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B R I G H T O N
#77. JULY 2019
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I can vividly remember the smell of my Grandpa’s
shed. The earthy aroma of creosote and compost,
oily rags and terracotta pots permeating the cool,
damp darkness. The deep throated thrum of a
petrol mower still transports me to a sun-bleached
seventies afternoon in his garden: Stan, in his
string vest, mowing his steeply sloping lawn. He
was very much on my mind when I visited Clive
Gravett – lawn mower historian and founder of
The Museum of Gardening – this month. Those
two would have got along famously.
In fact, there’s much that reminds me of Stan in
this issue. The folk at Brighton & Hove Organic
Gardening Group’s community allotment,
teaching frustrated would-be gardeners (like me)
the pleasure of growing your own. Rock Farm,
Brighton Permaculture Trust, and the University
of Sussex’s allotment, all teaching the satisfaction
that comes from working with the land. And
plantsman Nick Dwyer, whose horticultural
experimentation fills the borders of Kemptown’s
Secret Garden. Plus, we meet an urban beekeeper
and Brighton's arboreal activists: all sorts of
people who plough their own furrow within the
So, let’s cut the ribbon on our ‘garden party’
issue. Whether that’s fascinators and cucumber
sandwiches, burnt sausages and picnic blankets,
or – if you're lucky – an invitation to sip rosé in
the Kemp Town Enclosures, while the setting sun
splashes the white stucco walls with an apricot
glow. Pull up a deckchair, and feel the grass grow
between your toes.
Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex,
is home to over 500 acres of ornamental gardens,
woodlands and a nature reserve. Beautiful whatever
the season, there is something for everyone whether
you’re a keen gardener, adventurer or wildlife lover.
Run and managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens,
Kew, Wakehurst prides itself on being home to not
only picture-perfect gardens and an Elizabethan
Mansion, but also hundreds of acres of diverse
landscape featuring rare and wonderful plants from
around the world.
Home to the Millennium Seed Bank, step inside to
see Kew scientists at work as they strive to conserve
seeds from around the globe, with the mission to
conserve 25% of the world’s plant species by 2020.
There’s also plenty for families throughout the
gardens, with natural play spaces such as Tree Trunk
Trek in Coates Wood. Or for those wanting to get their
hands dirty, head to the Children’s Heritage Garden
for the potting shed and mud garden.
Wakehurst is open daily 10am – 6pm.
Adults £13.95, children 16 and under free.
National Trust members can enjoy free garden
entry, but car parking charges apply.
Wild Wood, 27 – 28 July
Fun activities for all the family in
Wakehurst’s beautiful woodlands.
Crafts, storytelling, tree climbing,
bush craft and more!
Wakehurst Workshops, various dates
A range of workshops from creative
writing, charcoal making and willow
weaving, to badger watching, wreath
making and bat walks and talks.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
31 August & 1 September
Chapterhouse Theatre Company
presents Shakespeare’s best-loved
romantic comedy – A Midsummer
Night’s Dream. An evening of
unmissable summer theatre.
To find out more about Wakehurst and upcoming
events visit kew.org/wakehurst
B R I G H T O N
EDITOR: Lizzie Lower firstname.lastname@example.org
SUB EDITOR: David Jarman
PRODUCTION EDITOR: Joe Fuller email@example.com
ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOGRAPHER AT LARGE: Adam Bronkhorst email@example.com
ADVERTISING: Hilary Maguire firstname.lastname@example.org,
Sarah Jane Lewis email@example.com
ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS: Kelly Mechen firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRIBUTION: David Pardue email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS: Alex Leith, Alexandra Loske, Amy Holtz, Ben Bailey, Charlotte Gann,
Chris Riddell, JJ Waller, Jacqui Bealing, Jay Collins, Joda, Joe Decie, John Helmer,
John O'Donoghue, Lizzie Enfield, Mark Greco, Natasha Coverdale, Mark Bridge,
Martin Skelton, Michael Blencowe, Nione Meakin, Paul Zara and Rose Dykins.
PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden firstname.lastname@example.org
Please recycle your Viva (or keep us forever).
Bits & bobs.
8-25. Natasha Coverdale and her colourful
cover; wilderness champion Paul Millmore
is on the buses; Alexandra Loske reflects
on the lunar landing, and Joe Decie has a
relaxed attitude to lawn maintenance. Plus,
we discover how Rock Farm are growing
organic veggies and sustainable lives; JJ
Waller is where the wild things are, and
we’ve got pub gardens, local books and a
mag to build your barbeque game.
26-27. We meet Jocelyn Rose, sustainable
29-35. David Plummer, wildlife
37-41. John Helmer gets absorbed in park
life, Lizzie Enfield rambles about roses,
and Amy Holtz is all about the bugs.
On this month.
43-53. Ben Bailey rounds up his pick of
the gigs; The story of one woman’s war
– from Londoner to Land Army – at the
Keep; Riptide Wrestling get ready for a
grudge match at the Brighthelm Centre,
and Grace Carter is proud to be in the
Pride line-up. Plus, there’s all day jazz for
all the family at the Dome; Stories from
Photo by David Plummer
Stonewall and beyond at The Marlborough;
graphic novels and medicine collide
in the world(s) of Ian Williams, and there’s
outdoor theatre about the call of the wild
Art & design.
54-65. Painter and gallerist Kirsty Wither;
Women’s Work at Ditchling Museum of
Art + Craft; The Cass Art Studio Prize;
some of what’s on, art-wise, and a shout
out to Brighton’s award-winning portrait
The way we work.
67-73. Adam Bronkhorst finds out about
incredible plants from the folk at the
Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst.
75-79. We try The Flint Room in Hanningtons
Lane; Chard share their recipe
for honey-poached peaches; Joe gets a
top-notch picnic from Barney’s and just a
taster of this month’s food news.
80-95. Learning to live with the land with
Brighton Permaculture Trust; we visit
Kemptown’s Secret Garden; dig in at the
Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening
Group’s community allotment, and find
out about greening the cityscape with the
Plant Your Postcode campaign. Plus, we
talk mowers and more at The Museum of
Gardening; find out what’s planned for the
Valley Gardens development, and visit the
University of Sussex's budding gardeners.
The Lady Doctor by Ian Willaims
Bunch of Summer by Kirsty Wither
97. Michael Blencowe: Wildman of
98. A birds-eye view of Park Crescent,
THIS MONTH’S COVER ARTIST
We’ve wanted to feature Natasha Coverdale’s
work ever since her bold botanical designs lit
up our Instagram feed last year. So, when we
decided on ‘garden party’ for our July theme,
she was first on our cover artist wish list. And
we love what she’s done: suitably floral, with
her signature saturated colour palette. The
skilful incorporation of the text is a nod to her
other line of work, in visual identity and brand
development, where she’s worked with some
of Brighton (and Britain’s) finest (Cin Cin,
Pecksniff’s and Harrods to name just a few).
Her botanical designs began as a personal
project – a distraction from the day job –
which she posted on Instagram for the first
time last May. The interior designer (and
BBC2’s Great Interior Design Challenge judge)
Sophie Robinson spotted one and asked if the
print was for sale. “Yes!” replied Natasha, and
quickly got herself a good printer.
Her Instagram following has risen
considerably over the year, catching the eye
of Liberty London, and Natasha’s was one of
four designs – whittled down from a field of
500 – to be selected from the Liberty Open
Call. She and the other winners recently
travelled to Italy to see their designs printed
onto Liberty’s famous Tana Lawn Cotton
fabric. ‘Coverdale’ is available in-store and
I meet Natasha in her Poets’ Corner studio,
which is festooned with ideas for wildly
floral wallpapers, sumptuous silk scarves, and
vibrant giclée prints. I ask her to show me
how she works and she picks up her stylus and
starts drawing on her digital tablet, freestyling
a frilly petal which she copies and layers, over
and over, choosing complementary hues from
a distinctively Coverdale colour scheme.
Each design incorporates hundreds of these
elements, and the more you look, the more
you see. “I love to hide things in amongst the
flowers. I always like to give you something
to find. That’s a nod to Grinling Gibbons,
a famous 17th century woodcarver who
always used to carve an open peapod into
pieces for clients who were bad payers.
Now I hide Derek the iguana, not for the
same reason, but just for an extra treat.
I’d love to design a hospital waiting room,
a space where people are looking for a
distraction from whatever they are going
through.” If you look closely, you’ll see
seven creatures (pictured below, right)
crawling around our cover*.
Her designs are built up in the same way a
florist might go about creating a bouquet.
“It’s digital flower arranging” declares
Natasha as she clicks through various,
joyful colourways. “I’ve used this palette
all through my graphic design career. I
do try to escape it, but I can’t. It’s colour
therapy. Colour makes people happy”, she
says. And she’s right.
*Spot all seven and head over to
@studiocoverdale on Instagram for a chance
to win one of Natasha’s posters.
See more of Natasha’s work at her Open
Studio on 19th (6-8pm) and 20-21st (11am-
5pm) July. Unit 3, Workhaus Studios,
18a Arthur Street, Hove, BN3 5FD.
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TRIPS AND BOBS
ON THE BUSES #51: PAUL MILLMORE ROUTE 28
Paul Millmore was central to the campaign that saw the
South Downs designated a National Park. Born in Bradford
in 1949, Paul moved to Lewes in 1973 to become an
assistant planner with East Sussex County Council. This
move sparked a passion for the South Downs: he created the
South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service in 1981, which now
comprises 300 volunteers.
In 1990, Paul wrote the National Trail Guide to the South
Downs Way (still in print today), and he launched the South
Downs Campaign in the same year. He insisted that Lewes
should be included in the National Park designation,
hammering a large knife into a block of clay in one inquiry
meeting, and explaining that “this is what I mean by Lewes being embedded in the Downs”.
Hilary Benn (then Secretary of State for the Environment) did indeed include Lewes when the
South Downs were finally designated as a National Park, in November 2009.
Millmore was heavily involved in the community too, sitting on the executive committee of
the Friends of Lewes – a registered charity who aim to conserve the distinctive buildings and
natural environment of the town – and volunteering as a flood warden. He became an honorary
vice-president of the Southover Bonfire Society towards the end of his life, who used his large
garden for fundraising events. He died of cancer at his home in Grange Road, Lewes in 2012,
aged 62. Joe Fuller
You can read more about Paul's remarkable historic garden in this month's issue of Viva Lewes.
Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)
SPREAD THE WORD
Here’s Evie Lewis on a trip to Edinburgh to
visit her sister Isabel, who recently decamped
from Brighton to the city. She’s delivering
our May issue, full of news from the Brighton
Festival, but I doubt Issy will be feeling left
out for long: Edinburgh’s own epic celebration
of the arts is just around the corner.
Keep taking us with you and keep spreading
the word. Send your photos and a few
words about you and your trip to hello@
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All images: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The Dell of Comus by Samuel Palmer
THE MOON BEFORE WE GOT THERE
SAMUEL PALMER'S THE DELL OF COMUS
This month it will be 50 years since humans first
set foot on another world, the moon, our nearest
celestial neighbour. It was one of the greatest
human achievements to date and gave us a
chance to look back at ourselves, our marvellous
blue Earth sitting in the darkness of the universe.
Reason then for me to reflect on this event half
a century later, and to look for moon-related art
in our city’s collections. One stood out for me:
a rarely seen painting by the Romantic artist
Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), who was obsessed
with the moon from an early age. In 1824 the
painter John Linnell (whose daughter Palmer
later married) introduced him to the visionary
writer and artist William Blake, whose influence
is obvious in Palmer’s work. Palmer's sketchbook
from the same year is filled with moon images
and notes, such as ‘Sky, cool neutral twilight
colour / Moon brilliant silver […] And the whole
landscape lustrous / With the morning twilight’.
A small moonlit nocturne by Linnell is also in
our collections (below, right).
Palmer’s moons are often unnaturally huge and
seem to be bumbling along the horizon, shining
a strong silvery light on to pastoral scenes, idealised
villages, people going to church, illuminating
sceneries so idyllic they almost seem unreal.
He often depicted a full moon, and sometimes
sickle moons with earthshine visible. To Palmer
the moon was symbolic of God’s benevolent
presence, but there is also a pagan feel to many
of his works. The artist was known to enjoy
walks by moonlight, something he had in common
with many contemporary poets, writers and
painters who sought inspiration from the moon,
or used it as a key motif in their picturesque
or sublime landscapes, romantic poems or
gothic novels. It is possible that Palmer was so
interested in moonlight because he feared its disappearance
with the advent of artificial lighting.
This has indeed happened: we managed to reach
the moon in 1969, but we lost pure moonlight
along the way, certainly in urban areas.
To mark the anniversary of the Apollo 11
moon landing we are displaying Palmer’s The
Dell of Comus, a large watercolour and gouache
painting, in Brighton Museum. Painted in 1855,
it is one of many of his illustrations of works by
the 17th century poet John Milton, and one of
three of Milton’s masque Comus (first performed
in 1634), in which a young unnamed ‘Lady’
gets lost in the woods and, while waiting for
her brothers to return with food, is captured
by Comus and his debauched followers, who
attempt to seduce her and break her virtuous
spirit. Palmer illustrates a passage where the
‘Attendant Spirit’, disguised as a shepherd,
watches a wild and raucous gathering of Comus
and his crew. Comus’ party takes place during a
full moon, which illuminates the scene from the
top left corner. Look closely, and you will see an
unidentified ghostly figure standing in a vertical
ray of moonlight. Could this be the ‘Lady’ of
the masque? New photography of the work also
reveals that Palmer drew faint concentric circles
around the moon, possibly to establish the
gradation of the moonlight he so loved.
Alexandra Loske, Art Historian and Curator,
The Royal Pavilion and co-author of Moon: Art,
Samuel Palmer’s The Dell of Comus will go on
display in Brighton Museum in early July 2019
and Alexandra will give a gallery talk about it later
this year. brightonmuseums.org.uk
Detail from The Dell of Comus by Samuel Palmer
Moonlit Nocturne by John Linnell
BITS AND PUBS
PUB: THE CONNAUGHT INN
If you look at early pictures of
the Connaught Inn, you can
see that when it was built, in
1880, it was right on the edge
of the city. Aldrington was still
a twinkle in some property
developer’s eye, and the area
would have had a real rural
feel, all dirt road, and cow
sheds, and allotments.
The pub, originally a hotel,
was named after Prince Arthur,
the Duke of Connaught, whose
1879 wedding to Princess
Louise Margaret of Prussia had
caught the public imagination.
Its land included a field,
which was large enough, I’ve
been informed, to host visiting
circuses: you can see pictures,
in the James Gray collection,
of a flamboyant circus caravan
parading up Hove Street.
You still get a feel of the rural
nature of the site when you
walk through the pub’s interior
into its south-facing garden, a
two-tiered affair which – rare
for a city boozer – has a lawn,
and colourful flower beds, and
an apple tree. They’ve done
it up since I last visited a few
years back, with new tables
and little wooden huts. It looks
rather like a playground, for
I choose to go on June 1st, billed
to be the hottest day of the
year so far, with some friends,
for a Saturday afternoon lunch,
and a few pints. Worried
about not getting a table in
the garden, I frog-march my
wife down there by 12.15, a
full hour before the others are
due to arrive. I needn’t have
worried, it turns out, there is
ample space for everyone.
And, I must say, it’s a pleasure
just sitting there, drinking
Shipyard APA, soaking up the
sun, and totting up the relative
merits of the two dishes I’m
torn between: plaice with
capers and new potatoes, from
the specials board, or pan-fried
monkfish on a bed of mash,
from the menu.
I go for the latter, for the
record, when the others arrive,
and it’s delicious. My American
friend David, true to form, chooses
a simple burger, because
he views the chef’s handling of
the basics to be a true test of
their worth. Pleased with its
big flavour, and the no-frills
nature of its accoutrements, he
gives it a big thumbs up.
I later learn they hang their
own beef, for 28 days, on
site. Which seems apt, given
the establishment’s rural
beginnings. If you’re after a
sunny, leafy pub garden for an
party, look no further.
48 Hove Street
Illustration by Jay Collins
They know how do a garden party in Newhaven, observes JJ Waller.
"The aptly named Paradise Park is full of surprises. I didn’t even know it was
there until I spied this dinotastical view through the fence. They even have a
bronze statue of Ho Chi Minh in the local museum next door.
Newhaven never disappoints."
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BITS AND BOBS
CHARITY BOX #39: ROCK FARM
Photo by Emma Trinder
Rock Farm is a sixacre
therapy project run
by Brighton’s One
Church on the Wiston
Estate near Steyning.
I first became involved
because local food
systems are a passion of mine, as is supporting
people’s wellbeing. I was interested in the way
you could nurture people and at the same time
produce high-quality food.
We’re part of the Green Wellbeing Alliance,
which is a collection of therapeutic green care
groups around Sussex. There’s a lot of research
being done in this field. Working on the land has
already been found to be beneficial for people
with drug addiction, for example, and there is
evidence that people with autism who struggle to
calm down or focus are often helped by being in
a natural environment.
It has definitely been a challenge to get
things right. It sounds like a good idea to invite
people out onto a growing site, but in actuality,
when it’s chucking down with rain and you’ve
got to hoe a 100m row of potatoes, that’s not
therapeutic for anyone.
The ultimate goal is for people to flourish,
and to do that they have to enjoy the work.
One thing we did was to start using polytunnels
where we have tomatoes, basil and beetroot
growing happily together. That makes for a
more pleasant environment than big rows of
tomatoes, so people feel better working there.
In terms of our volunteers it’s a big mix.
Some people just
volunteer because they
love it. Then there
are people who get
referred to us because
they have some support
needs. But there is no
those groups. We’re always
keen to meet new
volunteers – there’s a free minibus service from
the church every Saturday, which allows people
to visit the farm and have a look at what we do.
We sell the organic fruit and veg we grow at
Florence Road Market near Fiveways and we
also sell to [Brighton ethical supermarket] Hisbe.
We grow a lot of heritage veg; purple-striped
beans that are really juicy and sweet; golden-orange
and candy-striped beets. This year we’re
doing a lot of pumpkins and squash, including
blue pumpkins, and yacon, which are related to
Jerusalem artichokes but are crisper and fresher.
We could never make enough money from
selling produce to entirely support the project,
but it means we don’t have to apply for as many
grants every year. It makes us more sustainable
and it helps spread the word about what we’re
doing here too.
This month (July) the tomatoes are just coming
into season, we’ll have bonkers amounts
of our salad with edible flowers in, some golden
beetroot – oh, and some really funky cucumbers.
They’re egg-shaped and white on the outside
and lime green inside. They taste fantastic…
As told to Nione Meakin by Ben Szobody, projects
development manager at One Church.
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PITS AND BOGS
MAGAZINE OF THE MONTH: PIT
Barbecues have never been
high on our list, mainly
because we aren’t great meat
eaters. This is not the smartest
reason for not being interested
because we have had great fish
and vegetables served from
barbecues. Perhaps, they’ve
just seemed a faff. The nearest
we’ve got so far is one of
those ready-to-light things
that we take to the beach and
burn sausages on while smoke
irritates the heck out of the
people in the beach huts either side of us.
But the appeal is growing – well, with me
anyway; I’m not too sure about Jean. But, like
most things, once you get interested, it all gets
complicated. Fire pit or barbecue? Gas or Electric?
Small and indiscreet or testosterone-fuelled
showy-offy thing? This isn’t going to be as easy
as I thought.
And then, hopefully to our rescue, comes Pit
magazine. Subtitled 'Food and Fire’ with an
introduction titled 'Go Forth and Grill', it’s the
magazine for Barbie lovers everywhere. The
relatively few ads are helpful
enough and guide me to the
world of special thermometers,
special firewood, and how to
make my own smoker. (What’s a
smoker? Why do we need one?)
The features, though, cover the
whole gamut of Barbie land. In
the current issue, there’s a visit
to a famous Texas barbecue place
called Tootie’s and a feature on
the barbecued lamb of Morocco.
An investigation into ‘beer-can
chicken’ (what the heck is that?)
decides that it isn’t worth it, so I don’t have that
to worry about. There’s a piece on barbecuing
rhubarb with rose petals. That sounds fantastic.
Then there’s jerk chicken, cooking a pig in a
week, a huge North London barbecue Sunday,
how to use salt and more.
I thought (and I think Jean hoped) that reading
Pit might put me off barbecues. The good/bad
news is that it has done the opposite. So now,
back to the beginning – fire pit or barbecue. I
fancy a fire pit. Happy grilling, everyone.
Martin Skelton, Magazine Brighton
TOILET GRAFFITO #54
Does this refer to Wolverhampton Wanderers qualifying
for next year’s Europa League, or the return of
the Eurasian Wolf to its natural habitat? We're fans
of rewilding and like to think it’s the latter. We’ve
heard tell of otters in the Ouse and dolphins sighted
off Peacehaven. What next, we wonder? Pelicans on
the pier? We can but hope…
But where’s the bathroom blackboard?
Last month’s answer: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
BITS AND BOOKS
THE KING FROM OVER THE WATER, BY JOHN O’DONOGHUE
At one point, during this magical book, John Kevin and his six Ballydawn
cousins plan to bury a ‘time capsule’. Each chooses an item to stow: a photo,
a letter, a Superman comic… John Kevin chooses his favourite book: Just
William. I’d already, more than once, thought of Just William, while reading
– as well as Gerald Durrell, and James Joyce (The King From Over the Water
is, above all else, Irish). ‘Mattie and I sat on the settle by the window, daylight
at its dirty edge, smears and smuts keeping in the dark, the four of us deep in
sepia’, reads one description of an especially smoky cottage interior.
The tales capture Londoner-and-only-child John Kevin’s summers spent in
his Uncle Tommy and Auntie Lizzie’s bungalow. ‘…I fretted a little, and then
sleep came in great waves of fog, and I dreamt of letters and card tricks…’
Starting on a ferry – when John Kevin, travelling with his mother, is five – they carry us through his
whole childhood – whether hurtling down hills on bikes behind his cousin Mattie, or bouncing along
in the back of Uncle Tommy’s swaying car, or kneeling for hours in church before breakfast – ‘no
one missed Mass in Ireland’. In the tradition to which they belong, each story – chapter – has its
own narrative arc – like the one about the brief sojourn of the goat Billy, with her yellow eyes, who
favours only John Kevin – but together they accumulate into a bigger whole: a beautifully written
novel, which captures all that’s precious about a rural childhood. Charlotte Gann
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FOR RECOVERY, WELLNESS AND FUN
PALE FIRE, EDITED BY ALEXANDRA LOSKE
This poetry collection, published by Lewes press, The Frogmore Papers, is
a beautiful looking thing – with its handsome monotone cover and, dotted
throughout, Fergus Hare paintings. The collection, the back cover tells us,
is ‘inspired by and celebrating our relationship with the Moon.’
And celebrate it does – from George Szirtes’ opening quartet of love sonnets
– ‘with its cold moonlit floor’ – through to Andie Lewenstein’s closing
Curriculum Vitae (‘I have nothing to declare / but moon on water’). So, ‘Pale
orange egg squinting gawk’ starts Angela Arnold’s Moon Rising – beautifully
paired with a facing orange-egg moon painting – while Janet Sutherland’s
‘bone black night’ on deck, delivers ‘a lead white moon’ on water.
The book weaves together poems from more than 60 contemporary
voices, tugging on some familiar threads – passion, yearning, insignificance, satiation – as well as
memories of the 1969 moon landing, whose half-century anniversary prompted its publication.
While similarities rise in a chorus, at least as striking, and enjoyable, is the contrast between voices.
So, Neil Gower captures lovers, sated, returning to earth: ‘We retraced the ropes, slacker, / laundered
and luminous, down / to the flinty town’; while Kay Syrad describes a Norwegian ‘moon-stained’
seascape: ‘where light fillets the waves and mirrored / air is a dress…’ Beautiful.
Photo by Lizzie Lower
MYbrighton: Jocelyn Rose
Are you local? Yes. I first came here to
study at the University of Sussex in 2002,
then I moved back here to live permanently
What do you do? I am a Psychotherapeutic
Counsellor and I teach Psychology. I am
also a sustainable beekeeper.
How long have you been keeping bees?
I’d been fascinated by bees since learning
about them on my degree in Biological
Sciences. Initially I was led to believe that
you needed some sort of DEFRA licence
to keep them and, to be honest, it all
sounded like too much of a hassle. Then I
met Jen from The Wayward Bee. I started
learning more about sustainable beekeeping
and began attending the Sussex Natural
Beekeepers group. I got my first swarm
in June 2011 and have been beekeeping
ever since. All my kids are so helpful. My
eleven-year-old daughter Mabel (pictured,
with Jocelyn) has been helping me since she
was four and has read quite a bit about both
conventional and sustainable beekeeping.
It’s become a family pastime.
How do sustainable and conventional
beekeeping differ? The sustainable
approach promotes increased genetic
diversity because it allows for natural
swarming behaviour, which is controlled in
the conventional method. It’s less intrusive
as I don’t open the hive for inspections
as often. You can learn a lot about what’s
going on inside by observing the colony’s
behaviour. Conventional beekeepers will
take all of the honey from the hive at the
end of the summer and feed the bees on
sugar. We only take some of the honey and
leave enough for them to eat. Taking a little
at a time throughout the season is a bit
like eating single origin chocolate: it tastes
different every time.
Is Brighton a good place to keep bees?
Yes. Urban beekeeping seems to be doing
better than the rural variety in many areas.
Intensive arable farming and invasive species
make rural beekeeping quite seasonal, as
there is a massive amount of pollen available
for a short time and then a drought for
months. This area is great for bees because
there are so many parks and gardens, and
access to wildflowers on the chalk downland.
What do you like most about living here?
Our wonderful community; I feel so blessed
to know such a warmhearted bunch of
people. I’d also like to give a shout out to
our fabulous neighbours who have been
so interested and tolerant of the bees. As a
family, we love getting out onto the Downs.
The walk from Woodingdean over to Lewes
is very special to me: it’s breathtaking.
Where would you live if you didn’t live
here? I moved to this city because I hoped
it’d be kind to us and it’s more than met my
expectations. I thank my lucky stars that we
get to live here and, right now, I can’t think
of anywhere else that I’d rather be.
Interview by Lizzie Lower
Find out more about sustainable beekeeping
You won’t find the best views of Brighton
and the Downs at the top of the i360.
You’ll find them at the
gallery next door.
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From an early age, I’ve been
obsessed with wildlife. My
first memory is of playing with
three woodlice on the coffee
table of the family home in the
Medway Towns, in Kent.
They border the North Kent
marshes, and I’d be out on
my bicycle as much as I could,
taking copious notes. I kept a
wood mouse in my bedroom,
bred butterflies, and caught
great crested newts, which I
distributed to new ponds.
When I was eight, I bought a 35mm camera
and two lenses from an uncle. My career as a
wildlife photographer had begun… I’ve come
a long way since then.
When I was a late teenager, wildlife was
totally uncool, but though I went a bit ‘boink’
with beer and girls, I never lost my burning
I was a policeman for eight years, and was
sent out to the Caribbean, working to find
wanted people. Of course, in my spare time, I
continued to photograph the wildlife there.
It was soon after I came home that I
decided on wildlife photography as a
career. I was kneeling in some bluebell woods,
taking photos, and I thought ‘I’m going to do
this for a living.’
I did what it took to earn money while I
tried to get my foot in the door. Social care
work, driving jobs, cleaning toilets. Pure
dogged persistence saw me through. My
advice? Don’t give up, and don’t give in to
editors who say no.
I lived in London for a bit; coming to
Sussex was the best move I’ve ever made.
A new area to explore; I got
involved with the Sussex
Wildlife Trust, who really
pushed my work. I still provide
images for them totally free of
charge, out of gratitude.
I’ve been all over the world
doing jobs: Brazil, Argentina,
Rwanda, Kenya, Mexico, the
Galapagos… but I still think
the best place for wildlife
photography is East Sussex.
And my favourite animal to
photograph is the tawny owl.
The job is 15% about photography, 85%
about everything else: fieldcraft and the
logistics involved with getting up close to an
animal that doesn’t want you anywhere near
it, at the right angle, in good light. Is the job
dangerous? I’ve stalked jaguars, and I never
felt in any danger. The most dangerous animal
out there, without a shadow of doubt, is the
Nowadays, simply taking photographs isn’t
very cost effective. It’s all the stuff around
it that keeps me going, financially: teaching,
book writing, print sales, public speaking, TV
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with
Parkinson’s. In some ways, obviously, it’s
limited me. But it’s just another hurdle,
and I’ve tried to work it to my advantage.
Three years ago, I wrote the book Seven
Years of Camera Shake, and I’ve done a lot of
motivational public speaking. The experience
has taught me mind control. I’ve never been as
mentally robust as I am now… or so happy.
As told to Alex Leith
Photos by David Plummer
Photos by David Plummer
“If women do not attain
roughly equal fame and
fortune in sports, it leads
both men and women to
think of women as
Lewes FC is the only football club in the world to pay
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Endorse us, support us and help us do more:
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Chaining my bike to railings, I spot a silent disco
across the Pavilion Gardens. A group of people
in headphones, from that dangerous age group
best described as late-youth-meets-early-middleage,
are gyrating wildly to a beat only they can
hear while singing along enthusiastically to hits
from Grease: “Summer loving had me a blast...”
With their blissed-out expressions and jerky
movements they recall the wandering bands of
religious fanatics that plagued Medieval towns,
but there is something typically Brighton about
them. The whole scene is typically Brighton
in fact: the young families at the tables of the
Café—“So it’s a Nobbly Bobbly for you, River
… and what does Storm want?”—being played
Joni Mitchell songs by a straggle-bearded busker
with an oud (we are stardust, we are golden);
the foreign students sitting on the patch of
grass opposite the Pavilion where they always
sit, which has now been replaced by astroturf
because their sitting has worn the grass away;
the hen parties, the stag packs; the well-heeled
and the well-hung, the fabulous and the
Brighton lives in the now, but also at an
intersection of many different times. Looking at
the Pavilion, you imagine the coaches trundling
down from London in Regency times. A brass
band summons up the era of Jimmy Edwards
and Gilbert Harding. And if I look across
towards the Corn Exchange I see a grassy incline
where I sat with a friend from school on my first
visit in 1974, when I was weighing up the offer
of a place from the university (there was only
one in those days).
We had already chucked pebbles in the sea,
visited both piers and done a clutch of pubs.
“I think you should come here,” he belched,
I visit the toilet and find my way partially
blocked by two men in heated conversation.
They both have that suntan—not the unseasonal
skiing tan, or the two-weeks-in-Marbella-withthe-kids-tan,
but the one that goes with the neck
tattoos and spending too much time in the open
not by your own choice. “I’m f***ing buzzing,
man,” says one. They follow me in and take a
cubicle together. Loud snorting noises ensue.
“Do you believe in ghosts?,” my friend Hugh
the poet asked me the other day.
“Only the ones I see when I walk around
Brighton,” I answered, meaning old
acquaintances from the punk days who didn’t
stop taking the drugs when the rest of us
did. Now they live on the other side of an
invisible mental border like the ones in China
Miéville’s The City & the City, which prevents
us acknowledging or even registering
one another’s presence,
our sole point of
connection a guilty
It’s always there, this
to the smooth.
This place, with
its naked bike
rides, can look so
Edenic—until you spot
the pervs in the crowd
with their telephoto
lenses. The truth is we’re
fallen, and unreasonably
proud of it.
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Notes from North Village
Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)
“I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose
I’m helping my son with his pop trivia
He and his teenage friends have joined a
pub quiz team and their seventies musical
knowledge is woefully inadequate. They can
answer questions on geography and general
knowledge but come the ‘Beat the Intro’ round
they know they will themselves be beaten.
So we’re trawling through YouTube clips,
jumping from Katrina and the Waves’ Walking
on Sunshine to Cat Stevens’ Morning has Broken
and somehow ending up before we know it with
Mikis Theodorakis’s Zorba the Greek.
I’ve spent the past week knocking on the door
of my son’s bedroom singing “Da-da! Da-da-da
da! Da-da! Da-da-da-da!” to which he makes
sarcastic “Tacos the Turk?” replies.
He’ll know the answer though, if the intro
begins “I beg your pardon. I never promised
you a rose garden…”
This is the song which would be the soundtrack
to the unveiling of my entry to the Chelsea
Flower Show, were I ever to enter.
I’m not much of a gardener. It’s a family
tradition. My dad gardened but only because
he was of the post-war generation that believed
in a small amount of self-sufficiency. He spent
hours labouring outdoors to produce misshapen
carrots which my mother complained were
“very difficult to peel” and also very expensive,
if you factored in the price of seeds, fertiliser
and the man hours that went into the
endeavour. Still, he persisted and even wrote a
book about amateur gardening, although when,
a couple of years ago, my parents moved to a
town which had an open garden competition,
he politely declined an invitation to enter. He
knew his limits. My mother’s were even more
limited. Her Irish father was in the army, and
the family moved around a lot, “destroying
gardens in a succession of rented houses” as
My mother has had nothing to do with them
since but, after dad died earlier this year, the
responsibility for their garden has fallen to her.
It’s probably one of the things she finds hardest
about the whole thing.
When I visit, we slosh Miracle-Gro around
hopefully and weed things that look as if they
might be weeds.
Last time I went over, we took some rockroses
to dad’s grave. I could almost hear him turning
in it, as we failed to loosen the roots properly
before putting them in the ground and planted
them too close together.
I started humming to myself to drown out the
slightly strange sensation.
“What are you singing?” asked Mum.
My son could have told her. Lynn Anderson.
Rose Garden. 1970.
The truth is, I’m a Minnesotan
The rain is flying sideways,
redundant. An oncoming bus,
whose driver momentarily
falls asleep, veers to the left,
clunking into a puddle the
size and shape of France and,
an instant later, me and all the
other squinting cyclists in the
adjacent bike lane are soaked
in an endless curtain of greasy
Summer, you are magnificent
in your glory! So, here’s
the state of affairs: Game of Thrones – so over.
Love Island – never ending. Chernobyl – good
god, HOW ARE WE STILL ALIVE?
Strawberries – big, suspicious, possibly alien.
A bit like this weird horned plant that started
growing in our garden. Its dagger-like leaves
preclude approaching within a metre, let alone
digging up. My partner and I kept asking each
other “Was it you?” every time we walk past
but no, neither of us had anything to do with
it. Most likely it’s just fallen from a plane from
Chernobyl and bedded in.
Kids – hungry and tired, starved of Vitamin
D. Hens and stags – angry. And who could
blame them? No one minds the pebbles when
they’re bathed in sunshine. Instead, there’s been
reports that some are actually taking flight in
the cyclone-grade winds, hurtling through the
air like dull comets, knocking beer bottles from
hands with the same catastrophic, chaotic force
as the waves. The seafront is a wasteland of beer
and shattered dreams.
The icing on this bleak doom cake is my new
book about plagues. It’s the size and weight of a
small Labrador and, with each
germ-sopped page, my face
cycles through the expressions
it wore throughout the
final season of GoT: horror,
incredulity... with a mild
dose of 'Seriously?!’ It’s slow
work, with all that medical
jargon and virus names
(Vinidogodogo, anyone?), and
has the same effect on me as
a warm glass of milk. I sleep
like a baby. But then, riding to
work the next day, the telltale
sweetness of windshield washer fluid on my lips,
I realise it’s just a matter of time before I’ve got a
raging case of Legionnaire’s.
So, needless to say, my small talk has been
somewhat... dark of late.
“Did you know that measles, which is making
a comeback, is so infectious that one person
alone could give it to 90% of the people who
they come into contact with? Oh, and, you
won’t believe it, but there’s been an outbreak
of Monkeypox in Nigeria.” I wait expectantly
for the onslaught of questions the woman I’m
speaking to is bound to have. “I’m pretty sure
I’ve been vaccinated though. Against measles,
that is.” I give her a wink.
“I just wanted to know where the loo was…” the
woman whispers, backing into a table heaving
with jugs of Pimms. We’re all indoors, because,
well, summer. We were lured here with the
false promise of ping pong, potato salad and
burnt veggie burgers in the glowing heat of our
favourite season. Instead, the disappointment is
a smog over the rapidly-cooling sausages. Just
like the last episode of GoT, all over again.
A family-friendly, one-day festival,
produced by Jazz re:freshed, celebrating
Jazz and Jazz-inspired music and culture.
This year’s line-up includes:
Theon Cross, Zara McFarlane,
Rosie Turton, DJs and much more.
Sat 27 Jul, 12pm – 8pm
£10* (under 16s FREE)
12-piece ensemble Icebreaker and
pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole play
music by ground-breaking composers,
including Scott Walker and JLin, as
well as Brian Eno’s classic album
Apollo, performed alongside the
original film of the Apollo expeditions.
‘Moving and sublime’
««««« The Guardian
Sun 21 Jul, 7.30pm
Brighton Dome Concert Hall
*A £2.50 per order charge applies for all phone and online bookings
*A £2.50 per order charge applies for all phone and online bookings
Ben Bailey rounds up the local music scene
MEAN POPPA LEAN
Thu 4th, Hope & Ruin, 8pm, £13
In the remote and
age of the mid-
Brighton with a
wardrobe of colourful clothes and a deeply unhip
mix of funk and rock which went down a storm
in certain quarters. They played tons of shows
around Brighton and toured Europe, all the while
balancing slick musicianship with good-natured
humour. After seven years they hung up their vintage
threads and called it a day in 2012. Another
seven years later they’re back for more, with a
reunion tour and a comeback gig at the Hope &
Ruin. As the band’s blurb puts it, Mean Poppa
Lean are ready ‘to open the valve where funk has
been stored and pressurized, waiting for release.’
12 STONE TODDLER
Thu 11th, Concorde 2, 7pm, £10
Another band that were first active in the decade
that nobody knows what to call, 12 Stone Toddler
made their own comeback last year with their
long-awaited third album, Idiolalia. Released on
local label Freshly Squeezed, the record proved
to be just as wildly eclectic as their previous stuff.
The band’s restless genre-wandering is both a
blessing and a curse: though their live shows
are always varied and somewhat unpredictable
it also means trying to describe their sound is
pointless. This show, billed as ‘Best Of Brighton’,
features an art display from Cassette Lord, Loud
Shirt beer samples and street food from Hash
Machine. Art pop deviants Clowwns also make a
welcome return, alongside alt rockers Bad Laws
and singer-songwriter duo The Mann & I.
Sun 14th, Brunswick, 7pm, £10
This one-off gig
sees folk hero Robb
tracks from his epic
song suite Ordinary
Giants, which recounts
his father’s life story in the context of 100 years of
British history. Beginning with the Armistice in
1918, the loose narrative is shaped by songs and
poems offering a snapshot of life as it was lived,
with period pastiches and reworked standards
along the way. Robb’s songs flip from tender and
funny to forthright as he sings about the rise of
fascism, the birth of the welfare state and the ongoing
battle to save what remains of the postwar
dream. The eight-piece band assembled for this
rendition features several folky notables as well
as Robb’s own son on drums, nicely rounding off
the family lineage.
Fri 26th, Haunt, 7pm, £10
Probably one of Brighton’s longest-running
bands, local legends Tragic Roundabout have
been knocking about since the 90s at least. Starting
out as a kind of busking collective, the band
apparently got their name from an incident at an
Irish festival after refusing to play on a roundabout
on the outskirts of town (who knows what
really happened). Over the years they became a
mainstay of festivals and protests, bringing a kind
of Bonzo Dog humour to their mash-up of ska,
klezmer and gypsy music. Though the line-up
remains acoustic, with banjo, clarinet and accordion
to the fore, the band are ultimately inspired
by the punky spirit of old Brighton. Get there
early and you’ll catch the down-to-earth comic
accordion ditties of Hattie Hatstar.
Women's Land Army
Ian Everest, local and family historian
“It would have been a huge
culture shock,” Ian Everest
remarks of his mother’s
reinvention from a Tottenham
grocery shop assistant to one of
Britain’s 80,000-strong army of
wartime ‘Land Girls’. “The only
time mum had left London was
to go to Southend-on-Sea for
her holidays. Suddenly she found
herself living and working on a
farm in rural Sussex.” Everest, a
keen local and family historian,
first began to learn about his
mother’s experiences in the
Women’s Land Army in the
last few years of her life. He has since written
a talk on the history of the movement, which
he will be presenting at The Keep this month.
“You could tell reading through these notes
that it was one of the best times of her life –
life-changing, as it was for many of the women
involved. It was her enthusiasm for those years
in the Land Army that made me want to find
The Women’s Land Army was formed in 1917
before being revived when the Second World
War broke out in 1939. “The country was only
growing about a third of the food it needed,”
says Everest. “The other two thirds were all
coming from overseas. The biggest threat of
all was to our wheat, which had been coming in
from North America but was no longer getting
through because the ships were being attacked
by German U-boats.” With much of the male
population away fighting, it was left to the
women to step up to the challenge of feeding
Everest’s mother, Grace Thompson, joined
the Land Army in March 1943
and was soon posted to Stud
Farm, just outside Newhaven.
Like many of the women,
she had not a jot of previous
agricultural experience and
quickly had to learn new skills.
“Her first job was planting
blackberry bushes to camouflage
the newly installed guns at
Newhaven Fort,” says Everest.
The emphasis in Sussex was
on growing wheat and much
of the Downs was ploughed,
sowed and harvested by women
like Grace. “One of the most
soul-destroying jobs she had was walking the
Downs by herself, all day every day, picking up
flint off the fields because it was a problem for
Farming could be dangerous work; women
often received scant training before driving
heavy tractors or using other equipment. “The
other danger was the Luftwaffe coming across
Sussex on the way to bomb London. They
often had bombs to get rid of when they were
flying back and there were lots of near-misses
for the girls out in the fields.”
But Everest says his mother took to her new
life “like a duck to water”. She met her future
husband out in the fields and after they married
in 1947, she made Sussex her home. “She kept
chickens all her life and would often rear dayold
chicks. She used to grow fruit and veg and
would help at a nursery up the road pricking
out plants. She had become a country girl.”
The Women’s Land Army in Sussex, 5.30pm,
July 24, The Keep. thekeep.info
A breath of fresh air
Grace Carter grew up in Brighton with her
mum, listening to singers like Lauryn Hill and
Nina Simone. Now, at 23, having caused a stir
with her strikingly honest and emotive R&B,
she’s performing at Pride alongside the likes of
Jessie J, Grace Jones and Kylie.
Pride has always been a big part of my life.
Every summer me and my friends would go
along and have the best time ever. Now, after
being in that audience, going and performing is
super-exciting. It’s an amazing celebration, and
I’m very happy to be there.
I was introduced to songwriting by my
stepdad. I met him when I was 13, but I was
very unsure of him. I grew up with a single
mum and I had a lot of anger and questions
about why I was in that position. But my
stepdad was a musician and he saw that anger
in me, and the potential. He gave me a guitar
and encouraged me to write my first song about
what I was feeling at the time, which had a lot
to do with abandonment and unrequited love.
The first record is my proudest moment, I
overcame so much by going through that whole
process. I can’t wait for it to be released next
year. It’s about my childhood, relationships that
I had and ones I didn’t have, celebrating my
mum and finding out why my dad wasn’t in my
life. It’s emotional, but hopefully empowering.
I get messages everyday from young girls,
young boys, and I meet a lot of people at shows.
Older parents, as well, saying things like “my
daughter is in the same position as you and I’m
so happy that you’ve become this woman and
you’ve coped with it, I hope my daughter can
do the same”. I’m able to talk to people and
hear other people’s stories, so it’s very cool that
I’m in a place where there’s that platform.
I probably wouldn’t stop to listen to a
ballad, if I was at a festival and I was drinking,
and it was sunny and I was out with my friends.
But it’s fun to try and keep the set up. I don’t
necessarily write the most beat-heavy songs,
but the festivals that I have done have always
gone well. I guess people see it as a breath of
fresh air in a way. My songs are emotional at
points, but also epic, hopefully uplifting, and
there are some you can dance to.
You can write a song about a hard
experience, something you struggled through,
but the feeling of coming out of that is so
powerful, people do feel lifted by that. It’s the
feeling of the light at the end of the tunnel, like
it’s not always going to be this dark and there’s
a glimpse of hope.
Pride is a celebration of love, and strength.
It’s so important, we all struggle, we all go
through heartbreak, but it’s nice to know we’re
not the only ones. I hope I can uplift people
and make people feel connected. That’s the
whole point, unity.
As told to Ben Bailey
Grace Carter appears at LoveBN1Fest in
Preston Park on Sunday August 4.
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How is Riptide doing as a new (ish)
promotion on the scene? Riptide is the best
promotion in the UK for looking after talent
and staff. They have a respect for those who
put their bodies on the line and a devoted
passion to marketing professional wrestling as
the art form it is. Visually, there is nothing like
Riptide anywhere in the world and I genuinely
believe they have the best production values
in the whole of independent wrestling.
Whether you like comedy wrestling, fast-paced
exhibitions or heartfelt emotional drama, you
will inevitably be treated to all here.
The July Point Break match will see you
fight longtime enemy, posh boy Spike
Trivet. Why do you hate him so? Spike vs I,
was the very first match in Riptide’s existence.
It has always been clear that we are two very
different people, from two very different
backgrounds, of two very different mindsets
and we were never destined to get on.
He has hired my friends as his hit men. He has
hired my idols as his hit men. He has paid off
officials to stop me from being victorious… but
he has never beaten me one-on-one.
When we first clashed in June of 2017, my
stock was sky-high and he was a developing
talent. Since then Spike has used his wealth to
conspire against me, usurping my status in the
process: he is a politician in every sense.
There was a flurry of national media
coverage in 2017 regarding you being the
‘pansexual star of UK wrestling’. How has
that affected your career? It was everything
I wanted and nothing I was prepared for. With
so many people knowing my name, pressure
intensified to not only put on better and better
Photo by Oli Sandler
shows, but also I became scrutinised for how I
would represent the LGBT community even
more intensely. The wrestling was never an
issue but sometimes the challenge of being an
allegory instead of a human weighed heavy.
I released a video on New Year’s Day
highlighting how I was not going to allow
myself to be victimised or used as a marketing
tool any more. The ‘Pansexual Phenomenon’
was a name given to me to make that sweet
pink pound. Jack Sexsmith is a person, not an
act, not a device and no longer will I allow him
to be exploited.
What made you get into wrestling? I had
an epiphany moment at university where I
decided to stop denying who I am to myself.
Being active in areas that I am passionate about
became a clear goal of mine. So I started to
explore my sexuality and began training as a
What do you enjoy most about wrestling?
Generating a visceral reaction from an
audience of people. Being able to make people
cry with sadness or joy for a performance,
literally overwhelm them with emotion. That
sensation’s hard to describe.
Interview by Joe Fuller
July 5, Brighthelm Centre, 6pm
All day at Brighton Dome
What is ‘Jazz Re:Fest’? It’s an annual minifestival
that showcases what’s happening in
UK jazz, reflecting the culture and art as well
as the music. We run a weekly residency in
West London, which is where we started, and
through that we are now a record label, and we
do international shows too.
So why Brighton? We’ve always wanted to
do more stuff around the country. Last year
we thought here’s our opportunity, let’s come
out of our comfort zone. The festival had been
at the Southbank Centre for three years. It
was quite a comfortable place to be, we were
guaranteed numbers. But bringing it to a
different venue outside of London – that was a
leap we decided to make.
Who’s on the line-up this year? We have two
great musicians from our label. One’s called
Rosie Turton, she’s a great trombonist and
she’ll be playing with her band. Another one
is Sarah Tandy who’s a piano player and she’s
fantastic. Generally we try to reflect a range of
what’s going on in the scene. So we have Theon
Cross, a tuba player who plays with Sons of
Kemet, and we’ve also got Zara McFarlane.
She’s an established vocalist, doing really well
on the Brownswood label.
What kind of jazz are we talking about?
Kevin Haynes is going to be really interesting
because he’s steeped in Yoruba traditions,
but he also spends a lot of time in Cuba. So
he’ll start his set with chanting, inviting the
ancestors to come, and it’s authentic, because
he lives that life. His Afro-Cuban stuff is very
spiritual, and really powerful. So that’s a real
contrast to someone like Werkha, who does
electronic, almost club music. Then you have
Sarah Tandy who is very much part of the
new UK jazz sound. And you’ve got Camilla
George who probably has the most straightahead
style. She has her own sound, but it’s
recognisable to anybody as jazz.
How do you balance the acts? Actually, the
gender balance isn’t a thing that we often think
about in terms of trying to even it out. It just
happens that we’re in a great time where the
gender mix in UK jazz music is phenomenal,
the biggest acts aren’t all male, you know.
When you see artists like Nubya Garcia taking
the jazz world by storm you kind of feel that
other female musicians are inspired by that.
The promoters aren’t dubious about any of this
stuff now, they just want the best bands.
What is jazz these days? We started 16 years
ago and the scene has changed. It’s as eclectic
now as it was back then, but our remit at the
time was about changing the perception of
jazz as being stuck in the past. There were a
lot of preconceptions about old smoky jazz
clubs, or stuffy places where you sit down and
clap politely. It’s not an old, white crowd. It’s a
mixed crowd, of all ages and all colours. All of
these things were the battle we were fighting.
Our whole thing was that the culture, the
music, everything, is progressive.
As told to Ben Bailey by Justin McKenzie, Jazz
Re:Freshed Artistic Director
Brighton Dome, Sat 27th July, 12pm, £10
Stories from Stonewall
“I’ve always been
interested in representing
queer lives truthfully,”
says playwright and
performer Alexis Gregory,
“showing the ups and
downs and complications,
and creating hard-hitting,
humorous work.” But he
admits that even for him,
the process of making new
play Riot Act has been a revelation.
The project began when he was approached
by Michael-Anthony Nozzi, one of the few
remaining survivors of New York’s infamous
Stonewall riots – the violent protests of
June 1969 when police and punters clashed
during a raid on the Stonewall Inn in
Greenwich Village, Manhattan, a hub for the
city’s LGBTQ community in a time when
homosexuality was still illegal. The fight-back
was a key moment in the birth of the gay rights
movement and Nozzi wanted Gregory to tell
his story, as someone who was there. What else
could Gregory say but yes?
After meeting Michael-Anthony, Gregory
wanted to extend the story across the Atlantic
so he went to meet Lavinia Co-Op, a member
of the radical 1970s drag troupe Bloolips
and now an ‘elder stateswoman’ of London’s
contemporary drag scene. He also interviewed
Paul Burston, a journalist and author who was
a key member of London AIDS activism group
Act-Up in the late 80s and 90s, when fear and
misunderstanding about the disease was at its
peak. The result is a piece of verbatim theatre
– work constructed from the exact words
of people interviewed – that sees Gregory
channel each man to tell the story of three
extraordinary gay lives.
“Each monologue starts
at a particular, pivotal,
moment but runs right
up to the present day. We
examine family; addiction;
community; being a young
gay man versus being
an old gay man – and of
course we look at Judy
Garland and the legend
that’s tied into the Stonewall story [some have
suggested a connection between the Stonewall
riots and Garland’s death].”
The start of the show’s UK tour coincides
with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall
riots. “It felt like the right time,” says Gregory.
“Our history as queer people, especially in
the UK, is not necessarily documented and
we haven’t always had the infrastructure to
share our stories.” He felt it was important to
look at how much progress has been made in
LGBTQ rights – but also wanted to highlight
how much work still remains to be done.
“Michael’s experience as a gay man in 1969 is
not that different to my experiences in 2019.
So activism is still very important – and the
play is really about the different forms that can
take.” It comes to Brighton on the eve of Pride,
at the city’s much-loved Marlborough Theatre,
described by website Culture Trip as ‘The
jewel in the crown of Brighton’s queer and nonbinary
scene’. “I don’t think there’s anywhere
like it in the country.” says Gregory. “It’s such a
hub of radical, pioneering work that represents
our community. I just love the place.”
Riot Act, July 30 and August 1, The
The Lady Doctor
by Ian Williams
I’ve never really been into graphic novels.
Don’t get me wrong – as a kid I loved comics,
The Beano and The Dandy when I was small,
then DC and Marvel, Superman acting as the
gateway to The Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange.
These all entranced me from about the ages
of 7 to 14, but I stopped getting them when
‘Literature’ took over. So when I popped into
Viva HQ to pick up The Lady Doctor by Ian
Williams I was curious. Would there be origin
stories, villains, secret identities? Or would it
be more like contemporary fiction? Would this
be a big comic or ‘Literature’?
I read it quickly, struck by the book’s visual
inventiveness. Montages of hectic sessions with
patients; visual jokes (watch out for a tattoo
in a very intimate place); small boxes and big
sweeps, as well as the usual chapters, dialogue,
settings. As I turned the pages I encountered a
tale with enough twists, turns, and complexity
to match any novel by the likes of Ian McEwan
or Zadie Smith.
The ‘Lady Doctor’ of the title is Lois
Pritchard, a partner at Llangandida Health
Centre, who also works part-time in the
local Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic.
Lois is 40, single, and ‘not very good with
relationships’. When her Mum shows up and
asks her for a bit of her liver the story suddenly
takes on the kind of emotional depth that
I wanted to know more, so I contacted the
author, who lives in Brighton, and met him in
the garden of The Trafalgar. Williams tells me
he trained as an artist as well as a GP, and wrote
a dissertation on graphic novels when he was
studying for an MA in Medical Humanities. He
came across Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies which
led him to other graphic novels and memoirs
featuring medical narratives. “I was a GP in
North Wales at that point and didn’t know any
cartoonists” so he set up a website, ‘Graphic
Medicine’ in 2007, which took off in ways he
was never expecting. Medics who used graphic
novels in their teaching and practice and comicmakers
who created medical stories started
gravitating towards the site. “All these people
started contacting me from all over the world. A
community developed, and we decided to meet
up and hold a conference. The first took place
in Senate House London in 2010. People came
from all over the world and it was a brilliant
success.” The conference now runs annually and
this year – its tenth – it returns to Brighton.
I come away from the pub, and think how far
dabbling in doodles has taken Dr Williams. He’s
currently working on the third ‘Doctor’ graphic
novel, and welcoming international delegates to
Brighton. I wonder if behind the mild-mannered
exterior he might actually be from the Planet
Krypton. John O’Donoghue
Graphic Medicine Quick Strips 12th July at
Phoenix Gallery 7-9pm; £3 redeemable against
the price of a book. The Lady Doctor, Myriad
Hyoie O’Grady Amara Okereke
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original choreography by Agnes de Mille
15 July – 7 September
cft.org.uk 01243 781312
Presented by arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe
Bob King Creative
Conquest Bespoke Furniture
One woman show in the open air
John Foster has, without doubt,
a talent for writing crime
drama. He’s crafted episodes of
classic TV cop shows including
Softly Softly, Z Cars, Juliet Bravo
and The Bill. He’s also written
a BAFTA-winning BBC
documentary about detective
fiction author Raymond
Chandler and devised the story
behind murder-mystery film
Letters from a Killer, which
starred Patrick Swayze. So
it surprises me that I briefly
stop him in his tracks when I
ask what fascinates him about
the darker side of life. “I don’t
know, really. I’m quite interested in people
who are forced to the brink, as it were. It’s
really a means to an end: it’s looking at ways in
which you can examine people’s psychology.
That’s what interests me. It’s not so much
the crimes themselves as why people commit
His new play Feral doesn’t start with a crime,
although its leading character soon finds
herself on the edges of society. “It was a true
story I came across years ago. A teenage boy
living on a council estate in Dorset travelled
to Cornwall, not knowing why he had this
strange call of the wild – and not knowing he
was from gypsy heritage, because his parents
had kept it quiet. He’d experienced these
mental storms, these pulls to nature, but was
very resistant until it took over. It’s something
I’ve wanted to write about for some time.”
In John’s play, the boy becomes 18-year-old
Simone. “I enjoy writing for female characters
more than male characters. Also there’s a move
to provide more parts
for female actors; it’s
been a male-dominated
situation for many years.
And it rings the changes
a bit: it’s a different
perspective and raises all
kinds of other issues.”
production of Feral
is being performed
outdoors, as was the
show last year, although
it wasn’t penned with
any particular kind of
staging in mind. “It was
written as a one-woman show with a lot of
descriptions of the outdoors. When we came
to work on it [with director Charmaine K
Parkin], we thought it was a good idea to
perform outside.” Another way in which
the play has evolved is its music. Singer
and songwriter Hui Hue, who originally
performed the role of Simone, turned some
of her character’s words into lyrics. “I simply
wrote it as a monologue”, admits John. “She
took those lines, composed music and sang
them. The new actress, Maria Theresa
Rodriguez, has done the same and composed
one song, so now there are four or five songs
in the whole piece. It adds a lot to it.”
Finally, given his long and successful career,
I wonder if John has any plans for retirement.
He laughs. “The R-word? No, I don’t think so.
I shall be at my word processor as they lower
me into the coffin.” Mark Bridge
BOAT, 4th-5th July, £8-12
Photos by Alex Leith
On… her training
I went to school in Helensburgh, near Glasgow,
and studied painting at Gray’s School of Art,
in Aberdeen. After graduating I was lucky
enough to get a part-time job in the Gatehouse
Gallery in Glasgow, which enabled me to fund
my career as an artist, as well as learn the ropes
of how a gallery worked. I’m very grateful to
the owner, Annie Mendelow, who now lives and
works in Hove.
On… her major influences
I used to frequently visit the major galleries in
Scotland, and was very taken by the Scottish
Colourists. Also Sir Robin Philipson, who was
head of the Edinburgh School of Art, a very
vibrant figurative artist. And I’ve always loved
the work of Joan Eardley, a very painterly
painter, who used colour with such energy.
On… her style
I always work in oils, and always have. I started
off focusing on nudes, and while my work has
moved on a lot since then, there’s a continuous
thread from those paintings to the ones I do
today, which are generally landscapes and
flowers. I never have the subject matter – or
photographs or sketches – in front of me, when
I work. I subconsciously take things in on
my travels, which are channelled through my
imagination, onto the canvas. There’s not much
botanical reality about my flowers, and they are
rarely rooted by stalks or stems. I’m aiming for
On… her modus operandi
I’m fortunate enough to have a sizeable studio
in a mews in Kemp Town, where I work every
weekday, from 10.30am to 6 or 7pm. I paint in
layers, and the image develops
over time. Painting in oil
means I can change shapes
and positions and colours
until I have created a dynamic
I am satisfied with. I work
on an image until I can go
no further, then move onto
another: I am always working
on at least five at a time. Then
I return to it – dry or wet –
with a fresh mind. Sometimes
I scratch back paint to reveal
the different colours beneath.
There’s a lot of texture to the
On… ‘Limes and Sprigs’ (pictured, below).
I swim in the sea every day, and while this
painting appears to be depicting a vase of
flowers, it is really about the effect of the water
and my memory of its colours.
I started the gallery with my
husband Robin, six years ago.
We realised there weren’t many
fine art galleries in Brighton,
and wanted to fill that niche.
He can’t even draw a stick
man but he’s very creative and
knowledgeable about fine art.
On… the effect of her work
I like my work to be uplifting
and joyful. I love what one
buyer told me: “When I open
the door and see the painting,
I feel like someone’s given me a fresh bunch of
flowers. And that happens every day!” AL
Cameron Contemporary Art, 1 Victoria Grove,
Limes and Sprigs
Image kindly provided by the Craft Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts
Pioneering Craftswomen at Ditchling
On display at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
are a couple of necklaces so strikingly modern
that they could be straight off the catwalk. “I
have to remind myself, when I look at them,
that they were made in the 1930s,” says Donna
Steele, curator of the Women’s Work exhibition,
at the museum until October. The necklaces are
the work of the silversmith Catherine ‘Casty’
Cobb; one of a group of women who worked
between the wars to establish themselves as
successful craftswomen. “We’re presenting a
group of women whose work we think was really
phenomenal and has stood the test of time,”
says Donna. “Not only were they interesting
as craftswomen, but they had good minds for
Alongside Casty Cobb, the exhibition features
textiles by Enid Marx, Elizabeth Peacock, Alice
Hindson, Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher,
and the pottery of Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie
and Denise Wren. “What links these women
is that they all have a connection to Ditchling.
Mostly through Ditchling’s Ethel Mairet who
revived the almost extinct crafts of handloom
weaving and natural dyeing. She was very
encouraging, and a good contact for people.”
A sort of sorority existed between these women,
most of whom had attended The Central
School of Art & Crafts, where the Ditchling
connection continued. They each had to study
five crafts, and calligraphy would have been one
of them, taught by Edward Johnston, famous for
designing the London Underground typeface.
The networks they formed at The Central
Photo by Sam Moore
would support them throughout their careers.
Whilst they worked with traditional techniques,
they developed a surprisingly bold and
modernist aesthetic. “They took on the spirit
of the original Arts & Crafts movement but
developed it for a modern audience. They had
lived through the carnage of the First World
War,” explains Donna, “and many of them had
travelled abroad working for the war effort.
When they returned it was to a traumatised
Britain, but at the same time people were
looking for new ways to create a new world.
There was a pioneering spirit, and, with the loss
of so many men, they could see a way forward
for themselves living ‘the simple life’ and
making an honest living using their hands.”
Their work was championed by female gallerists
like Muriel Rose of The Little Gallery, where
they found patrons among the wealthy and
fashionable clientele. Even Queen Mary
patronised The Little Gallery.
The advent of World War II interrupted
their success – in a time of national crisis and
austerity, priorities changed and craft was seen
as an unnecessary luxury – and many went on
to teach, and to write. Their legacy continues
through their work and their books, many of
which are regarded as important today.
In researching the exhibition, Donna discovered
dozens of talented but largely unknown
craftswomen. “I’d quite like to write a book
myself,” she concludes, “but there’s no time.
I’ve got to get on with organising the next
exhibition.” Women’s work. Never done.
Image kindly provided by the Craft Study Centre,
University for the Creative Arts
Summer 2019 Towner Art Gallery
Image: courtesy Lothar Götz
Dineo Seshee Bopape
Sedibeng, it comes with the rain
www.townereastbourne.org.uk @ townergallery
Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JJ
“the work of an artist
should always be more
clever than the artist”
eventually all museums will be ships
6 July - 13 October
Hastings Old Town
:eventually all museums will be ships, date unkown, oil stick on paper
© Paradis/Tal R - Copenhagen and Victoria Miro - London/Venice
ART & ABOUT
In town this month...
Let’s talk about the Anthropocene is a project that
uses art to engage people in conversations
about what it means to be living in a new
geological epoch: a time where human impact
and the industrialised world has brought
about such changes as to affect all the earth’s
systems. “The concept of the Anthropocene
is useful in that it goes beyond climate and
embraces other changes like waste, the oceans
and the biosphere,” explains project organiser
Adele Gibson. “I believe that bringing the
word into more popular usage is important in
highlighting the scale of the changes that are
now happening.” The project has been four years in the making, and this month there’s the chance
to meet the eight resident artists who’ve been researching and developing new work; visit an opencall
exhibition on the theme; see a site-specific installation at ONCA barge in Brighton Marina;
hear gallery talks; see a one-man show by Chris Dobrowlski; and take part in a family-friendly art
workshop with artist and explorer Beatrice von Pressen. University of Brighton, Grand Parade 27
July-2 Aug, 10am-5pm (not open Sunday). See pg 60 or visit anthrotalk.com for details.
On a similar environmental theme, Metamorphosis, Landscapes of Change is at 35 North gallery in North
Road. Documentary photographer
John Brockliss has spent the past five
years exploring our changing planet,
photographing in dramatic locations
across seven countries. This collection
of powerful monochrome images, shot
in high definition, explores in detail the
impact on our landscape of fire and ice,
erosion and tidal changes, rapacious
mining and commercial exploitation,
and social and economic upheaval. 6-27
July (open 11am-5.30pm Weds-Sat.
Bodie Ghost Town by John Brockliss
Brighton Rocks International Film Festival is a young festival with a
big ambition: to become the UK’s main forum for indie and underground
cinema. Join them at the Rialto Theatre as they screen this year’s selection of
more than 50 short and feature films on 12 & 13 July. [brightonrocks.org]
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ANTHROPOCENE
University of Brighton, Grand Parade
Sat Jul 27th - Fri Aug 2nd 2019 10am—5pm (not open Sun)
The aim of this project is to use art as a vehicle to promote conversations
about what it means to be living at the dawn of the new epoch of the
Anthropocene. We invite you to:
• Visit the gallery exhibition with over 30 artworks from high-profile and
emerging artists. Find out why we want you to help erase a new large-scale
piece of work.
• Talk to the 8 resident artists at 2pm everyday about new work in development.
• Come to the exhibition walk and talk with organiser Adele Gibson on
Saturday 27th at 2pm.
• Visit the Onca barge, Brighton Marina on Friday 1st August from 5—7pm to
see site-specific installations.
There are 2 bookable events:
Polar animal workshop with artist and
explorer Beatrice Von Pressen.
A family nature-based art workshop for
children aged 5+ with accompanying
adults. Come and have fun creating polar
food webs to take home and discover
amazing facts about animals, such as
why penguin poo is pink. No art
27th July: 10am—12noon
£12.50 per ticket
Antarctica - Chris Dobrowolski
Chris returns to Brighton with his acclaimed
pointy-sticked performance piece.
Antarctica is an adventure story-
PowerPoint-presentation about professional
failure and navigating real life via
tales of overzealous seals, Ladybird books
and a sledge made from gold picture
1st August 7.30pm Sallis Benney Theatre,
£10 per ticket.
Gallery open late
to 7pm. Bar open.
More details at www.anthrotalk.com
Booking for events at Eventbrite see
Polar and Antarctica.
In town continued...
Ivan Navarro, Nowhere Man I, 2009. ©The Artist Ryan Gillett
From 12 July,
Art on London
of the moon
Lunacy: A group
works by Gary Stranger, David
Shrigley, Fergus Hare, Ryan Gillett,
HelloMarine, Euan Roberts and more.
(Until 7 September. prescriptionart.com)
Out of town...
The newly independent Hastings Contemporary (formerly the
Jerwood Gallery) opens on 6 July for its inaugural exhibition.
Eventually all museums will be ships explores the work of Israeli-born,
Danish artist Tal R, whose experimental and inventive artistic
practice encompasses a wide variety of media, including painting,
video, print, furniture and textile design. Alongside, Shine out Fair
Sun features paintings by Roy Oxlade from across 50 years of his
artistic career. Oxlade, who died in 2014, was an acclaimed painter,
writer and highly influential teacher who lived and worked on the
South Coast alongside his wife, Rose Wylie RA. There will also be
a one-room display of paintings by David Bomberg (an early tutor
of Oxlade) and new works by Sir Quentin Blake.
Elsewhere, the ten-year anniversary
celebrations of the ‘new’ Towner building
continue with a summer of exhibitions,
events and screenings. Day Trip to Farley
Farm – the exhibition of new works by Sir
Peter Blake – continues at Farleys Gallery,
weekends until 4 August; and Charleston
host their Festival of the Garden – two days
of talks, tours and demos curated by Tom
Stuart-Smith – on 13&14 July.
of new work
head chocolatier at Choccywoccydoodah). Expect
effeminate nudes, giant florals and even Kylie
Minogue: a celebration of camp, flamboyancy and all
things trashy and no good. Opening at Brush Gallery
84 Gloucester Road from 26 July and heralding the
Pride season in Brighton. The exhibition continues
until 27 August. [brushbrighton.co.uk]
Untitled (Blue Ship series) © Paradis/Tal R
© Peter Blake, 2019. All rights reserved
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Congratulations to Charlie Schaffer and
Emma Hopkins, two talented, young,
Brighton-based artists, both recognised in the
prestigious BP Portrait Awards last month.
27 year-old Charlie, who graduated from
Brighton University with a BA in Fine Art
in 2014, was awarded first prize in the BP
Portrait Award 2019 for his painting, Imara
in her Winter Coat. Selected from over 2500
submissions, the oil portrait – of a close
friend wrapped in her faux-fur jacket – was
praised by the judges for the way in which the
textures of fur, hair and skin ‘are revealed by
prolonged looking’, producing an image ‘that
is traditional, but clearly contemporary’.
Prolonged looking is a signature of Charlie’s
work, who believes that conversation between
Imara in her Winter Coat © Charlie Schaffer
Sophie and Carla by Emma Hopkins, 2019 © Emma Hopkins
artist and sitter makes for a successful portrait.
For the winning painting, Imara sat three
times a week over a period of four months.
Charlie wins £35000 in prize money and
a further commission, worth £7000, to be
decided by the National Portrait Gallery.
Brighton-born Emma Hopkins received the
Young Artist Award for her striking portrait
of her friend Sophie and Sophie’s dog, Carla.
Emma, who we featured in September 2017,
graduated from the University of the Arts
London and then spent some time working
for a prosthetic limb company, informing her
in-depth understanding of the human body.
“When you look at skin, you can see through
to the veins underneath, see the different
colours,” she told us. “Now, when I paint skin,
I paint about six layers of oils on top of each
other. It is a ‘Frankenstein’ process of building
up the body.”
Both paintings will be on show at the
National Portrait Gallery until 20 October.
Jessie Yates and Sophie Hulf
Cass Art & Phoenix Studio Award-winning
artists from the University of Brighton
I’m worried, as I’m led up the stairs to Jessie
Yates (pictured left) and Sophie Hulf’s
studio, in Phoenix Brighton Studios, by
executive director Sarah Davies, what sort
of state the place will be in.
Just over a year ago Sarah approached Mark
Cass, Founder and CEO of Cass Art, the
UK’s leading art supplies retailer, to see if
his organisation would fund a new initiative
whereby two arts graduates, fresh from the
School of Art at University of Brighton, were
given a studio for a year, free of charge. Each
year the School of Art would invite final
year students to apply, then the applications
would be reviewed by a panel of judges from
the three partners of the prize; Cass Art,
Phoenix Brighton and the School of Art.
“I could fill the studio spaces a hundred
times over,” she says, “so it’s a brilliant deal
for the young artists, who otherwise would
probably have just had to go home after
graduating,” she says, knocking on the door
of the studio in question. “Mark loved the
The door is opened, and I needn’t have
worried. I’d thought the two chosen artists
might have spent ages clearing up, but
happily the place is the kind of creative
jumble I’d hoped for, with works in progress
and boxes of materials filling every available
space. A real artists’ studio, in other words.
“It’s been a brilliant year, so far,” says
Jessie, sitting at a table behind a sewing
machine, in front of a wall artfully filled
with colourful abstract images painted onto
multiform pieces of sewn-together textile.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,
which has seen my work move on so far.”
“It’s had such an impact on my work, too”
says Sophie, sitting at a table strewn with
stylised sketches of body parts, a life-sized
sketch of a dismembered torso, decorated
with grey sunflowers, looming to the side.
“I’d say that I’ve moved on from being an
illustrator to being an artist, in the space
of a year.”
We chat for half an hour or so, sipping tea.
They both work evenings in pubs, they say,
which gives them the opportunity to work
nearly full-time in the studio. They didn’t
know each other before, but have become
very close, giving one another plenty of
feedback. And they’ve come to feel part of
the community at the Phoenix, where over
100 artists work in 80 studios. “There’s
always something going on here,” says
Jessie, “…and there are plenty of friendly
faces offering help and advice,” adds
Sophie, who has an exhibition of her work
in the Window Gallery downstairs, from
31st July to 25th August.
Both are busy preparing for a ‘Spotlight’
talk about their practice, in front of an
audience of sixty or so, around the time we
go to press; both are planning to find a new
studio when their time at Phoenix finishes,
in September (Jessie back home in London,
Sophie in Brighton).
Most of all, they are both very grateful
to the University of Brighton, Phoenix
Brighton and Cass Art for the opportunity
they have had to spread their artistic
wings. “Life after university can be quite
intimidating, because you lose your support
system,” says Jessie. “This experience has
launched us into our careers.”
LAPWING MUSIC FESTIVAL
AUG 30th - SEPT 1st 2019, CUCKMERE HAVEN
SIX STUNNING SOLO RECITALS
WITH VIEWS OF THE SEVEN SISTERS
FOLK STRING DUO
FRAN AND FLORA
CONCERTS IN AID OF
A CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE
CUCKMERE HAVEN SOS IS A CIO
REGISTERED IN ENGLAND.
CHARITY NUMBER 1161529
Artists and non artists are invited to make
work about Newhaven. This can be an
individual or collaborative project and it
is free to enter.
tickets and info
All information and guidelines are at
Newhaven Museum and Newhaven Town
Council, Newhaven and Lewes Tourist
Information Centre, Lewes House, Lewes.
Further info at www.newhavenprojects.co.uk
The exhibition will be in the centre of
Newhaven at the Ship Hotel during
Newhaven Festival and Lewes District
Stunning summer borders flower in a profusion of
dazzling colour and beauty in midsummer. Visit the
Gallery too for an exhibition by artist Mariusz
Kaldowski with watercolours of classic views from the
© National Trust 2019 . Registered charity, No. 205846. © National Trust Images \Lisa Davies.
These are the places that make us.
THE WAY WE WORK
This month Adam Bronkhorst has been photographing people at the
Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst: a growing collection of seeds from around
the world, aiming to provide a safety net for species at risk of extinction.
He asked them: Which plant do you think is the most remarkable and why?
adambronkhorst.com | 07879 401333
Ellie Wilding, Technical Officer on the Crop Wild Relatives Project
‘Musa acuminata is the wild cousin of the bananas we eat today.
Wild bananas have a wealth of genetic variation that can help cultivated
bananas be more resistant to disease outbreaks.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Dr Charlotte Seal, Research Leader in Comparative Seed Biology
‘The annual seablite (Suaeda maritima) grows in salt marshes.
Its plants tolerate salt and flooding, and their seeds can germinate in salty
water twice as concentrated as sea water!’
THE WAY WE WORK
Keith Manger, Health & Safety and Estates Liaison
‘The stone plant (Aizoaecae), the seeds can withstand temperatures in excess of
130C; they also have beautiful flowers.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Nicola Mills, Seed Processing Manager
‘The Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera). There is one growing from a 2000 year old seed.
Referred to in the Bible and Quran as useful for numerous medicinal remedies and
increasing fertility! Dates have been a staple food for millennia.’
THE WAY WE WORK
John Adams, Laboratory Manager (Seed Biology)
‘The English Oak (Quercus robur). It is long lived, supports many hundreds of
other species of wildlife, and has been used in everything from ship building to barn
construction. For centuries it has been a national symbol of strength and
survival as well as having many mythological connections.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Dr Rosemary Newton. Career Development Fellow
in the Conservation Science Department.
Lithops, or living stone plants, are remarkable in both their beauty and camouflage.
These attractive southern African underground succulents avoid grazing animals by
resembling pebbles and moisture loss is minimised through burial.
bottle of wine
- Choose from either -
Maison l`Aiglon Chardonnay
Chemin de Marquiere Merlot
To redeem, simply present this advert when dining
Côte Brasserie Brighton
115 - 116 CHURCH STREET, BN1 1UD
01273 687 541 | www.cote.co.uk/brighton
Valid from 01/07/19 until 31/07/19 at Côte Brighton only. One
complimentary bottle of wine when 2 or more guests dine from our À La
Carte menu. Offer can only be used once and cannot be used in
conjunction with any other offer or Set Menu.
Master_VivaLewes_July2019.indd 1 14/06/2019 16:02:46
9-11 AUGUST 2019
Live Latin music and dancing | Vintage funfair | Cookery demos from top chefs | Chilli displays and plant sales
Gardening talks and demos | Outdoor cinema | Over 140 shopping stalls | Family friendly camping | Fireworks
West Dean Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0RX
The Flint House
An old faithful in a new street
In keeping with all the Gingerman
restaurants, the food at their latest – The
Flint House – is both delicious and inventive.
But what’s most novel, at least for now, is their
address. They are one of the first occupants of
the newly-developed Hanningtons Lane – a
smart little snicket that has appeared behind
the once-great department store at the bottom
of North Street. If you haven’t seen it yet (and
you could easily miss it), it’s quite a thing:
around a dozen new shops and eateries, with
fancy apartments above, arranged along a
smart little lane. It’s strangely exhilarating, if
slightly bewildering, to walk through a narrow
gap in North Street and find yourself in a new
part of town.
When we visit on a Friday lunchtime, The
Flint House is already drawing a crowd.
Upstairs the bar serves classy-looking
cocktails, wines by the glass and Sussex fizz,
with the Ridgeview Terrace offering the
perfect vantage point to watch people in that
slightly bewildered state below. Only bar
snacks are served up here, so we head back
downstairs for the full menu. There are long
counters to eat at – both overlooking the
kitchen and in the window – and marbletopped
tables by the door. There are no
reservations, so I recommend you get there
early to pick your favourite spot.
We order from the varied menu of small plates.
The slow roast lamb belly (£9.50) is tightly
rolled, thinly sliced and clearly cooked by
someone who knows what they’re doing. The
caramelised meat falls apart under the fork,
and is perfectly partnered by ‘green sauce’:
a piquant blend of mint, capers, cornichons,
mustard and parsley.
Vegetables are always a highpoint at
Gingerman restaurants, and the Flint House
is true to form. The confit potato (£4) is soft
on the inside, crispy golden on the outside and
served with a silky and subtle aioli; the salt
baked beetroot with Jerusalem artichoke and
puy lentils (£7) is as earthy as it sounds, lifted
with a ‘green goddess’ sauce; but, for me, the
roast cauliflower (£8.50) tops the lot. Roasted
to nutty perfection and sitting on a bed of
creamy miso sauce. The dish is full of deep
umami flavours, laced with astringent apple
and pomegranate. We order poached apricots
with fig leaf ice cream (£8) to follow. I prefer
my apricots a little softer, but the crumbled
honeycomb lends sweetness and the fig leaf
ice cream adds good intrigue, being more
scented than flavoured. A sophisticated end to a
I wonder how long it will be until this new lane
feels like part of the landscape. Having one of
the city’s most established restaurant groups
in residence will surely help with the process.
Come for lunch, stay for a drink, and watch the
people pass by while you – and they – try to
figure out how they’ve fitted it all in.
13 Hanningtons Lane, flinthousebrighton.com
Burnt honey peaches
with buttermilk sherbet
and hazelnut granola
A delicious summer pudding from the team behind Chard Café &
Restaurant, Ciarán Thomas and sisters Mae and Benny Sullivan.
Mae: Benny originally started Chard, on
her own, as a Brighton pop-up in 2017. My
partner Ciarán and I moved over from Dublin
in January 2018 with a view to joining her and
setting up our own restaurant within a year.
We met Alex and Zoe of Igigi when we hosted
their Christmas party. The closure of the Igigi
café coincided with our search for a permanent
home and we were delighted when they invited
us to move in and share this beautiful building
We started works in September and opened mid-
November 2018. The three of us do absolutely
everything, so it’s been crazy times, converting
the basement into a kitchen, and preparing the
ground floor and upstairs spaces, so we can offer
brunch, lunch and dinner. The dinner menu
changes monthly; the brunch menu changes
weekly and the lunch menu is different every day.
Benny is the chef, and she describes her food
as ‘modern British with a relaxed tone, and
touches of nostalgia’. We pride ourselves on
only using locally sourced, seasonal produce.
Don’t be fooled by the name, Chard isn’t
entirely a vegetarian restaurant. My favourite is
the onglet steak!
Benny: This pudding is one I developed for
the June menu, but will be great all summer.
It’s easy to make, and each element can work
on its own.
The first step towards making the sorbet is
making syrup by melting 220g of sugar in
80 ml of water, in a saucepan. Once this has
cooled, add 700 ml of buttermilk, and the zest
and juice of a lemon. Then churn in an icecream
machine (or find out how to do this by
hand, on the internet).
The granola is a classic recipe. Heat 100g of
Brighton Honey in a pan, mix in 50g of butter,
and add a splash of apple juice. Mix 200g of
rolled jumbo oats with a teaspoon each of
ground cinnamon and ground ginger, and stir
in the butter mix. Spread thinly onto a baking
tray, and bake for 30-40 mins at 150 degrees,
until dry and golden brown. Then mix in a
handful of toasted, chopped hazelnuts.
Cut a peach in half, and stone it. Heat two
tablespoons of Brighton Honey in a pan, and
carefully place the peach halves face down,
cooking for a couple of minutes until the honey
starts to bubble. Take care when cooking;
although delicious, burning honey is nobody’s
friend. Remove from the heat, and finish for five
minutes in the oven, at 150 degrees, turning the
peach halves so they are honey-side up.
That’s it! Serve individually or as a sharing
pudding – it could even work as brunch! But
if all that preparation sounds like too much
effort, you know where we are…
As told to Alex Leith
31a Western Road, Hove
The Community Kitchen
are hosting a Mexican
Masterclass on the 4th, 6pm-
9pm, where you can create
Mexican Prawn Cocktails
and authentic tortillas. Funds
raised from the class will
support a future ‘Cooking on
a Budget’ course for people on
low incomes and benefits. And
the Summer Vegan Beer and
Cider Festival returns to the
Cowley Club, featuring live
music, local ales, incredible
Brighton Racecourse is
hosting two boozy events in
one day on Sat 27th: The
Great British Gin Festival
from 12pm till 4pm and then
Rum & Reggae Festival from
7pm-11pm. In gin, you can
expect samples, talks, cocktail
demos and more, whereas
the rum evening features rare
and special craft rums from
the West Indies, Cuba, South
America and the United
States, as well
as live reggae
The inaugural outdoor
Brighton International Feast
will take place in Norfolk
Square Garden on Sat 27th,
1pm to 4pm. Free, and open
to all, the idea is to bring your
own favourite dish to share, as
arranged by Ambigo and the
Norfolk Square Garden Project.
And on the 6th, a Macaron
Masterclass at Brighton
Cookery School will give you
the chance to learn how to make
salted caramel, strawberry with
mixed berries paste or lemon
If you are interested in a monthly delivery
round please get in touch at
Barney’s Delicatessen is overwhelming. Two of
Viva’s finest visited the shop on a precariously
sunny Saturday afternoon in early June, and we
were stunned by the cornucopia of picnic titbits
Offers include a ‘Brighton Cheeselover’s Box’
(made to order from £15), as well as vegan
‘cheese’ and local cheese/charcuterie cones
designed for heading to the beach with. We
go for a do-it-yourself pick’n’mix approach
however, which worked very well indeed.
We were offered free cheese tasters and we were
impressed with their patience in chatting us
through the options on a busy Saturday. Kelly
leant towards the milder side of cheese, whereas I
was more interested in the charcuterie: we walked
on to the Pavilion Gardens after stocking up.
Top billing goes to Perfectly Preserved’s
plum jam with star fennel seed (£3.65 a jar), a
memorably sweet treat we both loved, and one
that could go with anything. Caring not a jot
for traditional pairings, we feverishly tried it
with anything and everything, including bread,
cheese, crispbreads, meat.
And we had plenty to get our hands on. Kelly
was particularly fond of the Irish Porter
(£2.85/100g), an unusual looking cheddar with
a brown mosaic pattern. Made with stout, the
effect was “rich, tangy and delicious”. The
Sussex Brie (£2.25/100g) was creamy and sweet,
while the Wyfe of Bath (£3.45/100g) was a
succulent and nutty semi-hard cheese, mellow
and reminiscent of gouda.
The Milano Salami (£4.80/100g) was fantastic,
heartily seasoned with white pepper, whereas
the Coppa (£7.60/100g), from the neck of the
pig, is marbled with fat and went well with
thick bread to soak up the flavour. Both come
Photo by Kelly Mechen
from the Mangalitza pig, bred locally in North
Chailey. Sussex Gourmand’s Wild Venison
Bresaola (£9 for approx. 50g) was rich, tasty,
and more generous in portion than you might
assume from the packaging. I also tried Weald
Smokery’s Smoked Mackerel Pâté: a salty, fresh
and lemony delight.
Peter’s Yard’s selection of three crispbreads
(£6.95) were fun to try in their own right: the
spelt & poppy seed variety was our favourite.
There is a wide selection of cold drinks
available too: I liked the kick of my Gran
Stead’s Still Lemonade with Root Ginger
(£1.25) whereas Kelly preferred the fizzier,
organic Lemonaid (£1.75).
For dessert, we tried the handmade orange
straws (£3.50): preserved orange peel coated in
dark Belgian chocolate, which put Jaffa Cakes
to shame. Some gingerbread from Horsham
Gingerbread Bakehouse stood apart too: an
incredibly strong, almost spicy flavour but still
fantastically buttery (£1.75).
One of the main things to note is how you
can walk in at any time, plunder a lot of lovely
food, drink, spreads and more (all ready-to-eat),
and then simply go picnic. Some costs a little
more, but some costs even less than standard
supermarket fare, and this stuff is markedly
better. Artisan, locally produced food is no
mere branding exercise at Barney’s: the staff are
clearly knowledgeable and care about their work,
and the effort shows. Delicious and surprisingly
affordable. Joe Fuller
39 Kensington Gardens, barneysdeli.com
Brighton Permaculture Trust
As nature intended
When confronted with a patch of weeds in your
garden or allotment, you most likely reach for the
fork and prise them out, roots and all. But, next
time, maybe hold fast.
“A lot of the fertility is held in those plants, and
worms, bacteria and funghi in the soil have little
niches in the ground – turning the earth over
is likely to damage them,” says Bryn Thomas,
director of Brighton Permaculture Trust. Instead,
Bryn suggests sticking a fork in to loosen the
ground without turning it over, and then piling
cardboard, newspaper or black plastic sheets on
top. “This will kill any grass shoots, which will
then create a nice soil for feeding the worms
down there,” he says. “And you can just lift it
and pull up any strands of bindweed a few times
throughout the season before you’re ready to
Permaculture is is all about co-operating with
nature, and mimicking its ingenious design. Aside
from gardening, its principles are applicable
to architecture and community planning.
The movement was started in Australia in the
1970s by environmentalists Bill Mollison and
David Holmgren. After studying forests and
ecosystems in Tasmania, they came up with a
design framework for living more harmoniously
with nature. “Natural systems are complex and
interconnected,” says Bryn. “We’re not talking
about linear metabolisms, but circular ones.
Everything in a forest gets used and re-used,
including all nutrients.”
Compare this with the end-to-end supply chain
of modern agriculture. We’re so far-removed
from mechanised global food production
processes, where the aim is to meet demand
rather than to complete a sustainable cycle.
“Instead, permaculture is about smaller-scale,
local, human-focused systems – as opposed to
flying in mange tout peas from Kenya,” says Bryn.
Established in 2000, Brighton Permaculture Trust
is a charity that’s all about inspiring, connecting
and learning so that people and planet can
flourish. Their projects include running courses
about aspects of permaculture, championing
eco-building, and working with schools and
communities to plant gardens and orchards
– they’ve planted more than 130 of the latter
across Sussex. “The orchard is the only entirely
human-created system that has its own biodiversity
action plan in the UK, because of its importance
for wildlife, and for pollinating insects in cities,”
Any more top tips for making our gardens more
permacultural? “A guild is a group of plants that
work well together,” he says. “Take blackcurrant
bushes. They’re woodland plants, so if you grow
them with fruit trees and plants that mimic the
woodland setting – such as mints and aromatic
herbs – there’s a guild that grows very well
He adds: “Try growing more perennial plants – like
fruit trees – rather than annual ones. Perennial
systems are much better at cycling nutrients
and building up a permanent soil system. Once
established they probably need relatively little input,
and will keep yielding for a number of years.”
Brighton Permaculture Trust runs two-day
Introduction to Permaculture Design courses at
Stanmer Park at weekends throughout the year;
Make Your FARM Garden SHOP
Summer bedding plants now available including
Petunias, Marigolds, Geraniums and much more.
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stock a large range of composts, pots
Open 7 days a week
Brighton Road, Henfield, West Sussex BN5 9RP 01273 494582 www.swainsfarmshop.co.uk
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V I V A M A G A Z I N E S . C O M
Photo by Lizzie Lower
Kemptown's Secret Garden
Nick Dwyer, plantsman
The garden belonged to the house behind
us – 32 Sussex Square. The houses of that row
used to have very long gardens, stretching as far
as Arundel Road. This 30 by 40 metre walled
garden is the last remaining portion and still has
the original tunnel that runs under the road to
The house was first owned in 1830 by
Laurence Peel, the brother of the then Prime
Minister. The garden was bought by the family
of Antony Dale – the founder of the Regency
Society – in the 1950s. It was the wish of his
widow, Yvonne Dale, that the garden should
be preserved for the use of the community
and, when she died, the Antony Dale Trust was
formed by Gavin Henderson CBE (the former
Artistic Director of the Brighton Festival), to
preserve it as a sculpture garden.
This is my fifth year as the gardener. It’s a
great project. I come here each Monday and
have carte blanche to do what I want. I did some
research into Regency period gardens and it
seems they were largely green, with trees and
hedges, but I’ve planted this up as more of a
cottage garden with a large lawn. It works well
for displaying sculpture.
I use my intuition for the planting scheme.
When I arrived, there were a few small rose
beds, so I extended the borders around them
and added the big stuff, like the Echium and the
Cardoons. I’ve also planted some fruit trees –
apples, quince and a medlar – against the warm
Photos by Lizzie Lower
Photo by Peter Hewetson-Brown
walls. I love tall, structural planting. I went to
art college and did a lot of abstract painting
when I was younger. In a way, the garden is an
extension of that. It’s my canvas to play with.
We have an exhibition of large kinetic water
sculptures by William Pye here until the end
of September. Installing them took just three
days with some very professional guys who
turned up and lifted the sculptures over the 20ft
wall. But the pre-install – designing the layout
and putting in the trenches for the electrics –
was months in the planning.
We will be open to the public for the
Heritage Open Days in September. At the
moment the garden is only open for special
events, but we’re raising funds to improve
our visitor facilities. The loggia serves as a
rudimentary kitchen and garden shed, but the
plan is to put in proper stairs, toilets and full
disabled access. Then we hope to open more
It’s strange gardening in a place which the
public rarely sees. I’d like us to open in April
because the garden sings in the Spring. It
suddenly comes to life with tulips, daffodils and
swathes of blue forget-me-nots. I’m the only
person who has ever seen some of the tulips.
Just me and the fox. I’m hoping we can change
that next year. As told to Lizzie Lower
Bristol Gardens, Kemptown
The Secret Garden will be open to the public for
the Heritage Open Days, weekends from 13th-
More trees, please
If you’ve ever lamented the loss of a tree on
your road – or wished for some greenery to
break up the urban sprawl – now is the time
to do something about it. This month sees the
launch of Plant Your Postcode, a new campaign
that encourages Brighton residents to replenish
the city’s tree count and help create a happier,
Seven Dials resident Penny Hudd is leading the
campaign. She was moved to take action when
the council chopped down two diseased elms on
her street last year. “I knew the council did not
have the money to replace them, so I decided to
find out what I could do instead,” she says. “I got
talking to Hove Civic Society and discovered
they had been involved in planting around 100
new trees on that side of the city over the past
five years. But no one was doing it in Brighton.”
Plant Your Postcode, which is backed by the
Civic Society as well as the Campaign to Protect
Rural England (CPRE), encourages people to
work in groups to request that the city council
assesses a site where they would like to see a tree
replaced or planted. If the site is suitable (land
where trees have stood historically is likely to
be approved but planting new trees is subject to
certain conditions), the group can then begin
fundraising to cover the costs. “Planting in a
park or where there are soft verges costs up
to £387, but in inner-city areas planting street
trees can cost £440 or more, as kerbs and hard
surfaces have to be replaced.” Individuals can
make donations towards the cost of new trees,
and Hudd would like to see schools taking up
the cause too. The city council’s budget for this
sort of work is a fraction of what it was before
the financial crash of 2007, she says. “One can
understand that – there are other things that
take priority. But after a few years, those cuts
start to show. And trees are really important.
House prices are higher in green areas; people
drive more slowly. Trees help reduce our carbon
footprint; they provide flood mitigation; they
clean the air.”
Hudd is hopeful that the campaign will be a
success. Brighton and Hove has form when it
comes to protecting trees, as evidenced during
the 1970s when the city was praised for fending
off the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, which
would wipe out 25 million trees across the
UK. We have more than 17,000 elms dotted
around in areas including Preston Park, Carden
Hill, Shirley Drive and The Level – the largest
collection in the country. “Now many of those
trees are reaching the end of their lives so action
is needed to plant the young trees that will, in
time, replace them. It’s an important project;
we’re planting for the future.” Nione Meakin
Photos by Lizzie Lower
The Museum of Gardening
Founder Clive Gravett
What’s in the museum? I’m a lawnmower
historian, so predominantly mowers. The
lawnmower was invented in 1830, and we’ve
got models from the 1860s to the 1980s. We’ve
probably got 60 or 70 on show, with as many
or more hidden away. There’s all sorts of other
gardening kit too: spraying and watering tools,
cucumber straighteners, and a collection of
Is anything missing from the collection? A
Budding mower from the 1830s, but we don’t
think any still exist. Edwin Budding developed
the lawnmower’s cutting cylinder and also the
screw adjustment for the adjustable wrench. He
was a brilliant engineer. He was working in the
wool industry – making a crosscutting machine
to take the nap off woven fabric – when he came
up with the idea for the lawnmower. I like to
think that he saw men working with scythes,
out of the factory window, and realised that his
cylinder cutter could do the same job.
What’s the rarest piece here? We’ve got
several mowers and edgers that we believe are
the only ones of their kind. I help run The Old
Lawnmower Club – we’ve got 500 members
worldwide – and no one has seen anything like
them. The strangest piece is a hand-operated
mower from the United States. You could
control the speed on the cutting cylinder with a
You’ve written a book, Two Men Went to
Mow? Yes. It’s the story of Edwin Budding
and what I’ve done in his name: my search
for the little-known inventor, a walk through
lawnmower history and its impact on sport and
society, and how I’ve created a museum and
charity in his name.
Tell me about the charity. I set up The
Budding Foundation on my 60th birthday, nine
years after I’d retired from banking. I’d been
doing horticultural workshops in schools, and
I had family members who worked for Social
Services, so I had gained an insight into young
people in need. We support kids aged from 5-18
who need some financial support to change
their lives. It could be £50 for football club
fees, money for a new wheelchair, or respite
days out. We work closely with the charity
Family Support Work, who refer people
to us. We do horticultural projects with
schools and work closely with Tates Garden
Centres to provide plants and equipment,
and we also run Santa’s Grotto here at
South Downs Nurseries in Hassocks at
Christmas. Last year we raised £23,000 for
the foundation. Tates are very supportive
with that, too. This year we’ve got a second
grotto so we need lots of elves! If you can
help, please get in touch.
I do love a project but I’d like to relax a bit
more myself at some stage. I’ve got a massive
garden myself, and there’s a lot to do.
Interview by Lizzie Lower
Find the museum at the South Downs
Heritage Centre, Hassocks. Entry is free.
Two Men Went to Mow (£14.99 +p&p) is
available from thebuddingfoundation.co.uk. or
from the Heritage Centre. 50% of each sale
goes to support the work of the charity.
and Psychological services
in central Hove
Central reservation to Central Park?
There are ‘around
147’ parks and
gardens in our city
according to the
council’s Open Space,
Sport and Recreation
Study (2009). They
cover an area of 1,200
hectares (3000 acres in
old money). Sounds a
lot, but Stanmer Park
is the biggest, and
accounts for about a
third of this. I never think of it as a park, it’s more
like a bit of the countryside so it distorts things
a bit; maybe we’re a bit short of public space?
Preston Park is probably the best known, given
the events that happen there, such as the start of
the Brighton Marathon and the Pride festival.
But there’s one important park that we all know,
yet is currently a bit unloved. You could call
it our Central Park, given its location, but we
know it as Valley Gardens, the public space that
stretches from near the Palace Pier to St Peter’s
Church. Valley Gardens is also a conservation
area (designated in 1973) and is both junction
and central reservation for the three major traffic
routes into the city. It includes some of the earliest
buildings from Brighton’s Regency period.
At the moment it’s really complicated to cycle
around and not very pleasant to use if you’re
walking or driving. Congested and confusing,
with large open spaces that are an important
green lung for the city, but it’s very under-used.
The current works at Valley Gardens are a multimillion
pound council-led project, with most of
the cash coming from central government, plus
some additional funds
from various bids and
So what are we
getting for those
millions? Well, nearly
a hectare more public
space, with places
to plant more trees,
better cycling routes,
(not shared with
the pavement) and
better walking routes
connecting the city’s streets more directly. More
generous areas near the pier, which is very busy
at times – ever tried cycling through there? The
plan is also to make Madeira Drive one-way,
heading towards the marina. Seems like a good
idea, as it’s a slightly crazy drive at the moment.
Buses will continue to run though the area
and the cute art deco bus shelters are staying,
apparently. Cars are moved to the east side of the
Old Steine in an attempt to make the gardens
feel a bit more linked to the city centre.
At the moment the park feels like a giant traffic
island. If this scheme, being implemented by
local practice Project Centre, works it will
make the whole area a lot more pleasant to use,
whichever way you choose to pass through it.
I’d like to see maybe a couple of new buildings
there too – maybe an amazing café and perhaps
a space that Brighton University could use to
showcase their extraordinary design talent. And
why not commission some world-class public art
to welcome visitors to our city? Let’s do that in
the next phase…
Photos by Jenni Cresswell
The Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Group
“Are you a gardener?,” project
coordinator Viv Caisey asks
me when I arrive at the
community allotment run by
the Brighton & Hove Organic
Gardening Group (BHOGG).
I’m not, I admit, but I’d like
to be. “It’s no problem,” she
continues. “I just don’t want to
teach you how to suck eggs.”
There’s no chance of that.
I like to think that I’d like to
have an allotment, but I’m
probably too busy to give it
the attention it would need and, anyway, there’s
a long waiting list for your own patch. So, the
BHOGG plot at the Weald Allotment site in
Hove is perfect for enthusiastic amateurs, like
me. BHOGG is a not-for-profit community
organisation run by volunteers who want to
share their passion for organic gardening. They
set up the community allotment in 2004 and
open it to various community groups during the
week, and to willing volunteers between 11am-
1pm every Sunday during the growing season.
They also offer starter plots for people who
want to do their own thing, run a monthly urban
gardening course at the Phoenix Community
Centre and arrange regular meetings and events.
It’s free to join them at the allotment for a few
trial sessions, and then you sign up for a £10
annual membership, which gives you access to
events like seedling swaps, talks and workshops.
The Weald Allotments cover a huge area next
to Hove Park Upper School, just off the Old
Shoreham Road, and the BHOGG have three
adjacent plots. On my first visit, Viv shows me
where I can find tools and
gloves, gives me a quick lesson
in identifying bindweed,
and then sets me the task of
weeding and digging over
an empty, eight-foot-by-four
veg bed. I’m soon joined by
Eva, another first timer to
the allotment, and we make a
pretty good team, chatting as
we go. By the time we stop to
look around, there are a couple
of dozen willing workers,
toiling away. The youngest
is aged around two (and surprisingly helpful),
and there are kids, and couples, and people in
their 60s, sharing the tasks written up on the
whiteboard. Together we pass an enjoyable and
productive couple of hours.
As expected, life gets in the way, and I can’t make
it back to the allotment for a couple of weeks.
But, when I do, I’m greeted by familiar faces
and new. The bed I weeded last time has been
planted up, so I get busy elsewhere, digging in
horse muck and planting up some squash and
dwarf beans, safe in the knowledge that someone
else will be along to keep them watered.
It’s surprisingly satisfying, this communal
gardening: a real case of many hands making for
light work. And, along with new friendships, I’m
rewarded with a share of the spoils (fistfuls of
organic celery, rhubarb, chard and broad beans)
and the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.
Find more voluntary gardening opportunities at
Use It or Lose It!
Free Support to Help You
Save the Planet
Everyone wants to do their bit to stop climate
change but it can be difficult to know where
to start. That’s why, when the Sustainable
Business Partnership CIC developed the Utilise
Plus programme, we wanted to offer various
services that help businesses to save energy
no matter where they are on their sustainability
journeys. Whether you’re keen to learn more at
one of our free events, want to identify smart
solutions for your organisation with a fullyfunded
energy audit, or want to take action
with a grant-funded energy-saving installation,
the Utilise Plus programme has something for
greenhouse gas emissions each year. What’s
more, their annual energy bills will decrease,
on average, by 27%, saving them money year
Utilise Plus will run until the end of September
2019 so make the most of this funding while
it lasts – use it or lose it! Whichever stage
your organisation is at, get in touch with the
Sustainable Business Partnership CIC and
see how the Utilise Plus programme can help
you. Saving energy is not only good for your
organisation’s cash flow but also good for the
environment – win-win! Just make sure you act
fast while this free support is still available!
Call: 01273 964239
Funded by the European Regional
Development Fund, Utilise Plus has already
supported hundreds of small and medium
sized enterprises throughout Sussex since
launching in late 2017. So far, we’ve helped
these organisations make an estimated,
combined saving of over 700 tonnes of
Seeds of knowledge
A different kind of learning takes place on a
patch of land at the University of Sussex.
Take a stroll through the neat lawns and the boxy
brick architecture of the Falmer campus, and you
may stumble across a fenced-off area (to keep out
the local rabbits) that is teeming with edible and
This, the student-run allotment, where a wildly
spiky artichoke plant, its stems heavy with new
fruit, rubs shoulders with raised beds bursting
with potatoes, leeks, onions, garlic, chard, broad
beans and cauliflowers; where defunct metal
filing cabinets harbour soft fruit bushes; and
where an exotic kiwi fruit tree and a grape vine
are entwined in iron bedsteads.
Everywhere you look, something interesting is
growing, often from receptacles that once served
other purposes (toilets, chimney pots, old boots).
They’ll try all sorts. For two years watermelons
successfully swelled in the spacious poly tunnel.
The students’ Roots Society has been going for
six years and has some 50 members, with several
turning up every week to water, weed, sow seeds
and harvest the crops.
They’re guided by Jaci Driscoll, a horticulturalist
with a specialist knowledge in biodiversity and
permaculture (no pesticides here), who works for
the University’s estates team.
“Biodiversity is free,” she points out. “It doesn’t
hurt the planet, and it’s good to be able to
educate people about not using poison. Without
the poison you will never be pest free – our
watermelon plants got eaten this year – but you
can try to manage them.”
She does this by encouraging wildlife (not
rabbits) into the allotment. Flowering plants
attract pollinators, feeders and water baths bring
in birds who will eat whatever tasty bugs they
The students get a lot out of the allotment – and
not just a share of the home-grown organic
“I love seeing their excited faces when we’ve
created a good batch of compost,” says Jaci, “or
when a seed they have planted finally sprouts.
“This also gives them a break from their studies
and staring at a screen. I’m watching them making
friends, and sometimes having romances.”
Roots Society organiser Connor Sullivan affirms
that the allotment brings many rewards. “I’ve
just finished my Zoology BSc, and now I’m really
interested in the relationship between producing
food and wildlife. I’ve been able to learn loads
about horticulture and permaculture from Jaci.
“It’s also been nice to get away from everything
else that’s going on. I love wildlife photography
and the plot is a great place to practise.”
His fellow students have identified other benefits.
One revealed it had helped her overcome
mental health issues at the start of her course.
Another said it was where she felt most at home.
Another dug deeper still. “This is about reconnecting
ourselves to the land and nature we have
been detached from by a logic of market-driven
consumer culture that pillages the earth. This is
about opening ourselves up to an entirely different
– and rich – bank of knowledge and diverse
Food for thought, indeed. Jacqui Bealing
Immerse yourself in a weekend of
wild play and traditional woodcraft
27 – 28 July
For details visit kew.org/wakehurst
Let Your Garden
My Front Lawn
Plant it and they will come
Illustration by Mark Greco
Do you remember that Kevin Costner movie
Field of Dreams? Kev plays an Iowa farmer who,
after hearing strange voices, transforms his land
into a baseball pitch and summons the ghosts of
a long-dead baseball team. Ridiculous. Yet, when
I bought my first home 8 years ago and stood on
my new perfectly manicured 15ft by 20ft suburban
front lawn, all I could hear were voices in my
head telling me to destroy it.
Rumours spread of my debauched gardening
plans. My new neighbours eyed me with suspicion
– especially when they overheard that I was
planning to hire a stripper for the weekend. The
clattering of the petrol-powered turf stripper was
only drowned out by my maniacal laughter as I
razed the 300 square feet of lawn to mud. You
could hear the house prices dropping all along
the cul-de-sac. The neighbourhood watched
from behind twitching curtains as I carefully
broadcast native wildflower seeds over the bare
soil. Through the wet winter my front lawn
looked ready to host a re-enactment of The
Battle of Agincourt. And then spring came.
Meadow Buttercup, Oxeye Daisy, Cowslip,
Yellow Rattle, Lady’s Bedstraw, Crested Dogstail,
Red Clover, Ragged Robin. The ground erupted
into a riot of colour. And then the wildlife
arrived. Bees, bee-flies, beetles, burnets and
butterflies. Unusual species appeared too: Wall
Brown and Brown Hairstreak butterflies, Ghost
Moths, Wasp Spiders and a lone Common Spotted
Orchid. On summer days my mini-meadow
sang to me; a choir of buzzing bumblebees and
chirruping grasshoppers. My own nature reserve;
beautiful, wild, endlessly fascinating and filled
with life. I am genuinely bemused as I watch my
neighbours struggle with their lawnmowers each
week. Why go out of your way to kill something
when you can just sit back and let it live? I simply
swing my scythe and mow my meadow once at
the end of the summer. I imagine I look like that
shirtless bloke from Poldark (although I actually
resemble a chunky but cheerful Grim Reaper).
Wildflower meadows were once a widespread
feature of the English countryside but since
the 1930s we have tragically lost 97% of our
flower-rich fields. Many have been improved
with fertilisers, re-seeded with faster growing
grasses or ploughed for arable crops. This in turn
has caused a massive decline in many species of
wildlife that depend on them. By creating my
own humble field of dreams it feels as if I am
summoning the ghosts of the English countryside
and giving them life. And then, last month,
I turned the corner to see a deer, an actual wild
Roe Deer, lost in suburbia but stood seemingly at
home in my meadow. Ridiculous.
If you’re interested in creating your own wildflower
meadow, search ‘Sussex Wildlife Trust’
and ‘garden wildflower meadow’ online.
Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement
Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust
INSIDE LEFT: PARK CRESCENT, 1969
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this
photograph is the bird’s-eye view it gives you
into the secret garden of Park Crescent (on the
right), only accessible to those lucky enough to
live in the horseshoe-shaped development, and
This space used to be the northern part of
The Level, the marshy bit of ground between
the Lewes and London roads, before it was
partitioned in the 18th century and turned into
a cricket ground, called The Prince of Wales
Ground. One of the keenest cricketers to use it
was the Prince Regent.
In 1822 the land was bought by speculator James
Ireland, and turned into The Royal Gardens,
a multi-purpose pleasure garden, with a maze,
a grotto, an aviary and an artificial lake, as well
as a cricket pitch. This was a short-lived affair:
Ireland pulled out in 1826, and the place fell into
disrepair. All that remains is the ornate gateway
on Union Road.
In 1849 the area was bought by architect Amon
Henry Wilds who had, by 1854, completed what
has been described as his most ambitious project,
the elegant Italianate crescent that is still standing
today. If you know someone who lives in Park
Crescent, you’d do well to inveigle a visit into
one of Brighton’s most secret spots, intermittently
shaded by tall trees, featuring landscaped
pathways and lawns, with benches, treehouses
and picnic clearings.
In 1934, 44 Park Crescent was the scene of one
of Brighton’s most notorious murders, that of
Violet Kaye, bludgeoned in the head with a hammer
by her lover and housemate, Toni Mancini,
who then moved with the body – encased in a
trunk – to a new address in Kemp Street. It was
two months before police found her gruesome
and very pungent remains, and arrested Mancini.
Remarkably, he was acquitted at the forthcoming
trial at Lewes Assizes, though many years later he
admitted to having committed the crime.
This aerial shot, taken in January 1969, shows
how little this area has changed in the 50 years
since it was taken. Note the elegant curve of
Hanover Crescent, east of the gardens, and the
two imposing churches to the north, catering
for both Catholics and Anglicans: St Joseph’s on
Elm Grove, and St Martin’s on Lewes Road. The
image is from the James Gray collection: thanks,
as ever, to Kevin Wilsher, of the Regency Society,
for sourcing it.
“Every time you spend
money, you’re casting a
vote for the kind of
world you want.”
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