room, restaurant updates, Foodies<br />

Festival, Foodshed and Fin and Farm<br />

(that’s a lot of ‘f’s).<br />

Features.<br />

88-98. A cuppa with Tim Richardson<br />

from Taboo, Elderflower Fields<br />

Festival wildlife walk, Planet Feed, the<br />

lowdown on hydroponics, a bluffer’s<br />

guide to the Albion, <strong>Brighton</strong> Marathon,<br />

Preston Park Velodrome, and a<br />

breeze up the Downs, Victorian style.<br />

78<br />

97<br />

....5 ....

this month’s cover art<br />

..........................................<br />

This month we approached<br />

Mike Wolff (aka Mr Doodle)<br />

and asked him to come up with a<br />

vibrant, spring-themed cover for<br />

our ‘Land’ issue. “When I was<br />

given the theme ‘Land’ I immediately<br />

thought of writing ‘<strong>Viva</strong>’<br />

in leaves. I’m not sure why...”<br />

he explains. If you’ve already<br />

paid a visit to his shop Wolff<br />

and Badger in the new <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

Laines Market, you might recognise<br />

some of the little monsters hiding all over<br />

the front cover. And the giant fuzzy octopus doing<br />

the gardening? “I can’t remember why I decided<br />

to draw the octopus,” says Mike, “I think I must<br />

have had a conversation with someone about octopuses<br />

while I was working on it. My doodles<br />

are mostly a stream of consciousness; once I start<br />

drawing, things just appear.” We<br />

loved all of the little details and<br />

the elements of <strong>Brighton</strong> – some<br />

obvious, some less obvious – which<br />

appear, the longer you look at the<br />

cover. “The design captures what<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> is to me: vibrant, interesting,<br />

full of life.” It’s quite difficult to<br />

think of <strong>Brighton</strong> without thinking<br />

of the Royal Pavilion, and so it has<br />

become a frequenter of the <strong>Viva</strong><br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> front cover. “I couldn’t<br />

not include the Pavilion,” he says. “Lots of cities<br />

have landmarks which are iconic and you’d recognise<br />

them, but ours is just such a joy to draw.”<br />

You’ll be hearing plenty more about Wolff and<br />

Badger (including the reason behind the name)<br />

in next month’s issue, but until then you can find<br />

more of Mike’s work at mrdoodle.com.<br />

....7 ....


Detail © Matthew Smith (Australia) Sailing By<br />


2 MAY TO 6 SEPT <strong>2015</strong><br />

100 awe-inspiring images, from fascinating animal<br />

behaviour to breath-taking wild landscapes.<br />

Royal Pavilion Gardens, <strong>Brighton</strong> BN1 1EE • Admission fee payable<br />

www.brightonmuseums.org.uk • 03000 290902<br />

See this fantastic exhibition for FREE by becoming a member,<br />

join today and we’ll invite you to the exclusive opening night<br />

Memberships ( from £20) last all year and include some great benefits.<br />

Join in <strong>Brighton</strong> Museum, by telephone or online at pavilionfoundation.org<br />

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is co-owned by<br />

the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.

its and bogs<br />

...............................<br />

magazine of thE month<br />

In late February, someone said to me in the<br />

shop ‘What is it about Flow? I don’t get it’.<br />

By the end of the same day we had sold seven<br />

copies of the magazine and nine copies<br />

of the Flow annual (which had arrived just<br />

a day earlier).<br />

Started in the Netherlands by two women,<br />

Flow is described on the cover as ‘a magazine<br />

for paper lovers’. You’ll also find the sort-of<br />

tagline ‘Simplify Your Life, Feel Connected,<br />

Live Mindfully and Spoil Yourself.’ On its<br />

website, Flow is described as ‘a magazine for<br />

women who live busy but happy lives and<br />

who want to make different kinds of choices.’<br />

Well, Flow is all of these things.<br />

I must admit that I don’t totally get the ‘for<br />

women’ bit. I love the articles in the current<br />

edition about how to argue well in a<br />

relationship, how women stand up to domestic<br />

violence in Pakistan, mindfulness,<br />

the American pre-selfie photographer Vivian<br />

Maier, the singer-songwriter Gregory<br />

Page, portrait artists, the small losses in life<br />

and more.<br />

What Flow does brilliantly is wrap all of this<br />

interesting, important stuff in a beautifully<br />

accessible format that is a delight to have<br />

around. Most issues contain little surprise<br />

gifts. The current one has a small book taking<br />

us through the early stages of hand lettering<br />

and a grown-up paper doll clothing kit.<br />

It’s no surprise to me that people rush to<br />

buy Flow and no surprise that some people<br />

buy two – one to look at and one to break<br />

apart and use. <strong>Issue</strong> after issue, the founders<br />

manage to make Flow serious, whimsical,<br />

interesting and delightful. It’s a heck of<br />

a package.<br />

Martin Skelton, magazinebrighton owner<br />

toilet graffito #3<br />

Name that toilet! With thanks to our toilet-graffiti<br />

correspondents Fan Fan and Thomas.<br />

Last month’s answer: Northern Lights<br />


pub: the robin hood<br />

It takes me approximately<br />

four seconds<br />

to cross the road<br />

between my house<br />

and the Robin<br />

Hood, so it’s accurate<br />

to call it my ‘local’.<br />

The first time<br />

I had a pint there<br />

was the first day I<br />

moved into my flat,<br />

and landlord Chris<br />

Dodd informed me<br />

in quick succession<br />

that it was Britain’s<br />

only charity pub,<br />

and that sadly this<br />

didn’t make my<br />

beer tax deductible.<br />

This hasn’t stopped<br />

me from returning there on an extremely regular<br />

basis: it’s one of the friendliest boozers I’ve ever<br />

come across, a public house in the real meaning of<br />

the term: in effect, an extension of my living room.<br />

The place is owned by entrepreneur Martin Webb.<br />

Webb (with now-Tory-MP Simon Kirby) was, until<br />

2002, part owner of the C-Side chain of <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

pubs. The pair sold the chain for £15m, and split<br />

the profits. Shortly afterwards Webb bought the<br />

‘Hood’. As a thank you to the city that had helped<br />

him make his fortune, he made it Britain’s only charity<br />

pub: all the yearly profit, after running costs are<br />

paid, goes to local causes. The name ‘Robin Hood’<br />

is, by the way, a fortuitous coincidence: in fact it has<br />

been called that since it was built in 1852.<br />

Another very-regular there is pub restorer Neil<br />

Hayward, who refurbished<br />

the interior<br />

when it was bought<br />

by Webb, and lives<br />

above it. He’s studied<br />

the history of the<br />

place, and tells me<br />

we’re lucky it’s still<br />

there. On the 9th<br />

<strong>April</strong> 1941, a Nazi<br />

bomb destroyed<br />

the two next-door<br />

buildings on Norfolk<br />

Place, accounting<br />

for the incongruous<br />

redbrick building at<br />

no. 4, and the pub’s<br />

higgledy-piggledy<br />

shape. This left a gap<br />

in the terrace and<br />

what is now the eastern half of the pub was in the<br />

post-war years a courtyard, where the clientele<br />

would drink beer sitting on beer barrels. Before its<br />

subsequent extension in the eighties, Neil tells me,<br />

the interior was tiny. After that extension, particularly<br />

in the long tenancy of Brian Hayes, the Hood<br />

became known as a ‘rugby pub’, and the Robin<br />

Hood XV was one of the best teams in <strong>Brighton</strong>.<br />

It’s still a great place to watch the Six Nations,<br />

and other international games, if you like a bit of<br />

atmosphere. But there are many more reasons to<br />

go: fine beer, pleasant bar staff, £5.95 pizza, board<br />

games, a popular Monday Night quiz… and the<br />

warm feeling that however much cash you spend in<br />

there, a portion of it will go to a good cause.<br />

Alex Leith, painting by Jay Collins

Joe decie<br />

...............................<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

Pecha Kucha ‘Talent Pool’<br />

Visual mini-talks from <strong>Brighton</strong> creatives<br />

In February we<br />

were delighted<br />

to be invited by<br />

the artist and<br />

illustrator Zara<br />

Wood, ‘Woody’, to<br />

co-curate a Pecha<br />

Kucha night with<br />

her, which will be<br />

taking place at the<br />

Velo Café on the<br />

evening of May 7th.<br />

Woody is no stranger to the format, having first<br />

given a PK talk at the ICA in London, back<br />

in 2003, and then having been invited by its<br />

originators, architect partners Astrid Klein and<br />

Mark Dytham, to do a presentation at one of<br />

their monthly events at Superdeluxe in Tokyo,<br />

in 2007.<br />

“Pecha Kucha was started up by Astrid and<br />

Mark to give a platform to designers and other<br />

creative people to offer a short presentation<br />

of their work,” she explains. “Participants are<br />

asked to prepare a slideshow of twenty carefully<br />

chosen images, which are each shown for<br />

twenty seconds, during which they are expected<br />

to explain what the audience is seeing. There<br />

is no pause between slides, so it’s engaging and<br />

full of energy: each presenter’s slot lasts a total<br />

of just six minutes and forty seconds.”<br />

Pecha Kucha means ‘chit chat’ in Japanese, and<br />

Astrid and Mark have kept arm’s-length control<br />

of the format since starting it up in 2003. In the<br />

twelve years since the first presentation, there<br />

have been events in over 800 cities worldwide,<br />

including a number in <strong>Brighton</strong>. Alongside<br />

the regular talk nights,<br />

there are the one-off<br />

events like this one,<br />

which is ‘powered by<br />

Pecha Kucha’.<br />

There is often a theme<br />

to the evenings: we<br />

have called this event<br />

‘Talent Pool’, and its<br />

purpose is to showcase<br />

the range of the creative<br />

talent that makes <strong>Brighton</strong> <strong>Brighton</strong>. The<br />

line-up includes Open Market sign designer<br />

Lucy Williams, bonfire sculptor Keith Pettit,<br />

creative competition ‘comper’ Di Coke, Royal<br />

Pavilion historian Alexandra Loske, synesthetic<br />

Instagram star Philippa Stanton, ‘Collector’s<br />

Edition’ author and art director Stuart Tolley,<br />

glass-artist Su Wilson, Kid-ethic art director<br />

and book-cover designer Mark Swan, and<br />

the MakerClub founders on <strong>Brighton</strong>’s new<br />

MakerLab. There will also be a yet-to-beconfirmed<br />

locally based photographer.<br />

“An exciting line-up in an exciting regenerated<br />

area of <strong>Brighton</strong> at the Velo café bar,”<br />

says Woody, “and the audience will get the<br />

chance to mingle with the participants after the<br />

presentations. I expect they’ll have a lot to talk<br />

about.”<br />

Alex Leith<br />

Talent Pool, powered by Pecha Kucha, at the<br />

Velo Café on May 7th, will be hosted by Woody<br />

and <strong>Viva</strong>’s Alex Leith. Doors open 6.30pm with<br />

the talks running, with a break, between 7pm-<br />

9pm. Early-bird tickets £5 from zarawood.com<br />

or vivabrighton.com.<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

miniclicks<br />

Three photographers who deal with abstraction have been<br />

invited to The Old Market (27th <strong>April</strong>, 7pm start) by <strong>Viva</strong>’s Jim<br />

Stephenson, in his long-running Miniclicks series, to give illustrated<br />

talks explaining their philosophy. London-based Dafna<br />

Talmor deals with ‘Constructed Landscapes’, creating C-type<br />

prints made of collages and montages of colour negatives. Different<br />

natural scenes are juxtaposed; sometimes there’s a gap of<br />

blackness, as if the earth has cracked. Man-made constructions<br />

are notable by their absence: there’s an ancient, almost primeval<br />

look to things. <strong>Brighton</strong> University-educated Esme Horne,<br />

meanwhile, is interested in the process of photography: ‘Working<br />

in the darkroom,’ explains Jim, ‘she encourages the chance<br />

aspect of engaging with the simple elements of light, a lens<br />

and photographic paper’. The results are colourful, and rather<br />

delicately beautiful. Finally Lucia Pizzani has been experimenting<br />

with ferrotypes – a Victorian method of exposing collodion<br />

emulsified plates to light (see above); she’ll explain her methodology and the philosophy behind it.<br />

FOUR-LINE POEM: ‘Land’ by Leon Freeman<br />

what ties the sky, sea to sand<br />

who bore our fruits, on whom we stand<br />

impoverished now with tin cans and rubber wrist bands.<br />

Where were you when they branded our land?<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

jj waller’s brighton<br />

“Knowing it was a very low tide, I inveigled an invite to take a twilight reflection picture<br />

from the Wheel,” says JJ. “The shot I envisaged didn’t emerge, probably to do with<br />

some scientific refraction principle, ‘angle v height’ or something. Fortunately, although<br />

I had missed the twilight I would have preferred, I encountered this scene walking on<br />

the sands, actually achieving the opposite reflection to which I had first imagined. Once<br />

again though the human presence won the day. Schmultzy but nice.”<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

Secrets of the pavilion:<br />

No crouching tigers, but many hidden dragons<br />

In the January issue I wrote about the largest object<br />

in the Royal Pavilion, the magnificent Dragon<br />

Chandelier in the Banqueting Room, designed by<br />

the mysterious and elusive artist Robert Jones, one<br />

of the principal interior decorators of the Pavilion,<br />

responsible for many of the final designs after 1815.<br />

This month I would like to draw attention to other,<br />

rarely seen or noticed dragons designed by Jones.<br />

Dragons are one of the most popular motifs in the<br />

decorative schemes of the Pavilion interiors and<br />

can be found in two - or three - dimensional form<br />

in almost every room in the building. Most of these<br />

dragons are the creations of European designers<br />

and bear little resemblance to this most powerful<br />

and positive of Chinese mythological creatures.<br />

However, they are charming and playful designs<br />

that give us an insight into the creative minds of<br />

George IV’s designers, who were trying to conjure<br />

up a vision of the Far East for their patron in the<br />

early 19th century.<br />

In the Red Drawing Room, the first room to the<br />

right off the Green Entrance Hall, Jones included<br />

dragons in the pattern of the so-called Dragon<br />

Wallpaper, which was inspired by Chinese Imperial<br />

robes and painted by hand in white on a rich<br />

vermilion red ground with a glaze of transparent<br />

carmine. These wallpaper dragons are stylised<br />

and easily visible, and George IV liked the pattern<br />

so much that he asked for it to be repeated as a<br />

block-printed version in different colours (green<br />

and yellow) in other rooms of the Pavilion. But in<br />

the Red Drawing Room Jones also sneaked in other,<br />

more subtle, dragons, that would reveal themselves<br />

to visitors only on close inspection, or perhaps by<br />

chance. Once you have spotted them you see them<br />

everywhere and you look around the room in search<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

of more delightful discoveries. These dragons are<br />

painted into the woodgrain effect of all doors and<br />

wood-panelled surfaces, such as window casements,<br />

shutters and skirting boards. Small dragons or<br />

snake-like, phantastical creatures emerge from paint<br />

surfaces that imitate satinwood. They are full of<br />

movement, fluid even, and give a vivid impression<br />

of how they were created, with the artist’s brush<br />

wandering, painting a first tentative little creature,<br />

then more and more.<br />

Woodgraining, marbling and trompe l’oeil effects<br />

were popular features in eighteenth and nineteenth<br />

century interior decorating. By means of painting<br />

artists imitated other, usually more precious, materials<br />

and surfaces, such as marble or exotic woods.<br />

In the Pavilion, a building that plays with your<br />

senses by incorporating optical illusions, imitations<br />

and oriental phantasy worlds, we find many of these<br />

pretend surfaces, skilfully executed by the Craces,<br />

Robert Jones and their assistants. Pink marbled<br />

surfaces, for example, are found in the niches of the<br />

Long Gallery, while imitation bamboo is dotted<br />

around the entire building. Nowhere though is the<br />

technique of woodgraining executed so playfully<br />

and effectively as in the Red Drawing Room.<br />

We cannot say for certain whether Jones himself<br />

painted the dozens of squirming dragons into the<br />

woodgrain of this room, but it is likely that his<br />

brush indeed ‘wandered’ and painted a first dragon,<br />

possibly with no intention to make this a design<br />

feature. An apocryphal story claims that George IV<br />

saw Jones doing this and<br />

was so delighted by the<br />

creatures that he ordered<br />

him to include them everywhere<br />

in the room. It<br />

is a lovely story, but there<br />

is no evidence that this<br />

happened. Very little is<br />

known about the important<br />

figure Robert Jones, but some of his Pavilion<br />

accounts survive. These confirm that he worked<br />

extensively on the Red Drawing Room decorations<br />

between 1820 and 1822, but no mention is made<br />

of the hidden dragons in the woodgraining, only<br />

generic references to the richness of the design<br />

scheme, the quality of the pigments used, and the<br />

highly decorated and varnished surfaces. Unlike<br />

the Dragon Wallpaper, which is a 20th-century<br />

reproduction, the wooden surfaces in this room are<br />

largely original. In the mid-19th century many of<br />

them were covered in a brown copal varnish, but<br />

these dark layers were beginning to be removed<br />

in the 1920s, revealing Robert Jones’ delightful<br />

dragons once again.<br />

The Red Drawing Room is not on the normal<br />

visitor route through the building, but is used for<br />

special events and occasions, including wedding<br />

ceremonies.<br />

Alexandra Loske, Art Historian and Curator<br />


Make sure your home stands out<br />

from the crowd.<br />

Call for a free valuation<br />

01273 622664<br />

BOUTI<br />

UE<br />

www.qsalesandlettings.co.uk<br />


its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

five minutes with: RAY BROOKS, The voice behind Mr Benn<br />

In 1968 I got a phone call out of the blue by the children’s illustrator Donald<br />

McKee. He said ‘would you like to do the voiceover for a TV show they are<br />

making of one of my books? It’s called Mr Benn’. I’d never heard of it. I said ‘yes’.<br />

The Mr Benn series is genius. There were only thirteen episodes, but kids of a<br />

certain generation remember them all their lives. He dresses up in a fancy dress<br />

shop, and has ‘adventures’ connected to the style of the costume he puts on, if<br />

you’re not familiar with it.<br />

I often give talks about my career – I’ve been appearing in films and on TV for<br />

years. In an early talk I mentioned Mr Benn, and said ‘as if by magic’ (which<br />

was the introduction line to the shopkeeper character, and something of a<br />

catchphrase) and everybody stood up and started applauding. I knew I was onto<br />

something. So now I base my talks on ‘the enduring magic’ of Mr Benn.<br />

Sometimes I meet someone for the first time, and they say ‘you’re Mr Benn, aren’t you?’ It’s not my face, and<br />

they don’t know my name: it’s my voice. I was brought up in <strong>Brighton</strong>. My mother was a bus conductor. She<br />

said ‘Ray, I’m going to send you to elocution lessons’. My teacher was called Pat Donovan, and I adored her.<br />

She’s responsible for my voice. As If by Magic - The Genius of Mr Benn, <strong>Brighton</strong> Little Theatre, <strong>April</strong> 12

its and bobs<br />

...............................<br />

spread the word<br />

The Specky Wren<br />

viva offer<br />

While on holiday in UAE, Carly Moorman and Darren Arthur<br />

created this sculpture like ‘installation’: it’s last month’s<br />

<strong>Viva</strong> stuck in the sand of Beach Fujairah. Please send in your<br />

photos of <strong>Viva</strong> in exotic locations to alex@vivabrighton.com<br />

The Specky Wren would like to offer all<br />

<strong>Viva</strong> <strong>Brighton</strong>’s readers £10 eye tests<br />

and 10% discount off glasses.<br />

The Open Market, 01273 911191<br />

www.thespeckywren.co.uk<br />

charleston festival competition<br />

Charleston Festival returns next month,<br />

from 15-25 May, with a cultural cornucopia<br />

of literature, art and ideas. With speakers<br />

from Stoppard (pictured) to Hambling,<br />

themes from Magna Carta to phone hacking,<br />

and their first original musical commission<br />

the festival promises to be more thoughtprovoking<br />

than ever. Win a pair of tickets<br />

to a performance of your choice (subject to<br />

availability), by answering this question: Family<br />

Romances is the theme of David Nicholls<br />

and Polly Samson’s event at the festival on<br />

May 15. Which of Thomas Hardy’s novels<br />

has Nicholls recently adapted for the screen?<br />

Email hello@vivamagazines.com with ‘Charleston Festival Comp’ in the subject line, stating your answer,<br />

plus your top three preferences for performances you’d like to see, or write to <strong>Viva</strong> at 151B High St, Lewes,<br />

BN7 1XU. The winner’s name will be drawn from all correct submissions on <strong>April</strong> 24. charleston.org.uk<br />

Photo by Matt Humphrey <strong>2015</strong><br />


photography<br />

..........................................<br />

Murray Ballard<br />

One-planet photographer<br />

This month in <strong>Viva</strong>’s regular<br />

photo feature, Miniclick<br />

takes a look at the work<br />

of <strong>Brighton</strong> photographer<br />

Murray Ballard, and the<br />

project he completed with<br />

FotoDocument looking at the<br />

protection and restoration<br />

of biodiversity and natural<br />

habitats in <strong>Brighton</strong>.<br />

How did you come to work on this project?<br />

I applied to an open call by FotoDocument. In<br />

2013 <strong>Brighton</strong> and Hove became the world’s first<br />

One Planet City and they were commissioning ten<br />

photographers to produce an essay for each of the<br />

One Planet Living principles.<br />

One of the main reasons I applied is because I<br />

wanted to work on a project closer to home. More<br />

often than not my photography has involved<br />

travelling far afield. It might sound odd, but I actually<br />

find it quite difficult to take photographs in<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong>. Having lived here for nearly ten years,<br />

it’s become almost too familiar, which makes it<br />

harder to see pictures. I thought if I got a commission<br />

it would give me some structure and force me<br />

to produce a finished piece of work.<br />

Were you surprised at the amount of activity<br />

in <strong>Brighton</strong> and Hove? Definitely. I had no idea<br />

there was so much going on. Before I started<br />

photographing I met up with Rich Howath, the<br />

Biosphere’s Project Officer, who suggested a long<br />

list of relevant subjects. I narrowed them down<br />

according to their environmental importance and<br />

how visually interesting I thought they would be.<br />

What drove the choice to focus mainly on the<br />

people, rather than the landscape/flora/fauna?<br />

Nearly every time I was out photographing with<br />

an ecologist or ranger they’d show<br />

me lots of phone pictures of interesting<br />

plants and wildlife they’d<br />

found. Quite early on I realised I<br />

couldn’t compete with this sort of<br />

wildlife photography. I don’t have<br />

their specialist knowledge, not to<br />

mention the chances of being in<br />

the right place, at the right time, to<br />

get these sorts of pictures.<br />

Fortunately this coincided with me understanding<br />

how highly managed our landscape is, and that<br />

it’s been continually changed and adapted by us<br />

humans for thousands of years according to our<br />

needs and values. I decided to take a broader view<br />

and photograph the work being carried out by<br />

farmers, conservationists and volunteers. As well as<br />

people using the landscape for leisure, rather than<br />

photographing specific flora and fauna.<br />

Has the project had any affect on how you live<br />

now? Any plans to start keeping bees? Without<br />

wanting to sound too corny, this project has definitely<br />

given me a much greater appreciation for<br />

where I live. I had no idea how special the downland<br />

around <strong>Brighton</strong> is. A ranger told me David<br />

Bellamy once described chalk grassland as being<br />

‘Britain’s tropical rainforest’ because potentially<br />

you can find up to forty different species of plant<br />

in a single square metre, which is quite incredible.<br />

It’s funny you mention bees. Yesterday I exchanged<br />

a jar of honey for a print with one of the beekeepers<br />

I photographed. I’ve got no plans to keep bees,<br />

but my Dad has been building up to it for years<br />

- going on courses, buying equipment… When he<br />

retires he’s planning on getting a hive. Maybe one<br />

day I’ll follow in his footsteps. Jim Stephenson<br />

murrayballard.com<br />


photography<br />

...............................<br />

Wildflower planting, Craven Wood, Whitehawk Hill<br />

Stuart (with his cows), Bevendean Farm<br />


photography<br />

...............................<br />

Fencing, National Trust Working Holiday, Devil’s Dyke<br />

Charcoal Burning, Saddlescombe Farm<br />


photography<br />

...............................<br />

Whitehawk Camp Community Archaeology Project<br />

Moth Trapping, Race Hill, Whitehawk Hill<br />


photography<br />

...............................<br />

Devil’s Dyke<br />

Elderflower Picking, Stanmer Organics<br />


column<br />

...........................................<br />

John Helmer<br />

High school musical<br />

Assailed by lateral rain, we struggle up the steps to<br />

Poppy’s school. Inside the door is an improvised<br />

bar run by our friendly neighbours Clara and<br />

Andy (who plays his bagpipes in the back garden).<br />

I buy a couple of Merlots in plastic cups and order<br />

two more for the interval: the school is performing<br />

Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat<br />

tonight, and I can’t sit through an Andrew Lloyd<br />

Webber musical without medication.<br />

Poppy and her friends won’t actually occupy seats<br />

adjacent to grown-ups, of course, so I settle myself<br />

four rows ahead along with another friend, Marit,<br />

who is mother of one of Poppy’s besties (Kate<br />

somehow got out of this one).<br />

The chorus bounces on. I’ll give this to the Lord,<br />

he does crisp exposition. Within minutes Joseph<br />

has donned the multi-coloured dressing gown –<br />

having decided, like a retiring 70s football manager,<br />

that his sheepskin days are over.<br />

‘I can’t understand what’s happening,’<br />

whispers Marit. I explain that it’s not<br />

because she’s Norwegian: ‘the acoustics<br />

in here are rubbish’ (I don’t want to say<br />

anything about clear diction being a<br />

thing of the past because that would<br />

come across like I’m one of those parents<br />

who goes round on open evenings<br />

correcting spellings with a red pen).<br />

‘But why is there no talking between<br />

the songs to let you know what’s going<br />

on?’<br />

‘It’s called a “sung-through” musical.’<br />

Yes, I have all the terminology. This is<br />

because Kate used to work for a company<br />

that produced musicals just like this when we<br />

were first together. Full disclosure: she worked for<br />

the Lord.<br />

Interval. Clara and Andy’s pop-up bar has repopped-up<br />

on the first floor. ‘Did you hear Steve<br />

Strange died?’ says Andy. Andy usually has at least<br />

one earbud plugged into his beloved iPod, and as<br />

we speak he is listening to Visage.<br />

‘Always thought he was a bit of a cock,’ I say,<br />

ungenerously.<br />

Even I can’t fault the production downstairs,<br />

though. Pharaoh-as-Elvis is a real laugh, as are the<br />

inexplicable Apache dancers and the Ishmaelites<br />

dressed as Madness. Inappropriate titters come<br />

from four rows back when Joseph gets jiggy with<br />

Mrs Potiphar under a sheet. And when the kids<br />

start building a pyramid out of Fed-ex boxes I<br />

remember exactly why I love school productions.<br />

By the time the lights come on at the end, Marit is<br />

completely won over.<br />

‘I thought that was absolutely brilliant,’ she says,<br />

eyes shining; ‘how about you?’<br />

For me, Joseph evokes all the worst parts of the<br />

Seventies. Flared jeans with neatly ironed creases.<br />

Hand-knitted waistcoats in rainbow colours … And<br />

then there’s the music itself: jazz, rock, and blues so<br />

thinly watered down that if it were a urine sample<br />

your urologist would say you were dead.<br />

But as the children caper home down the road<br />

ahead of us, dancing and singing, the feeling comes<br />

over me – just as it does on Red Nose Day and<br />

at Christmas – that perhaps sometimes critical<br />

scruples are a bit beside the point.<br />

‘I think the kids did a great job.’<br />


column<br />

...........................................<br />

Lizzie Enfield<br />

Notes from North Village<br />

‘I can’t babysit tonight because I have to do<br />

Zumba’ and ‘I’m going to be late because the<br />

muscles of the sailor are taking ages to dry’ are<br />

very ‘North Village’ excuses for failing to meet<br />

the terms and conditions of babysitting contracts.<br />

Some are so strict that I know of a 17 year old<br />

who missed the final of a rock competition,<br />

because he was already committed. He’s the bass<br />

player. I doubt Bill Wyman ever missed a Stones<br />

gig because of childcare. But commitment’s<br />

clearly a good thing and the Zumba and bicep<br />

excuses are examples of commitment to a greater<br />

cause - the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.<br />

I know. It took me a while to make the connections<br />

between ‘sailor’s muscles taking ages to dry’<br />

and fostering self-development and community<br />

spirit. But, the sailor is a giant papier-mache<br />

model which will be carried aloft, with pride, as<br />

part of Pride.<br />

Who knows what the Duke would make of it?<br />

(Note to editor, do you send copies of <strong>Viva</strong> to<br />

the Palace?) (Note to readers, I want the editor<br />

to keep this note in the copy. It’s not a mistake. I<br />

mean to invite you into the conversation, make<br />

you feel part of the team, as if you’re in the pub<br />

with Alex Leith, which, if you’ve ever been to a<br />

pub in <strong>Brighton</strong> you probably have been – he<br />

likes a pub).<br />

Anyway, back to the D of E.<br />

I’m sure, when I was a teenager, it was all about<br />

pain, hardship, orienteering in the dark, getting<br />

lost and freezing to death - not making models<br />

for Pride, doing keep-fit and navigating your way<br />

home from school using Google Maps on your<br />

iPhone.<br />

“It is hard,” Zumba child says. “The class is full of<br />

middle-aged women, like you, with no coordination.<br />

It’s painful to watch”.<br />

She is skating on the sort of ice she ought to be<br />

doing an expedition over.<br />

“Anyway, we have to do expeditions sometime.”<br />

I’m made aware of when, via a string of requests.<br />

“Can you wash my onesie?” “Can you give me<br />

a lift to school? I’m late ‘cos I’ve been making<br />

bunting for the tent.”<br />

“Can you buy ingredients for a stir-fry? And get<br />

tofu too because Cole Thompson is veggie?”<br />

“Shall I get caviar, in case anyone is pescatarian?”<br />

“No, just tofu.”<br />

The irony is lost on her.<br />

But, tofu stir-fry? I’m sure, we had to fry whatever<br />

we managed to forage from the land in lard.<br />

(Note to editor, I have completed the theme<br />

challenge).<br />

(Note to readers, the theme of this month’s issue<br />

is land. I thought ‘Ed’ said “lard.” I’ve got both in.<br />

I get two points).<br />

Anyway… The camping<br />

trip takes place. They<br />

walk for miles. They<br />

get blisters. The popup<br />

tent leaks and it’s<br />

“really, really cold…”<br />

“So cold… that our<br />

pain au chocolat<br />

froze…”<br />

And while I’m scoring<br />

points, I think mine has<br />

been proven.<br />


column<br />

......................................<br />

Chloë King<br />

An early midlife crisis?<br />

Being a fan of Guardian<br />

live-blogger Stuart<br />

Heritage, you can<br />

appreciate how much<br />

I enjoyed finding out<br />

we have something<br />

in common. On<br />

Friday, my counsellor<br />

offered her diagnosis<br />

of my occasionally<br />

all-enveloping sense of<br />

ennui. At 32, she says<br />

I’m going through a<br />

midlife crisis. “At last,”<br />

I thought, “a proper<br />

Illustration by Chloë King<br />

search term to plug into Google!” This, of course, is<br />

exactly what I did next; only to discover that Stuart<br />

wrote about having a ‘midlife crisis’ last March, aged<br />

33. The find resulted in a feeling of connection, which<br />

due to my frame of mind was quickly repressed. Not<br />

only is Stuart merely speculating about his condition,<br />

he is writing in a national newspaper, a year ago, and<br />

has over 28 thousand more Twitter followers than me.<br />

Pah. I could teach Stuart something about inadequacy.<br />

Much of what I’m reading about midlife crises just<br />

reinforces the illustration I have in my head: a kind<br />

of male-centred Beryl Cook painting in which my<br />

dad appears in full biking leathers and his friend Mike<br />

is cataloguing his chattels on iPhoto. My dad’s crisis<br />

stopped short of an extramarital affair, but he did join<br />

a Wine Club and purchase a Suzuki Bandit 600. By<br />

comparison, I’m newly married and the owner of a<br />

too-new red Skoda Fabia, nicknamed ‘Labia’. With a<br />

meagre 1.4 litre engine, my midlife crisis seems not<br />

only premature, but lacking thrills.<br />

NHS Choices covers the topic under ‘Male Menopause’<br />

and ‘Male Midlife Crisis’:<br />

two headings I’m a little<br />

alienated by. It says they happen<br />

to around 20% of people,<br />

mostly men, between the ages<br />

of 35 and 50. The Telegraph<br />

says signs include listening to<br />

BBC 6 Music (check), excessively<br />

reminiscing about one’s<br />

childhood (check), and looking<br />

up medical symptoms on<br />

the internet (check). Speaking<br />

from the privileged position<br />

of experience, I can add to<br />

this list: total bafflement at<br />

which direction to take your life next.<br />

At this point, happily, Facebook algorithms put my<br />

attention in the direction of a TED Talk by the<br />

Slovenian philosopher and sociologist Renata Salecl.<br />

In ‘Our unhealthy obsession with choice,’ Renata<br />

explains how choice, personal freedom, and the idea<br />

of self-making has been elevated to an ideal. She says<br />

our fixation on individual choice prevents us from<br />

thinking about social changes and leads to feelings of<br />

anxiety (check), guilt (check) and inadequacy (check).<br />

“Instead of making social critiques,” she says, “we are<br />

more and more engaging in self-critique, sometimes<br />

to the point of self-destruction.”<br />

I’m now wondering whether my early midlife crisis<br />

might be better described as having too many options?<br />

If this is the case, Renata says I can overcome<br />

anxiety by accepting that my choices are irrational and<br />

heavily influenced by those around me. I need to stop<br />

taking choice so seriously. In other words: I’m spending<br />

too much time fondling fruit at the supermarket,<br />

when what I really need is a box scheme.<br />


Photo by Adam Bronkhorst<br />


interview<br />

..........................................<br />

mybrighton: Huw Morgan<br />

Sussex Wildlife Trust officer<br />

Are you local? Yes. I’ve been living here for the<br />

best part of 40 years. I was brought up in Patcham,<br />

which was a great place to grow up, because it was<br />

so near the countryside, and because there were so<br />

many kids of a similar age around. We used to go off<br />

for the whole day unattended, making camps in the<br />

woods or crashing about on our BMXs.<br />

Have you been here ever since? Apart from a year<br />

in Australia and a year in New Zealand. It was after<br />

that trip, when I was about 25, that I decided to pack<br />

in working as an ad salesperson – which I hated –<br />

and do something that suited me more. I saw an ad<br />

saying the East Sussex County Council were running<br />

trainee volunteer Ranger courses, so I got on<br />

one. I haven’t looked back. First I worked at Buchan<br />

Country Park, near Crawley, then eight years ago I<br />

started at the Sussex Wildlife Trust.<br />

What do you do? I’m the People and Wildlife Officer<br />

for <strong>Brighton</strong> and Hove. My job is to encourage<br />

people to visit the countryside, to increase their<br />

awareness of wildlife, and to teach them about<br />

conservation. I work with all sorts of groups - from<br />

adult offenders on probation to kids from deprived<br />

areas of <strong>Brighton</strong> - on a variety of sites, teaching<br />

them bush craft, conservation techniques, tree planting<br />

and all sorts of other skills.<br />

What do you do outside work? In the eighties and<br />

nineties it used to be all about going into the clubs<br />

in town. The Zap, and the Escape. Now I have two<br />

teenage stepchildren and a five-year-old daughter,<br />

so that’s all in the past. I like surfing, though. That<br />

scene has grown immensely in the last twenty years.<br />

I usually go from a place east of the Marina. It’s not<br />

exactly Hawaii, but it’s good enough for me.<br />

Is that how you’d spend an ideal Sunday afternoon?<br />

If not surfing, mountain biking on the South<br />

Downs Way. Then a good Sunday roast with the<br />

family. I like the Jolly Poacher on Ditchling Road. I<br />

used to eat a lot in the Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington,<br />

and was delighted when the owner’s son<br />

opened a similar place 15 minutes from where I live.<br />

I’ll wash the roast beef down with a pint of Guinness<br />

or a pale ale. My days of 5% lager are long gone.<br />

Where do you do your shopping? On pay-day<br />

weekends I’ll go to Waitrose, otherwise to Asda.<br />

And it’s Asda for clothes, nowadays, from that<br />

up-and-coming designer called George. In the old<br />

days, when I was living with my parents and had<br />

more disposable income, I’d get designer stuff from<br />

boutiques in North Laine. Mind you, even now I’d<br />

never skimp on a pair of trainers – I get them from<br />

Size in North Street.<br />

Where should readers go to enjoy a bit of accessible<br />

countryside in <strong>April</strong>? Stanmer Park is a good<br />

bet, where our offices are. It’s a good bet all year<br />

round, actually, but particularly in the spring, when<br />

the whole place bursts into life, with the trees blossoming<br />

and the birds nesting. As well as the formal<br />

park gardens and amenities – there’s a café and a bar<br />

and a restaurant – there’s so much wilderness and<br />

woodland to explore. And to make it all easier, from<br />

the beginning of the month the Council are running<br />

buses right into the heart of the park.<br />

In a nutshell, what do you like about <strong>Brighton</strong>?<br />

The accessibility of the sea and the Downs. The<br />

variety of things to do. The tolerance of the people.<br />

Where would you live if you didn’t live here?<br />

Biarritz. I love the Basque Country coast. AL<br />


ighton in history<br />

..........................................<br />

What a racket<br />

The 1957 <strong>Brighton</strong> Police corruption case<br />

A photo of the whistleblower and ex-convict Alan<br />

Roy Bennett, walking from his Rolls Royce to<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Magistrates Court in 1957, shows him with<br />

a neat moustache, wearing a smart suit, a bowler hat<br />

and leather gloves. He has a handkerchief in his top<br />

pocket. He looks pensive.<br />

Bennett was a key witness in the magistrates’ hearing,<br />

and subsequent Old Bailey trial, of the <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

Police Corruption case, described by its judge as<br />

‘one of the most serious tried in this or any other<br />

criminal court for a long time’. The defendants<br />

were <strong>Brighton</strong>’s Chief Constable Charles Ridge,<br />

CID officers Trevor Heath and John Hammersley,<br />

and two civilians accused of being accomplices in a<br />

conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes between 1949<br />

and 1957. All five denied the charges.<br />

Bennett was an RAF deserter who’d been in prison<br />

nine times; he’d been convicted of burglary, theft,<br />

receiving stolen goods, and ‘stealing by trick’, among<br />

other things. His aliases had included Alan Brown,<br />

Austen Ferguson and Poyner. A defence solicitor<br />

described him as a ‘snake’.<br />

But his last conviction was in 1949. He was now a<br />

businessman. Questioned in court about his record,<br />

he shouted: ‘Don’t judge me on what I was years<br />

ago… I have paid for my convictions.’<br />

Since 1949 he had ‘completely changed his fortunes,’<br />

local historian WH Johnson writes. ‘He and his wife<br />

had worked hard and from their now considerable<br />

bank balance bought the Astor Hotel,’ on Kings<br />

Road. He opened a club in the basement in March<br />

1955. ‘But business was slow,’ Johnson writes. ‘He<br />

had to shut at 10.30pm, when the night was just<br />

starting for real drinkers.’<br />

Bennett claimed he’d been approached by another<br />

bar manager, Anthony Lyons (one of the defendants),<br />

who brokered a deal with the police: for £20 a<br />

week (equivalent to £450 in today’s money) the Astor<br />

Club would be left alone. Bennett testified that he<br />

made ‘six or seven’ weekly payments to Ridge, and<br />

to Heath ‘many times’. Bennett’s wife, Wenche, was<br />

unhappy about the arrangement, and told him so.<br />

The club started opening till 3-4am, and got a reputation<br />

for violence, being nicknamed ‘The Bucket<br />

of Blood’. It was seemingly left alone by the police.<br />

Wenche claimed that Heath phoned her on two<br />

occasions warning her to close the club for the night,<br />

presumably when it was due to be raided.<br />

Bennett shut the club down after about six months,<br />

but claimed that Heath still pursued him for money.<br />

For example, when police in Leeds apparently<br />

wanted to speak to Bennett over a dodgy cheque, the<br />

problem disappeared when he paid £15; and after<br />

being told Bournemouth police were inquiring about<br />

him over a jewellery theft, he paid £20, though he<br />

had a solid alibi.<br />

Bennett finally reported <strong>Brighton</strong> Police to Scotland<br />

Yard in June 1957. They took his claims seriously,<br />

and sent a team to Lewes; from there, they investigated<br />

‘under conditions of greatest secrecy,’ the<br />

Gazette later reported.<br />

After moving to <strong>Brighton</strong> Town Hall, the investigators<br />

drew up an extensive case, helped by a secretary<br />

who, for security reasons, was ‘taken everywhere by<br />

yard car, and never leaves the Town Hall without an<br />

escort,’ the Herald reported.<br />

According to David Rowland’s book Bent Cops, one<br />

witness was threatened by four ‘tough guys’; they<br />

pressed a razor against her face, and said that if she<br />

gave the wrong sort of testimony, the Soho Don<br />


Photo courtesy of David Rowland<br />

Billy Howard would ‘cut ya tongue out and then<br />

chop you into little bits’.<br />

She still testified, as did many others. There was the<br />

burlesque club owner who accused Hammersley of<br />

saying that incriminating evidence could be ‘thrown<br />

in the sea’ for £250; the illegal abortionist, and an<br />

accomplice, who both said they paid bribes; a junior<br />

policeman who claimed Heath had offered him<br />

a £10-a-week protection-money deal with a local<br />

club owner; James Swaby, a man with 13 convictions,<br />

who said Heath solicited bribes from him; a<br />

detective-constable who backed up part of Swaby’s<br />

story; a man who claimed to have seen Bennett give<br />

money in an envelope to Heath, and, on another<br />

occasion, money hidden in a newspaper, to someone<br />

who looked like Ridge.<br />

Then there was Ernest Waite, described by the<br />

Solicitor General as ‘a greengrocer, a fruiterer, an<br />

undischarged bankrupt, a receiver of stolen goods,<br />

and obviously a scoundrel’. He claimed that Hammersley<br />

and Heath let him deal in stolen goods, as<br />

long as they came from outside <strong>Brighton</strong>. Waite<br />

said he had a ‘sort of freedom of the town’, adding<br />

that ‘it was through Mr Hammersley’s contact that I<br />

got the stolen goods’. In return, Waite said, he gave<br />

money to both policemen, who also used to visit his<br />

shop regularly, take ‘two or three pounds worth of<br />

stuff, give me a ten-shilling note and wait for the<br />

change.’<br />

One defence solicitor described the prosecution<br />

evidence as ‘rotten’. Another said that if a TV show<br />

had this plot ‘you would switch the set off as you<br />

would not believe it.’<br />

The trial closed at the end of February 1958. Lyons<br />

was acquitted, while the other civilian defendant got<br />

three years in prison. Ridge heard his verdict ‘white<br />

faced, with beads of sweat on his forehead,’ the<br />

Gazette reported. Found not guilty, he left the court<br />

‘looking dazed’.<br />

Hammersley and Heath were sentenced to five<br />

years’ imprisonment each. Months earlier, they<br />

had been photographed smiling on the way to the<br />

magistrates’ court (see above), perhaps confident<br />

that, though they were guilty, they could not be<br />

convicted on the evidence of such dubious characters<br />

as Waite, Swaby and Alan Roy Bennett.<br />

Steve Ramsey<br />

Further reading: Bent Cops by David Rowland<br />


Squarepusher<br />

Fri 8 May<br />

GoGo Penguin<br />

Fri 8 May<br />

Anna Calvi<br />

Sat 9 May<br />

DakhaBrakha<br />

Sun 10 May<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> ad_Layout 1 23/01/<strong>2015</strong> 17:03 Page 1<br />

Kate Tempest, George<br />

the Poet, Hollie McNish<br />

Thu 14 May<br />

Saint Etienne: How We<br />

Used to Live<br />

Thu 21 May<br />

Est.1976<br />

www.hobgoblin.com<br />



Cats Eyes’ live score for<br />

The Duke of Burgundy<br />

Fri 22 May<br />

Tricky<br />

Sat 23 May<br />

Laurie Anderson<br />

Sun 24 May<br />

Full programme at<br />

brightonfestival.org<br />

Guitars, Banjos, Mandolins, Ukuleles, Harps, Fiddles,<br />

Autoharps, Dulcimers, Concertinas & Accordions,<br />

Woodwind & Brass, Huge whistle selection. Drums,<br />

Cajons, Bodhrans, Djembes, Shakers & much more,<br />

Keyboards, Amps, Accessories & Books for all.<br />

108 Queens Rd, <strong>Brighton</strong> BN1 3XF<br />

01273 760022 | www.hobgoblin.com/brighton<br />

Expert staff are always on hand to<br />

give you free, friendly advice.

grasshopper<br />

Smells like teen spirit<br />

They’ve released two EPs, played almost 70 gigs and<br />

opened for The Charlatans at Worthing Pavilion<br />

last month – and they’re still in their mid teens. We<br />

spoke to singer Javi Fedrick about being in a band<br />

when you’re too young to legally enter many venues.<br />

How was the gig with The Charlatans? We had<br />

the best time. I’d probably say it’s the biggest gig<br />

we’ve ever played, and we had the awesome Innerstrings<br />

Psychedelic Lightshow doing visuals for us,<br />

which made it really special.<br />

How did it come about? Tim Burgess heard our<br />

music last year and offered us a few festival slots<br />

before he even knew our ages (he thought it was<br />

hilarious once he found out). Then on Christmas<br />

Eve we got a phone call from his manager who asked<br />

us if we were interested in supporting them at their<br />

only South Coast show… No brainer!<br />

How old are you all? I’m 15, my brother Luis is<br />

13, and the two girls (Em and Rachel) are both 17.<br />

We’ve all been in <strong>Brighton</strong> for all of our (short) lives.<br />

Do you feel lucky growing up here? It’s a really<br />

brilliant place to live in, as there’s so much creative<br />

stuff going on. I’m still too young to get into a lot of<br />

gigs, but I think the young/DIY scene in <strong>Brighton</strong> is<br />

really strong, so I’d say if you can’t get into a gig, put<br />

on your own one with your friends.<br />

Do you think you’ve inspired any other young<br />

bands to start playing? I‘m sure we haven’t been<br />

responsible for the formation of any other bands,<br />

but when we first started, there was an amazing DIY<br />

youth scene headed by AMI <strong>Brighton</strong>, which had a<br />

monthly residency at the (sadly now lost) Blind Tiger<br />

Club. There was a really supportive atmosphere<br />

at those gigs, and I know lots of young bands had<br />

their first few gigs there, and are now getting some<br />

really brilliant support slots/festivals.<br />

What sort of music do you make? Someone once<br />

described our music as “a blend of post-punk-surfshoegaze<br />

gorgeousness”. I think that sums up our<br />

sound as well as anything else.<br />

Do you find your age works against you or is it<br />

an advantage? We’re not particularly interested in<br />

aping our musical heroes, and as a result there’ve<br />

been a few times when people have tried to ‘direct’<br />

what we’re doing, and we have to be quite assertive<br />

about saying that we’d rather do our own thing.<br />

Our SoundCloud is there so that people can decide<br />

if they like us or not without knowing how old we<br />

are, which is how we like it. We’re always upfront<br />

about our ages when we’re offered gigs (because of<br />

licensing laws), but usually promoters treat us as they<br />

would any other band (minus the alcohol on the<br />

rider!). Interview by Ben Bailey<br />

grasshopper are headlining an autism charity gig at<br />

The Joker on Thur 2 and supporting Sonic Jesus at<br />

The Hope & Ruin on Tues 14.<br />


Across every channel and for any audience,<br />

clevercontent creates powerful digital content<br />

that helps businesses sell more.<br />

We’ll make your marketing work harder,<br />

contact us to find out how.<br />

hello@clever-content.co.uk<br />

www.clever-content.co.uk<br />

What we do:<br />

• Infographics<br />

• Video<br />

• Podcasts & webinars<br />

• Newsletters<br />

• Blogging<br />

• Copywriting & editorial<br />

• Quizzes and games<br />

clevercontent<br />

plus: family<br />

shows this easter<br />

Upcoming highlights:<br />

The Old market presents:<br />

Normanton street & guests<br />

[right] Charming “must-see”<br />

[observer]: standby for<br />

tape back-up mock the week<br />

favourite: gina yashere<br />

from cbbc: little howard’s<br />

big show Family Favourite:<br />

Captain flinn & The pirate<br />

dinosaurs + MUCH MORE...<br />

01273 201 801<br />

theoldmarket.com<br />

<strong>April</strong> & may<br />

brochure out now

local musicians<br />

..........................................<br />

Ben Bailey rounds up the <strong>Brighton</strong> music scene<br />


Fri 3, Hope & Ruin, 7.30pm, Free<br />

This showcase of homegrown<br />

electronica makes<br />

a point of promising<br />

much more than blokes<br />

staring at laptops. From<br />

the improvised ambient<br />

synths of Champion<br />

Fever to the reworked<br />

trip-hop of Adolescent and Pollen’s looped<br />

mash-ups, the night’s emphasis is a fusion of live<br />

instrumentation and experimental electronic<br />

sounds. Curated by <strong>Brighton</strong>’s bitbin, a composer<br />

and performer who emerged from a decade of engineering<br />

work with his own synthesis of twitchy<br />

ambient beats and epic Boards Of Canada chord<br />

changes, the line-up is interspersed by modular<br />

synth sets by VCOADSR and topped off with live<br />

audio-reactive visuals.<br />


Fri 3, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 11pm<br />

Things seemed to be going well for Almighty<br />

Planets when they supported Young Fathers at<br />

The Haunt for Wire’s DRILL festival back in<br />

December. Now, without warning, they’ve decided<br />

to call it a day. The eight-piece funk and soul band<br />

haven’t given a reason for the split, issuing only a<br />

‘thank you’ missive declaring a blow-out farewell<br />

show at Sticky Mike’s. After eight years stoking up<br />

a party wherever they went (including a previous<br />

stint as BOY COM), the band’s demise will be a<br />

shame for fans of fun-loving funk and hip hop,<br />

especially after the departure of similarly spirited<br />

Mean Poppa Lean the year before last. Let’s hope<br />

they go out with a big bang.<br />


Sun 5, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 2.30pm, £6.50<br />

“A band drenched in metal, brutality and malevolence.”<br />

That’s how <strong>Brighton</strong> thrash band King<br />

Leviathan describe themselves in the run up to<br />

this all-day mini metalfest. Now in its eighth year,<br />

Black Sunday has become a calling of the banners<br />

for South Coast headbangers – offering a mix of<br />

death metal, industrial thrash and the fifty shades<br />

of black in between. The full bill includes XVLTR,<br />

They Live, Bleed Again, Last Days Of Rome,<br />

Hawka Hurricane, Enslavement, Aperitas and<br />

Tellurium. The headline slot goes to Eastbourne’s<br />

Vehement whose two-part metal epic entitled<br />

Carrion Rule and Oceans Of Rot could possibly be<br />

inspired by their hometown.<br />

MOK<br />

Wed 15, Green Door Store, 7pm, £3<br />

In the not-toodistant<br />

future your<br />

grandchildren will<br />

need to be sat down<br />

and taught about<br />

these things we used<br />

to call albums. Four<br />

years in and hip hop new-wavers MOK still show<br />

no inclination to put out a record – instead releasing<br />

a string of video-assisted standalone singles,<br />

each more polished and ambitious than the last.<br />

The newest, Cutloose, sees the band return to their<br />

house-party roots, only this time with a decidedly<br />

dark twist on their pop sensibilities. An euphoric<br />

coming-up chorus alternates with a manic break<br />

suggesting anxiety attacks, random nosebleeds<br />

and the kind of chemical disorientation that your<br />

grandchildren will probably know only too well.<br />


Learn Guitar, Have Fun<br />

Looking for guitar lessons<br />

for you or your child?<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Guitar Tuition<br />

Play your favourite songs,<br />

jam with others, get results fast!<br />

"My progress<br />

has been<br />

astounding"<br />

"The results were<br />

almost instantaneous.<br />

Amazing!"<br />

Places are limited<br />

Contact Vicki today to book your<br />


07980 845 688<br />

<strong>Viva</strong> ad 94x66 april2_Layout 1 12/03/<strong>2015</strong> 16:36 Page<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong>GuitarTuition.com<br />

Concerts<br />

Sat. May 23 – 7pm<br />

Anna Tilbrook (piano)<br />

Phillip Dukes (viola)<br />

Benjamin Hulett (tenor)<br />

Schubert, Britten,<br />

Vaughan Williams, Gurney<br />

Sat. June 20 – 7pm<br />

Louis Schwizgebel (piano)<br />

BBC New Generation Artist<br />

Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann,<br />

Schubert<br />

Sat. July 18 – 7pm<br />

Esther Yoo (violin)<br />

BBC New Generation Artist<br />

Robert Koenig (piano accompanist)<br />

J.S.Bach, Beethoven, Debussy<br />

Glazunov, Tchaikovsky<br />

House open May/June & August<br />

Bank Holiday.<br />

<strong>2015</strong><br />

For tickets & information:<br />

www.glyndeplace.co.uk Tel: 01273 858224

music<br />

...........................<br />

Yamato Drummers<br />

Beat poets<br />

“Basically, we are always<br />

together, except the<br />

time when you’re in the<br />

toilet,” says Gen Hidaka,<br />

one of the Yamato<br />

Drummers of Japan.<br />

The group was started<br />

by Masa Ogawa in<br />

1993, after his mother<br />

found a big Taiko drum<br />

in a shrine and suggested<br />

he do something<br />

with it; they’ve since<br />

performed to more<br />

than six million people<br />

in fifty-odd countries.<br />

In mid-March, Hidaka spoke to me from the Netherlands,<br />

where he and another member of the group<br />

have been teaching. Their latest tour hadn’t yet<br />

started, so the rest of them were probably in a village<br />

called Asuka, where they all live in the same house.<br />

“We sometimes argue, but it’s really important<br />

for us to understand each other more, and more<br />

deeply. We believe that to make one sound on stage,<br />

you must understand each other. That’s why we’re<br />

always together.”<br />

Though, of course, they do practice a lot, “we consider<br />

it’s more important for us to live together, and<br />

talk together, than practicing Taiko… When I joined<br />

Yamato I had no Taiko experience or knowledge at<br />

all. They said as long as you can live together with<br />

us, you can join. There was no drumming exam, or<br />

physical test; they only asked me if I could cooperate<br />

and live together with them.”<br />

Hidaka had been a business-management student<br />

when, as a birthday present, a friend took him to see<br />

the Drummers. “The next day, or something, I was<br />

calling the head office<br />

of Yamato and asking if<br />

I could join.”<br />

So he went to live in<br />

Asuka, adopting the<br />

group’s exhaustingsounding<br />

routine. “In<br />

the morning we get up<br />

together at like 6.30 or<br />

7am, then we go running<br />

for about 10 kilometres,<br />

then we clean<br />

the house, also we cook<br />

and eat together. After<br />

that, we usually go to<br />

the mountains and do<br />

some weight training. Then, in the afternoon, we<br />

start rehearsing Taiko drumming, until like midnight,<br />

[or] until the neighbours complain.<br />

“I don’t feel like we have no free time. Sometimes<br />

we go together to the sea and go fishing, or go to do<br />

the shopping. We enjoy that. When we are on tour,<br />

every city we go to, we go running in the morning,<br />

then we can see the city; it’s like sightseeing for us.<br />

“Because we are always together, we don’t really<br />

have time to spend with [our families]. We write letters<br />

to them, especially when we are on tour. That’s<br />

how we communicate with our families, basically.”<br />

‘I have never seen personal discipline or work discipline<br />

like it,’ an assistant on their European tour told<br />

the Times in 2001. ‘It’s frightening.’<br />

Hidaka says “sometimes I might feel like, ‘Oh, I cannot<br />

continue drumming anymore’, or ‘I’m too tired<br />

today’, or ‘I’m not good enough’, but we support<br />

each other and encourage each other - ‘Hey, don’t<br />

give up now’. Then we do more.” Steve Ramsey<br />

Sun 26 Apr, Theatre Royal, 7.45pm<br />


music<br />

..............................<br />

Polar Bear<br />

Hard-to-classify jazzers<br />

Photo Kristy Campbell<br />

Noted for his drumming talents and his Sideshow<br />

Bob hairdo, Seb Rochford was a key member of<br />

the Hendrix-covering jazz/punk band Acoustic<br />

Ladyland. They’re no longer active, but he’s coming<br />

to <strong>Brighton</strong> this month with Polar Bear, which has<br />

three of the same members, two Mercury nominations,<br />

and a jazz-like sound that no-one seems quite<br />

sure how to describe.<br />

You’ve said you wanted to play drums ‘ever since<br />

I was four years old or so’. Was that a typical<br />

four-year-old’s enthusiasm for anything you can<br />

hit and make a noise with, or were you really<br />

into music at that point? Yeah, I’ve been very, very,<br />

very into music for as long as I can remember.<br />

In your teens, according to Time Out, you<br />

‘played with indie, metal and hardcore outfits’.<br />

How did you start moving from that towards<br />

jazz? My mum played me jazz from when I was a<br />

baby, so I was always hearing it, although I couldn’t<br />

connect to it for a long time. Seeing it live really<br />

changed things for me; she took me to see [saxophonist]<br />

Andy Sheppard, which I really enjoyed a<br />

lot. That started me listening to it at home. For any<br />

style of music, for me it’s just about finding the door<br />

in. Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington were also<br />

very important doors for me into jazz.<br />

What were your early years in London like,<br />

when you were carrying your whole drumkit on<br />

the Tube to gigs, and trying to get established?<br />

I was really broke when I first came to London and<br />

did anything I could to play and get inspiration,<br />

finding out where the free gigs were and walking to<br />

them if I didn’t have any money. I carried my drums<br />

on the Tube, stands in a rucksack, drums packed<br />

inside each other in my arms and cymbals on my<br />

shoulder. I did this for three or four years.<br />

Did you do any non-musical jobs to get by? Or<br />

any unrewarding jobs as a drummer-for-hire?<br />

When I first came, once a week I would sing nursery<br />

rhymes with children in Ealing, and also play piano<br />

with a man who had Down’s Syndrome. After the<br />

positive effect the music was having on him, they<br />

increased it to twice a week. I learnt a lot from<br />

spending time with him. These two things enabled<br />

me to survive very basically, but still gave me plenty<br />

of time to practise. When I saw the standard in<br />

London I thought I really had to practise a huge<br />

amount if people were going to want to play with<br />

me. Because I didn’t study in London, I felt like it<br />

took me a bit longer to meet people, but was lucky<br />

that, at the first jam session I went to, I met an amazing<br />

musician called Rachel Musson, who took my<br />

number and asked me to have a jam with her. This is<br />

who I started Polar Bear with. Steve Ramsey<br />

Polar Bear + Leafcutter John, Wed 15 <strong>April</strong>, Komedia,<br />

7.30pm, £15<br />


music<br />

.........................................<br />

Lordi<br />

Eurovision’s scariest winners<br />

“It’s not easy to find a person who would say ‘eh,<br />

Lordi, I think they’re quite ok’,” says Mr Lordi,<br />

frontman of the 2006 Eurovision winners. “It’s usually<br />

either ‘oh, that band fucking sucks, those idiots,<br />

those rubber-masked clowns’, or they just love us.”<br />

While fans of Lordi are “super loyal and fanatic,”<br />

the costumes mean that many people “will not<br />

give a fair chance to our music… The image is our<br />

blessing and our curse.<br />

“It’s a more extreme version of my own idols - Kiss,<br />

Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister - with quite a lot of<br />

the horror genre/monster image in the mix.”<br />

Mr Lordi, whose childhood dream was to be Gene<br />

Simmons, started his band in 1992, and even then<br />

was singing in English. “For me, English has always<br />

been the only language in rock and roll.”<br />

The next ten years were a “really frustrating”<br />

period, in which Lordi were unable to get a record<br />

deal, as they refused to change either their sound or<br />

their look. “Like any teen, you think you’re the king<br />

of the world and know everything about everything.<br />

When the labels were telling me that I should do<br />

this or change that, I got really mad… Whenever I<br />

had some negative response, I would not ever send<br />

them anything again.<br />

“The main problem for the labels was that the music<br />

and the image didn’t match, they thought. Two<br />

of the labels said the music is alright but you have<br />

to lose the image, the image is so stupid, it doesn’t<br />

fit the music at all.<br />

“Or they said the image is cool but you’ve got to<br />

start playing death metal, because the image is<br />

way too hard for your poppy music. We refused to<br />

change either of those things, and they were invited<br />

to take it or leave it, and usually they left it.<br />

“It took ten years for the first people to actually see<br />

that this poppy 80s-oriented hard rock, with this<br />

kind of extreme image, actually could work.”<br />

Did they at least spend those ten years building up<br />

a good live fan base? “No, actually not. I thought,<br />

from an early stage, this was the kind of band that<br />

should not be watered down by performing in small<br />

pubs and clubs. My plan was that when we started<br />

performing, it had to be in decent venues, and the<br />

people who came, they had to be willing to pay for<br />

the ticket because they wanted to see us, and hear<br />

us, and they had to know the songs already.<br />

“Against the wishes of the record label, we put out<br />

the single first, then the video, and waited for, I<br />

don’t know, four months before the album came<br />

out. Only when the album had gone gold, that’s<br />

when we played our first show. It was sold out.<br />

People there wanted to see the band, and they<br />

already knew what we looked like and how we<br />

sounded. That was my plan, and it worked.” SR<br />

Lordi, Mon 6th <strong>April</strong>, Concorde 2, 7pm, £18.50<br />


BRIGHTON FRINGE <strong>2015</strong><br />

PICK UP OUR <strong>2015</strong><br />




THIS MAY!<br />


music<br />

...........................<br />

Mariana Sadovska<br />

Björk meets Pete Seeger<br />

Mariana Sadovska, now known as the ‘Ukrainian<br />

Björk’, was on holiday, hiking in the Carpathian<br />

Mountains. She wasn’t a musician back then, and<br />

hadn’t planned to become one. But in the mountains,<br />

by chance, she heard a woman singing.<br />

“It was this traditional, authentic voice; raw, not<br />

polished, not trained in a school, just like how<br />

women sing in the Carpathian Mountains. I fell so<br />

much in love. From that moment, I didn’t understand<br />

why, but I really wanted to get in touch with<br />

such music.<br />

“I was already travelling a lot in the villages, and<br />

I never could give a clear answer for why I was<br />

doing it; I just felt that I wanted to get to know this<br />

culture.”<br />

Growing up in western Ukraine in the 70s and 80s,<br />

Sadovska had spoken Ukrainian, “but I knew that<br />

in the east, it was different. To speak Ukrainian<br />

was not cool; it was like a village language. If you<br />

wanted a prestigious job, you’d better speak Russian.<br />

All this authentic culture was exchanged for<br />

a very strange creation, Soviet folklore. They were<br />

trying to replace it, and in some places they managed<br />

to do it. I grew up with the feeling that they<br />

managed to do it everywhere.”<br />

Also, “young people were moving to the cities…<br />

this traditional passage [of songs], from grandmother<br />

to mother, from mother to daughter,<br />

was broken. It was very much seen as something<br />

uncool.”<br />

After discovering that her own mother hadn’t<br />

really learned the songs of the previous generation,<br />

Sadovska recorded her grandmother and<br />

grandmother’s sister singing them, just for her own<br />

interest, with no thought of becoming a singer or<br />

folk-song collector.<br />

She’d studied classical piano, but decided against<br />

it as a career, and went to work for a theatre group<br />

which had a philosophical interest in “the theatrical<br />

element in life, and especially in rituals, and traditional<br />

life… Anywhere where we were going to<br />

perform, we were trying to get in touch with their<br />

traditional culture.”<br />

So it seemed like a natural progression when, after<br />

her encounter in the Carpathians, Sadovska spent<br />

15 years travelling around rural areas of Ukraine,<br />

collecting traditional songs. Her subjects were keen<br />

to pass them on, as if they “couldn’t die before they<br />

gave their songs to somebody”.<br />

She found love songs, and sad songs, but also ritual<br />

songs: to bring the spring, to prevent rain during<br />

harvest time, or to bless a newly married couple.<br />

“To discover that this culture did survive the Soviet<br />

era and has nothing to do with the Soviet era -<br />

this culture reaches to a very ancient time, before<br />

Christianity - it’s like suddenly finding gold in the<br />

earth. That’s how I felt. And I felt it was my task to<br />

share it with the world outside Ukraine. I always<br />

wanted to be a kind of messenger of my culture.”<br />

Steve Ramsey<br />

Sadovska will perform traditional Ukrainian songs in<br />

a modern style, dueting with a ‘German percussionist<br />

and electronica specialist’, Wed 22nd <strong>April</strong>,<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Dome Studio Theatre, 7.30pm, £12/£10<br />


style through life<br />

wear the<br />

world.<br />


theatre<br />

...........................<br />

Annoying the Neighbours<br />

‘Some people really push the boundaries’<br />

“I started hearing this buzzing sound late at night,<br />

which kind of got worse as the night went on,” says<br />

Louise Wallinger. She thought it was some kind of<br />

electrical or mechanical fault in the building. But<br />

this was a block of flats with “quite a few anti-social<br />

behaviour problems”, and when people from the<br />

local council came round, they thought someone<br />

might have been making the noise on purpose.<br />

“They offered to send a professional witness, who<br />

would sit in my flat at night and try and work out<br />

what it was.” This gave Wallinger an idea.<br />

She works in the field of verbatim theatre, in which<br />

plays are constructed from the edited text of interviews.<br />

So she decided to talk to people whose job it<br />

was to deal with neighbour issues; and to interview<br />

normal people about their neighbours.<br />

“I don’t think I’ve had a performance yet where<br />

someone hasn’t been telling me about their neighbours<br />

afterwards. It is something that people can<br />

really relate to. Because, partly, it’s about diplomacy,<br />

and the things we have to do in order to live next<br />

door to people.<br />

“I found that some people will really push the<br />

boundaries, and it’s quite amazing what other<br />

people put up with in order to still kind of rub<br />

along with their neighbours.<br />

One story involves a woman who had been unexpectedly<br />

at home, naked: it was a bad time to find<br />

out that her neighbour had been using their spare<br />

key to let themselves in. “But she never actually<br />

asked for the key back, because she says it would<br />

have been so embarrassing.<br />

“There’s another woman whose neighbour just<br />

comes round and sits in her garden, just outside her<br />

living room window, to smoke a fag. At first, she<br />

tried to get her to stop, then just started to live with<br />

it, in the hope that she went away. So it seems that<br />

there are people who haven’t quite learnt the rules<br />

of how to get along.”<br />

Other neighbours are intentionally obnoxious: she<br />

was told about a guy “who sellotaped about 20 different<br />

alarm clocks to his ceiling, to go off at different<br />

times during the day, to annoy the neighbours,<br />

and left Westlife playing on repeat all day.”<br />

“I think problems with neighbours can really blight<br />

people’s lives,” Wallinger says. And yet, lots of the<br />

stories in Annoying the Neighbours are funny. “Or<br />

even if they weren’t funny to start with, with the<br />

passage of time, people are seeing the humour in<br />

them. So some of it is quite serious, but a lot of it<br />

does come across in quite a humorous way.”<br />

As for her own problem, Wallinger never actually<br />

had to call in a professional witness. She discovered<br />

the noise was caused by a faulty light on the outside<br />

of the building. She no longer lives there, by the<br />

way – and, in answer to the inevitable question, she<br />

says her current neighbours are “all very nice”. SR<br />

Annoying the Neighbours, in a double bill with Martin<br />

Stewart’s play Pyramids of Margate, Sat 11 <strong>April</strong>,<br />

Otherplace at the Basement, 8pm<br />


comedy<br />

.........................................<br />

Jane Postlethwaite<br />

Hove comedian, made in Cumbria<br />

I arrange to meet Jane Postlethwaite – for the first<br />

time – in the Hove Place pub, and she sends me a<br />

text beforehand to leave me in no doubt as to which<br />

person to approach when I arrive. ‘I’m the tall lady,’<br />

she writes, ‘black coat and BOOTHS black bag in<br />

hand!’<br />

There’s no need, actually, because I’ve seen a You-<br />

Tube video of her performing on stage, in the guise<br />

of ‘Kirsty Bird’, a falcon expert. Jane’s a comedian,<br />

based in Hove, preparing a show for the Fringe.<br />

The ‘BOOTHS’ bag is relevant; Booths is a food<br />

store chain, much loved in the North West of<br />

England, but virtually unknown down here. Jane is<br />

from the Lake District – Kirkby-in-Furness to be<br />

exact – and her show, called Made in Cumbria, is an<br />

attempt to challenge any stereotypical preconceptions<br />

the audience might have about Northerners.<br />

The clip has made me smile, and so I fondly wave<br />

when I walk in, forgetting for a second she hasn’t a<br />

clue what I look like. She is tall, and very striking,<br />

and drinking tea. She buys me a pint and we find a<br />

table. I tell her I was born in Newcastle, of Geordie<br />

parents, and we talk all things North.<br />

“I’ve seen a lot of acts that put on Northern accents,”<br />

she says. “They make their character a bit<br />

stupid, to get a laugh. I find it a bit patronising,<br />

to tell you the truth. So I’m developing a number<br />

of characters that have a real Northern sense of<br />

humour, which I find has a lot of depth, and intelligence,<br />

and something of a dark side.”<br />

The characters include Karroll Kavannagh, a<br />

‘female Bear Grylls-type survival expert’, the ‘first<br />

Northern female astronaut’, and a children’s author,<br />

much influenced by Beatrix Potter. Jane talks about<br />

the dark side of Beatrix Potter’s work, which her<br />

character will explore: “I mean, she makes the animals<br />

wear clothes. And they’re punished for losing<br />

them. And Squirrel Nutkin gets his tail bitten off.<br />

And Peter Rabbit’s dad is eaten by Mr McGregor.”<br />

The more we talk, the more I realise that Jane is<br />

serious about her comedy. She tells me about her<br />

musical ear, which allows her to mimic any accent<br />

she hears. About how she’s studied books on the<br />

nature of humour. About how she ‘lives’ her characters,<br />

one at a time, to work out what makes them<br />

tick. And about her ambitions for the future. “I’m<br />

developing the show for the Fringe this year,” she<br />

tells me (she’s been signed up by Laughing Horse,<br />

and has four shows) “and I’m hoping this will lead<br />

to some Edinburgh shows next year.”<br />

Which leads, indirectly, to a pertinent question. If<br />

her shows are aimed, in part, at educating Southerners<br />

about the depths of Northern humour, how<br />

would they go down up North? She pauses, for the<br />

first time, to think about this. “I’d love to find out,”<br />

she says. And you can bet that she will. Alex Leith<br />

Jane performs at Funny Women, 8pm Saturday 25<br />

<strong>April</strong> at Komedia. Check Fringe programme for<br />

Laughing Horse gigs in May<br />


the lowdown on...<br />

................................<br />

Compering<br />

Tonight’s host is Charmaine Davies<br />

As a stand-up comedian<br />

you can usually do your<br />

acts and bugger off. As a<br />

compere you’re there all<br />

night. The whole thing is<br />

your responsibility.<br />

The compere’s role is to<br />

hold the whole thing together,<br />

and to introduce<br />

the acts. One thing is getting<br />

out the house rules:<br />

no phones, don’t talk over<br />

the acts, that sort of thing.<br />

A bit like an air hostess<br />

before the flight. That’s what I did in the five<br />

minutes I had a proper job. I used to do the<br />

safety announcements in a porn voice.<br />

When you start out you have a ‘cold’ room.<br />

Your job is to warm it up, so the crowd are<br />

receptive to the first act. If that act dies, you<br />

have to warm the room up again.<br />

If an act goes badly, the compere can<br />

always pick things up again. If the compere<br />

is shit, the acts hardly stand a chance.<br />

Interaction with the crowd is a useful prop.<br />

Where are you from? What do you do? Why are<br />

you sitting in the front row? HAVE YOU NEVER<br />


You can take the piss a bit but you can never<br />

be horrible to a crowd member. If you do<br />

that, you will lose the rest of the audience.<br />

You have to get the audience to relate to<br />

you, and think that you’re their mate. You<br />

have to be a little humble, too. If you’re an<br />

arrogant shit, they’ll hate you, too.<br />

Every crowd has a different vibe. It’s your<br />

job to feel that vibe, and to set the tone accordingly.<br />

Only experience<br />

can help you with that skill.<br />

The problem with compering<br />

a regular show is<br />

that you see a lot of the<br />

same faces back every time,<br />

and you have to make sure<br />

you have new material every<br />

time. I try to keep it topical,<br />

by referring to the news, or<br />

Big Brother. Impressions<br />

come in handy. Joan Rivers,<br />

Cher, Cheryl Cole.<br />

I’m constantly preparing<br />

material: like every comedian I have scraps of<br />

paper all round my house. An idea can come<br />

to you anywhere, a little lightbulb suddenly<br />

flashes. They always seem funny when you<br />

think them up. As you step onto the stage you<br />

start to doubt it. But it’s too late then…<br />

Organising comedians is a little like herding<br />

cats; there’s a hell of a lot of preparation<br />

that goes into a comedy night. And it’s more<br />

than just getting them there and warming<br />

up for them. Sometimes you have to be a<br />

counsellor to the performers, too: a shoulder<br />

to cry on.<br />

Before the gig I’ll have a glass of wine,<br />

but no more. You have to be on your toes.<br />

You want the crowd to be a little drunk, but<br />

not too drunk, or it all becomes an exercise in<br />

crowd control. After the gig, anything goes.<br />

As told to Alex Leith<br />

Charmaine will be compering at Victory<br />

Comedy, Duke St, 15 <strong>April</strong>; Comedy Next Door<br />

at The Dorset, 29th <strong>April</strong>; Funny Fursdays at<br />

Hotel Pelirocco, 30th <strong>April</strong><br />


CINEMA<br />

..........................................<br />

Savage Beauty<br />

Revenge: a dish best served hot<br />

It is rare indeed for a portmanteau film, made up<br />

of different stories whose connections are not immediately<br />

obvious and whose styles vary dramatically,<br />

to succeed in generating the kind of sustained<br />

resonance of an effective feature-length film. But<br />

with Wild Tales, Argentine writer/director Damián<br />

Szifrón has created a dark and often surreal set of<br />

blackly comic films that certainly come together<br />

to be more than the sum of their parts. Their<br />

common denominator, happened upon from wildly<br />

different sources and sets of circumstances, is the<br />

glory of revenge, the need to retaliate with violence<br />

to the many slights and aggravations of daily life.<br />

Wild Tales – whose original Spanish title is closer to<br />

‘Savage Tales’ – plays at the Duke of York’s during<br />

<strong>April</strong>, and consists of six episodes, each with a different<br />

cast but all about revenge for offenses real<br />

or imagined: passengers on a jet realise too late<br />

that they are vicariously connected to one vengeful<br />

person from their past; on a stormy night, a waitress<br />

at a diner recognises a customer as the sleazy<br />

developer who foreclosed on her family’s home,<br />

and finds herself in a position to avenge; two men<br />

on a deserted highway, one in an Audi, the other<br />

in a jalopy, are gripped by extreme road rage; a<br />

demolitions engineer finds his car towed from<br />

an unmarked parking spot in front of the bakery<br />

where he has just bought a cake for his daughter’s<br />

birthday party and takes on those responsible in<br />

the only way he knows how; a rich family tries to<br />

cover up a fatal hit-and-run accident with the help<br />

of their lawyer and corrupt authorities, bringing<br />

wrath upon their heads; a bride realizes at her<br />

wedding that her new husband has been cheating<br />

on her, with devastating consequences for all.<br />

All the episodes, except for the first, that describes<br />

a situation crafted with a great amount of planning<br />

and deliberation, describe hot-headed vengeful<br />

acts. As Szifrón has said, “what separates civilization<br />

from barbarism is a complex battery of social<br />

inhibitors; what differentiates us from animals is<br />

our capacity to restrain ourselves. Most of us live<br />

with the frustration of having to repress ourselves,<br />

but some people explode. This is a movie about<br />

those who explode, and we can all understand why<br />

they do.”<br />

The last episode in particular, itself a tour de force<br />

of filmmaking, seems to manifest the core impulse<br />

of the film, which Szifrón has described as “the<br />

desire for freedom, and how this lack of freedom,<br />

and the rage and the anguish it produces, can cause<br />

us to run completely off the rails.”<br />

Deservedly nominated for the Academy Award for<br />

Best Foreign Language Film, it will be interesting<br />

to see if this successful and innovative film spurs<br />

other filmmakers to explore certain themes in a<br />

similar fashion, by refracting their light through<br />

the prism of a multi-faceted work. Catch it while<br />

you can on the big screen, before it attains welldeserved<br />

cult status. Yoram Allon<br />


cinema<br />

..........................................<br />

Yoram Allon takes a look at other film highlights<br />

<strong>April</strong> sees lots of fantastic stuff happening at the<br />

wonderful Emporium, most prominently their<br />

‘Seaside Celluloid’ mini film festival celebrating<br />

our city on screen, running 10th–12th <strong>April</strong>.<br />

This includes a rare screening of Jigsaw (1962),<br />

starring Jack Warner as a detective trying to<br />

solve a murder, piecing together fragments of<br />

her life from scenes across <strong>Brighton</strong> & Hove.<br />

Also presented are Mona Lisa (1986), Neil<br />

Jordan’s classic BAFTA-winning crime drama<br />

starring Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine; Me<br />

Without You (2001), a refreshingly different buddy<br />

movie starring Michelle Williams and Anna<br />

Friel; and, of course, Quadrophenia (1979), the<br />

most famous of all ‘Mods and Rockers’ movies,<br />

part-shot in <strong>Brighton</strong> and starring Phil Daniels,<br />

Lesley Ash and Sting, based on The Who’s rock<br />

opera. Most glorious of all is another chance<br />

to see 20,000 Days on Earth (2014), a fictive<br />

24-hours in the life of musician, songwriter,<br />

author, screenwriter, composer, actor and Hove<br />

resident Nick Cave; directed by experimental<br />

filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, this<br />

fascinating and innovative film won the Directing<br />

Award in World Cinema Documentary at<br />

Sundance, as well as many other plaudits including<br />

a BAFTA nomination, and simply has to be<br />

seen and heard.<br />

Elsewhere, the Sundance-winning documentary<br />

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream<br />

Alliance comes to the Duke’s at Komedia cinema<br />

from 17th <strong>April</strong>. This tells the extraordinary story<br />

of Dream Alliance, a horse born and bred by a<br />

syndicate in a depressed South Wales mining village<br />

who, against all the odds, conquered the world<br />

of horse racing. The film, which director Louise<br />

Osmond describes as “Rocky … with a horse”,<br />

follows the determination of Jan Vokes and her<br />

husband Brian who, with the help of £10 a week<br />

from 23 of their friends in the town of Cefn Fforest<br />

to cover the horse’s food and training, ready our<br />

equine hero for the Grand National at Aintree in<br />

2010. Strange but true.<br />

Lastly, Noah Baumbach (writer/director of The<br />

Squid and the Whale (2005) and Frances Ha (2012),<br />

amongst other indie successes) is back with a new<br />

comedy drama, While We’re Young, starring Ben<br />

Stiller, Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried. This<br />

sharply-crafted and engaging movie focuses on a<br />

middle-aged couple befriending a disarming young<br />

couple, and discovering their inner twentysomethings,<br />

to the consternation and condescension of<br />

their supposed friends. In a time of ubiquitous 30-<br />

year band reunions (The Wonder Stuff? Inspiral<br />

Carpets?!), this film seems strangely attuned to the<br />

current zeitgeist of needing to rewind in order to<br />

move forward.<br />


ighton festival<br />

..........................................<br />

Ali Smith<br />

The world seen through art-tinted glasses<br />

“Art makes us better, happier human beings,”<br />

says Ali Smith, a smile crossing her face, a glint<br />

in her eye.<br />

I’m sitting under the artificial lighting of the<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Dome Studios, after the press launch<br />

of this year’s <strong>Brighton</strong> Festival, with a pen<br />

in my hand, struggling to keep up with the<br />

rapid-talking Scottish author. She’s the Guest<br />

Director of this year’s Festival, and she’s been<br />

very hands on. Words are pouring out of her.<br />

Nobody writes this fast.<br />

“Art is exciting, it catches you out and it can<br />

change your life. It gives you space from whatever<br />

is happening around you and allows you to<br />

see where you are going, and where you could<br />

be, and where you have been. And that is just<br />

the starting point.”<br />

Then, without pause: “When we start an art<br />

discussion, it allows us to let things happen<br />

which are bigger than ourselves. All the books<br />

we ever read and all the places we ever visited<br />

enter and pass through us when we come in<br />

contact with other works.”<br />

The author of six novels, four collections of<br />

short stories, as well as two audacious works<br />

of non-fiction, and plays, Ali Smith has proved<br />

that the only predictable element about her<br />

work is the certainty of reinvention. In 2007,<br />

she partnered with the Scottish band Trashcan<br />

Sinatras and wrote the lyrics to Half An Apple,<br />

a love song about keeping half an apple spare<br />

for a lost loved one. In 2013 she became patron<br />

for Visual Verse, an online anthology of art and<br />

words that challenges writers to produce a<br />

short piece in response to an image within an<br />

hour – “an intense, good way to get primeval<br />

feelings out on paper.” Last year, two versions<br />

of her dual-narrative novel How To Be Both<br />

were published simultaneously, winning her the<br />

Goldsmith Prize for original fiction.<br />

Smith’s belief in the power of merging artistic<br />

expressions is evident throughout the festival’s<br />

programme; the event crosses between art<br />

forms, invites us to take another look and<br />

rediscover our surroundings, including nature.<br />

“Cambridge, where I live, is very close to the<br />

countryside, so within five minutes I can be<br />

out of the traffic. That is very important to me<br />

and it should be to everyone. It’s important to<br />

recognise the constraints that are on us, and<br />

the openness of what life really is. We all live<br />

close to pavements, buildings, and other people,<br />

and it’s imperative to negotiate a little bit of a<br />

breather for ourselves. Nature gives us that.”<br />

Looking at her informal khaki jacket and her<br />

wide-legged jeans, it’s easy to imagine Smith<br />

in her wellies, happily trudging through mud.<br />

“I love all the landscapes,” she says. “I think<br />

it comes from being Scottish and living in a<br />

place where the landscape changes very fast.<br />

You can travel half an hour and you are in lush<br />

green Scotland; travel half an hour past that<br />

and you are in a place where there are no trees<br />

and nothing but stags and moss and heather,<br />

and you can travel again until you are on a<br />

cliff edge. We live on a versatile island. And it’s<br />


interesting to see that so many of the arts in<br />

the UK today are turning towards nature. Why<br />

are we questioning the integrity of building<br />

over green land, and why are we talking about<br />

things like fracking and the ways in which we<br />

use our environment? The arts are looking at it<br />

all and asking ‘wait a minute, what about this?’<br />

It’s going to be very interesting to see where it<br />

all leads us.”<br />

Contributing to the organisation of the largest<br />

multi-art spectacular in Europe means that<br />

Smith has been spending a great deal of time<br />

in <strong>Brighton</strong>. “There’s something about edges<br />

which is very fertile for us as human beings and<br />

I love <strong>Brighton</strong> precisely because it reminds<br />

you about the edge of land… land crossing<br />

into another. We congregate at those edges.<br />

Which is why a town like <strong>Brighton</strong> is ancient<br />

and modern at the same time. Everything about<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> pulls you towards light and the great<br />

open possibility of the sea. It’s a melting pot of<br />

different energies.”<br />

As a guest director, Smith was also able to pull<br />

in many of her favourite artists, like fellow<br />

authors Jeannette Winterson and Margaret<br />

Atwood, the Mercury-nominated folk singer<br />

Sam Lee and the French film director Agnès<br />

Varda. “In Inverness, where I grew up, there<br />

was basically no theatre – there was a tiny<br />

theatre at the back of the bus station which<br />

occasionally put on a play. And then when I was<br />

about 14, somebody opened a theatre in the<br />

middle of town. I would go every week, and one<br />

Photo by Vis Frankowski<br />

Sunday I saw an Agnès Varda film. It was then<br />

I realised that Paris was possible in Inverness,<br />

that France was possible in Inverness, and that<br />

the rest of the world was possible. Art does that.<br />

It builds bridges.”<br />

I furtively look down at my watch: I have time<br />

for one last question. “Tell me something about<br />

yourself not many people know,” I ask. “I’m<br />

very secretive,” she replies, and immediately<br />

starts laughing (possibly at my disappointment).<br />

“Not really. I’m actually not secretive at all. I<br />

have no secrets. Let me think… I can play the<br />

mouth organ! I learnt to play She Wore a Yellow<br />

Ribbon as a child. The film had just been on TV<br />

so I taught myself that tune, then Oh Susanna.”<br />

Is she any good? “I play when I know the<br />

neighbours are out.” Barbara Doherty/BM<br />


flash fact competition<br />

...................................<br />

Busted<br />

by Cathy Herbert<br />

My sister’s wiping away dust that isn’t there. There<br />

isn’t any because she has a cleaner (a cleaner! for a<br />

one-bedroom flat!).<br />

If there were any dust, though, I’d write this in it:<br />

Treachery - Beware.<br />

Her face in the mirror is a brave shade of pale.<br />

Like she’s had a hard time.<br />

This evening it will be my sister’s birthday party<br />

and I’m helping out. Not a particularly special<br />

birthday – 27 – but she always marks the occasion.<br />

She always makes a fuss of other people’s birthdays,<br />

too.<br />

Outside the French windows, her boyfriend Sam is<br />

pushing and pulling a pair of shears.<br />

‘I asked Sam to cut back the ivy,’ my sister says.<br />

She must sense that I’d prefer it just us two. ‘It’s<br />

unstoppable otherwise.’<br />

‘Is that a good or a bad thing?’ I ask. ‘Would Darwin<br />

approve, do you think?’<br />

She does boss-eyes.<br />

I’ve brought fairy lights to hang round. Only, I<br />

must have put them away in a hurry. They drop<br />

out the box in a wodge and neither of us can find<br />

an end in the tangle. We have to sit down.<br />

After a few minutes, she stops. She nods towards<br />

the window. ‘Two years we’ve been together.’<br />

‘That long?’<br />

‘Nearly. But he’s been weird, lately, distant.’ She<br />

gasps, then laughs on the outbreath. ‘Do you think<br />

he’s building up to something?’<br />

Illustration by Lucy Williams<br />

I pick at a hard knot of flex. It won’t give.<br />

‘No need to look so stricken, Kit-Kat,’ she says. ‘I<br />

can always pop out and buy a new set.’<br />

‘Take them onto the patio,’ she tells me, at last.<br />

Pleased. She flicks the kettle. ‘I’ll make us all a nice<br />

cup of tea.’<br />

The fresh air hits and my blood rushes to meet it.<br />

I march over to Sam and slide in the gap between<br />

him and the wall. He puts down the shears. I don’t<br />

say a single word. We’ve been talking for weeks,<br />

and where’s it got us?<br />

Except, here’s the thing. When I let myself look at<br />

him – like we’re alone – I am either too weak, or<br />

too strong. I may have stopped breathing. He takes<br />

my hand, I feel the ivy at my back, and I close my<br />

eyes.<br />

A smash lights up the dark – three cups on steaming<br />

concrete, teaspoons, the clatter of an upturning<br />

tray. The other breakage makes no noise at all.<br />

Next month’s prompt is ‘The First Time’. True life<br />

stories of no more than 400 words, in by 16 <strong>April</strong><br />

please. The winning entry gets published here and<br />

receives a £25 book token from Kemptown Bookshop.<br />

Please send entries to barbara@blackmustard.co.uk<br />


literature<br />

..........................................<br />

DARK AEMILIA by Sally O’Reilly<br />

Shakespeare’s muse?<br />

‘Double, double, toil and trouble;<br />

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.’<br />

Shakespeare’s three witches<br />

shadow the narrative of Dark<br />

Aemilia, <strong>Brighton</strong>-based author<br />

Sally O’Reilly’s first historical novel.<br />

“I had wanted to write a version of<br />

Macbeth from Lady Macbeth’s point<br />

of view but I struggled with the 11th<br />

century,” says O’Reilly, who has<br />

published two contemporary novels,<br />

and teaches creative writing for the OU. “Then I<br />

thought about setting my novel when the play was<br />

written.” Looking into primary sources from the<br />

turn of the 17th century - Macbeth was first staged<br />

in London in 1606 - O’Reilly stumbled upon Aemilia<br />

Bassano, a courtier’s mistress, England’s first<br />

female professional poet and, possibly (according to<br />

some scholars), muse for Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’<br />

sonnets. O’Reilly had her heroine. “If you can read<br />

someone’s writing, you can get inside their head,”<br />

the author says of Bassano, whose single volume of<br />

poems was published in 1611. “I felt such a strong<br />

connection with her.”<br />

O’Reilly was able to trace the real life Bassano<br />

through her appearances in the diaries of the<br />

16th-century physician and astrologer<br />

Simon Forman, who kept annotated<br />

records of the comings and goings<br />

of his clients. “Historical fiction is<br />

a compromise,” says the author. “A<br />

negotiation between fact and fiction. Of<br />

course one is anachronistically projecting<br />

a modern viewpoint, but if the story<br />

and characters feel authentic, then the<br />

reader will make the leap.” O’Reilly has<br />

Aemilia ‘lie with’ Shakespeare, and the<br />

ensuing erotically charged tug o’ love between the<br />

bard and the dark-eyed female poet is laced with<br />

sorcery and the occult. ‘I am a witch for the modern<br />

age,’ begins the novel in Bassano’s beguiling voice.<br />

Does O’Reilly believe in witches? “Not in the<br />

tall-hat-plus-cat sense, no. But I had my Tarot cards<br />

read in the North Laine recently by a woman who<br />

had an amazing atmosphere about her - she was<br />

no-nonsense, no frills, no customer service. But she<br />

had an incredible way of reading people - reading<br />

me, anyway. Maybe that is the fascination for me - a<br />

good witch will take female intuition to the max. In<br />

that sense, there is a bit of witchcraft in all women.”<br />

Dark Aemilia by Sally O’Reilly (Myriad Editions) is<br />

published in paperback on 23rd <strong>April</strong>.<br />

bookends<br />

Mary Portas, the instantly recognizable, orange-haired champion of High Street retailers, is coming to<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> in <strong>April</strong>. Shop Girl, her keenly awaited memoir, tells of the young Mary Newton growing up<br />

in a Watford semi, constantly in trouble – eating Chappie for a bet, setting fire to the school – whilst<br />

dreaming of being an actress. The ever-entertaining Queen of Shops will be reading from her book and<br />

explaining how, due to a family tragedy, her thespian dreams were diverted into the window displays of<br />

Harvey Nicholls. Amongst the mannequins, handbags and frocks, she found her true calling.<br />

Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham, 7pm, 1st <strong>April</strong>, £8.00, ropetacklecentre.co.uk, 01273 464440<br />


Panoramic<br />

An exhibition by Richard Billingham<br />

25 <strong>April</strong> - 28 June <strong>2015</strong><br />

townereastbourne.org.uk<br />

In association with the Anthony Reynolds Gallery<br />

Towner is registered charity no. 1156762<br />

FREE<br />


at the <strong>Brighton</strong> Health and Wellbeing Centre<br />

The BHWC on Western Road is one of the first NHS GP surgeries in the country to<br />

integrate alternative therapists within the practice, as well as offering a Healing<br />

Arts programme.<br />

Narrative Workshops involve writing exercises, reading and group discussions,<br />

encouraging self-reflection and personal development. Describing events, thoughts<br />

and feelings can have a surprising effect on your wellbeing. The physical act of<br />

writing acts on the mind like meditation. Your breathing slows down and words flow<br />

freely from your head. Writing can relieve stress and boost your immune system,<br />

helping you cope with illness, trauma, addiction, depression or anxiety.<br />

NEW TERM STARTS 7th MAY <strong>2015</strong> • Thursdays 10am-12pm<br />

DROP IN SESSION SATURDAY 11th APRIL <strong>2015</strong> 10am-1pm<br />

Led by authors Imogen Lycett Green and Barbara Doherty at BHWC<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Health and Wellbeing Centre<br />

An integrated NHS GP Practice and Healing Arts Centre<br />

Winner ‘Innovators of the Year’ General Practice Awards 2014<br />

www.brightonhealthandwellbeingcentre.co.uk<br />


art<br />

..........................................<br />

Dawn Chorus<br />

Marcus Coates’ zoomorphic project<br />

Marcus Coates is an artist who likes pretending to<br />

be an animal. He often wears headgear made from<br />

stuffed animal heads, and performs in a trance. One<br />

project saw him tied up at the top of a Scotch Pine,<br />

to try and gauge a hawk’s-eye view of the world; in<br />

another he was buried under the earth in a remote<br />

field. The Guardian have called him an ‘urban shaman’;<br />

the Sunday Times a ‘rural geek’.<br />

“About 15 years ago I started getting interested<br />

in the culture of birdsong,” he tells me, down the<br />

phone. “I found out that it is part aggressive – birds<br />

singing to defend their territory; and part romantic<br />

– birds serenading potential mates.” He started<br />

recording birdsong, then slowing it down on his<br />

computer. “I realised that when the birdsong was<br />

slowed down 16 times, the human voice was capable<br />

of reproducing the sounds.” He filmed people<br />

recreating the slowed-down sounds, then sped the<br />

film up 16 times. The results sounded just like real<br />

birdsong.<br />

Next up he spent a week in woodland in Northumberland<br />

with ‘world-renowned wildlife sound<br />

recordist’ Jeff Sample, recording the dawn chorus,<br />

between 3am and 9am, using 14 different microphones.<br />

They picked the most interesting morning’s<br />

chorus they’d recorded, featuring 19 different<br />

species of birds, and Marcus set to work moving the<br />

project into its next stage.<br />

“I went to Bristol doing auditions with singers.<br />

“Some birds, like the robin, require quite a tonal<br />

range, and some improvisation, while others, like<br />

the chiff chaff, are much simpler.” He chose a<br />

number of adept singers, who practiced reproducing<br />

the sounds until they were proficient, then picked<br />

locations ‘in their natural habitat’ for filming. These<br />

included the office, the bedroom, and the bath.<br />

We are well used to seeing ‘anthropomorphic’<br />

representations in culture: the resulting footage<br />

represents the opposite. “The official term is<br />

‘zoomorphic’” he explains. “Not only did the singers<br />

sound exactly like birds, but they started to look like<br />

them, too, with their sped-up fidgeting and breathing<br />

patterns.”<br />

The installation he has made of the recordings, with<br />

19 screens featuring 19 different sped-up singers,<br />

exactly replicating a section of that morning’s chorus,<br />

has been touring art galleries since 2007, and<br />

is being housed throughout the spring by Fabrica,<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong>’s home for such large-scale experimental<br />

art. To conclude our interview, I ask Marcus if he’s<br />

ever played the human birdsong back to real birds,<br />

to see their reaction. No, is the answer: that might<br />

disturb their well-being. But perhaps one internet<br />

pundit’s remark, in the comments section of a<br />

YouTube clip of Dawn Chorus, is indicative of the<br />

veracity of the sound: ‘My cat went mental.”<br />

Alex Leith<br />

Fabrica Gallery, 3rd <strong>April</strong>-24th May<br />


ART<br />

............................<br />

FOCUS ON:<br />

‘Lunch by the Sea’<br />

by Katty McMurray<br />

28x28cm, oil on canvas<br />

Is this a picture of an actual lunch? It is, actually.<br />

All my paintings start with sketches. I’d been commissioned<br />

to do some sketches for a large painting<br />

of a lunch in Riddle and Finns to send to America,<br />

and this is a study from one of those. I sketch all the<br />

time, and as we’re based on the seafront, that tends<br />

to be the subject.<br />

Your sketches have an interesting line… I’ve<br />

always sketched the same way, even as a child. I<br />

don’t take the pencil off the page, and I look at<br />

what I’m sketching rather than the paper (though I<br />

do look down occasionally, to see that it’s all in the<br />

right place!)<br />

So all these elements were actually in your line<br />

of vision? They were. The fish were my client’s<br />

whitebait! You could see the West Pier, and there<br />

was a sailing boat – though it wasn’t red. The tablecloth<br />

wasn’t that colour, either. That I’ve added in<br />

order to bring to mind deckchairs.<br />

How do you turn the sketch into a painting? I<br />

have a studio adjoining my house, where I do all<br />

my painting. First I sketch out the details in a wash,<br />

then I start to add the colour building it up layer by<br />

layer, I use Michael Harding oil paints, which are<br />

the best. The colours, all hand-made, are so rich. I<br />

work on a number of paintings at the same time. So<br />

the same colours appear in a collection – I like to<br />

limit my palette, mixing all the colours from five or<br />

six different tubes - I think this gives the paintings a<br />

sense of calm - I’ve had the same apron for 25 years,<br />

and you can see which colours I’m into from what’s<br />

splashed over it.<br />

Which artists have influenced you? As a child<br />

I was taken to a gallery in St Ives, and saw some<br />

sketches by Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon.<br />

These inspired me and since then I’ve been sketching<br />

almost constantly. I get through three or four<br />

sketchbooks a week. My loft is full of them.<br />

Why is your gallery called ‘Two Kats and a<br />

Cow’? I set it up with Kathryn Matthews - another<br />

Kat - and John Marshall, who paints cows. We came<br />

up with the name after a few too many one night in<br />

Fortune of War. We moved into the space 15 years<br />

ago, and it’s gradually turned from a studio for the<br />

three of us with a little gallery space at the front, to<br />

a dedicated gallery.<br />

Which painting would you hang from your<br />

desert island palm tree? One of the simple St Ives<br />

School sketches. I’d be able to imagine it as a different<br />

painting every day. Alex Leith<br />

Two Kats and a Cow Gallery, 167 Kings Road Arches.<br />

01273 776746 / twokatsandacowgallery.co.uk<br />



ART<br />

.....................................<br />

FOCUS ON: The Jim Jones Revue gig poster<br />

by Dan Bowden/Needs More Snakes<br />

A2 Screen print<br />

How did you get into screen printing gig<br />

posters? I was in a couple of <strong>Brighton</strong>-based<br />

punk bands that nobody will remember, and<br />

I started doing t-shirt design and zines for<br />

other, bigger, punk bands. This led to the<br />

poster designs.<br />

They are one-offs, to sell at individual<br />

gigs? That’s right. They are official, in that<br />

the bands endorse them and often have some<br />

creative input into them. Then they are sold<br />

at the gig, and afterwards on my website and<br />

sometimes by the bands’ merch departments.<br />

Sometimes I’m the guy at the table at the<br />

back of Concorde 2, or the Haunt; for bigger<br />

gigs like at the Brixton Academy the merch<br />

guys sell them and I can enjoy the gig.<br />

What sort of bands?<br />

The vast majority of my posters are for bands<br />

that I like, of varying degrees of fame. I’ve<br />

done posters for Mudhoney, The Hives,<br />

Rocket from the Crypt, Mclusky, Swans, The<br />

Polyphonic Spree…<br />

Do you contact the bands, or do they<br />

contact you? At first it was all me contacting<br />

them, but after a while it goes both ways, and<br />

it’s about half and half now.<br />

Tell us about the process of making this<br />

one… It was the Jim Jones Revue’s last ever<br />

tour, so I decided to represent that with a<br />

‘Day of the Dead’ look. I pencil-sketched the<br />

figures, then filled them out with pen and ink.<br />

I did the same with the flowers around the<br />

figures, though some of these were replicated<br />

on Photoshop to create the border. I usually<br />

hand-draw my fonts – I’m a bit of a font nut<br />

– but I downloaded this one, as it looked just<br />

right. It’s called Carnival Freakshow. There<br />

are two colours – black and metallic gold - so<br />

I prepared two different layers, ready for<br />

printing.<br />

Do you print them yourself? I used to go to<br />

a place in Portslade, but now I have a son my<br />

free time is too precious so I got it printed up<br />

by Broadside Printers in Exeter. They do a<br />

much better job than I could.<br />

Do you listen to music while you’re working?<br />

I like to listen to the band who I’m designing<br />

for, as it helps to get me in the right mood.<br />

Who have you been inspired by?<br />

I like to draw inspiration from classic<br />

psychedelic poster art, tattoo art, and old<br />

skate graphics as well as other contemporary<br />

artists. Spencer from Petting Zoo is brilliant;<br />

I love WeThreeClub’s lettering and colours;<br />

Vince Ray’s rock ‘n’ roll clichés; Tom J Newells<br />

minimal colour palette, amongst others....<br />

Take us to a gallery… The Black Heart bar<br />

in Camden has got loads of great gig posters<br />

on the wall by UK Poster Association artists.<br />

Interview by Alex Leith<br />

A selection of Dan’s gig posters are on display<br />

at Hotel Pelirocco, Regency Square, throughout<br />

<strong>April</strong><br />



design<br />

..........................................<br />

Fiona Howard<br />

‘You can smell my work’<br />

“Venice Beach is absolutely bonkers,” says textile<br />

designer Fiona Howard, who is almost as at home<br />

in Los Angeles as Hove. “…It’s a bit like <strong>Brighton</strong>,<br />

but in America.”<br />

Fiona, who grew up in Sussex, now divides her<br />

time between the two cities. Over 27 years she has<br />

worked for many of the biggest names in interiors.<br />

Her US clients include Crate & Barrel, while in the<br />

UK her best-known pattern is Sanderson’s ‘Dandelion<br />

Clocks’. The design is sold so prolifically<br />

they reprint it in batches of 5,000 metres at a time,<br />

licensed for everything from rugs and lampshades<br />

to stationery and ceramics.<br />

“I think it kept [Sanderson] going through the<br />

recession,” says Fiona jovially. “They’ve made so<br />

much money out of that design - it’s taken on a life<br />

of its own. The design was chosen from Fiona’s<br />

portfolio in 2006 for a flat fee. “It hit the mid-century<br />

theme just at the beginning,” she says. “I don’t<br />

think I saw it coming.”<br />

Sanderson, the company that brought William Morris<br />

to so many front rooms, seems to have cropped<br />

up again and again in Fiona’s life. She grew up<br />

surrounded by Morris fabrics and wallpapers – “it<br />

was the seventies” – and she recalls visiting their print<br />

rooms as a student, admiring original Morris wood<br />

blocks she later learnt had been thrown in a skip.<br />

Ironically, Fiona passed up a student work placement<br />

with Sanderson. It’s still a huge regret. “I<br />

thought, ‘it’s my summer holidays, why would I<br />

want to give up two weeks and not be paid?’ how<br />

stupid could I have been?”<br />

I can’t help but think Fiona probably got the best<br />

deal. She continues to work with Sanderson, her<br />

name displayed proudly on the selvedge of ‘Maple’,<br />

a design that mimics the clean lines and colourful<br />

blocks of fifties home furnishings. As well, she has<br />

the freedom to pursue her own brand, which she<br />

says will soon be launched Stateside.<br />

Much of Fiona’s work is informed by organic shapes<br />

that catch her eye in gardens, books, or objects<br />

found in flea markets: “I’m always drawing,” she<br />

says. “William Morris’s designs flow together so<br />

beautifully. The structure is amazing: he gets all the<br />

elements worked out. That’s something I try to do:<br />

work out a structure before I fill it in with leaves,<br />

flowers or birds. I pick things up wherever I go, lay<br />

them out and try to make some sense of them… I<br />

colour all of my papers by hand and leave them to<br />

dry all over the kitchen floor.”<br />

Fiona’s designs are finished using techniques including<br />

monoprint, lino and paper cutting. She feels fortunate<br />

to have learnt these skills before the digital<br />

takeover, which for her seems “a little bit soulless.”<br />

“You can smell my work - it’s the oil paint and<br />

handmade papers. My clients ask, ‘how did you do<br />

that?’ because they don’t often see the lovely handcrafted<br />

traditional way of designing anymore. I’m so<br />

pleased I stuck with it; I get so much pleasure out of<br />

it.” Chloë King www.fionahoward.com<br />


Create Unique Gifts<br />

Hand and Footprints<br />

The Painting<br />

Pottery Cafe<br />

Gift Vouchers<br />

Throwing Lessons<br />

31 North Road, <strong>Brighton</strong>, BN1 1YB www.paintingpotterycafe.co.uk<br />

hello@paintingpotterycafe.co.uk 01273 628952

Photos by Matt Grover<br />

trade secrets<br />

..........................................<br />

Fina Boutique<br />

Stockbroker-turned-designer<br />

Why did you launch Fina Boutique? I used to<br />

work as a stockbroker, with people who made<br />

the Wolf of Wall Street look like Paddington<br />

Bear. One day I walked out thinking, this world<br />

is soulless. I knew I needed to do something<br />

creative. I would spend a lot of time engrossed<br />

in philosophical discussions with a good friend<br />

of mine, an Indian doctor who came into my life<br />

unexpectedly. Eventually I came to this idea that<br />

the meditative experience could be incorporated<br />

into everyday life. A few years ago I suffered<br />

from some heart problems. I found myself lying<br />

in a hospital bed staring up at the ceiling and<br />

thinking, if I do get out of here, I’m going to<br />

create something out of all these ideas.<br />

What is the concept behind your brand?<br />

‘Fina’ comes from the abbreviation of ‘first nature’,<br />

which is a central theme in two fables I’ve<br />

written. The ideas and messages which inspire<br />

my collections are rooted in these fables. I want<br />

to get away from the idea of being a brand,<br />

but rather a conceptualisation of our mission<br />

statement: to live in a boutique world, which is<br />

creative and original, but also sincere and serene.<br />

How does this message translate into the<br />

graphic design? I’m not a graphic designer, so<br />

from the base concept of each collection, I commission<br />

illustrators and artists to come up with<br />

an image which depicts that message. I’m always<br />

looking to work with more emerging designers<br />

and illustrators and to expand my network of<br />

contacts for future collections.<br />

What message inspires your ‘No Glory’<br />

collection? Fashion can only be reflective of<br />

culture, and modern culture has become very<br />

retrospective, so I came to this concept that<br />

there is no glory in old orthodoxies. The collection<br />

is made up of three ideas: no glory in the<br />

dollar, no glory in suicide and no glory in God.<br />

The messages behind them are strong and will<br />

probably cause some disruption along the way,<br />

but it’s never my intention to cause consternation<br />

for the sake of it. The designs have to<br />

convey something - that’s the real motivation<br />

behind Fina Boutique.<br />

Rebecca Cunningham<br />


ighton maker<br />

................................<br />

Sarah Squared<br />

Off-beat jewellery<br />

How did Sarah Squared begin? Sarah Meredith:<br />

We were both based at Super+Super, working on<br />

our own individual projects - I make jewellery<br />

under the name Rock Cakes (rockcakes.com) and<br />

Sarah is an illustrator (sarahedmondsillustration.<br />

com). I suggested that maybe one day we should do<br />

a collaborative project and she said, ‘ok, meeting in<br />

half an hour?’ We instantly got on better than I’ve<br />

instantly got on with anyone before; we both have a<br />

kind of wholesome, non-digital approach, we both<br />

grew up in the countryside and we both subscribe<br />

to Oh Comely magazine.<br />

What was the inspiration for your first collection?<br />

Sarah Edmonds: We started by writing down<br />

lots of ideas and brainstorming animals we liked,<br />

autumnal things, nerdy packed-lunches, pork pies...<br />

We wanted to do jewellery, prints, cushions and<br />

packaging all in the space of about three months!<br />

Lots of ideas were dropped because they didn’t<br />

quite fit, and we came up with a range of vegetables,<br />

bread and jam (food you’d eat at your gran’s) and<br />

the library van - that’s been a favourite. Then to<br />

choose the colours, B&Q have this wall of colour<br />

wonder, with hundreds of swatches of different<br />

paints. We each went separately and picked colours,<br />

then brought our palette collections together. There<br />

were a few we didn’t agree on (Sarah chose a lot of<br />

pinks) but we came to a colour scheme which was<br />

retro, with a modern twist.<br />

Describe the making process. Sarah M: We<br />

started by sketching the objects by hand – we have<br />

similar styles of strong colours and lines – and scanning<br />

these to import them into Illustrator so that<br />

they could be laser-cut. This was the only digital<br />

bit (Sarah E: We’re embracing digital to bring back<br />

the analogue!) and next we had to sand everything<br />

down. We had about one day before we were selling<br />

at a craft fair in London, so we just kept sanding<br />

until our hands were bleeding! We wanted each one<br />

to have as much care and attention as possible, so it<br />

didn’t just look like one out of a huge batch. Sarah is<br />

really good at mixing colours, so she would mix up<br />

the paints and then we’d paint all of the reds, and<br />

then all of the greens, it was a bit like colour-bynumbers.<br />

What do you have in mind for your next collection?<br />

Sarah E: Our current products are very<br />

autumnal, so we’re planning to come up with a<br />

capsule collection every six months to add to our<br />

range. We’re starting work on a little additional<br />

collection for Artists’ Open Houses in May, which<br />

will be themed on summer and adventure. We’re<br />

thinking of a campervan, a tent, a log fire, a forest of<br />

little trees...<br />

Rebecca Cunningham.<br />

See more from Sarah Squared at Artists’ Open<br />

Houses in May (21a Brunswick Square) or visit etsy.<br />

com/shop/wearesarahsquared.<br />


the way we work<br />

This month Adam Bronkhorst visitied a number of urban growers in<br />

the community gardens and allotments around <strong>Brighton</strong> and Hove.<br />

You’d be surprised at how many of these little havens are dotted around<br />

our city. We’ve asked each of them for their top tip on spring gardening.<br />

www.adambronkhorst.com<br />

Deborah Kalinke at The Garden House.<br />

Deborah’s top tip: “The right plant in the right place!”<br />

gardenhousebrighton.co.uk<br />


the way we work<br />

Mei Wah Tang at Hanover VEG.<br />

Mei Wah’s top tip: “Be prepared. Know what you’re going to sow and when.”<br />

Hanover Community Centre, 33 Southover Street, hasl.org.uk<br />


the way we work<br />

Joe Garcia at Brighthelm Community Garden.<br />

Joe’s top tip: “Composting. Make sure you compost your food waste and put it down early.”<br />

Brighthelm Church and Community Centre, North Road, brighthelm.org.uk<br />


the way we work<br />

Sara Padhi at the Carers Centre Garden Group.<br />

Sara’s top tip: “Feed the birds. They will still have your seeds, but they<br />

eat the little insects which live on your plants.”<br />

Cravenvale Allotments, Beresford Road, thecarerscentre.org

the way we work<br />

Joi Jones at The Secret Garden.<br />

Joi’s top tip: “Get on top of the weeding early, before it takes hold. They’ll just be<br />

starting to pop up now so get weeding and mulching before the weather warms up.”<br />

Situated behind St Leonard’s Church, New Church Road.

the way we work<br />

Emma Houldsworth at Plot 22.<br />

Emma’s top tip: “Start sowing your seeds, don’t leave it too late!”<br />

Weald allotments, Hove, plot22.org<br />


Food & Drink<br />

As we keep mentioning, <strong>Brighton</strong> was voted, by Conde Naste<br />

Traveller readers, no less, ‘Best UK city for restaurants and bars’.<br />

To celebrate, we’ve created this space, a directory for bars, restaurants<br />

and other food-and-drink-related establishments who wish to<br />

appear in our ever-expanding food section, alongside our incognito<br />

reviews, and our head-chef recipes. This month we’re joined by<br />

some of our favourite eateries, in the city and beyond. To appear<br />

in this space in future issues please contact anya@vivabrighton.com.<br />

Directory<br />

29 Tidy Street, 01273 673744m, rockolacoffeebar.com<br />

Rockola<br />

Named by customers<br />

as <strong>Brighton</strong>’s best kept<br />

secret, Rockola is tucked<br />

away just off Trafalgar<br />

Street. With its 50s/60sstyle<br />

decor, and owner’s<br />

private collection of<br />

memorobilia, Rockola<br />

is the perfect place to send you back to a bygone<br />

era. With food ranging from home-made burgers<br />

& breakfasts to pancakes, waffles, wraps and thick<br />

shakes, Rockola has something for everyone, including<br />

vegans and veggies. Also it has an original<br />

1960s jukebox with a selection of 200 songs, and<br />

it is FREE to play. Open 10.30-4.30 Mon-Fri,<br />

and 9.30-4.30 Sat. Friday nights are Burger<br />

Nights and include the massive Elvis Burger (6-<br />

9pm). And you can BYO.<br />

71 East Street, 01273 729051 terreaterre.co.uk<br />

Terre à Terre<br />

Make Easter mighty! Visit Terre à Terre, the<br />

local go-to for the most creative vegetarian<br />

food in <strong>Brighton</strong> and always delivered with<br />

a cheeky little pun! Open seven days a week<br />

offering lunch and dinner options from small<br />

plates, sharing tapas to three-course set meals<br />

and not forgetting their magnificent afternoon<br />

tea menu, multi-tiered savoury, sweet<br />

and traditional delights available from 3 till<br />

5pm daily and lots of chocolate goodies!<br />

No.32<br />

No.32 has it all and more in this all-in-one venue. A restaurant, bar and<br />

club in the heart of <strong>Brighton</strong>, serving freshly made food and drink seven<br />

days a week. From traditional grills to fashionable burgers to freshly<br />

made cocktails. With the sound of great music from local DJs you can<br />

eat, drink and dance at this all-encompassing modern setting, so come<br />

and visit us for an evening to remember!<br />

Burgers, grills, bites, platters, sandwiches, salads. Modern & classic<br />

cocktails. Craft & draught beers. Happy hour Sundays - Fridays 5-7pm.<br />

No.32 is a restaurant, bar and exclusive late night venue in <strong>Brighton</strong> with<br />

regular live music and special events.<br />

32 Duke Street, 01273 773388, no32dukestreet.com

advertorial<br />

Boho Gelato<br />

6 Pool Valley, 01273 727205<br />

Ranging from Vanilla to Violet, Mango to Mojito and Apple<br />

to Avocado, Boho’s flavours are made daily on the premises<br />

using locally produced milk and cream, and fresh ingredients.<br />

24 flavours are available at any time (taken from their<br />

list of now over 400) and for vegans, Boho Gelato always<br />

stock at least five non-dairy flavours. Gelato and sorbet<br />

is served in cups or cones or take away boxes.They were<br />

recently included in the Telegraph’s top ten ice creams in the<br />

UK and last summer were featured in Waitrose magazine.<br />

bohogelato.co.uk<br />

Saint Andrew’s Lane, Lewes, 01273 488600<br />

209 High Street, Lewes, 01273 472769<br />

Pelham House, Lewes<br />

A beautiful 16th-century four-star town house<br />

hotel that has been exquisitely restored to create<br />

an elegant venue. With beautiful gardens, a<br />

stylish restaurant and plenty of private dining<br />

and meeting rooms, it is the perfect venue for<br />

both small and larger parties.<br />

www.pelhamhouse.com<br />

Facebook: Pelham.house<br />

Twitter: @pelhamlewes<br />

Flint Owl Bakery, Lewes<br />

Our breads contain organic stone-ground flours,<br />

spring water, sea salt and that’s it. No improvers of<br />

any kind. Long fermentations bring characteristic<br />

flavours and a natural shelf life. We wholesale<br />

our craft breads and viennoiserie in <strong>Brighton</strong> &<br />

Hove and deliver six days a week. Contact: info@<br />

flintowlbakery.com. Visit us at our shop/cafe on<br />

Lewes High Street where you can buy our full<br />

range of breads, croissants, cakes, salads and enjoy<br />

Square Mile coffee in our courtyard garden.<br />

Ten Green Bottles<br />

Wine shop or bar? Both, actually... wine to take away<br />

or drink in, nibbles and food available. Many wines<br />

imported direct from artisan producers. We also offer<br />

relaxed, fun, informal private wine-tasting sessions from<br />

just two people up to 30 and for any level of wine knowledge - we encourage you<br />

to ask questions and set the pace. We also offer tastings in your home or office,<br />

and will come to you with everything you’ll need for a fun, informative and even<br />

competitive evening. The best-value destination for great wine in <strong>Brighton</strong>!<br />

9 Jubilee Street, 01273 567176, tengreenbottles.com

food review<br />

...........................................<br />

Sichuan Garden<br />

Where spicy means spicy<br />

On Sichuan Garden’s receipts, the names of your<br />

dishes are printed in Chinese. The cutlery is<br />

chopsticks and a spoon. And ‘Griddle Cooked Boar<br />

Intestines’ hardly sounds like something invented to<br />

suit western tastes. So I understand why my friend<br />

Wu Fang recommended the place as authentic.<br />

We went one Saturday evening last summer, and<br />

were seated in a corner, on velvety pink rhinestone-studded<br />

chairs, possibly the most kitsch<br />

thing I saw that day (and it was Pride day).<br />

Fang confidently ordered Salmon Fish Head and<br />

Tofu Soup as a starter, which apparently tasted<br />

much nicer in real life than it did in my imagination;<br />

my safe option, Emerald Soup (tofu, egg, and<br />

spinach), turned out to be excellent.<br />

My soupy main course (#139), contained lean,<br />

tasty noodles, and several big pieces of seafood,<br />

some of which I couldn’t identify, but generally<br />

Photo by Wu Fang<br />

enjoyed. I wimped out of eating the huge shellfish;<br />

Fang assured me they were nice.<br />

She ordered Spicy Hand Tooled Noodles, which<br />

she’d had before. Once I’d finished, she commandeered<br />

the remainder of my soup, to dunk<br />

her noodles in. They were, she said, much spicier<br />

than last time. She was struggling, coughing,<br />

and blowing her nose, while protesting that the<br />

underlying taste was so good that it was worth the<br />

spice-related suffering. I tried some. Fang took a<br />

picture of me crying.<br />

We went back recently and found it pretty much<br />

as we remembered: kitsch chairs, lean food,<br />

authentic feel. I’d certainly recommend the place.<br />

Just pay attention while ordering. Steve Ramsey<br />

Sichuan Garden, 58 Queens Road, 203505

food review<br />

...........................................<br />

The Salt Room<br />

A brill meal, by the sea<br />

I love ordering things<br />

I’ve never eaten before,<br />

especially when I<br />

haven’t a clue what<br />

they’ll look like. So,<br />

on my first visit to the<br />

Salt Room, on an inordinately<br />

warm March<br />

afternoon, I go for the<br />

only main on the specials<br />

board. It’s ‘brill’,<br />

and I’m using the<br />

inverted commas there to denote that that’s the<br />

name of the fish species, rather than a description<br />

of its quality, which will come later in this review.<br />

It comes with clams, mussels and samphire, three<br />

of my favourite edible things. And new potatoes.<br />

The Salt Room opened in February, in the space<br />

where the Metropole used to house their rather<br />

lame ‘Bar 106’. It’s been given a big makeover, with<br />

all the requisites for a slick two-thousand-andteens<br />

eatery: exposed brickwork, wooden cladding<br />

(with paint splashes), pendant LED lights. It’s the<br />

sister restaurant to the Coal Shed, majoring on<br />

fish, and offers a fine view of the sea, if you manage<br />

to get a table on the upper mezzanine.<br />

We don’t get a table on the upper mezzanine.<br />

When we sit down, as a matter of fact, we’re the<br />

only people down below, which is no hardship,<br />

but which does cause a good deal of table-position<br />

envy in the first five minutes of our visit.<br />

As I’m doing a review (incognito as ever) I decide<br />

not, like my two companions, to go for the lunchtime<br />

deal, which offers two courses for £12.95. I<br />

decide to ignore the à la carte menu, as well, opting<br />

to go for everything on the blackboard: there’s<br />

‘potted dressed handpicked<br />

crab’ (I think<br />

that’s the right adjective<br />

order) as a starter, at £8.<br />

The brill costs £18.<br />

The crab ensemble is<br />

significantly bigger than<br />

the portions my two<br />

companions get, and is<br />

served on an asymmetrical<br />

platter, in a jam<br />

jar, smothered in clotted<br />

egg yolk, inverse-speared by a stem of asparagus.<br />

It’s accompanied by a thin-cut salad of some sort,<br />

and two crisp breads. For once I don’t finish first,<br />

and am able to pass round the jar. It’s good dressed<br />

crab: everyone says ‘yum’.<br />

The arrival of the brill is quite a moment. It turns<br />

out to be a vast brown-skinned flatfish, which fills<br />

a large oval plate, the circumference of which is<br />

garnished with the extras. It’s not the most photogenic<br />

of meals I’ve had – I have to be careful with<br />

the angle of my camera – but it’s certainly one of<br />

the more memorable. The fish is meatier than I’d<br />

expect: its flesh slides happily off its bones; its roe<br />

is stupendous. Flipping it over, halfway through,<br />

with a fish knife, provides my friends with quite a<br />

spectacle.<br />

We’ve been drinking a fine £19 Sauvignon Blanc;<br />

we sensibly opt out of a second bottle, but when<br />

we see espresso Martinis on the ‘afters’ menu, we<br />

can’t resist. These, too, are exquisite. Knowing that<br />

a second would put paid to any notion of work in<br />

the afternoon, we pay the bill, and head, happy,<br />

into spring outside. Alex Leith<br />

106 Kings Road, 01273 929488<br />



ecipe<br />

..........................................<br />

Chocolate and sherry mousse<br />

One of <strong>Brighton</strong>’s youngest head chefs, Danny Frape, talks us through<br />

a chocolatey favourite on his menu at The Foragers this spring,<br />

served with raspberry sorbet and a chocolate tuile.<br />

I started working in kitchens straight out of school.<br />

I didn’t go to college, so everything I know now,<br />

I’ve learnt along the way. I got my first job cleaning<br />

mussels, and progressed from there to work as a<br />

sous chef at restaurants like the Chimney House<br />

and Dean’s Place hotel in Alfriston. Now, at 23, I’m<br />

the head chef of The Foragers.<br />

Some of my recipes I’ve picked up from other chefs<br />

that I’ve worked with, but a lot of them have come<br />

from trying things out myself. I usually start by<br />

choosing the main part of the dish, like the fish –<br />

something which is locally and ethically sourced<br />

– and then I look at what’s in season which might<br />

go well with it. I create the rest of the dish around<br />

that. When I’m at home I like just throwing loads<br />

of ingredients into a pan and seeing what works. If<br />

it tastes good, I’ll add it to my recipe book.<br />

One of my first jobs was at the Preston Park<br />

Tavern, which was given an award for sustainability<br />

- that’s something we’re big on here, and we’re<br />

always trying to improve. We only use fish which<br />

is sustainable to eat, and our eggs and meat come<br />

from free-roaming animals which can be traced<br />

back to the farm they were reared on.<br />

I wouldn’t say I have a philosophy of cooking; the<br />

most important thing for me is good produce. If<br />

you use bad ingredients, you’ll cook bad food - you<br />

really do get what you pay for.<br />

The dish I’m going to make today is from our<br />

spring dessert menu and it’s a customer favourite.<br />

This recipe makes about eight servings.<br />

Heat 50ml of milk in a pan with one bay leaf, just<br />

long enough to get the milk warm, then take it off<br />

the heat and leave it to infuse while you make the<br />

rest of the dessert. In a separate pan, gently warm<br />

50ml of dark rum – I use Appleton Estate – mixed<br />

with 50ml of Harveys Bristol Cream sherry.<br />

Separate eight eggs and whisk the whites together<br />

with 80g of caster sugar until they form stiff peaks.<br />

Melt 400g of dark chocolate - it needs to have a<br />

high cocoa content so it still tastes chocolatey when<br />

you’ve added all of the sugar and whites, so I use<br />

a 71%. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking<br />

each one in completely before you add the next so<br />

the mixture doesn’t stiffen. Add one third of the egg<br />

whites and whisk gently, then fold in the other two<br />

thirds with a pinch of salt and pour into your ramekins.<br />

It needs about four hours in the fridge to set.<br />

The chocolate tuile is made by mixing together<br />

75g of softened butter, 180g of caster sugar, 15g<br />

of cocoa powder, 30g of plain flour and 90ml of<br />

orange juice. Spread the mixture thinly on a sheet<br />

of parchment paper and cook it at 170° until it’s dry<br />

and dark brown in colour.<br />

To make the sorbet, add a pint of raspberry purée<br />

(or whichever flavour you want) to a litre and a half<br />

of water. Add two tablespoons of liquid glucose,<br />

500g of caster sugar and the juice of a lemon, and<br />

bring the mixture to the boil. If you have an icecream<br />

maker you can use that, but otherwise pour<br />

the sorbet mixture into a container and place in the<br />

freezer, then take it out and stir it every hour.<br />

As told to Rebecca Cunningham. Photo by Lisa Devlin,<br />

whose food-photography website is cakefordinner.co.uk.<br />


Juice your way to better<br />

health-<br />

Workshops across<br />

Sussex<br />

<br />


food news<br />

...........................................<br />

Edible Updates<br />

Refurbished pubs and underground caves<br />

Another pub makeover<br />

to report in the Blatchington<br />

Road area. Wave<br />

goodbye to the Red<br />

Lion, on Hove Place,<br />

and say hello to the Better<br />

Half, which plans to<br />

open mid-to-late <strong>April</strong>.<br />

Owner Simon Stern is<br />

turning the space into a traditional pub with a<br />

quirky Victorian feel about it – out go the fruit<br />

machines and pool tables; in comes an old fire<br />

place, saddle-leather seating in the banquette<br />

and booth areas, and refurbed toilets, which<br />

will feature vaulted ceilings and period-inspired<br />

décor. The (brand-new, copper-topped) bar will<br />

be well curated with popular and less familiar<br />

brands of beer, ale and cider, accompanied with<br />

quality house brand and specialist spirits, including<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Gin.<br />

Simon has drafted in chef Andy Keir (previously<br />

of Koba, where his Sunday roasts were<br />

declared second best in the whole of the UK<br />

by the Observer), who will be creating seasonal<br />

menus including ‘scallops with garlic prawns,<br />

crispy ham and curried aioli’, ‘swordfish steak<br />

and tropical fruit salsa’ and ‘spiced lamb cutlets<br />

with pomegranate molasses’. There will also<br />

be traditional pub fare, including a souped-up<br />

Ploughman’s, burgers and plenty of vegetarian<br />

options too. Coffee from Coffee@33 and<br />

pastries will be available in the morning.<br />

Further east, Hove Kitchen seemed to all but<br />

vanish overnight from its large corner spot on<br />

Western Road, but just as quickly brand-new<br />

family-run restaurant<br />

The Good Food Club<br />

appeared. ‘The Club’ has<br />

thoroughly refurbished<br />

the site, and is now serving<br />

predominately Britishstyle<br />

local and seasonal<br />

food. It’s divided into a bar<br />

for day time, serving coffee<br />

and cakes, a café for a relaxed lunch and finally<br />

a more formal dining room. There’s a meeting<br />

room for baby groups and yoga.<br />

The between-the-piers seafront food and drink<br />

scene, with a notable few exceptions, has generally<br />

been the preserve of clubs and identikit bars<br />

selling fish ‘n’ chips – but that is all starting to<br />

change. The latest addition to the stretch is The<br />

Tempest Inn, a Shakespeare-inspired pub that<br />

features its very own underground cave system.<br />

Downstairs there’ll be over a dozen different<br />

caves (or snugs) that you can hole up in with<br />

friends for the night, play smugglers and excise<br />

men, and enjoy a selection of craft beers and<br />

ales, along with some excellent spirits. Cocktails<br />

will include the Seagrog - a glass tankard of<br />

Kraken and ginger ale topped with ale foam.<br />

Food-wise, local produce is the order of the day,<br />

with bread from The Flourpot Bakery, local<br />

cheese from the Cheeseman, plus a catch of the<br />

day from local fishermen. For those who don’t<br />

fancy cave-dwelling, the Ariel Bar on ground<br />

level has a huge window looking out over the<br />

sea, and there is a patio with furniture that is<br />

positively flotsam like.<br />

Antonia Phillips @PigeonPR<br />


ook<br />

2 tickets<br />

from£11<br />

brighton<br />

hove lawns<br />

MAY 2-4<br />

0844 995 1111<br />


shopping masterclasses tasting<br />

Chefs<br />

2 tickets from £11 by quoting VIVA241 at www.foodiesfestival.com

trade secrets<br />

...............................<br />

Sue Hitchen<br />

Foodies Festival founder<br />

It all started in Edinburgh ten years ago. The<br />

whole city lights up throughout the festival in August<br />

and I wanted to add a vibrant food and drink<br />

event to the line up. We had such a great response<br />

from participants and visitors that I knew it could<br />

be a success in other festival cities.<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> was a natural next step. So we set<br />

up on Hove Lawns. This will be our sixth year.<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> is such a fun festival; it’s the start of our<br />

year and our biggest event in terms of capacity.<br />

Then we’ll go to Birmingham, Richmond, Bristol,<br />

Alexandra Palace, Clapham Common, Tatton Park,<br />

Edinburgh, Harrogate and Oxford throughout the<br />

summer, with three further festivals in the winter.<br />

It’s a busy year and we’re a small core team, but we<br />

rely on local experts to manage each venue.<br />

The highlights of the <strong>Brighton</strong> Foodies Festival<br />

this year will be the local chefs. They are what<br />

make it really special. This year we’re delighted to<br />

welcome Andrew Mckenzie from Drakes of <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

and Dave Mothersill from The Coal Shed.<br />

We’ve also got John Whaite (winner of the GBBO)<br />

and Ping Coombes (winner of Master Chef). We’re<br />

adding a tasting theatre this year, which will offer<br />

visitors the chance to try new flavours and the<br />

expertise required to experience them. There’ll be<br />

oyster shucking, mushroom foraging, herb cocktails<br />

and raw food. <strong>Brighton</strong> won the national chilli<br />

eating competition last year and was the only city<br />

we visited to reach fourteen levels of chilli. We’re<br />

also introducing a BBQ competition.<br />

Food trends have changed over the years since<br />

the festival began. There’s a much bigger focus on<br />

street food now with more and more entrepreneurial<br />

cooks offering authentic cuisine from all over<br />

the world. Many of them have a really interesting<br />

back-story, sharing recipes and traditions learned<br />

from parents and grandparents. We’ve always<br />

championed them, encouraging them to come with<br />

us and share their flavours around the country,<br />

making the Street Food Avenue one of the most<br />

interesting parts of the festival. We’ve also noticed<br />

a growing trend towards raw and vegan diets. People<br />

are increasingly health conscious and careful<br />

about what they eat and are willing to rethink their<br />

eating habits entirely.<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> rightly deserved its recent billing<br />

as the ‘best city for restaurants and bars’ in<br />

the UK. It’s been impressive to watch how the<br />

restaurant and food movements have advanced<br />

over the six years since we’ve been visiting with<br />

the festival. Another wonderful, if unexpected,<br />

foodie destination is Birmingham. There are some<br />

amazing things going on there with street food<br />

and experimental chefs and so we’ll be running a<br />

festival there for the first time this year.<br />

My favourite place to eat in <strong>Brighton</strong> is the<br />

Chilli Pickle. It has absolutely amazing food and a<br />

really relaxed vibe. I’ve eaten some of the best fish<br />

I’ve ever tasted there. Lizzie Lower<br />

www.foodiesfestival.com<br />

Hove Lawns 2-4 May<br />


talking shop<br />

................................<br />

Foodshed<br />

Micro-producer supporters<br />

How did Foodshed begin? The idea behind Foodshed<br />

came from visiting lots of events in <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

and meeting all these amazing micro-producers.<br />

Some of them tried to get their products into shops,<br />

but the shops wouldn’t pay them enough, and many<br />

of them couldn’t afford to set up their own market<br />

stalls, so I had the idea of setting up a shop where<br />

small-scale producers could rent a shelf to sell their<br />

products. It gives them a chance to try out new<br />

products and get feedback from the public, and we<br />

don’t take any commission from their sales. We also<br />

offer support with their branding and packaging, we<br />

do a lot of promotion via our website and they have<br />

the opportunity to rent a pop-up stall in the Open<br />

Market for free through us, so in some cases we are<br />

seeing businesses grow from scratch.<br />

What do you sell? About half of our shelves are<br />

rented out, offering local honeys and jams, coffee<br />

and tea. Our fresh fruit and veg comes from Ashurst<br />

Farm in Plumpton. We sell dried foods, herbs and<br />

spices by weight, so you only have to buy as much<br />

as you need. In the supermarkets you’d have to buy<br />

a whole bag, but doing it this way means you won’t<br />

end up with left-over ingredients that you don’t<br />

need, or if people are shopping on a budget, they<br />

can just buy enough for the meal they’re making.<br />

How does Foodshed benefit the local community?<br />

We love to work with local projects, like<br />

Emmaus, who currently use our garden space to sell<br />

their plants and pots. Another great local group is<br />

Synergy Creative Community, who work with people<br />

living with mental health conditions, and produce<br />

energy balls made from ingredients sourced<br />

by the Food Waste Collective. One of our aims is<br />

to become completely zero-waste. We’re almost<br />

there – all of our own containers are bio-degradable<br />

and only take about six months to decompose. We<br />

encourage our customers to re-use their packaging,<br />

and sell re-fills of soap and cleaning products. Any<br />

left-over fruit and veg is collected by Ashurst and<br />

composted, so nothing goes to waste.<br />

What events do you have coming up? We run<br />

regular craft and cookery workshops organised by<br />

members of staff, and we hold film nights which<br />

are normally followed by a Q&A with an expert on<br />

the subject. We’ve applied for funding to run some<br />

‘cook and crèche’ courses, because one area which<br />

is really lacking is childcare. Lots of parents would<br />

love to come and learn about cooking and nutrition,<br />

but can’t afford the childcare costs. This way, the<br />

children are taken care of, the parents can do the<br />

cooking and we all sit down and enjoy the food<br />

together at the end! Rebecca Cunningham<br />

Unit 9, The Open Market, foodshedbrighton.com<br />


food<br />

................................<br />

Fin & Farm<br />

Muir Jankowski<br />

What is Fin and Farm? It’s like a veggie box<br />

service, but we also sell a lot more fresh, seasonal,<br />

local produce, such as fruit juices, milk, charcuterie,<br />

cheese, wrapped spices, and meat. All the seasonal<br />

produce is sourced from Sussex, between Chichester<br />

and Hastings.<br />

Where’s your warehouse? We don’t have one! All<br />

our produce is collected and delivered in the same<br />

day in our refrigerated truck, which ensures freshness.<br />

Customers can order online, and there are up<br />

to two deliveries a week.<br />

Where does the ‘fin’ come in? We used to deliver<br />

fish, and we might do again, but we’ve decided to<br />

concentrate on other products.<br />

How many different products do you offer?<br />

Over a thousand any given month; this will increase<br />

in the summer, when there’s more diversity.<br />

Is the vegetable produce really dull in the<br />

winter? We try to avoid that ‘oh no, not another<br />

turnip’ syndrome. We offer peppers all year round<br />

(because one of the farms also has a farm in Spain)<br />

and salad leaves all year round, too. Local producers<br />

are very imaginative and there’s always a wide<br />

variety of vegetables on offer.<br />

Are you an ethical company? As ethical as we can<br />

be. We feel that we are supporting the local economy,<br />

and attempting to limit our carbon footprint<br />

at the same time. We offer a very fair and personal<br />

service to our producers, too, because we see them<br />

twice a week and offer them customer feedback.<br />

Who are your customers? A surprisingly diverse<br />

range of people from young singles to families to<br />

old couples. And a number of restaurants and pubs,<br />

such as Iydea, The Foragers, The Chimney House,<br />

Troll’s Pantry, Chilli Pepper, plus Limetree Kitchen<br />

and The Snowdrop (in Lewes).<br />

What’s your role in the company? My partner<br />

Nick and the third member of the team Jim do all<br />

the collecting, and delivering. They sometimes have<br />

to be up at 4.30 in the morning. My job is the nice<br />

one: administration and customer relations. I visit a<br />

lot of farms, and keep track of what we’re offering<br />

online. I spend most of my time on the internet<br />

looking at pictures of food.<br />

What problems do you encounter in the business?<br />

Usually the weather: droughts, floods or<br />

snow can cause havoc with crops and delivery.<br />

Once, donkeys trampled a field of carrots. We’ve<br />

never failed to make a delivery, though we’ve been<br />

late once or twice when it’s been snowing. On an<br />

early run, in January 2010, during that cold snap,<br />

Nick had to heroically jump out of the van and stop<br />

it sliding down Southover Street. It was a baptism<br />

of fire… or ice maybe.<br />

Give us a top cooking tip… Make a paste of<br />

smoked paprika and smoked salt mixed with maple<br />

syrup and spread this, with a little olive oil, on<br />

grilled slices of aubergine. This makes great fake<br />

bacon, for a creditable BLT. Alex Leith<br />

www.finandfarm.co.uk<br />


trade secrets<br />

...............................<br />

Planet Feed<br />

Food waste to fertilizer<br />

What is Planet Feed about?<br />

We’re in the early stages of<br />

developing genuinely sustainable<br />

local solutions for making<br />

top quality, natural fertilizers...<br />

out of our community’s food<br />

waste. For us, food waste is<br />

our raw material.<br />

Food waste is increasingly<br />

spoken of as a ‘valuable<br />

resource’, but too often it is<br />

then just treated like waste.<br />

Whether we bury it, burn it or<br />

turn it into biogas, the main<br />

focus still seems to be on ‘disposing’ of food waste.<br />

To me, this offers us the least bad option. Food<br />

waste often has to be transported long distances<br />

to be treated and there’s a heavy dependency on<br />

government subsidies for the renewable electricity<br />

generated. Our solution doesn’t require subsidies,<br />

will significantly reduce waste-miles, and will produce<br />

valuable, eco-friendly products that can offer<br />

local growers a viable alternative for the chemical<br />

fertilizers they currently use.<br />

We’re using innovative, small-scale technology<br />

to turn food waste into organic fertilizer in just<br />

2-3 days. Working closely with our technology<br />

partners, we’ve already run in-house trials that<br />

produced our first batches of liquid feed using an<br />

innovative new technology they have developed.<br />

And we then used it to cultivate some pretty impressive<br />

turnips in our first growing trials.<br />

We’re a social enterprise that will put the<br />

local community’s interests first in business<br />

areas that are typically dominated by large private<br />

companies. Rather than be driven primarily by<br />

delivering shareholder value, we plan to maximize<br />

the value to the community of<br />

the food we have to throw away,<br />

and to use profits generated to<br />

support local growing and waste<br />

reduction initiatives.<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> is a good place to<br />

start. I developed a strong<br />

interest in environmental<br />

sustainability and food waste<br />

issues while living in Asia, so<br />

when I moved back to <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

in 2012, I was really surprised<br />

that food waste was not being<br />

collected here - especially given<br />

the city’s green credentials. There’s tremendous<br />

passion, opinion and activism around both food<br />

and waste issues here, and it seemed like a city ripe<br />

for looking at food waste as a resource rather than<br />

a problem!<br />

We plan to develop small-scale, local organic<br />

waste treatment capacity that can operate from<br />

small spaces close to where the waste is generated.<br />

On top of that, unlike large-scale, permanent waste<br />

treatment facilities, our solution is highly scalable<br />

and is easy to relocate. So, if a community actually<br />

achieves the ultimate goal of eliminating all its<br />

food waste, we can just pack it up and move to<br />

solve waste problems elsewhere.<br />

Ultimately, we’d love to be able to take all<br />

the city’s food waste – whether commercial or<br />

residential. That said, we’re going to focus on<br />

developing solutions for commercial food waste<br />

initially, and aim to run a full pilot project this year<br />

here in <strong>Brighton</strong>. We’re hoping to have our first<br />

fertilizers for sale in 2016. Lizzie Lower<br />

Learn more about Planet Feed at the Eco Technology<br />

Show <strong>2015</strong>, Amex Stadium, 11-12th June<br />


the lowdown on...<br />

....................................<br />

Hydroponics<br />

Growing without soil<br />

Plants don’t actually need soil<br />

to grow. In fact, they grow<br />

much faster without soil, in<br />

the right conditions. Supplying<br />

those conditions is the art<br />

of hydroponics, an increasingly<br />

popular way of growing<br />

various plants, including,<br />

allegedly, cannabis.<br />

Dave, manager of the<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> branch of hydroponics<br />

shop UK Groworks, says “there are three<br />

basic methods of growing plants”: in soil, in<br />

coconut fibre, or in a water-based system. “Soil is<br />

the easiest, it’s the most forgiving, it’s the slowest.”<br />

It’s also fairly self-regulating; you don’t need<br />

to do much.<br />

But if you switch to one of the other two, you<br />

have to carefully monitor the pH and the amount<br />

of food the plant’s getting, as well as the humidity,<br />

light levels and temperature. Explaining<br />

why in detail, Dave made it sound like a delicate<br />

balancing act, in which a plant is basically looking<br />

for any excuse to stop growing and turn a<br />

funny colour.<br />

He admits there’s “a lot more effort required”<br />

with hydroponics, though actually it’s easy “if you<br />

know what you’re doing. Some people struggle<br />

with it, but it isn’t rocket science.”<br />

Dave talks me through the hydroponic systems<br />

the shop’s got on display. The first involves<br />

a bucket part-filled with water, in which the<br />

plant’s nutrients are dissolved, with an air pump<br />

submerged in it. The plant is suspended above<br />

the water line, but “as the bubbles come to the<br />

surface, it splashes the roots. They get lots of<br />

oxygen, and they’ll grow approximately five times<br />

faster than in soil.”<br />

Another method involves<br />

planting the seed in clay<br />

pellets in a bucket, which<br />

floods on a timer, periodically<br />

soaking the plant with a<br />

nutrient-and-water mix. “This<br />

will grow maybe three times<br />

faster than in soil.”<br />

It’s been said that the Hanging<br />

Gardens of Babylon used<br />

hydroponics; more recently, scientists had been<br />

using it as a way to study the roots of plants while<br />

they were growing. “Then some bright spark<br />

went: ‘Oh, I know what you could use that for!’<br />

What could you use it for? Dave pulls up pictures<br />

on his computer of Thanet Earth, a huge hydroponic<br />

vegetable factory that “provides, I think, a<br />

fifth of all the salad crop in the UK”. Hobbyists<br />

can grow veg indoors this way, though “artificial<br />

lights are expensive to run for producing food.<br />

“There are high-yielding crops like wasabi,<br />

which you can’t get fresh in this country; it’s a<br />

premium product. And there’s a massive thing for<br />

chillies. A guy came in recently saying he was setting<br />

up a shop in London that just sells chillies,<br />

and bought all sorts of equipment to do it.”<br />

And how about cannabis? Well, Dave points out,<br />

there’s not much he can do. “My motorbike can<br />

do 160mph. That would be breaking the law, on<br />

a public highway. I have that piece of equipment;<br />

how I use it is not the responsibility of the shop<br />

that sold it to me. I have no control over what<br />

people do with the equipment we sell. Who<br />

knows what people use it for?” Steve Ramsey<br />

UK Groworks, Unit 4, Belltower Industrial Estate,<br />

Whitehawk, 01273 624327<br />


a coffee with...<br />

................................<br />

Tim Richardson<br />

Pioneer of couple-friendly sex shops<br />

“Normally it’s a great conversation stopper at a<br />

dinner party, but then they realise in fact it’s really<br />

juicy to have at a dinner party. The initial thing is:<br />

‘What do you do for a living?’; ‘I own sex shops’;<br />

‘Really! Oh my god…’ Then the questions start<br />

to come.”<br />

‘What are the customers like?’ is a common one.<br />

He says women make up about 40% of customers,<br />

and on the weekends it’s mostly couples. There’s a<br />

wide range of ages. He can never tell by people’s<br />

appearance or demeanour whether they’re into<br />

really kinky or more mainstream stuff. He’s no<br />

longer surprised by even the most bizarre customer<br />

requests.<br />

He’s become “desensitised” to the whole thing, he<br />

says, sitting in the stockroom of the Hove branch<br />

of Taboo. And anyway, apart from the fact Taboo<br />

is licensed by the local council, it’s just like any<br />

other business. “It’s like selling widgets or wing<br />

nuts”.<br />

Indeed, the stockroom looks just like an ordinary<br />

office, except for the two rows of DVDs, and the<br />

plastic storage units with eye-catching names on<br />

the shelves. Catching me looking, he talks me<br />

through their contents in a totally unaffected<br />

tone. “That’s where we keep the fannies…”<br />

***<br />

Richardson started Taboo about 11 years ago,<br />

with the shop near <strong>Brighton</strong> Station. He was<br />

hoping to set up a business, and “I just thought,<br />

‘people always need sex, they need food and they<br />

need sex’. I didn’t want to open a grocery store;<br />

that would be really boring.<br />

“When I opened Taboo, it was quite groundbreaking.<br />

I wanted to break that stereotypical<br />

image, of a seedy, dark, unpleasant, unwelcoming<br />

shop, and I wanted to make it female and couple<br />

friendly, somewhere that people would like to<br />

visit.”<br />

He opened a Hove branch in 2010 – “<strong>Brighton</strong><br />

and Hove residents are all kinky, but the Hove<br />

ones have got a little bit more money to spend” –<br />

then, more recently, Lust, on Gardner Street. It’s<br />

not a licensed sex shop, so only 30% of its stock<br />

can be sex related.<br />

“Lust was my next phase. After I’d done Taboo,<br />

I wanted to open a shop which would be even<br />

more accessible, where people wouldn’t necessarily<br />

know they’re in a sex shop till they’re inside.<br />

Then they’ve got past the part most people find<br />

difficult, which is walking in the door.<br />

“They’ll see a non-sex product in the window, like<br />

a Banksy mug or something, come in to buy that,<br />

and then leave with a butt plug. That’s the perfect<br />

sale, as far as I’m concerned: ‘Actually, now we’re<br />

here…’ It’s broadened their horizon a bit.”<br />

However, Richardson says, he gets customers in<br />

Taboo who wouldn’t have gone into a sex shop<br />

10-15 years ago, and various things that were considered<br />

fetishes back then are now mainstream:<br />

people’s horizons are pretty broad nowadays.<br />

Of course, the internet is a factor, and Fifty Shades<br />

was a “game changer”. But Richardson also credits<br />

an episode of Sex and the City, in which a major<br />

character admits to owning a rabbit vibrator, with<br />

igniting women’s interest in sex toys. “Suddenly<br />

every woman wanted a rabbit vibrator. That was a<br />

big turning point.”<br />

Fifty Shades “brought fetish behaviour, if you want<br />

to call it that, into the mainstream,” and even the<br />


fetish-club scene is moving in that direction. What,<br />

I must ask, happens at a fetish club?<br />

“Sometimes they’re quite dance based, like a dance<br />

club but wearing fetish clothing or latex or leather,<br />

or crazy outfits. You get a little bit of spanking<br />

going on, and various people roleplaying and doing<br />

stuff. Sometimes there’s actual sex going on, not on<br />

the dancefloor but in certain areas of the club. So<br />

it’s just like a crazy adult playground.<br />

“In some in Europe, there’s a lot of sex going on;<br />

not so much in England. The English are still a<br />

little bit reserved about having sex in a club environment.<br />

But generally it’s a mixture of dance, sex<br />

and fancy dress.”<br />

While <strong>Brighton</strong> was a good place to set up Taboo<br />

– “I wouldn’t want to have one of these shops in<br />

a little village in Somerset” – the city’s fetish-club<br />

scene “isn’t particularly huge. People think that<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong>, being this hedonistic city, is going to<br />

have fetish sex clubs going on every night, or every<br />

weekend, and it’s actually not true.”<br />

There is an annual <strong>Brighton</strong> Fetish Weekend,<br />

though, and “this Dungeon Bar that’s opened up in<br />

Regency Square. Have you heard about that? It’s<br />

got BDSM equipment in it, you can go and have a<br />

drink and spank someone…”<br />

Like Richardson’s dinner-party acquaintances, I<br />

was full of questions, though what I really wanted<br />

to know was why people are drawn to sex toys,<br />

dressing up, and fetish-like behaviour. “I think it’s in<br />

us all, really, to some degree. We’ve all kind of got<br />

it going on; it just depends whether you want to go<br />

inside yourself and explore that.<br />

“I’ve had customers over the years, they might start<br />

by coming in and buying a little sex toy, and then<br />

they’ll come back in a couple of weeks’ time and<br />

buy something else, and you can see their journey<br />

into their exploration of their sexual fantasies, or<br />

fetishes.”<br />

But why isn’t straightforward sex enough? “If you<br />

go to a funfair, you can go on the bumper cars, but<br />

you can go on the rollercoaster as well. So, what,<br />

are you just going to go on the bumper cars?” SR<br />

Taboo: 2 Surrey Street, <strong>Brighton</strong>, and 8 Blatchington<br />

Road, Hove (tabooshop.com). Lust: 43 Gardner<br />

Street (lust.co.uk). <strong>Brighton</strong> Fetish Weekend runs at<br />

Rialto Theatre from <strong>April</strong> 10th-12th; see brightonfetishweekend.co.uk<br />

and rialtotheatre.co.uk<br />



......................<br />

Elderflower Fields Nature Walk<br />

Go wild in the country<br />

“Go on, eat it,” says<br />

Paul. He’s handed<br />

me some small nettle<br />

leaves, the first I’ve<br />

seen this year. “Pick<br />

the top four leaves,<br />

scrunch them up in<br />

your fingers to get<br />

rid of the sting, then<br />

eat them like a rabbit.<br />

Front teeth first, not<br />

just your molars, otherwise all you get is a bitter<br />

taste. There’s actually a lot of sweetness in them.”<br />

Paul is in charge of the environmental activities<br />

at the Elderflower Fields Festival, and we’re just<br />

finishing a tour of the site in Pippingford Park,<br />

near Nutley in the Ashdown Forest. Elderflower<br />

Fields is a family-friendly festival, about to clock<br />

up its fourth edition. As usual there’ll be plenty<br />

of music, food & drink and sporting activities,<br />

but Paul’s main job is to take both adults and kids<br />

round the site, showing them the abundant wildlife<br />

that will share the four-day adventure with the<br />

5,000 human visitors expected to attend, between<br />

May 22nd and 25th.<br />

He’s a brilliant teacher, it must be said. It’s March<br />

4th, four days into (meteorological) spring, and, in<br />

his words, ‘everything’s started to wake up.’ We’ve<br />

been walking round for an hour and a half, and every<br />

moment he’s enlightened me with a fascinatingly detailed<br />

fact about the surroundings, drawing questions<br />

from me, and giving out pithy, fact-full responses.<br />

It’s a fairly rugged-looking environment, part<br />

heath, part woodland, part open field, with native<br />

trees – plenty of silver birch, plenty of Scotch pine<br />

– to the fore. I learn that these two trees were ‘pioneer’<br />

trees, the first<br />

to take root in Britain<br />

after the Ice Age. I<br />

learn loads of things,<br />

in fact: the flight<br />

patterns of fieldfares,<br />

murmurating like<br />

starlings above us; the<br />

hybrid nature of the<br />

larch; how sap feeds<br />

trees; how medieval<br />

people made candles from rush stems; how to use<br />

sphagnum moss to carry water; how the hazel tree<br />

cross pollinates; why to be careful when you’re<br />

picking edible bull rush roots out of pond (accidentally<br />

eat their similar-looking neighbour, and<br />

you’ll end up in hospital).<br />

The second-best moment is finding a huge woodant<br />

nest, that’s just been disturbed by a woodpecker.<br />

He gets a worker ant to walk onto his finger,<br />

and shows how it bites him, raising itself up onto<br />

its back legs and spraying out formic acid onto his<br />

skin. Then, happy the creature is so small, I ask for<br />

it to be transferred onto my finger, and it has a go<br />

at me, too.<br />

The best moment? Eating the nettles, of course.<br />

Masticating in Paul’s approved manner I do indeed<br />

taste a pleasant sweetness, tempering the bitter<br />

aftertaste that follows. On my springtime country<br />

walks I’ll never be short of a snack again. Alex Leith<br />

So Sussex brings you the Elderflower Fields Festival,<br />

Pippingford Park, May 22-25, elderflowerfields.<br />

co.uk. Paul will be conducting bug hunts and nature<br />

walks throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, supported<br />

by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and Circle of<br />

Life Discovery<br />


health<br />

..........................................<br />

Marathon running<br />

A 26-mile cure-all tablet?<br />

What are the main<br />

health benefits of<br />

running a marathon?<br />

There are multiple<br />

health benefits, physical<br />

and mental. In the short<br />

term, running obviously<br />

can reduce weight, produce<br />

mental wellbeing,<br />

and make you physically<br />

fitter, which helps<br />

reduce your risk of getting infections, and reduces<br />

your risk of suffering when you have got chronic<br />

diseases. In the long term, running reduces the risk<br />

of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It’s one of the<br />

healthiest things you can do.<br />

What about the risks? Running short distances is<br />

very safe. But marathon running can have medical<br />

complications. Anybody who’s not fit and healthy<br />

should speak to their GP before they start training.<br />

Any form of extended endurance exercise, unless<br />

you do it gradually, can be dangerous. You have to<br />

be gradually building up. I wouldn’t recommend<br />

doing a marathon if you haven’t been training.<br />

What is ‘the wall’? The medical research about<br />

‘the wall’ is very flaky. Basically, no-one’s sure<br />

exactly what it is. There used to be a theory that<br />

you ran out of glycogen, which the body breaks<br />

down into glucose, so your body starts burning up<br />

fat. But actually, when you test that evidence it’s<br />

not great. I think there’s a massive psychological<br />

element - that you’re just so blooming exhausted.<br />

Why do some people have tin foil put over<br />

them after the race? We get two problems which<br />

seem paradoxical together – people can get too<br />

hot, or too cold. The tin foil is if someone’s got<br />

too cold, to keep the heat in. You’re keeping your<br />

temperature up by<br />

running, and if it’s very<br />

cold and windy, and you<br />

stop, now you’re facing<br />

the wind and rain in just<br />

shorts and a t-shirt.<br />

What proportion of<br />

people don’t finish the<br />

<strong>Brighton</strong> Marathon<br />

due to injury or<br />

tiredness? I’d say the<br />

majority who don’t complete it, it’s not because<br />

they’re medically not well, just because they’re<br />

exhausted. The main reason for medically pulling<br />

out is because of heatstroke or injuries, which is a<br />

serious condition - if someone feels confused they<br />

have to stop for treatment. Probably about 1% of<br />

people stop for medical reasons.<br />

How have medical views on the health effects<br />

of marathons changed over the years? I think<br />

people have realised the benefits. It’s not just the<br />

running – when you’re training for a marathon,<br />

you eat healthier, you stop smoking… the<br />

research says half of smokers who do a marathon<br />

give up smoking afterwards, or whilst they’re<br />

training; that’s better than any intervention. Diet<br />

improves, binge drinking gets reduced, mental<br />

health and wellbeing gets improved. So instead<br />

of prescribing antidepressants a lot of GPs are<br />

prescribing exercise. It’s not just about running a<br />

marathon at all; exercise in general is a phenomenally<br />

impressive thing to improve health. If you<br />

could put exercise into a tablet, it would be the<br />

most valuable drug in the world.<br />

Steve Ramsey was talking to Rob Galloway<br />

The <strong>Brighton</strong> Marathon is on Sun 12th <strong>April</strong>. See<br />

brightonmarathon.co.uk<br />


*Based on an adult ticket at £465 on our 12 month free direct debit scheme.<br />

**On public transport within our extended travel zone.

football<br />

......................................<br />

Bluffer’s Guide to the Albion<br />

Ten bits of advice if you’re going to your first game<br />

Wear the colours.<br />

This is the easiest<br />

way to make you<br />

feel you’re part of<br />

things. What type?<br />

You can’t go wrong<br />

with a simple blueand-white<br />

bar scarf.<br />

They’re on sale in<br />

the club shop. And,<br />

especially now the<br />

weather’s getting warmer, buy a club shirt: I favour<br />

the orange third strip.<br />

Carefully plan your journey. There are extra<br />

vehicles and trains shuttling fans to and from <strong>Brighton</strong><br />

on match days, but services can get congested<br />

in the hour or so before kick-off (you can download<br />

an app for transport news). My advice is to set off a<br />

couple of hours early to get to the match. There are<br />

plenty of bars in the ground, and there’s always the<br />

Falmer Swan. Or cycle or walk there!<br />

Know when and what to chant. Most of the more<br />

guttural vocals happen in the North and West<br />

stands, but fans all around the ground are known to<br />

chant from time to time. A good start is picking up<br />

the words to club/county anthem Sussex by the Sea.<br />

Get to know your history. Go to the club<br />

museum. Look at old footage on YouTube. Read<br />

books such as Build a Bonfire and We Want Falmer.<br />

Understand that Peter Ward, even though he hasn’t<br />

played for the club for 33 years, is still one of the<br />

fans’ biggest heroes.<br />

Get the name right. Refer to the team as ‘The Albion’<br />

or ‘<strong>Brighton</strong>’. ‘Seagulls’ is used in newspapers,<br />

but not in common parlance. Except for chanting<br />

the word when we get a corner, and other opportune<br />

moments, that is.<br />

Develop a healthy<br />

dislike for Crystal<br />

Palace. Since the<br />

mid-seventies, the<br />

South Londoners have<br />

been <strong>Brighton</strong> fans’<br />

love-to-hate rivals. Our<br />

‘Seagulls’ nickname was<br />

originally a retort to<br />

their nickname chant of<br />

‘Eagles’.<br />

Gen up on the big game. Download an app for<br />

team (and travel) news, and other scores (there’s<br />

wi-fi access in the stadium). The club’s 84-page<br />

match-day magazine, Seagull, gives you plenty of<br />

information about the current team – and opposition<br />

– as well as delving back into the past. It’ll keep<br />

you company long after the game.<br />

Check out North Stand Chat fans’ forum on the<br />

web. Get acquainted with the burning issues of the<br />

day… and other stuff. Before long you’ll be hooked.<br />

Feel welcome. There’s a lot of banter about JCLs<br />

(Johnny come lately) but real Albion fans know that<br />

the bigger the average attendance, the more money<br />

the club have, and the more chance they have of<br />

being successful. You can be part of that.<br />

Learn to be irrational. If it’s in the opponents’<br />

box, it’s always a penalty. If he’s wearing blue and<br />

white, he’s never offside. It’s de rigueur to moan if<br />

decisions go against the Albion. It’s good to let off<br />

steam. Yoram Allon (pictured)<br />

Tickets (printable at home) are available from<br />

seagullstickets.com or from the club shop at the<br />

Amex. Home Albion games in <strong>April</strong>: Fri 3rd: Norwich<br />

(3pm); Fri 10th: Bournemouth (7.45pm); Tues 14th:<br />

Huddersfield (7.45pm); Sat 25th: Watford (3pm)<br />


Beautiful Provencal farmhouse cottage with pool and<br />

large garden in Luberon national park, near Avignon.<br />

5 mins to village. Available for rental. Sleeps 4.<br />

Wi-fi. Lewes owners. E.mail : ali@hahlo.demon.co.uk<br />


Call for a FREE consultation<br />

info@saraekstrand.co.uk<br />

01273 400695 / 0795 8102992<br />


icks and mortar<br />

..........................................<br />

Preston Park Velodrome<br />

England’s oldest track, under threat<br />

If you don’t live or work in the<br />

Preston Park area of <strong>Brighton</strong>, you<br />

might not have even noticed that the<br />

city has a velodrome.<br />

It’s not a flash, shiny, indoor track,<br />

like the ones recently built at great<br />

expense in London, Manchester,<br />

Derby or Newport. In fact, dug out<br />

by the army back in 1877, it’s the<br />

oldest in the country. And, ironically,<br />

in an era when cycling is enjoying a<br />

resurgence in popularity, it is under<br />

threat.<br />

Until this year there has been<br />

an organised track event at the<br />

Preston Park Velodrome, held every<br />

Wednesday, from <strong>April</strong> to August.<br />

The organisers were surprised when<br />

they were not not asked to put on<br />

the event this year round, by the<br />

country’s governing body, British<br />

Cycling. (Note: ‘not asked’, rather<br />

than ‘asked not to’).<br />

I meet cycling events organiser<br />

Rupert Rivett by the side of the<br />

track on a cold but sunny March<br />

afternoon, and he takes up the story.<br />

“We weren’t told directly that there<br />

would be no racing this year, we simply<br />

weren’t given the usual go-ahead.<br />

When we investigated we found out<br />

that British Cycling had deemed the<br />

place unsafe for racing. They have<br />

been dealing with the City Council,<br />

who own the track, but between<br />

them they have not been able to tell<br />

us exactly why.”<br />

Rivett, worried that the end of competitive racing might be the beginning<br />

of the end for the track as a whole, started a Facebook page,<br />

and a petition. He’s accumulated 4,000 likes on the former, and<br />

3,500 signatures on the latter: a lot of people care about the place.<br />

There’s good reason, on many levels. Preston Park Velodrome has a<br />

rich history of hosting big cycling events. In the fifties up to 10,000<br />

spectators would attend races, with the very best in the world competing:<br />

the likes of Reg Harris, twice Sports Personality of the year,<br />

and Dutch World Champion Arie van Vliet. You can only imagine<br />

the excitement as these two men belted round the track – in fact<br />

you can see it in the eyes of the crowd in photographs, if you dig<br />

around on the internet.<br />

“It’s also a great recreational facility,” continues Rupert. “Where<br />

else can you cycle a racing bike around, apart from the road? But<br />

nobody really looks after it, so it’s in a state of disrepair. The Council<br />

needs to invest in it: it could be a great asset to the city. But I fear<br />

the opposite is happening, and it is earmarked for destruction.”<br />

Before talking to Rupert I’ve taken a few spins round the track on<br />

my clunky town bike, enjoying rising up the ramps on the corners,<br />

and imagining I was Graeme Obrie. While we’re talking, a man<br />

teaches his child how to ride. As I leave, I see a much younger, fitter<br />

guy than me belting round the track on a much leaner, faster racing<br />

bike. And I think to myself that Rupert’s right: this marvellous<br />

structure needs nurturing, not neglect.<br />

Alex Leith<br />

Facebook page/petition on facebook.com/saveprestonparkcycletrack<br />


From the James Gray collection, the photographic archive of the Regency Society, regencysociety.org<br />

inside left: victorian wagonette<br />

...................................................................................<br />

Here’s a picture, from the James Gray Collection, of the late-Victorian equivalent of the Breeze Up the<br />

Downs bus rides the Council are currently running up to Devil’s Dyke. This is a ‘wagonette’, one of many<br />

which took people up to the Dyke, picking up their passengers, largely holidaymakers, near the Aquarium,<br />

and taking them up to the Devil’s Dyke Hotel. The journey took an hour and a half, and the ticket price<br />

was subsidised by a Mr Thacker, who ran the hotel. The two horses you can see were joined by a third at<br />

Old Shoreham Road, to help with the long pull up Dyke Road. You can imagine horses and passengers<br />

alike were relieved to have a refreshment stop at the Dyke Road Hotel (now the Dyke Pub and Kitchen).<br />

In 1887 the Devil’s Dyke Hotel was taken over by the ambitious JH Hubbard, who created a number<br />

of attractions for the increasing numbers of visitors to the Dyke. These included a cable car (or ‘aerial<br />

cableway’) across the valley, a funicular railway down the valley, a ‘gravity railway’, in effect an early form<br />

of the rollercoaster, two bandstands, a camera obscura, a giant statue of Britannia, a wooden model of a<br />

110-ton naval gun (!), and a whale skull. The hotel even produced its own magazine, The Devil’s Dyke Times.<br />

The place was hugely popular: visitors included William IV and Queen Victoria. In 1888 a railway line was<br />

built taking passengers from Aldrington to the top of the Dyke, which soon became more popular than the<br />

wagonettes – the journey time was reduced to 30 minutes.<br />

Perhaps, however, Mr Hubbard was too ambitious: by 1908 the funicular railway and the cable car were out<br />

of service, the whale skull had fallen apart, and the Dyke dropped out of fashion as an attraction. During<br />

WWI the site was taken over by the MOD: the camera obscura became a forward observation post; the<br />

steep-grade railway tracks were used for bomb testing. In 1928 it was bought by <strong>Brighton</strong> Corporation; in<br />

1995 it was acquired by the National Trust. You can, if you look closely, still see traces of the track of the<br />

funicular railway, which, at its height, took over 250,000 passengers a year up and down the valley.<br />











BRIGHTON Dome Concert Hall<br />

01273 709709 brightondome.org<br />

paulmerton.com<br />

comedystoreplayers.com<br />

mickperrin.com<br />

Photo: Caroline Webster

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!