Viva Brighton Issue #70 December 2018


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#70. DEC 2018




Viva Magazines is based at:

Lewes House, 32 High St,

Lewes, BN7 2LX.

For all enquiries call:

01273 488882.

Every care has been taken to

ensure the accuracy of our content.

We cannot be held responsible for

any omissions, errors or alterations.

Stories. Where do they come from and how do

they begin? Some seem eternal. Passed from

person to person, generation to generation

and down though millennia, they become

embroidered and embellished in the retelling,

immortalised in myth and folklore. And, so

they go on, like Chinese whispers across the

ages, rewoven and reinvented for the times.

They are certainly best shared and these long,

dark winter nights lend themselves to the

telling. So, we’ve been thinking about some

of the stories and traditions that we surround

ourselves with. The time-honoured ones

we inherit, the ones that lend a little magic

to our lives, and the new ones we create for

ourselves. In these pages we meet the keepers

and creators of stories: writers, narrators,

illustrators, painters and puppeteers among

them. We’ve sought out the collectors of

Sussex folklore: people preparing to light up

the streets with glowing paper lanterns to mark

the shortest day of the year, and those who will

fill Hove’s beach huts with the story of Advent,

possibly for the last time. After eleven years,

the organisers of Hove’s Beach Hut Advent

Calendar are moving on to projects new and

so are looking to pass on the much-loved event

to new custodians. I guess that’s how traditions

are established: passed down from person

to person, generation to generation until we

forget how they started but couldn’t imagine

life without them.

Heartfelt best wishes

from Middle Farm

for a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year

Delighting in the distinctive

Revelling in the remarkable

Embracing the extraordinary

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

Christmas order line 01323 811411





EDITOR: Lizzie Lower

SUB EDITOR: David Jarman

ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman


ADVERTISING: Hilary Maguire,

Sarah Jane Lewis



CONTRIBUTORS: Alex Leith, Alexandra Loske, Amy Holtz, Andrew Darling, Ben Bailey,

Cammie Toloui, Charlotte Gann, Chloë King, Chris Riddell, JJ Waller, Jacqui Bealing,

Jay Collins, Jenny Lund, Joda, Joe Decie, John Helmer, John O’Donoghue, Lizzie Enfield, Lucy Cage,

Mark Bridge, Mark Greco, Martin Skelton, Michael Blencowe, Nione Meakin and Peter Chrisp

PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden

Please recycle your Viva (or keep us forever).

Find the perfect gift ...

A beautiful selection of hand made contemporary jewellery to suit all budgets.

Visit our lovely gallery in Hove or buy online.

109 Portland Road * Hove * BN3 5DP /



Bits & bobs.

10-31. Sarah Young puts a miraculous

deer on the cover, there are thousands of

silver bells at the Royal Pavilion, and local

feline legend Fiveways Wilf is on the

buses. Elsewhere, JJ Waller lends a hand

at some home-spun illuminations; Joe

Decie is writing the book of his best bits;

we’ve got prize-winning flash fiction

from Rattle Tales and new writing from

Creative Future. Plus Sussex traditions -

old and new - and much more besides.

My Brighton.

32-33. Oliver Dall on keeping the

wizards of Brighton in wands.


35-41. Seasoned photographer Simon

Dack shares some of his wintry shots.



43-47. Lizzie Enfield examines her

stockings; Amy Holtz is shopping for

Christmas jumpers for Schnauzers, and

John Helmer spins us a yarn.

Sarah Young

© Snowman Enterprises Ltd 2017


On this month.

49–57. Ben Bailey rounds up his pick of

the gigs; The Animals and the Children

Took to the Streets is set to dazzle at

TOM; Brighton adds its voice to the

Choir With No Name, and The Rocky

Horror Show returns to its spiritual

home with a run at the Theatre Royal.

Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The

War of the Worlds is on stage at

Brighton Centre; the Royal Ballet’s

Nutcracker is live streamed to the cinema;

and what will The Treason Show

have to say about 2018? We’ll bet that

Mark Brailsford ends up naked.

....7 ....



Art & design.

58-71. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

celebrate 40 years since Raymond

Briggs’ Snowman flew over the Pavilion,

and host a 16th century masterpiece by

Hans Holbein the Younger. We drop in

on Maggi Hambling, Sarah Lucas and

friends in The Quick and the Dead at

Jerwood, and ponder the uncanny magic

of puppets at The Regency Town House

for Artists Open Houses. Plus, just some

of what’s on, art-wise, this month.


Robert Littleford

The way we work.

73-79. What fairy tales do storybook

illustrators love the most? Adam

Bronkhorst finds out.


81-85. A spectacularly scenic lunch at Rathfinny;

banana bread like Granny used to

make at Twin Pines, and a recipe for spiced,

stuffed squash from Lerato Umah-Shaylor.

Plus some of the city’s seasonal food news.

Photo by Adam Bronkhorst



87-95. We draw up our Christmas list in

some of our favourite indie shops (and encourage

you to do the same); meet a Doctor

of Fairy Tales who uses stories to connect us

to the environment; a woman who curates

life stories online, and Peter Chrisp unravels

some Sussex superstitions.


97. Michael Blencowe listens to the call of

the wild.

Inside left.

98. Turkey shopping, London Road, circa 1895.

....8 ....



This month’s cover is the work of Sarah

Young; the second that she’s designed for us.

Her mannequin-meets-paper-doll adorned

our ‘dressing up’ issue in September 2015,

and it was her storybook

style that sprang to mind

when we were planning

this magazine. Fortunately,

she was already thinking

along the lines of fantasy

and folklore. She is

midway through a

huge commission for a

cruise liner, creating 52

pieces on the theme of

sea myths. For our

cover, she turned

her thoughts back to land. “I was looking at

the holly and oak kings, but I thought they

could end up looking a bit too ‘Green Man’,

and I wanted to work with a European story

because of the political times we are living

in. I took inspiration from a Hungarian

Yuletide myth, but the deer features in lots

of stories and in all kinds of places around

this time. So, this is Csodaszarvas The

Miraculous Deer. It gathers up the sun in its

antlers and carries it into the New Year.”

Sarah used a variety of techniques to make

the image. “It was the first time I’d used

Procreate on the iPad. I create drawn

elements and use ink, cut paper, print, and

gouache, which I scan and build up like a

collage. I should probably have left it alone,




but then I went back to photoshop and then

back to Procreate. I use lots of layers!” We

love the finished effect and can imagine

Csodaszarvas, bursting from Stanmer woods,

his twisted antlers cradling the sun.

Looking back through Sarah’s prints, I

notice a fantastical quality to much of her

work (fauns, circus performers, mermaids

and minotaurs all feature). That, she says, is

probably because she and her partner Jon

(Tutton, the other half of Tutton & Young)

got together when they created a travelling

puppet show, many moons ago. “I’m always

wanting to revisit the puppet shows, and

how they used so many different ways of

working and thinking,” says Sarah, who is

best known for her printmaking, painting

and illustration work, but is increasingly

enjoying making sculptural ceramics.

Of course, Tutton & Young are the duo

behind the makers’ fair MADE Brighton

(and London) and the Brighton Art Fair,

which will return next year when the Corn

Exchange reopens. They also established

Atelier 51, a shared studio space in

Providence Place, with a shop selling work

by around 50 artists and makers, and, for

Christmas, have opened an additional North

Laine pop-up shop, at 29 Sydney Street. As

ever, they’ve curated some of the best local

artists and makers (and some

from further afield) under

one roof. Go along and

peruse the huge selection

of prints, jewellery,

textiles, ceramics and other

creations. They will be

open every day up to and

including Christmas Eve.

Lizzie Lower





you’ll be wanting to catch the

sleeper train from Euston to

Fort William, then onwards

crossing the Glenfinnan

viaduct made famous by the

Harry Potter films, then it’s

just a ferry ride from Mallaig.

Here’s a group of intrepid

Brightonians – friends from

Brighton Explorers Club – on

the Knoydart peninsula on the

west coast of Scotland. They

took their ‘rock, paper, scissors’

issue all the way to Inverie;

one of the remotest villages

on mainland Britain. If you’d

like to follow in their footsteps,

We can’t help feeling they

should have taken August’s

‘adventure’ issue… Find out

more about their antics at

And here’s Lynn Daly, who

took her Viva for a night

out in Chicago. “Great city,

interesting architecture – and

not particularly windy!” she

reports. “I left my copy of the

magazine in leafy Lincoln Park

for another reader to enjoy.”

Excellent guerrilla distribution!

Thanks, Lynn.

Keep taking us with you and

keep spreading the word.

Send your photos to













Visit Swains to browse our large selection of

British pot grown and cut trees 5-12ft all at

GARDEN affordable CENTRE prices

Locally made wreaths, Christmas planters and


Turkish delight to Panettone,

Christmas chutneys to chocolates,

we also have a great selection of edible treats

and gifts for all ages

Brighton Road, Henfield, West Sussex BN5 9RP

01273 494582

E S T A B L I S H E D 1 9 3 8

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01273 474150 |


Wilfred, the Persian cat, was adopted, with his brother Alfred, from

the RSPCA by the Burley Family of Lowther Road in 2008. Following

Alfie’s death in 2012, Wilfred took to wandering the neighbourhood,

enthusiastically greeting everyone he met and strolling in

through neighbours’ cat flaps and making himself at home.

A Facebook page was created for Wilf where people would post

pictures of their encounters with the fluffy ginger tom. He was often

to be found in the pub, sprawled across a café table, dropping into

shops, and generally hanging out in local businesses. His Facebook

following grew to more than 3,000 people from more than 40

countries, with fans from across the UK gathering to take selfies with

Wilf at organised moggy meet-ups. Wilf merchandise, initially made

as a joke, became hugely popular, raising funds for local charity Lost Cats of Brighton. He restricted his

meanderings mostly to Fiveways but would ride the bus to visit the vets in Hove, sat on his owner’s lap.

Age, arthritis and questionable road sense curtailed Wilf’s free-roaming adventures in later life, but he

still took accompanied walks to see his friends at The Flour Pot café, where he had his own chair. He

died of kidney disease in October 2017, aged 16, having raised £5,500 for charity. He is missed by his

friends and neighbours, but his adventurous spirit survives on the number 46 bus. LL


Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)




Design drawing for the Saloon by John or Frederick Crace, before 1815.



In previous issues of Viva Brighton I have written

about some of the most conspicuous motifs in

the oriental interiors of the Royal Pavilion: dragons,

exotic birds, and pa lm trees. Another motif

that we can add to this list, and which probably

outnumbers all the others, is bells. Appropriate

for this Christmas issue, you might think, but,

as everything with the Pavilion, the story is a

little bit more complicated. Bells adorn many of

the rooms on the ground floor of the building

and are in fact one of the first indicators of the

oriental décor that

greeted visitors

200 years ago

(and today):

The octagonal

entrance room

(pictured bottom

right) has

small carved bells hanging from a tent-shaped

ceiling. In the Long Gallery (pictured top right),

the first room where visitors had time to let their

eyes and minds adjust to the unfamiliar objects

and colours around them, hundreds of carved

bells line the edges of each ceiling compartment,

suspended from hipped cornices that suggest

an outside space or a courtyard in a Chinese

building. These bells are clearly visible in many

contemporary designs and drawings of the

Pavilion. We see the largest and most splendid

bells in the Banqueting Room, again lining the

edge of the room at the cornices on the east and

west walls and hanging from the golden-brown

canopies on the north and south walls. Like

the smaller ones in the previous rooms they are

carved from soft wood, but these are lavishly

silvered and then glazed on the inside with a

translucent blood-red colour. This shimmering




Aquatint of the Long Gallery, 1826

red is carmine pigment, derived from cochineal beetles,

found as parasites on cacti in South America, and one of the

most expensive pigments to source in the Regency. And if

that wasn’t enough, each bell had a little crystal suspended

on the inside, in place of a clapper. They would sparkle

during George’s dinner parties, the crystals catching the

flickering light of the candles and oil chandeliers.

Like most Chinese motifs in the Pavilion, bells were used

All images: Royal Pavilion & Museums Brighton and Hove.

here in a purely decorative manner, and largely taken out

of their original cultural context. But they are an important

and complex part of Chinese culture, and we can clearly

see why George and his designers were inspired by them.

William Alexander, an English artist who accompanied

Lord Macartney’s embassy to China in 1792, describes bells

hanging from Chinese pagodas in one of his books: ‘At each

angle of the roofs [of a pagoda] a light bell is suspended,

which is rung by the force of the wind, and produces a

jingling not altogether unpleasant.’ It is these small bells

that were probably the inspiration for the ones we find

in the Pavilion. However, there is no religious meaning

attached to them here, and they never make a sound. All the

bells in the Pavilion are silent and practically motionless,

but they make up for it with their sparkly appearance and

are a perfect example of Europeans imagining a culture

different from their own, sentinels of

an imagined distant world.

Alexandra Loske, Art Historian and

Curator, The Royal Pavilion

You can see two large silvered bells

up close in the current display A

Royal Room Restored: The Story

of the Saloon Restoration, in the

Royal Pavilion. Free with admission.


The Octagon Hall today.


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

the world of great indie mags is here in Brighton.

22 Trafalgar Street









Painting by Jay Collins

Here’s a story from a

couple of years back.

I’m sitting at the bar

in the Earth and Stars

in Windsor Street.

It’s the middle of the

afternoon, the place is

practically empty, and

three big, streetwise

toughs walk in. One

of them announces:

“three bottles of Bud.”

The young barman – a

slight, skimpy-bearded

guy – looks him in the

eye, and replies: “sorry,

we don’t serve shit beer

in here.”

The Earth & Stars

isn’t the sort of place

you come to drink big-brand American lager.

It’s a Laine pub: they’re really into their organic,

craft lagers and ales. Beers that drinkers pause

after sipping, to appreciate the aftertaste.

People have been wandering in there for a pint

for many years, now. As early as 1881, Charles

Bletcher, beer seller, was listed as residing in the

building, but it doesn’t appear in the guides with

a pub name until after the war, when Rossea J

Pennington, who’d been selling alcohol from

the premises since 1930, called it The Windsor

Tavern. And that it seems how many Brighton

drinkers still think of it, despite its 21st century

name change.

Funnily enough, when researching ‘the Windsor’

on the internet, I find a photograph of our

columnist John Helmer enjoying a pint there,

in about 1977, with

other members from

punk band The Piranhas.

I give him a call,

ask him if he wants to

meet up at the pub,

and talk about those

times. He does.

“It was punk heaven,”

he tells me, over a

pint of Hepworth

Blonde. “We used to

drink there all the

time before, after

and during Piranhas

rehearsals at the

Vault, under what is

now The Brighthelm

Centre.” He remembers

fellow punk

Smeggy, from the band Smeggy and the Cheesy

Bits, allowing a rat to run around the bar. And

how he stopped going to the pub – then divided

into two bars – after it became the HQ for

The APL (Anti-Piranha League), a group who

thought the band had sold out.

After John leaves, I meet Rob, the pub’s new

landlord, who’s been working long shifts with

his partner to get it ready for the Christmas

period. I’m assured that the Earth and Stars is

in good hands, which is no bad thing: it may no

longer be punk heaven, but it’s still one of my

very favourite North Laine pubs. I can really

recommend their pork belly Sunday roast. And

their beer, of course: for the record the barman

survived unscathed; the three guys saw the funny

side and sampled something rather craftier. AL


Brighton and Hove Calendar 2019

Brighton and Hove Calendar 2019

The Original.

Loved by locals, sent to friends around the world.

£8.99 or 2 for £15

21 Photographers

52 Photos

Full Year’s Tide Tables

Local Event Dates

Seasonal Sales Home

Outside Waikikamookau

11 Kensington Gardens

North Laine


Brighton Photography Gallery

West of the i360

52-53 Kings Roads Arches


Please note: we do NOT

have a stall in

Churchill Square this year.

City Books

23 Western Road






Wee Fella Seeks Cougar

Name: Milo

Age: 1

Occupation: Childminder

Me: I was born in a barn, then lived with

a great family since my early kittenhood. I

loved to play with the children and every day

I walked them to school to make sure they

got there safely. But on my way home the

neighbour cats used to pick on me, and I got

so traumatised that I started to wee in places I

knew were forbidden. So now I find myself at

the shelter, hoping to start again somewhere

free from furry thugs.

Interests: Chasing balls under the sofa, child

cuddling, bedtime stories, greeting guests, attacking

Christmas wrapping paper, kneading

soft toys, school runs.

Seeking: Playful family in a cat-free area,

preferably with a warm fire for winter

sprawling. Must have tolerance for occasional


Dislikes: Bullies, demented bloviating demagogues,

kitten heels.

Words and picture by Cammie Toloui / @cammie669

Find Milo and friends at Raystede Centre for

Animal Welfare.


On Friday the 21st, join the lantern-lit procession

and bonfire on the beach to mark the shortest day

of the year.

Pictured above is this year’s Burning the Clocks

print designed by Graham Carter – the sixth he’s

created for the event. ‘The theme this year is

Remembrance,’ he tells us. ‘A lot of the lantern

packs will be hearts, so I’ve incorporated a ‘coming

together’ to form one giant heart made up from

everyone’s messages and tokens to loved ones,

missed ones or events gone by.’

Whilst it’s free to attend, organisers Same Sky rely

on crowdfunding and support from local businesses

to top up council funding for the event. If you

can afford to make a dontation you could receive

a personalised lantern to carry in the parade, VIP

viewing tickets, copies of Graham’s limited-edition

print, or simply the feel good glow of supporting

this great Brighton tradition.

From 6.30pm the parade makes its way through

North Street, Ship Street, East Street, onto the

seafront and along to Madeira Drive for the finale.


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Some years ago, when I wasn’t

living in Brighton, I would

come down in the first week

of December to buy all of my

quirky presents from a selection

of the 400 independent shops

in the North Laine. I loved the

atmosphere and I loved the fact

that it made Brighton different

from most towns and cities.

In my head, I started to

mythologise the shopkeepers

and idealise them. That myth-making of mine

was part of what led us to open our own shop

four years ago. How could it not be good to

combine a love of independent magazines with

our own small store?

Here’s the news. It really is good. We still love

magazines. It’s still a thrill.

But, although I’d run larger businesses before,

I’d never been a single shopkeeper. Help was

needed and it came from local shopkeepers who

were beyond kind to us and, surprise, surprise,

from magazines.

This month’s recommendation is Courier. It’s a

business magazine packed with

stories and tips for modern,

small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Each month it gives us

insights, stories of good struggling

and lots of helpful tips.

The big feature of the current

issue is the cannabis economy,

and that alone contains huge

amounts of good advice that

makes sense to our store. But

there are also great pieces on

artificial intelligence, the growing and refocused

fitness industry, building brands, running

businesses while pregnant, the relationship

between marketing and spam and so much

more. All this advice for less than the price of a

couple of coffees.

By the time you read this we’ll be days away

from celebrating our fourth birthday. The

fact that we are still here is down to our great

customers, our good staff and the small changes

we have made as we have learned how to do it

better. Courier deserves a share of our thanks

for that. Martin Skelton, Magazine Brighton


It wasn’t long ago that our toilet graffiti correspondent

had to break up near fisticuffs over a similar claim.

‘Astrology is truth!’, opined Aquarius. ‘Bunkum!’ scolded

Scorpio (or words to that effect). It looks as if the same

debate is starting up again in this bathroom booth and

our advice is to stand well back. Those star wars are best


But where is it?

Last month’s answer: Presuming Ed



© Snowman Enterprises Ltd, 2018

The Snowman

at Brighton Museum

20 October 2018 to

6 January 2019

An exhibition of the

original illustrations


at the Royal Pavilion

17 November 2018 to

1 January 2019

The Palace is transformed

with festive decorations

and glittering trees

Discounts for Brighton & Hove Residents

and joint tickets available. For more

information visit

or call 03000 290900



“Many years back I had a feature in the British Journal of Photography, showing

pictures I’d taken of houses decorated for Christmas in Louisiana and Alabama,” JJ

tells us. “The decorations were so intense, and the streets so brightly lit that it would

have been possible to land an airplane. Now, all these years later, I couldn’t resist

photographing this house being decorated in Amberley Drive in Hove. That’s a

display that even American visitors would marvel at.”






Making a living in the arts can

be hard to do, and one outfit

seeking to address the diversity

gap is Creative Future. The

organisation was set up by

Dominique De-Light and Simon

Powell back in 2007 to nurture

under-represented artists and

writers – talented people who

lack opportunities due to mental

health issues, disability, health,

identity or other social circumstances

– here in Brighton. It’s

going from strength to strength.

Chemistry, the organisation’s

latest Literary Awards anthology, was launched

at the Southbank towards the end of October,

at an event hosted by Lemn Sissay, who also

acted as one of the judges. As well as the winning

entries, the anthology includes work from more

established writers such as Sissay himself, Kerry

Hudson, Sharon Duggal, and Pat Winslow. The

winners receive cash prizes as well as mentoring

and networking: stepping stones to building a

career as a writer or advancing whatever successes

they might already have under their belts.

The daring formats of many of the winners’ pieces

is striking. Hearts for Sale by Jade Cuttle had

my attention from its first few words: ‘There’s a

place you can go to buy a new heart.’ This little

fable with a Terry Gilliamesque relish for surreal

detail stands alongside similarly experimental

stories such as Carbon Dating by Kirsty Capes, a

brilliant story about two sisters. Is one of them

ill or turning into something mysterious and

strange? Capes’ use of myth and fairy story is

reminiscent of Angela Carter, but she uses illness,

not sex, as the engine of metamorphosis. Virmala

Nagra’s hypotheses on marriage and motherhood by

Anita Goveas is set out as a series

of experiments complete with

chemical formulae that test various

hypotheses until new data,

just past the halfway point, acts

as a catalyst for the piece. Sadie

Nott’s There was an old lady uses a

song to structure her main character’s

descent into overmedicated

hell. This story neatly weaves

levity and grief to profound

effect. Charis Fox’s Winter Melon

Soup is rather more conventional

in approach, a tale of tradition

challenged, and acceptance given,

round a dinner table at Chinese New Year.

The poets are also impressive. Yvonne Reddick’s

Firesetter creates a vivid metaphorical blaze to

describe longing and return: ‘Two days in, my

brushfire had swallowed fifty hectares.’ A tour

de force crackling with energy and image-making.

Tony Spiers’ houdini is keen to escape the

shackles of syntax: ‘one time us will make teeth/

chew us way out’ – a disturbing, powerful poem.

Disturbing in a very different way is Natalie Linh

Bolderston’s Operation Ranch Hand, the title a

codename for a chemical warfare campaign carried

out by the US during Vietnam. It reminded

me of Owen’s ‘Gas! GAS! Quick, boys’ from

Dulce et Decorum Est. But perhaps the most disturbing

and powerful poem is Alice Hiller’s elegy

for an eight year old, which follows a girl to school,

a hypervigilant, dissociating child: ‘underneath

her wool tights/the hurt place stays on fire’. A

stunning poem.

For these writers it looks like the future has

arrived. John O’Donoghue

Chemistry, Creative Future, £4





Hove’s Beach Hut Advent Calendar has become something of a Christmas

tradition over the past eleven years, with a different beach hut being opened each

evening of Advent to reveal a new art installation. By the time Christmas Eve

rolls around this year, there will have been 264 creations on the Nativity theme.

They’ve been made by individual artists, beach hut owners, community groups,

schools and churches and have featured live donkeys, laser shows, ice sculptures,

poetry, Morris dancing, spacemen, crib scenes and plenty of angels.

The event was created to remind people of the Christian roots of the season of Advent and has attracted

hundreds of people to the seafront each year, as well as inspiring similar events in other towns. “It has

been a wonderful experience creating this event and seeing it grow and develop over the last eleven

years,” says Revd. Martin Poole, the founder and principal organiser since 2008. “I hope we’ve helped to

remind people of the true meaning of Advent and Christmas, and been able to offer a pause for thought

away from the busyness and commercialism of the season.”

2018 will be the last year that Revd. Poole and the Beyond team will organise the event. They’re moving

on to develop other creative projects, but they are open to others taking on the organisation of the

Beach Hut Advent Calendar. Email if you’d like to find out more.

Hove Seafront, 1st-24th Dec, 5.30-6.30pm. Mince pies and warming drinks for all.




Howlett Clarke

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01273 838 674

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serving Brighton since 1773

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01273 838 674

Christmas & New Year

recycling & refuse collection dates

Your collection days are changing over Christmas,

so please put your refuse and recycling out on…

Usual day

Collected on…

Monday 24 December Monday 24 December

Tuesday 25 December Thursday 27 December

Wednesday 26 December Friday 28 December

Thursday 27 December Saturday 29 December

Friday 28 December Monday 31 December

Monday 31 December Wednesday 2 January

Tuesday 1 January Thursday 3 January

Wednesday 2 January Friday 4 January

Thursday 3 January Saturday 5 January

Friday 4 January

Monday 7 January

Monday 7 January Tuesday 8 January

Tuesday 8 January Wednesday 9 January

Wednesday 9 January Thursday 10 January

Thursday 10 January Friday 11 January

Friday 11 January

Saturday 12 January

Collections return to your usual days from Monday 14 January

To check your collection days in 2019 and, if you have fortnightly recycling,

download your collection calendar, visit

and put in your postcode.

Christmas tree recycling sites across the city will be open

between Thursday 27 December and Friday 11 January.

To find your nearest site, visit





May Day at Sompting School. Photo courtesy of Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders

What is Sussex

Traditions? We’re

a charitable trust,

founded in 2015

with the aim of


sharing and preserving

all manner

of Sussex-related

material including

games, beliefs, songs, recipes, pastimes, sayings

and craft. We encourage people to share stories

and information about Sussex in the hope of

improving our understanding of time and place.

Older people especially often want to share memories

of ‘their’ Sussex, and convey their value to a

younger generation. We’ve also seen an appetite

in younger people for more information about the

place in which they live and from those who come

to live here and want to learn about our history

and cultural heritage.

Where can we find you? We’re not a museum.

Our assets are more intangible than that. We

have a website where visitors can find a database

of thousands of Sussex traditions, we produce

publications and we’re looking at making podcasts

soon. At the moment our database is mostly

focused on traditional song, primarily because

the trust’s founders – who include members of

the Copper Family – have a background in that

area. But our next topic is Sussex Childhood: the

games, the law of the playground, the experiences

of children in rural areas. We’re really interested

in small details – the type of games people

remember playing; rhymes and songs they sang;

colloquial names for flowers and plants.

How do you define a tradition? One of our

founders, Steve Rowd, who wrote the Book of

English Folk Song

and co-authored

the Encyclopaedia

of English Folklore,

thinks that if

it’s something that

has been handed

down from person

to person, then it’s a

tradition. It could be

a story, a recipe or even a joke. Traditions don’t

necessarily have to be something ‘historic’. Many

of the traditions we have lost are things people

would have taken for granted at the time – children

playing with hoops, for example – so we’re

interested in more contemporary Sussex customs

as much as those from the past.

How can people get involved? We need all sorts

of volunteers to help with a wide range of areas

– building the website; cataloguing; research;

writing; transcribing and events. Ideally we’d

like to create a series of interest groups and build

teams for each strand of our work. But the key

thing is recording people’s memories – getting

out and interviewing friends and relatives. And of

course we always welcome donations that help us

to continue our work.

What is your favourite Sussex tradition? I

enjoy sharing traditional music, particularly in

schools where I introduce old Sussex songs to the

children. Otherwise, I rather like the time-honoured

tradition of drinking beer. Sitting outside

the Black Boys Inn in Uckfield with a bunch of

other blokes who grew up in the area, making

jokes – I think that’s a tradition that is in no danger

of dying out any time soon.

As told to Nione Meakin by coordinator Mark Broad.






Illustration by Peter James Field.

Rosa spotted the leopard at three am in the


They’d all been out since eight, first to a gig, then

to a steamingly crowded club, finally ending up

here, in the same park they’d trotted round as

toddlers. Where once they’d buried Hot Wheels,

sweet wrappers and secrets in the sandpit, now they

sprawled dizzy over the slo-mo roundabout, giggling

and smoking, bottles chinking across tarmac,

not wanting to go home, not yet, not yet.

The leopard was standing behind the swings, its

breath visible in hot, meaty huffs, its astonishingly

long tail a twitching parabola of tension and grace,

eyes fixed on Rosa. She felt it as skin prickles before

she saw it, intimately aware of the way its bulk stirred

the night with muscular wildness, felt it in sweat

down the back of her neck. The park was dark, lit

only by the moon, the leopard muted sepia, but she

could make out the fingerprint spots on velvet hide

and, oh! How extraordinarily beautiful it was!

No one believed her when she told them what

she’d seen after she’d started breathing again. Why

would they? They snorted at her, saying it was the

weed, it was shadows in the moonlight, it was her

crazy. There were no leopards in Queens Park. But

she knew that wasn’t true. Hallucinations don’t

smell of giant cat, don’t leave bloody great paw

prints in the sandpit when they turn and pad off

into the rhododendrons.

Ah, that glimpse felt like music! Like her heart

swelling painful with love for her friends when the

DJ’d played Halo and like when they’d laughed

themselves speechless over Cal’s terrible joke, not

just sniggering but a full-throated, head-thrownback

roar. The leopard, the moment, the surprise of

noticing how Leesh had glanced back at her, when

all the world spun fearsome with booze and excitement,

and everything was suddenly, temporarily,

perfect. The very peak of the night.

Rosa had spotted the leopard behind the swings and

it was time to go home.

Spotting the Leopard won The Brighton Prize 2018

Sussex Award for flash fiction.

The Brighton Prize was founded in 2014 by local

spoken word group Rattle Tales. The competition

exists to find inventive new writing from all over the

world that works as well on the stage as on the page.

Cash prizes are awarded to the best short stories,

flash fictions and Sussex writer of the year. This year’s

competition was judged by the Booker-nominated

Brighton author, Alison MacLeod, literary agent

Sarah Manning and Brighton Prize director, Erinna

Mettler. The shortlisted stories are published in an

anthology which will be available from local bookshops.




Photo by Adam Bronkhorst,




MYbrighton: Oliver Dall

Owner of wizarding shop, Oliver’s Brighton

Are you local? I’ve lived in Brighton for eight

years. My hometown is Portsmouth, but I

consider myself 100% Brightonian now.

What inspired you to open a wizarding

shop? It came to me after I’d been to a virtual

reality exhibition in Guangzhou, China. I was

sat in a bar, re-reading the first Harry Potter

book, and I thought, ‘why don’t I open a

wizarding shop? Or a wizard’s holiday home?’

The next day I booked my flight home and

started looking around for premises. When I

saw 42 Trafalgar Street, I could envisage the

finished place straight away. It was exactly

how I thought a wizarding shop should be.

We’re not affiliated with JK Rowling or

Warner Brothers, but I checked it out with

them because I knew I wanted it to be a fan

shop. We have around 700 Harry Potterrelated

items. We don’t sell online because it’s

all about the shop and the experience.

Have you always been a Harry Potter fan?

I was given a copy of The Philosopher’s Stone

when I was around ten; an age when I still

believed that it could be real. My obsession

developed from there. From reading the book

to watching the film to buying the chocolate

frogs and owning an item from the story.

I loved that tangible sense of imagination

made real. My friends and I go to the Warner

Bros Harry Potter Studios every year, I have

the robes, I’ve got the wand. I’m a typical


Who are your customers? All sorts.

Potterheads of all ages and from all over.

The other day we had a six-year-old in the

shop who had read most of the books, and

a lady of around 80 who was a massive fan.

I like it most when children come into the

shop because they still believe that wizarding

is possible. You can hear them asking their

parents if the wands are real.

What do you like most about Brighton?

People are friendly, interesting and accepting

here. We get a lot of tourists visiting us, but

we also have a community of regulars. People

come to the shop dressed up, and no one

bats an eyelid. One person dropped in their

job application on a scroll while dressed as

an owl. I wouldn’t want a wizarding shop

anywhere else.

What don’t you like about the city? My

pet peeves are litter and tagging. I like to see

street art in permitted spaces, but scrawling

illegible tags and dropping rubbish is

disrespectful. I also worry about the price of

commercial property. To see an independent

shop disappear because the rent goes up

overnight is heartbreaking. I’m very fortunate

to own the freehold to my shop. I can invest

in creating a beautiful space without fear of

losing my business.

Where would you live if you didn’t live

here? Other than living somewhere within

the wizarding world, I couldn’t see myself

living anywhere else. I’ve found my corner of

the city, and I don’t see any need to leave.

Interview by Lizzie Lower


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Simon Dack

News photographer

I left school at 16, and

became a trainee at the

Worthing Gazette &

Herald, starting in the dark

room. I stayed there four

years, learning my trade as a

news photographer. This was

in the mid to late seventies.

Then I went up to London to

work for the Keystone Press


Those were great days. A lot

of it was what you might now

call papping, but it was very

friendly then. I did a lot of

royal stuff: Lady Di’s wedding was the biggest

story. We were on that for six months.

Funnily enough, in 1982, I got a call from

The Argus, to see if I wanted a job there.

I decided to try it out for a couple of years.

Typical story: I’m still here.

I’ve always loved photographing football: I

must have been to 99% of the league grounds,

and I’m still at the Amex and other south-east

stadiums every week. In 1983, Brighton got to

the FA Cup Final: I took pictures of Gordon

Smith missing what would have been a late

winner for the Albion. Actually, it was a good

save by the keeper.

The biggest story in my Argus time was the

Grand Hotel bombing. I was having a drink

in the hotel that night till about midnight. I

was woken in bed by a phone call. One of my

best shots was of three firemen sitting in one

of those shelters on the seafront, eating a fried

breakfast. It’s often the seemingly incidental

photos that prove most popular.

Digitalisation has made our

job so much easier. I used to

have to find a phone box and

ring up for a courier to pick

up my film: Often, I wouldn’t

see the shot till it was

published. Nowadays we can

send the pictures in directly

from the camera.

I sell most of my pictures

through Alamy, the photo

agency. I still do football

and news, as a freelancer.

The weather is big nowadays.

How many pictures of

Brighton beach have I sold when it’s hot? Or

any storm bad enough to have a name on it.

Post production? Sometimes I add a bit of

saturation in Photoshop, but I generally leave

that to the publication. I’m no good at that sort

of thing anyway.

It’s easier to do night shooting nowadays.

I’ve done loads of Lewes Bonfire Nights: in the

old days it was very difficult to judge the right

exposure, because there was so much contrast

of bright and dark. Now you can shoot at 5000

ISO quite confident the picture won’t lose its

quality. I look back at some of my old shots…

they’re very grainy.

This comes in handy at Burning the Clocks,

the annual Winter Solstice festival I’ve been

shooting since it started in 1993. That’s a

lot of events, but I always find a new angle.

That’s because it’s all about the people who

participate: there’ll always be something new to

capture. As told to Alex Leith











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Lizzie Enfield

Notes from North Village

Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)

Spoiler alert! Do not read if you are at a certain

age and the magic and mystery of a particular

Christmas tradition still appeals.

That’ll be 22 in the case of my eldest daughter

who, along with her two younger siblings, still

wakes to the excitement of stockings, the opening

of them and then the putting of everything back

in order to perform a Christmas Day version of

‘show and tell’.

In our household, I’m the one who (still) puts on

a red dressing gown, hood up, just in case anyone

wakes as I sneak about in the middle of the night,

maintaining the pretense of the tradition that I

don’t quite want to be explicit about here, just in

case I destroy the magic for anyone reading.

The middle of the night has got much later over

the years. Gone are the days when overexcited

kids would eventually nod off well before

midnight. Now they don’t even go to bed until

well after and I have to set an alarm for the late

early hours, get up to do my stealthy red-robed

job and then try to get back to sleep again while

worrying about what time the turkey needs to go

in the oven and wondering if it will coincide with

the show and tell start time.

This is like a session in collective amnesia.

Kids who have already opened their stockings

have put everything back and open again, as if for

the first time, for the benefit of their parents – so

they too can savour the excitement of finding out

what they contain.

“Gosh, that looks interesting, what is it?” I ask my

daughter, as she reveals a tool which you can use

to make plectrums from credit cards. £9.99 from

a gift shop in the Lanes, I just happen to know.

My daughter explains completely po-faced.

“I got the exact T-shirt I told you I wanted when

we last went into town,” my son says, tugging it

free from his stocking. “And it’s the right size.

Santa is so clever!”

“Can I have a look?” I ask, and he hands it over,

watching while I examine it and ask pertinent


“Is this the same as the one we saw?” I examine

the label.

“It says DC. That’s not the name of the shop

where we saw it.”

“That’s the brand,” son explains as I hand it back.

Did he wink, knowingly?

That’s not part of the tradition.

Eldest daughter knows this and manages to go

through the entire contents of hers without once

giving any indication that she knows full well that

I know exactly what’s in it and I know full well

that she knows and has done since she was three.

I can’t quite believe we’re still keeping it up.

“Do you think we’ll do this when you’ve left

home completely?” I asked, last year.

“As long as it means that Santa still visits,” she

said, wide-eyed and almost innocent.




John Helmer

The Fox-Seagull Line

“Tell us a story, Dad.”

Firelight glints on the spectacles of the exmusician

and columnist. He looks around

the circle of expectant faces. “Are you taking

the piss?”

“No. The wifi’s down.”

“OK”. Picking a pine needle from his port

he rearranges his limbs as if settling into an

imaginary wing-backed armchair.

“You’re too old for made-up stories so I’ll

tell you a true one. Eighteen Christmases

we’ve been here in Fiveways. You move into

an area, you get to know the neighbours,

the local shopkeepers, the relative house

prices in different streets. You think you

know Fiveways. But you don’t. One day you

wake up and realise that a hidden order, a

set of secret rules of which you have been

completely unaware, is in operation.”

“Really?” drawls Harvey.

The columnist gives him a glare and

Harvey draws an imaginary zip-fastener

across his lips.

“Not long after moving here, your mother

and I began to be invited to dinner parties.

You children are not of an age to have these

things clogging up your social calendar,

but mark my words the time will come...

Anyway, there was a lot of talk about foxes

and seagulls at these dinner parties, and that

was where the strangeness began.

“It was the time before wheelie bins. We

would put our rubbish out on the street in

plastic sacks, and by morning they would

have been torn open, their embarrassing

contents strewn across the pavement – teabags,

dirty nappies, letters from HMRC

smudged with tears – some people blamed

seagulls, others foxes. However, I noticed

an interesting thing: nobody who moaned

about foxes also whinged about seagulls.”

“And this is interesting why?” says Poppy,

with that curl of the lip so redolent of the

teenage mindset.

“You’re not getting it. If you plotted these

bin-bag anecdotes street by street there was

no overlap. Fox atrocities clustered in the

North of the area; seagull outrages to the

South. You could draw a clear border on the

map between them.”




“You’re making this up,” said Grace.

“Am I? Well look at this—” Reaching into

his jacket pocket the columnist takes out

a wrinkled map of Brighton and spreads

it on the table, dislodging a box of Mars

Celebrations. The children stare in shocked

disbelief as he runs his finger along a thick

line drawn across the map in red chinograph

that passes through the churchyard at St

Matthias, down Ditchling Road, right into

Sandgate, then a dog-leg down to Preston

Drove ... “—It’s obvious: they carved the

territory up between them.” He looks

around at their rapt expressions.

“They must have had a conference or

something. Maybe the foxes and seagulls

hired a suite at the Grand (or the animal

equivalent), ranged along opposite tables;

foxes on one side, seagulls on the other,

the leader of the foxes Fast Freddie Fuchs,

with a missing eye and a scarf stolen from

the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, across the

way the leader of the seagulls, Dangerous

Bill McCraw, chomping on a Romeo Y

Julietta cigar. “We vigorously protest your

provocative incursions into our rooftop

spaces to murder our baby gulls,” says his

consiglieri, Leftie O’Rawk.

“We was teaching them to fly,” Fuchs


“One does not teach a baby gull to fly by

pitching it off a roof and wolfing it down at

ground floor level”.

“Fuchs’ Japanese sidekick, Kitsune, weighs

in on this point: “I must tell you we regard

the use of the verb ‘wolf’ in this context to

be gratuitously insulting...”

At this moment the columnist’s wife walks in

with a bottle of bargain Prosecco.

“Mum, he’s scaring us,” murmurs Freddy.

Mrs Helmer takes in the stunned faces of

her children, the map on the table with its

insane scribble.

“You’ve been working too hard, John. Why

don’t you take the dog for a walk?”

Out in the street the air is sharp, the snow

crisp underfoot. Day-Z the Balkan rescue

dog looks up at her master with all the

sorrows of Europe in her gaze as she trots at

his side. Then, at the corner of Lowther and

Sandgate, the dog stops in her tracks.

Up ahead, brilliant in the lamplight,

is a fox, its magnetic stare fixed on the

opposite pavement. Across the road

returning the fox’s stare is a seagull the

size of a small child. The columnist

shudders, wipes his glasses, then looks

again trying to make out something

brown clamped in its powerful bill.

For moments that pass like hours the

stand-off continues. Then the

bird flies off, the fox slinks

back into shadow. And

as they reach the spot

where the seagull

stood, man and

dog view the

chewed stub

of a Romeo

Y Julietta


Illustrations by Chris Riddell


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



Amy Holtz

The truth is, I’m a Minnesotan

We’re cycling through the

construction around St Peter’s

Church when we see a mum

leading her daughter – in full

Santa gear – across the road.

It’s November, but lollipops

and baubles are lighting the

way through town and now,

under puffa-jacketed arms,

bundles of wrapping paper

are being ferried home,

jabbing passersby in the ribs

and foreheads. All these years

living amongst the Brits, I’ve

seldom found you a particularly sentimental

bunch. Except when it comes to two things: dogs

and Christmas. And dogs at Christmas? Heaven

help us.

“Aww,” I say, turning towards my partner as we

wait at the lights, “Do you remember when you

used to love Christmas that much?”

“What do you mean ‘used to’?”

I chuckle but soon realise he’s not joining

in – not even a Santa-like sparkle in his eye.

Christmas to him is a serious business.

“I forgot. You were up at 6am on Christmas Day

last year.” I recall.

“Your dad sent me down twice to wake you,” he

says, rolling his eyes.

I snort. That’s nothing, I think. Christmas is

serious to us too – but more like a Shakespearean


It used to be I’d toss and turn on Christmas Eve,

too excited to waste a second of anticipation

on sleep. A true child of the 80s, I asked Santa

for Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Ponies.

It was easy to be enchanted by the promise of

Christmas back then. But as the years progressed,

I’d lie awake, flitting between hope and dread

that my parents would buy me embarrassing,

baggy clothes that I ‘would

grow into’, or worse,

underwear. Or worse still,

socks. Just once, I’d wish,

fervently, couldn’t they get

me a completely useless

heart locket, like Katie got

last year? Or a New Kids on

the Block sleeping bag, like


Then, moments after finally

managing to fall asleep,

my brother would be up,

thudding and screeching

around the house just as the sky thinks about

getting light, and I, in the throes of the agony of

hope, would wait for the bang on my door and

growl at him to go away. My poor sister, ever the

peacemaker, would have to corral our squirrely

brother, waiting patiently for me to stop being

a butthead before she could open her presents

because no one could touch anything until we

were all there.

But last Christmas in Minnesota, things had

really changed. As my brother enters his

20s, we’re banging on his door, sending the

schnauzers in to slobber on him. And Christmas

is much more Orwellian, planned with timetables

and emails with links, organised like a board

meeting. There’s no chance of disappointment,

but no surprises either; we all get what we’ve

asked for, mostly boring adult things. Like socks

– which, try as I might, I seem unable to purchase

myself. A mature solution, but I wonder if we

haven’t taken the fun out of it all.

“Hey,” I say, the spirit seizing me, just a smidge.

“Shall we get the schnauzers Christmas jumpers

this year?”

And, at that, the Santa twinkle appears; no doubt

for the duration of the season.


Christmas Queens

Mon 3 Dec

Brighton Festival Chorus

Christmas Concert

Sun 9 Dec

The Big Christmas Singalong!

Thu 13 Dec

Pirates of the Carabina

HOME (Pictured)

Sat 15 - Sun 23 Dec

The Snowman &

Peter and The Wolf

Mon 24 Dec

Ballet Theatre UK

Sleeping Beauty

Sat 29 - Sun 30 Dec



Ben Bailey rounds up the local music scene

Bridie Florence


Mon 3, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 7.30pm, £6/4

Drawn to Brighton

by a scene kickstarted

by bands like

Demob Happy and

Tigercub, Beach

Riot are the latest in

a line of locals attracting attention from elsewhere

for their up-tempo and fuzzed-up grunge songs.

Having played the BBC stage at Reading Festival

earlier this year, the four-piece are now launching

their debut recording at this EP release show. It’s

one of your last chances to catch a gig like this

at Sticky Mike’s (arguably the venue that did the

most for the local grunge explosion), before it

finally closes its doors on New Year’s Eve. Gaffa

Tape Sandy (one of our picks of this year’s Great

Escape) are also playing, alongside Feral Youth and



Thu 6, Brighton Museum, 8pm, £8/6

When the last of Brighton’s independent venues

is forced to close, all live music will take place in

incongruous locations originally designed for other

purposes. Folk musicians will gather for informal

sessions in dentists’ waiting rooms, garden centres

will serve as mid-level arenas for touring pop acts,

and freestyle rap battles will be consigned to high

street bakeries. Breaking us in gently, Spectrum are

putting on another night of live music at Brighton

Museum. The local line-up promises atmospheric

alt-folk from Grapefruit Moon, dream pop from

Underwater Boys and ethereal electronica from

Yumi and the Weather. An ideal soundtrack for

looking at Egyptian pottery, branded milk bottles

from the 1980s and some of the world’s most uncomfortable



Sun 16, Green Door Store, 3pm, £5

Christmas comes early for the followers of psychedelia,

and judging by the scope of this music

all-dayer it’s a broad church indeed. Where else can

hippy folk with elf ears rub shoulders with space

cadets with stage names like Bullhitter and Smiling

Rock Hydrax? Where else would the Gnostic folk

drones of Fane bleed happily into the spoken word

monologues of Map71 or the funky space jams of

Moondrive71? And where else would you find two

bands that both attribute special significance to

the number 71? Multi-instrumentalist and former

Brightonian Laurence Collyer makes an appearance

in his guise as The Diamond Family Archive,

while psyche stalwarts ja! Sputnik return with another

high-energy krautrock workout. All set to a

swirling oil-and-bubble backdrop from Innerstrings



Sat 22, Hotel Pelirocco, 7pm, Free

A host of curious antifolk and

indiepop acts come together

“to celebrate the darkest day

of the year and a fictional

birthday” with a festive shindig

at Brighton’s rock’n’roll theme hotel. Filthy

Pedro, having decamped from his former stomping

ground in London, has put together a new band

whose debut outing is sure to bring a dose of antifolk

mischief to the headline slot. Also fresh to

Brighton are lo-fi group The Stay Aways (a great

name to entice punters) and Spinmaster Plantpot,

a punk poet known in some parts simply as ‘Mad

Paul’. Quirky folk trio Boy in the Cupboard and

indie scamps Octopuses round off a bill alongside

the entertaining one-line songs of Dennis Scunt. It’s

folk, Jim, but not as you’ve ever known it.




The Nutcracker

Gary Avis on playing the magician

Photo by Tristram Kenton

The Nutcracker is to be streamed live, from

the Royal Opera House, to our cinemas. It’s

obviously the Christmas ballet: what in your

own words is at the heart of its appeal? The

Royal Ballet’s production has got everything

you could possibly need to feel festive. It takes

you back to childhood and provides a beautiful

family connection between generations. It’s

quite a responsibility to lead the storytelling,

playing Drosselmeyer: for a couple of hours I

really feel that I’m holding people’s Christmas

in my hands.

What’s different or unusual – special –

about this production? It doesn’t get any

better. It just doesn’t! Tchaikovsky created the

most incredible score, and it’s so wonderfully

familiar. (First timers are often surprised to

find they recognise far more than they knew.)

Sir Peter Wright has delivered what I feel is the

ultimate and classic production: stunning sets

and costume designs; the magical clarity of the

storytelling; and, of course, the most fabulous

choreography danced by the world’s finest

company. Everyone involved has so much pride

in it, from the children in the party scene right

through to the Sugar Plum Fairy: I think the

audience can really feel that and they know it’s

special too.

Your character is the magician and

toymaker who brings the nutcracker,

and the dancing dolls, into the family

Christmas. What do you enjoy most about

playing him? (How deeply do you think

about character in ballet? How close is your

job to acting?) Oh, this is an acting role, no

doubt. Of course, I’m a still a dancer at heart

and I make my performance as physical and

musical as I can. By the end, I feel like I’ve

danced right through it; I’m totally exhausted.

But Sir Peter has put Drosselmeyer at the heart

of the storytelling: the whole magical truth

rests on his shoulders. It’s rare for an acting

role to have such a presence in a ballet and that

brings enormous pleasure, as well as pressure,

to playing him.

What’s most wonderful, to you, about

Tchaikovsky’s score? There’s so much

to love, it would take all night to tell you.

But if I must pick just one part, it has to be

the transformation scene, when the family

home grows in size for the battle and then is

transformed into a fabulous winter wonderland.

As a magician, Drosselmeyer is at the heart of

this, and makes it all happen. The music allows

me to forget all the technical aspects – the

ropes and hydraulics – and the audience forgets

too. When I’m out there, it’s just me, Clara and


So, what is The Nutcracker all about? Pure

magic? The world keeps moving faster and

faster and it feels like life just becomes more

stressful and complicated. What The Nutcracker

does brilliantly is transport everyone back to

a simpler time: something we can all relate

to and share. It’s about family, the gentle loss

of innocence and the discovery of true love.

Interview by Charlotte Gann

The Nutcracker streams live to The Duke of

Yorks and The Depot (in Lewes) on Monday 3rd

at 7.15pm




The Animals and Children

Took to the Streets

Like nothing you’ve seen before

Jo Crowley, of celebrated

theatre company 1927,

tells us about the return

of their landmark show

that takes audiences into a

sprawling, stinking world

of curtain-twitchers,

peeping toms and a wolf

forever at the door…

The show opened in

2010 to huge critical acclaim and toured the

world for four years; why did you decide to

revive it? Demand, really. We kept receiving

invitations to take it to different venues but we

just didn’t have time. Then we got some funding

which has meant we can tour this as well as

continuing to work on a new show. But it feels

just as relevant now as it did back then.

Its themes of social inequality and rebellion

proved prescient just before the London

riots of 2011; did you have a sense of

tapping into a mood? It wasn’t intentional but

you can’t ignore what’s going on in the world

around you. The show was largely made in a

warehouse space in East London where you’d

have kids mucking around outside at all times of

the day because they didn’t really have anything

else to do, and we couldn’t help but wonder

why that was. As a company, we think we have

a responsibility to create work that reflects the

world around us.

Who are 1927? The company started in 2005

and is, primarily, a collaboration between an

animator and illustrator (Paul Barritt) and

a theatre maker (Suzanne Andrade). When

performer Esme Appleton joined, she suggested

they merge animation and live performance –

and that’s really where everything began. I was

brought in as producer

after their first show,

The Devil and The Deep

Blue Sea, opened in

2008. I was impressed

by their talent and

vision. There was a

real freshness to their


Reviewers have

compared your work to Berlin cabaret,

silent movies, artist Otto Dix and illustrator

Edward Gorey; what do you consider to

be your biggest influences? We’re magpies,

stealing things from all over the place and

influenced by various visual aesthetics, and it

changes depending on what we’re interested

in at a particular moment in time. It’s not

necessarily a conscious thing. When we look

back on a piece, you can see a particular

influence but it feeds in organically. We’re more

analogue than people realise. Because Paul is an

illustrator everything begins with his pen and

ink illustrations. It’s all quite handmade.

What can audiences expect from a 1927

show? Our work seems to resonate visually

because of Paul’s amazing animations and aurally

with the live music. Our themes tend to be

universal – rebellion; uprising; social divides – so

whether we’re presenting in the Middle East

or the Southern Hemisphere everyone can take

something from it. There’s a playfulness that

runs throughout; we like humour. But really,

all people can expect is the unexpected. In

28 countries, the thing most people say after

watching our work is: “Oh my God, that was like

nothing I’ve ever seen before.” Nione Meakin

The Old Market, Dec 19th – Jan 12th








Symphony No.35

(Haffner )


Violin Concerto No.5



Symphony No.7

Discounted parking

at NCP Church Street

just £6 between 1-6pm


Tickets from £12.50-£39.50

50% student/U18 discount

Brighton Dome Ticket Office

(01273) 709709



Wed 5 Dec


Sat 8 Dec


Fri 7 Dec


Sat 15 Dec

box office 0844 847 1515 *

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Cornwall’s ‘buoy band’ film stars hit the road!

With a film based on their incredible true story about to hit cinemas screens

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hit HORSHAM on Wednesday 20 March 2019 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50

BOX OFFICE 01403 750220


VIVA Brighton Ad December 2018.indd 1 19/11/2018 13:38



Choir With No Name

‘This is the kind of thing that can change a person’s life.’

The Choir With No

Name, a charity that

runs choirs for homeless

and marginalised

people, has arrived in

Brighton. Choir manager

Alex Proctor explains


We opened here in

August and soon had

50 members. It’s grown

really quickly. I am a

ridiculous optimist but even I was amazed when,

by week five, we opened our doors to find all

these people waiting.

The choir has come to Brighton in partnership

with Brighton Housing Trust, which

provides housing, advisory and wellbeing services

to people affected by homelessness in the

city. Although Brighton and Hove is a small city,

we have the second highest number of homeless

people in the country after Westminster.

Our sessions take place from 6pm every

Monday at One Church, in Gloucester Place.

We start with a nice cup of tea and some biscuits.

If someone is there for the first time, one

of our volunteers will show them around the

space and introduce them to the choir. Then we

do half an hour of warm-ups before singing.

At our last performance we picked classics

from the Choir With No Name repertoire

– Happy Together; Good Vibrations; 20th Century

Boy. We’re now perfecting a seasonal repertoire

ready for our Christmas gig at Brighton Dome.

Listen out for East 17’s Stay – we’re going to get

the audience to join in!

We’re pretty flexible in the way we run the

sessions. About a quarter of our members are

street homeless and

when you don’t know

where you’re going to

be living from week to

week, it can be challenging

to attend regularly.

We learn songs in

sections, use song sheets

and have volunteers

who will buddy up with

people to help them get

up to speed.

Afterwards we have a massive vegan meal

cooked by our volunteer team. It’s a lovely

feeling because we’ve just sung together and

then we’re eating together – two of the most

human experiences you can share with others.

One guy said to us: ‘This is the kind of thing

that can change a person’s life.’ What the

choir offers is a community space that isn’t clustered

around a service. People who are homeless

have to engage in a lot of services to move

forward but when you constantly have to work

within a system you can feel you have become

part of that system. There isn’t an expectation

in coming here – it’s just about being with other

people and singing.

I think a project like this does a lot to challenge

stereotypes in a positive way. It starts

conversations. It shows what homeless people

can achieve, and while it may not solve the wider

issues of homelessness, there is value in giving

people a sense of agency and helping them to

feel like a part of society. Singing can give people

a sense of having a voice again.

As told to Nione Meakin

The Big Christmas Singalong, Brighton Dome,

Dec 13th.




The Rocky Horror Show

A spiritual homecoming

A graffiti mural signalling

The Rocky Horror Show’s

residency has appeared

outside the Stage Door

of the Theatre Royal and

its cast are getting ready

to kick off a sequined,

scarlet-lipped tour of the

UK. The show’s director,

Christopher Luscombe,

is waxing lyrical about

what he calls the show’s

‘spiritual home’.

“It’s the perfect theatre,

the perfect atmosphere.

Brighton has a free spirit and it just works here.

I’ve been directing Rocky for 12 years and,

when I started, we opened in Brighton. The

show has a tradition of audience participation

and most people will be dressed up as one of the

characters. Goodness knows how, but they’ve

learned the script and they’ll shout out lines

throughout the show! During The Time Warp,

the entire audience get to their feet without even

thinking about it. It’s very infectious. At first, I

was a bit taken aback by it!”

“That does sound like an extremely Brighton

reaction,” I muse, imagining the Magentas,

Columbias, Franks and (heaven forfend),

Rockys, taking over the Theatre Royal.

“There’s really nothing like it. In places like

Italy and Australia it’s much more like watching

a normal musical – you clap at the end of the

songs, laugh at the jokes. But it’s very different

here in the UK. There’s a tremendous sense

of ownership and some people will come every

week, with a new costume for each visit. So, we

feel a sense of obligation

to give the audience what

they want, because they

love it. We have to look

after their show for them.”

Does he feel a

responsibility to be true to

the movie at all, I ask?

“Rocky was written as

a stage show and I have

to make sure it’s true to

the original text, to what

Richard O’Brien wrote.

It was written before

Richard even met Tim

Curry, with other influences in mind, and in

the original script, Frank is American. Tim

was absolutely brilliant, but you don’t go to the

theatre to see an impression of someone else.

You want something authentic to the actor and

I encourage them to make the part their own.

The company coming to Brighton is incredible

– Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton are Brad and

Janet, Stephen Webb is Frank and Dom Joly is

the Narrator – I think it might be the strongest

lineup we’ve ever had.”

“It is, in a sense, a party show. It’s a celebration

of rock and transvestism. It’s camp and silly.

But it’s also profound and moving. And it repays

multiple visits: the lyrics are poetic and elusive

and touch on different things depending on

the mood you’re in when you see it. Like a lot

of great poetry, you can read a lot of different

things into it, there’s not one interpretation.

And I think because it’s so thought-provoking,

it’s lasted.” Amy Holtz

Theatre Royal, 13th Dec - 5th Jan.




The Treason Show

A clusterfudge of a year

Mark Brailsford is


lost for the right

phrase. “I know

you can’t use that

word. There might

be a better word,

without swearing.”

His eyes twinkle.

“It’s a clusterfudge.”

Our conversation

has turned to Brexit,

which is certain to

be a key part of the

satirical revue he’s directing this month. “We

scattergun everyone, both sides get it from

The Treason Show, but because the dominant

narrative is so incompetent, we only have to

cover what’s going on and we look like we’re

biased. And I can’t help that, because Brexit is a

disaster. Whichever way you look at it.”

Now in its 19th year, The Treason Show has

become a Brighton institution, reflecting

current affairs in a collection of comedy

sketches and songs. Although Mark founded the

show, he’s keen to emphasise the collaboration

involved. He reckons there have been well over

300 contributors since the original cast of four

trod the boards at Komedia. However, The

Treason Show might easily never have happened

at all. Back in 1999, Mark mentioned his work

on the Radio 4 Week Ending sketch show when

he met Geoffrey Perkins, then BBC Head of

Comedy. The Perkins response was “That

taught you two things: how not to write and how

not to be funny.” Mark “loved him even more

after that” and decided to drop satire in favour

of playwriting. Whilst arranging for his latest

play to be performed

at Komedia, he was

asked if he’d like

to set up a topical

sketch show. Despite

hesitating initially,

Mark decided on a

three-month trial

in June 2000. “After

two marriages and

near-bankruptcy as

well, the company

motto is ‘we’re still


Indeed they are – and in the final stages of

assembling this year’s conclusive performances.

“You would think the Christmas show, which is

a ‘best bits’ show, would be easier to put together

than the regular shows. It’s not. It’s actually

harder. Because it’s a review of the year, it has

to encompass the big stories and then marry up

with our best material – and those aren’t always

the same thing.” Ultimately, Mark’s aiming for

“a distillation of the narrative”, he says. “There

are story arcs for every year. You will see a

thread of triggering moments that everybody’s

reacted to throughout 2018.” And so we return

to “the b-word”, as Mark puts it. “There will

definitely be a reaction to Brexit stuff. A mix

of people going ‘I don’t like that’ and others

cheering wildly. We want it to be a unifying,

cathartic experience. Making people laugh

together. It’s tougher to do comedy these days.”

Mark Bridge

That Was The Year That Was 2018 is at the

White Hart Hotel (Lewes) on Sat 22nd and at

Horatio’s on Brighton’s Palace Pier from Thurs

27th until Mon 31st.

Photo by Tom Gallagher




Jeff Wayne

The War of the Worlds

“‘Jeff, it’s probably the

most unique recording

we’ve ever heard but

the truth is we don’t

know if you’ve got an

audience for it.’”

I’m talking to the

producer, composer

and musician Jeff

Wayne. He’s telling

me how the hell he managed, in 1978, aged just

35, to persuade CBS to put out a double-sided

prog rock concept album based on a Victorian

sci-fi novel. A year, remember, in which threechord,

two-minute punk songs were all the rage.

With great difficulty, is the answer.

Wayne was a moderately successful pop

producer and ad-jingle composer in the midseventies,

most famous for producing David

Essex’s LPs. But he wanted something more

substantial to chew on, and spent six months

in 1974/5 reading novels, trying to find one he

could adapt into an album. ‘Jeff Wayne’s Brave

New World’ was a contender, before he hit upon

HG Wells’ invasion-from-Mars thriller The War

of the Worlds, originally published in 1897.

He managed to secure the rights to the book

by promising Wells’ son, Frank, that he would

remain true to the story and set it in Victorian

times. He sent the script to Richard Burton,

hoping he would become the narrator, and, to

his surprise, the great Welsh actor agreed. And,

to perform alongside Phil Lynott and Justin

Hayward, he signed up David Essex’s band,

including Essex himself, backing singer Julie

Covington, and musicians Chris Spedding and

Herbie Flowers.

So far so easy? Not a bit of it. “I managed to get

a contract from CBS to

produce a single-disc

album, for which they

gave me £34,500,” he

remembers. “When I

told them it had to be

a double album, they

doubled their stake.”

But it didn’t take Wayne

long to get through that

money, and he had to use up all his life savings,

and borrow heavily, to raise the further £170,000

that was needed to complete the project.

“I was pretty dumb,” he continues, “because in

my contract I didn’t even have a guarantee that

they’d release the album”. When he delivered

it to CBS, after more than three years of work,

they asked for 30 days to consider whether

they’d go ahead with the project. Then came

that phone call from the head of the studio…

asking for a further thirty days.

“What I think swung it was that I promised

to record an ‘airplay album’ with the songs

recorded like songs from a pop LP,” he tells me.

A month later he received another phone call

from CBS. A green light. The album was a goer.


Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds has since

sold over two million copies, spawned two

international smash hits (The Eve of the War

and Forever Autumn) and been adapted into

a spectacular West End-smash stage musical,

which is currently on a UK tour, ending with

two shows at the Brighton Centre. Jeff Wayne,

now 75, still hyper-enthusiastic about the

project, will be in the audience. Alex Leith

Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds, Brighton

Centre, 16th & 17th Dec, 6.30pm




The Snowman

Forty years of magic

Brighton Museum is celebrating the 40th

Anniversary of The Snowman with an

exhibition of Raymond Briggs’ original

drawings on show until January 6th. Like The

Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, The Snowman

is an all-time classic that has been reworked

for new generations to enjoy. We caught up

with animator and illustrator Robin Shaw –

one responsible for keeping him fresh: from

the famous Irn-Bru ad to The Snowman

and the Snow Dog, and now, a new

book written by Michael Morpurgo

and published by Puffin for


Robin, as a self-proclaimed

‘World’s Biggest Raymond

Briggs Fan’, what

appealed to you about

The Snowman as a

boy? I could see how it

was drawn… Ladybird

used to do these fairytale

books that had beautiful

paintings in but, as a

kid, they were so out of

my range of understanding… With Raymond’s

work, I could see every single stroke of the

pencil – and they were like the coloured pencils

that we had at school and that I had at home.

What’s the most important lesson he’s

taught you? Raymond really knows how to

capture an emotion in his drawings, in a very

simple way… When he draws a character

that is feeling quite sad, he often draws them

from the back because that’s a simpler

way of getting their emotion across

than depicting their faces. That’s

something I’ve done a lot.

Has The Snowman become

easier to draw? It has become

more refined. It hasn’t

become easier. It’s a very

time-consuming and

specific style of work...

When I’m doing

Snowman things I try

not to draw like I would

naturally draw. I try to

draw like Raymond, and

I show him my drawings


© Snowman Enterprises Ltd 2017



before I show them to

anyone else.

What is Raymond like

to work with? Raymond

is brilliant to work with

because he understands the

things we are doing to turn

illustration into animation…

He’s very respectful, he’s very

appreciative. I think he knows

how much I love his work and how

faithful I try to remain to it. But he always

finds some little detail that could be improved!

In the Brighton Museum show, I learnt

that the original animators added personal

touches, such as the little boy’s name being

James; Do you? Raymond’s upbringing and

mine are actually quite similar. With Ethel and

Ernest, for instance, the layout of Raymond’s

childhood house is very similar to the layout of

my house when I was a boy, so there were lots

of details that I was

really able to get into…

But when it comes to

renaming things, or

bringing things into the

film that are just to do

with me, I don’t do that,

because it’s Raymond’s.

How do you deal with

the theme of loss that’s so

pertinent in the original? It’s really

difficult because it’s not just about losing a

person or a thing, it’s about that nostalgia that

you can feel, even when you’re a child. I can

remember it myself, when you have a really

good time and then it’s over, and there’s a

sense of loss… It’s about trying to capture that,

rather than just a sense of grief.

Interview by Chloë King

The Snowman runs till 6th January, Brighton


Robin Shaw’s illustrations from The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo








Symphony No.35

(Haffner )


Violin Concerto No.5



Symphony No.7

Discounted parking

at NCP Church Street

just £6 between 1-6pm


Tickets from £12.50-£39.50

50% student/U18 discount

Brighton Dome Ticket Office

(01273) 709709


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

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Focus on: Hans Holbein the Younger

A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell?)

about 1526-8. Oil on oak. 56 x 38.8cm

© The National Gallery, London. Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and

The Art Fund and Mr J. Paul Getty Jnr (through the American Friends of the National Gallery, London), 1922

Hans Holbein the Younger

painted this famous halflength

portrait on his first visit

to England in 1526-28. The

female sitter is portrayed wearing

a Russian ermine fur-hat posing

against a striking blue background

with ornamental vine leaves. A red

squirrel, gnawing on a nut, perches

on her arm. The metal chain she

holds indicates it is a household pet,

not uncommon in Tudor times.

The squirrel provides the key

to the portrait’s likely identity,

for the coat of arms of the Lovell

family features squirrels nibbling

nuts. Anne Ashby was married to

Sir Francis Lovell (d.1552), esquire

of the body to Henry VIII. Their

first son Thomas was born in spring

1526, and this was perhaps the

motive for the commissioning of the


With the spread of the

Reformation in Northern

Europe, the demand for religious

images declined, and Holbein

sought alternative work in

England. During his first visit,

Holbein established himself as a

portrait painter and undertook

commissions from prominent

figures such the humanist

philosopher Thomas More to whom

he had been recommended by the

scholar Erasmus. Holbein settled in

England in 1532 where he worked

on portraits for the nobility of the

Tudor court becoming King’s Painter to Henry VIII in 1535.

We are delighted to be able to display the beautiful

and evocative portrait here at Brighton Museum & Art

Gallery. On loan from the National Gallery, the painting has

travelled from the Shetland Museum & Archives to The New

Art Gallery, Walsall before ending its tour here in Brighton.

It is being displayed together with three Northern European

portraits by Holbein’s contemporaries from the Fine Art

Collection. Jenny Lund

On display until Jan 6th. Included with Brighton Museum

admission. Free to Brighton & Hove residents and members.




Maggi Hambling, Self-portrait, 2017 © the artist

Sebastian Horsley, Maggi Hambling, 2011 © the artist

The Quick and the Dead

When Maggi met Sarah

“I’ll just switch Maggi on for


I’m being shown round the

Jerwood exhibition The Quick

& the Dead, by its co-curator

Victoria Howarth.

It might, more prosaically, have

been named ‘When Maggi

Met Sarah’, as it was a chance

meeting between portrait artist

Maggi Hambling and YBA

Sarah Lucas that sparked the

friendship that underscores

the show.

The introduction was made by

Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley,

at the Colony Rooms on

Dean Street, in October 2005.

Both women were celebrating

their birthdays at the private

after-hours club. It must have

been quite a night.

What Victoria is switching

on is the sculpture Magi (sic,

2012), of Hambling, by Lucas.

The description of the materials

used will help you picture

it: ‘coat hanger, lightbulbs,

steel wire, electric cable, toilet

bowl’. Victoria suggests that

the bulbs represent Hambling’s

eyes; in his catalogue notes

James Cahill suggests they are

her breasts. Whatever the case,

it’s very Sarah Lucas, an artist

whose remit has always been

to shock, more than charm, to

elicit a response.


Hambling’s touchée is more

lifelike. The oils Portrait of the

Artist Sarah Lucas and Sarah

Lucas II (both 2013) flank

the sculpture. The first – all

trademark colourful swirls and

unfinished business – captures

an intense look of vulnerability

in the face of the younger

artist. The second places her

framed portrait alongside a pile

of props typical of her oeuvre:

a fried egg; stuffed breasts;

fruit; wine glasses.

The fourth work you see, in

the first of four rooms, is a

frame containing two works by

Sebastian Horsley, including

a photo of his hand with a



Maggi Hambling No.2, Suffolk 2018, © Juergen Teller, All rights Reserved

nail through it. It’s a stylised

screen grab from a film made

by Lucas when he was nailed

to a cross in the Philippines

in 2000.

Lucas makes a sculpture of

Hambling; Hambling paints

Lucas; Lucas films Horsley.

The Quick & the Dead is an

exhibition about how artist-friends

see one another, and

how they see themselves: two

other members of what became

something of a gang are

represented in the show, Lucas’

partner Julian Simmons, and

German photographer Juergen

Teller. Simmons contributes

two framed eyes, staring out

from the middle of two sets of

concentric circles; Teller offers

a huge (1.5 x 2 metre) portrait

of Hambling, and another of

himself, standing naked by his

father’s graveside, swigging

beer and smoking a fag.

It’s Teller’s image of Hambling

that forms the centrepiece of

the exhibition, a rare vision

of the artist at work, half her

face hidden by the back of

the canvas she is working on,

her mascara-framed left eye

challenging the viewer. On

the opposite wall are charcoal

drawings of Teller she was

working on when the photo

was taken.

It’s all very meta, then, but

there’s much more to it than

playful self-reference. The

death of Horsley – from a drug

overdose in 2010 – looms over

the show, and a whole room

is dedicated to Hambling’s

poignant from-memory portraits

of him, painted while she

was in mourning. Alex Leith

The Quick and the Dead is on

at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings,

till 6th Jan

Sarah Lucas, In the words of Sexton Ming Just remember when you smile There’s a skull in there, 2018




It ain’t what you view,

it’s the way that you view it.

Unique photography of Brighton and the South Downs | 52-53 Kings Road Arches | 01273 227 523




In town this month...

Hizze Fletcher-King

It’s not all black & white is a solo show of work by artist,

curator and gallery owner Hizze Fletcher-King. You

might have spied her bold and expressive work around

the city this summer: she was chosen by Netflix

to produce a number of murals for their UK-wide

Orange Is The New Black x Pride campaign, with the

Brighton parade passing right by one of her murals at

the bottom of North Road. ‘My new work expresses

my life as an ageing queer woman’, says Hizze. “Life IS colourful but not without pain, through my

art I want to communicate the happiness and angst we can all consciously feel.” See her latest work at

BRUSH in Gloucester Road from the 4th-31st of December.

The award-winning Museum of Ordinary People (MOOP)

returns this month for a special exhibition co-created

by members of the public. Mini MOOP: Christmas is an

exploration of people’s Christmas memories – be they happy,

sad, funny or serious – told through everyday objects. The

exhibition reveals the diverse ways that people experience

the festive period, enabling them to share their personal

stories. Find them at Jubilee Library from 5th-29th.


Becky Blair

The Mitres Touch is at 35

North Gallery, until the

22nd. Fine art framers

Rainsford & James

spend their days in the

company of artworks but

rarely get to see what

happens to them after they leave their workshop.

This exhibition brings together a collection of

artworks selected, framed and curated by the

passionate pair. Artists include Becky Blair,

Abigail Bowen, Luke Brown, Mel Evans,

Katherine Griffin and Michelle Mildenhall.

Kirsty Wither

The annual Winter Show

continues at Cameron


throughout December,

with a huge variety

of paintings, prints,

ceramics, sculpture and

jewellery. Featured painters include Linda

Felcey, Luke Hannam, Mark Johnston,

Luella Martin, David Storey, and Kirsty

Wither, with sculpture and ceramics from

Lilia Umana Clarke, Judith Rowe, Rowena

Gilbert and Dean Patman.




In town this month... (cont)

The Artists Open Houses festival returns for its Christmas edition

on the weekends of the 1st & 2nd and 8th & 9th, with hundreds of

artists and makers across Brighton, Hove and Ditchling opening their

homes and studio spaces to the public. As well as the chance to get

some Christmas shopping done, some of the venues have workshops

and activities that are suitable for kids, including puppet shows at The

Regency Town House (see pg 70). Visit for details of the


Scoffin at Northern Lights

Robert Littleford

And there are plenty more opportunities for creative Christmas

shopping. The Open Studios, located in the arches between the two

piers, claims to be Brighton’s oldest working art studio. It’s home to 15

artists and is open all year round offering original prints, cards, textiles,

ceramics, jewellery, paintings and sculpture for sale. You’re always

invited to browse the studios and meet the makers where they work.

Open 10am-6pm every day and until 8pm on Thursdays, at 168 Kings

Road Arches.

Sam Larsen-Disney, The Brighton & Hove Calendar

Christmas markets are popping up everywhere this month. The Etsy

Christmas Market is at the Dome on Saturday the 1st, from 10am-5pm (last

entry 4.30pm). You’d better get there early as this one gets packed. Bazaar

Brighton is at Brighton Unitarian Church in New Road on Saturday the

8th and the 22nd, with more designers, makers, artists and vintage finds,

with workshops, veggie food and live music to keep you entertained. Also, on the 8th,

Paper Daisy Events host a Christmas market in the Brighthelm Centre and Gardens,

and Creative Differences are at The Green Door Store, with all sorts of exhibitors from

illustrators to record labels (11am - 4pm. £2 entry). And don’t forget to pick up a few copies of

The Brighton & Hove Calendar, now

in its 19th year! A quintessentially Brighton

Christmas staple with iconic cityscapes,

eccentric characters, a full year’s tide tables and

key events throughout the year, and all printed

locally by Generation Press. Pick yours up

from Brighton Photography Gallery in the

Kings Road Arches, City Books on Western

Rd, outside 11 Kensington Gardens, or online


Life Club at Creative Differences


Artists Open Houses


24 & 25 November, 1 & 2, 8 & 9 December

Looking for that special, unique present this Christmas?

Exchange the bustle of the high street, for special atmosphere of Artists Open Houses.

Chat with artists and makers in their own homes and studios.

Browse and buy from a wide range of work,

from almost 500 exhibitors in 50 venues.

It’s Not All Black & White

It’s Not All A Solo Black Show & White

by Hizze Fletcher-King

A Solo Show by Hizze Fletcher-King


British Painting and


We look forward to welcoming

you to our gallery in Hove.


Mon—Sat 10.30am—5pm

Sunday/bank holidays 12pm—5pm

Closed Tuesday

For more details visit


December 4 – 31st

BRUSH Gallery

BRUSH 84 Gloucester Road BN1 4AP

84 Gloucester Road BN1 4AP



@brushbrighton 07535 118513



Out of town...

David and his Harp by Marc Chagall

Something Glowing

and Alive continues

at Martyrs’ Gallery,

in Lewes, until the

16th. An exhibition

of vibrantly colourful

prints, lithographs

and some original

drawings and etchings by Marc Chagall,

John Piper and Graham Sutherland, three

artists indelibly associated with Chichester

Cathedral, having been commissioned to

produce ecclesiastical art by Dean Walter

Hussey during the 1960s and 1970s.

Selected prints, lithographs and original

drawings are for sale. []

Wonderground Map of London Town (Section), Max Gill (1914), private collection

Max Gill:

Wonderground Man is

at Ditchling Museum

of Art + Craft. The

younger brother of the

more famous Eric, Max

Gill was a well-known

illustrator, letterer,

map-maker, architect

and decorative artist.

His strikingly vibrant

and often humorous

maps and posters chart the rise of new technologies such

as electricity, flight and radio communication. His bestknown

piece, the large 1914 Wonderground Map, was hung

at every Underground station in London. Until April 2019.

Rage Fluids at Hannah Perry GUSH

© Hannah Perry and Tim Bowditch

Towner Art Gallery present GUSH, a candid and personal

exploration of mental and emotional health in our hypernetworked

society by British artist Hannah Perry. Central

to the exhibition is an immersive 360° film experienced

through a Virtual Reality headset whilst the viewer is seated

on a foam bed sculpture. Other works include a large-scale,

pulsating audio sculpture, where sound frequencies create

distorted patterns on its mirrored surface. Continues until the

27th of January. Also continuing at Towner, The Everyday and

Extraordinary explores artists’ use of the found object, with

works drawn from the Arts Council Collection, and there’s an exhibition of new and recent works by Simon

Ling, best known for his vibrant, unsettling oil paintings of the dilapidated urban landscape that surrounds his

East London studio.

Quentin Blake has been letting his imagination run riot at the Jerwood in

Hastings. In The World of Hats the much-loved artist and illustrator explores

the decorative possibilities of various headgear. “It seemed to me that

about forty works, of varying sizes, would be more than enough to fill

the space… By the time I persuaded myself to stop I discovered I had a

collection of well over a hundred drawings.” Some of those drawings are for

sale with proceeds divided between the gallery and the Hastings Storytelling

Festival. Until the 6th of January.

Quentin Blake, The World of Hats, mixed media, 2018, © the artist




Portraits, Puppets and Performance

at The Regency Town House

Photo by Rosie Powell

“I think you have to stay connected to your

child’s eye view of the world to be an artist of

any kind,” says Beccy Smith, co-founder of

Brighton Puppetry School. “Puppetry is good at

plugging anyone who engages with it back into

that perspective on the world.”

Over their ten years in Brighton, Beccy and

partner Darren East, a third generation

puppeteer, have created a community. Together,

they run Touched Theatre, a touring production

company; Punched, a sell-out puppetry cabaret

for adults; and, with Isobel Smith, the Brighton

Puppetry School.

“Puppetry is a low art, really, and that’s part of

its appeal,” says Beccy. “It’s totally accessible…”

As with folklore, the medium has a long history,

rooted in oral tradition. “Fairytales and puppetry

share that feeling of the uncanny,” she says.

“They tap into something deep – I think there’s

part of us that responds to that weight, that

sense of magic that wraps around both.”

As an art form, it encapsulates many others, and

that’s one of the reasons puppetry inspires artists

from across disciplines. Brighton Puppetry

School plays do this with workshops focusing

on performance, making and creation. Students

choose from a series of one-day sessions, evening

classes or an intensive six-day summer school

providing ‘complete immersion’. They then use

these practical introductory skills to create all

kinds of interesting independent projects.

“Puppetry can be very much about visual design




Humphry by Liza Harrison

Rust & Stardust © Ada Lovelace

and the process of crafting,” explains Beccy.

“You’re making a little robot, really, and there’s a

great deal of design involved in making puppets

do what you need them to do.”

To this end, Touched Theatre work closely with

local artist Annie Brooks, who made Marty, the

star of their touring pre-school show Twinkle

Twinkle. “We like to make puppets

with materials that are connected

to the story,” says Beccy, “so

Marty has lots of stars in his


“For us, what really

excites, are the

performance elements

and the storytelling.

We approach puppetry

inspired by what happens

when it turns from an

object into something

alive… We want our work

to feel as though people

can have it as their own

and get hold of it,


For this month’s Artists Open Houses, Touched

Theatre is resident at the Regency Town House.

A large group of exhibitors are bound by their

love of the theatrical, including fine artist

Amanda Davidson and participants of ArtAid,

a collaboration with Brighton’s Child and

Adolescent Mental Health Services funded by

Children in Need.

For ArtAid, Touched Theatre works alongside

therapists to provide a creative and cathartic

experience for young people in care. “The

power of puppetry is that you feel you’re

working with something removed from

yourself,” Beccy explains.

“Puppets can be deeply personal, at the same

time as feeling kind of magically separate… This

allows you to put things into them that you may

not be able to otherwise say or express. Nothing

is really off-limits.”

“I hope that people who come to visit the Open

House will be able to experience for themselves

how magical this form can be.” Chloë King

Portraits, Puppets and Performance is at Regency

Town House on weekends until Dec 9th /



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Adam Bronkhorst has been nosing around the studios of six local children’s

book illustrators, asking each of them: what’s your favourite fairytale? | 07879 401333

Sarah Edmonds

“The Snow Queen.”


Mia Underwood

“Red Riding Hood.”


Chris Riddell

“The Pied Piper of Hamelin.”


Ada Grey

“A Necklace of Raindrops.”


John Bond

“Little Red Riding Hood.”


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Rathfinny Tasting Room

Vine & Dine

“It’s like being in Sonoma,”

declares Emma as we pass

thousands of grape vines glowing

golden in the late autumn sun.

I can see what she means but

with a gun-barrel view of the

Cuckmere Valley from the top

of the drive, the Rathfinny Wine

Estate couldn’t be anywhere

but Sussex. The spectacular

scenery continues inside the

Tasting Room restaurant,

with a panoramic glass wall

looking out over regimented

vines that recede into the lee

of the Downs. A kestrel hangs

in the breeze. We take it all

in whilst enjoying a glass of

fizz; Rathfinny Estate Blanc de

Blancs 2014 (their first vintage)

for David, a glass of their 2015

rosé for Emma, a chalk-filtered South Downs

mineral water for me.

The menu is modern British, regularly updated

to reflect the best local, seasonal ingredients,

and today there are nine dishes. Between us we

order them all and tuck into grape and rosemary

focaccia, treacle soda bread, and delicious butter,

whipped and salted with samphire.

Our starters soon arrive. Mine is a generous

portion of al dente tagliatelle with wild

mushrooms and shavings of winter truffle,

packed with earthy, umami flavours. Emma has

chosen Sea Trout tartare which is topped with an

icy horseradish granita and served with charred

cucumber, caviar and a dressing of shiso tea. And

David’s crisp Wagyu calves tongue comes with

chicory, garden peas and radish, with a hot onion

broth poured at the table.

My main course is a baked

munchkin pumpkin; one of

those cooking-apple-sized

pumpkins that, until now, I’d

thought were purely decorative.

It’s filled with goat’s cheese and

roasted until tender, along with

the salsify and beetroot that

accompany it. With a dab of

chestnut pesto it makes for a

tasty winter lunch; the richness

of the goat’s cheese balanced

by the roasted squash. Emma

enjoys a saddle of venison,

cooked to pink perfection and

served with local naga onion and

a miniature hot pot of venison

ragu, and David has a fillet of

wild Sea Bass with puntarella,

haricot beans and mussels, in a

pool of broth. Each dish is styled to perfection, in

keeping with everything else about the place.

To follow we have a selection of Sussex cheeses

that come with a pleasingly sharp damson jam;

a quince terrine with hazelnut, dark chocolate

and blackberry, and a sticky stout pudding with

poached pears and clotted cream which puts me

in mind of Christmas. It’s an enjoyable end to a

very enjoyable meal and we’ve been extremely

well looked after throughout. But the real

showstopper has been that view. We all turn our

chairs to face west and sip our coffees as the sun

sets over the ridge of the Downs, splashing the

clouds with pink. Lizzie Lower

2 courses £30, 3 courses £35. Weds, Thurs,

Sun 10am – 5pm. Fri & Sat, 10am – 9pm. / 01323 870022




Photo by Alex Leith




Moroccan spiced stuffed squash

Anglo-Nigerian chef Lerato Umah-Shaylor

cooks up a perfect vegan Christmas dish

I was a TV producer and presenter with my

own cookery show in Nigeria, but now I’ve

moved to England I’ve made it my mission to

teach people how to cook African-style food.

I run cookery classes in London, in my home

in Eastbourne, and in Brighton in partnership

with the wonderful Community Kitchen, where

we give frequent classes such as Moroccan

Winter Warmers, in December.

I’ve never been a purist when it comes to

cooking, because I like to adapt recipes to

the ingredients I can easily get hold of. This

is a Moroccan-style dish, but you can buy all

the ingredients in your local high street. In

Morocco they would be more likely to use

couscous or rice than pearl barley, but I think

the rougher grain has more oomph to it, so I’m

using that instead.

Method: (feeds four) Cut a butternut squash

in half lengthways (be careful here, work at

it slowly) then scoop out the seeds, brush the

insides with olive oil, and put the two halves in

a pre-heated oven, at 200 degrees Celsius, on a

baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

In a heavy saucepan, using light olive oil,

sweat a finely chopped onion for ten minutes

or so, then add three or four medium carrots,

cut into discs, three cloves of garlic, two

chilli peppers, and a red bell pepper, all finely

chopped. Meanwhile toast your spice seeds

(2 tablespoons of cumin, 1 of coriander, 1 of

fennel) and half a cinnamon stick in a hot

frying pan for two minutes, and grind in a

pestle and mortar. Mix this into the pot, with a

teaspoon each of turmeric and paprika. Cook

for one minute.

Rinse 300g of pearl barley and add to the pot,

with a litre or so of hot water (you can always

add more later, if it gets too dry). Sprinkle in

stock, salt (if necessary) and black pepper, and

push the sides with a spoon occasionally for

about 40-50 minutes, until the pearl barley has

opened out, and is al dente.

Take the squash out of the oven after half an

hour, gently score the top, and return to the

oven for a further 10-20 minutes, or until

tender. Then scoop out enough flesh to make

space for your filling, without getting too close

to the skin (leave around an inch around the

sides and at the bottom).

Finally add a (drained) can of chickpeas to the

barley mix, and the scooped-out squash flesh,

and stir in. Fill the wells you have scooped

out of the squash with the mixture, garnishing

with finely chopped coriander and parsley,

roasted squash seeds, and, for a final flourish,

pomegranate jewels.

This dish – perfect for vegans on Christmas

Day – can be served on its own, or as a side.

The stew can also be eaten on its own, and the

beauty is that you can substitute many of the

ingredients with what you have in the fridge,

and bulk it up with mushrooms and your

favourite greens. It’s a lovely winter warmer,

which is easy to make, and is easy on the

pocket, too. Enjoy!

As told to Alex Leith /




Twin Pines

Subterranean sanctuary

If Brighton has a vice, it’s not fruity beer or

vintage overalls, but coffee. You can’t swing a

designer Bengal without hitting a caffeinated

hangout, so I’m always game to test the brewing

skills of a new barista and – more importantly – to

find a little sanctuary.

Twin Pines is located amid the frenetic energy at

the bottom of St James’s Street but, as soon as I

step inside, the noise ebbs and I’m enraptured by

all the coffee gizmos on display below the counter.

I order a flat white with oat milk (just to be

down with the kids), and today’s sugar-drenched

banana bread.

I’m gently ushered down the spiral staircase to

await my treats and, descending, I’m transported

into my Granny Charlotte’s dimly-lit basement

– full of curios from a bygone time with tassled

lamps illuminating the corners. It has a familiar,


charm and,

as my order is

placed in front of

me, on a worn,

wobbly wooden

table, I feel right

at home.

The flat white (£3) is perfect, served in a mug you

can wrap your hands around – a much appreciated

touch. And the banana bread (£3.50), well, it’s

just like Granny would have made.

We’re hidden away down here, away from adult

duties – and that is Twin Pines in a coffee bean;

somewhere to dither, draw, dream – to snatch a

few minutes away from the day. And a delightfully

tasty few minutes it is. Amy Holtz

11 St James’s Street

Photo by Amy Holtz


Croque shop


吀 䠀 䔀 嘀 䔀 䜀 䔀 吀 䄀 刀 䤀 䄀 一 刀 䔀 匀 吀 䄀 唀 刀 䄀 一 吀

made in Brighton Sausage rolls

Local Organic Pork sausage meat

Vegetarian and vegan options

9 Duke street Brighton BN1 1AH

A-news bouche

A warm welcome to Barney’s Deli, a smart

new delicatessen in Kensington Gardens. They

offer a huge selection of locally sourced artisan

foods including more than 40 Sussex cheeses,

Mangalitza charcuterie from Lewes, and

handmade preserves, chutneys and chocolate.

They are offering a 10%

discount to Viva readers

when you take this mag

along (valid until the

31st of Dec 2018).

There are workshops galore this month. Learn to

make botanical beauty balms at YouJuice on the

8th of December. Create an organic base balm

to tailor with your own blend of essential oils;

‘All the Trimmings’, Christmas classic side dishes

with a twist, is at Community Kitchen on the

12th; there are chocolate-making workshops by

Cocoa Crystal at Al Campo Lounge

on the 4th & 11th, and Stoneham

Bakehouse have Baking with

Rye (very hygge) on the 4th,

and Festive Breads on the 11th

& 18th. See for

course prices and details.

If you’re planning to turn over a new leaf for

2019, the College of Naturopathic Medicine

(CNM) is the largest training provider in a

range of natural therapies and can put you on

the path to a career in Nutrition, Naturopathy,

Herbal Medicine or Homoeopathy. They’re

holding a free open evening on Wednesday 5th

of December with course consultants on hand

to answer any questions. 6.30-

8.30pm, Brighton Aldridge

Community Academy,

Lewes Road, BN1 9PW



As a city, we’re doing better than most at maintaining a vibrant high street, and we’ve

got our indie shops to thank for that. They’ve been busy stocking their shelves with

interesting ideas for the festive season. Here’s just a few of our picks to get your

Christmas shopping started…

From left to right: Red silk teddy from Ayten Gasson, £107. Kamasi Washington: Heaven & Earth

4LP from Resident, £44.99. Tartan thermos flask from Utility, £24.95. Mug by Silvia K Ceramics from

Atelier 51 (Providence Place and 29 Sydney Street), £30. Viewquest Retro Mini radio from Carters,

£55.97. Silver and gold rings by Jennifer Wall from Brass Monkeys, starting at £88.

From left to right: Nutty print by David Bennet, from Malarkey, £25. Lunchbox set from Wastenot,

£22.50. Lumix DC-TZ80 from Panasonic BDA, starting at £240. Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and

Garden book from Charleston, £18.99. Another Year Wiser Facial Oil from Wick, £28. Glitter socks from

Blackout, £9.95. Fairy Jelly with edible silver leaf, from Barneys deli, £4.25. Brighton & Hove Calendar

from Brighton Photography, £9 for 1, £15 for 2. Tea towels from Castor + Pollux, £8.95.

From left to right: Lou Taylor brooch from Pussy, £55. Card games from Magazine Brighton,

£8.99 each. Kids shirt from Get Cutie Boy Parker, £35. Enamel kettle from InHouse Space,

£49.95. Classic Moon Bag from Neoma Design, £295. Conscious Creatvity by Philippa Stanton,

from City Books, £14.99. Silver stars and hearts necklaces from Julian Stephens, starting at £70.

Choclates from BeChocolate, £7.20 for 100g. Emma Bridgewater mug from Tates, £19.99.




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Dr Joanna Gilar

“There is an essentail link between storytelling and nature”

“I say to little kids that I’m a

doctor of fairy tales,” says Dr.

Joanna Gilar, a writer, poet and

storyteller. She has a Ph.D. in

Fairy Tales and Ecology from

the Sussex Centre for Folklore,

Fairy Tales and Fantasy

(SCFFF) at Chichester

University; an international

forum for writers, scholars

and performers. She now

teaches The History of Fairy

Tales and Storytelling online

at The Hedge School and

Evolution Arts in Brighton,

and is passionate about the

power of storytelling to build

community and to connect

people to the landscape. “There is an essential

link between storytelling and nature,” she tells me.

“One of my real passions is using imagination to

bring people into the world rather than out of it.”

“I’m a fan of the ecological philosopher David

Abram and his view that we cannot restore the land

without re-storying the land. We used to relate

to the land by knowing it through its stories and

folklore, but these have been lost and fragmented

in contemporary western culture. But we can still

work with imagination and storytelling to connect

us to the environment. A project that I’m working

on – The Giant’s Garden – is an opportunity for

parents and kids to re-enchant normal life.”

Joanna also teaches the History of Fairy Tales

and the power of reworking them for modern

times. “As storytellers, we very rarely make up new

stories. Depending on what’s happening in the

world, traditional stories can be rewoven.”

“One of the most interesting things about fairy

tales is that they are not written by one author

but by many. If you consider

something like Red Riding

Hood - how many hands it

has passed down through

and how many different

imaginations - it gathers a

great cumulative power and

becomes something that has

been crafted over millennia.”

“Fairy tales were originally

oral stories, so they were

very fluid, but as they’ve

been written down, they’ve

become more fixed. We can

re-energise them just by being

aware of the different versions.

Sleeping Beauty, for example,

isn’t always simply a princess

asleep in a tower. In some of the versions, she’s

also the rescuer, who rides to save the prince from

the brothers who try to kill him. The old versions

are more challenging and complex than we have


With their universal themes and power to connect

us, Joanna believes that the sharing of stories is

every bit as powerful for adults as it is for children,

especially when they’re told by a master of the

craft. “As an adult encountering the storytelling

world, there have been some stories that have

really hit me in the heart,” she says. “What I

love about storytellers is that they dedicate

themselves to a story before they tell it. Rather

than inventing it, they learn it and work with it.

Some contemporary storytellers, like Dr. Martin

Shaw, can tell a story and transform the space. It’s

like going through a course of therapy or a ritual.

Something inside you changes.” Lizzie Lower



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Sneezing Cats and Egg Shell Witch Boats

Beware Sussex folklore

If your cat sneezes once

indoors, get it outside quick!

Three indoor sneezes from

a cat will bring the whole

family down with colds.

After eating a boiled egg,

break a hole in the bottom

of the shell to stop witches

putting to sea in it. A magpie

seen on your left brings bad

luck, unless you take off

your hat and bow to it.

These are just three of 195

‘startling superstitions’

collected by Mrs Charlotte

Latham, wife of the Vicar

of Fittleworth, in Some West Sussex Superstitions

Lingering in 1868.

Mrs Latham tried to find out the reasons for

people’s beliefs. When she asked why people

took their hats off to magpies, ‘they always

answered that it was a bad bird, and knew more

than it should do, and was always looking about

and prying into other people’s affairs.’

My favourite answer to such a ‘why’ question

is a note in Dylan Thomas’s Collected Poems: ‘I

read somewhere of a shepherd who, when asked

why he made, from within fairy rings, ritual

observations to the moon to protect his flocks,

replied, ‘I’d be a damn fool if I didn’t!’’

Charlotte Latham argues that fairies were once

‘extremely common in Sussex’, based on placenames

including ‘Pook’ (the Sussex version of

‘Puck’ or the Irish ‘Pooka’). But belief was dying

out and it’s fitting that two of the best known

fairy stories from 19th Century Sussex are of

funerals. William Blake saw a fairy funeral in

Felpham, and Latham says she was shown a

fairy’s burial place on the

mound in Pulborough.

In 2016, the Worthing

folklorist Chris Hare held a

survey to find out how many

of the Victorian superstitions

survived. He discovered that

Sussex people still believed in

ghosts and omens, and they are

still greeting magpies (asking

‘How’s your wife?’). People no

longer fear witchcraft, though

three respondents knew about

eggshells being used as witch

boats. You can read about the

survey in Hare’s wonderful

book, The Secret Shore.

Several of Hare’s respondents were retired

fishermen, who described so many unlucky

omens it’s a wonder that they ever managed

to get to sea. For good luck, they kept holed

flints in their boats. Lucky holed stones, called

hagstones, are a big part of Brighton folklore.

From the 1920s, H.S.Toms, curator of Brighton

Museum, obsessively documented them. He

found them nailed to barn doors, hanging above

beds (to prevent nightmares), tied to lobster

pots, dangling from perambulators and car axles,

and worn around the neck and on watch chains.

Toms grew so good at spotting these stones that

he once identified a bunch, nailed to a shed,

from a train ‘going at great speed’.

I have some hagstones of my own which I found

on the beach. I’ve put them outside the back of

my house, inside a horseshoe (pointing up so the

luck doesn’t drain out). Why did I do this? I’d be

a damn fool if I didn’t!

Peter Chrisp




Life writing

Alternative ways of telling your story

When Lyn Thomas studied at Oxford

University in the early 1970s, it wasn’t just her

Wolverhampton accent and working-class roots

that marked her out as different.

She soon realised that the six outfits she had

brought with her (including her old school

uniform) would not cut the mustard for the

posh dinners and sherry parties to which she

was invited.

The answer lay in getting her aunt to make

her a long skirt, and investing six guineas in a

lacy white blouse from a shop called Campus.

“I knew it was what I needed for Oxford

socialising, and that I could wear it over and

over again.”

The tale of The Campus Blouse appears in

Thomas’s touching and humorous online

memoir, Clothes Pegs: A Woman’s Life in 30 Outfits

(, in which the University

of Sussex Professor Emerita of Cultural Studies

reflects on episodes of her life, from childhood

to retirement, through particular personal


“As a child and young woman I had very few

clothes, so I can remember what I was wearing

at significant moments,” she says. “These textile

memories have allowed me to explore how

social class, gender and sexuality have played

out in my own life.”

Her other posts include The Red Tulip Dress,

which recounts a doomed love affair (‘Frank

said the tulips made him feel heavy, intoxicated.

I liked the dress even more’), and The Venetian

Coat, bought to celebrate a return to mobility

after a hip operation.

The memoir has also inspired Life Writing

Projects – an online collaboration between the

University of Sussex’s Centre for Life History

and Life Writing and its School of Media, Film

and Music’s digital platform, Reframe – in which

writers and artists have explored innovative ways

of telling their stories.

Curated by Thomas, the site includes a walk

through litter by a writer who is shocked by the

declining state of her childhood city, a poetic

telling of a double mastectomy, and a grieving

installation artist discovering creative uses for

her grandmother’s old wardrobe.

Now Thomas is looking to expand the number

of stories. Although the site is currently

organised around the themes of ‘body’,

‘books’, ‘clothes’ and ‘place’, she says this is

just a loose guide.

“The idea of the project is to work within

self-imposed constraints that can help to give

your life writing a structure, or a new focus,”

she says. “They may allow things to emerge that

otherwise wouldn’t have emerged.”

“I’m interested in creative approaches rather

than the conventional formats of autobiography

and memoir. The search for a new form can lead

to an exploration of issues and experiences that

are not often talked about, but may be shared by

many”. Jacqui Bealing

Life Writing Projects will be open for new

submissions between 21st and 31st January 2019.

Maximum word length: 1000 words. Please

submit to, with ‘LWP

submission’ in the subject field of your email,

and a 100 word biographical note. For more

information go to: Life Writing Projects:



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A dog for life, not just for Christmas.

Illustration by Mark Greco

Christmas is almost here folks and it’ll soon

be time for that fella in the red coat to come

sneaking around. Yep, your neighbourhood fox is

on the prowl and shortly after Santa has finished

pulling presents out of his sack your local fox

will be busy trying to pull half a turkey out of

your bin bag.

Foxes have lived among us for centuries and, just

like Christmas, they’re celebrated in folklore and

myths all around the world. Whether the story

belongs to the Greeks, Japanese, Celts, Native

Americans, Disney or Roald Dahl it is always the

same – the fox is portrayed as cunning, slippery

and devious. I prefer intelligent, adaptable

and resourceful – and it’s these traits that have

helped the fox to survive in the modern world.

It was the modern world which transformed the

fox’s wild woods into endless agricultural fields,

towns, cities, tower blocks and cul-de-sacs. Traditionally,

in the face of development, Britain’s

wildlife has silently been displaced and died. But

where others fled destruction the fox, like any

shrewd opportunist, saw a brave new world of

golden opportunities where the dustbins overfloweth

and where the streets are paved with cast

away kebabs and finger-lickin’ chicken.

And for me this is the chapter in the fox’s story

that does indeed seem mythical: that in urban

Britain there are wild dogs living amongst us.

I can look out my bedroom window and see a

relative of the wolf, dingo, jackal and coyote

casually sauntering across my lawn. It’s a touch

of the Serengeti in suburban Sussex. Studies

undertaken by the University of Brighton

have estimated that there are twenty foxes per

square kilometre in the city. Of course, tradition

dictates that some people do not like foxes. As a

child I always viewed the Boxing Day hunt as the

antithesis to Christmas; a reminder that amidst

this season of goodwill there are still people who

are proud to dress up in costumes in a public

celebration of their cruelty.

It’s in the bleak midwinter that foxes are at their

most vocal. And it’s one helluva racket! The

blood-curdling, human-like scream of the vixen

sounds like something from a Hammer Horror

film. This foxy lady is only fertile for a few days

and her scream advertises her availability and

sparks bow-wows, barks and bickering from

amorous dog foxes. Her cubs will be born about

fifty-two days after mating and emerge from

their earths in April.

So this Christmas if you’ve had it with the plastic

snowmen, the fake tree and the fake sentiments

take a short walk away from it all and out into

the darkness. Listen for the sound of wild dogs

howling at the moon, the sound of survival. Let

it stir something wild in your heart.

Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement

Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust




This picture, of 72 London Road, was taken

around 1895, and it must have been just before

Christmas, because the proud manager of the

Southern Counties Dairy Co Ltd has displayed

a large number of geese and turkeys on his shop

front, both to ‘hang’ them, ready for consumption,

and to let his customers know how well

stocked he is. We believe the manager to be ‘R

Standen’, who is listed as running the place in the

Pike guides of both 1895 and 1906.

As the name of the shop suggests, this wasn’t a private

concern, but a chain. The Southern Counties

Dairy Co sold milk and cheese, as you’d imagine,

and delivered milk three times daily. It also dealt

in poultry, as well as a side line in ‘wild rabbits’, at

one & tuppence a beast. There was another branch

of the chain on Upper Gloucester Road.

A photograph in Victorian times was quite an

event, and you can see quite an effort has been

made for the camera. Mr Standen’s wife stands in

the shop doorway, looking at him rather than the

camera; his son, dressed (as was usual at the time)

in small-size adult-style clothes, strikes quite a

pose on the right of the picture. Standen holds

his stick in military manner.

One surviving element from the original shop

front is the pilaster to the left of the doorway,

with its ornate capital, which once would have

been painted gold. Sadly the SCD shop’s façade,

with its stained-glass sections underneath a

splendid frieze, has been lost.

But the building, much changed, still exists, on

the left-hand side of the road as you approach

Preston Circus. It has been used for many

purposes over the years: in the 30s it became a

butcher’s, in the 40s a draper’s, in the 50s a confectioner’s

and in the 60s a dry-cleaning business.

More recently, amalgamated with no 73, it’s

been a cheap curtain and fabric store. It is now a

charity shop, run by The Sussex Beacon.

But in December 1895, this is where you came

for the headline item of your Christmas dinner.

And as we know from many sources, turkey was

then the staple fare on the festive table, though

goose was still popular. The birds had, then as

now, to be hung for at least ten days before being

sold: presumably they must have been moved

inside at night, which would have been quite a

job for Mr and Mrs Standen. Alex Leith

Thanks, as ever, to the Regency Society for permission

to use this picture, from the James Gray




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