Viva Brighton Issue #58 December 2017


sussex downs college,

home to the world’s best

beauty therapist

Beauty Therapy Alumna,

Kaiya Swain, won Gold at the

WorldSkills Finals, Abu Dhabi 2017.

Visit our website for the full story.

w w w . s u s s e x d o w n s . a c . u k



#58. DEC 2017




Viva Brighton is based at:

Brighton Junction,

1a Isetta Square, BN1 4GQ.

For advertising enquiries call:

01273 810 296.

Other enquiries call:

01273 810 259.

Every care has been taken to

ensure the accuracy of our content.

We cannot be held responsible for

any omissions, errors or alterations.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner

party? This is where I’m meant to describe

all the literary greats, historical titans and

religious leaders that collectively signify what

a cultured/creative/mindful human being I

am, but the truth is that I’d invite my family.

Infuriating as they can sometimes be, no one

has made me more ‘me’ than them and I’m

lucky to have them. Of course, when I say

‘family’ I count my biological family and my

‘logical’ one (as described by honorary family

member Armistead Maupin); ‘the one that

actually makes sense for us’.

So this issue is all about family. Our kith and

our kin. The ones that we are born into and

the others that we gather around ourselves as

we roll through life. We meet families who

work together and others that play together:

doctors helping to get families started, and

geneticists figuring out how much of who we

become is hard-wired. And we visit just a few

of the places that are creating their own sense

of family: we break bread at a community

bakehouse, and visit a club where kids from

around the corner play table tennis with kids

who’ve had to leave their families far behind,

some walking here from war-torn corners of

the globe.

So, dear reader, pull up a chair. There is always

a place at our table for you. Whether you grew

up in suburban security or were raised by

wolves, we belong together, you and us.





EDITOR: Lizzie Lower

DEPUTY EDITOR: Rebecca Cunningham

SUB EDITOR: Alex Leith

ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman


PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden

ADVERTISING: Hilary Maguire,

Sarah Jane Lewis



CONTRIBUTORS: Amy Holtz, Andrew Darling, Ben Bailey, Cara Courage,

Chloë King, Chris Riddell, Emma Chaplin, JJ Waller, Jacqui Bealing, Jay Collins, Joda,

Joe Decie, John Helmer, John Henty, John O’Donoghue, Lizzie Enfield, Mark Greco,

Martin Skelton, Michael Blencowe and Nione Meakin

Please recycle your Viva (or keep us forever).

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Resolutions for the new year?

Change your career

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Next enrolment evening:

Monday 8 January 2018, 5.00pm–7.00pm

Central Campus, Pelham Street

Brighton, BN1 4FA

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*Only applicable on part-time leisure courses when

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Window designer: Esmé Callaghan

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{ fentimans Rose lemonade }







Bits & bobs.

12-29. Graham Carter on his cover

design; Viva in the land of princes; sisters

on the buses; postings from the Pleasure

Garden; a 280-year-old baby house;

Joe Decie regresses; hero worship at

Whitehawk FC; books on modern-day

mysteries and academics on The Archers,

and more…

My Brighton.

30-31. The Reverend Michael Hydes of

The Village MCC (aka ‘Reverend Bear’).


33-37. Who will Lisa Wolfe and Peter

Chrisp be this Christmas?


Graham Carter

Lisa Wolfe and Peter Chrisp, Nouvelle Vague, 2003



39-43. Lizzie Enfield dines out on her

kids; Amy Holtz counts her blessings, and

John Helmer remembers.

On this month.

45-57. The brothers of Darkness; Oliver

with a hop-hop twist; Tina C’s country

Christmas; clowns without borders;

making friends with a murderer, and Luke

Jermay knows what you’re thinking.

....9 ....



Art, design & making.

59-67. Ruby Ruth’s not-so-imaginary

friends; Toby Tiger is about to turn 20;

an Instagram-worthy Christmas table

and our very own Cover Story.

The way we work.

69-73. Family man Adam Bronkhorst

meets families who work together.


75-83. It’s all about roasts: at The Bevvy,

à la Caribbean, and burrito style. Plus

a kids’ cookery club, baking cinnamon

buns at Stoneham, and other food news.




Photo by Adam Bronkhorst

Photo by Chloë King


85-97. Get acquainted with your

ancestors at The Keep; from Helmand

to Hangleton - ping pong and world

peace; a social media survival kit; the

results are in on nature v nurture; making

Brighton’s babies; at home with the

long-tailed tits, and the families who

built Brighton.

Inside left.

98. Elm Grove loses an elm, c1938.


at the royal pavilion

18 november 2017 – 2 january 2018

Experience a magical

Christmas as the palace

is transformed with festive

decorations and glittering

trees. Includes drop-in

activities and storytelling

for all the family.

Free with admission, tickets available in advance:

Call 03000 290902

Save 10% by booking online

Drop-in during open hours: 10am-5.15pm

(last admission 4.30pm)

Closed 24 Dec from 2.30pm, 25 & 26 Dec

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton BN1 1EE



You’ll be seeing a lot of Graham Carter’s work

around town this month, and not only on this

month’s cover. The Seaford-based illustrator and

printmaker is the resident designer for Burning the

Clocks, the lantern procession which takes place

on the 21st of December each year, organised by

local arts charity Same Sky. Graham says, “They

contacted me about five years ago and it seemed

like a cool thing to be involved with. The theme

that year was ‘The Deep’. I’d just created a print

based on the bottom of the Brighton sea called

School Run, with all these various submarines and

robots, and the poster I designed was based on that.

I’ve done each Burning the Clocks poster since, and

they’ve built up into a really nice body of work.”

You can purchase a print of his poster for this year’s

Burning the Clocks (far right) – and support the

event – by visiting

“My career keeps changing from year to year,”




Graham says. “This year it’s children’s books. I

suppose having two young boys and reading them

stories every night – it’s got me wanting to do my own.

I do buy a lot of books under the pretence that they’re

for the children, but I secretly choose ones I’d enjoy

myself…” His first book, Alphamals A-Z, started out

as a set of prints illustrating an animal beginning with

each letter of the alphabet. When he first approached

the publisher with the idea of turning the prints

into a book, he says, “I had tried to pick the more

obscure animals, but they did veto some of them…”

(Somehow the ‘quoll’ still made the cut.)

“I’ve always dabbled in screen printing. About

ten years ago I decided to take a little break from

illustration and dive right into print-making – that’s

when me and my wife Alice set up Boxbird; she’d

always wanted to run her own gallery and I’d always

wanted my own print studio, so we combined our

ideas and got a space in Hove which was half gallery

and half print studio.” The Boxbird Gallery has now

moved online, but you’ll be able to see work from

Graham and some of the other Boxbird artists at their

Christmas Open House in Seaford, from Friday the

1st to Sunday the 3rd of December. For more details


And there’s a further chance to see Graham’s work

exhibited that weekend, this time at our own event,

the Viva Cover Story 2017 exhibition. The show is

a chance to look back on the last twelve months of

artwork that we’ve been lucky enough to feature

on our covers, for both Viva Brighton and our sister

magazine Viva Lewes. We’ll also be exhibiting a

selection of portraits by Adam Bronkhorst and comic

strips by Joe Decie, all at The Regency Town House

from the 1st to the 3rd of December. See you there!

Rebecca Cunningham


cards and gifts

3 4 b o n d s t b r i g h t o n b n 1 1 r d

0 1 2 7 3 7 2 2 4 3 7


Here’s Shelagh Heath - on one of her

‘Golden Girls’ tours with long-time

travel pals and BFFs Pat Williams and

Jo Amstutz - feasting her eyes on VB56

whilst she decides what to have for lunch

in the Principality of Andorra. Apparently

the citizens of this tiny country (the 11th

smallest by population) have the highest life

expectancy of any in the world - 81 years.

There must be something in the water!

Keep taking us with you on your travels and

keep spreading the word. Send your photos

and a few details about your trip to






Elsie and Doris Waters – better known as Gert and Daisy – moved

to a cottage in Steyning before the outbreak of the Second World

War, but a red London omnibus, bound for Peckham, would

have been a more appropriate vehicle on which to celebrate the

remarkable lives of the cockney sisters.

They were born within the sound of Bow Bells to an highly musical family. Their father was an undertaker’s

warehouseman and one of their brothers, born Horace John Waters, changed his name to Jack Warner and

followed his sisters into showbusiness. He went on to become Dixon of Dock Green.

They began their career as singers and musicians, but after one of their songs, Wedding Bells, on Parlophone

Records, became a big hit, Elsie started to write comic sketches and in 1930 Gert and Daisy were born.

Immediately, there was strong audience identification with the couple’s cheery, everyday banter, delivered in a

laconic, matter-of-fact East End drawl. Gert and Daisy became staples of pre-war entertainment on stage, screen

and particularly radio.

It was claimed that during the war their funny and inspiring gossip helped boost the national morale. They travelled

to Burma, in difficult circumstances, to entertain the troops and when hostilities ended, they were awarded OBEs

for their war work and were personally thanked by Winston Churchill.

Doris (Daisy) died in 1978. Elsie (Gert) continued living in Steyning and died in 1990. In 2011, an exhibition

devoted to them was held in the village. John Henty

Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)

breeze up...

to the Downs...

kids go


See leaflets

for details


run every Sat,

Sun and bank

hol (except 25


Breeze up to Devil’s

Dyke, Stanmer Park or

Ditchling Beacon by bus!

For times, fares, leaflets and walk

ideas: Visit


Phone 01273 292480

Or visit to plan

any bus or train journey


Chestnut Tree House’s




Christmas Appeal 2017

Chestnut Tree House – your

local children’s hospice – is a

special place where families

spend their days making

precious memories that will

last a lifetime.

It costs £35.70 to pay for

one hour’s nursing care for

a life-limited child.

Please make a gift this

Christmas. Because, just

like The Snowman, your

gift will bring care, joy

and wonder to children

at your local children’s

hospice. Thank you.

The Snowman © Snowman Enterprises Ltd 2017

To donate online visit:

Registered charity No 256789








The house is called ‘Scadbury Manor’ and it

was made some time between 1730 and 1740.

It stands five feet five inches high. Unfortunately,

we’ve no idea where it was made, but when it

came to be called Scadbury Manor it was living

in the Scadbury Manor, a listed medieval manor

house which still exists in Kent.

We found it in the stores, but we needed to

find provenance. There is a collection which

Brighton Museum took over trusteeship of in

the 1970s, called The National Toy Museum.

It was started by a group of people who

were interested in preserving the history of

childhood. They started collecting in the early

50s with a view to exhibiting them, which never

happened. So, Brighton Museum took on a very

large collection of toys which are still being

catalogued. It’s not unusual to find amazing

things that we don’t have provenance for, and

go on to do more research.

All I had was a piece of paper that said

‘Scadbury Manor’ and I knew from the

archive that it had been mentioned in a book by

Vivien Greene [the estranged wife of the writer

Graham]. She travelled around the country in the

early 1950s visiting private homes and museums

and, in 1955, published English Doll Houses of the

18th and 19th Centuries. Fortunately for us she

visited Mrs Andrus, who owned Scadbury Manor.

Vivien photographed the house and quoted from

family correspondence about it. Immediately we

could tell that in 1955 it was in the ownership

of the Andrus family and, from the various

references in the correspondence, we were able

to make a family tree of four generations.




It’s been a fascinating example of how we’ve

inherited a family history and it illustrates the

different attitudes to childhood at different times.

We’ve got a ‘baby house’ that was built not as a

toy but as a novelty for adults, and has been passed

through the daughters of the family. Different

people have added to it, children have started to

play with it, some things have been lost and others

have been added over the course of 280 years.

The house is architecturally very accurate for

the time and the quality of the carpentry and

joinery is quite exceptional. The doors connecting

the rooms are panelled and have working handles

and lock mechanisms. The kitchen is particularly

interesting from a social history point of view

because all the fitments in it appear to be original.

They include some quite unusual features,

particularly a large shelf hung from the ceiling,

which was a way of storing bacon and cheese away

from rats. All the original fireplaces and grates were

made to measure and appear to have been made

with the same techniques you would use to make

the full-size objects.

Because it is going on display in the Royal

Pavilion, we thought it would be a great

opportunity to bring out some dolls house

furniture that we have in our collection which has

been made in the chinoiserie style. Although they

don’t replicate the Pavilion furniture, they are very

much in the style of the Royal Pavilion, and we

thought it would be fun to put those in. We’ll be

recreating our own miniature regency banquet in

one of the rooms.

As told to Lizzie Lower by Joy Whittam, Collections

Assistant in Museum Lab at Brighton Museum and

Art Gallery

The Scadbury Manor dolls house will be displayed as

part of Christmas at the Royal Pavilion until the 2nd

of January 2018. For tickets call 03000 290902 or visit

Photos taken at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Thanks to the Royal Pavilion & Museums Brighton & Hove






It is the tragedy of many English people’s lives that in their youth they aspire to

Oxbridge, only by middle age to settle for Ambridge. Cara Courage and Nicola

Headlam bring the Dreaming Spires to the Steaming Shires in a collection of

essays by diverse hands that takes an interdisciplinary approach to The Archers. With

abstracts, diagrams, tables, and an index this is a very useful book for all Archers fans

and lovers of the countryside. Here we have papers on: Birdwatching; Class and

Gender in Ambridge; Educating Ambridge; Geography; The Religious Traditions of

Ambridge; Ambridge Online; and The Case of Helen and Rob. Lest you snigger, let me remind you that media

studies shouldn’t just focus on the semiotics of the boxset. With over 18,000 episodes The Archers constitutes a

chronicle of English life since its first broadcasts in the early 1950s. Its roots lie not in the soil of an imagined

community but in the Ministry of Agriculture’s plan to encourage farmers to reform their methods in the era

of post-war rationing, and this palpable design is part of what is deconstructed here. My favourite essays are on

the rural theology of Ambridge by Jonathan Hustler and Phoebe Aldridge’s experience of applying to Oxford by

Felicity Macdonald-Smith. Perhaps future editions will feature Phoebe’s own contribution to the distinguished

field of Archerology. John O’Donoghue

Custard, Culverts, and Cake: Academics on Life in The Archers, edited by Cara Courage & Nicola Headlam,

Emerald Publishing, £10.98

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Start the New Year with an expert view of your

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Don’t leave things to chance!

The importance of a Will cannot be underestimated.

Have you ever worried about who will care for your family or what will happen to your belongings or home after you’ve gone? Without

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The Christmas annual used to be my favourite reading as a boy. Here were

all those brilliant characters I read about in the weekly installments of a

comic, between hard covers. The garish colours, jolly japes, wizard wheezes,

daring dodges, all given more solid standing in what became a staple from

Dear Old Santa. He knows me so well. When The Mysterium was handed to

me at Viva Brighton HQ I felt that same frisson I’d had way back when. And

when I opened the book, its pages also took me back. It’s a compilation of urban myths, conspiracy theories,

and shaggy dog stories. The pages are laid out scrapbook fashion, text and images accompanied not by

footnotes but sidenotes in the generous margins of the pages. Here you will find out all about mountweazels,

Slenderman, and Brighton’s very own walrus tenant. The book is divided into seven sections (itself a

mysterious number) and the very middle of it all, the omphalos of the editors’ world, is an entry on – wait for

it! – the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Their demise is told with great wit and economy, a cautionary tale of a DIY

orchestra that started terrible and eventually became too proficient. Just like that. It’s a parable for the punk

generation. I shall ponder it deeply as I wait for Santa to come down the chimney of O’Donoghue Towers.

John O’Donoghue

The Mysterium: Unexplained and extraordinary stories for a post-Nessie generation, edited by David Bramwell

& Jo Keeling, Brewer’s, £14.99



Harney &






Christmas will soon be upon us and it is

important to plan ahead. This is especially true

for separated families, where a plan needs to

be made in respect of the child arrangements

over the festive period to ensure your children

spend quality time with both of their parents.

It is usual for an alternating arrangement to

be put in place i.e. Christmas Day with one

parent in year 1 and Boxing Day with that

parent in year 2. Planning ahead is essential

to avoid any unnecessary distress and conflict

over the Christmas period.

If you are unable to resolve matters via

direct discussion, then there are a number

of alternative options including solicitor-led

negotiation, mediation, collaborative law and


A Court application should be seen as a last

resort as there are often no winners in a

Court room, with a Judge determining how

your children will spend their time over the

Christmas period. Prompt action needs to be

taken to ensure that there is sufficient judicial

time for any such application to be heard as

the Court list fills up quickly.

We offer an initial one hour

consultation at £100.00 plus VAT to

advise you about the applicable law and

possible outcomes, the various ways

your case could be funded and provide

an estimate of the costs involved. This

includes a letter to you to confirm the

advice given during the appointment.

01273 684 666











Tel: 01273 562943





Ah, the kith and kin issue. ‘Kith’

comes from a German word

meaning ‘known’; ‘Kin’ comes

from another German word

meaning ‘give birth to’; hence

friends and family, often put

together but not always equally

rated. (In his recently published

autobiography, Armistead Maupin

talks about his logical family -

his friends - and his biological

family - the people who gave him

life. Maupin’s always found himself much more

comfortable with his logical family.)

But it’s the time of the year when hopefully (and

notwithstanding all our differences) for a few days

most of us are lucky enough to surround ourselves

with and enjoy the company of both kith and kin.

What magazine can we recommend that might

appeal to everyone over the holiday season?

We’ve chosen to highlight Pleasure Garden this

month. It feels special for a start. It’s a super large

format and can’t be missed if you leave it around the

house. It screams out ‘pick me up and look at me’. It

deserves to be looked at.

It’s primarily visual and uses the

large format to great effect. You’ll

find simply stunning images from

the last fifty years at Copenhagen’s

Tivoli Gardens; the work of

ceramicist Bjorn Wiinblad; amazing

photographs of winter flowers by

Jo Metson Scott; photographs and

poems of a Budapest winter; the natural

and supernatural paintings of

David Harrison, and so much more.

There are plenty of words as well, including a wonderful

piece about the gardens of Capability Brown

and a marvelous conversation about Los Angeles’

cult perfumery, Regime des Fleurs.

It’s hard to describe just how much of a pleasure

garden Pleasure Garden is. Let’s just say that at this

time of the year, when the table groans with a richness

of food and drink and we provide something

that appeals to all our kith and kin, Pleasure Garden

will simply add to the choice and won’t seem a page

out of place. It’s deliciously beautiful.

Martin Skelton, MagazineBrighton


This month’s graffito isn’t technically in a toilet (more an al fresco pissoir), but we all need a friend who’s

got our back. But where did we find this back-street Basquiat?

Last month’s answer: Pavilion Gardens public toilets



Depression is a common condition affecting about

10% of the population. Sadly, many sufferers don’t

receive appropriate treatment, either because they

don’t recognize the symptoms or because treatment

is not always readily available. The term ‘depression’

can be misleading as it is used in lay language to

mean feeling sad or down, so I prefer to use the term

‘clinical depression’. This is a clearly defined medical

illness, characterised by persistent low mood (at least

2 weeks), tearfulness, sleep disturbance, altered

appetite, and fatigue, general lack of interest and lack

of enjoyment. Thinking patterns become excessively

negative and sufferers often become socially

withdrawn. For some people, the main features are

poor concentration and poor memory, which can

adversely affect their performance at work. In more

severe cases people start to think that life is not worth

living or even have suicidal thoughts.

Sometimes there is a clear cut precipitant such as

work-related stress, financial difficulties or relationship

problems, but often people become depressed for

no obvious reason. The underlying cause of clinical

depression is an imbalance of neuro transmitters, for

example low serotonin levels in the brain.

The positive news is that clinical depression is almost

always responsive to evidence-based treatment,

which can include anti-depressant medication and

/or talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral

Therapy (CBT). Many people are anxious about taking

medication, and whilst there can be some trial and

error in finding the correct medicine for an individual,

medication can be extremely effective at treating all

the symptoms mentioned above. Antidepressants

can be prescribed either by General Practitioners or

Psychiatrists. CBT is a form of talking therapy that

involves challenging overly negative thinking patterns

and looking at helpful changes in behaviour, such as

encouraging social interaction and exercise. It usually

involves seeing a therapist for an hour per week for

approximately 10 weeks.

In summary, too many people suffer needlessly from

untreated clinical depression, but recent media

attention has started to break down the stigma

regarding seeking treatment, and hopefully this trend

will continue.

At the Brighton & Hove Clinic we understand that

accessing help for depression can be frightening, so

our team of experts are here to support you through

this journey in making the best treatment decisions

for your particular issues. We have a comprehensive

range of treatments available; the first step in

accessing treatment is for our expert team to carry

out a comprehensive assessment with you and create

a bespoke treatment programme that is tailored to

your needs.

Dr Tim Rank – Consultant Psychiatrist at the

Brighton & Hove Clinic.

If you would like to know more about the treatments

that we offer for depression or you would like to

book a consultation, please call 01273 282045 or


Brighton & Hove Clinic, 14-18 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4FH



JJ Waller snapped this shot in East Brighton Park, when a group from Balfour Primary

School came to watch Whitehawk FC. “The old saying has never been more apt,” says

JJ: “a picture is worth a thousand words. A young girl mascot meets her idol.” Nuff said!

Apart from… JJ’s latest book of more than 100 photographs capturing Brighton, its

residents and visitors, is out in the bookshops now.


'Fantastic place, full of beautiful magazines. I just love this shop.’

the world of great indie mags is here in Brighton.

22 Trafalgar Street






I was a full-time daddy for nine years and

separated from the mother four years ago, a mutual

separation. When we first split up we had a 50/50

agreement – no problem – but within a few months,

things started to change. It became more and more

difficult to see my girls, and I felt I was losing them.

Their behaviour changed. It was a very scary time.

I made the decision to go to court. It wasn’t

something I wanted to do, but I felt I had no choice.

I was told by a consultant at the very beginning:

‘Remember, it’s a game you’re playing, you don’t have

any rights, and you are on trial because you’re the

dad’. The system, still to this day it seems, favours the

mother over the father.

It’s now been three years since I’ve seen my

children. I decided to start a group for other

parents in a similar situation to mine, because

the support that I’ve had

through this time has been

amazing. Parents who are

going through conflicting

separations experience many

combinations of challenges;

the aim of the group is to create shared and open

conversations that deal with these.

As told to Rebecca Cunningham by Marcus Hicks

On Tues 12th December, there will be a special

screening of ‘Menashe’ at the Depot cinema in Lewes,

for fathers who are going through separation from

their children. A private studio room will be reserved

before and after the film as a space for conversation

(with refreshments courteous of Harvey’s Brewery).

Open from 7pm for an 8pm screening. Call Marcus on

07817 679435 for more info.







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Painting by Jay Collins


I pop into The Sussex Yeoman at 4.45 on a

Wednesday afternoon. It’s empty. I order a pint of

Noble craft lager, and notice that every one of the

ten or so tables in the place has a little notice on it

reading ‘reserved’ for various times between 6 and

8pm. One wall is dominated by a blackboard with a

delicious-looking menu on it. I realise that, in effect,

I haven’t come to a pub, I’ve come to a gastro pub,

and that to do the place justice in this write up, I’m

going to have to come back another time and eat.

In the meantime I do a little research. The Sussex

Yeoman has been so-called since 1854, when this

part of Guildford Road was still called Trafalgar

Street; prior to the pub being purpose built, the site

was used as the railway goods yard. In the sixties and

seventies it was run by Sue and Bob Schultz, with

singing round the piano on a Friday and Saturday

night, a dartboard, a shove ha’penny table and a

small jukebox. Later on it became the haunt of

punks and bikers, and known as being a ‘rough’ pub;

one night a man was stabbed to death after a fight

that started inside spilled out into the street. Around

the turn of the millennium it became famous for its

sausage and mash: one regular remembers that it

used to have Yorkshire puddings nailed to the wall.

The type of food on the menu nowadays, I learn,

as I return the next day at lunchtime, has got a lot

more sophisticated. I order another pint of Noble,

and decide to start with the Dover sole tempura,

which comes with Asian salad and soy dip (£7.50),

and graduate to a venison burger with pickled

beetroot, Brighton Blue cheese, seasonal salad and

fries (£13).

The manager John is there and he tells me about

the provenance of their food – he gets it from a

South Downs warden, and Susannah, a ‘singing

shepherdess’ – and how he made the decision to

concentrate on food after the smoking ban. The

pub has no outside space, and he lost many of his

customers to neighbouring places that did.

He did the right thing. The food is so delicious, I

immediately book a table for the next big threegeneration

set-piece meal, to celebrate the birthday

of my stepson. With all the eateries on offer in

Brighton, you can call that an endorsement. AL

7 Guildford Road, Brighton


Photo by Adam Bronkhorst,




MYbrighton: Rev Michael Hydes

The Village Metropolitan Community Church

Are you local? I’m originally from Newcastle upon

Tyne. I started life as a Jehovah’s Witness but when

I was 20 they threw me out for being gay. I was

homeless for a while before the Samaritans found

me a place in Bradford. Work eventually took me to

London where I found the Metropolitan Community

Church and realised that I had a calling to ministry.

After studying at King’s I went to New York

and met my husband, Chris. I helped set up the first

emergency queer youth shelter in New York and

then accepted a call to lead an MCC church. My

parish was in Hagerstown, Maryland, in the middle

of a really conservative area not far from Camp David

and a very active Klu Klux Klan group. Because

we were at the centre of the LGBT community we

were able to fight for same-sex marriage rights, and

my husband and I were one of the first couples to

be legally married in the state.

What brought you to Brighton? After nine

years in Hagerstown my mother was diagnosed

with cancer, so we moved back to the UK to help

support her. I knew that I wanted to lead a church

that focused on the needs of the local LGBTQ+

communities here. I really believe in supporting

and praying for the work of organisations like

Switchboard and the LGBT Community Safety

Forum, groups that do important work but often

get ignored by mainstream churches. So we set up

The Village MCC, a church that’s very much a part

of local LGBTQ+ community life. I’ve earned the

nickname ‘Reverend Bear’.

Who is in the congregation? People who are gay,

lesbian, bisexual, trans and straight, of all ages and

diverse backgrounds. Because my Christian identity

is not rooted in a mainstream tradition I’m able to

be flexible in ways others might find uncomfortable.

I can speak openly about LGBTQ+ issues with my

collar on and try as much as possible to support the

LGBTQ+ community. It’s important to me that

should someone need a helping hand they know we

are here.

Do you consider yourself a Brightonian now?

If you mean ‘am I a complete weirdo?’ then yes.

Brighton is wonderfully diverse. The incidence of

LGBTQ+ hate crime here is so much lower than

elsewhere in the country and the city is extraordinary

in its openness and acceptance. But it’s easy to

forget that others, both in the UK and abroad, don’t

always have it as easy. I believe that it’s not okay

just to model acceptance, we have to reach out and

support others.

What would you change about the place? I’d

like there to be more genuinely affordable housing,

especially for key workers. There’s such a shortage

of nurses and care workers in Brighton. I have met

a lot of people on the street with significant mental

health issues and believe that if there is to be care

in the community, we have to have the resources to

provide it.

What do you like to do on a day off? The dogs

are a big part of our life. Sometimes we’ll go walking

on Devil’s Dyke, but every day we’ll walk them

to the beach. I’m also a hypnotherapist and funeral

officiate. I enjoy studying and continuing education

projects. I have a very curious mind.

When did you last swim in the sea? Last year. We

did go paddling this year, one beautiful day when

there was that bit of sand by the pier at low tide. I

always think there’s a beautiful beach there, it’s just

20 feet down, under all those stones.

Interview by Lizzie Lower


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Lisa Wolfe and Peter Chrisp

Christmas crackers

Christmas in Hawaii, 1986

The first Christmas

photo that we did was in

1986. It was ‘Christmas

in Hawaii’. Lots of people

dress up for Christmas

cards. They dress up

their kids, their dog,

themselves, so Peter and I

thought we would too and

I guess we just didn’t stop.

We started fairly

modestly, with a little

set and bits of costume,

and our ambition grew

as the years went by.

The more we kept doing

them, the more people

would ask ‘what’s the

next one?’ So, now we feel that we can’t stop

and we do enjoy it. In the beginning they all

had hand-drawn stamps and hand-written

messages from the characters to add context to

the photographs.

It’s all shot in our house with painted backdrops.

After Hawaii, we did outer space and

then deep-sea diving. Peter is a writer, but he’s

also a very good maker, and I’m a painter with a

huge dressing up box. They used to be taken on

an SLR camera using the self-timer. Peter had

to run backwards and forwards and we’d never

know if any of them were any good. Now, with a

digital camera, we get less sweaty… it was always

very sweaty, running around dressed as aliens.

We don’t think too long about them. We

just make a decision, knock it up and do it. It’s

a rare one where we are

wearing proper costumes

rather than something

homemade. They are

nearly all fantasy characters

except one year

when Peter dressed up as

Toulouse-Lautrec, and

one slight aberration in

2006 when we got married

in New York. We found

a giant rabbit costume in

the apartment where we

were staying, so we made

one of our witnesses dress

up in it took lots of shots

on the streets of the city.

Whilst they’re great fun,

what you’re seeing is a portrait of a partnership;

of a life together. I look back and think

‘I was actually quite pretty’, and ‘look at our

hair!’ You can see our changing dynamic going

through the years and there’s a poignancy about

it too. Peter hates me saying this, but at some

point, who knows when, it will end.

People keep asking ‘when is the book coming

out?’ and I’m hoping to do an exhibition of

them all one day. For now I’m making a calendar

with twelve of the images and this month I’ll

be showing them in the Artists Open Houses,

upstairs at The Stanley Road Store.

As told by Lisa Wolfe to Lizzie Lower

Lisa will be at The Stanley Road Store (25 Stanley

Road) on Sundays only until the 17th of December.





Deep-sea diving (reverse), 1988

Christmas in Hawaii (reverse), 1986




Deep-sea diving, 1988




Circus, 1990

Celebrity chefs, 1997

Outer space, 1987

TV evangelists, 1989




Punch & Judy, 2012

The spirit world, 2014

Magic act, 1999

Celebrtiy hairstylists, 2004





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Lizzie Enfield

Notes from North Village

Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)

“She’s such a liar,” my son tells our dinner guests.

“That never happened.”

He’s commenting, with some feeling, about a story

I’m telling. I think ‘lying’ is too strong a word.

I might be embellishing it a little, for comic effect,

adding a few details for interest. But I’m not lying.

There’s an apocryphal story about a columnist

who handed in an unlikely column and was asked

by his editor if it was actually true.

“Every single thing happened, at some point, to

someone,” he replied. “Just not necessarily at the

same time, or in the order I recounted them, or

to me.”

Fair enough. I have earned my writer’s licence,

which allows me to embellish and appropriate

stories where, erm, appropriate.

But son has issues with me taking some tiny thing,

some trivial snippet of conversation and turning it

into a dinner table anecdote.

He’s had enough and is retaliating.

“Nothing you ever say is true.”

“That’s because she’s a fiction writer,” my husband

intervenes. I’m not sure if he’s stepping in to

defend me or just between us. “She spends her

days making everything up and has forgotten how

to differentiate.”

I’m stuck between a rock and hard place.

I do spend all day every day inventing casts of

whole other families and friends, with which I

people my novels.

It’s very hard to do this without occasionally

referencing real actual life.

Sometimes one of the characters bears a passing

resemblance to someone I actually know. But I try

my hardest to make sure the sum of any individual

character’s character traits never actually adds up

to an actual person.

Sometimes I deliberately make them unappealing,

so that none of the appealing people I know will

see themselves in anything I’ve written.

It doesn’t always work. In my first novel the antihero

was a balding, middle-age spreading, greying,

generally going-to-seed man.

A lot of my male friends seemed to think it was

them! And when I looked, closely, I realized that

that in my mind I still viewed them as ten years


Occasionally I slip a real life incident into a novel,

like the time a seagull walked into the kitchen and

couldn’t find its way out again, causing mayhem

with its agitated flurries around the table. It was

probably the one real thing amid pages of made

up things, but everyone I had told about the

incident assumed that everything else in the novel

was based on real events too.

“I can’t win either way,” I protest. “When I write

fictional books you accuse me of putting in too

much truth and when I tell a story you accuse me

of not sticking to it closely enough.”

“She makes everything up,” repeats my son, to our

assembled guests.

“And then borrows from our lives when her

imagination fails her,” says my daughter.

Such a supportive family! But I try not to mind

and instead think of them more as a source of






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John Helmer


Illustration by Chris Riddell

“What do you want for Christmas, Poppy?”

“A saxophone.”

“Alto or tenor?”

“Like the one Lisa Simpson plays.”

“That’s a baritone.”

“No, it’s a tenor.”

“It’s a barry…” We bicker about this for a while,

then Poppy pulls out her phone and checks on

Google. “OK, it’s a baritone. But I want an alto.”

It’s Saturday and I’m in Lewes, dropping Poppy off

for her 11am flute lesson. I’ve completely forgotten

the house number, but I needn’t have worried: the

sound of two flutes locked in mortal combat guides

us to the door. Poppy’s flute teacher, Marielle, lets

us in. “Just finishing up.” Poppy and I sit and

listen as Marielle and her friend run through

the duet again. Then suddenly there is a

loud explosion from outside.

“Honestly,” says Marielle, “the fireworks

go on for ever in this town…”

“I think it’s the two-minute silence,”

I say, checking my watch. Words die

on our lips.

In the silence I think of my

grandfather, who died in 1974.

We didn’t get on, clashing over

a number of things, but mainly

over our different tastes in

music. I had no time for the

military brass band tunes that

were the only sounds he seemed

to like, and he was no fan of Led

Zeppelin. Mostly we kept away

from each other – but there was

one occasion when he required my


He was incensed that day because

some ‘long-haired lefty’ in the Times had written

an article saying that the famous Christmas truce –

when the two warring sides in the First World War

put aside their differences and played football in

no-man’s land – never happened.

Summoning me to the dining room, he took out

letters that he’d written home from the trenches

in Northern France. The letters were pretty

boring, mostly: requests for warm socks, a lot of

terminology I didn’t understand; including one

term, ‘breastworks’, that I would have tittered

at had the atmosphere in the room not been so

serious. And then in one of the letters there it was:

a description of the game they had played, and

a request to be sent a football just in case

it ever happened again. He showed me

photographs he had taken of his fellow

soldiers in the trenches, most of whom

had never come home, and of the

German troops they met and mingled

with that day. I felt moved, not just

by the gravity of what he was telling

me, but because he clearly felt it

mattered what I thought and

believed. No adult had ever

given any sign of that being

important before.

While Poppy has her flute

lesson I get a coffee in the

High Street, watching rain

falling on the Ouse. Then I

walk across the road to WH

Smith and buy a paper. “Would

you like a Terry’s Chocolate

Orange with that for one pound?” says

the sales assistant.

“I’ll settle for a poppy.”


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Amy Holtz

The truth is, I’m a Minnesotan

There’s a fairly persistent rumour

about Thanksgiving being bigger

than Christmas in America.

Fount of Yankee knowledge

though I am, the honest truth is

I’m not really sure.

There’s the big meal, of course,

which my family doesn’t have at

Christmas – turkey and mashed

potatoes and gravy and green

beans and, I shudder, pumpkin

pie. On the whole, the holiday

is about eating as much as possible, which means

fighting your distant relatives off with sharp elbows,

and then rushing to the basement to avoid doing

the dishes and falling into a heavy tryptophaninduced

coma on the sofa while the Vikings lose

to some third-rate team like Green Bay, which is

punctuated by commercials for Viagra (after all,

Christmas is coming up) and all the electronics you

don’t need but tend to buy en masse the next day

– Black Friday. (For my part, I’m very sorry about

importing this consumerist tradition into your

hallowed realm).

For me, it was always about getting through the

main meal, pretending to eat as much as possible,

so that I could clean up on apple pie covered in my

all-time favourite high fructose corn syrup delicacy,

Cool Whip. Grandma would be encouraged to

imbibe a thimble full of sweet, pink ‘wine’ and the

schnauzers would be gated in the living room which

they’d bum rush till someone let them in; then

they’d get lots of leftovers, which Grandma would

scold us for until the ‘wine’ kicked in, and then she

wouldn’t stop giggling. As a child you’re excited

because it’s the last big hurdle until the pipe dream

of Christmas presents starts to materialise; as an

adult it’s the best holiday ever because you get to

sleep in the middle of the day.

It’s been ages since I’ve been

home for Thanksgiving. But

I’m not the only ex-pat in

town, so my softball team, the

Beachcombers, started our own

little Brighton Thanksgiving

a few years back. We’re much

smarter, of course, than our

forebears, because we use

paper plates and our palettes

are much more sophisticated

where wine is concerned. Despite this, inevitably,

everyone gets drunk and makes poor choices, in

music and otherwise.

Last year, we played the new card-based version of

every American child’s favourite Minnesotan Apple

II homesteading game – The Oregon Trail. Each of

us died terrible deaths in turn of dysentery, typhoid,

cholera, snake bite and hypothermia; but as they

say, it’s the journey, not the destination that matters,

even when it comes to wagon-train emigration.

But the important thing that has carried over, from

my grandparents’ house to our flats, is that everyone

takes a moment to say what they’re thankful for.

Back in the day, it tended to generate a lot of waffle

about ‘blessings’ and ‘thankfulness’, while you stared

in vain at the food you had to get through in order

level up to dessert. But nowadays – and it sounds

a bit silly, I know – reflecting on your year and

on your, ahem, blessings (however agnostic you’d

prefer them to be) feels kind of nice.

And, this year, as we share these special moments

with the ones we like and love, there’s always the

enduring hope that the long-overdue reckoning

the turkeys have been hatching for the past 390

or so years may finally kick off. Perhaps just as the

President does his pardoning bit.




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Ben Bailey rounds up the local music scene


Thu 7, Patterns, 7pm, £10.50

Ten years ago Dave Best

was working in Amex

on Edward Street when

a track from his band’s

record Transparent Things

got picked up for a Jaguar advert. It was around that

time that he was able to quit his day job and commit

to music. Four albums later Fujiya & Miyagi are

stopping off at their hometown as part of a twomonth

European tour. Now self-sufficient with

their own label, the band have honed and reaffirmed

their signature style of electropop. Inspired by

krautrock acts like Can, and with inevitable traces of

New Order, their music matches bare and driving

beats to whispered vocals, often with a cryptic scientific

turn of phrase. They’re back in town for the

ten-year anniversary of their breakthrough album

with an offer of a reissue on transparent vinyl.


Thu 7, Brighton Museum, 8pm, £8

Emma Gatrill has played with Laura Marling, Rozi

Plain and Broken Social Scene, but her solo stuff is

bewitching on its own terms. Her 2012 debut was

a collection of intimate songs inspired by her newfound

love of the harp. This year’s follow-up, Cocoon,

saw her palette expand to include strings, synths

and tap shoes. There’s a quiet intensity to Gatrill’s

music: it’s somewhat introverted, but also evocative

and tuneful, with songs roaming through themes

like Greek mythology and climate change. It’ll be

a pleasure to hear all this in the setting of Brighton

Museum at this Spectrum winter special, and as a

bonus there’ll be sets from local singer-songwriters

Sharon Lewis and M Butterfly.


Wed 13, Hope & Ruin, 7.45pm, £8

Tom White’s latest single

as The Fiction Aisle sounds

like a forgotten crooner

classic from the 60s, with

lavish production and

flowing chords. It’s a sumptuous piece of pop, and

almost a world away from the guitar indie he was

known for making with Electric Soft Parade. Tom’s

brother and former bandmate, Alex White, also

makes an appearance with a new solo act which

apparently includes sea shanties, Irish folk ballads

and possibly some Todd Rundgren covers. London’s

Younghusband are on the bill too, as is Rose Elinor

Dougall. A founder member of The Pipettes, Rose

is now found making wistful electropop of her own

or collaborating with the likes of Mark Ronson and

Baxy Dury. This gig should be a fun reunion for the

Brighton noughties indie scene.


Sat 16, Brunswick, 8pm, £10

After 25 years of gigging, Brighton/Lewes blues band

The Elevators are calling it a day with a farewell

show at their favourite local venue. Fans of classic

bluesmen like BB King and T Bone Walker will

appreciate the band’s laidback pace, understated

guitar work and occasionally cheeky vocals. They’re

known for playing in the Chicago style, but much of

their sound comes via the British blues legends of the

60s. So don’t be surprised if they drop a few tracks

by Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton into the mix.

Tonight’s show sees the group in its big-band guise,

a line-up they call The Elevator Blues Orchestra.

You can expect a full horn section, special guests and

maybe even a sentimental send off.



Fri 8 Dec


Tue 12 Dec


Sat 9 Dec

Christmas Open Day

Fri 15 Dec

The Big Christmas Singalong

Sat 16 Dec

The Nutcracker Suite and The

Snowman With live orchestra


Wed 13 Dec


Sat 16 Dec

box office 0844 847 1515 *

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Sun 17 Dec

BFC Christmas Concert

Thu 21 – Tue 26 Dec

Air Play family circus from Acrobuffos

Fri 29 & Sat 30 Dec

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The Darkness

On rock and roll and Christmas jumpers

Is it good to be back

on tour? You know

what, it feels like we’re

never off the road, but

it’s more enjoyable

than it’s ever been.

We’ve finally got the

line-up of our dreams

with a new drummer

called Rufus Taylor,

son of Roger [from

Queen]. There are

no raging hangovers,

everyone’s taking care of themselves and it’s a

non-destructive environment. Which is a relief! It’s

tough being away from the family, but that’s the

only downside.

How does your family life work? I’ve been doing

this job ever since I met my wife, so it’s always been

the same. In a way, I think I miss my family more

than they miss me! It can be pretty tough when the

kids are looking round the back of the computer

trying to give you a hug. The fact is, when I’m at

home I see more of my kids than most parents. I get

home sometimes for a couple of months and I can

be superdad.

Does superdad wear a jumpsuit? Of course, I’m

never out of my stage gear... Unfortunately it would

be covered in puke if that was the case. And not my

own for a change!

The new single Solid Gold is hilarious, how did

that come about? It’s a good example of the typical

Darkness thing where we shoot ourselves in the

foot. We had a great backing track, really great riff,

the whole arrangement was rocking. So Justin sat

down to work out what the song was about and I

basically said I’m going down the pub. When I got

back he sang the chorus to me, and I thought ‘for

f**k’s sake! Another

potential single down

the drain.’ Unbelievably

the label put it out,

even though it would

never stand a chance of

being played on radio.

What’s it like being

in a band with your

brother? It’s weird:

Justin and I bickered

and argued and fought

right up until he

moved out when he was 16. And ever since then

we’ve been really close. We’re very different, almost

polar opposite characters, and that makes it easier

as we’re not fighting for the same things I suppose.

We really didn’t like each other when we lived

together, but I guess we kind of live together now.

Is it true you’re both in an episode of Pointless?

Yeah, we’re doing a Christmas special that goes out

on the 23rd. I wouldn’t hold out any hopes though!

So many people I’ve spoken to have just gone wild

about it, but I had no idea what it was. The last time

I watched one of those gameshows it was probably

Blockbusters – a long time ago.

What’s Christmas like for The Darkness? We

tend to tour a lot in the UK because it’s a time

when anything cool goes out the window and the

silly jumpers come out. It’s something that resonates

with the band. I’d be lying if I said that when

our Christmas song comes on my kids don’t go

mental and start singing along. A lot of artists who

were one-hit-wonders have ironically been handed

longevity from Christmas singles. Absolutely

bizarre, but hey that’s Christmas! It’s the gift that

keeps on giving... As told to Ben Bailey

Brighton Dome, 11th December, 7pm

Photo by Simon Emmett



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Luke Jermay

‘It’s hard to know where the show will go’

Mine’s an atypical story, with nice closure. I grew

up in a home where people believed in spiritualism,

tarot cards and divination, not in a crazy weird way,

but these things were accepted, so I went along

to spiritualist churches and palmists when I was

growing up.

As a teenager I rebelled, I wanted to debunk the

whole thing, and I discovered the work of people

like James Randi, and Penn & Teller, who wanted

to expose frauds. That ignited a passion in me for

traditional conjuring tricks, pulling a rabbit out of a

hat, that sort of thing.

Then in my early twenties, I looped back to tarot

and palmistry, but this time with a rational frame.

I began to see divination more as a process of introspection

than some pixie magic-dust thing. Intuition

is the key here: we’re constantly assessing the world

with a speed far quicker than conscious cognitions,

and you can often think ‘how on earth can I possibly

have known that?!’

To tune into the intuitive side of the brain and

free yourself from your own thinking, to let

something inside you guide you, is so useful, and

it’s very much linked to the idea of empathy: what

is the other person’s experience? Multiple times in

every show, I’m as shocked as the audience at what

emerges. Not long ago there was a very slim woman

onstage, and I said ‘You’re pregnant, aren’t you?’ and

it was true, and she hadn’t told her boyfriend who

was there in the front row! Culturally it was a risk to

say it, but it just came up and I did.

It’s hard to know where the show will go: obviously

I have a plan, but there’s no way of knowing. I

want people to drown in the mystery, to be engulfed

in it. That’s my higher goal, the creation of mystery,

producing feelings of uncertainty. We live in a world

of confirmation bias, we can be very closed off to the

unknown, and it can drive some people nuts, that

feeling of genuinely not knowing how something has

happened. The point is, the world isn’t as linear as we

might think. Experts have their views, and they have

models relating to how they think things happen, and

it can make sense up to a point, but no one really has

a clue how it works!

The intimate close connection with the audience

is crucial for me. I wrote the last Dynamo

arena show [he’s also been a consultant for Derren

Brown], but for me once there are more than about

300 people in the audience it’s too big and we lose

connection. We’re in an increasingly disconnected

world anyway: couples lie in bed next to each other,

each of them on their phones, so what I want to do

is connect with the people who’ve come along. And

there’s a 70% chance you’ll be involved if you attend

one of the shows… As told to Andy Darling

Sixth Sense, The Old Market, 3rd December, 7.30pm





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Fagin’s Twist

Was Dickens’ arch villain misunderstood?

I wanted to do an

adaptation and we

settled on Oliver

Twist but I wasn’t

satisfied with the

story. It was too

simple for me, too

much of a Disney

ending, with the rich

uncle who comes

and saves him. I

felt that in this day

and age there was

a different story to

be told.

I started to look more at Fagin instead of

Oliver and that was it – explosions in my mind.

I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about

the character. He’s a villain but when you look at

the text he does show a caring side, elements of

camaraderie with the kids.

I thought, what happened to him before he became

the man we meet in the novel? What was

his upbringing? Was he really as bad as we think?

I suppose I saw a few similarities with myself in

some ways! I run a company and have a multitude

of young adults that I am responsible for, and it

can get tiring and frustrating.

Maybe that sounds like a leap but I don’t think

I could have called my company Avant Garde

Dance if we were just about regurgitated

ideas. I always want to be pushing boundaries, to

be innovative. If I’m not challenged by it, if it’s not

new for me, it doesn’t feel right to me.

I kind of brought myself up in terms of my

career. I didn’t have a mentor. I made mistakes.

I learned a lot. Artistically I don’t have any inhibitions

and that’s allowed me to think - I want to

make a dance film, I

want to make a show

that’s outdoors, I

want to do an adaptation,

a weird, contemporary

show. I

make shows in clubs,

WW2 bunkers…

anywhere I can.

I really wanted to

create a company

that stood for

something and

I’ve persevered

with that. I’ve been

running Avant Garde Dance for 15 years now. I

want to give young people opportunities to dance

and be creative.

In Fagin’s Twist we’re inviting young dancers

to take part in each of the places we’re touring.

I don’t like ‘curtain raisers’ - you know when you

have a group of young people at the beginning

of the show and they do their thing and everyone

claps then the ‘real show’ begins? We’re all dancers.

So I’ve created three moments in the show

that are based around local participants learning

the choreography beforehand then being on stage

with the professionals.

It’s important. I remember theatre and dance

companies coming into my school. It created

a strong memory at an early age and probably

inspired me to do what I do.

I guess the thing that drives me is that I get

bored easily. I like to be creative. I always have an

idea on the go, whether it’s for film, music, dance

or fashion. There’s always something bubbling…

As told to Nione Meakin by Tony Adigun

Attenborough Centre, 14th - 16th December

Photo by Rachel Cherry


氀 甀 砀 甀 爀 礀 挀 栀 爀 椀 猀 琀 洀 愀 猀

瀀 甀 搀 搀 椀 渀 最 猀

戀 甀 椀 氀 搀 礀 漀 甀 爀

漀 眀 渀 栀 愀 洀 瀀 攀 爀

圀 刀 䄀 倀 吀 䤀 伀 唀 匀

匀 吀 唀 䐀 䤀 伀

䌀 栀 爀 椀 猀 琀 洀 愀 猀 䜀 椀 昀 琀 猀



Road to Huntsville

Dead man S.W.A.L.K.I.N.G.

Stephanie Ridings’

play The Road to

Huntsville examines

the unexpected romantic


between death row

inmates in Texas and

their correspondents

on the outside.

I’m fascinated with

prison documentaries,


in America, where

women write to men on death row. It’s hard to

understand what’s in it for everyone – what they’re

getting – or think they’re getting – out of it. For

the person who’s incarcerated, it’s a lifeline to

the outside world. But when it tips over into the

romantic stuff – when the couple gets married, but

they’re never going to see or touch each other – I

just didn’t understand what that love was. The Road

to Huntsville explores a version of me – a writer

doing research on these relationships – who gets

in a bit too deep. It’s concentrated on prisons

in Livingston and Huntsville in Texas, as they

generally execute the most people per year. Here,

all visits are done through bulletproof glass – with

no physical contact.

It’s easy to be judgmental and say the women

are damaged and the men inside are just out

for money. But you can’t just write them off as

spinster cat ladies; it’s so much more complicated

than that. They’re from all walks of life, from all

social backgrounds, sometimes they’re even married.

Some just write to be a friend – or write to

women – and it doesn’t always become romantic.

Sometimes, though, the women are damaged and

this is a safe relationship for them; they can turn

this man into a fantasy because he’s not at home

leaving his underwear

lying about or not

washing the dishes

– he’s a mythical


The clandestine nature

of the romance

definitely plays a

part in its appeal

and letter-writing

makes it feel like a

proper old-fashioned

courtship. There’s also

the feeling of being in love, with this insurmountable

thing between you, keeping you from being

together. All of this heightens the relationship.

Putting myself into Texan culture was really

important in creating The Road to Huntsville,

because that world is just so foreign to me.

The team and I stood outside with protesters to

see how the town reacts when there’s an execution

on; we weren’t welcome at all! Most people don’t

even realise it’s happening – they just drive past,

like it’s a normal day. That part of Texas is quite

right wing; many are pro capital punishment.

With the death penalty, there don’t seem to

be any winners; the government say they do it

to give the victims’ families closure, but from

what I’ve seen and read, nobody gets much out of

the situation.

I’m currently researching a show we’re calling

The Fear of Fear – looking at the use of fear

to control and manipulate people for personal

gain. You know, like the President! To challenge

my own fears, I went caving. I was against it from

the start, so, as a writer, I was like, ‘I think we’re

going to have to do it’. It was horrific!

As told to Amy Holtz

The Marlborough, 6th December, 7.30pm

Photo by Graeme Braidwood




C hristmas


8th December 7:30pm

St Michael’s Church, Lewes

Eusebius Quartet with James Boyd

Mozart - String Quartet K590 in F major

M Haydn - String Quintet in B ßat with James Boyd, viola

Korngold - Quartet no.2 Op.26 in E ßat

Join us for a feast of music by some of BritainÕs Þnest performers,

including home-made MINCE PIES & MULLED WINE

Korngold MOZART


TICKETS: £15 || FREE for U26

Charity No 1151928

01273 479865 and at Baldwins Travel




The lingua franca of clowning

“I call it feeding a dragon,” Christina Gelsone says

fondly of her and husband Seth Bloom’s new project,

Air Play. The pair, otherwise known as the New

York-based clowning troupe Acrobuffos, perform

without words but their stories are dazzlingly

evocative. “You start out with this cute little egg and

then it becomes this massive thing that’s bigger than

you.” The ‘egg’ in question became a whimsical meld

of dance, clowning and circus, underpinned by the

sculptural artistry of Daniel Wurtzel.

“When we saw these beautiful moving air

sculptures, we reached out to Daniel. In circus,

aerialists and jugglers do wonderful things in the

air: clowns are there to ground you, to bring you

back to humanity after these stunning feats. It was

a puzzle to marry this visual high art and popular

entertainment together.” Seth’s laugh echoes his

wife’s. “Years of bashing our heads against the wall,

experimenting, trying to see what would work.”

“So,” I say, sheepishly, warming up to what seems

an inevitable question. “How exactly does someone

become a clown?”

“There’s a huge range of clowns – those who perform

at birthday parties in wigs, Charlie Chaplin

and Harold Lloyd on film, or clowns like David

Shiner and Bill Irwin who don’t wear makeup or

floppy shoes. But we want to make contact with the

public so they can laugh,” Seth explains, “And, we

don’t speak. When you don’t say anything, people

have to pay attention in a different way – to watch

to understand what’s going on. It allows us to create

a different poetic space for the audience.”

“You haven’t answered the question!” It’s a shame

that Christina’s laugh isn’t bottled and used in every

show. “I started as a dancer. Seth started as a juggler.

And then we were clown partners before the

kissing started… We’re lucky; we’re going on tour

for 200 days but not leaving anyone behind. Home

Photo by Florence Montmare

is wherever we are – we can work anywhere and eat

all the world’s great food.”

A worthwhile reason for choosing any profession;

but how does the world today feel about clowns?

“The ‘big stuff’ is funny everywhere – falling

down, getting spit on by water, slapstick, chases.”

Seth muses, “It’s the small jokes that change culturally.

In the US the rhythm of comedy is quick,

but in Germany we can slow down, people are

more patient, and in Spain and Portugal people

love silent clowns.”

“In Korea,” Christina adds, “they’re so effervescent;

the audience giggles at the tiniest things. Air

Play is made for the whole world – but it might

be American at its very roots, like musical theatre.

People put strange food on their bagels here, they

mix everything up; the show is a melting pot of

forms. What’s really exciting,” she enthuses, as if

the prospect of soaring umbrellas, dancing kites and

a giant snow globe weren’t enough, “is that we’re

customising the stage at the Dome, clearing out the

area where people usually sit and building most of

the stage there – so there’s a semi-circle around us.

It’ll feel just like the circus.” Amy Holtz

Brighton Dome, 21st-26th December


What’s on:

luke jermay: sixth sense 3 dec

Paris, Texas (1984) 4 dec

batman returns (1992) 5 dec

the jalapeno bop 9 dec

cinderella and the

beanstalk 14 dec - 6 jan

mischief and mystery in

moominvalley 22 dec - 2 jan

a festive treat for those who like their christmas panto with a twist

cinderella and the beanstalk








thu 14 dec - sat 6 jan

Hove’s Independent, High Quality

Live Theatre and Venue



The Argus



10 Ship St,


21 - 23





Kings Road,


27 - 30


That 8pm



- £18.00


Box office 01273 Year 709709 or That book online Was WWW.TREASONSHOW.CO.UK




Chris Green: Tina C

Happy birthday Jesus!

“It’s the smile,” Chris Green

says. “As I’m getting ready, I

do that hugely confident smile

into the mirror and I’m there

– I’m Tina.” The performer

is talking about Tina C, the

all-American country singer

with the big hair and even

bigger mouth.

Tina, who burst onto the music

scene with the unforgettable

album No D*ck is as Hard

as My Life, is one of Green’s

most enduring characters. She

was ‘born’ some 20 years ago

when Green, then a researcher

for a UK music TV channel, travelled to Nashville

and fell in love with country music. “I began

listening to a lot of female singer-songwriters and

it seemed obvious to do a fake version of that.

Tina was everything I wasn’t at the time. She had

huge self-belief – her worldview was 100 per cent

correct in her opinion. To be able to stride out on

stage with her confidence was very seductive.”

She’s not his only character – Brighton audiences

will also be familiar with aging music hall veteran

and ‘artificial hip hop’ pioneer Ida Barr – but she

is the one he returns to most. “Sometimes I feel

closer to her and understand her more than the

others. It depends what’s going on in the world. A

while ago I wasn’t very interested in doing Tina

any more and then 9/11 happened and I knew immediately

what she would think about it and how

it would allow me to talk about my own views.”

Tina has always been a political animal; in 2007

she attempted to solve Australia’s Aboriginal

tensions in her Adelaide Cabaret Festival show

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, while her BBC

Radio 4 series, Tina C, from

Middle America to the Middle

East, saw her take on another

thorny issue with a megawatt

smile and unwavering confidence.

Now, Green reveals,

she will be making her second

presidential bid (the last was in

2008) and challenging Trump

in 2020.

Green struggled with the idea

for some time: “A year ago I

thought there was nothing to

say about American politics - it

was too extreme. I felt it had

gone beyond parody. Sometimes

you can make things ‘safe’ by joking about

them, but Trump is not funny. He’s scary. Now I

feel I’ve got my head around what I want to say

and I know how I want to do it.”

That’s next year’s show, however. In the meantime,

he’s back at Komedia with Tina’s Christmas show

Happy Birthday Jesus! a celebration of two famously

schmaltzy traditions. “There’s such a great canon of

country Christmas songs because Christmas is all

about hokey things – family, love, tradition – and

so is country. From about October onwards I play

mainly Christmas albums – I love The One and Only

Wynonna Judd Christmas Album and Mary J Blige’s A

Very Mary Christmas – and get a bit tearful.”

I wonder if Tina is someone he would consider

spending Christmas with? “Ha ha!,” he splutters.

“I’m not even sure we’d be friends. Tina would

think I was irrelevant and wonder why she was

being introduced to me, and I would just be starstruck.

It wouldn’t be a very equal relationship.”

Nione Meakin

Komedia, 11th & 12th December, 8pm, £15



Learn to think about

your craft in a new way

Starts September 2018

Contact Patrick Letschka




On this month...

If you’re very quick,

you’ll catch our

Viva Cover Story

2017 exhibition

at The Regency

Town House

at 13 Brunswick

Square from the

1st to the 3rd. We

look back at twelve

months and 24

fantastic covers,

with photographic

portraits by Adam Bronkhorst and cartoons by

Joe Decie too. Our sincere thanks to Spectrum

[] and the good folk at The

Regency Town House who have enabled us to put on

the show. Come along and see us over the weekend.

Best mag in the free world

Brazilian-born and Brighton-based fine art

photographer Andre Lichtenberg has an

exhibition at 35 North Gallery until the 16th.

His award-winning photographic studies of

the environment and architecture explore

his fascination with the complex and fragile

relationship between man and nature.


‘London with Fog’ (detail) by Andre Lichtenberg

Brighton from the Station Yard’, John Piper, Brighton

Aquatints, 1939 © The Piper Estate / DACS 2017

An exhibition of John Piper’s work opens at Brighton

Museum & Art Gallery on the 12th. The significance

of his Brighton Aquatints book - published in November

1939 - in his artistic development is widely recognised, but

has never before been explored in detail. This display will

include related books,

letters, sketches, prints and

designs, and is curated by

architectural and design

historian Alan Powers.

Gluck: Art & Identity, a major

new exhibition of the life and work of the 20th century artist and pioneer

of gender fluidity, continues alongside. [] Collage

artist Julie Kuyath is creating whimsical Christmas windows for i gigi in

Hove, featuring a sparkling snow globe and white peacock. Raffle tickets are

available in both the boutique and general store, with a chance to win prizes

including the featured prints. Proceeds go to support Macmillan Cancer

Trust, in particular the recently opened Horizon Cancer Centre.

‘Snowglobe’ by Julie Kuyath




On this month (cont)...

‘Fat Goose’ by Judy Stevens at AOH

The creative Christmas shopping opportunities abound... Brighton’s

Artists’ Open Houses continue until the 10th, with more than 50

houses on the festive trail. [] The famous Brighton &

Hove Calendar is out, with 52 images by 21 Brighton photographers

including Roger Bamber, Kate Benjamin and our very own JJ Waller.

And Nick Sayers has produced a calendar of ‘solagraph’ images of local

landmarks. They are created by pinhole cameras - made from beer cans

and photographic paper - with exposure times of three to six months.

They’re available from City Books and Kemptown Bookshop or at

Nick’s Etsy shop (where you can buy pinhole cameras too).

The 2017 Artists and Makers market is at Lewes Town Hall on the

2nd with upwards of 80

stalls, home-made cakes and

an art table for the kids too.

(10am-5pm, £1 entry, kids go free). The Turner-Dumbrell

Workshops in Ditchling are holding a Christmas Shopping Day

on the 9th. Studios offering a variety of work including fine art

prints, jewellery and calligraphy will be open from 10am-4pm

and there’s plenty of free parking in the old farmyard. Enjoy free

mince pies and mulled wine (or coffee and cookies) whilst you

chat to the makers. []

Solargraph by Nick Sayers


to the new Director

of Ditchling

Museum of Art

+ Craft, Steph

Fuller, who takes

up her post in

January. She has

described the museum’s



collections and

beautiful building’ as a ‘jewel in the South

Downs National Park.’ We couldn’t agree

more. []

‘Forest Storm’ by Jennifer Bisset



Pelham House

in Lewes will

be holding its

annual Open Art

Exhibition from

24th January

until 6th

March 2018.

All Sussex-based artists are invited to submit 2D

work for the exhibition by emailing images of

their work to by

Tuesday the 19th December. For more details



The Tristram Panels

Ends 17 December · Thurs to Sun · 12–5pm

Martyrs’ Gallery, Lewes ·

You won’t find the best views of Brighton

and the Downs at the top of the i360

You’ll find them at the

gallery next door



Prints | Books | Cards

Home of the world famous Brighton & Hove Calendar | 52-53 Kings Road Arches | 01273 227 523

BrightonPhotography-VIVA2017.indd 1 16/10/2017 12:12



Ruby Ruth dolls

...and their ambitions

‘Polly once asked Jarvis Cocker to dance at a party

but he said no.’ ‘Ingrid enjoys contemplating the

size of the universe while doing her weekly shop at

Lidl.’ ‘Ray hasn’t missed Glastonbury since 1971.’

These are Jenny Mustill’s creations: the Ruby Ruth

dolls. Each of the thirty-odd characters comes with

its own name and one-line bio. “Malcolm and Rita

have been the most popular,” Jenny says. “Malcolm

looks out to sea for answers, and Rita believes in

love at first sight.” The couple’s popularity spiked

when they were picked up by local vlogger Zoella;

they now feature alongside her waxwork in Madame


Jenny started making the dolls with a group of

friends after she graduated, selling them at local

market stalls. The markets went well and she started

travelling with them to festivals, setting up shop in

a tipi. “The bodies used to be made out of my old

cast-off clothes,” she says, “and the hats were made

out of old recycled jumpers.” The characters and

designs have changed a lot over the years. Jenny’s

very first doll, who still lives with her in her studio

in the Rodhus building on Hollingdean Road, is

small enough to lie in the palm of her hand; some of

the recent additions to the Ruby Ruth family stand

at several feet tall.

One of the characteristics that has stayed is their

giant button eyes, although Jenny now has to

improvise when it comes to the larger dolls: “The

really big ones have to be laser cut, and then I melt

them in the oven to make them dome-shaped,” she

explains. Their hats still are made out of recycled

jumpers, although the increased demand for the

dolls means that the rest of the fabrics now come in

on rolls.

“We’re organising an open day here on the 2nd,”

Jenny says. “It’ll be the first ever Rodhus open day,

and an opportunity to meet everyone. There’s The

Private Press, Little Deer (industrial-style interiors

company), the pottery upstairs, jewellers, chocolatiers,

upholsterers, light designers, coffee roasters

from Coffee at 33…” It sounds like the perfect

local-Christmas-shopping opportunity. For more

information, find the event on Eventbrite or via her

Facebook page: @RubyRuthDolls. RC


We also run

regular fused

glass workshops -

dates for 2018

now available.

Jason Eyre Decorating

Professional Painters & Decorators



07766 118289 / 07976 418299

01273 858300

available from





A lesson in Instagram

Styling your Christmas table

Christmas: it’s the most instagrammable time of

the year. But I often find myself scrolling through

other people’s feeds, wondering how they’ve

managed to achieve picture after picture of festive

perfection. What are they doing to make their

photos look so good?

To find out, I’ve asked Emma Harris, a local photographer

and blogger (, to come

in and give the Viva team a few tips on getting the

perfect shots of our Christmas table settings. It’s a

particularly big ask, because we have limited festive

props available (it’s only early November) and the

fluorescent lighting and wood-effect surfaces of

the Viva Brighton office are not exactly the ideal

cosy-lifestyle-shot conditions. We each bring in

whatever decorations we can dig up at home and

assemble our contributions in a heap on one of the

desks, awaiting Emma’s arrival.

She walks in and is surprisingly unfazed by the task

at hand. She spreads out a tablecloth one of us has

brought in across a desk and starts work on a centrepiece,

comprising a couple of branches of foliage

I picked up at the florist this morning. She lays the

greenery in a garland across the middle of the table,

placing three candlesticks in between the branches.

Looking for a bit of colour, she spots a bag of easy

peelers on a shelf and these become a part of the

display, along with a couple of apples and an oddly

shaped pear. She lays one place at the table, and our

first ‘look’ is complete.

Then we begin photographing. “It’s always best to

shoot in natural light,” Emma says, switching off the

lights. “If you’re photographing from above, you

want to make sure your phone is flat,” she explains,

demonstrating, before we all join in. The same rule

applies for shooting straight-on: the phone should

be at 90° to the table to get the best results.

As we all snap away she offers lots of helpful advice:

negative space – leaving room around the object of

focus (in this case the plate) – can make for a much

more visually pleasing picture. She teaches us about

the ‘rule of thirds’, and about using filters wisely. By

the end of the hour we each have a gallery of staged

Christmas pics and (some of us more than others)

are ready to get started on the real thing. Not long

to go… Rebecca Cunningham

On December 4th, Emma is running a Styling with

Botanicals workshop with AS Apothecary in Lewes.

Spaces are limited. For tickets and info visit her blog.

View her enviable Instagram: @aquietstyle




Toby Tiger

Classic kids’ clothing

I doubt there’s a parent in town who hasn’t at

least seen, or likely laundered, one of childrenswear

designer Zoe Mellor’s animal babygrows or

rainbow-striped T-shirts.

Zoe is the founder of the Gardner Street institution

Toby Tiger and author of a dozen knitting

books. She was one of the first graduates selected

for New Designers and soon after had a string of

publishing commissions and an agent selling her

knitwear internationally.

After the birth of her first child, however, Zoe

realised she had to come up with a more scalable

business plan. She launched her label in 1998,

named after her son, Toby Tiger. The business is

about to turn 20 and is still going strong, distributing

to hundreds of mostly independent retailers

across the country.

Toby Tiger started as a range of quirky, organic

cotton slogan T-shirts, which in the 90s was a little

out of the ordinary. “Before we came along,” says

Zoe, “if you were going to do organic, there were

no prints - it was very beige and brown bread.”

Zoe’s dad worked as an architect for the UN and

the family travelled a lot. Her eternally bright

colour palette is inspired by growing up in the

Caribbean, a childhood she still dreams of. Toby

Tiger is now one of the few brands that are

Global Organic Textile Standard Certified, which

demands the entire supply chain be checked. This

commitment to ethical production is her father’s

influence also, who “talked a lot about recycling

and green energy ahead of his time”.

Zoe still designs all the clothes, carefully adding

to existing lines using a consistent palette so

pieces work together over seasons and even

years. It’s important to her that items be passed

on. “I try to choose colours to compliment skin

tone, so they’re bright but not luminous,” she

says. “I just want kids to look their best, and they

are beautiful - you don’t have to do too much.

Simplicity is key.”

Inspiration comes through osmosis, says Zoe.

“Design is a big part of my environment… I think

Brighton is a little bit ahead of the rest of the UK,

so you just get a feeling for what’s coming.”

Now, Toby Tiger has been going so long that

many early pieces are coming back ‘in’. Zoe will

be revamping some of their first slogan Ts as part

of their anniversary range. “I do feel we’ve been a

little bit inspirational,” she says, and clearly there


are many more labels working to a similar

ethos and aesthetic now.

Not many can say they’ve literally watched

their customers grow up though, to pass their

much-loved outfits on to siblings and friends.

Being a fixture of North Laine means parents

regularly pop for a browse and a chat. “I still

nearly crash my car if I see a child wearing our

little jacket or a T-shirt,” says Zoe, smiling.

“They don’t have to be new things, it could

be, ‘that’s an old design but it’s still going

strong’… It’s a real pleasure.”

Interview by Chloë King

Toby Tiger are hosting wreath-making workshops

on Dec 4th, 5th and 6th – call 01273

693000 for details. They are offering a 20%

discount for VIVA readers until the end of

December 2017 – use code VIVA20 in store or




at Middle Farm

Aromatic English-grown Christmas

trees, locally-made hedgerow

wreaths. Original gift ideas and

delightful decorations.

Middle Farm, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6LJ

Christmas order line 01323 811411


For a lot of people, Christmas is a time for family. For these people, every day is

a time for family. We’ve been out with Adam Bronkhorst photographing families

who work together, asking each of them: ‘what’s the best thing about Christmas?’ | 07879 401333

Manju Patel with her sons Jaymin and Naimesh and

daughter-in-law Dipali (Manju’s restaurant)

“The best thing about Christmas is spending the whole day with my boys,

my daughters-in-law and - of course - my grandchildren.”


Ollie Ovett with his dad Dave and cousin Jackie (Dave Ovett & Sons)

“Christmas Eve. I get to close at about two and take the kids out.”


Alfie Allen with his dad Simon (Allen & Sons shoe repairs)

“Presents! I open them all before breakfast.”


Amy Lawrence with her brother Adam (Lawrence Art Supplies)

“Christmas stockings! I just love waking up on Christmas day and digging through a giant sock full of gifts.”


Rachel Lowe with her partner Simon Parker and dog Treacle (Vinyl Revolution)

“Christmas day, because we get the day off!”


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Soul Food Sunday

Traditional roast, with a Caribbean twist

Whatever your festive

traditions, at this

time of year there’s

nothing quite like a

roast dinner to make

you feel all warm and

fuzzy inside. For that

reason, we decided

that in this issue

of Viva we would

dedicate all our food

reviews to roasts:

one traditional roast

at a less traditional pub, one roast crammed into a

midweek lunch break, and this: a roast with a twist.

The twist is Caribbean, courtesy of Darren and

Helen, whose Soul Food Sundays take over Juke’s

Bar and Kitchen on Portland Road once a week. I

reserved a table a while ago because I’ve heard this

place gets full on a Sunday. Two of us get there

early and Helen offers us some cocktails while

we’re waiting: I go for a rum punch and István

orders a daiquiri.

The other two arrive shortly after our drinks.

Çigdem is looking a bit peaky. “She’s not feeling

very well,” Andreas explains. “Oh no, are you

getting a cold?” I offer, sympathetically. “No…”

she sighs. It seems the sickness is more Saturday

night-related. But she valiantly orders herself a

cocktail anyway.

I already know what I’m having to eat: the veggie

option is ‘Stewed Peas’ (lentils). For meat eaters,

there’s Beef Pot Roast, Roast Chicken or Half/

half (the description just says: ‘it’s big’). They order

one of each. The place is pretty full, mostly with a

birthday party of about 15 at the table next to us.

There’s a fabulous live singer at the front of the

restaurant – hence the ‘soul’ – and a generally nice

hum of chatter.

The first food to

arrive at the table

is two jars of ‘Aunty

Debbie’s chutney’, –

one spicy, one not so

spicy. Then a second

round of cocktails

(for some of us).

Then the main


My stewed lentils

come in a little dish

on the plate, which is an unusual layout for a roast,

but the flavour is gorgeous. The chicken leg is

bigger than any I’ve seen on a bird. It appears to

have been very well marinated before roasting, and

I’m told it’s perfectly cooked – juicy and a little bit

spicy. The beef also gets good reviews, although its

consumer is approaching it in small mouthfuls for

reasons previously discussed. The half and half, I

feel, is inappropriately named: it appears to be a full

portion of each. It is big.

The sides don’t disappoint either. As well as the

traditional accompaniments – roast potatoes,

Yorkshire puddings, stuffing – there’s red cabbage

stewed in Caribbean spices and, in my opinion,

the best part: crispy slices of fried plantain. They

don’t scrimp on anything; even the veggie gravy is

24-hours cooked.

When we leave, all happy and full, the afternoon

has become one of those perfect wintery ones: crisp

and fresh, already getting dark. “Shall we find a nice

pub with a fire?” somebody suggests.


“I know somewhere perfect.”

“Uh… ok.”

Rebecca Cunningham




Photo by Chloë King




Foodini Club

Postal cookery kits for kids

Anyone who has watched a child lose interest

in a magazine as soon as the plastic tat is ripped

off the cover knows many kids’ activities offer

little bang for your buck. The surprising joy of

Foodini Club, therefore, is the sheer quantity of

fun it provides - starting with the old-fashioned

delight of having a parcel delivered.

Foodini Club are a Brighton start-up offering

beautifully presented products to help parents

and kids aged 4+ get adventurous in the

kitchen, for £3.75-£15 a month. Their range

includes a Recipe Card Club, double and single

local subscriber boxes with store-cupboard

ingredients, and a postal kit containing dry

ingredients. My six-year-old daughter Saoirse

and I are trying one of their quarterly seasonal

specials containing four autumnal recipes, preweighed

ingredients for two tasty snacks and a

bonus craft activity.

We begin by taking a trip to South Farm in

Rodmell to pick pumpkins, which gets us even

more excited about cooking our veg. Back at

home we sacrifice one, Saoirse scooping the seeds

and me carving. All the recipes in our kit - two

savoury, two sweet – use roast pumpkin puree, so

while our pumpkin cooks, we do some drawing.

Saoirse is inspired by the cute Foodini Club

illustrations and decides to create her own stepby-step

instructions. After that, her attention

turns to the pack’s craft activity and we make

paper pumpkins out of card and pipe-cleaners

that double up as perfect Christmas baubles.

This occupies us until tea time, so we’ve already

enjoyed more entertainment than a standard

recipe would provide. We blend the roasted

pumpkin and, satisfied with our work, put it in

the fridge for later.

The next day Saoirse chooses to cook the

‘Pumperolls’ - a version of the Scandi classic

cinnamon rolls with grated apple, pumpkin and

maple syrup. It’s a more complex recipe than I

would usually choose to make with her, but we

get on great. Here’s how to cook them:

Grate one apple, mix with 60g pumpkin puree,

1tsp cinnamon, ½tsp ground ginger, 3tbsp maple

syrup, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Warm 120ml milk with 50g butter or oil, add

1tsp of fast action yeast, 3tbsp maple syrup

and leave to bubble for ten minutes. Combine

your dry ingredients – 150g plain flour, 130g

wholewheat flour, 1tsp cinnamon, ¼tsp nutmeg,

½tsp salt – with another 60g of pumpkin puree

and the milk mixture. Stir to a dough and turn

onto a floured worktop. Knead for five minutes,

return to a bowl, cover and leave to double in

size for about 45 minutes.

Roll the risen dough on a floured worktop into

a large rectangle about 1cm thick and spread the

spiced pumpkin mixture all over. Roll into a long

sausage, slice into 8-10 rounds and arrange on

a lined baking sheet. Turn your oven to 180°C

and leave the rolls to rise for 20 mins while it

heats. Bake for 20 mins or until golden, turn onto

a wire rack to cool and glaze with a little more

syrup before gobbling them up. “They’re yummy,

scrummy diddly-umptious,” says Saoirse.

Chloë King








www.THEsussE x H amPERCOm P a N y.CO.uK 01273 387 220

Now open

Source at Stanmer offers a seasonal

menu where the emphasis is on clean

and simple flavours, with all meat,

fish and fresh produce sourced from

within 20 miles of the house.

Our Grade 1 listed Georgian country

manor has also been sensitively

renovated creating a sumptuous home

from home, with beautiful antiques

juxtaposed with reclamation yard

finds, 70s glamour and modern patterns.

Source believes in the farm to fork

approach providing a sociable setting

for feasting on the finest local produce.

A new, 100% Sussex offering.

To book please call

01273 680400

Proud Country House, Stanmer Park,

Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QA



The Bevvy

Veggie Wellington, community style

The barman at The

Bevvy looks confused

when I tell him I’ve got

a booking for five for a

Sunday roast. “Are you

part of the table for

eighteen?” he asks. It’s

my turn to be confused

until I remember

that I’ve arranged to

meet Dale, the most

convivial Canadian

I know (and in my

experience they’re a pretty convivial bunch). She

can turn putting the bins out into a fully fledged

street party so, as people drift in from different

directions - from dog walks and football matches -

we’re soon taking up two long tables.

The thought of preparing a roast dinner for

eighteen is enough to give me palpitations, but the

folks at The Bevvy are seemingly unfazed by the

prospect. In case you don’t already know the story,

The Bevvy was the first community-owned pub

when it reopened in December 2014. Closed in

2010 due to antisocial behaviour, it was rescued by

sheer determination and a huge collective effort by

local residents. More than 700 shareholders (and

the blessing of the local church and public health

department) later, the community-owned business

is back at the centre of life on the estate and it’s

doing a whole lot more than pies and pints. Like

Friday Friends, a lunch club for senior citizens

catered for by the students of St John’s School and

College (who also prepare the veg for our Sunday

lunch); Lifts for Locals to Albion games; Brains

at The Bevvy (a sort-of hyper-local TED talks);

a community training kitchen running cookery

courses for kids; a dementia café; two pizzas for a

tenner; karaoke nights

and - on the day we

visit - a place to get

a huge roast dinner

for just £7.95 (if you

book before Saturday


I’m not one for

sculptural, crispy

parsnips and skimpy

gravy and there’s

none of that here.

Just honest, no-frills,

generous pub grub. There’s beef, pork, chicken and

a veggie option to choose from and they arrive at

the table in huge, steaming platefuls. I’ve got the

veggie Wellington: a tasty pastry parcel bursting

with squash, feta and mushrooms; the others have

got the beef and the chicken, all surrounded by

piles of veg. Cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes

and cauliflower cheese, all awash with gravy. It

goes very quiet as we set about the task in hand,

occasionally piping up with approving noises.

There isn’t any dessert on offer (which is just as

well really) and, with no washing up, all that’s left

to do is to loosen the belt and slump a little deeper

into the chair. I note that there’s a Christmas menu

available for parties of six or more up until the

20th of December (with three courses for £20 a

head and a free bottle of wine per party) so those

of you who share my fear of mass catering might

just want to roll Christmas forward a week and

book yourselves in at The Bevvy. And if you buy

all your family a share in the pub (just £10 each),

that’s Christmas wrapped up. You’re welcome.

Lizzie Lower

50 Hillside, Bevendean. 01273 281009





Enjoy a welcome glass of Prosecco, a delicious

3 course meal with coffee/mint tea to finish and

festive extras throughout for only £30pp.

Book now to secure your date


call 01273 605 885

The Blue Man Restaurant

10 Manchester Street, Brighton




Yorkie roast wraps

“How often do you get to have a roast on a

Wednesday?” I’m sitting with Viva’s ‘Photographer at

Large’ Adam Bronkhorst in the Sidewinder, which is

almost empty because it’s barely scraped noon. We’ve

spent the morning photographing this month’s The

Way We Work series and we’re both starving, so it’s

the perfect opportunity to try the pub’s Yorkie Roast

Wraps: roast dinner in a Yorkshire pudding ‘wrap’

with potatoes on the side and gravy for dipping. I’ve

gone for the veggie option – lentil roast – and Adam’s

chosen the beef. As soon as the plates arrives I dig in.

It’s a two-hand job; the wraps are full and the soft

batter is only just holding together, but the flavour is

incredible. Every bite is like the ‘ultimate mouthful’

(when you keep back a small bit of each element of a

meal so that your final forkful contains a little bit of

everything). “This is amazing,” I proclaim when I’m

halfway through my wrap, gravy trickling down my

fingers. I look up to see Adam delicately cutting into

his with a knife and fork.

“How’s the beef?” I ask.

“It’s good,” he says, “but it’s not like slices of beef that

have been roasted, it’s more like beef in a stew. The

taste is good though.”

Mine is better than good. I think I’ll be back for

another one very soon. Rebecca Cunningham

Available Mon-Sat. 65 Upper St James’s St

Photo by Adam Bronkhorst



Food & Drink

Fin and Farm

Your one-stop shop for

a Sussex Christmas!

Fresh Sussex-grown food

delivered to your door: from free-range,

outdoor reared and dry-hung turkey to

seasonal Sussex veg and fine Sussex wines,

beers and liqueurs (not forgetting the

cheeseboard). Fin and Farm connects you

to local farms and delivers fresh, ethical

and locally sourced food to your door. Go

Sussex and bypass the food-shopping stress!

The Better Half

The Better Half pub has

put the heart and soul back

into one of the oldest public

houses in the city, just off

Hove seafront. There’s a superb wine and

spirits list and some great ales and ciders on

offer, as well as a hearty and wholesome menu

to enjoy, making the best of local ingredients.

The Better Half is relaxed, friendly and

easy-going, making all feel welcome and

comfortable when you visit. 1 Hove Place,

01273 737869,

Edible Updates

Another opening this month: Source is the

new restaurant at Proud Country House in

Stanmer Park. Head Chef James Mitchell

(formerly of The Savoy in London) is serious

about using local produce,

so serious, in fact, that

his new kitchen will

use only ingredients

sourced from within

a 20-mile radius of its

front door.

If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for your

foodie friends, Terre à Terre have a great

selection of local and seasonal goodies. Pick up

a hamper (veggie or vegan options available)

or choose your own items from their shelves.

New delicatessen Alchemy Fine Foods on

Trafalgar Street also has plenty of delicious

festive treats. If you’re up for travelling a bit

further, the food hall at

South Downs Nurseries

in Hassocks has a huge

choice of local produce,

including Sussex beers

and wines. Worth the


Terre à Terre

The local go-to for the most

creative vegetarian food in

Brighton, always delivered

with a cheeky little pun! Offering lunch and

dinner options from small plates and sharing

tapas to three-course set meals, not forgetting

the afternoon-tea menu, multi-tiered savoury,

sweet and traditional delights available

from 3-5pm daily. Enjoy one of the unique

cocktails, or a glass from the extensive organic

wine list, with a little nibble off the à la carte.

71 East Street, 01273 729051,

Finally, the local befriending charity Time

to Talk are looking for volunteers to help

them deliver Christmas dinners to

older, vulnerable people living

in Brighton & Hove. They

need help preparing

and delivering meals

between 11am and 2pm

on Christmas Day; if

you’d like to get involved

contact them on 01273

737710 or


Book a table for 6 or more people at

from now until 30th December 2017

and we’ll throw in a bottle of fizz

for your table!*

116A Western Rd, Hove, Brighton BN1 2AB

(*Excluding Christmas Day & Boxing Day when the restaurant is closed)


SUNDAY 28 TH JANUARY - 11am - 3pm

Beautiful historic barns lovingly

restored for ceremonies,

wedding receptions & blessings

Call us: 01903 871 594

Email us at:

Find us: Clapham | Worthing | West Sussex | BN13 3XN



Nordic baking

Self-improvement, with buns

I discovered the most delicious fact recently. There

are sourdough hotels at Swedish airports. There

the nation’s precious sourdough starters are fed and

nursed by suitably artisanal fermentation aficionados,

lest the bubbling brew be arrested in their

owner’s absence. This I found out one November

evening at the Nordic Baking workshop at Stoneham

Bakehouse: a thoroughly enjoyable two-and-ahalf

hours spent with its founder, Simon Cobb, and

four other budding bakers.

The evening starts with preparing the dough for

rye bread: a simple matter of mixing stoneground

white and wholegrain rye flour with yeast, salt

and warm water until it’s a lot like claggy, wet

cement. This, we are assured, is as it should be.

The dough is left to prove under a showercap for

a while before we roughly shape it with wet hands

and smooth it into 1lb tins. It proves a little longer

before being slid into the huge oven.

Next we start on a batch of cinnamon buns. This

dough requires the rubbing in of butter, and the

addition of an egg, a healthy dose of ground cardamom

and some sugar and, once kneaded and left to

prove (more showercaps), we get to the cinnamon

bit, forking together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon

in gratifying quantities. The wafting spices

induce a sensory, seasonal reverie.

It’s all set to one side and the table is cleared for

a tasty Scandinavian supper of rye bread topped

with beetroot, apple, fennel and horseradish, and a

sweet and earthy parsnip and apple soup. As we eat,

Simon tells us how he got into baking on doctor’s

orders. Advised to learn something new to assist

with his recovery from a breakdown, he took a

breadmaking course at the Community Kitchen in

Lewes and, after stints baking at various locations,

set up the community bakehouse on Stoneham

Road. Now these Tuesday workshops help to fund

those that he offers on a Wednesday, to people with

their own mental health challenges, the elderly

and the isolated. Then he opens the bakery on the

weekend to supply Poets Corner with delicious

bread, buns and seasonal treats. It’s a wonderfully

virtuous circle.

Supper finished, we roll out our proved, spiced

dough, applying generous amounts of the cinnamon

butter before folding and rolling again. Then

dough is divided, twisted and knotted into individual

buns that receive an egg wash and a scattering

of sugar nibs before being swallowed up by the

industrial oven.

Soon the rye loaves are ready and Simon taps them

out. They’re risen, with satisfyingly cracked tops,

and are soon followed by the buns, whose sugary

innards have spread onto the parchment. They’ve

not even begun to cool before I’m planning my

next visit – maybe for the olive oil breads or the hot

cross buns workshop – and wondering if it would

be very greedy to eat all eight buns myself… LL

Bread making for beginners: 4 hours, £50. Nordic

Baking, etc: 21/2 hours, £25. Vouchers are available.

2 Stoneham Road,


Cover Story

2 0 1 7

The Regency Town House

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd December,

10am until 5pm.

Sponsored by Spectrum and

The Regency Town House.



Family History

The truth is out there

Are you thinking about delving into your family

history? The ideal way to start this, I’m told by

Mick Henry, chair of the Sussex Family History

Group, is to ask older relatives about the past. If

they are happy to talk about it, you might encourage

reminiscences about their lives, the relationships between

family members (this might not be unbiased

information of course!) and who is who in photos.

Plus talking about objects can be interesting. A

clock, war medals, a notebook with family recipes

in it. After my grandfather died, I discovered he’d

kept a notebook with a record (weight and value) of

every vegetable he ever grew on his allotment, so

he knew how much money he’d saved. There was

also a stash of ‘Chaplin Green’ paint he used for

everything, that seems to have been acquired when

he was in the Home Guard, but perhaps the less

said about that the better.

Discovering your own family narrative can be a

wonderful, rewarding activity, and you can pass

what you discover on to future generations. But,

from my own experiences, families are often

complicated, and what we’ve been told isn’t always

the whole picture. Marriage and birth certificates

occasionally have dates and details altered to cover

pre-marital births, for example, or the true name

of a baby’s father. When we’re finding information

from an era when unmarried mothers were outcasts

and reliable contraception all but non-existent,

we need to remember that a significant number

of babies, especially illegitimate ones, were given

away. Some were handed over to childless couples,

or another family member. Some were abandoned.

There are many poignant stories of foundlings. And

even if the names and dates we find are correct,

they don’t tell you everything. They can provide

evidence of why things might have happened… but

be alert for buried secrets and potential emotional

hand grenades. Because when you know something,

you can’t un-know it. And you may discover that not

everyone will want to learn ‘the truth’.

Those caveats notwithstanding, Brighton has

two superb resources to help with family history

searches. The Keep, near Falmer, houses a worldclass

archive, and offers regular interesting talks

and surgeries. Also based there is the Sussex Family

History Group, a charity founded in 1972. It has

its own library at The Keep, run by around 20

volunteers who help people with family history. It

offers members (£15 per year) access to the Sussex

marriage index from 1550-1837, and it has nearly

finished transcribing baptisms and burials from East

and West Sussex for the same period. It also holds

many Sussex wills. Many of its records are now

digitalised or indexed. Emma Chaplin

The Keep, open Tues-Sat. For information about

surgeries, talks and services, see

The Sussex Family History Group (which is looking

for new volunteers) is usually available to consult

Tues-Fri, 10am-4pm.

Photo by Lizzie Lower




Charity number 216250/SC037605




Peer support for screen teens

Daisy Cresswell and

her sister Tayler are

the founders of social

media company Liberty842.

Now Daisy

(pictured left) tells us

how they’re cutting

back on big name

clients to focus on

helping teenagers and

parents understand

each other better.

We’ve worked in social media for years, managing

accounts for celebrities like Alan Carr and

creating online narratives for shows including Holby

City and The Archers. Our experience has been really

positive but I was increasingly concerned about

the way my teenage daughters used social media.

My youngest, who’s 13, seems to spend all

day behind her bedroom door on Snapchat and

Instagram. When she goes somewhere without

wifi, she’ll ask her older sister to keep up with her

Snapchat ‘streaks’ [where users are rewarded for

keeping conversations going as long as possible].

I never knew exactly what she was up to but I

was reading about how one in four girls aged 14

have depression fuelled by social media. I thought,

I can’t look back with good conscience and say I

didn’t do anything while this is the world I work in.

I spoke to my 16-year-old about it, she said

something interesting - how the hierarchy in our

house changed when I wasn’t there and instead of

squabbling, she almost became ‘mum’ and the two

of them talked to each other.

I came up with the idea of Brighton5, an

initiative made by teenagers for teenagers as a

peer support system. We have a group of girls

aged 16 to 18 who

discuss mental

health, body image,

pocket money,


school and college.

They will go on a

mission to try and

sort this shit out and

have fun doing it. It’s

TV-based and we

hope to start filming

in the Easter holidays.

It turned out that most of the girls were as

worried about social media as their parents.

One said, ‘If we had a world without social media

I wouldn’t miss it’. That was astonishing. But it

goes back to the point that if you can’t talk to your

child, you’ll never know that’s how they really feel.

The second strand of the project is a parent

podcast – exploring their fears about teenage

behaviour. I went to look at the Mass Observation

archive at The Keep and even in the 80s and 90s

diarists were writing things like ‘teenagers are

trouble’. Yet they were teenagers once. I thought

it would be funny to look at the way we were as

teens and compare that to today. Are our kids

really any worse than we were?

Brighton5 is a really big deal for Tayler and

me. We’ve culled 70% of our client base and

I’ve been working on Brighton5 nonstop since

July. Yet I’ve never been so determined about our

mission – to make (good) trouble!

As told to Nione Meakin

Daisy and Tayler are keen to hear from parents

who would like to take part in the podcast. Visit for details




Brighton Table

Tennis Club

Founding Director,

Tim Holtam

“I always wanted to be a teacher but I didn’t know

this was going to happen,” explains Tim Holtam,

founding director of the Brighton Table Tennis

Club. “We started small with one evening a week

for local kids at the Brighton Youth Centre and we

kept going. We realised that there was potential to

do more and that you could use table tennis as a

tool for social action.” Now, more than 400 people

access the club each week. As well as hundreds

of local kids, there are sessions for the over 50s,

for adults with learning disabilities, for people

who are street homeless, for children from the

Traveller community, for looked-after children, for

unaccompanied child migrants and refugees... the

list goes on. “Everyone involved in the club benefits

from these projects. They are all about integration,

building a strong community and about everyone

playing together.”

Their latest collaboration is with High Down Prison

and Downview Women’s Prison. “It’s the perfect

model for engagement. We’ll go in and run level one

coaching courses, then we can start bussing in some

over 50s and disabled youngsters to be taught by the

prisoners. It’s going to be so good.”

He and co-founder Harry McCarney both played

at an elite level as teenagers and their sporting

ambitions are just as keenly pursued as their social

agenda. Anyone who shows potential quickly moves

up the ranks. “Now we’ve got so many people

playing at a participatory level that we can employ

our coach Pedro full-time to work solely with

our elites; a group of local players who have been

training for over five years and are now ranked

in the top 20 in England for their age. We’re in a

position that no other table tennis club is in. Sport

England and Comic Relief fund specific projects for

looked-after children, marginalised women, women

leaving prison, the homeless and refugees. We got

to go to parliament to speak to Lord Dubs about

refugee policy and our work here, and last week

we were in Portugal watching the World Down’s

Syndrome Championships [where club coach Harry

Fairchild won a medal]. I’ve got an insight into all

these different areas and we’re celebrating what

everyone is able to do.”

He attributes their success to the accessibility of the

sport. “Of any activity, table tennis has the lowest

barriers to entry. It’s really cheap to set up, it’s space




efficient, and anyone can play. Ping pong tables draw people to

them. When you’re standing at the other end you can have a

conversation, it’s almost like having a dance. There are sessions

in here where you’ve got six-year-olds playing with 90-year-olds.

We get professional players from abroad – people from more

than 60 nationalities play here. There’s something for everyone

and we’re open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.”

With so much going on, I wonder if it gets a little unruly

but Tim struggles to recall any trouble. “There aren’t any

rules on the walls. The only rule is ‘try’. The best form of

behaviour management isn’t laying down the law. It’s getting

kids engaged… as soon as they’ve been here a few months and

they can play, they feel part of something. Then they can start

helping and they have a purpose. It’s amazing, the results we see.

“On a Tuesday we have Irish Travellers being coached by the

sons and daughters of Brighton, Afghan and Sudanese refugees

and a man with Down’s Syndrome. That’s ping pong Utopia

from where I’m looking at it.” Lizzie Lower

36 Upper Bedford Street

Photos by Adam Bronkhorst,




The Agora

Fertility expert Carole Gilling-Smith

I opened The Agora Gynaecology

& Fertility Centre in

Hove in 2007 after becoming

interested in obstetrics and

gynaecology as a medical

student. I remember watching

a baby being born and being

absolutely blown away by the

sight of new life.

Until we opened, patients

couldn’t access fertility

treatment in Brighton.

Some went to The Lister in

London and some to The Esperance

in Eastbourne. I had

moved to Brighton with my

young family and saw it as the ideal opportunity to

set up my own unit.

I wanted to create an environment that

wouldn’t make patients feel more stressed. I

choose all of my staff and we share an understanding

that it’s the patient that comes first. Sometimes

that means we run late because if things aren’t going

smoothly we always take time to talk to people.

One in five people suffer from infertility yet

it remains a very taboo subject. In heterosexual

couples there is often a feeling of shame; that there’s

something wrong with them; that they’re not good

enough – and that’s especially true for men.

It’s different among same-sex couples because

they all have to go through some sort of fertility

treatment to have children. Most same-sex

couples we see come to us through word-ofmouth

recommendations, well informed, because

they’ve discussed this with friends over coffee.

My experience, from the patients that come to

me, is that you can’t underestimate the impact

of infertility. It is well recognised as a cause of

depression, relationship breakdown and people

disconnecting from friends

and family. It can be isolating

and incredibly painful.

It’s really disappointing

that NHS funding for

IVF is being cut at the

moment. We’re lucky to still

have funding for two cycles

per patient here in Sussex. It

should be three though [according

to NICE guidelines]

and it’s not funded at all for

same-sex couples, which in

my eyes is discrimination.

IVF is usually the most

effective treatment for heterosexual

couples unless it’s an ovulation issue,

which can be treated differently. But success is far

from guaranteed [at The Agora, which has some

of the best success rates in the country, live births

range from 36% of patients under 35 to 13% of

43-44 year olds.] Still, rates are improving year on

year as we develop better culturing techniques and

learn more about when to put embryos back.

Another recent addition to our work involves

freezing eggs or sperm before a patient undergoes

cancer treatment. My husband has had

cancer so it’s an area that’s especially close to my

heart. It’s important that in those horrible days

after a diagnosis we can at least offer a means to

help preserve fertility.

My work has only made me more grateful

for what I have. Until I had my three children

I never realised how much you could love. I

recognise what a precious thing that is and I hope

it’s something we can help more of our patients to

experience for themselves.

Nione Meakin



Christmas & New Year recycling

& refuse collection dates

Your collection days are changing over Christmas,

so please put your refuse and recycling out on…

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Monday 25 December

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Love our city

Collected on…

Wednesday 27 December

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Your collections return to the usual days from Monday 15 January

To check your collection days in 2018 and download

your collection calendar, visit

and put in your postcode.



Nature v nurture

Professor Alison Pike

“We shouldn’t take credit for

all the good stuff, but we don’t

need to take the blame for all

the bad stuff either.”

Parents ever anxious to do

right by their children – and

often feeling as though they

have failed – may take some

comfort from the advice of

child development expert

Professor Alison Pike.

The University of Sussex psychologist

and former science

advisor for Channel 4’s The

Secret Lives of Siblings points

out that how our offspring turn out has just as much

to do with their genes as their home life.

While it has been long established that our looks, our

intelligence and our susceptibility to certain diseases

is determined by our DNA, it is likely that our

personalities are also to a certain degree hardwired in

the womb.

As Alison explains: “I am convinced that some of

the individual differences that we see for things like

anti-social behaviour are genetically influenced.

“For instance, we know that if a mum smacks or

shouts at her child, the child is more likely to have

behaviour problems. The typical interpretation is

that that environmental or nurturing experience of

parenting is what’s causing the increase in problem


“But if you have a child who is genetically prone to

being smiley and easy to soothe, that will also elicit

more positive parenting.

“In addition, it seems to be the case that an easy child

is less likely to experience depressive symptoms or

problem behaviour, which again is down to their

genetic propensities.”

Teasing apart the nature v nurture debate has been

the focus of Alison’s work for the past two decades.

A child of a blended family

herself (she was brought up

with several half-siblings), she

has long been fascinated by

the interplay of biology and

environment in shaping who

we are.

What has become evident, she

says, is that both are equally

important: “there are dramatic

studies of twins adopted apart

and yet they act so similar,

almost the same as identical

twins raised together,” she

points out. “There is also

evidence that adopted children have similar cognitive

ability to their birth mothers, even if they are not in

contact with them.”

Further support for the nature argument becomes

obvious when parents discover that, despite trying

to be consistent with their children, what works with

one child may not work with another. “It’s about

being responsive to individual temperaments and

understanding they have different needs.”

But blaming genetics doesn’t entirely let us off the

hook, says Alison: “As parents, we are the responsible

adults. The thing that we have the most influence

over is our relationship with our child. We can try to

make that as positive as possible by taking the heat

out of expectations around academic achievement

and behaviour. It’s good to find things that you can

do together and enjoy one another’s company.”

Ultimately, she says it’s best for parents to remind

themselves that their role, to echo the metaphor first

suggested by American psychologist Alison Gopnik,

is to be gardeners rather than carpenters.

“Children are like seeds. You can help them to flourish,

but they have come into the world with certain

characteristics. You cannot turn a sunflower into an

orchid.” Jacqui Bealing






It’s a little known fact that one quarter

of pet owners do no research before

getting a pet. This is a staggering

statistic and an insight as to why so

many animals are given up.

At Raystede we aim to give pets and their

owners the best chance of happiness as

possible. The key to this, is sharing our

knowledge about animal welfare with

you and as many people as possible. It’s not

uncommon for people to have a hamster

as a first time pet at a very young age.

There are always animals that will make

the best family companion you could ever

wish for but it’s not always the animal that

initially comes to mind, such as a hamster

for a first time, children’s pet. This is why

we are available to provide help and give

expert advice to anyone that needs it.

Getting a pet is nothing to jump into and

making that commitment needs to be a

well-considered decision.

If you are interested in learning more,

why not come to Raystede and enjoy a

‘Sensory Safari.’ See, smell, feel and listen

your way around our 43 acre site via a

fun trail you can follow. Join us on

weekends to hear how our team care

for thousands of animals each year. You

can also visit us during the school holidays

for free games, tours and activities.

It’s often a lack of knowledge that results

in unhappy pets developing behavioural

issues and becoming difficult to handle.

This is why many of them, despite

starting out life in a loving home, end up

at Raystede. We want to help change

this and provide an invaluable service to

help potential owners ensure they get the

correct pet for their home, lifestyle and

ultimately a new family member that will

fit right in. We also give ongoing advice

and support for the duration of that

animal’s lifetime.

Knowledge is the key to sharing a long and

happy life with a companion animal.

Our Education team also welcome and

accommodate organised group visits.

This is a wonderful way to gain an insight

into animal life at Raystede. We are also

able to visit schools or organisations and

bring the information to you, please

check our website for details or call us

for more information.

For more information please visit

Raystede to learn about animal

welfare first

hand or go to

our website

to order your

FREE pet

care guide.



Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare,

The Broyle, Ringmer, East Sussex BN8 5AJ

Telephone: 01825 840252


Illustration by Mark Greco (@markgreco)



Long-tailed tits

The ties that bind

“Who are these people?” You’ve hardly seen them all

year yet here you are, full of turkey, paper hat askew,

squashed between them on the sofa. It’s Christmas

and, like it or not, there’s no escaping your family.

On a branch out in the cold darkness of the garden,

also sandwiched between aunts, brothers, cousins

and daughters, a tiny bird is asking a similar question

(except he isn’t wearing a novelty hat).

Long-tailed tits and humans. Two of Britain’s most

social species. And just like a visit from your relatives,

the arrival of a long-tailed tit flock in your garden

will turn tranquillity into chaos. It’s like someone

has emptied a box of feathered fireworks over the

fence. They manically bicker on the bird feeder and

swing acrobatically upside-down on the fat balls, all

the while trilling, rattling and screaming ‘eee-heeeheee’

like a troupe of Michael Jackson impersonators.

What you’re witnessing is a group of roving

relatives, roaming the neighbourhood looking to

pillage your peanuts. This posse of outlaws consists

of in-laws, brothers, sons, daughters. It’s a family

affair. With their gorgeous pink, black and white

plumage and those ridiculously long tails these

flying lollipops must qualify for Britain’s cutest bird.

Then suddenly they’re gone and the pulse rate of

the garden returns to normal.

By late-winter this extended family will drift apart,

find new partners and start new families. In March

the foundations are laid for an epic construction.

Moss building bricks are lashed together with ropes

of sticky spiders’ webs. The walls rise, a camouflage

cladding of lichen is added to the roof and a cosy

filling of a thousand feathers lines the interior. The

end result looks like a crocheted stomach and soon

there will be plenty of rumbling from inside as eight

hungry chicks demand to be fed.

But raising a large family can take its toll. The constant

hunt for insects can exhaust a parent almost to

breaking point. And that’s when something unusual

and wonderful happens. Their family arrives to save

them. Aunties and uncles who have not been successful

raising their own family that year will selflessly

help the parents and feed their nephews and nieces.

Once the children have flown the nest the whole

gang remains together and joins with other siblings

to form your chaotic neighbourhood feeding flock.

But the biggest challenge of the year still awaits:

winter. Freezing night-time temperatures exact a

heavy toll on our garden birds. And that’s why at

Christmas, hidden deep in a hedge, you’ll find the

extended family of long-tailed tits, huddled together,

supporting each other on a frosty branch, their tiny

hearts beating, sharing their warmth and surviving.

So if you’re wondering why family is so important

look out of the window and think of that long-tailed

tit. Because none of us can get through this on our

own. Michael Blencowe, People & Wildlife Officer,

Sussex Wildlife Trust


吀 爀 愀 渀 猀 昀 漀 爀 洀 礀 漀 甀 爀 栀 漀 洀 攀 眀 椀 琀 栀 漀 甀 爀 昀 椀 渀 攀 猀 琀 焀 甀 愀 氀 椀 琀 礀

匀 㨀 䌀 刀 䄀 䘀 吀 洀 愀 搀 攀 ⴀ 琀 漀 ⴀ 洀 攀 愀 猀 甀 爀 攀 椀 渀 琀 攀 爀 椀 漀 爀 猀 栀 甀 琀 琀 攀 爀 猀 ⸀

琀 ⸀ ㈀ 㜀 アパート アパート アパート 㠀 㐀 ㈀

攀 ⸀ 挀 漀 渀 琀 愀 挀 琀 䀀 戀 攀 氀 氀 愀 瘀 椀 猀 琀 愀 猀 栀 甀 琀 琀 攀 爀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 ⸀ 甀 欀

眀 ⸀ 眀 眀 眀 ⸀ 戀 攀 氀 氀 愀 瘀 椀 猀 琀 愀 猀 栀 甀 琀 琀 攀 爀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 ⸀ 甀 欀



Brighton’s founding fathers…

...and their sons

Brighton and Hove was

built by families – from

the names of our streets

to the buildings themselves,

our city has been

marked by dynasties of

landowners and of architects

and developers.

Streets and areas of

Brighton and Hove carry

the history of past ‘developer-dynasties’.


Sir Isaac Goldsmid was also Baron Palmeria, and a

landowner of some substance in Hove and Preston.

The Preston estate had previously been owned by

the Shirley family (as in Shirley Street, BN3), related

over the generations to the Westerns (Western

Road) and sold on to the Stanfords (Stanford Rd

BN1). ‘Kemp Town’, as known at the time, was

named after Thomas Read Kemp, a member of an

old Sussex family which had lived at Preston since

the 16th century. He was behind the development

of Lewes Crescent, Sussex Square, Arundel Terrace

and Chichester Terrace.

There were a number of notable architect families

during the city’s Regency period and other periods

of city growth. Thomas Cooper (1792–1854) was

the son of a Brighton builder and was the architect

of Brighton Town Hall in 1830–32. Thomas

Lainson (1825–98) ran an architectural practice with

his two sons, Thomas and Arthur, from premises on

North Street, and were architects to the Goldsmid

estate, Sir Isaac being a fan of their Italianate style.

Denman & Son was a partnership of John Leopold

Denman (1882–1975) and John Bluet Denman

(1914–2002). John Leopold had been in the family

architectural trade since graduating from Central

School of Arts and Crafts in London, joining its

practice on Queens Road.

His partnership with his

son, John Bluet, was responsible

for a number of

religious and commercial

buildings, most extensively

in Brighton for the

Kemp Town Brewery.

Denman is depicted in

relief form on the wall of

the former Citizens’ Permanent

Building Society

building at 20–22 Marlborough Place.

Thomas Simpson (1825–1908), another name

closely associated with the city, worked alongside his

son, Gilbert, on the design of a number of schools

between 1870 and 1903, with the extension of mass

education here. Several of these are still in use as

schools, many with Grade II listed status. They

include: Finsbury Road Board School (1881) in

Hanover; Connaught Road School (1884) in Hove;

Ditchling Road Board School (1890); Stanford

Road School in Prestonville (1893); Elm Grove

School (1893) and St Luke’s School in Queen’s Park


Another family that we owe much of our Regency

grandeur to is the Wilds; father Amon Wilds

(1762–1833) and son Amon Henry Wilds (1790–

1857), who worked with architect Charles A Busby.

The huge Regency developments in Kemp Town,

Marine Parade, Regency Square, and Brunswick in

Hove are the work of this team. Amon Henry also

went on to design Oriental Place, Park Crescent,

Western Terrace and Montpelier Crescent, as well

as the Victoria Fountain on the Steine. Cara Courage

To find out more about who built Brighton and Hove

and the family stories behind the city, visit

for indexes by name and by street.




Did you know that Brighton is seen by arborists as

being the elm capital of England? We live in the

city with the largest collection of mature elms in

the UK, with estimates ranging from 40,000 (Daily

Mail, Aug 2017) to 15,000 (official 2015 figures,

according to Wikipedia).

There are two reasons the trees are so prevalent

here: the city’s isolated position between the sea

and the Downs makes it less prone to invasion by

the bark beetles that spread the disease; and the

authorities and an army of local enthusiasts are

highly active at spotting diseased trees and taking

action to save them from dying. Most of the city’s

elms were planted in Victorian and Edwardian

times: they are hardy trees which can tolerate the

chalky soil and salty air.

Elm Disease (aka Dutch Elm Disease) was

identified in 1921 and spread to England in 1927;

by 1940 it had largely died out. A second, more

deadly, strain arrived in Britain in 1967 and has so

far killed over 25 million trees in the country.

In this picture, from the James Gray collection,

workmen cut down an elm outside Elm Grove

School, around 1938. We can only assume it was

infected by the disease. The tree was one of a

number lining the street, donated by the Earl of

Chichester, and planted in 1892 when this part of

Elm Grove was laid out by Amon Henry Wilds,

which is when it took on its current name. Before

that the road, with few houses either side of it, was

known as ‘the Racecourse road’.

The school, now known as Elm Grove Primary

School, was built in 1893, shortly after the

Education Act in which the government declared

free education was to be universally available

to children. The chopping down of the tree has

created great excitement among this bunch of kids:

a couple are bent down to curiously examine the

process at close hand, another bunch seem to be

playing ‘chopping’ in the background. The little

girl to the left of the picture – the star of the show

– is more aware of the camera. Perhaps she is still

alive today. Alex Leith

Many thanks to the Regency Society for the use

of this picture: you can see the whole of the James

Gray archive at


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