Viva Brighton Issue #84 February 2020

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#84 FEB 2020




Viva Magazines is based at:

Lewes House, 32 High St,

Lewes, BN7 2LX.

For all enquiries call:

01273 488882.

Every care has been taken to

ensure the accuracy of our content.

We cannot be held responsible for

any omissions, errors or alterations.

In a city that’s famous for its digital industries

and game studios, I still prefer to pass the time

on a decidedly low-tech Backgammon board. So

I expected to feel properly behind the times as we

began looking into the local games scene for this

month’s issue.

As expected, we found a thriving game development

community that’s drawing on a deep well of diverse

talents. People like the Global Game Jammers

who gather each year for an ‘all play’ weekend of

worldwide games creation; illustrator and concept

artist Dan Lish who adds vivid colour to imaginary

landscapes; and actor Elsie Lovelock who gives

characters their voice.

But we also discovered a whole world of analogue

gaming, and not just in the dusty corners of pubs.

Places like the Dice Saloon, where hundreds of

people meet each week to gather around board

games and disappear into role-playing realms; and

a growing number of immersive Escape Rooms. We

met game-maker (cartoonist, and punk rocker) Paul

Stapleton, who turned Brighton life into a series of

BN1-inspired board games; and Hazel Reynolds,

whose ruse to pry her sister away from her iPad grew

into a business that’s sold upwards of 100,000 card

games, and counting.

Of course, all this code-cracking, strategising and

imaginative play can be put to brilliant use in the real

world too. Just ask the founders of Block Builders,

who use Minecraft to involve kids in designing the

cities of the future – and the urban planners are

listening. In this town, playing is serious business.





EDITOR: Lizzie Lower lizzie@vivamagazines.com

SUB EDITOR: David Jarman

PRODUCTION EDITOR: Joe Fuller joe@vivamagazines.com

ACTING ART DIRECTOR: Rebecca Cunningham rebecca@vivamagazines.com

PHOTOGRAPHER AT LARGE: Adam Bronkhorst mail@adambronkhorst.com

ADVERTISING: Sarah Jane Lewis sarah-jane@vivamagazines.com;

Jenny Rushton jenny@vivamagazines.com

ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS: Kelly Mechen kelly@vivamagazines.com

DISTRIBUTION: David Pardue distribution@vivamagazines.com

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

Chris Riddell, Dan Lish, Ellie Evans, JJ Waller, Jacqui Bealing, Jay Collins, Joda,

Joe Decie, John Helmer, Lizzie Enfield, Mark Greco, Martin Skelton,

Michael Blencowe, Nione Meakin, Paul Zara and Rose Dykins.

PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden becky@vivamagazines.com

Please recycle your Viva (or keep us forever).




Concept art for Worlds Adrift by Dan Lish

Bits & bobs.

8-21. Video game concept artist Dan

Lish stages a boardgame battle on the

cover; impersonator Janet Brown is on

the buses; Joe Decie is still trying to

get a hang of the rules; and Alexandra

Loske revisits the trailblazing Mary

Merrifield. Martin Skelton reviews footie

mag Mundial; Alex Leith catches a roofraising

game at the Islingword Inn; and JJ

Waller snaps FIFA referee Kirsty Dowle

at Whitehawk. Plus, RadioReverb ready

themselves for their annual Reverbathon


My Brighton.

22-23. Paul Stapleton on the snakes and

ladders of his hometown.


25-29. Julien Bonnin’s patchwork

recollections of a wartorn Beirut, on

display at Fabrica this month.



31-35. John Helmer sits out a round of

the Rizla game; Lizzie Enfield plays word

games with a gaggle of Gaelic journalists;

and Amy Holtz is in no hurry to return to

the Amex.

On this month.

37-45. Ben Bailey rounds up his pick of

the local gigs; TOM’s Reigning Women

season brings multi-talented composer

Anna Meredith to town; and BREMF stage

‘Bora I’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin

....6 ....



little-known opera La Dafne in the former

market hall. Brighton Dome hosts a pondhopping

folk fest in Transatlantic Sessions

and a talk about Women in Entertainment.

Plus, Shlomo brings his Beatbox Adventure

for Kids to Komedia.

Art & design.

46-55. Poet, painter (and occasional

mermaid) Ruby Dine is at Jubilee library,

and Towner host a major exhibition of early

works by Alan Davie and David Hockney.

Rose Dykins gets the lowdown on the

Global Game Jam, and just some of what’s

on, art wise, this month.

The way we play.

57-61. Adam Bronkhorst photographs some

hardcore boardgamers at the Dice Saloon.


63-67. A brilliant brunch at 640 East;

a recipe for a healthy fish supper from

Nutritious Fish (who’ll deliver the catch

of the day direct to your door); an epic

sandwich from Social Board; and a small

taster of this month’s food news.




69-79. We meet the founder of Gamely

Games; round up Brighton’s growing list of

Escape Rooms; hear trade secrets from the

voice actor Elsie Lovelock; and Joe Fuller

revisits the ‘cosily catastrophic’ virtual

world of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

Plus, we find out about the company

mapping the city with Minecraft; an

animation school for kids; and hear from

the University of Sussex Senior Lecturer

who has done the maths on dating apps.

Photo by Adam Bronkhorst

‘Oil of Ulay 2’ (2018) by Shani Rhys James

Courtesy of the artist and Connaught Brown


81. The Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Built

for headbanging.

Inside left.

82. The Brighton Tigers, 1958. The city’s

ice hockey team in their heyday.

....7 ....



Worlds Adrift

Dan Lish has worked as a concept artist for a

range of video game companies, including Sony,

Lucas Arts, and Rockstar, where he worked on

Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto 3. He explains

that the job title can confuse people however,

and that in practice it’s similar to most forms

of illustration. “It’s

just like other kinds of

publishing and editorial.

You’re following

a brief from an

art director and

you create an

illustration. It just so

happens that the artwork

that I’m doing is 90%

digital. It’s illustration, but

following a tight brief to

be used in video games. It’s a

weird title.”

Dan is currently lead concept artist at American

games company Mythical, working on an

upcoming title, Blankos Block Party. “It’s based

on the sub-culture of collecting vinyl toys. The

player can customise their character and explore

the universe, which is brilliant because 99.9% of

the stuff I create goes in the game.”

This month’s cover depicts characters from both

classic video games and board games: “there’s

a lot going on. I felt it was punchy going for

classic games: you’ve got Space Invaders, Donkey

Kong, Bowser, chess pieces on the Pavilion.” The

dragon in the middle – adorned with our issue

number – is inspired by Dungeons and Dragons,

while the ghosts chasing the pruned patient from

Operation are from Pac-Man.

Dan’s inking technique, which he describes as

having “zillions of little ink strokes”, was initially

inspired by comic illustrators Robert Crumb and

Moebius. “I feel that it’s gone its own way now

Blankos Block Party

....8 ....



though. Mature enough to hold my own.”

Since 2014, Dan has developed a large

following for his Egostrip project, where

he creates illustrations based on hip hop

artists. “I’ll pick an artist like Rakim, a very

endowed lyricist, and I’ll take inspiration

from a lyric that was quite poignant to me.”

Dan’s work sometimes delves into the nature

of inspiration, and the creative process itself.

In his Rakim illustration, the rapper stares

into the distance, “looking into nowhere. The

borderlands, as Philip Pullman puts it. You’re

dipping into something bigger. That whole

creative journey.”

Dan has over 17,000 followers on Instagram,

and aims to contact all fans that comment

on his work. “I make sure I answer

everyone’s questions, which can be quite

time consuming. Just as a mark of respect

that they’ve reached out to me and liked

what I’ve done, or have said something really

endearing. It leads to a nice community based

around the artwork.” Joe Fuller

Dan is launching a Kickstarter project to publish

a collection of his Egostrip hip hop illustrations.

Follow him on Instagram for updates. @danlish1,

danlish.com, danlishartworks.bigcartel.com

Unannonced project for Bossa Studios

Cypress Hill Omar

....9 ....




Janet Brown was one of Brighton’s most famous impersonators. Born in

Rutherglen, near Glasgow in 1923, Janet performed in variety shows for

World War Two soldiers, including future stars Tony Hancock and Frankie

Howerd. She then went on to work for BBC Radio Scotland and married

Peter Butterworth, who would later star in Carry On films.

Although she started impersonating celebrities such as Jessie Matthews in

the 50s, her most famous character, Margaret Thatcher, first appeared on

ITV’s The Eamonn Andrews Show, soon after Thatcher became leader of the

Conservative Party in 1975. Janet’s Thatcher proved popular, appearing on BBC’s Mike Yarwood Show, a

comedy album titled Iron Lady: The Coming of the Leader, and the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.

An obituary in The Scotsman describes her performances as ‘cool and incisive… combining a fine vocal

delivery with a detailed study of the Thatcher mannerisms’. The impersonation was mostly affectionate

however; Janet was a Conservative and portrayed Thatcher as ‘an individual character with an independent

mind’. Thatcher once asked Janet to tea at Downing Street in fact, and to stay the weekend at Chequers.

Janet died in a nursing home in Hove in May 2011, aged 87, and was buried alongside her husband Peter

Butterworth, in Danehill Cemetery. Joe Fuller

Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)

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On 15th February photographer

Anita Corbin’s

exhibition of 100 First Women

Portraits opens at Brighton

Museum. It will feature

striking portraits of British

women who were ‘first’ in their

field of achievement. There

will be several related events,

and I am looking forward to

talking with Anita about how

women have been portraying

other women in portraiture

through the centuries.

This exhibition also got me

thinking about some of Brighton’s

‘first women’. Exactly a

year ago I introduced the marvellous

Mrs Merrifield to Viva

Brighton readers, as one of very

few 19th-century female colour

researchers. Mary Philadelphia

Merrifield (1804-1889) was

a self-taught artist and writer

who spent most of her life in

Brighton. Just after the Royal

Pavilion was sold by Queen

Victoria in 1850 Merrifield

exhibited her paintings in the

first art exhibitions held in the

palace. Later she was involved

in the shaping of the natural

history collections at Brighton

Museum, became a specialist in

marine algae, wrote a popular

guidebook about Brighton

and learned several foreign

languages along the way (as

you do).

But Merrifield was a trailblazer

in another area, so she deserves

at least one more outing here.

In 1854 she published what is

probably the first ever book

on dress history, certainly by a

woman, entitled Dress as a Fine

Art, comprising essays that had

previously been published in

the Art-Journal and Sharpe’s

London Magazine. It was a

small-format publication,

illustrated by Merrifield herself,

and came out simultaneously in

London and Boston. This little

book is a fascinating overview

of contemporary and historical

fashion, focussing on many

aspects of clothing, such as

particular cuts, embellishments,

Double-page and title pages of Merrifield’s book Dress as a Fine Art (1854)




footwear, patterns, and even children’s

clothes. Unsurprisingly for a woman who

had spent the previous decade researching

colour history, there is a long chapter on

colour in fashion, and how to find the right

colours for your complexion and hair tone.

Merrifield is critical of some of the ‘absurdities’

of Paris fashion and certain ‘freaks

of fashion’ in previous centuries, and how

‘fashion, with its usual caprice, has interfered

with nature’ and ‘natural philosophy’. By

this, she means the way women were tightlaced

and strapped into stays and corsets

that were detrimental to their health and

that of their unborn children. By contrast,

she considers some Greek and Middle

Eastern costume much more elegant and in

keeping with the natural shape of a woman’s

body. Merrifield, who had seen the rise and

impact of fashion plates in 19th-century

popular magazines, encouraged women to

look critically at such representations of

beauty and body shape, and urged dressmakers

to look at the real and natural human

figure. These were strong and progressive

views in the high-Victorian age, which saw

cinched waists and corseted bodies return

with a vengeance.

Alexandra Loske, Art Historian and Curator

To acknowledge Merrifield’s contribution to

Brighton’s history there is a small display about

her at the Booth Museum of Natural History,

which finishes in March. On 15th February, at

Brighton Museum, photographer Anita Corbin

and Alexandra Loske will explore how women

have been portraying women, from the 18th

century to the present day. Followed by a tour

of the exhibition. brightonmuseums.org.uk

A typical fashion plate from Ackermann’s Repository (1820s)

Illustration from Merrifield’s book. All photos by Alexandra Loske



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We’ve been reviewing independent

magazines in Viva for

five years now; year six starts

here. So, I thought, let’s do

something new. This month’s

theme – ‘games and play’–

seemed an obvious opportunity.

I grew up with the idea that discussing

the ‘games people play’

didn’t mean pitches, courts and

streets, but the delicate, individual

negotiations, and clumsy

love songs (thanks, Paul Simon), through which

we negotiate our personal and professional lives.

So, I decided to frame the review around that.

Except it didn’t go well. Every sentence was

clumsy, every thought moved me further away

from the magazines we have in store. Two things

rescued me. First, I realised I was disappearing

up my own bottom. Second, as I struggled to get

the review finished in a quiet 15 minutes on a

Sunday afternoon in the shop, someone I knew

came in and said, simply, “Stop trying to be a

clever dick, write about Mundial instead.”

Mundial is currently our most popular sports

and games mag. Its tag line is ‘reminding you

why you love football’ and, when

I picked up a copy, I realised

that the advice was spot on.

For a start, it’s so varied, both

graphically and in its content.

Every page spread is interesting

and different to look at. In this

current issue, there is a quite

brilliant photo of Robbie Fowler

in the act of scoring a goal in

2001. The first 20 pages or so

are packed with snippets about

food, gear, drinks, football grounds, random

quotes and more.

Then the longer stuff begins, and, in this issue,

that includes a really, really good interview with

Sadio Mané; another with the referee George

Courtney; Dutch soccer and walking football.

Some people come into our shop to buy a mag

that will help them while away the train ride

to London, others for something that they can

spend a month reading. Mundial does both.

Coincidentally, it’s just started its sixth year, too.

Let’s hope we keep going together. And, finally, a

2020 memo to self. Keep it simple, stupid.

Martin Skelton, Magazine Brighton


Do you ever just…

Here’s a fun game to pass the time on the loo. Fill in the

dots and share your most intimate thoughts with the city.

But where is this confessional cubicle?

Last month’s answer: Pavilion Gardens Public Toilets





It’s the night of the latest showdown

between Crystal Palace

and the Albion and I have

two questions for the young

landlord at the Islingword Inn.

Are they showing the game?

If so, does he mind if we get

some fish & chips and eat them


His response is: yes, of course

the football’s on; and no, we

can’t bring food in, because

they have their own menu.

Pizzas. We decide to stay.

The Islingword is that

fine-looking classical pile on the

corner of Islingword Road and

Queens Park Road, diagonally

opposite the Pepper Pot. I’ve

been digging into its history: it

was designed and planning-approved

in 1866, but there’s no

record of it being in operation

– as The Beaufort Hotel – until

1881. In its heyday it must have

been a rather grand place to sup

a pint, a cut above the smaller

establishments incorporated

into the terraces on Hanover

hill below.

The facade still looks impressive

today – somebody’s

recently given it a slate-grey

paint job – but the interior has

got a rather tatty feel about it.

It looks like several different

designers, with divergent senses

of taste, have had a go: there

are ceramic plates on the wall,

old pictures on the ceiling of

the pool room, neon signage,

a suit of armour, and a rather

nice 50s-chic painted mural of

Hanover buildings.

The pool table’s free, and what’s

more it’s free (as in you don’t

have to pay) but we’re after

more sedentary pursuits while

we’re waiting for kick-off. We

opt, instead, to play one of the

many board games stacked

high in a cubby-hole by the

door. Have I Got News for You

fills in a pleasant half an hour,

even though the egg timer has

gone missing and we can’t find

the rules. The pizzas, it must

be said, are a bit disappointing:

frozen affairs cooked in a

mini-oven behind the bar.

No matter, they’ve got Laine

beer on tap – Ripper and

Source giving options either

side of the 4.5% mark – and as

kick-off approaches, the place

fills up with an enthusiastic

bunch of Brighton fans, who fill

the space behind us. Just before

kick-off a big screen whirrs

down, cutting us off from the

pool players beyond, and we

settle into the match. It’s a

cracking game, and a cracking

atmosphere, and I earmark the

place for future visits, when I

want to enjoy watching Albion

games in raucous company. Or

England games, for that matter:

I bet there was beer on the ceiling

during the World Cup.

Alex Leith

Illustration by Jay Collins




Kirsty Dowle is on the 2020 international list of FIFA referees and was assistant

ref at the 2018 Women’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley,

in front of a record 45,000 crowd. She’s captured here by JJ Waller, refereeing a

recent men’s first team match at Whitehawk FC (in front of a smaller but no less

enthusiastic crowd). The first woman to do so for 35 years. “It was generally agreed

she was the best ref seen at Whitehawk this season”, reports JJ.



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You are warmly invited to our

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University of Sussex, Gardner Centre Road, Brighton BN1 9RA

01273 678 822



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Tue 25 Feb



Sat 29 Feb



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Mon 20 Apr


Sat 25 Apr


Thur 7 May


Fri 22 May



Sat 23 May


Tue 26 May

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RadioReverb’s first

broadcast was a twoweek

trial during

the 2004 Brighton

Festival. We built a

team of more than 50

enthusiastic volunteers

– many first-time

broadcasters – to

create a radio station

that represented Brighton and Hove in all its

diversity, open-mindedness, irreverence and


Today we have 40,000+ regular listeners a

week across FM, DAB+ and online platforms,

and our podcasts reach a global audience of

750,000 and counting. Many of the original

team have stuck around, and we still adhere

to our founding principles of providing an

alternative to mainstream radio: fiercely local,

independent, and advert-free.

Our commitment to being a platform for

rarely-heard voices remains at our core. We’re

proud to have hosted the UK’s first ever trans radio

show (Time for T) and to offer the UK’s only

intergenerational radio programme, The Ruben

and Sharon Show, where mum and son compare

musical tastes and outlook on the world.

We try to keep our listeners on their toes so

they’re never sure what they’re going to hear

next, with around 50 shows available at any one

time. Some of our most popular are The Albion

Roar – about all things Albion-related; Growing

Wild, a podcast about nature; and our new book

show which is only a few programmes in but has

already built up a loyal following. Then there’s

Refugee Radio, Mental Health Matters, and the

award-winning Carousel

Radio show, made by

people with learning


Anyone can submit

an idea for the station

via our website. We

always welcome new

broadcasters with

fresh ideas for shows

we’re not already offering. You don’t need any

broadcasting experience. A big part of what we

do is give people in Brighton experience and

professional training in broadcasting, and many

of our volunteers go on to work for the BBC or

major independent production companies.

Apart from our premises and day-to-day

running costs we’re subject to a range of

licencing fees which all have to be paid, so

fundraising is a big part of our work. The

Reverbathon (March 9th) is our big annual

fundraiser, when we throw the radio rule book

out the window to create a day that’s unpredictable

and lively. In the past we’ve had everything

from steel drum troupes to choir performances

live on air. We’re also really grateful to our show

sponsors and generous local donors – anyone

who pops us the equivalent price of a coffee or a

pint is much appreciated.

We’re pleased to say we’ll be boosting our

transmission services early this year to reach

even more listeners outside the city. We’re

looking forward to introducing a whole new

audience to radio quite unlike anything they’re

used to hearing. As told to Nione Meakin by

RadioReverb broadcaster Melita Dennett





Photo by Alex Leith




MYbrighton: Paul Stapleton

Cartoonist, game-maker, punk rocker

Are you local? Yes. I was born here, and

brought up in Patcham. I did go off to university

in Portsmouth, but I didn’t like it, and I came

back after one-and-a-half days. Still, that was

the longest further-education career of anyone

in my family up till that point.

What did you do when you came back? The

reason I came back was that I was in a band

called Anal Beard and we’d just got our first gig,

supporting Sperm Ov Doom. I played in that

band for 20 years, off and on: our last gig was

at the Albert in 2015. Being called Anal Beard

didn’t really go with being in our 40s. I still play

in my other band, a folk-punk six-piece called

Pog, which formed in 2000.

By then you were a cartoonist… I started

doing lo-fi cartoon strips in the mid-90s, selling

them at comic shops and fairs and gigs. That

evolved in an online strip that I did for about

18 months called BN1, all about Brighton, from

the bowels of London Road to the peaks of

Muesli Mountain.

When did the game-making start? The online

strip segued into a boardgame of the same

name, based on Brighton life. It had a similar

irreverent tone to The Cheeky Guide to Brighton,

celebrating the offbeat contradictions of the

city. Next came ZomBN1, featuring zombies.

My latest game, based in ‘Brighthelm’, is called

Pauper’s Ladder. It’s a family-plus game, meaning

it can be played at different levels, by kids

and families, but also by seasoned gamers. The

board game scene is currently very vibrant, an

antidote to the video game industry, like vinyl

in music and hardcopy print magazines.

Is there anything you don’t like about

Brighton? The price of houses and rent has

displaced a lot of people I know who’ve had

to move somewhere cheaper. The only people

who can afford to move here now are people

who’ve come down from London, and that’s

changed the fabric of the place: greasy spoons

have turned into bistros, ironmongers into

boutique gift shops. Those of us left always

wonder how much longer we’ll be able to afford

to live here.

Where else would you choose to live? Most

likely Plymouth, where there’s a really vibrant

punk scene.

What’s your favourite Brighton pub/restaurant?

To eat, it’s got to be Planet India: it’s been

run by the same family for 20 years and they

have random prices like £5.64, and descriptions

on the menu like ‘this one used to be my wife’s

favourite’. Pub-wise I like places that haven’t

changed since the 90s: The Albert, The Heart

and Hand, The Hand in Hand. Most of all I

love The Mitre [behind the Open Market], because

it’s exactly the same as when my nan used

to take me there when I was little. In fact, if it

wanted to rebrand as an expensive retro hipster

joint, they wouldn’t have to alter a single thing

about it, apart from putting up the prices.

Interview by Alex Leith




Julien Bonnin

Lebanese whispers

In France we have an

expression, ‘Telephone Arabe’.

The idea is that however

truthful an original message

is at source, by the time you

get to hear it or see it or read

it, it has distorted out of recognition,

and it’s impossible

to know who’s who and what’s

what. This concept is an important

element of my work.

Before starting my MA at the Royal College

of Art, I did an internship in Beirut at the

Arab Image Foundation, the biggest photography

archive of the Middle East. This nurtured

my investigation into the dissemination and

construction of intimate, personal stories.

I came across the trajectory of a photographer

who had a studio on the border

between East and West Beirut. He took a lot

of pictures of his neighbourhood. During the

civil war he had to flee, leaving all his photos

behind. There was an element of archaeology

and aura in the way these objects were passed

into our era.

Back in London, I no longer had access to

the images or the physical places that had

made such an impression on me. I had to

recreate them, using found objects, drawn from

the documentation of the Middle East in this

country, with all its distortion. I also sourced

family images, from Beirut: there’s quite a trade

in them, and you can get some relatively cheap.

One of the pieces I set up in the studio was

the diorama with the blue car (see page 27).

It’s a mixture of fiction and reality. The background

photo was projected onto the wall; the

car represents one of the many devices that were

blown up by suicide attacks

in Beirut during the war.

I’m putting together a

patchwork of different

images to see how far I

can push stereotypes of the

Middle East. And I’m asking

questions to myself, as an

image maker, as much as to

the audience.

I’m interested in oral traditions,

mythology and how different countries

are posting our stories. Media and news

outlets are fast-forwarding stories, making them

clickable and fashionable: people are drawn and

consume them like fast food.

The images will be visible through the window

of Fabrica, from the street. It is the biggest

work I have ever created, and I’m told that

over 400,000 people will walk past it. Hopefully

many of them will stop, and gaze. Maybe it will

spark an interest in the subject that will lead to

more investigation.

I’m very interested in observing the audience

looking at my work. They form their

own stories according to their backgrounds,

and biographies, and what they know about the

Middle East.

My influences? Akram Zaatari, who has done

a lot of work on archival objects and memories.

The studies of the British photographer Stephen

Gill. And the African studio photographer Malik

Sidibé. As told to Alex Leith

Julien’s Studio Aftermath will be featured in the

Fabrica ‘In Between Gallery’ window on Duke

Street until March. Julien is giving a talk in the

gallery on February 6th.





‘Studio Aftermath’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin




‘Stitches’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin ‘Untitled’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin




‘Rift’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin

‘Echoes’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin




‘Bora I’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin

‘Bora II’ from Relics by Julien Bonnin






Your future.







John Helmer

Who am I?

“Do you want to play the Rizla game?” asks my

nephew, Alfie, beckoning.

“I’ve never heard of the Rizla game.”

I follow him through to the sitting room of

my mother-in-law’s house where this family

gathering is taking place, wondering what is

going on: some kind of stoner bongfest maybe?

What I find instead is a tribe of teenagers and

twenty-somethings (all relatives) sitting round,

each with a Rizla paper stuck to their forehead

on which has been written the moniker of some

famous person.

It’s a game of many names. When we played

it in the less extended, nuclear subset of my

family two nights ago we called it ‘The Whoam-I?

Game’, and we used Post-it notes rather

than Rizla papers. In general, I tend to spend

more time around office stationery than 4:20

impedimenta nowadays.

I see that they’ve added in some non-celebrities,

people known to the family. Some people have

strict rules about who can appear on a Rizla/

Post-it in this game. No

fictional characters,

for instance, only

‘real’ people.

How we play it,

even Pokémon are

allowed, though I

never get these, as I

slept through the

Pokémon movie

I took my kids to.

Commuting to

London in those

days, while still

trying to keep up

a twentysomething-style social life, as soon as I

got somewhere warm and dark, I would be out

like a light.

“No thanks, Alfie.”

The game we played a few nights previously

at home is still a sore memory. I guessed who

I was first try, due to the unreasonable amount

of hilarity and malicious laughter occasioned

when the Post-it was lettered and applied to

my forehead. It’s a running joke in the family

that I resemble celebrity chef Nigel Slater – a

resemblance I personally don’t see, but which

has been pretty hard to deny since I was

mistaken for him on Victoria Station by one of

his friends. (Serves me right for featuring the

incident in this column.)

Fleeing the game, I slip upstairs, where a

daughter and further cousins are playing not

games but music. Poppy has her flute, and

people take turns on the piano. There is even

a battered old mandolin with three remaining

strings that someone is trying to get a tune out

of. I’m passed a guitar and join in. Together we

stumble through loud, inaccurate renditions of

classics whose appeal has miraculously jumped

the generation gap, such as Leonard Cohen’s

Hallelujah, and Brian Wilson’s In My Room

(perfect lyric for teenagers).

The kids put up with my missed chords and

tendency to sing flat because they know I used to

pass as a professional musician. Poppy told her art

teacher this recently, who got all excited because

her husband apparently used to follow my band.

“He’s still got rock-star hair”, said the teacher,

looking at a photo on Poppy’s phone.

“We think he looks like Nigel Slater,” she


Illustration by Chris Riddell
















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in our private Karaoke Room


You can even book our areas

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Lizzie Enfield

Notes from North Village

We are in a mountaintop bar in Tenerife: myself

and a bunch of Irish journalists, although, when

I say Irish, most of them are actually Scottish but

based in Ireland. So you can imagine the level of

drinking that takes place. On this occasion we’ve

earned a drink after a day spent hiking, along a

precipitous up and down coastal path and into

the mountains on the North of the island – a

little too up and down for some of the hardened

hacks, especially after the night before when the

drinks were not earned but nevertheless drunk.

So here we are in a bar with a theme – Franco.

There are black-and-white photographs of the

General dotted about the place, the calendar

on the wall has a different shot of him each

month and even the beer tankards hanging

above the taps sport literal mugshots. What

is it about Spain and Franco we wonder, as

we take our drinks and sit outside? In other

European countries, it’s kind of frowned upon,

this glorification of “strong and stable leaders”

– to quote the barman – but, in Spain, the body

of Francisco Franco was recently exhumed and

moved to Madrid because its former resting

place in the Valley of the Fallen, just outside the

capital, had become a shrine for the far right.

And, if further evidence that the general is still

very much revered were needed, we only need to

look around this little bar we find ourselves in.

Glaswegian-turned-Dubliner Jim (there is more

than one Jim on this trip) goes inside to buy

crisps and offers the bag around with a querying

“’tato crisp?” which in his thick hybrid Dublin/

Glaswegian accent sounds more like “Tito

crisp”. And so begins the game now officially

known in travel journalist circles as the Dictator

Snack Game. There are no rules, other than

that you have to come up with a food or drink

item with a name that can be derived from the

name of a dictator: Tito crisps, Pol Pot noodles,

Mao-mite etc.

The game continues, as we hike our way around

Tenerife and lasts well beyond the end of the

trip when the WhatsApp group, created when

everyone is pretending they want to stay in

touch, keeps pinging and revealing the latest

culinary dictatorial creation: Ayatollah Halloumi

and Fidel Castrami washed down with a bottle

of Eva Peroni anyone? I find I can no longer

look at food without wondering which dictator

can be reworked into its name. On my return

home, a friend invites me round for dinner –

mussels with linguine – delicious and, of course,

named after the Italian leader Mussellinguine

and served with a nice bottle of Chilean

Pinochet Grigio or as my Italian-speaking host

calls it ‘vino blanco’. But I’m afraid I can’t allow

him any points for that.

Vino Franco however….

Illustration by Joda (@joda_art)



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Amy Holtz

The truth is, I’m a Minnesotan

I don’t like football. I’m

sorry. I’ve tried, but it’s hard

to get on board with a game

that can end without anyone

winning. It’s too existential,

like war. Same goes for games

where you stop for lunch in

the middle.

Anyhow, despite this, I’m

somehow at the Amex, and

I’m trying to be a big girl

about it because my cousin,

brother and dad are also

here. They’re looking around

excitedly, a whole new world of sport swirling

in a sea of royal blue around them.

It turns out the Amex doesn’t want me here

either. This enema of fun begins with a fifteenminute

queuing exercise to get my ticket off my

phone, because, apparently, VAR isn’t the only

piece of tech that the footballing world loathes.

“I’ll need your full name, address,” says the

voice from behind the glass. I know these, so

I whizz through them, then watch for her to

place her hand, expectantly, near the printer.

“Date of birth, mother’s maiden name.”

“Are you serious?” It was only a matter of time,

me turning into Joffrey Baratheon.

She nods, an expression of pain crossing her

face as she surveys the line of bundled up men

shifting about behind me.

“Card number? Address the card is registered


I rest my head on the glass. “How ‘bout – here.

Just take my phone?” I pass it through the

window, take a deep breath, lean in again.

“Will you need fingerprints? Hair sample?”

89 years later and the official ticket is in my

clenched fist, despite my keen hope that there

would be a massive system

malfunction. Everyone else

waves us off as they’ve scored

better seats (girls apparently

have to sit in end zones) and

my cousin and I race-walk a

few miles around the stadium

to get to the gate listed on the

glossy paper.

“South West entrance. Hum.”

I look up at the door, which

reads South, then jog to the

next one which reads West.

“What devilry is this?” My

cousin shrugs. And we make, unbeknownst to

us, an unwise choice.

“It’s not scanning,” I whine, waving the

barcode frantically between the metal jaws of

the gate. The massive system failure appears

to be in operation, but then... “Ah, it worked!”

I stare at the upside-down ticket and frown.

The stewards are beckoning me through the

turnstile, so I barrel through and wait patiently

for my cousin, to the sound of cheering.

“Mine’s not scanning either,” she states,

offering a tentative smile at the gate attendants,

who’d moments earlier watched me bumbling

around. “Can you help?” she asks with the

genuine sweetness of a current Minnesotan.

A steward takes her ticket, peers at it. “No

good. You’ll have to go to the ticket office.”

“But she clearly has a ticket,” I say, “see, right

here – Brighton versus...Chel...sea? Whoever

they are. Can’t you just let her in?”

“Just let her in?” He repeats, incredulous. Like

the cattle fence now separating us is the 38th


“Look, man,” I whimper, head against the bars.

“I don’t even want to go to this game.”


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

the world of great indie mags is here in Brighton.

22 Trafalgar Street






Ben Bailey rounds up the local music scene


Fri 7th, Patterns, 7pm, £7

An overblown modesty accompanies the

release of Animal House’s debut album Premium

Mediocre. The Brighton five-piece, who

moved here a while back from Brisbane, claim

they make “easy to digest tunes that neither

offend nor break any boundaries”. It’s a statement

that’s essentially correct yet massively

under-sells the band’s songwriting and sense

of fun. Their singles Modern Romance and Legs

out for Summer may trade on familiar aspects

of noughties indie rock, but both songs fizz

with wry humour and catchy through lines. If

the band truly thinks this stuff is mediocre, it

makes you wonder what they’ll achieve when

they really try.


Fri 21st, Prince Albert, 8pm, £6

DITZ decided they needed to start a band after

seeing Lightning Bolt and METZ, which may

give you an idea of the intensity they’re likely

to bring to this hometown tour date. The band

combine noise rock and thrashy hardcore with a

submerged appreciation for tuneful indie, while

singer Cal manages to make a noncommittal

mumble sound as dismissive as any punk snarl.

Recent single Total 90, their first on Alcopop!

Records, tackles homophobia in sport with a

video that sees the band taking to the pitch of

Lewes FC’s Dripping Pan in rainbow shirts,

alongside members of Slaves and FUR. It’s not a

song you’ll be singing from the terraces, but it’s

tailor-made for the moshpit.


Thu 13th, Hope & Ruin, 8pm, £8/6

That the line-up of

ChopChop includes

novelists, film-makers

and inventors should be

enough to alert you to

the fact this is no ordinary band. Each member

of the experimental quintet is also a seasoned

musician, of course, as is evident from their

bold and eccentric fusion of post-punk, jazz

and electronica. The group is led by Xelís de

Toro, a Spanish performance artist and poet

who dances on both sides of the line between

the profound and comical. Their debut album

Everything Looks So Real was recorded at The

Rose Hill and released on the venue’s new

label. Acid Box are promoting the launch gig,

which features support from Map 71 and The

Emperors Of Ice Cream.



Sat 29th, Toy and Model

Museum, 7pm, £10

Whoever had the idea of putting

on gigs in a toy museum

was onto something. It’s an intriguing setting for

listening to live music, especially the kind that’s

always best up close. Naomi Bedford and Paul

Simmonds are BBC Radio Folk Award nominees

whose latest record – full of new versions of old

Appalachian folk songs – was a Guardian folk

album of the month last year. Naomi was a onetime

singer with Orbital; Paul was one of The

Men They Couldn’t Hang. Together they’re folk

revisionists with a take on traditional styles that

sounds both effortless and timeless. Their music

has a lived-in sense of nostalgia, which should

make it an apt soundtrack for the museum’s collection

of freaky dolls and vintage train sets.




Anna Meredith

Musical polyglot

There is a propulsive joy in Anna Meredith’s

music. Her debut album Varmints – a fever

dream of electronic rhythms, brass, vocals,

guitars and more – was a labour of love, created

between “some big classical pieces, and TV and

film work”.

After studying music at the University of York

and Royal College of Music, Anna has been

composer-in-residence with the BBC Scottish

Symphony Orchestra, and has written pieces for

several Proms concerts, including Five Telegrams,

performed on the first night in July 2018. The

electronic side of her work has seen her music

reach a new audience: “It felt like a big gamble,

so I felt really grateful that its success has enabled

me to build up that side of my musical life.”

Her show at The Old Market this month – part

of their Reigning Women season – will feature

music from both Varmints and recent album

Fibs. I recommend checking out her video for

Paramour on YouTube if you’d like a taste of what

to expect from the concert: the video sees Anna’s

band performing the frenetic composition – with

deftly layered melodies reminiscent of Battles

and Steve Reich – filmed by a camera which has

been mounted on a Lego train, whirling around

a track. The line-up for the show will consist of

“a drummer, guitarist, tuba player, cellist… and I

do electronics, play a bit of clarinet and hit some

drums as well.”

After finishing Fibs, Anna decided to buy herself

a Nintendo Switch. “I’m completely, alarmingly

obsessed and it’s all I think about all the time.

I’m playing Zelda and it’s brilliant.” Fans of old

arcade games might enjoy the pulsing arpeggios

of Anna’s music. “I do like the sort of chiptune

soundworld of older video games… lots of

energy and a slightly cheap 80s/90s synthy


Is she having more fun in the pop world? “I

don’t think the worlds are as black and white

as one being more fun than the other. It’s just

about finding the right audience, and I’ve been

really lucky that people have come with me. I

don’t think about genre much when I’m writing;

people who have come to my orchestral stuff

have then come to band gigs, and vice versa. I

feel really proud of that crossover. There’s a lot

of overlaps with the style of writing: it’s all the

same ingredients really.”

To round off an impressive decade, Anna was

awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours

list in 2019, with the medal ceremony taking

place soon after we speak, in January 2020. “It was

a total surprise, and a bit bonkers. It’s not one of

those things I ever had on my radar as something

to expect or consider. I’m really chuffed; I’ve got

to find a hat, and a two piece outfit… I’ve got to

do some serious shopping. It should be an experience,

the whole thing.” Joe Fuller

The Old Market, Feb 10th, 7.30pm

Photo by Ed Miles




La Dafne

‘A #metoo tale of its era’

“The closest natural human sound to opera singing,”

says internationally acclaimed stage director

Thomas Guthrie, down the phone from Barcelona’s

Barrio Gotico, “is actually a baby crying.”

Thomas is in the Catalan capital in order to direct

Verdi’s Aida, at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, which

is about as big as it gets, opera-wise.

But he’s talking to Viva about his subsequent

project, of a rather smaller nature: a performance

in February, by young musicians, at

Hove’s Old Market, of Marco da Gagliano’s little

known 1608 opera La Dafne.

“It’s great to work in a space like the Liceu,” he

says. “But my work is the same wherever I do

it. It’s important to make the work interesting

and fun – to bring it to life – however big the

stage, however much or little money you have

to spend.”

He likens his job to that of a film director: “the

conductor deals with the music you hear, I deal

with everything you see,” he says.

La Dafne is a Brighton Early Music Festival

performance, and Thomas is a big fan of that

institution. You might remember his staging of

Monteverdi’s Orfeo, reset in the 60s Brighton of

the Mods and Rockers, also at The Old Market,

which was received with five-star reviews.

He’s not worried that the obscure nature of the

latest work will limit the audience to baroque

opera aficionados, few, let’s face it, in number.

“Deborah [Roberts, BREMF founder and director]

has done enough brilliant work to build up an

audience who are going to trust her – and trust us

– to give them a good ride,” he says, hoping that

the familiar faces will be bolstered by audience

members looking for something a little different.

And La Dafne, one of the very first pieces of work

identifiable as ‘opera’, is certainly unusual. The

libretto is an adaptation of a tale from Ovid’s

Metamorphoses, itself a retelling of an old Greek

myth. The ‘Dafne’ of the title, a young nymph,

attempts to escape the lecherous clutches of the

all-powerful god Apollo, eventually maintaining

her chastity by turning into a tree. “Being a myth

it’s the sort of story we can all relate to,” he says.

“You could say that it’s a #metoo tale of its era.”

It’s not the sort of opera you’d search out on

Spotify for a bit of background music, he admits.

“But in my opinion opera is both a visual and an

oral medium – it’s not either, it’s both, and when

they come together to tell a story, the whole thing

comes to life, which is a unique thing.”

And as for the baby-wailing analogy: “It’s something

we all have hard-wired into us. Babies don’t

cry all the time, it’s usually life or death. If they

don’t get attention, they don’t survive. And opera

is usually very much about human need. Combine

that sort of sound with a great story, and that’s

why the medium is enduringly popular.”

Alex Leith

The Old Market, Feb 8th, 3pm and 9th, 7.30pm

Photo of Thomas Guthrie by Theresa Pewal




Transatlantic Sessions

International folk jam-fest

From a fabric woven

tightly with nostalgia

and joyful, porch-swing

harmonies comes the

Transatlantic Sessions –

a ritual jam-fest uniting

some of the best folk

musicians from both

sides of the pond.

This year’s tour marries the evergreen house

band with fresh voices like mandolin player Sierra

Hull and Cahalen Morrison from the US and

Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel – promising

a soundscape set to rattle Brighton Dome

this month. Phil Cunningham – a Sessioner

since their inception in 1994 – can’t wait to make

the tour’s first visit to Brighton. “It’s a highlight

of our year! The original concept for the TV

series brought together musicians from Scotland

and America to explore the age-old connection

between music moving from here to there. A

bunch of us would lock ourselves in an Ayrshire

hotel and trade songs for two weeks. Then Celtic

Connections Festival wanted a live version, so we

formed a band that could work with new musicians

from Scotland, Ireland, America.”

The live show – host to previous starry guests

like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Patty Griffin

– includes around 20 performers, fashioning

new sounds from a rich and bottomless canon.

Phil likens it to a cake with great ingredients

– accordions, fiddles, whistles, guitars – and a

jubilee of voices.

“The Sessions are never the same twice. We’ve

only got two days to meet and work everything

out before we’re onstage! But that’s the joy –

everyone is so able. Aly Bain, who started the Sessions,

says that everyone

leaves their ego on the

peg with their coat. In

rehearsals, someone will

be writing a hook in a

corner, changing the

chords in another. It’s

an organic process.”

It’s a feverishly quick

turnaround to absorb over 20 tunes; a feat, even

for these most accomplished of artists. But the

method, Phil fondly states, makes for a special

kind of madness: “You get some real seat-ofthe-pants

moments; genius and uplifting. The

audience loves to see that little edge. Sometimes

it goes off the rails and it’s like watching a stunt

driver. There’s usually a wry look and giggle

winging across the stage, but we’ll always regain

control. You’re allowed to be spontaneous, to let

things fly. It’s organised chaos, but very beautiful.”

It’s what makes the show such a sought-after

experience. Its popularity a sign, perhaps, of a folk

renaissance. “At school in the early 70s, I was the

only one playing traditional music. Nowadays,

kids are hiding behind the bicycle sheds for a

cigarette – and a few tunes. In Scotland, we have

incredible young performers on pipes, harps

and fiddles. The music is enjoying a new life and

people are nurturing it. Preserving it but moving

it forward in a respectful way.”

It’s a way of life that Phil hopes will be on offer

for children for many years to come. “It’s so

important for kids to have the chance to learn

music in school; it opens the door to so many

cultural experiences, expands the mind. It’s truly

life-affirming.” Amy Holtz

Brighton Dome, 8th Feb, 7.30pm



‘ Heartbreaking, spectacular,

soaring. A monster hit’




Based on the novel by Patrick Ness

Inspired by an idea by Siobhan Dowd


‘ Extraordinarily moving’




6 – 15 February

cft.org.uk 01243 781312






Women in Entertainment

A history of formidable female performances

Long before Beyoncé made

headlines as the highestpaid

woman in pop, Italian

opera singer Adelina Patti

was breaking through the

glass ceiling of Nineteenth

Century Europe. Tickets

to a concert she gave at

Brighton Dome in 1901

– recently discovered

beneath the floorboards of a local home – were

sold for 15 shillings each, which was around two

days wages for a tradesman. What’s more, says

the Dome’s Senior Programming Coordinator

Alex Epps, Patti demanded that venues paid her

takings in gold. “She was quite a badass!” laughs

Epps, who bought the tickets at auction for the

Dome’s archives. “She travelled on her own

private train, wore the most expensive costume

ever made for an opera and apparently she had

a pet parrot that she had trained to shout ‘Cash!

Cash!’ at male promoters.”

Patti is one of a host of formidable women

from Brighton’s past who feature in a talk being

given this month by historian Louise Peskett,

known for the Notorious Women of Brighton and

Notorious Women of Kemp Town walking tours.

While Patti ruled the stage, figures such as

Ellen Nye Chart, manager of the Theatre Royal

from 1876, were breaking with convention behind

the scenes. Nye Chart surprised everyone

by taking over the management of the theatre

when her husband Henry died – “A female manageress

would have been incredibly unusual at

the time,” says Epps. She introduced an annual

pantomime – inviting residents of the town’s

workhouse to see it for free – and brought popular

performers including

Sarah Bernhardt and Henry

Irving to the city. By

the 1880s Nye Chart had

paid off the mortgage on

the theatre and their house

next door and turned the

business into a profitable

and respected regional


Louise will also talk about Victorian male

impersonator and music hall star Vesta Tilley

– whose time in the city is remembered with a

blue plaque at her former home in St Aubyns

Mansions, Hove; conjoined twins Daisy and

Violet Hilton, who were born in Riley Road,

Brighton in 1908 and went on to tour England

and the United States and appear in the film

Freaks; and sisters Elsie and Doris Waters who

were considered the most successful female

comedians of the late 1940s.

“Brighton seems to have long held an attraction

for performers,” says Epps, who is working

with a team of volunteers to create an archive

documenting the Dome’s part in Brighton’s

entertainment history. “But Louise is particularly

interested in the stories of the women who

performed and even made their names here,

from figures like Patti up to the gospel and

blues musician Rosetta Tharpe, who was dubbed

‘the woman who gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll’ and

performed at the Dome with Muddy Waters in

1964. It’s an extraordinary history for a fairly

small city.”

Nione Meakin

Women In Entertainment talk at Brighton Dome

(Founders Room), 7th Feb, 1pm





Beatboxing for babes

Shlomo is a beatboxing legend who’s worked

with Jarvis Cocker, Ed Sheeran and Björk. After

too much touring he decided to do a kids’ show

to spend more time with his own. This month

he’s at the Komedia teaching children how to

make even more noise than usual.

It’s called Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for

Kids and it’s a really fun and uplifting show.

There’s a loose narrative about becoming

superstar beatboxers, and on that journey we

travel through time and witness the birth of hip

hop culture. It culminates in a mock street battle

and kids come up on stage and either battle

each other or their parents – and the crowd gets

to choose the champion.

I started making the show after I’d become

a parent. I’d been on tour for a long time and I

suddenly wanted to be home, especially at bath

time. So I thought maybe I can make a show

where I can go out in the day and be back in

time to see the little ones. I’ve been teaching

people how to use their voice for years, so it’s

really just a more theatrical and polished

version of all these stories

and exercises

and games I’d

already refined.

And it seems to

have become an endless

source of joy... people can’t seem

to get enough of it. Every tour we’ve

booked has sold out. So we’ve booked

bigger tours and bigger venues, and they’ve

sold out too.

It’s about believing in yourself

and finding your voice.

I think that’s really important, especially for

young people. We’re surrounded by feelings

of judgement and comparison, and I’ve really

struggled with this myself. It’s hard to find your

identity and to feel strong enough to stand up

and be yourself. That’s the real dream of this

show, even if it’s just on a tiny level.

Last time I was in Brighton I had a girl come

up on stage who was just bubbling with

excitement, but when I showed her what to do

she just looked at me blankly. I couldn’t understand

why. I did the sound again, and she just

stared. The third time I happened to take the

mic away from my face, and she did the whole

pattern back to me, note perfect. And I realised

she couldn’t hear anything. She was lip-reading!

As soon as she could see my lips, she smashed

it and the crowd went crazy. After the show her

mum came up to me and couldn’t believe what

had happened. It was so moving to see that.

It’s also real fun for the grown-ups, because

they’re often dragged to kids’ shows, but I know

there are so many parents now who grew

up listening to bass-heavy music like

hip hop, house and drum ’n’ bass.

So it’s nice to see them bringing

the kids down to

educate them about

these things that we

all grew up with. Half

the time the parents are

like “come on kids, I don’t

get to go out anymore!”

As told to Ben Bailey

Komedia, Fri 21st Feb,

12.30pm, £10/8

Photo by Nathan Gallagher




Clockwise from top left: Ralph, Self Portrait, Collage, Changes




Ruby Dine

Frank poetry

Ruby Dine has a hunger for learning new words,

which has led to the 21 year old exhibiting a

collection of her poetry – alongside collages and

paintings – at Jubilee library this month. I meet

Ruby and her creative partner, Rachel Norwood,

in Rachel’s Brighton home, where I peruse a

hardback book titled Volume One, Poems by Ruby

Dine. Ruby’s poems often centre around emotional

responses to her life: Family, for example, explores

how she loves the people in her household,

‘my tribe’. ‘Jenny is the leader of my family / She

has the Frida Kahlo power’.

Ruby had initially spent her time with Rachel

studying Spanish, but changed paths because she

“loves poetry, and loves hearing words”. Rachel

explains how she assists Ruby with her writing:

“One day for example, Ruby was writing a poem

about how hot she was. We looked up a big list

of synonyms on the iPad, and she chose which

ones she liked.”

Ruby is a prolific writer, but many of her poems

might never be released to the public. She explains

that this is because “some of my poems are

really personal” and that she sometimes doesn’t

“talk about personal feelings much” in public.

Ruby is keen to share some of her thoughts on

music, and gardens, however. Music explores Ruby’s

reaction to Erik Satie (which makes her ‘feel

sad and blue’) and Motorhead (‘head splitting!’

and ‘thunderous!’). One of Ruby’s favourite ever

lines is in Sussex Prairie Gardens: ‘I heard the

sprinkler / It sounded like beat boxing’.

Ralph, a poem about Ruby’s rescue dog (pictured

with Ruby), is filled with evocative descriptions:

‘Ralph is pencil thin / Hollow cheeked / Like

a match stick’. When real words and synonyms

don’t suffice, Ruby is happy to make up words,

exclaiming that Ralph is ‘puckeracious!’. I like

how frank and full-hearted Ruby’s poetry is: one

of my favourite stanzas is ‘I… %*$!!! hate advice

/ I don’t really know why / I think maybe I’m

allergic’. Why don’t you like advice, I ask? “It’s

just not my thing.”

Ruby has Downs Syndrome, and finds that her

poetry can be useful in “helping my family and

friends listen to what I’m saying”. During the interview,

Ruby singles out her poem Furious, which

ends with a passionate refusal to be defined by the

condition. ‘I don’t want to be Downs Syndrome

/ That’s not who I am // I am a singer / I am a

dancer / I am a poet / I am a mermaid / I am a

really good friend / I am an auntie // I am a divine

woman’. Joe Fuller

Jubilee library, 3rd to 15th Feb

poetrybyruby.com, rachellounorwood@gmail.com

Ruby with her rescue dog, Ralph


Alan Davie, ‘Seascape Erotic’, 1955

Early Works

When Hockney met Davie

In March 1958, fresh out

of Bradford Art School, the

young David Hockney visited

an exhibition of the work of

an abstract expressionist, of

sorts, the 39-year-old Scot,

Alan Davie.

“The experience was to have a

profound influence on Hockney’s

early artistic style,” says

Sara Cooper, sipping a coffee

in the Towner Cafe. Cooper is

the Head of Collections and

Exhibitions at the Eastbourne

gallery, and is telling me about

their big winter/spring exhibition,

Alan Davie & David

Hockney, Early Works.

“Hockney, who was shortly to

start his course at the Royal

College of Art, in London,

was liberated by what he saw,”

she continues. “Here was a

way to work that wasn’t tightly

crammed into some pigeonhole.

It allowed him to be a lot

freer with his painting.”

The exhibition was Davie’s

first retrospective, and a lot of

the pieces that were on show

in 1958 will be displayed at

the Towner. As will Hockney’s

responses to Davie’s paintings,

when he was experimenting

with abstraction, before

turning to the more figurative

style that came to define his


There are parallels between

the two artists that the

exhibition teases out, says

Sara. “Both are producing

works of semi-abstraction, in

a similar palette. Both men

were influenced by other art

forms: Davie, who was also a

musician, by jazz, and Hockney

by poetry. They were both




David Hockney, ‘Self Portrait’, 1954 © David Hockney

Photo: Richard Schmidt. Collection Bradford Museums & Galleries, Bradford, UK

David Hockney, ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging’, 1961 © David Hockney

Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates. Collection Arts Council, Southbank Centre

influenced by the poet Walt


Neither artist, as I glean from

a quick viewing of some of

the images that will be on

show, were afraid to make

frequent sexual references

in their work. And both are

fond of inserting figures and

letters into their paintings. In

Hockney’s case, numbers were

an obscure code for letters of

the alphabet: thus in the 1961

painting We Two Boys Together

Clinging, the figure ‘4.2’, I

learn, represents the letters

‘C’ and ‘R’, standing for Cliff

Richard, who Hockney had a

crush on at the time.

The exhibition was shown at

the Hepworth Wakefield over

the winter (2020 marking the

100th anniversary of Davie’s

birth); the Towner have a

Davie painting in their permanent

collection, and lent it to

the Yorkshire gallery. When

the chance of hosting the

exhibition arose, they jumped

at it, “to give the Towner

audience the chance to see the

early work of these two major

figures of post-war British

painting.” Hockney, I imagine,

will be a particular draw.

The surviving artist, I’m told,

(Davie died in 2014) was consulted

in the curating process

of the original exhibition at

the Hepworth, but didn’t go

and see it there. So is Britain’s

most famous living artist likely

to turn up at the Towner?

“Would he swap sunny California

for rainy Eastbourne in

February?”, smiles Sara. “Still,

he has been known to pitch up

unannounced at exhibitions of

his work, so you never know.”

Alex Leith

Towner Eastbourne, 15th

Feb–31st May, tickets £5-£11,

free to members.


Alan Davie, ‘Crazy Gondolier’, 1960





In town this month

Image courtesy of Design Council Archive, University of

Brighton Design Archives

Queer the Pier opens at Brighton Museum

& Art Gallery on the 22nd of February. Researched

and curated by residents of Brighton

& Hove, the exhibition explores the experiences

of LGBTQ+ people in Sussex over the last

200 years through an expansive collection of

personal accounts, letters, photographs and

various ephemera. Items belonging to notable

Brightonians – including Aubrey Beardsley’s

original cover illustration for volume IV of The

Yellow Book – will be on display as well as newly

commissioned photographic portraits of members

of Brighton QTIPOC (queer, trans, intersex

people of colour) community. Also opening

at Brighton Museum this month is 100 First

Women Portraits by acclaimed photographer Anita

Corbin. In this series she set out to answer

the question; ‘how will women be remembered

over the past 100 years?’ The resulting portraits

capture 100 women who have made their mark

in the fields of Sport, Science, Politics, the Arts

and Education. Continues until the 7th of June.

Untitled, circa 1994 – an exhibition of work by

Giles Round – is at Brighton CCA until the

7th of March. Working in partnership with the

Printmaking Department at the University of

Brighton, the exhibition features imagery and

research from the university’s Design Archives,

alongside new work by the multi-disciplinary

artist, designer and maker. (brightoncca.art)

On the 6th of

February (6.30-

8pm), Fabrica host

Site & Meaning

– a photography

networking event.

Working in partnership

with Brighton Photo Fringe and

Spectrum Photographic, the event will bring

together the best of the region’s photography

industry. Discover new work, connect with

industry professionals and peers, and browse

photobooks and zines at the PhotoBookShow

pop-up during this relaxed evening of discussion

and music. (fabrica.org.uk)

Photo by Julien Bonnin

Last call to register your venue for the May edition of Artists

Open Houses. Registration for this year’s festival closes on 3rd

February. If you’re an artist looking to join a house, sign up at

artists-seeking-houses.aoh.org.uk so that host venues can see your

work. (aoh.org.uk)



British Painting and


We look forward to welcoming

you to our gallery in Hove.

Flexible and affordable drawing,

painting and printmaking classes all

year round, open to all abilities.

For details of our drop-in life drawing

programme and painting & printmaking

workshops visit draw-brighton.co.uk

or follow us: @Draw_Brighton

Please visit our website for

further details.


TOWNER Eastbourne

Alan Davie


David Hockney

Early Works

15 February to 31 May 2020

CCA_VivaLewes_Advert_66x94_June2018_v1.indd 1 17/06/2018 09:08

Devonshire Park, BN21 4JJ




Towner Members can enjoy unlimited

free access to this ticketed show.

Join for as little as £35 per year.

David Hockney, Arizona, 1964, acrylic on canvas, 60 60 ins

© David Hockney, photo: Fabrice Gibert




Out of town

On the 1st of February, Shani Rhys James: tea on the sofa, blood

on the carpet opens in the Wolfson Gallery at Charleston. In

this major exhibition of portraits, interiors and still lifes, the

celebrated Welsh artist explores the transience of being. Early

paintings stage the drama of the mother/daughter relationship,

while her recent work confronts the fragility of domestic life,

ageing and the curious infantilisation we face during old age.

(Until 19th April.)

‘Yellow Wallpaper II’ (2012) courtesy of the artist and

Connaught Brown

‘Interference’ by Susan Lynch

The Art of


continues at

Chalk Gallery

in Lewes until

February 23rd,

offering a 20%

discount on

all work in the gallery for this limited

period. From the 24th, the first featured

artist exhibition of the New Year is Lewes

resident Rue Asher. With a background in

hypno- and psychotherapy, Rue’s abstract

and mixed-media paintings explore the

‘psychological landscape’. Continues until

the 15th of March. (chalkgallerylewes.

co.uk) Also in Lewes this month, follow

the trail of illuminated installations in

LewesLight (28th Feb–1st Mar). Inspired

by environmental stories, this year’s

contributing artists explore themes from the

beauty of moonlight, to the menace of the

growing climate emergency. Free and open

to all. (leweslight.uk)

Five exhibitions run concurrently at Hastings

Contemporary this month. Earthly Delites is

the first major UK exhibition by the Irish artist

Anne Ryan, who also curates The Studio at 4

a.m. – a showcase of work by eight emerging

contemporary artists. The Age of Turmoil: Burra,

Spencer, Sutherland features rarely seen works

by the three seminal modern British artists, and

Quentin Blake: Airborne shows a collection of

whimsical flying machines created especially for

the space by the

gallery’s artist

patron. Finally,

Drawing Life

features artwork

produced during

life drawing sessions

with local

artists, carers and

people living with

dementia, as part

of the gallery’s

ongoing Wellbeing


‘Welsh Landscape With Yellow Lane’ (1939-40) by Graham

Sutherland. Photograph Estate of Graham Sutherland

Janet Sutherland

From the 27th of February until the 1st of March, the Crypt Gallery in Seaford

is home to Litfest 2020: a celebration of words and music by a lineup of

largely local authors, poets, storytellers and musicians. There are twelve events

to choose from over the three-day festival, including Umi Sinha, Janet Sutherland,

Nicholas Royle, Alex Josephy, Wendy Atkinson, Peter Martin and Susan

Evans. Tickets are available from eventbrite.co.uk and cost £5 for individual

events, or £40 for a three-day pass. (thecryptgallery.com)


Seen me,

Seen you?

Make sure you are visible

to other road users.

Share the Roads

Share the Responsibility

f Share the Roads, Brighton & Hove

30.01 I The Prince Albert


05.02 I Komedia

Isobel Campbell

07.02 | Rose Hill

Grimm Grimm

10.02 | The Old Market

Anna Meredith

20.02 | The Hope and Ruin


26.02 | Komedia

Benjamin Francis


01.03 | Folkestone Quarterhouse

Damien Jurado

05.03 I St. George’s Church

A Winged Victory

For The Sullen

29.03 | The Hope & Ruin

Pictish Trail

04.04 | Westgate Chapel, Lewes

Alex Rex

02.05 I St Luke’s Church

The Handsome


02.05 | St George’s Church

Ezra Furman

04.05 | Folkestone Quarterhouse


08.05 | Folkestone Quarterhouse

Richard Dawson


13.02 | DHP Presents

Sam Lee

27.03 | atom promotions presents

10cc’s Graham Gouldman

& Heart Full of Songs

09.05 | Live Nation presents

Ward Thomas

Tickets for shows are available from your local record shop,

seetickets.com or the venue where possible.




Global Game Jam

Jammin’ all over the world

Rome may not have been built in a day but,

during Global Game Jam, more than 9,000 games

are created from scratch over one weekend.

A worldwide event, Global Game Jam takes place

at the same time in 789 locations, with everyone

“jamming” together at the same time. On the first

evening, the Jam’s annual theme is broadcast to

each site via video briefing. Jammers then have 48

hours to work in teams (or on their own) to build

games. “The way different people interpret the

theme is always really exciting,” says Becky Leigh,

co-organiser of Brighton Global Game Jam. “Last

year, it was ‘home’ related – my favourite game

was a VR game about being inside a snail shell!”

At the end of the 48-hour stint, all creations are

uploaded on to the Global Game Jam’s website,

to be played and admired. Though some games

may go on to be further developed, Global Game

Jam is much more about the process than the end

result. No game dev skills are required, and it’s

not a competition. It’s about bringing your laptop

along to explore the possibilities of gaming, to

see where your imagination takes you, and watch

your vision come to life.

At Brighton Global Game Jam – hosted at The

Skiff – around 80 people take part each year. It’s

currently the largest Game Jam in the UK, and

known for its social, friendly vibe. “One of the

things you see a lot in gaming at the moment is

kind of ‘crunch culture’” says Leigh. “Jams can

sometimes lean a little towards that, and we take

a lot of pride in Brighton in telling people to go

home, take breaks, step away from your desk,

because my co-organisers and I feel very strongly

against that kind of culture.”

She adds: “What’s really nice about that collaborative

atmosphere is we get to feel part of

something bigger,” says Leigh. “Global Game

Jam streams from different sites around the world

and it kind of rotates around different places so

we can see people jamming around the world


Those who’ve never typed a line of code needn’t

worry – there are plenty of ways to take part if

you’re a novice. “A lot of people think making

games is coding or 3D modelling, but it doesn’t

have to be as complicated as that,” says Leigh.

“Anyone can open up Paint on their laptop and

draw. It might not be great, but you’ve only got

48 hours, right? We also really encourage people

to try Twine and Bitsy where you don’t have to

have any programming knowledge. It’s also about

‘how are we going to divide up this labour? What

do our end goals look like? How are we going

to progress the team?’ So we do get a variety of

more project management and writing roles as

well.” Participants may end up surprising themselves

with what’s possible – or discover they have

a hidden talent for voice acting. Rose Dykins



Anita Corbin

100 First Women


Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

15 February - 7 June 2020

Royal Pavilion Garden, Brighton BN1 1EE

Open Tuesday-Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday 10am-5pm

Free with Brighton Museum admission, members & residents free


Celebrating Britain’s

Modern Female Pioneers


This month Adam Bronkhorst met some gamers at Brighton’s Dice Saloon.

He asked them; ‘If you could play a game with anyone (living or not),

who would it be and why?

adambronkhorst.com | 07879 401333

Andrew Eaton, playing Dark Souls

‘I would love to a play a game with Hideo Kojima (creator of video game series

Metal Gear) as I would love to see his weird and wonderful mind make the game

more complicated and somehow make sense at the same time.’


MJ Parnwell, playing Camel Up

‘I think it would be to play Dixit with Charlotte Brontë, because Jane Eyre was one of my

favourite books to study, and her use of symbolism and imagery is fascinating.’


Ben Gapper, playing Dungeons and Dragons

‘If I could play a game with anyone, it would be JRR Tolkien as I would love to

hear what kind of adventures he would create in Dungeons and Dragons.’


George Clare, playing Pandemic

‘I would play Risk against Takeda Shingen. As a feudal Japanese military genius it

would be very interesting to see how he would play to conquer the world against me.’


Hannah Chipperfield, playing Photosynthesis

‘I would love to play a game with Leonardo da Vinci. If anyone can think

of a clever or creative way to play, it would be him!’


“Change career with CNM”

Do something life-changing…

Change career. Gain new skills. Help others.

Train with the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Testimonials from graduates:

Why I trained in Acupuncture

Attila Szanto

Naturopathic Acupuncture graduate

I trained as a social scientist with a

PhD before discovering my interest in

Acupuncture and Naturopathy. Having

received many Acupuncture treatments

and found great benefit, I naturally developed an interest in

exploring this healing art. I realised I’d like to do something

else for a living than academic work – something that

involved my heart and that people could benefit from in a

tangible way.

CNM opened the door to my passion

Romina Melwani

Nutritional Therapy graduate

Tired of running the rat race as a Business

Development Manager in Finance, I had an

awakening when I attended a talk on the

impact of food on the body and mind during

a business trip. CNM opened the door to my passion and

gave me the confidence to make a difference to people’s

lives by guiding their lifestyle and health choices.

CNM has a 22-year track record training successful

natural therapy practitioners, in class and online. Surveys

show that over 80% of graduates are practising.

Visit naturopathy-uk.com or call 01342 410 505



640 East

Brilliant brunch

Recently opened in Upper Gardner Street,

640 East are making the most of their roomy,

refurbished premises. Having started out

offering ‘coffee by day and beers by night’ from

two converted shipping containers in Canary

Wharf, they’ve since grown into a second venue

in Bethnal Green, a third in Bristol and are now

offering an all-day food menu at their latest spot

in North Laine.

Formerly home to Silo, the one-time warehouse

has kept all its post-industrial cool, but, with

the rough edges smoothed out and the surfaces

softened, it has a more polished feel. The open

kitchen now runs along the back wall with an

impressive wood-fuelled firepit at its centre.

From here brunch and breakfast is served by

day, with cocktails and seasonally inspired small

plates dished up in the evenings, with weekend

DJ sets, guest chef pop-ups and special events to

highlight up and coming culinary talent.

I first popped in one Monday night in December,

for a glass of wine and a couple of (very

tasty) small plates, and have been keen to come

back for brunch.

An extensive menu of teas and coffees is posted

in the entrance lobby, from where you can pick

up drinks and pastries to go, and we start with

some fragrant Earl Grey while we contemplate

the breakfast and brunch options. There’s something

to interest everyone, like crispy pork belly

served with pak choi and salted cucumber, or a

slap up 640 breakfast with the works for meat

lovers, and smashed pumpkin on sourdough, and

apple and ginger porridge with almond milk for

the plant-based brigade.

We choose from the ‘bowls by day’ list: A

burrata bowl for Frances and a Buddha bowl

Photo by Lizzie Lower

for me (both £9). The artisanal bowls have been

made-to-measure at nearby Potter’s Thumb

and come full of intriguing tastes and textures.

A ball of creamy, fresh burrata sits on top of a

bed of braised green lentils, with roasted beets

and green beans, all smothered in romesco

sauce. The smoky tomato sauce, mild cheese

and earthy root vegetables making for a winning

winter’s brunch. The Buddha bowl sounds a little

worthy at first glance – roasted sprouts, kale,

roasted carrots, spinach, smashed pumpkin and

grains – but the flavour is superb. The sprouts

are crunchy with singed and nutty edges. Soft

roasted wedges of sweet pumpkin and golden

carrot contrast with fresh, crunchy leaves, and

sprouted black quinoa, all dressed with pumpkin

seed pesto, a dash of sesame oil and topped

with strips of crispy fried cavolo nero. It’s a

mouth-watering combination and sufficiently

virtuous to warrant dessert. We share a generous

slice of lemon tart (£3) and sip top-notch flat

whites as we watch the comings and goings of

the Saturday market outside. It’s the perfect spot

for a very Brighton brunch.

Lizzie Lower

39 Upper Gardner Street. 640east.co.uk




Photo by Rowena Easton




Trout in lemon and thyme oatmeal

Nutritious Fish founder David Copeland and immunologist

Dr Jenna Macciochi team up on a healthy fish dish.

David: Nutritious Fish is a new service for

Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas, designed

to encourage people to eat meals based

around healthy, seasonal fresh fish, brought

direct to your door (we deliver every Friday and


We can bring you whole fish or fully prepped

fish fillets, and we specialise in offering delicious,

well balanced recipes around them, which you

can consult online.

All the fish we source is UK-caught and very

fresh. In this recipe I’ve used ChalkStream®

rainbow trout from the Test and Itchen Rivers

in Hampshire. ChalkStream® are recognised

for producing to the highest standards of

welfare, food safety and environmental and

ecological care.

This winter, we’ve teamed up with immunologist

and writer Dr Jenna Macciochi, of the University

of Sussex, who has curated a series of healthy

balanced meals designed to give your system a

welcome boost. Here’s just one of them.

Jenna: Trout is affordable, tasty, and very good

for you, rich in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty

acids which help boost your immune system by

quenching inflammation. Oats have anti-inflammatory

properties too, and are a rich source

of fibre. The pomegranate seeds contain many

antioxidants and the leeks are another great

source of fibre – great for your gut health. This

is a very healthy meal which will help keep the

winter bugs at bay. And it’s surprisingly easy to

make: this recipe serves two.

Beat one free-range, organic egg with a fork.

Dry off two large fillets of trout and dip them

in the egg. Mix half a cup of oatmeal with a

finely chopped sprig of fresh thyme and the zest

of a lemon. If your oatmeal is of the chunky

variety give it a quick blitz in a blender or NutriBullet,

so it clings to the fish better. Dip the

fish into the mix, pressing down so the fillets

are thoroughly coated. Wrap, and leave in the

fridge for 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting, boil eight or ten baby

potatoes – scrubbed but with their skins still on

– until they’re soft, then drizzle with extra virgin

olive oil and keep warm in the oven.

Pan-fry the oatmeal-coated fillets in 1 tbsp of

extra-virgin olive oil for three to five minutes

each side, until the oatmeal is golden brown, and

the fish is cooked through. Keep this warm in

the oven, too.

In the same oil, adding a little more if necessary,

gently fry two trimmed, chopped leeks until

they are softened. Sprinkle with the seeds of

a pomegranate. Serve with the potatoes and

fillets, garnished with olive oil, a light sprinkle of

thyme, and lemon zest.

You could also make this recipe with salmon,

which has very similar properties as trout.

If you’re not a fan of oily fish, the herby

lemon-oatmeal crust also works well with flaky

white fish, such as hake, or haddock, or flat white

fish such as plaice or sole. Enjoy!

As told to Alex Leith





all new £10 weekday lunch menu from The Coal Shed, with fish, meat, and vegan options


See the full menu: www.coalshed-restaurant.co.uk | 8 Boyce's Street, Brighton BN1 1AN | 01273 322 998

Join us at Polpo Brighton for 10% off

your meal and a complimentary bellini!

Offer runs until March 31st.

20 New Rd, Brighton BN1 1UF

www.polpo.co.uk | @polpo_restaurants



Social Board

Luxury sandwiches

Social Board turn

the sandwich into a

glorious main meal

of the day. Although

one could dip in

for a quick, smaller

sandwich at lunch, I

recommend treating

a visit as a longer

social occasion and

going large.

I opt for the Italian Job (£7.99 large, £5.50

small). It’s an extravaganza of complementary

flavours: basil pesto mayo chicken and sundried

tomatoes in tasty harmony with fresh rocket,

parmesan cheese and pine nuts. There’s a generous

amount of chicken, but the sandwich isn’t

unmanageable in an overflowing-burger sort

of way, and the bread is crunchy and toasted,

tasting freshly baked.

Nammie chooses the B Right On sandwich:

another bonanza featuring Szechuan pepper

tempeh with bok choy, pickled ginger, soy, oyster

mushrooms and gochujang sauce (£7.99 large,

£5.50 small). She loves the Asian flavours, and

appreciates having a vegan sandwich option that

doesn’t rely on hummus or avocado.

We underestimated the size of our sandwiches,

but soldier on with our sides nevertheless.

The Arancini (£3.50) has lightly spiced, fluffy

rice: Nammie relishes the “autumnal, warming

flavours”. The sweet potato fries meanwhile are

piping hot, salty, and come with a nice chipotle

mayo (£3.50).

We leave feeling merrily sated, filled with delicious,

healthier comfort food. Thank you Social

Board, for giving the humble sandwich the care

and attention it deserves. Joe Fuller

21 St James’s St, socialboardbrighton.com

Photo by Nammie Matthews

A-news bouche

Pier Nine – which replaces Grosvenor

Casino on East Street – opens this month,

with a launch party from 1pm on the 1st.

Restaurants and bars are open 24 hours a

day, offering hefty Absurd Bird burgers,

baked salmon, Chinese dumplings, buns

and baos, while the View Bar offers a

sea view, craft beer,

local wine, G&Ts,

cold platters

and charcuterie


Photo by Sid Ali

On Valentine’s Day, the Hilton are putting

on a four course dinner with cocktail

pairing and entertainment, the i360 offer

three courses in the pod, with wine, coffee

and candlelight, and the Community

Kitchen host Charita Jones, aka Momma

Cherri, and her daughter Kat

for a tour of American

soul food, including rum

prawns, chicken breast

with jerk seasoning, and

Hasselback potatoes.

Swedish oat drink maker, Oatly, are bringing

a Zero Waste Latte Art Throwdown to

640 East restaurant: every coffee poured

will be turned into a cocktail on the 21st at

7pm. If you are interested in developing a

career in nutrition (or many other fields),

go along to the College of

Naturopathic Medicine’s

open evening.

12th, 6.30pm-8.30pm,

Brighton Aldridge

Community Academy.


"Never doubt that a small group of

thoughtful, committed citizens can

change the world; indeed, it's the only

thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead

Own it:




Gamely Games

Playing their cards right

Setting up her own games company was a

gamble that paid off for former journalist Hazel

Reynolds. Gamely Games, which began in 2015

with £4,500 of Kickstarter cash under its belt,

has just sold its 100,000th game and was named

Amazon Small Business of the Year for 2019.

Their refreshing business model is based around

doing the right thing “and making people

smile”, says Hazel, whether that’s with their

hilarious range of family-friendly card games

or supporting a raft of local charities. Over two

days in October, all profits from the sale of new

game Frozen Unicorns were donated to The

Carers Centre in Bedford Place, totalling more

than £1,200.

A former trustee for the Samaritans, Hazel has

always been community-minded and, she says,

it is amazing to be able to give 10% of profits to

local charities including Chomp Brighton, and

Justlife. As a birthday treat, team members get

an extra £100 to donate to their chosen cause.

“Our aim is to have the happiest employees in

the world,” says Hazel of the company’s trade

secrets. “It’s so important to us to create an

environment where they feel supported and able

to do good in the wider world.”

Gamely hit the £1m turnover mark in December

but, for Hazel, the main benefit of their

success is knowing that their games – which

include Soundiculous, Jibbergiggle and The Pretender

– are out there getting people together.

“That figure means about half a million people

have enjoyed our games, and that feels amazing,”

she says.

Hazel was inspired to start making games for

a living after creating Randomise (a card game

where players draw, act or describe their way

to victory) in 2014, with the aim of getting her

much younger sister off her iPad. The team

now includes her husband Chris, as well as Dave

Perrins and Tina Harrington.

“The way we run our company is that we focus

on what is fun and what is good. That has led

to profits, but it isn’t driven by profits. We don’t

have to choose between being a good company

and being a profitable company,” she explains

when asked about turning down investment from

Jenny Campbell on Dragons’ Den two years ago.

“That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning:

thinking about how we can do more good stuff,

and because we haven’t taken investment, we

have got the freedom to do that.”

This year will see them considering a different

direction with a new game based on conversation

starters to “get people to open up and tell

their stories, using everything we have learned

from making games to help people to have

meaningful conversations”. They’ll also be

focusing on getting games to children who most

need them.

“We’re all putting good stuff out into the

world,” says Hazel, “and it seems to be going

really well.” Ellie Evans





Pavilion Perplex by Pier Pressure

Escape Rooms

The game is to get out

Like a hybrid of 90s video adventure games and

TV shows such as The Crystal Maze, escape room

games typically involve a small team of people

faced with a series of puzzles and challenges, all

wrapped up in a kitschy narrative, often with

costumed actors egging them on. The phenomenon

has gone global since it began in Japan in

2007, and there are now a dozen such games in

Brighton, all run by small start-up companies.

Bewilder Box, who have two sci-fi themed rooms

(above the Hobgoblin and the Brunswick), started

with a crowdfunder by two friends. “We played a

couple of escape rooms in Budapest on my stag

do,” recalls director David Middleton. “And I

thought, this is great – but I can do it better.”

“A really good game should have lots of different

types of puzzles that will appeal to different

people. We had a 70th birthday the other day and

it was them, their kids and their grandkids. It’s an

activity they can all do together and contribute to

– this person spotted the puzzle piece, someone

else figured out the pattern. What you want is for

everyone to have their little victory.”

Their games hark back to the retro origins of the

craze with video cameos from Norman Lovett

who played Holly in Red Dwarf and Hugo Myatt

from Knightmare. “Our goal was to take the

concept and combine it with immersive theatre,

so we added theatrics and characters and a lot

of humour. Our game hosts are all comedians

or performers and the stuff they come up with

is mad and wonderful, and that just elevates the

whole experience.”

Pier Pressure arrived later in 2018 with four

permanent games in their premises on Upper

North Street, and they’re also doing a pop-up

game at Preston Manor this month. Intriguingly,

they’ve built a small section of the Lanes for a




Operation Mindfall by Handmade Mysteries

game about a jewellery heist which has been rated

the best escape room in the UK.

“All our games lean on local cultural history,”

explains director Phil Harris, who started the

company with his psychologist wife, Philly.

“We’ve got a mods and rockers game and we’ve

got a 90s rave game. Another is set inside the

Royal Pavilion and it’s based on the fact it was

nearly demolished, back in 1850. So, the players

are on a mission to save the Pavilion. We’ve

recreated a couple of the actual rooms, which was

a challenge!”

Despite the buzz around escape rooms, it’s still

the first time for most punters. And everyone’s approach

is different. Stories abound about people

doing crazy things when they’re on the inside,

like breaking things that should be impossible to

break and even trying to climb the walls.

“The funniest one I’ve witnessed personally,” says

Phil, “was a couple on a first date. It was clearly

going well, as they were all over each other. They

tried going to a certain part of the game because

they thought they wouldn’t be seen. But obviously

we have cameras everywhere! And they ended up

locking themselves in. I had to go into the game

to tap in the code and let them out...”

That’s certainly one way to escape. It shows that

if you leave people to their own devices, ingenuity

will do the rest. Ben Bailey

Bewilderbox. Photo by Guy Wah Photography

Brighton’s Escape Rooms

• BEWILDER BOX: The Bewilder Box

Initiative, Judgement D.A.V.E. bewilderbox.co.uk


Vault. escapethevault.co.uk


Chastity’s Reserve, Operation Mindfall.



Murder at the Pier: Revenge, Wild West Bank

Heist, Secret Agent: The Black Box.


• PIER PRESSURE: Pavilion Perplex,

Loot the Lanes, Modrophenia, Raver Quest, The

Great ELFscape, Mystery at the Manor.




on you

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Counselling, Psychotherapy

and Psychological services

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01273 921355



Saturday 29 February 2020

11am - 5pm

Brighton Unitarian Church

New Road Brighton BN1 1UF

Vintage & Preloved clothing,

accessories & collectables

Free Admission

Café by Siobhan of

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Savoury, vegan &

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Future dates:

13 June

17 October


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Award-winning independent

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Next to Lewes station

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01273 525354




Elsie Lovelock

Voice actor

Elsie Lovelock has lent her versatile vocals to

numerous video games and animations. She

tells Viva what it takes to make a living voicing

demons, witches and Pokémon.

In a typical day I’ll provide the voices for multiple

characters. You really have to inhabit each

one to make it convincing. If a character is falling

off a cliff I have to scream like I’m falling off a

cliff – even though I’m actually at my house in

Patcham in a closet I’ve converted into a soundproof

recording studio.

Sometimes games developers will send me

a lot of information about a character and

occasionally visual references too. Other times

they just give me a short description and I have to

decide what the character is like for myself.

I’m a gamer so I appreciate the importance of

good voiceovers. You can have a game that’s brilliant

in almost every way but if the voice acting is

off it really affects the experience of playing it.

Dubbing from another language is one of

the hardest things to do. You get a timedin

beat and have to match your vocals to the

mouth movements of the character on screen.

The dream jobs are pre-lays, where you do the

voice first and the animators work around your

vocals. It’s how most of the Disney films are

made. You have far more creative freedom and

fewer time restrictions.

The indie games market is booming so it’s

an exciting place to work. Wargroove, one of

the games I voiced, was recently nominated for a

Game award – which is the Oscars of the games

world. I also worked on a musical animation

called Hazbin Hotel, which was released at the end

of November and has had 20m views already.

I originally wanted to go into animation,

because I love to draw, but when I was 17 I sung

in a youth opera at Glyndebourne called Knight

Crew and decided I wanted to be a performer instead.

I did a lot of am-dram and had a band. I set

up my own YouTube channel to share my singing

and voice work. Then I started auditioning for

specific projects.

It takes a lot of mental energy to bring a

character to life with your voice alone. It can

be draining when I’m working on a horror, for

example, and I’ll have spent the whole day voicing

a character that has had her throat slit and is

gurgling blood! I have to look after my voice –

and my health generally – because I can’t work if I

don’t sound like I should.

But there’s so much variety, especially compared

with live action performance where

you’re limited by the way you look. As a voice

actor you can play almost anyone – or anything. It

never gets boring. As told to Nione Meakin

Hear Elsie Lovelock as Jennifer in the forthcoming

survival horror game Remothered: Broken Porcelain

out later this year.





Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Elegiac, interactive storytelling

At the beginning of Everybody’s Gone to the

Rapture, you hear a trembling voice: “I don’t

know if anyone will ever hear this. It’s all over.

I’m the only one left.” You are then free to

explore the verdant but deserted fictional village

of Yaughton, in Shropshire. In the first building

you find, you can click on a radio and hear more

from ‘Kate’, who says that “the answers are in

the light”.

Released on Playstation 4 in 2015, Everybody’s

Gone to the Rapture is inspired by the ‘cosy

catastrophe’ fiction of authors such as John

Wyndham and John Christopher, and was developed

by Brighton-based company The Chinese

Room. A Bafta award-winning soundtrack by

Brighton local Jessica Curry – who also directed

the game – sets an elegiac sci-fi tone: a wash of

piano, strings and choir, intricately mixed with

birdsong, strange echoes and radio crackle.

The Chinese Room’s first release, Dear Esther,

is considered by many to be first traditional

‘walking simulator’ game, where a player walks

around an interactive environment. IGN’s

review described it as an experiment with the

video game form, ‘with no goals, guns, puzzles

or any of the other things that you often find

in games’. Rapture is a longer, more fleshed-out

walking sim: the player tilts their controller

to launch flashbacks of conversations between

residents, depicted in glowing yellow light.

You can vary the pace at which you experience

the story. The game allows you to hare through

and solve the mystery quickly, or you can stop

and smell the roses, enjoying the beautiful

scenery and perusing parochial minutiae: flyers

on noticeboards, birdwatching books, maps, pub

menus. It’s like being able to wander around a

beloved location in a good book, in your own

time, with a license to be as nosy as you like.

Some gamers argue that there isn’t enough




interactivity in walking sims for them to even qualify

as a video game, but thankfully such naysayers

haven’t hindered the development of the fascinating

genre. The walking sim has given us some of the

most moving, eloquent and strange games of the last

few years, including Firewatch, which puts you in the

shoes of a fire lookout in Shoshone National Forest,

USA; Virginia, a filmic tale of an FBI agent recollecting

her first case (inspired by Twin Peaks); and

What Remains of Edith Finch, a beguiling game about

a young woman exploring her family home, while

recalling fantastical vignettes about their demises.

It’s a thrilling new form of storytelling. There is

enough autonomy to keep one entertained, but

the controls are very simple, making them perfect

for people who are unaccustomed to playing video

games. The focus on narrative, character, and environment

in walking sims – and indie games in general

– can help video games reach a wider audience.

We’ve come a long way since Pong, and the future

of interactive storytelling in video games looks very

promising indeed. Joe Fuller

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture can be played on

Playstation 4 and most PCs

Jessica Curry hosts video game music series Sound of

Gaming, on BBC Radio 3






There are compelling reasons for

making a Will and ensuring your

assets are passed to the right

people on your death; Mohammed

Ahmed explains why a new

decade resolution to take action is


If you die “intestate”, or without a Will, your assets

are distributed under the rigid Intestacy Rules

which specify the order of relatives that inherit

your estate. Priority is given to any spouse/

partner, then children, parents, siblings and so

on; if there are no surviving relatives, the Crown

will benefit.

The rules don’t consider the quality of your

relationships with your relatives; more importantly

neither do they provide for unmarried partners

– a problem waiting to happen for many modern

families, and also potentially a significant issue

for ‘blended’ families involving step children.

Making a Will enables you to specify who inherits

your estate, and who deals with the process of

administering your assets. Without a Will, who will

administer the estate is a matter to be decided

by the court and can cause problems and

disputes in itself.

If you have minor children, you can use your Will

to nominate a legal guardian to take parental

responsibility on your death, and include

bespoke arrangements specifying at what

age they inherit or who should look after the

inheritance on their behalf.

Your Will can help to maximise the various

Inheritance Tax reliefs in relation to your spouse/

civil partner, your property, any business

interests, or any charitable gifts you wish to

make; more complex estates might benefit from

specialist advice to significantly increase tax

efficiency and succession planning.

Funeral wishes, making cash gifts to unrelated

individuals and detailing how your personal

possessions are distributed can also be dealt

with in your Will.

As one of the most important documents you

will ever have, you should make sure your Will

is done properly; even if everything seems

straightforward, using a professional will ensure

your wishes are correctly documented.

Mohammed Ahmed is a solicitor

in DMH Stallard’s Brighton office

specialising in Wills and estate

planning. You can contact him on

01273 744220.



Digital Worlds

Mapping the city with Minecraft

I’m not a gamer

myself, although

I’ll take you on at

Mario Kart. But one

of the joys of computer

games for an

architect is seeing

the extraordinary


that are created,

whether it’s the wild, unbuildable worlds of the

future or crazy re-interpretations of real cities. A

quick internet search will show you some amazing

science-fiction environments. Have a look at City

17 in Half-Life 2. The central citadel is so tall it

disappears into the sky, but more important is

the way in which the tower’s influence creeps

outwards, absorbing and re-moulding the city in

its image. The fictional city Rapture, in Bioshock,

is another iconic example. The Art Deco-inspired

cityscape draws inspiration from early 20th

century Manhattan. Its skyscrapers loom impossibly

large, dazzling with their searchlights and

electric advertisements. The city in Mirror’s Edge

(a free-running adventure game with stunning

visuals, where you ‘run, leap and fight your way

to freedom in the City of Glass’) is more familiar,

maybe Tokyo-inspired.

On a more prosaic but perhaps more useful level,

Minecraft is a popular video game that allows

players to interact with a 3D environment. It’s

relatively easy to learn and is engaging and adaptable.

Two former University of Brighton students,

Megan Leckie and Joseph Palmer, launched

Block Builders, a Community Interest Company,

in 2014. They work with children, using Minecraft

as a tool to create unique educational experiences

and to get them

engaged in town

planning and urban


Block Builders has

enabled developers,

local authorities,

schools and

educational trusts to

engage with young

people, and has helped on several projects including

Brighton and Hove City Council’s plans to

develop Valley Gardens.

“We engage people who are often excluded from

the consultation process by employing such an

easy-to-use platform,” Joseph tells me. “Children

spend most of their lives being talked to and

talked at, so it’s really empowering for them to

take control of the tech.”

Joseph graduated with a BA (Hons) in Design

and Craft in 2014 and a Masters in Sustainable

Design in 2016. He and Megan, who is currently

studying for an MSc in Town Planning, met at

the University in 2014. They have been looking

into creating a map of the entire city, and have

already modelled the Palace Pier, i360 and Royal

Pavilion using Minecraft.

On getting children involved in the planning

process, Joseph says: “A lot of people think they

are only ever going to build rollercoasters or skate

parks, but what you actually find is kids really do

care about what goes on in their environment.

They’ve got a really good understanding of it and

they are not afraid to say what they think. They

have so many great ideas, you never know what

they are going to come up with.” Paul Zara


Image courtesy of Block Builders


Press Play Films

Making your own animations

“Kids really need a space to be creative,” says

Lara Leslie. “There’s very little time for it in the

school curriculum yet it’s so valuable.” It’s one

of the reasons the Fine Art graduate-turned-TV

producer set up Press Play Films – which offers

animation and film classes for children aged from

seven to thirteen. “Animation is a great way for

kids to explore ideas and create their own worlds;

it involves drawing, storyboarding, performing and

hands-on making – and it’s a lot of fun.”

Lara spent her 20s working in TV and animation

– including a stint at Bristol’s famous Aardman

studios, where she helped make models for the

much-loved Wallace and Gromit films (“It was

actually pretty formulaic,” she admits. “You had

to mix the clay to exactly the same formula and

quantities every day”.)

When she later had two sons, she found the long

hours and busy schedules of the film industry

incompatible with family life. “I wanted to carry

on doing something creative but where I could

still spend time with my children.” She struck on

the idea of animation classes and, with the help of

a fellow animator, held a sold-out pilot in Lewes.

A few years later, Press Play runs regular afterschool

clubs, workshops in libraries, galleries and

museums and even animation birthday parties

across Sussex. Lara covers everything from

traditional 2D drawn animation to documentary

film production, as well as Lego animation,

zoetropes and claymation, better known as stopmotion.

“I particularly like claymation because it

involves so much hands-on making, which is really

where my interests lie, and it’s also really popular

with children.”

A typical class is a mix of study and practical work:

“We’ll usually look at some examples of animation

at the beginning – including some of my previous

stuff – then we do a story plan. Most kids hate

planning but it’s an essential part of good animation.

From there we make storyboards [which visually

plot out the progress of the animation] then

the models and set, before photographing them to

make the film. Finally, we’ll record any voiceovers

or sound effects.”

Examples of work made at Press Play workshops

show a huge variety of styles and interests, from

an animation devoted to biscuits to a brilliantly

surreal cooking sequence featuring Lego and

paper spaghetti. “We’re not prescriptive,” says

Lara. “The classes are really about kids having an

opportunity to try out whatever ideas are in their

brains and to experiment with different forms.”

She has found that boys in particular benefit from

the classes. “Boys between the ages of eight and

thirteen often stop wanting to create because it’s

not seen as ‘cool’. But because animation involves

technology they feel more comfortable giving it a

go and then they end up learning all the creative,

arty stuff along the way.”

Many children come back term after term: “Animation

is kind of addictive,” says Lara, “and the

possibilities are endless.” Nione Meakin





Playing cupid

The maths behind dating

In the 2001 biopic A Beautiful

Mind mathematician John Nash

(played by Russell Crowe) devises

a dating strategy for his friends.

Although they all fancy “the

blonde” in a group of women, he

points out that none of them will

get her because they’ll end up

blocking each other. And if they

then turn to her friends, they’ll

be rejected because no one likes

to be second best.

So the solution is for his friends to approach the

blonde’s friends first. Known as Nash’s Equilibrium,

it illustrates that the best result comes from

everyone in the group doing what’s best for him/

herself and the group.

Nash’s Equilibrium is a central application of

game theory, which uses mathematical modelling

to understand the decisions individuals make and

how these decisions affect groups.

It’s not unusual for maths to feature in the quest

for love.Traditional approaches to wooing have

become such a minefield that it seems reasonable

to turn to formulae and algorithms, in the comely

shape of dating apps, to select potential partners.

But can a robot really play cupid?

“None of the apps is perfect,” says Dr Nicos

Georgiou, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at

the University of Sussex who can apply his specialism

in probability and statistics to understand

dating strategies.

“From a statistical perspective, the best strategy

for an app like Tinder is to ‘swipe right’, or accept

every ‘like’, to give yourself the largest pool of

people. However, your chances of success depend

on you being more desirable than others, while

the most desirable people who have the widest

choice often behave really badly.”

The apps that create matches

based on similar personality traits

are also seriously flawed, says

Nicos. “They don’t take human

elements into account. You don’t

necessarily want to be with someone

who has all the traits that you

don’t like about yourself.”

Once you’ve made a connection,

other aspects of game theory

come into play. If it looks like

it’s all going well and you then think you’ve been

“ghosted” (ignored) by your date, you could

become a victim of your own insecurities.

As Nicos explains: “If you’re not feeling confident

about yourself, you’ll then judge someone else

based on your own experience and make the

decision to end the relationship – which could be

the worst outcome for both of you.”

Aside from dating apps, another mathematical

example, the Acceptance Triangle, depressingly

suggests that your chance of finding the person

of your dreams (or at least better than average

according to the criteria you have set) is less than

50 per cent.

But there is a ray of light offered in Parrondo’s

Paradox, a complicated theory involving losing

strategies that counter-intuitively shows how

incompatible personalities, or personalities that

individually may seem undesirable, can have a

good relationship by strengthening each other.

“If people are easily discouraged by data they

shouldn’t go on dating apps,” says Nicos. “However,

Parrondo’s Paradox suggests that nobody

should lose hope.” Jacqui Bealing

Nicos is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s

Puzzle for Today


my vet



Karin Stratford, Brighton

The Coastway Vets hospital in central

Brighton has a team of exotic vets and

nurses who have experience in caring

for all types of exotic pets and wildlife.

Our in-patients benefit from purpose

built warm wards and vivariums too.

01273 692257




Illustration by Mark Greco

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Keep your pecker up

My New Year’s resolution was that I would try

to be more positive about the future. It’s only

February and I already feel like banging my head

repeatedly against a tree. Standing out in the

street this morning I heard a noise that reassured

me that I’m not alone.

The drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker

is a familiar sound throughout February, surely

earning this striking black and white bird a reputation

as one of Britain’s most famous drummers

along with Ringo Starr and Phil Collins. The

bird’s drumming serves an important function

because the Great Spotted Woodpecker realises it

can’t sing and doesn’t attempt to. Sadly, the same

can’t be said for Ringo Starr and Phil Collins.

Instead its drumroll is a percussive proclamation

that hammers home the message to other male

woodpeckers to stay away from its territory in the

treetops. It also serves to drum up support from

female woodpeckers in the vicinity who may be

looking for a pied partner.

This ‘song’ may not be as sweet as the melodies

sung by the Robin or Blackbird but it still gets its

message across. Indeed, the drumming can carry

the bird’s message across half a mile of countryside

with a male broadcasting up to 600 drumrolls

a day. Each drumroll consists of up to ten to 16

beats typically in a one second burst. Of course,

if I did attempt to take my frustrations out on a

tree in a similar way I’d suffer some form of concussion

but woodpeckers are specially designed

to avoid this by having shock absorbent tissue

between the base of their bill and their strengthened

skulls to cushion the impact.

Their incredible beak is more than just a drumstick,

it’s also a pickaxe, which allows them to chip

away at trunks to excavate their own nest hole,

and a chisel with which the woodpecker prises

open tree bark to find food. That mighty beak is

a formidable weapon too which sends other birds

on the peanut feeder scarpering pretty sharpish.

And Great Spotted Woodpeckers are becoming

more greatly spotted as it is a British bird which

is actually increasing in numbers. The pecker’s

population leapt in the 70s and 90s with some

estimates stating they have increased by 300 per

cent over the past five decades. The availability of

dead wood thanks to Dutch Elm Disease and the

availability of peanuts thanks to British bird lovers

being among of the reasons for this increase. See,

I ended the article on a positive note, maybe I

haven’t broken my New Year’s resolution after all.

Well done to me. Now to put the kettle on, put

my feet up, and turn on the news.

Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement

Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust




It’s April 13th 1958, and these guys have just

played the game of their lives. Meet the Brighton

Tigers, who’ve just beaten the Wembley Lions

7-6, to win the British League, in front of a sellout

3,000-plus crowd.

1957/8 was the most memorable season in the

history of the Tigers, who had earlier in the season

beaten Russia (in effect The Soviet Union),

the recently crowned Olympic champions.

They played their games in the SS Brighton, an

ice rink that could convert into a venue and conference

centre in the off-season. Both the Tories

and the Labour Party were to hold their annual

jamborees in the building later that year.

In the picture, the eye is drawn to the only man

not wearing ice skates, in the tux and bow tie.

This is Benny Lee, the General Manager of the

Tigers and an SS Brighton director, a canny

businessman responsible for publicising the

matches, and building the team. It was necessary

to field foreign players to achieve any sort of

success, and the majority of the Tigers were

Canadians he had hired.

One of these was goalie Tony Parisi, born at

Niagara Falls, the guy with the beard in the

centre of the picture. His facial hair was not long

for this world: Parisi, a brilliant goal-minder and

a hero of the fans, had vowed not to shave until

the Tigers had clinched the title. He had had his

work cut out all season, keeping the opposition

out: the Brighton rink was smaller than most, and

nicknamed ‘the goaltenders’ graveyard’.

Parisi had let more goals past him than he was

accustomed to that Sunday night, but he made

a great last-minute save to stop the Lions – who

had led the game with ten minutes remaining –

from taking a late-late lead. His compatriot Ron

Flinn capitalised, knocking home the puck in the

dying seconds, to give the Tigers the title.

The Tigers went on to win the British Championship

in 1960, but, alas, their days were

numbered. They continued to play inter-rink

tournaments after the collapse of the professional

league later that year; in 1965 Brighton Council

decided to demolish the SS Brighton, and, without

a home, the club folded. The memories of

Tigers fans, of course, burn bright. Alex Leith

Picture and extra research courtesy of Kevin

Wilsher, of the Regency Society, whose book The

Story of the Brighton Tigers comes out in April.


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