Viva Lewes Issue #162 March 2020

VivaMagazines


Lewes Speakers

Festival 2020

21st and 22nd March 2020 at

The All Saints Centre, Lewes

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Steve Richards, presenter

of The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio

4; Tom Watson, former Deputy Leader of

the Labour Party; Jack Straw, former Foreign

Secretary; Polly Toynbee, the star Guardian

columnist; David Walker, former Director of

Public Reporting at the Audit Commission; Ken Livingstone, former Mayor

of London; Annabel Streets and Susan Saunders, Founders of the The Age-

Well Project: Ways to a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life; Theodore Dalrymple,

conservative writer and former prison psychiatrist and doctor; Alison Weir,

the biggest-selling female historian in the UK; Simon Heffer; the nationallyrenowned

journalist, author and political commentator for the Telegraph and

Spectator; Norman Baker, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

for Transport, then Minister of State for Crime Prevention; Lord Howell,

former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, and Secretary of State for

Energy; Lord Tugendhat, former European Commissioner and Chairman

of Abbey National; Asa Bennett, Brexit Commissioning Editor at the

Telegraph; John Hemming, former Director of the Royal Geographical Society.

Single Tickets: £12.50 for each talk. Day/Festival reductions also available.

www.lewesspeakersfestival.com

Call the Box Office on: 0333 666 3366


162

VIVALEWES

EDITORIAL

I’m so pleased our cover artist, Emma West, included the blue box of flowers down on

Lewes Station in her composition. My heart always lifts at sight of that – as my train

pulls in – and I think it works beautifully as a symbol of ‘care’. In this issue there are

plenty of other similar ‘islands’.

Damian Norman, in his work as Funeral Director at Coopers, tends to our dead,

and bereaved. Andrea Januszewska, at the Phoenix Centre, and Keith Stenning at

the House of Friendship, to our older living. The good folk at Victoria Hospital, on

occasion, probably, tend to us all. Meanwhile, Priory School, as part of its work with

our young, reaches out into the community: Deputy Head Julian Ashworth explains

why, and what’s needed.

We remember Jim ‘The Fish’ Smith: no one cared more for the River Ouse. While

Trevor Weeks cares for our hurt and damaged wildlife. And Diana Uprichard is

increasingly convinced we should all learn to mend, as “part of the solution”.

Mebrak Ghebreweldi cares for communication: through Vandu Language Services,

she’s spent the last 20 years helping people communicate across languages. This year’s

Brighton Festival Guest Director Lemn Sissay also cares about words, and people’s

stories. “Art is for everyone,” he stresses.

I love Peter James Field’s review of the new Shani Rhys James exhibition at Charleston:

‘Heartbreak and tension lurk beneath the surface of polite domesticity’. Artists tend

to our other stories…

THE TEAM

.....................

EDITOR: Charlotte Gann charlotte@vivamagazines.com

SUB-EDITOR: David Jarman

PRODUCTION EDITOR: Joe Fuller joe@vivamagazines.com

ACTING ART DIRECTOR: Rebecca Cunningham rebecca@vivamagazines.com

ADVERTISING: Sarah Hunnisett, Amanda Meynell advertising@vivamagazines.com

EDITORIAL / ADMIN ASSISTANT / HAND MODEL: Kelly Mechen admin@vivamagazines.com

DISTRIBUTION: David Pardue distribution@vivamagazines.com

CONTRIBUTORS: Stewart Allum, Michael Blencowe, Hasia Curtis, Peter James Field,

Mark Greco, Anita Hall, John Henty, Robin Houghton, Eleanor Knight, Dexter Lee, Alex Leith,

Lizzie Lower, Carlotta Luke, Nione Meakin, Galia Pike, Janet Sutherland and Emma West.

PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden becky@vivamagazines.com

Viva Lewes is based at Lewes House, 32 High St, Lewes, BN7 2LX, all enquiries 01273 488882


EASTER

Festival

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12 th & 13 th April 2020

Tickets start at just £14

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www.plumptonracecourse.co.uk


THE ‘CARE’ ISSUE

CONTENTS

Photo by Rachael Edwards

Bits & bobs.

8-31. Cover artist Emma West on caring

for nature; funeral director Damian

Norman on the Lewes he knows; Photo of

the month cotton wool cloud; the sweetest

Iris; Trevor Weeks on rescuing wildlife;

Charity box for Red Cross; Priory School’s

Careers Programme – can you help?

Book reviews of Climate Change: A Very

Peculiar History, and the latest Frogmore

Papers; coming up in May – Lemn Sissay’s

Brighton Festival; and special offers

to Charleston Festival; Five minutes

with Phoenix Centre manager Andrea

Januszewska; win tickets to Firle Garden

Show; Carlotta Luke wants to wake up

in The Grain Store; and Craig’s hidden

caring nature.

45

17

Columns.

33-37. David Jarman enjoys Jeeves

and Wooster; Eleanor Knight disdains

women’s magazines; and John Henty asks

take care, or Take That?

On this month.

39-51. LOS tackles the topicality of

Sweeney Todd; Fiona Sampson talks

biography at The Lewes Lit; Polly

Toynbee joins the line-up at Lewes

Speakers Festival; The Dream of

Gerontius and Lewes singers; a Family

Fun Day at the Railway Land; Dexter

Lee’s film round-up; and a new digital

festival appears in Hastings.

Art.

52-59. Shani Rhys James’ paintings at

Charleston; Art and about with Julian Le

Bas, Rue Asher, East Sussex Collage at

Fabrica, and others; and 100 First Women

Portraits at Brighton Museum.

5


THE ‘CARE’ ISSUE

Listings.

61-71. Diary dates, including a preview of

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense;

Gig listings, plus Gig of the month is

a jazz double bill in aid of Oyster; and

Classical round-up Pick of the month is

Lewes Concert Orchestra performing

American greats.

Food.

73-76. Alex Leith loves his weekly lunch

at Pestle and Mortar; Nathalie at Irma’s

Kitchen serves up delicious Lo Mein; and

John Henty chooses the best custard at the

House of Friendship.

The way we work.

78-81. Photographer Bethany Hobbs

visits some of the good people at Victoria

Hospital, and asks them about kindness.

78

Features.

83-93. Mebrak Ghebreweldi of Vandu

Language Services; Diana of Dolly

Clothing on how we should all learn to

mend; LFC goalie Nathan Stroomberg;

Jim ‘The Fish’ Smith remembered;

Michael Blencowe remembers his friend

Alf and the frogs Alf loved; Alex Leith goes

business walkabout.

Photo by Bethany Hobbs

Photo by John Henty

76

Inside left.

106. What was The Shelleys during

WW1? Discover.

VIVA DEADLINES

We plan each magazine six weeks ahead, with a mid-month

advertising/copy deadline. Please send details of planned events

to admin@vivamagazines.com, and for any advertising queries:

advertising@vivamagazines.com, or call 01273 488882.

Remember to recycle your Viva.

Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content.

Viva Lewes magazine cannot be held responsible for any omissions,

errors or alterations. The views expressed by columnists do not

necessarily represent the view of Viva Magazines.

Viva retains copyright for any artwork we create.

Love me or recycle me. Illustration by Chloë King

6


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ROWAN PELLING: BROADCASTER, JOURNALIST AND EDITOR OF THE EROTIC REVIEW

Sat 25th April

The Macs Farm, Ditchling, Sussex, BN6 8GT. 2-6pm

Tickets £30 from www.sussexhive.co.uk

thesussexhive

facebook/thesussexhive


THIS MONTH’S COVER ARTIST

This month’s cover artist, Emma West, cares a

lot about caring. “Not just in terms of caring for

people, but for the environment too. Most of my

work focuses on nature, particularly local wildlife,

and plants. My aim is to reflect on how beautiful,

strange, yet so fragile the natural world is. And

most importantly, how vital it is.”

Emma takes a lot of her inspiration from beloved

children’s illustrators such as Raymond Briggs,

Beatrix Potter, Judith Kerr, and Tove Jansson,

as well as from the illustrations in RSPB bird

spotter guides. She enjoys watching videos of

David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, and

has written and illustrated her own book, Mother

Nature Has A Cold, with a view to hopefully

changing some hearts and minds herself.

“I had this idea of a character – Mother Nature

– wandering across the world. She helps plants

grow; she makes sure animals are thriving. One

8


EMMA WEST

day she starts to feel ill and gets cold symptoms,

due to climate change: fossil fuels being burned,

trees getting cut down... It’s only through humans

acting to protect the planet that she starts

to feel better. She’s completely green at first, but

as she gets sick she starts to go grey, kind of like a

plant wilting.”

Emma graduated with a degree in illustration

from the University of Portsmouth in 2019, and

has been “plucking up the courage” to send her

book to publishers. (So any interested parties

should get in touch!) She grew up in Seaford and

took part in last year’s Artwave as part of the Onneke

Studio & Shop on the High Street, where

she used to work.

She picked up the nickname (Emma the Llama)

that she uses for her website and social media

channels while attending Lewes Old Grammar

School. “It was partly because I had really

long, ringlety hair that got a bit fuzzy and frizzy

sometimes. Me and a friend joked that it was

like a llama coat. I latched onto it and grew very

fond of it, and haven’t changed it since!”

The cover was created on Procreate for the iPad,

which includes a convincing, digital watercolour

brush that Emma’s used for the background.

“The idea was to combine people doing things

in their day-to-day life that benefit local wildlife,

with people who help others such as nurses and

lollipop ladies.”

I recognise the box of plants in the centre of

the illustration. Much like her Mother Nature

character, Emma seems to draw nourishment

from the natural world. “Whenever I go through

Lewes on the train, I always see someone tending

to the plants in the community gardens. It’s my

favourite bit of the station.” Joe Fuller

Emma is available for illustration commissions,

specialising in animal portraiture.

emmathellama.wixsite.com/portfolio

@emmathellamaillustration

9


A&R. House & Home

Buying and selling property is nerve-racking for

seasoned movers and first-time buyers alike.

If house-hunting is on your agenda this spring, you need a

conveyancing team that has the legal expertise and experience

to guide you through the process and quickly deal with any

issues along the way.

We combine a very personal service with efficiency to make

buying or selling as quick and straightforward as possible.

Call us on the number below or drop in to our office at Trinity

House on School Hill in Lewes.

We look forward to working with you.

Adams & Remers LLP

Lewes: 01273 480616

London: 020 7024 3600

www.adamsandremers.com

Personalised and supportive,

exceptionally knowledgeable

and skilful.

LEGAL 500 DIRECTORY


Photo by Charlotte Gann

MY LEWES: DAMIAN NORMAN

You work as Funeral Director at Cooper &

Son, in the High Street. What led you here?

I fell into the industry by complete chance. I was

a taxi driver in Brighton and I saw a small notice

in the Argus for a chauffeur bearer – someone

who drives the hearse or mourning cars, and who

carries the coffins. I applied and started working

for family firm CPJ Field, who now own Coopers

(for years this was run by funeral director Clive

Cooper). This was back in 2011 and I loved the

work. I wished I’d found the job years before.

I got more and more interested in the whole

process – from the family making that first phone

call, through to the funeral and beyond. So I

started in a training role covering a maternity

leave at Coopers, and became the Lewes office’s

Funeral Director four and a half years ago.

Were you nervous conducting your first

funeral? YES! Not helped by the fact we set out

for the crematorium in Brighton and got stuck

in horrendous traffic…

What do you like about the role? You’re

the person people are looking to for direction.

Emotions, of course, can run high and raw at

funerals. We’re here to guide people, and make

sure it all runs smoothly. It’s great meeting the

families – that sense of fulfilment that you’ve

guided a family through, in some cases, a really

painful period of their lives. Lewes is a quirky

little town, full of people from all sorts of

different backgrounds and likes and dislikes.

We never know who’s coming through the door

next, and every family brings their own unique

story. We’re also, as a company, focusing on

outreach into the community. There is more

isolation and loneliness than perhaps ever

before. So we host Never Alone coffee mornings

in Costa, for instance, and a Forget Me Not

group for people coming together from a range

of Lewes care homes.

Tell me about your Lewes. I don’t actually

live in Lewes, but I do spend my days out

and about in the town, and bump into lots of

people I’ve got to know in my role. My wife is

a Sussex girl – she grew up in Woodingdean –

though I originally came from Somerset. But

when we moved to Sussex I said ‘What about

Lewes?’ I’ve no idea why that idea popped into

my head, and it wasn’t to be – we ended up in

Saltdean – but now of course I spend most of

my days here, and am deeply involved in one

side of the life (and deaths) of the town. We

also often come over at weekends for a potter

round, and a coffee – in Carafe in Station Street,

or down at the Riverside. Funerals are evolving

all the time – today they are often much more

celebrations of a life than mourning a death. I’ve

conducted them in Lewes House, at the House

of Friendship, All Saints Centre…

What song will play at your funeral? I don’t

know – maybe something by Meat Loaf!

Interview by Charlotte Gann

11



PHOTO OF THE MONTH

SKY SHOW

Robin Tassie sent in this glorious, cloud-massed

photo. She wrote:

‘I took this on Monday 20th January, at around

3.30pm. I was on the RSPB land beside the

Stanley Turner rugby and cricket club.

I was out walking with my dog and the sky was

doing this crazy thing. When I turned to face

Lewes it was as if the sky had been split in two: on

one side a giant curtain of grey cloud was being

pushed aside towards Newhaven by an expanse

of clear blue. When I looked towards Kingston,

the other side of the giant curtain was a mass of

stretched cottonwool also being concertinaed by

the encroaching blue of a cold clear night.

I was transfixed and pleased that my very active

dog was happy to sit quietly and chew his ball

throughout the great sky show.’

Please send your pictures, taken in and around

Lewes, to photos@vivamagazines.com, or tweet

@VivaLewes. We’ll choose one, which wins the

photographer £20, to be picked up from our office

after publication. Unless previously arranged, we

reserve the right to use all pictures in future issues

of Viva magazines or online.

13


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Tell us about your new role. I am the

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Where did you grow up and go to

school? Otley, West Yorkshire, so Brighton

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I really value the ethos, the freedom to

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Do you have any notable alumnae?

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What’s your vision for the school?

I want to throw open the doors of Brighton

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What does Brighton offer as a learning

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BITS AND DOGS

PETS OF LEWES

Iris, mongrel, around eight years old. Despite the grey hairs,

Iris’ chirpy demeanour means that she is often mistaken for a

younger dog. Owner, Sofi first met Iris when volunteering at a

shelter in Romania. Abandoned Iris had just finished a round

of chemotherapy and was so small and fragile that she couldn’t

mix with the bigger dogs as they would have seen her as prey.

As the winter approached, Sofi knew she couldn’t leave this tiny

pup braving the freezing Romanian weather without shelter.

So, six weeks later, Iris arrived in the UK, via a shady drop-off

under a grafitti-covered bridge, somewhere in deepest Kent.

Loves: beehives, cellophane, swirly writing

Hates: Hobson’s choice, Pavlov’s dog, sod’s law, Simon Says.

Iris is now a very confident little pup but hates having her nails

cut. This is a very common anxiety – your dog’s nails have

a nerve and blood supply and if they have ever been cut too

close (even once), they will remember the pain and be fearful,

even aggressive. Desensitising your dog to nail trimming takes

patience and cannot be rushed, but it is possible. @dogsoflewes

Photo by Sofi Fanton

my vet’s open

all night

Susan Hart, Lewes.

The Coastway Vets’ veterinary hospital

in central Brighton is open 24 hours a

day for emergency cases and provides

cover for most of the region’s vets every

evening, weekend and bank holiday.

For more details call:

01273 478100

coastwayvets.co.uk


BITS AND BIRDS

EAST SUSSEX WILDLIFE RESCUE &

AMBULANCE SERVICE

You’ve been doing rescue work for more than

30 years. What do you love about it? Nearly 40

now! I inherited a love of animals from my mum.

She died of cancer aged just 47, when I was 21.

My work with animals kept me going through

some very low and tough times after that. I think

I was drawn to helping wild creatures because

they don’t have owners to take care of them. And,

after finding several casualties myself, I realised

just how stretched and overworked the RSPCA,

local charities etc were. It was clear there was a

desperate need for extra help, and I thought it

was something I could provide, so I founded the

East Sussex WRAS. The job can be physically and

emotionally demanding and require long hours.

But being able to help a creature – knowing that

otherwise it would have died slowly and suffered

horrifically – it’s a great feeling. When you get to

see a casualty go back to the wild it’s one of the

best feelings ever.

How many rescues do you conduct an

average week? What are typical situations?

We average 80 rescues a week. During quiet

times (often autumn and winter months) it can

be as few as one or two a day, but during the

height of summer it can average 20 or even 40.

Cats are common culprits. We also get many

road casualties, window strikes, entanglements in

fishing lines and hooks. The early winter is taken

up mainly with hedgehogs too small to hibernate;

spring and summer with young birds who’ve

fallen out of nests. Winter sees many casualties

come in lethargic and debilitated as the cold

weather bites. We also frequently see oiled swans

and sea birds, and casualties shot illegally – by

catapults, blow darts, cross bows and air rifles.

Why do you run courses? Because there is

a role in wildlife rescue for members of the

public? There’s a lot of misconception around

the subject. Wild animals are not the same as

domesticated ones. You might imagine a rabbit

that sits still in your arms is calm and relaxed

as you hold and stroke it. Not so. In reality, it’s

scared stiff. We’ve known animals drop dead

from terror in people’s arms. So… we’d like to

steer people away from making some common

mistakes – including feeding milk to baby

birds and hedgehogs. We’d also like to educate

the public into what to expect when a rescue

organisation turns up – so nothing comes as

a surprise, and you’re more likely to help not

hinder. We run a couple of day courses each

month, plus a series of evening courses. But they

do book up, so think ahead. We’re also happy to

arrange specific dates for five or six people, if a

group wants to come along. Check the website

for details.

Charlotte Gann interviewed Trevor Weeks MBE,

Founder & Operations Director

wildlifeambulance.org

17


Part-Time Counselling

& Psychotherapy

Courses in Sussex

The Link Centre is a friendly, relaxed professional learning environment, running flexible

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qualifications at national and international level.

We also run short courses including Counselling Skills, Understanding Self & Others

(TA101), Supervision Diploma, and other CPD workshops.

Free Talk and Open Evenings – 7pm-9pm:

18th March – Cultivating Happiness

13th May – Eating Disorders

1st July – Personality Disorders

Open to all, plus the opportunity to talk to

tutors, staff and students.

Based at Plumpton College, East Sussex.

To find out more, visit www.thelinkcentre.co.uk

email us on info@thelinkcentre.co.uk or call us on 01892 652487

Training in Counselling & Psychotherapy ● Counselling Skills

Transactional Analysis ● Supervision ● CPD Workshops

Lewes Dial-A-Ride

DIAL A RIDE

TRAVEL CLUB

COMMUNITY GROUP HIRE

LEWES TOWN BUS SERVICES

Door to door service for shopping, visiting the Doctor or Victoria Hospital, going

to the pub or to see friends and lots more!

Who can use this service? If public transport does not meet your needs, then

community transport may be the answer! The only thing we ask is that you firstly

register as a member with CTLA. Registration is free, quick, and can be done on

the telephone or online. Once registered, you can book as many journeys as you

like, up to two weeks in advance.

CTLA is a registered charity. Membership for our whole range of transport

services, is free, including our popular Travel Club – a great way to make new

friends and enjoy a day out.

Call us on 01273 517332 (Mondays to Fridays 8.30am to 3.30pm)

Email : info@ctla.org.uk Follow us on Facebook and @CTLewesArea

CTLA (Community Transport for the Lewes Area)

Hillcrest Centre, Hillcrest Road, Newhaven, BN9 9EA

Registered Charity Number 1110215


BITS AND BOX

CHARITY BOX:

THE BRITISH RED CROSS

How did the Red Cross

start? The International

Red Cross and

Red Crescent (as it was

originally called) was

founded in 1863 by

Henry Dunant, who was

a Swiss businessman and

humanitarian. During the

Battle of Solferino in Italy in 1859, he helped

care for wounded soldiers, and also helped

them to get messages home to their loved ones,

knowing they weren’t going to make it back.

His awareness of their needs caused him to

set up the Red Cross. He also campaigned for

countries to adopt an international agreement

recognising the status of medical services and

of wounded soldiers, which led to the creation

of the original Geneva Convention in 1864.

The British Red Cross started in 1870 – so it’s

our 150th anniversary this year.

What does the charity do? We have lots of

different departments, helping with independent

living, provision of mobility aids, international

tracing and messaging, asylum seekers

and refugee services, as well as crisis response

to natural disasters – it’s about far more than

providing overseas aid, although that’s often

what people associate us with.

In East Sussex we provide two main services:

Assisted Discharge Service and Home from

Hospital and Carers Crisis Response. They are

closely interlinked, with the focus on providing

support to those who have come home from

hospital and offering respite to carers.

We take referrals from people themselves, as

well as from friends, neighbours, GPs, hospitals

and social care services.

How can people help?

We’re always looking

for volunteers, and there

are lots of different ways

people can get involved.

Full training is provided,

and there are no special

skills required – it’s just

about working from the

heart and wanting to help people. We’ve all

been in a situation where we’ve come out of

hospital, or know someone who has. It’s about

helping people get through a difficult time. All

you need is the ability to listen and to be there.

Our volunteers might spend a couple of hours

with someone providing companionship, or

they might help with shopping or light housework,

prepare a snack, or help with paperwork.

Sometimes it might simply be about helping

the person to rebuild their confidence as they

adjust to being back home.

With respite care, you’re offering the carer the

chance to go out without worrying about the

person back at home; giving them the peace of

mind that the person is safe, and the opportunity

for them to do something for themselves,

even if that’s just meeting a friend for a coffee.

You see them come back a different person.

How will you be celebrating your 150th

birthday? We really want to celebrate by

reaching out to more people, making our

services better known and attracting new

volunteers. They are our mainstay and we’d be

lost without them.

Anita Hall spoke to Shila Patel, Independent Living

Services Manager for Sussex, and Sophie Challis,

Service Co-ordinator for East Sussex

Call 01273 227800 or see redcross.org.uk

19



BITS AND JOBS

BUILDING BRIDGES

PRIORY SCHOOL’S CAREERS PROGRAMME

Priory runs a Careers

Programme

for its students.

Why? Our aim

is to help young

people get ready

to be productive

members of society,

in jobs that are

suited to their own

personal strengths.

We aim to do that

by offering a range

of eye-opening,

thought-provoking opportunities that enable

them to explore what could work for them,

individually, as future employment. Secondary

school is part of a continuum of personal

development: it’s not just the five years that the

young people are with us that matters, it’s how

those five years can have a positive impact on

the rest of their lives.

So, what’s involved? During each academic

year there’s a major careers event for every year

group at Priory. For example, in May all our

Year 10 students head out to a week-long Work

Experience placement. We believe it’s vital

for every young person to have experience of

the world of work before they leave secondary

education. For some students this week will

crystallise ideas about specific career paths,

which means that they return to school with a

renewed focus on their studies. Others simply

get a taste, often for the first time, of what

might be expected of them in their lives after

they leave school. In the long term that helps

everyone, businesses included.

Depot is an ‘Enterprise Advisor’: what does

that involve? We’re really pleased about this:

Depot is a flagship local organisation. They

offer us guidance

on the direction of

our careers programme,

as well as

a range of practical

work experience

opportunities for

our students. (The

photo shows three

Priory Y10s on

their Depot placement.)

The Depot

is also helping us

reach out. It hosted

an excellent Business Breakfast for Priory in

January, attended by close to 50 local businesses

who were keen to hear what we’re looking for.

How can other local businesses, and individuals,

help? On top of our core programme,

we offer myriad one-offs that may benefit one

class, or a particular group of students, and not

necessarily be repeated annually. So do get in

touch if you run, or work in, a local business,

and can come into school to talk to a group of

students, or perhaps run a workshop, or offer

anything that will deepen those students’ understanding

of the world of work. We are of course

always looking for businesses to host our Year

10 students in May, too.

Why does this matter to the whole community?

Through our careers programme we hope

to develop and enhance our links with the local

community. Priory is the only state secondary

school in the town. It sits at the heart of Lewes –

and surely it can only be a good thing if the links

between school and community are strong.

Deputy Head Julian Ashworth talked to

Charlotte Gann

If you think you can help, please email Julian on

Julian.Ashworth@priory.e-sussex.sch.uk

Photo by Dino Bishop

21


T R E AT M E N T R O O M S

M O T H E R ’ S D A Y P A M P E R I N G

Mother’s Day is Sunday 22 nd March, so why not surprise you mum with a lovely treat?

Give her a 30-minute back massage, Dermalogica Pro 30 Facial with a

Jessica File & Paint for only £78 (upgrade to a gel paint for an extra £5)

and receive a FREE gift set worth £30!

Or give her one of our gift vouchers, which can be used on a treatment

of her choosing.

of her choosing. Vouchers available from £10.

G I F T S E T S U N D E R £ 2 0 :

Spongelle Body Wash Infused Buffer - £6.50

Spongelle Hand Cream - £13.50

Spongelle Shimmer Collection Body Cream - £18.50

Scentered Therapy Balm - £14.95

Browns Treatment Rooms, 8A Cliffe High Street, BN7 2AH

01273 470908 | www.browns-lewes.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY

in the beautiful Dordogne region of France

LUXURY 5* Manor House

5 day, 6 night all inclusive residential

spring & autumn photography weeks

with Lewes based photographer Mairi Thomas

26 April - 2 May

11 -17 October

small groups •all levels •set in the heart of the Perigord Noir

days filled with photographic workshops and inspirational trips

For more details visit the website below or call 07582938185

www.mairithomasphotography.com

Les Charmes de Carlucet


BITS AND FROGS

BOOK REVIEW:

CLIMATE CHANGE: A VERY PECULIAR HISTORY BY DAVID ARSCOTT

The peculiar histories are nutshell

guides: this one’s on a subject we

all need to care about. The book

describes the years 2020-2030 as

‘the Doomsday Decade’: ‘These ten

years are our testing time.’ Or, as Jay

Inslee, Governor of Washington, is

quoted: ‘We are the first generation

to feel the sting of climate change,

and we are the last generation that

can do something about it.’

Penned by Chailey’s David Arscott, and published

by Brighton’s Book House, this excellently

succinct account is deftly assembled. One can

feel the author’s concern as he writes. And that’s

compelling. But the guide also bulges with figures

and facts. It’s fascinating, and terrifying.

It compassionately talks us through worst (now

likely) case scenarios – such as, the ‘perfect storm’

of unrest the government’s chief

scientist Professor John Beddington

predicts, ‘as people flee from the

worst-affected regions’ – and steps

we as individuals can adopt (if you

can’t face giving up meat, suggests

Jonathan Safran Foer, why not cut it

from your breakfast and lunch?).

There are initiatives afoot to, for

instance, refreeze the poles – and

reforest the globe: that, plus a

commitment to leaving remaining fossil fuels in

the ground, seems crucial. We have the means

(technology), but lack the will (regulations).

In August last year Iceland mourned their first

departed glacier. They mounted a plaque: ‘This

monument is to acknowledge that we know what

is happening and what needs to be done. Only

you know if we did it.’ Charlotte Gann

THE FROGMORE PAPERS 95

The Frogmore Papers is published

twice a year – in March and September.

It’s edited by Lewes-based

author, poet and publisher Jeremy

Page (ably assisted by others), and

has been going (having started in

the Frogmore tearooms in Folkestone)

since 1983.

The latest edition – which you

can find in Skylark – is a joy. A

lovely mix of new poems, short

reviews, short (very short) stories

and artwork (this issue’s cover by Eva Bodinet;

and art inside by Leona Akehurst). Like the

best literary magazines, the inclusions speak to

each other.

I loved Catherine Smith’s short

story about a hellbent reason

for refusing to sit down, and DA

Prince’s poem about how much

of life is not online. Or David

Romanda’s funny, short, reasonable

instruction from any writer’s

family. I like spotting echoes and

connections – both in the selection

and the ordering. So, Michael

Loveday’s terrifying spin through

FASTER! FASTER! contrasts

beautifully with David Harmer’s In Dave’s Car,

which ends surprisingly (the poem’s wide shape

alone betokening otherwise), ‘I find I have little

to say.’ Charlotte Gann

23



ARTS AND BOBS

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL

Photo by Brighton Festival

Lemn Sissay MBE is Brighton Festival’s 2020

Guest Director. ‘Please be open’, he invites, in the

programme. ‘There is going to be something for

you in this festival but broaden your horizons and

try something different too.’

More than 120 events are promised as part of this

year’s programme, and they’re spread across the

region – including at Glyndebourne, and the Attenborough

Centre, plus one film, Mercy Mercy, at

the Depot. There are also more free events than

ever, and tickets for under £10. Lemn’s message

reverberates: “Art is for everyone”.

‘Welcome’, reads the programme cover, ‘to the

Imagine Nation’. Events Lemn highlighted at

the launch include The Young Americans – an

exhibition of Native American Art, curated by

Bristol-based Jo Prince; Ethiopian writers Maaza

Mengiste and Aida Edemariam; jazz legend Mulatu

Astatke; and Canadian trans storyteller Ivan

Coyote. Lemn too will discuss his own memoir,

My Name is Why, with British-Eritrean writer

Hannah Azieb Pool. And Lewes poets John Agard

and Grace Nichols are also on the programme.

Lemn spoke enthusiastically about his Adopt A

Nation initiative: you’re invited to ‘adopt’ him –

for a conversation, where “you tell me one thing

you’ve learned about family…” (see the Festival

website for how this happens).

Fittingly, the Festival and Lemn were both born

in May 1967: this year promises to be a celebration.

Tickets are on sale now. Charlotte Gann

2-24 May, brightonfestival.org

CHARLESTON FESTIVAL FOR UNDER 30s

This year’s Charleston Festival in May – with headliners Salman

Rushdie, Bernardine Evaristo, and Gloria Steinem – has a new, special

offer: 1,000 tickets at £10 each for festival goers aged under 30. Box

Office opens to Friends and Supporters on 26th February, and tickets go on general sale

from Thursday 5th March. charleston.org.uk

Photo by Brighton Festival

Photo by Penelope Fewster


Pottery classes and

workshops in Lewes

BITS AND BOBS

FIVE MINUTES WITH...

Louise teaches hand building skills and

decorating techniques suitable for

beginners and those with more experience.

The next block of adult classes

begin in April, on Saturday

mornings and one evening

(TBA) per week. Cost £180

per person.

Workshops for children aged 8

and over during the Easter

break. Monday 6th and Friday

17th April. Cost £49 per child

per 3 hour session.

Andrea Januszewska grew

up in Liverpool, and

later lived in London. For

years, she worked in Supported

Housing – with

homeless young people,

offenders, addicts and victims

of domestic violence.

She moved to Lewes in

2008 and, in 2015, became manager of the

Phoenix Centre. ‘Among other things, we

provide support and respite to adults living

with Alzheimer’s, dementia, strokes and

various other age-related challenges.’

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? I love

meeting friends for a great coffee or

light bite in Trading Post. Erawan is my

favourite restaurant – authentically Thai,

and bring your own beer – though the

benches are a bit harsh past two hours!

GROWING INSPIRATION

Easy Design Workshops &

‘Have-A-Go’ Garden Days at

fabulous Sussex garden venues

WHAT IS YOUR TOP FILM / BOOK?

I love films and Depot is the best addition.

My all-time fave is All about Eve:

I’m a huge Bette Davis fan. I generally

read autobiographies, and loved Clive

James’ Unreliable Memoirs.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TV

SHOW? I’ve seen the whole of Downton

Abbey at least three times! I’m also partial

to Masterchef and The Apprentice.

Join Chelsea Gold-winning designer and TV

garden presenter, Juliet Sargeant to learn more

about making the most of your garden and

choosing the best plants to grow (and eat!).

Check our website for dates and to book online:

www.sussexgardenschool.com

WHO IS YOUR HERO? My dad, who

died in 2010. He was Polish, and had an

amazing work ethic. He lost his arm at

work in the early 70s, but never stopped

working or helping others. He was a real

charmer and loved everyone, no matter

their background or circumstances.


BITS AND TICKETS

COMPETITION: FIRLE GARDEN SHOW

The annual Garden Show at Firle Place is back

bigger and better than ever for its 13th year, and

we’ve got some tickets to give away. As ever the

gardens will host an array of stalls selling plants,

garden goods, homeware, garden furniture, art

prints, sundries and more, as well as a range of

talks, workshops and demonstrations. Entertainment

for all the family will include a funfair,

archery, tombola and a pirate treasure hunt, and

there will be music from The Jazz Trio and South

Downs Folk Singers among others. We’re going

to pull three names from our competition draw

– each will win a pair of tickets or a family ticket

(you choose). To be entered, send us your name,

number, address and answer to the following

question: Which plant name comes from the

English word dægeseage, meaning ‘day’s eye’?

Please send answers to admin@vivamagazines.

com by Tuesday 31st March. For Ts and Cs see

vivamagazines.com./competitions Good luck!

Friday 17-Sunday 19 April, Firle Place.

FI’S YARD

OPENS SATURDAY 14 MARCH

From the blooms of

Bloomsbury to the florals

of Fi’s Yard

Charleston’s former Head Gardener,

Fi Dennis, welcomes you to her new

space in the centre of Cliffe, Lewes.

Fi has an abundance of passion,

knowledge and expertise to share

with you. Enjoy a delightful range of

the finest plants, trugs, trowels and

twine; sourced from a select range

of nurserymen and master crafters

in Sussex.

Fi’s Yard, Cliffe, Lewes

Phone: 07512 624557

Email: Fi@FisYard.com

Instagram: Fisyard_lewes


“Every time you spend money,

you’re casting a vote for the

kind of world you want.”

Anna Lappé

Lewes FC is the only football club in the world to

pay its women's team the same as its men's team.

Endorse us, support us and help us do more.

JOIN THE CLUB:

www.lewesfc.com/owners


PHOTOGRAPHY

CARLOTTA LUKE

FOCUS ON: THE GRAIN STORE

Exactly two years ago, I took my first shots of

The Grain Store, a disused agricultural building

near Lewes, and documented this ambitious

project to its completion. The inside is really

beautiful, but the most extraordinary thing is its

location: it could not be more immersed in the

Downs. Tucked into a hollow, the windows look

straight across to a hill that leads up to the South

Downs Way. The Grain Store is now completed

and open. It can be let for holidays, meetings

and photoshoots. I wish I could move straight in.

thegrainstorelewes.com, carlottaluke.com

29


THE LIFE OF GALILEO

THE REAL THING

THE PRIME OF

MISS JEAN BRODIE

THE VILLAGE BIKE

SOUTH PACIFIC

THE UNFRIEND

THE LONG SONG

THE TAXIDERMIST’S

DAUGHTER

ASSASSINS

THE NARCISSIST

CRAVE

PINOCCHIO

April – December

cft.org.uk 01243 781312

#Festival2020


CARTOON

31


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TYRE CHECKS AND ADVICE FROM FRIENDLY STAFF.

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Unit 1 Malling Industrial Estate, Brooks Road, Lewes, BN7 2BY

Tel: 01273 481000 | Web: flotyres.com | info@flomargarage.com


COLUMN

David Jarman

My back pages

In December 1982, a modest publication appeared

entitled, If you could only take one: a desert

island book choice by members of the University of

Sussex and others. It derived from an exhibition

held in the University Library the previous

summer. Most participants kept to their brief;

others proved more ambitious in furnishing their

desert island libraries. Stephen Medcalf selected

no fewer than eight books and still lamented that

‘I haven’t yet included any Dickens’. The last of

his choices was PG Wodehouse’s The Code of the

Woosters, and it’s this book that provides the inspiration

for the Jeeves and Wooster play at Lewes

Little Theatre this month.

Was The Code of the Woosters Stephen Medcalf’s

favourite Wodehouse? Did he consider it to be

the author’s best? I don’t know. I once asked

Charles Kerry, erstwhile Glyndebourne Chorus

Manager and Wodehouse devotee, which titles

he would single out for praise. His response was

immediate: Full Moon and Laughing Gas. PG

Wodehouse’s own favourite was The Luck of the

Bodkins, a preference revealed in his reply to a letter

from Arthur Ransome. The author of Swallows

and Amazons had written to Wodehouse telling

him that his own boat was called ‘Lottie Blossom’,

after the red headed American film star, always

accompanied by a small alligator, in The Luck of

the Bodkins. She was Ransome’s ‘favourite female

character in fiction’.

When we tackled Wodehouse in my book group

the chosen novel was Joy in the Morning. It is,

according to Robert McCrum in his biography of

Wodehouse, ‘thought by a fervent minority to be

his masterpiece’. Alternatively, anyone new to the

author might prefer to test the water with a short

story. How about Honeysuckle Cottage? It was once

described by Ludwig Wittgenstein, of all people,

as ‘one of the funniest things he had ever read’.

I suppose one obstacle to a full enjoyment of Wodehouse

might be the richly allusive nature of his

writing. He very much assumes that his readers

share a body of common knowledge derived from

an established literary tradition. Joy in the Morning,

for example, has allusions to Longfellow,

Hemingway, Tennyson, Spinoza, Thomas Moore

and Lord Peter Wimsey, to name but a few. The

Bible, especially The Psalms, features prominently

(‘weeping may endure for a night, but

joy cometh in the morning’), but it’s definitely

Shakespeare who takes centre stage. I counted

25 references in Joy in the Morning, and I’m sure

there were many others I missed. Shakespeare is

constantly quoted, accurately and appositely by

Jeeves, fearfully mangled by Wooster.

All wonderfully inventive, but my favourite

Shakespeare mangling comes not in Wodehouse,

but in Martin Chuzzlewit when Montague

Tigg turns Hamlet’s ‘Let Hercules

himself do what he may, / the cat will

mew, and dog will have his day’

into ‘Hercules may lay

about him with his club in

every possible direction,

but he can’t prevent

the cats from making a

most intolerable row on

the roofs of the houses, or

the dogs from being shot

in the hot weather if they

run about the streets

unmuzzled’.

Illustration by Charlotte Gann

33


Fairway Fundraising

this Spring

Mid Sussex Golf Club, Ditchling

hosts a classic golf day on Friday

15th May in aid of Lewes based

disability charity, The Bevern Trust.

Golfers are invited to sign up for

just £69 each or £260 per four-ball

and help the charity raise vital

funds to care for people with

profound

disabilities

in Sussex.

Focusing

on you

Counselling, Psychotherapy

and Psychological services

in central Lewes

Breakfast rolls

Two-course dinner

Prize giving:

Longest drive

Nearest pin

Book online at

beverntrust.org/news

or call 01273 021241

01273 921355

www.brightonandhovepsychotherapy.com

admin@brightonandhovepsychotherapy.com

The Bevern Trust, Bevern View, The Willows,

Barcombe BN8 5FJ.

Registered Charity no. 1103520

THE GRAIN STORE

LEWES

Come and connect at

The Grain Store Lewes

A brand new meeting space for up to ten people

Business Meetings - Luxury Breaks - Photoshoots

Old Brighton Road, Lewes BN7 3JL

www.thegrainstorelewes.com | 01273 713 339

Enquire now


COLUMN

Eleanor Knight

Keyboard worrier

Illustration by Hasia Curtis

How much do you weigh? Why does your hair

do that? Should you wear high heels? When

shouldn’t you wear heels? Just look at the damage

you can do to yourself in a pair of heels, for

heaven’s sake! Do you clean your house with:

chemicals (bad), eco products (quite good) or

lemon juice and self-righteousness (best)? Are

you dressing for your shape? Getting your five

a day? Do you exercise? Are you exercising too

much? Not enough? Isn’t it time you took the

time/spent the money on a decent haircut/facial/

manicure/dental extraction/lobotomy?

OK, I have made some of that up, but to glance

through the pages of your average women’s

magazine* is to unleash a blizzard of insecurities

and persistent self-loathings which do more

to prop up the cosmetics and dieting industries

than they ever did to shore up anyone’s amour

propre. And yet we keep coming back for more.

Ever since The Ladies’ Mercury opened its pages

in 1693, women’s magazines have been there

like a cross between a neurotic parent, a chatty

neighbour with a tendency to overshare, and

Aunt Lydia from The Testaments.

In the early days of wheatgrass juice and paint

effects I worked in a company that produced

a wide range of women’s magazines, anything

from interiors (houses, you understand) to

slimming. All over the building, women, and it

was mostly women, sat hunched over keyboards,

clattering away at the secret to good posture,

maintaining a good manicure or work/life balance.

While I was busy dispensing the secret to

sourcing linoleum, my friend Bea on the floor

below would be doing ‘The right dog for you.’

As you see, we had most areas covered. But

occasionally we would need a recommendation

for lunch, and for that we had to go down to

the second floor to our friends at the company’s

top-selling slimming title, not because we were

counting calories, but because the editorial staff

of (REDACTED) had at their disposal a most

hallowed compendium of nutritional information

known only to a favoured few. Deep in a

drawer at (REDACTED) magazine was kept a

secret directory of the portion sizes – and their

comparative prices – served at every café and

restaurant in Soho. You could see at a glance

where and whether to go for miso or muffins

and whether you’d be still full by teatime. Salad

didn’t get a look-in. I will tell you this for nothing:

if you ever want to know where to spend no

more than a fiver on a plate of fish and chips the

size of Antarctica, ask a woman who writes about

lettuce for a living.

Magazines might offer a vision of the perfect you,

if only you try hard enough, but for the very best

advice, ask your friends. They’re the experts.

*I don’t mean the London Review of Books, Private

Eye, BBC Homes & Antiques, Exchange & Mart or

Choir & Organ Magazine, though these are also

read by women.

35


Easy Access Bathrooms

“Safe bathrooms

at sensible prices”

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Raised-height toilets

Bidet shower toilets

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Grab and support rails

Wall Panelling or tiling

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on how to future proof your exisiting bathroom we offer the complete service from start to finish

Please call us for the best advice

01825 603017

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Cooper & Son

Funeral Directors

Visiting our funeral home you will be greeted

by our Funeral Director, Damian Norman.

Together with his team, Damian plays a very

active role in the local Lewes community,

hosting regular coffee mornings and supporting

up and coming artists in the area by displaying

their works in our funeral home window.

42 High Street, Lewes | 01273 475 557

Also at Seaford, Uckfi eld & Heathfi eld www.cpjfi eld.co.uk


COLUMN

Lewes Out Loud

Plenty more Henty

I think we would all agree

that ‘take care’ is very good

advice, whoever you are and

whatever you’re doing. I’m

not so sure, however, about

‘Take That’. I mention this

because, in one of many travel

supplements recently, I read

that singer, Gary Barlow, has

been appointed by P & O as

musical director of ‘an intimate

late-night music bar’ on

the 5,200 passenger liner Iona

cruising from Southampton

to the Norwegian fjords in

the summer. He will also join a trip to Spain and

Portugal apparently.

Intimate? With over 5,000 others on board? That

doesn’t sound very intimate to me! Now I don’t

want Gary’s Take That fans to take umbrage if

they’re reading this! The point I’m struggling to

make is that when I plan a holiday, whether it’s on

a ship or by air, I want it to be carefree and that I

believe is nigh impossible these days.

First there’s the packing. Then there’s intrusive

security at the airport, delayed flights and

crowded aircraft. A cruise? The more popular

these have become, the ships are getting bigger,

destinations more crowded and don’t forget

changing weather patterns.

The Bay of Biscay has always had a bad reputation

for seafarers. Very recently, Sylvia and I

were returning from a foreshortened visit to the

Canary Islands aboard Fred Olsen’s Braemar. For

the final four days, heading home to Southampton,

we were subjected to force 9/10 sea

conditions which Croatian captain, Jozo Glavic,

described as a ‘force majeure’.

Batten down the hatches,

Gary, is my advice as you and

your intimate music bar head

for the Lofoten Islands and

don’t forget the Kwells!

So holidays at home again in

2020? In good ol’ carefree

Lewes? Well I don’t know

about carefree but it is

certainly a caring town and I

have recent evidence of this.

At a meeting of the Riverside

Club a few weeks back, we

presented my radio play about

illustrator, Raymond Briggs, to an appreciative

audience of senior citizens.

This time it was on behalf of the Chestnut Tree

House charity, and at the end one charming lady

came up to me and politely asked where the ‘collecting

box’ was. When I said that we, the players,

received no fee for our thespian endeavours, she

insisted on handing me a monetary note which

I gratefully accepted and added to the money

already raised. Unusually for me, I didn’t get her

name but she did say that she was a Viva Lewes

reader, so let me now thank her for caring.

On a very sad note, one member of our small cast

was unable to make the afternoon performance

because, we learned, he was very ill in a Brighton

hospital. I only knew Derek Watts, theatre

director, writer and good citizen of Lewes, for

a few short years. He enjoyed his announcing

role with us and Stephen, Kevin and I valued his

professional participation, freely given. Derek

subsequently died on January 16.

John Henty

37


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ON THIS MONTH: MUSICAL

Sweeney Todd

Michelle Dennis on the Demon Barber

If your concept of a musical

is something fluffy,

cheesy and superficial,

think again. The characters

in Stephen Sondheim’s

Sweeney Todd are believable,

the plot is exhilarating, unpredictable

and moving. It’s a

meaningful, thought-provoking piece of theatre.

This is the third Sondheim musical I’ve

been involved in with LOS Musical Theatre

since joining three years ago. I’ve had roles in

Into the Woods and Follies and now I’m excited to

be directing.

So you could say I’m a big fan of Sondheim,

who is a brilliant storyteller. His lyrics are clever

and incredibly insightful. I love how he draws

really credible characters: most of them are

deeply flawed, which makes them true and relatable.

For Sweeney Todd, he wrote the music and

the lyrics. It’s a masterpiece.

Sondheim based this version on a 1973

Christopher Bond play, itself an adaptation of

the famous mid-nineteenth-century pennydreadful

melodrama. It’s fascinating because it

explores the reasons behind Sweeney Todd’s

obsessive, violent behaviour. The story starts at

a point where he’s a broken man, confronting

personal tragedy. It’s fiction, and it is extreme

– especially the meat pies – but it makes you realise

what can happen when someone is badly let

down by society. Although it’s set in the 1860s it

feels very relevant.

Don’t be put off by the Tim Burton film

version, which dwells on the blood-and-guts

horror element of the story. There’s far more

to it than that. There are themes of corruption

and abuse of power that set a personal story

in a political context. And

there’s plenty of humour too,

especially from Mrs Lovett,

who is played for us, gloriously,

by Gina Cameron.

Sweeney is portrayed by

Thomas Hackett, an accomplished

performer with

a powerful stage presence. He’s being taught to

handle a wet razor by our sponsors, The Barber

Shop in the Riverside!

As we speak, we’re coming into the final

phase of rehearsals. The company of 34 actors

has been working really hard, especially on the

vocals. We’re lucky to have a talented and very

experienced professional Musical Director, Rob

Cousins making sure we do justice to what is

a beautiful score. He’ll also conduct our live

orchestra of nine musicians.

We rehearse in the Market Tower and only

gain access to the Town Hall a week before

opening night. Once we’re in we create a theatre

from scratch, so the stage, wings and lighting rig,

not to mention scenery are built almost overnight.

It’s a team effort, a great creative process.

Some of our company have been working

in operatic theatre in Lewes for many years,

since the long-gone Gilbert and Sullivan days.

The society is now called LOS Musical Theatre

to reflect a varied, modern repertoire which attracts

professional actors and younger members.

The most recent production, last October, was

Grease, which was a sell-out, and a huge success.

That has put the wind in our sails, setting a high

standard we’re determined to emulate.

As told to Alex Leith

Lewes Town Hall, March 31st-April 4th,

losmusicaltheatre.org.uk

Photo by Tom Freeman

39


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ON THIS MONTH: TALK

Fiona Sampson

On the human heart

When I phone to interview

Fiona Sampson ahead of

her talk at The Lewes Lit

I’m curious about what she

will choose to discuss – will

it be biography, translation,

the relationship between

the lyric in poetry and music,

portraits of limestone

country or poetry itself? She could choose any of

these and more, as she’s an award-winning poet,

writer, broadcaster and critic and has published

27 books, translated into 37 languages, and her

most recent poetry collection, her eighth, Come

Down, came out in February.

I’m very pleased to discover that she’s chosen to

talk about biography as I’ve just finished reading

In Search of Mary Shelley, which was serialised on

Radio 4, and received outstanding reviews, and

I loved it. She says she has “just signed off the

proofs for a new biography of Elizabeth Barrett

Browning which will be out in 2021”, so there’s

lots to talk about.

“Mary Shelley’s life story is an extraordinary

one”, says Fiona. She explains Mary eloped at

the age of 16 with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley,

experienced debt, infidelity and the deaths of

three of her children – and, while still a teenager,

moving house every month or so at home and

abroad, wrote Frankenstein. What makes her so

extraordinary, says Fiona, is that she’s not only

one of a very small number of women writers

of the time, she not only invents the genre of

Science Fiction singlehanded but she invites her

audience to think about philosophical questions

through her characters. Her scientist protagonist,

Frankenstein, without thought of the

consequences, creates a

man-like creature who is

brought to life not-quite

human. The question is

raised, what makes one

human? In the novel, as

opposed to later films, the

creature is portrayed as

superhuman. He teaches

himself to talk, read and reason, thereby achieving

humanity but then commits murders. Mary

Shelley, the daughter of two philosophers, asks

us to consider if the creature has moral agency.

Is he responsible for his actions?

I ask Fiona what she likes about writing biography.

“I’m interested in people-watching”, she

says, “and in looking at the political context of

the time. There’s lots of reading involved for

background, both in other academic works and

in original texts, and I also enjoy the detective

work of finding evidence in archives, letters,

journals and so on and piecing it all together”.

The level of detail needed in the research is

extraordinary, she says, even down to finding out

about the weather of the time including sunspot

activity and a volcanic eruption which lowered

the average temperature by two degrees affecting

crops, livelihoods and causing torrential

rain and frosts in August. “What is ultimately

interesting though,” says Fiona, “is not to create

a version of a costume drama but to find out not

what is different about these lives from our own

but to see in them what is the same – which is

to say something important about the human

heart.” Janet Sutherland

The Lewes Lit, March 10th, 7.30pm, All Saints.

lewesliterarysociety.co.uk

Photo by Ekaterina Voskresenskaya

41


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03030039940


ON THIS MONTH: TALK

Polly Toynbee

The cost of austerity

Polly Toynbee is one of the speakers at this

month’s Lewes Speakers Festival, which

coincides with publication this month of her

latest book, co-written with David Walker.

Called The Lost Decade: 2010-2020, and What

Lies Ahead for Britain, it shines a light on our

‘devastating’ times.

“I don’t think people realise quite how remarkably

terrible the last ten years have been”, she

tells me. “Certainly, no other decade in my

lifetime – I was born in 1946 – has come close.

There’s been no time like it since the Napoleonic

War – where wages and living standards

have gone backwards.

“Little by little we progress; this has been the

decade when that hasn’t happened. And it’s been

a shock. And a lot of deprivation is invisible. You

have to look to find it. We think of ‘hard times’,

and expect to see doleful dole queues. But

today there’s high employment; it’s just people

are earning very little. There are over 4m poor

children in working households…”

Polly and David published a book ten years ago,

in 2010, called The Verdict: Did Labour Change

Britain? “This”, she says, “was to record

what Labour had done – both good and

bad. We travelled the length of the country

talking to people about how their

lives had changed. Now we retraced our

steps. Mostly, what we heard was about

people running hard to stay still. Not

collapsing – but finding it hard. We

heard what Universal Credit is

doing to families. And we used our

2010 findings as a benchmark

against which to measure 2020.

Not one gain has been made.”

So why, I ask, has this decade been so bad? Why

now? “The disaster of the financial crash was

then infinitely worsened by austerity,” is her

response. “George Osborne cut back when he

needed to borrow and spend. It turned into a

vicious downward spiral. The question now is

how long will it take to get us back? There’s been

a huge rise in the numbers of children in care

– because there are fewer and fewer services to

prop up families – and £12bn cuts in benefits.”

Polly also talks of our “dangerous weariness

with democracy itself.” This she finds profoundly

worrying. “We take democracy for granted,

and underappreciate its value. We treat voting

like shopping, and throw up our hands when we

don’t get what we want. It’s juvenile. And Trump

I think has traded on this ‘anti-politics’ a lot.”

So, what are the bright spots? “Our last chapter

is devoted to examples of things that are working,

and proving transformative,” she says.

“The top-performing school in London is in

Newham, a deprived area. It still has a Sure

Start scheme, nurturing families from a baby’s

birth, until they’re 11. So, mothers, many

of whom don’t speak English, are

encouraged into the school community

on day one; the headteacher, who’s

been there 20 years, is brilliant. And

the results are stunning. It’s not

impossible, it’s not rocket science.

We know what works. It’s about

finding the will to apply it.”

Charlotte Gann

Lewes Speakers Festival,

21st-22nd March.

speakersfestivals.com/lewesspeakers-festival

43



ON THIS MONTH: MUSIC

The Dream of

Gerontius

The more the merrier

The massed ranks of East Sussex Community

Choir (90 singers), East Sussex Bach Choir (40),

Brighton Orpheus Choir (10), and players from

the Musicians of All Saints (44), will gather

in St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton this

month, to perform a momentous choral work:

Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. Conductor Nick

Houghton tells me about the plot of the piece,

a heavily abridged version of a poem by John

Henry Newman, written in 1865.

“It’s a story of a man dying, Gerontius. In the

first half he’s taken towards the next world.

Part two opens and he’s in a dream, he doesn’t

know where he is. His guardian angel takes

him on a journey to meet God, and on the way

he meets… DEMONS”, (Nick emphasises the

word for dramatic effect), “who have a deep,

earthy sound, and aspire to become saints. Then

there’s this big moment where he meets God:

nothing’s said, it’s just a magnificent orchestral

climax. The angel says ‘we’re about to meet

God’ and the orchestra starts very quietly: a

lovely, huge build up, a massive chord, ending

with Gerontius being judged, and yelling to be

taken away into Purgatory.”

The programme will include the words, so the

audience will be able to follow the story, and the

“imposing, vast” environs of St Bartholomew’s

Church should help give the evening an epic

feel. “There are certain types of music that work

well in St Bart’s: the slow grandeur of Gerontius

will be fantastic in there. And we’ll be using the

organ at the back end as well, played by our

accompanist Andrew Wilson, a lawyer at the

University of Brighton by day.”

Local connections abound. Gerontius will be

sung by Lewes-based tenor Paul Austin Kelly,

while the part of the Angel will be played by

mezzo soprano Rebecca Leggett, an ex-student

of both Nick’s and ESBC conductor John Hancorn.

“She is now at Trinity College London as a

singing student; she’s got a fabulous voice and it

was so lovely to give her a chance to do this.”

Gerontius holds some significance for Nick

too: it was the “first big choral work” that he

conducted. “When I was conducting a choir in

Croydon, we did a performance in Croydon Parish

Church, on April 1st 2000, almost 20 years

ago to the day of this performance. I’d done

lots of smaller things but this one was quite the

experience.” Nick hopes that the audience in St

Bart’s will be similarly “impressed and moved.

It’s a simple story, but very emotional: I want

them to feel that they’ve gone on a journey”.

It seems that many singers yearn to go on the

journey too. “I kept meeting people who’d say

‘ooh I hear you’re doing Gerontius, I’d love to

sing it again’. I said ‘come and sing, the more the

merrier’.” Joe Fuller

St Bartholomew’s Church, Brighton, 21st, 7.30pm,

eastsussexcommunitychoir.org

Photo by Rachael Edwards

45


JO O’SULLIVAN

Will you write me

a letter Jo?

I am asked this question from time to

time. Will I set out someone’s complaint

in writing? The quick answer is No.

Why?

It’s because writing a letter is not just

writing a letter. What happens in reality

is that I would take instructions and

then write something in draft. The client

would then comment on it and I would

amend. The client then does a final

check. Then it gets emailed/posted off. I

am sure you can see the disadvantages

of this:

1. It takes time. So, the situation may

have changed by the time a letter

arrives. Then we wait for a response

which takes the same amount of time

again. This delay will cause problems.

2. A lawyer is usually paid by the time it

takes to do something (unless you fix a

fee). So, this is an expensive route.

Of course, there are times when a letter

is legally necessary (take my individual

legal advice). But mostly all that’s needed

is taking time to sort out feelings and to

start making progress with a settlement.

How?

That’s easy. A ‘round the table’ solution,

which is really what I’m offering.

Mediation (around an actual table or on

Skype/Zoom)

Round table meetings

Collaborative practice

Hybrid Mediation

These options are usually cheaper and

quicker. They focus on what you both

think your family needs to move forward.

You make the decisions together: not

always easy, but very doable.

So, no I won’t write you a letter but I will

sit down with you (one way or another)

and sort things out.

Please call to discuss what might be the best process for you

on 07780676212 or email jo@osullivanfamilylaw.com

For more details about how I work visit

www.osullivanfamilylaw.com


ON THIS MONTH: FAMILY

Family fun on the Railway Land

and a repurposed signal box

Hidden away in the heart of Lewes is the 27-

acre site of the Railway Land Nature Reserve.

And it’s recently become accessible to a wider

range of people, thanks to the latest development

of the Egrets Way.

The broad, wheelchair and buggy-friendly path

will eventually run from Newhaven to Lewes,

(following the course of the River Ouse, before

detouring inland via Kingston, Swanborough

and Iford and rejoining the river at Rodmell).

The route now includes a section through the

Railway Land, the opening of which will be celebrated

with a family fun day on 22nd March.

“There will be a range of family-friendly activities

on offer,” says Helen Meade, programme

co-ordinator of the Railway Land Wildlife

Trust, which manages the nature reserve. “We

want to make people realise how much there is

to see and do here, and how accessible it now

is. One of the things we will be doing is lending

people lenses that clip to cameras on mobile

phones, and encouraging them to go out and

take photos that show things from a different

perspective: long distance, fish-eye view etc.

“The Railway Land is just a stone’s throw from

the town centre, and, for such a small nature

reserve, we have a huge mosaic of wildlife habitats,

with woodlands, reed beds, chalk streams,

ponds, ditches, wildflower meadows and water

meadows.”

“There is so much to see here,” agrees Helen’s

colleague, Jackie Ralph, “and now even more

people can enjoy it. The newly-concreted part

is great for wheelchairs and buggies, and we can

now offer supported walks through the nature

reserve to people who need help.”

Those keen to visit regularly, and to offer support

to the Railway Land Wildlife Trust, can

become Friends of Railway Land. One benefit

of membership, says Helen, is access to the

newly repurposed Signal Box, which has been

restored and repainted to become a wildlife hide.

A flap in its side now allows views over the water

meadows that extend down to the River Ouse,

and which are home to a host of wildlife.

“The water meadows are one of the most

biodiverse areas of the nature reserve,” explains

Helen. “People will be able to see the herons

and egrets that live there, as well as the peregrine

falcons that nest on the cliffs opposite.

We’ve built up the hedgerows around the Signal

Box to attract smaller birds too, and we’ve put

up swift and swallow boxes. We’ve also made the

loft into a bat loft – so, if you’re there at dusk,

you might see bats as well!”

“Every time you visit, you discover something

new,” adds Jackie. “You never get bored...”

Anita Hall

Family fun afternoon, 22nd March, 2-5pm.

railwaylandproject.org

Photo by Anita Hall

47


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BlacKkKlansman

Ash is Purest White

Film ’20

Dexter Lee’s cinema round-up

RIP Michael Voigt, who did so much to teach

so many Lewesians the nuances of film making.

For many years Michael, who passed away after

a long illness, on January 28th, ran a popular

after-school film club for Lewes Priory students.

Latterly, aided by his wife Ann, he has held a

monthly screening and talk at Depot Cinema,

shedding light on what set the great directors

apart. The last in his latest Film Club screenings

takes place on March 18th, with an introduction

using Michael’s screen notes. The chosen film is

the 1941 movie The Little Foxes, by meticulous

director William Wyler. It stars Bette Davis as

a ruthless Southern cotton mill owner. Carmen

Slijpen tells me that Depot Cinema are looking

into ways to honour Michael’s association with

the cinema. He will be greatly missed.

Robert Senior’s Western season comes to a conclusion

in March: on the 1st there’s a screening of

Clint Eastwood’s multiple Oscar-winning 1992

revisionist western Unforgiven; on the 8th we have

the Coen brothers’ 2007 adaptation of Cormac

McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men, set in

80s Texas. This film is followed by a discussion by

the Cinema of the Mind group.

The Depot’s Japanese film season concludes

in March. On the 3rd there’s the languid 2018

coming-of-age love-triangle movie And Your Bird

Can Sing, by up-and-coming talent Shô Miyake;

on the 5th it’s the documentary debut of Naoko

Nobutumo, I Go Ga-Ga, My Dear, chronicling

the travails of her nonagenarian parents, battling

with Alzheimer’s and ill health.

On the 5th there’s the latest in the book-to-film

season, Frank Darabont’s adaptation of a 1982

Stephen King novella, The Shawshank Redemption,

starring Tim Robbins. Later that day we

have the latest offering from the Kino Club,

the 2019 American satire Greener Grass, already

a cult classic.

There are a couple of movies from the Golden

Age of Hollywood: on the 7th, The Lewes Lit are

showing the 1933 horror classic Frankenstein, with

Boris Karloff setting the cinematic mould for the

much portrayed monster; this is a prelude to the

talk on the 10th at the All Saints of Mary Shelley

biographer Fiona Sampson (see page 41). And

on the 8th, to mark International Women’s Day,

screenwriter and author Helen Jacey introduces

Michael Curtiz’ 1945 seminal noir classic Mildred

Pierce, starring Joan Crawford.

In a month that’s chock-full of interesting

one-offs it’s worth mentioning the documentary

Everybody Flies (12th), about the toxic air we

breathe in aeroplanes; Talking About Trees (preceded

by a Supper Club meal), a documentary

examining the demise of the Sudanese cinema

industry, and a red gala premiere of the locally

shot horror Carmilla, directed by Emily Harris,

who will be attending the screening, along with

cast members and crew.

Finally, Lewes Film Club continues to take us

around the world in 90 minutes at the All Saints,

with the Chinese thriller Ash is Purest White

(6th), Spike Lee’s Colorado-set Cannes Grand-

Prix-winning return to form BlacKkKlansman

(13th) and Lance Daley’s 2018 period drama, set

during the Irish Famine, Black ’47 (20th).

49


Featured Artist:

Gabrielle Lord

16th March to 5th April

Original Art in the Heart of Sussex

Artist-run gallery

Open everyday 10am to 5pm

Chalk Gallery

4 North Street

Lewes BN7 2PA

01273 474477

chalkgallerylewes.co.uk


ON THIS MONTH: FESTIVAL

AltPitch

Technology meets art in Hastings

The idea for a new arts and

technology festival in Hastings,

AltPitch, sprang from

Executive Producer Anastasia

Witts – also director of

the digital communication

agency Artist Digital – wanting

“to make people think

about technology in a more

responsible way”. She recalls

a conversation with someone who monitors air

quality for environmental reasons. Rather than

delivering figures in a spreadsheet to the council,

Anastasia suggested making a public artwork.

“Make an artwork out of it, put a projection on a

big wall somewhere and show people as they pass

by what air they’re breathing in. This will penetrate

them immediately. That’s what art does.”

AltPitch’s key event is The Platform, an opportunity

for artists and businesses to meet and share

ideas (Fri 20th March in East Sussex College,

Hastings). “It’s not about sponsorship. We want to

invite businesses so we can look at their ideas and

needs. We cannot solve modern problems in their

complexity without approaching them creatively.”

There will be a selection of presentations,

discussions and hands-on workshops to choose

from by local, national and international

speakers; tickets cost £35 (including lunch) but

there are 25 free tickets available for under 25s.

Participants include Esther Fox, an international

Hastings-based artist who’s “going to debate

about what technology can offer to disabled people.

She works in VR and one of her works will

be exhibited in Hastings Library.” And there will

be a live podcast recording with Brandon Relph,

from Eastbourne. “He earned a fortune from

his bedroom when he was 15, making videos

for Minecraft. He’s 19 now,

and is investing his money

in creating a production

company. He is very good

at engaging young people.

We’re hoping that the

artists who come and make

connections through The

Platform might be our

subjects next year.”

The following weekend (27th to 29th) sees

three shows come to St Mary in the Castle,

“which all have an international dimension, as

well as some fringe events. #echochamber is a

contemporary opera exploring the relationship

between real life and social media, presented by

a Manchester-based composer and an Icelandic

opera company. There will be a live Twitter feed

which the audience can contribute to, hopefully

nothing too profane!”

Whist is a VR production: “a dance performance

which explores family relationships by a Kentbased

company, coming to Hastings directly

after touring Paris”. Beyond Belief (pictured),

meanwhile, “is more traditional theatre, which

explores life and death in the digital climate.”

Tickets are available individually, or you can buy

a Festival Ticket for all three for £30. Under 20s

can attend any show for free.

“We want to present unusual, unheard of things

in Hastings. When we present art on residents’

doorsteps, it’s not just a possibility for locals to

see a show. It’s a possibility for them to think,

‘well if this is happening in Hastings, in Sussex,

what can I do?’ Creativity and big ideas are not

just something for big cities, they are for everyone.”

Joe Fuller

Full programme and more info at altpitch.org

51


ON THIS MONTH: ART

Shani Rhys James

Tea on the sofa, blood on the carpet

Heartbreak and tension lurk beneath the surface

of polite domesticity in a new exhibition at

Charleston. Tea on the sofa, blood on the carpet

brings together recent works by the world renowned,

Jerwood Prize winning Welsh painter

Shani Rhys James. On these vast canvases,

scenes from the artist’s past play out again

through the distorting mirror of memory in an

expressionistic, somewhat abstracted style. Several

are blood red and convey a surreal, almost

horror movie intensity while, in others, huge

gimlet-eyed faces silently accuse us. In Rhys

James’s world, ‘domestic’ is emphatically never

shorthand for ‘pretty’ or ‘comforting’.

Rhys James was born in Australia in the 1950s

but moved to the UK in her childhood, a

dislocation that seems to have affected her

profoundly. ‘I’m trying to make sense of my

own personal mythology’, she mused in a recent

documentary. One picture, Glass of Water visits

Rhys James’s mother in bed after a stroke, her

face radiating fear and helplessness. The bed in

which she cowers, metal-framed and somewhat

cage-like, has transformed from a refuge into a

prison. It’s powerful stuff.

Alongside the intensity in this show, however,

it’s worth saying that there’s plenty of beauty on

display – albeit of a slightly wild and untethered

variety. Rhys James’s sense of colour is keenest in

a brace of flower paintings, one of which, Boy and

Bouquet, is a highlight of the show. The blooms

fill the onlooker’s field of vision with paint so

thick they seem to cast their own shadows.

The show has been carefully chosen for Charleston,

and provides an interesting dialogue with the

main collection. The neighbouring gallery offers

a small display examining the work of former

Charleston residents Duncan Grant and Vanessa

Bell, whose own complicated family dynamics

play out across colourful canvases depicting,

Left: Glass of Water (2017). Right: Boy and Bouquet (2017).

Both courtesy the artist and Connaught Brown

52


Oil of Ulay 2 (2018) courtesy the artist and Connaught Brown

much as in Rhys James’s work, interior scenes

with flower vases and decorative wallpaper.

Rhys James herself also makes the point that in

the main farmhouse, which is preserved as a time

capsule of the Bloomsbury group, ‘the chairs, the

bowls, the plates, the table were all aesthetically

chosen and became part of their painting.’ Her

dramas are likewise presented in domestic spaces

in which bowls and glasses, kettles and jars assume

totemic, oftentimes frightening significance.

In several pieces, for example, the artist depicts

pots of her mother’s beloved anti-wrinkle cream.

These are steeped in pathos: impotent weapons

against time’s unstoppable march. In one such

work, Oil of Ulay 2, Rhys James appears to have

scratched lines into the paint with the other end

of the brush, in a kind of impassioned counterassault

against her mother’s desire to apply balm

and make everything smooth.

These are intensely physical pictures, best

enjoyed in the flesh. They are wilfully confrontational,

deliberately provoking a certain

discomfort in the viewer, while simultaneously

offering a cathartic, even uplifting experience.

We connect to Rhys James’s passion. She returns

us to our own domestic worlds, our senses

sharpened. It’s an engaging exhibition, and a

rare chance to enjoy the work of one of Britain’s

most exciting living painters.

Peter James Field

Until 19th April, charleston.org.uk

Photo of Shani Rhys James in her studio © Graham CopeKoga

53


Open Sundays and Thursdays from Sunday 5th April

We are delighted to announce the new season

at Farleys House & Gallery begins on Sunday 5th

April and that in 2020 we will be open to visitors

every Sunday and Thursday 10am - 3.30pm until 29th October

Advance tours, events and workshop tickets

are available to book online now

We look forward to welcoming you to Farleys

GRAND OPENING EVENT

Thursday 9th April 6.30pm - 9.30pm

Please see website for details

www.farleyshouseandgallery.co.uk

Muddles Green, Chiddingly

East Sussex, BN8 6HW

Tel: 01825 872856

@ FarleysHG

TOWNER Eastbourne

Alan Davie

and

David Hockney

Early Works

15 February to 31 May 2020

Devonshire Park, BN21 4JJ

@TownerGallery

#EastbourneALIVE

www.townereastbourne.org.uk

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


ART

ART & ABOUT

In town this month

Encounters – a solo exhibition of new works by Julian Le Bas – is

at Lewes House from the 7th-15th (10am-5pm). Born in 1958,

Julian is a master of plein air painting and has been capturing the

light rolling across the Sussex Downland for decades. This exhibition

features familiar local vistas, as well as seascapes and landscapes

from the Scilly Isles and still life paintings and drawings.

sarahokane.co.uk

Cliffs at Peacehaven Early Spring by Julian Le Bas

Dancers with Leaf (detail) by

Gabrielle Lord

The showcase of abstract paintings by Rue Asher continues at Chalk Gallery

until March 15th. From the 16th, the featured artist is Gabrielle Lord. A

member of the long-running Star Life Drawing Group for a number of years,

expect observational charcoal drawings and multi-layered acrylic paintings full

of interwoven patterns and surface textures. Dancers, birds and animals are all

recurring themes, as is the exploration of what makes us feel at home: people,

places and everyday objects. Continues until the 5th April. (Open seven days a

week 10am–5pm. chalkgallerylewes.co.uk)

A much-loved exhibition space re-opens in town this month. The

Star Brewery Gallery launches on 28th March with an exhibition

of work by three exceptional local artists: Andrew Fitchett, Tom

Benjamin and Peter Messer – the first time the trio have shown

together in many years. Gallery director and artist Neeta Pedersen

has plans to revitalise the gallery’s reputation as a significant regional

visual arts venue and will be staging a range of solo and group

shows by established and emerging artists. (Opening times Tues-Sat

10.30am-5pm, Sunday 12noon-4pm. starbrewerygallery.com)

0ut of town

East Sussex College Lewes have teamed up with Fabrica gallery in Brighton

to create an exhibition entitled WE ARE HERE. The work on show includes

painting, sculpture and photography all responding to the theme of climate

change and all created by students studying for the Art & Design Extended

Diploma. The exhibition is free to visit and open for two days only on

Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th March (10am-4pm).

55


Encounters

7th - 15 March 2020

New Paintings

by Julian Le Bas

Lewes House

32 High Street

Lewes

BN7 2LX

Open daily 10am - 5pm

Sarah O’Kane Contemporary Fine Art | sarahokane.co.uk

SUSSEX ARTS COLLECTIVE

at

COLLECTIONS 2020 ONE

Open until Thurs 19 March

Monday to Saturday

10:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday 12:00 - 3:00pm

Closed on Wednesdays

Crypt Gallery, 23 Church Street, Seaford,

BN25 1HD, www.thecryptgallery.com


ART

ART & ABOUT

Out of town (cont.)

Kemptown Secret Garden

Alongside the fascinating collection of bones and birds, the Booth

Museum of Natural History in Brighton hosts a stunning selection of

wildlife photographs. The 12 images were shortlisted from more than

600 entries for the Sussex Wildlife Trust 2020 online calendar, and

capture local flora and fauna including roe deer, little owlets and marine

and woodland landscapes. Download a new image each month from

sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk. Entry to

the Booth Museum is free, see brightonmuseums.org.uk/booth for

opening times. Also free to visit in Brighton for two weekends this

month is Kemp Town’s wonderful Secret Garden. Usually hidden

behind high walls and locked gates, don’t miss the chance to enjoy

some tea and cake on the terrace on the 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th

March. (11am till 5pm, secretgardenkemptown.co.uk )

Photo by Paul Boyland

Festival season has begun. AltPitch is in Hastings this month

(20th, 27th and 29th), merging the arts, technology and business

communities to help “people think about technology in

a more responsible way”, with free tickets on offer for under

20s (see page 51). Tickets are on sale for this year’s Brighton

Festival (2nd-24th May), with guest director Lemn Sissay

inviting us to join the Imagine Nation and enter a ‘cornucopia

of music, theatre, literature, art and dance’ (see page 25). As we

go to press, the full line up for the 31st Charleston Festival

(15th-25th May) is still under wraps, but we do know that literary giant Salman Rushdie, Booker

Prize-winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo and the ‘world’s most famous feminist’ Gloria Steinem

will be taking centre stage. Priority booking is underway and general ticket sales open on the 5th

March – with 1,000 £10 tickets available for festival goers aged under 30.

#echochamber at AltPitch festival

The exhibition of early works by Alan Davie and David

Hockney continues at Towner Gallery. Comprising 45

paintings, collages and drawings made between 1948 and

1965, the exhibition explores the convergence between

these two major figures of post-war British painting,

tracing their parallel paths and shared preoccupations

with passion, love, sex and poetry. Brink – an exhibition

of works from the Towner’s own collection, curated by

Caroline Lucas – continues alongside.

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

57


Edith Kent, First Woman to receive equal pay (1943) November 2009

Odaline de la Martinez, First Woman to conduct the BBC Proms, May 2014

Hope Powell CBE, First Woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence, March 2011

100 First Women Portraits

Anita Corbin’s project of a lifetime

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

has just unveiled a new

exhibition celebrating

100 pioneering women of the

21st century, from beatboxing

champions to bomb detection

experts, blast furnace managers

to boardroom CEOs.

Its creator, photographer Anita

Corbin, talks to Viva about realising

the project of a lifetime.

I’ve been a photographer all

my life, and as I approached

my 50th birthday in 2008, I

started asking myself, ‘What

was I going to leave behind?

What would be my photographic

legacy?’

I wanted to mark the centenary

of Women in the UK

winning the ‘right to vote’

with a celebratory collection

of 100 iconic portraits of

trailblazing women who were

first in their field. Focusing on

women from all walks of life, all

ages and races, it was my dream

assignment and I spent the next

decade travelling 100,000 miles

around the country in search of

these modern pioneers.

The idea came to me like

a bolt of lightning, but then

followed much research and

writing to First Women. It was

often a case of finding a lead,

and then charming my way

through or around the gatekeepers:

not always easy!

I knew that it was important

to include women in the

Armed Forces, and it took

several years of persistence and

patience until the MOD offered

me a list of their Firsts in 2015.

It seemed as though there was a

new understanding: if they were

going to encourage women to

join up, they needed to show

women in these roles.

Baroness Boothroyd, the

first female Speaker of the

House of Commons, wrote

back to my request straight

away – by hand. I went to

meet her at the Houses of Parliament

and she was so charismatic

– beautifully dressed

and totally in command. While

setting up her picture with

Big Ben in the background, I

had to get down on one knee.

I used it as an opportunity to

propose, rather cheekily, asking

if she would be my Patron. She

agreed immediately and has

been a constant source of support

and advice ever since.

Some of the women were

58


ON THIS MONTH: EXHIBITION

Elspeth Beard, First Woman (UK) to ride a motorcycle around the

world, May 2015

Kelly Gallagher, CBE. First Woman to win British Winter Paralympic

Gold, November 2016

Rt Hon. Baroness Betty Boothroyd OM PC, First Woman Speaker of the

House of Commons, April 2010

surprised when I asked to

photograph them. Kim Cotton,

the first woman to be a surrogate

mum back in 1985, said:

‘Why would you want me? I’m

just someone who had a baby.’

There were a few Firsts that

I didn’t capture, like architect

Zaha Hadid who sadly passed

away a week before our booked

session. Helen Sharman didn’t

want to be remembered as the

first female astronaut because

she was more proud of being

the first British astronaut. And

Margaret Thatcher never responded

to my request: I think

she wanted to be remembered

as a Prime Minister, not the

first female Prime Minister.

But 95 per cent of those

I approached – once I’d

contacted them – said yes

straight away. I think they

felt they had a responsibility

to show how far we as women

have come and to be role

models for the next generation.

It was never about ego; it was

much bigger than that. All the

women shared a great sense of

humour and sense of perspective;

they were confident in

their abilities without taking

themselves too seriously.

I’ve had to remortgage my

house to fund this project. I

tried to get funding but, while

corporations were interested,

none actually came up with

the money. And I didn’t want

to compromise after ten years’

work. The portraits are life size

and immersive: over a metre

high; without glass or mount,

the photograph comes right up

to the edge of the frame. I want

the viewer to feel as though the

women are walking out to meet

them and asking – in a friendly

way – ‘what are you going to be

first in?’ Nione Meakin

Anita Corbin: 100 First Women

Portraits is at Brighton Museum

& Art Gallery until June 7th,

brightonmuseums.org.uk

Monique Simmonds OBE, First Woman Director of the Kew Innovation

Unit, April 2014

Baroness Patricia Scotland PC QC, First Woman Attorney General,

July 2011

59


LOS MUSICAL THEATRE PRESENTS

THE DEMON BARBER

OF FLEET STREET

A MUSICAL THRILLER

Music and lyrics by

STEPHEN

SONDHEIM

Book by

HUGH

WHEELER

From an adaptation by

CHRISTOPHER BOND

Orchestrations by

JONATHAN TUNICK

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with

Music Theatre International (Europe). All authorised performance

materials are also supplied by MTI Europe www.mtishows.co.uk

Originally directed

on Broadway by

HAROLD PRINCE

Kindly sponsored by

The Barber Shop Lewes

in The Riverside

AT LEWES TOWN HALL

31st March - 4th April

Tuesday to Friday at 7.30pm

Saturday at 7.00pm

TICKETS FROM £12

CONCESSIONS FROM £10

Age guidance 12+

For tickets visit www.losmusicaltheatre.org.uk

For more information call 01273 480127


March listings

THURSDAY 5

Comedy at the Con. With Rob Deering,

Alasdair Beckett-King and Cressida Wetton.

Con Club, 7.30pm, £9-£12.

FRIDAY 6

Film: Ash is Purest White (15). Chinese

drama. All Saints, 8pm, £5/£2.50.

latest CD, featuring Cuckmere: A Portrait and

two other major works, will be available. All

Saints, 7.30pm, £10 (under 16s free).

SUNDAY 8

Storytelling Walk for International

Women’s Day. A gentle circular guided walk

starting/ending at Southease Station, with

stories that celebrate women. Led by local

storyteller and qualified lowland leader Nana

Tomova. Spaces limited to 12. 10am-2pm, see

nanatomova.com/guided-walks to book.

The Railway Land Wildlife Trust Tree

Summit. Bringing together landowners and

community groups to find ways that people

can secure areas to plant and manage woodlands

and increase local tree cover. Panel

discussions will include interactive planning.

The Linklater Pavilion, 10am-4pm, see

railwaylandproject.org.

Headstrong Club. Talk and discussion with

Mark Slater and Helen Frederick of Extinction

Rebellion on the climate emergency

and the case for non-violent direct action.

Elephant and Castle, 8pm, £3.

SATURDAY 7

Mind, Body, Spirit Festival. Healing therapies,

psychic readers, sacred art, artisan crafts

and vegan food. Lewes Town Hall, 10am-

4pm, free.

Cuckmere: A Portrait. Special screening

of Emmy award-winning film-maker Cesca

Eaton’s film, with a score by Lewes-based

composer Ed Hughes. The screening will be

followed by a Q&A with Ed Hughes, Cesca

Eaton, Tony Whitbread (President, Sussex

Wildlife Trust) and Trevor Beattie (Chief

Executive, South Downs National Park Authority)

chaired by local writer, musician and

Viva columnist Eleanor Knight. Ed Hughes’

MONDAY 9

Banged Up in Lewes: Criminal custody in

the County Town. Former County Archivist

Christopher Whittick will talk about the

history of Lewes Prison, and illuminate the

story of judicial custody in the County Town

going back centuries. King’s Church, Brooks

Road, 7pm for 7.30pm, £3/£1.

Digital photomontage – Inspiration and

Process. Lewes Camera Club Talk. St Mary’s

Supporters Club, Christie Road, 7.30pm, £5.

61


ON THIS MONTH

Perfect Nonsense

Jeeves & Wooster

The theatre was looking for a small cast play

– so I put this one forward. We all like a good

laugh and to be entertained, and I loved the TV

series back in the 80s, starring Stephen Fry and

Hugh Laurie. I was also drawn to the physical

comedy and challenge it would give both me, as

director, and the three actors.

I’m incredibly lucky to have Simon Hellier

and Alan Lade – both very established – and

Tom Messmer playing Bertie Wooster, the

youngest in the trio. The chemistry between all

three was so evident at the audition I feel I have

been blessed.

The play itself, written by David and Robert

Goodale, is relatively new. It’s called Perfect

Nonsense because it is: perfect in its description of

the various bonkers characters, and the utter nonsense

that pursues throughout – it’s a theatrical

delight, both to watch and for actors to perform.

We’ve had loads of fun, as a group, working

on it. I decided not to have too fixed an idea

of how each scene should play out – so early

rehearsals had a workshop feel. Yes, as director,

I needed to have an overall sense of what I

wanted to achieve, but by allowing us to try

out different approaches, it’s made for a rich

and entertaining process. Plus, we laugh a lot:

always a good thing. As told to Charlotte Gann by

Director Rebecca Warnett

21-28 March, lewestheatre.org. See also page 33.

Photo by Keith Gilbert

18–29 March

HASTINGS

ARE WE ASKING

ENOUGH QUESTIONS ?

www.altpitch.org


March listings (cont.)

TUESDAY 10

NT Live: Cyrano de Bergerac. James

McAvoy stars in a new adaptation of Cyrano

de Bergerac, broadcast live to cinemas from

the West End. Depot, 1pm, £20.

Dementia research open event. Short talks

on dementia and the latest research, handson

demos and discussions. AMEX Community

Stadium iTalk Lounge, 2.30pm-5pm,

free entry.

Specialist Collectables Valuation Event.

Antiques Roadshow style event run by Lockdales

auctioneers. Shelleys Hotel, 6pm-8pm,

free, see lockdales.com.

of talks to celebrate Jewish History Month

with Michael and Gordon Franks. The Keep,

3pm-5pm, £6.50.

Music and Dance in Remote Antiquity.

U3A public lecture by Dirk Campbell. Council

Chamber, Lewes Town Hall, 7pm, limited

to 75 unreserved, non-bookable seats, first

come, first served, doors open 6.30pm.

WEDNESDAY 18 – SATURDAY 21

The Habit of Art. Alan Bennett comedy

about a meeting between the poet WH

Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, see

eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

Fiona Sampson. The award-winning poet,

writer, broadcaster and critic speaks at Lewes

Lit. All Saints, 8pm, £10 (under 25s £5), see

page 41.

Harry Clayton-Wright: Sex Education.

Performance exploring how we learn about

sex and how it shapes our lives, presented in

association with The Marlborough Pub and

Theatre. Attenborough Centre for the Creative

Arts, 8pm, £10/£12.

SATURDAY 14

Trelawny of the ‘Wells’. Comic play with

four acts set in the 1860s, presented by

Lewes Drama Collective. All Saints, 3.30pm,

£7.50-£9.50.

TUESDAY 17

Life Drawing. Drop-in session, bring your

own materials. Lewes Arms, 7.30pm, £5 (also

on Tuesday 31).

WEDNESDAY 18

Jewish History in the Archives. Afternoon

WEDNESDAY 18 – SUNDAY 29

AltPitch Arts & Technology Festival. See

page 51 and altpitch.org for full programme

and more info.

FRIDAY 20

Malling, Lewes: An Anglo-Saxon Estate,

Christian Centre and Medieval Parish.

Lewes Archaeological Group talk by John

Bleach. Lewes Town Hall lecture room,

7.30pm, £4/£3, free for under 25s.

Film: BlacKkKlansman (15). Oscar and

BAFTA award winner. All Saints, 8pm,

£5/£2.50.

63


attenboroughcentre.com

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

A Perfect Night Out Awaits

The Croft

7 – 11 April

Alan Bennett’s

The Habit of Art

18 – 21 March

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

by D.H Lawrence

31 March – 4 April

The Kite Runner

28 April – 2 May

Malory Towers

19 – 23 May

Box Office 01323 412000 | eastbournetheatres.co.uk

EBTheatres


March listings (cont.)

SATURDAY 21

Repair Café. Take along damaged clothes,

broken electrical appliances, bicycles, china,

jewellery and more. Tea, coffee and cake available.

Landport Community Hub, BN7 2SU,

2pm-5pm, no charge made but donations are

welcome, see lewesrepaircafe.org.uk.

Carmina Ruinas. Musical drama with music

and songs about Lewes Priory, by Roland

Bryce. St Pancras Church, Kingston,

7.30pm, £10.

SATURDAY 21 & SUNDAY 22

Lewes Speakers Festival. A host of speakers

over the weekend including Steve Richards,

presenter of The Week in Westminster on BBC

Radio 4, Tom Watson, former Deputy Leader

of the Labour Party, Jack Straw, former Foreign

Secretary, Polly Toynbee, the star Guardian

columnist and many more. All Saints, see

speakersfestivals.com and page 43.

SATURDAY 21 – SATURDAY 28

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.

Play written by David and Robert Goodale,

based on the 1938 novel The Code of the

Woosters. Lewes Little Theatre, see lewestheatre.org

for times and prices. See page 63.

SUNDAY 22

The Railway Land Wildlife Trust. Celebration

of the opening of the signal box as repurposed

wildlife hide and the completion of

the part of the Egrets Way that runs through

the Railway Land. Activities, info stands and

refreshments. Linklater Pavilion and Railway

Land, 2pm-5pm, free. See page 47.

MONDAY 23

Photographing the night sky using a

DSLR camera. Lewes Camera Club talk

with John Fox. St Mary’s Supporters Club,

Christie Road, 7.30pm, £5.

TUESDAY 24

Death Café. Hosted conversations about

death and dying that ease fears and challenge

taboos. The Dorset, 12.30pm-2.30pm, free.

Film: Black ’47 (15). Drama set in Ireland

during the Great Famine. All Saints, 8pm,

£5/£2.50.

SATURDAY 28

Have a go day at Lewes Community Fire

Station. Try out some of the activities the

firefighters do on

a regular basis and

chat to the crews.

11am-2pm.

SATURDAY 28

& SUNDAY 29

Experiments with Live Literature. A

weekend of panel events and performances

with the focus variously on fairy tale, mental

health and works that inhabit the space

between live literature and theatre. All Saints,

see leweslivelit.co.uk.

TUESDAY 31

Film Quiz. Test your film knowledge against

the Depot staff, hosted by quiz master Jake

Harvey. Depot Gallery, 7.30pm, £4.

TUESDAY 31 – SAT 4 APRIL

Sweeney Todd. The Demon Barber of Fleet

Street comes to Lewes in the latest LOS

Musical Theatre production. Lewes Town

Hall, see losmusicaltheatre.org.uk for times

and prices, and page 39.

65


GIG OF THE MONTH:

SUSAN THE MIGHTY &

TERRY PACK’S TREES

Freelance music leader Lisa Guile has

recently started a music making strand at the

Oyster Project charity, which will see their

drama group making a film and composing

the soundtrack themselves. They hope to enter

the finished film in the Oska Bright Film

Festival in Brighton, and Lisa has arranged a

jazz double bill at Westgate to raise funds for

the Oyster Project.

She tells me about a “fantastic bit of circuitry

kit” called Makey Makey, which can turn

anything that conducts electricity – such as

a melon – into something that can control

music software. And about iPad apps which

now make music making “so accessible that

anyone can be a composer, immediately”.

Susan The Mighty – Lisa’s own duo, formed

with friend Rebecca Askew – will perform

first. “It’s very personal. Both of us, as musicians,

have been involved in a lot of projects

led by other people, but this feels like our

project. We’re writing the words, we’re writing

the music, we’re deciding how we want

to portray ourselves. It’s very pared down:

one song might be just voice, accompanied

by a clarinet, one might be saxophone, voice

and Rebecca using the double bass as a kind

of drum. We try to milk the musical possibilities

as much as we can.”

Lisa tells me that Rebecca is a “great communicator”

to audiences, with accessible

lyrics about issues that mean a lot to the duo,

and we discuss how having a vocalist can

make jazz concerts more appealing to those

wary of anything too avant-garde.

Terry Pack’s Trees, founded by the Brightonbased

composer and bassist, will then perform

after an interval. “We thought it would

work together as a nice show: Terry’s music

is new and interesting, at the same time as

being tuneful and groove-based.

“It’s an inclusive ensemble: there’s top

professionals of the area involved in the

project, including saxophonists Charlotte

Glasson and Julian Nicholas, but there’s also

some amateur musicians too. It will probably

be around eight musicians on the night:

the rhythm section will be bass, drums,

and keyboard or guitar, and then brass and

woodwind make up the rest of the band.

“The bar will be open throughout the whole

performance, it will be fine to go in and out

of the pews, very relaxed. But it’s also very

exciting: we’ve got two ensembles with all

original music, all trying to come up with

great new compositions.”

Joe Fuller

Sat 28th, Westgate Chapel, 7.30pm, £10 (£8

concessions), events.oysterproject.org.uk

66


GIG GUIDE: MARCH

SUNDAY 1

English dance tunes session – bring instruments.

Folk, English Trad. The Volunteer,

12pm, free

Lotte Pearl & Theo Howard. Two stars

from Starfish Academy. Lamb, 8pm, free

MONDAY 2

Nigel Price (guitar) with Terry Seabrook

Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free

TUESDAY 3

English dance tunes session – bring instruments.

Folk, English Trad. John Harvey

Tavern, 8pm, free

FRIDAY 6

Samaki. Afrobeat. Con Club, 8pm, £6 (members

free)

TJ Walker. Country. Lamb, 8pm, free

SUNDAY 8

South Coast Cool. Jazz band featuring Gabriella

Romano on vocals. Lamb, 8pm, free

MONDAY 9

Tina May (singer) with Terry Seabrook

Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free

TUESDAY 10

Concertinas Anonymous practice session.

Folk & Misc. Elephant & Castle, 8pm, free

Jack Rutter (Sat 14th)

SATURDAY 7

Femme Brûlée. DJ night. Lamb, 8pm, free

Mountain Firework Co. Folk/alt country.

Con Club, 8pm, £10

Narthen. Folk, English trad, four-part vocal

harmony. Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £10

Beats Workin’. DJ Set. Royal Oak, 9pm, free

THURSDAY 12

The Jonah Medal. Alt. Con Club, 7.30pm, £8

Owen Ridley. Comedy and music. Lamb,

8pm, free

FRIDAY 13

John Fairhurst. Heavy blues. Con Club,

7.30pm, £8 (members free)

Gyratory All Stars. Groove night. Lamb,

8pm, free

Narthen (Sat 7th)

SATURDAY 14

We Are Two! The Royal Oak’s second

birthday party. Two floor take-over with Lazy

Susan and Frolic. Royal Oak, free

Jack Rutter. Folk, British trad. Elephant &

Castle, 8pm, £7

John Crampton. Foot-stomping blues &

bluegrass. Lansdown, 8pm, free

Salsadelic. Lamb, 8pm, free

67


Short talks on dementia and latest research. Hands-on demos and

discussions. Free for all members of the public.

Date: Tuesday 10 th March 2020

Venue:

Time:

American Express Community Stadium

iTalk Lounge

2:30pm – 5:00pm

Short Talks and Activities 2.30-3.30

Presentations 3.30–4:30

Close 5.00

For further information please contact: L.C.Serpell@sussex.ac.uk or

M.Bukar-Maina@sussex.ac.uk or M.S.Yeoman@brighton.ac.uk

Free parking and good transport links: http://bit.ly/get-to-AMEX

Tea, coffee and refreshments provided.

Registration: http://bit.ly/2NJDs6c or call 01273678057

March Concert

Soloist: Rachel Fryer

Gershwin

Bernstein

Copland

Ives

Friday 27th March 7.30pm

TRINITY Centre St John sub Castro

Abinger Place, Lewes BN7 2QA

Info, tickets and prices visit:


GIG GUIDE: MARCH

SUNDAY 15

Jazzed Up Jacks. Lamb, 8pm, free

MONDAY 16

Sam Carelse (singer) with Terry Seabrook

Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free

FRIDAY 20

ChopChop + DJ. Live rap and groove.

Lamb, 8pm, free

Love Action DJs. 80s vinyl. Con Club, 9pm,

£4 (members free)

SATURDAY 21

Askew Sisters. Folk, English trad. Elephant

& Castle, 8pm, £10

Blox. Ian Dury & Blockheads tribute. Lamb,

8pm, free

SUNDAY 22

Night House. Album launch & live set.

Lamb, 8pm, free

SATURDAY 28

Starfish. Youth music. Con Club, 1pm,

price tba

Daoirì Farrell. Trad Irish songs, bouzouki.

Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £12

The Diablos. Country. Lamb, 8pm, free

Loose Caboose DJs. Northern soul. Con

Club, 7.30pm, £6

SUNDAY 29

No. 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra. Playing

tunes from around the world. St Mary’s

Social Centre, 2.30pm, £10/£8

Mike Newsham. Sundays in the Bar. Con

Club, 3.30pm, free

Live Dead ’69. Rock. Con Club, 7.30pm,

£20

MONDAY 30

Rob Luft (guitar) with Terry Seabrook

Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free

MONDAY 23

Chris Coull (trumpet) with Terry Seabrook

Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free

TUESDAY 24

Lewes Favourites English tunes practice

session. English trad. Elephant & Castle,

8pm, free

FRIDAY 27

Jake Morrell. Country. Con Club, 7.30pm,

£10

Afrolatinicity. Live percussion and DJ set.

Lansdown, 8pm, free

Supernatural Things. Funk, soul & blues.

Lamb, 8pm, free

Daoirì Farrell (Sat 28th)

69


CLASSICAL ROUND-UP: MARCH

FRIDAY 27 TH , 7.30PM

Lewes Concert Orchestra. If you listen to just about any

‘blockbuster’ film score these days you can hear the debt they

all owe to the great American composers of the 20th century.

And they’re fully represented in Lewes Concert Orchestra’s

March concert, in a programme that includes Aaron Copland’s

masterpiece Appalachian Spring and Leonard Bernstein’s Suite

of Dances from West Side Story. Topping the bill is pianist

Rachel Fryer (pictured) playing the solo in George Gershwin’s

Rhapsody in Blue. Rachel combines piano teaching and accompanying

with a career as a soloist, recently and most notably for her performances of Bach’s Goldberg

Variations. Come and enjoy some explosive and big-hearted music from across the pond.

Trinity St John Sub Castro, £10 in advance or £12 on the door. Under 18 and students £5.

lewesconcertorchestra.org

PICK

OF THE

MONTH

Photo by Paul Fox Photographic

SUNDAY 1 ST , 2.45PM

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra. Steven

Worbey & Kevin Farrell return to the Dome

with Rhapsody – a concert featuring their own

astonishing arrangements of classics including

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Addinsell’s

Warsaw Concerto. Virtuosity and high jinks.

Brighton Dome, £14.50-£42.50, 50% student/

U18 discount, 01273 709709. brightondome.org

SUNDAY 1 ST , 3PM

St Michael’s First Sunday Recitals. The new

season gets going with a recital by resident organist

Nick Houghton. St Michael’s Church, free

with retiring collection, stmichaelinlewes.org.uk

SATURDAY 7 TH , 7.45PM

Musicians of All Saints. Programme includes

first performances of works by Phil Baker and

Peta Crompton. Directed by Andrew Sherwood.

St Michael’s Church, £12 regular, £9

concession, under 18s free, mas-lewes.co.uk

SUNDAY 8 TH , 3PM

Seaford Music Society. Melvyn Tan and

Maggie Cole: two of the UK’s foremost

fortepianists playing together (four hands at one

piano) works by Mozart, Schubert and Debussy.

St Leonard’s Church Seaford, £15, under 26s

free, seafordmusicsociety.com

SUNDAY 15 TH & 29 TH , 4PM

Corelli Ensemble. Virtuoso Piers Adams joins

the Corelli ensemble to play the Sanmartini

Recorder Concerto in F and Ward Celtic Concerto.

Also featuring music by Telemann and Elgar. St

Pancras Church (15th), Seaford Baptist Church

(29th), £12 in advance, £14 door, children free.

corelliensemble.co.uk

FRIDAY 20 TH , 7.45PM

Nicholas Yonge Society. The acclaimed Trio

Con Brio Copenhagen return to Lewes to play

Bent Sørensen’s Phantasmagoria and works by

Beethoven and Shostakovich. Cliffe Building,

East Sussex College, Mountfield Road, £16, free

for 8-25 year-olds, available from Baldwins Travel,

on the door or at nyslewes.org.uk

SATURDAY 21 ST , 7.30PM

East Sussex Community Choir, East Sussex

Bach Choir and guests. Lewes’ two biggest

choirs plus guests from Brighton Orpheus

Choir and full orchestra present Elgar’s mighty

and moving Dream of Gerontius, with Paul

Austin Kelly as Gerontius. Conducted by Nick

70


Houghton. See page 45. St Bartholomew’s

Church, Brighton, £10, £15 & £20 from

the website, Lewes TIC or on the door,

eastsussexcommunitychoir.org

SATURDAY 21 ST , 7.30PM

Piano recital. Award-winning international

concert pianist Iyad Sughayer

performs works by Mozart, Liszt, Chopin

and Khachaturian. St Andrew’s Church,

Alfriston, £12 in advance (including a

donation to the Church Restoration Fund),

07952 298313

SUNDAY 22 ND , 11AM

Coffee Concert. Final gig of the Coffee

Concert series features BBC New Generation

Artists Aronowitz Ensemble, playing

Schubert, Beethoven and Elgar. Attenborough

Centre for the Creative Arts, £18.50,

concessions £16, attenboroughcentre.com

THURSDAY 26 TH , 1.10PM

St Anne’s Recitals. An exciting season

opener at St Anne’s, with Ensemble Reza

featuring Louisa Lam (piano) playing Beethoven

and Piazzolla. St Anne’s Church,

free with a retiring collection.

stannelewes.org.uk

SUNDAY 29 MARCH 2.45PM

BARRY WORDSWORTH

Conductor

THOMAS CARROLL

Cello

GLINKA

Valse-Fantaisie

ELGAR

Cello Concerto

TCHAIKOVSKY

Suite No.3

TICKETS FROM £14.50-£42.50

(50% discount for students/under 18s)

Brighton Dome Ticket Office 01273 709709 • brightondome.org

Park for just £6 at NCP Church Street between 1 & 6pm

SATURDAY 28 TH , 7.30PM

Esterházy Chamber Choir. From Darkness

to Light. Unaccompanied choral music

spanning four centuries, from Tallis to

Rutter. Directed by Richard Stafford. St

Michael’s, £13 advance, £15 door, under 16s

free, esterhazychoir.org

SATURDAY 28 TH , 7PM

Pro Musica Chamber Choir. Handel’s

Messiah. A chance to hear Pro Musica

in Lewes: Richard Miller conducts the

seasonal favourite in a change from their

regular venue. Trinity Church Southover,

£15, under 14s free, promusica.org.uk

Robin Houghton

brightonphil.org.uk

@BPO_orchestra

/BrightonPhil


Enjoy a Complimentary

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- Choose from either -

Maison l`Aiglon Chardonnay or Chemin de Marquiere Merlot

To redeem, simply present this advert when dining

Côte Brasserie Lewes

82 HIGH STREET, LEWES, BN7 1XW

01273 311 344 | www.cote.co.uk/lewes

Valid until 31/03/20 at Côte Lewes only. One complimentary bottle of wine when 2 or more guests dine from our À La

Carte menu. Offer can only be used once and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or Set Menu.


FOOD REVIEW

Pestle & Mortar

Malaysian Laksa

Photo by Alex Leith

Sometimes, when you

regularly go to a restaurant,

you can’t look past a

certain item on the menu,

and for me, at the Thai

noodle bar Pestle and

Mortar, that’s Malaysian

Laksa.

I go there every Tuesday,

at around midday, to avoid

the lunchtime rush-hour. That means that when

I wake up on a Tuesday morning, it’s not long

before I think ‘wahay, it’s Malaysian Laksa day!’

I’m not exaggerating, it’s that good.

My favourite item on the menu used to be

another item, which I’ve written about in this

magazine before: the Bánh Mì. This consists

of spicy pork in a baguette, a legacy from the

French colonial occupation of Vietnam; I used

to eat it sitting in the All Saints graveyard, and

enjoy every bite. But not anymore. Now I find

a spot at a table in the colourful café, and sup

a bowlful of the rich broth that is Malaysian

Laksa. I order it with extra prawns, which adds a

quid to the (originally £7.95) price.

It usually takes about five minutes to prepare, so

I’ve taken to ordering a spring roll (£1) to temper

my hunger. Chopped vegetables and dark vermicelli

in a crispy batter, served with a decorated

porcelain spoon, filled with sweet chilli. I’ve taken

to keeping hold of this spoon to eat my laksa,

instead of the steel ones on offer on the table.

The broth arrives, served in a big decorated

ceramic bowl, and it’s quite a looker. The dish

is dominated by coconut milk and coloured

and flavoured with turmeric, and there are at

least ten ingredients semi-submerged within it.

These include, in reverse

order of magnitude:

coriander, crispy-fried

shallots, spring onions,

beansprouts, shiitake

mushrooms, mangetout,

pickled mustard rings,

Chinese cabbage, king

prawns and hunks of tofu.

It’s multi-textured, then,

and it takes a while to eat, which is a positive

thing, because every mouthful is worth savouring.

The broth itself is the star of the show, characterised

by a piquant chilli-hit with notes of galangel

and lemon grass. I like fishing out the bits of

vegetable and protein with chopsticks, which

sabotages my tendency of hoovering my food up

without properly appreciating it. I accompany

the broth with a glass of tap water, which acts as a

palate cleanser, between umami hits.

I’d like to be able to tell you about the other

soups and broths and curries available on the

crowded menu blackboard, but I’ve hardly even

noticed they’re on offer, and won’t until I’m over

this year’s lunch crush.

I normally go back to work at this point, but Ed,

the front-of-house fellow who runs the place with

his partner Honey (who heads the cooking team)

offers me a cup of Vietnamese coffee. It’s black,

as I don’t fancy condensed milk, in the Oriental

fashion, and is accompanied by a slice of homemade

pineapple and rambutan upside-down cake

(£2.50). Rambutan, it turns out, is a lychee-like

fruit, and tastes delicious within a delicate sponge.

Tuesdays just got even better.

Alex Leith

4 Lansdown Place

73


74

Photo by Rebecca Cunningham


RECIPE

Spicy Creole Cajun Lo Mein

Nathalie Mulvan, Chef at Irma’s Kitchen

on a Caribbean classic

The mix of dishes we serve at Irma’s – classic

English breakfasts, and Caribbean lunches and

suppers – is an exact reflection of my heritage.

My parents came from British Guyana – as opposed

to French or Dutch. The cuisine there is a

mix of English, Chinese, Indian and Caribbean.

My mother Irma was a wonderful cook, and

taught me everything I know. That’s why the

café had to be called Irma’s Kitchen.

I was born in Islington and grew up in Croydon

– where I used to watch my mother cook, in awe.

Together with my partner Simon, we first started

Irma’s in Brighton – where we were better known

for breakfast and brunch and won awards for the

same. We opened here last June, for breakfasts,

lunch and some evenings too.

We rent the building [that distinctive one, on the

corner of South Street and Cliffe High Street]

from the council. I couldn’t believe the transformation

when I first walked through the door after

we refurbished: beautiful…

I chose this dish because it’s not on our menu yet,

but coming... (My mum, who lives in Barbados

now, is incensed we’re not already serving it!)

It’s exactly her recipe. It’s a quick, easy to make,

authentic Guyanese noodle dish, and can be made

for meat eaters (just stir fry your meat first, then

add in at the end), vegetarians and vegans.

Ingredients: (For the salsa) 2 tbsp dark soy

sauce, 1 dsrtsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil

(or olive oil), 1 tsp sugar, 1 bird eye chilli – end

split, 1 clove garlic. (For the noodle mix) 4-6oz

proper noodles (do not use very thick or very soft

noodles, or spaghetti); 1 tbsp sesame oil (or olive);

3 medium spring onions, chopped (separate green

from white); 1 cup of julienne cut or chopped red

and yellow or green peppers; 1-2 cups julienne

cut or chopped vegetables, eg carrots, pak choi,

mushrooms, courgettes, wilted spinach; ¾ cup

each of frozen sweetcorn and petit pois; 2 eggs

beaten with garlic clove, pepper and pinch of

salt (pre-cook in a small pan, as you would an

omelette, then chop or cut into strips); 3 bird eye

chillies, ends split; 1 tsp Cajun powder; sprinkling

of dried parsley; salt & pepper to taste.

Method: Shake the salsa ingredients together in

a jar and set aside.

Cook the noodles following package instructions,

drain and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil over a medium heat in a

large wok or deep frying pan. Add sweetcorn and

petit pois and heat through until they start to soften.

Add the white parts of the onions, chilli and

veg. Stir fry until fork-tender (about 5 min).

Sprinkle the Cajun powder over the mix and toss

until distributed evenly.

Add the noodles, toss to combine. Add half the

salsa, excluding the chilli, and toss. Add more

sauce a little at a time if needed (until the noodles

are medium brown).

Remove the chillies, and put to one side.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add in your chopped omelette, or serve on top

with the rest of the chopped onions. Add the

cooked chillies on top. Sprinkle with parsley to

garnish.

As told to Charlotte Gann

irmascafebistro.co.uk

75


FOOD REVIEW

The Pelham arms

LEWES’S FIRST

SMOKEHOUSE IN A PUB!

Best Burgers

for Miles

Home of

ABYSS Brewing

Award Winning

Sunday Roasts

VEGETARIAN, VEGAN &

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Great Venue for

Celebrations

Children and

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OPENING TIMES

MONDAY BAR 4-11PM

TUESDAY TO THURSDAY

BAR 12 NOON TO 11PM

FOOD 12 NOON TO 2.30PM & 6 TO 9.30PM

FRIDAY & SATURDAY

BAR 12 NOON TO 11PM

FOOD 12 NOON TO 2.30PM & 6 TO 9.30PM

SUNDAY

BAR 12 NOON TO 10.30PM

FOOD 12 NOON TO 8PM

HIGH STREET LEWES BN7 1XL

T 01273 476149 E MANAGER@THEPELHAMARMS.CO.UK

BOOK ONLINE @ WWW.THEPELHAMARMS.CO.UK

House of Friendship

Care personified

Four years ago, on these very pages, I

described a visit to the House of Friendship,

208 High Street, and how I had been told

that Chef Keith was known for making “very

good custard”.

On that occasion I had cream with my bread

and butter pudding, so I promised myself that

one day I would return to sample the custard.

Just before 12.30, on a cold, wet Thursday,

Sylvia and I presented ourselves at reception,

handed over £16, and moved through into

the cheery dining area where others were

already gathered.

This excellent social centre for our older community

was established 50 years ago this year

and it is still doing a wonderful job, living up

to its welcoming name, House of Friendship.

Care personified.

I immediately spotted Keith in his neat kitchen.

With help from smiling Sophie, he was busy

preparing today’s lunch of steak and mushroom

pie, red cabbage, peas and potatoes.

The pudding? Steamed jam and coconut

sponge and, Hallelujah, custard! “I’m only

here for the custard” I joked. “I make it

myself using powder whisked up with milk”

he assured me. It was delicious – not a lump

in sight – and perfectly complementing the

melt-in-the-mouth home-made sponge, plus a

decent dollop of raspberry jam.

The main course was good, but I’d have happily

settled for two portions of that pudding!

John Henty

Photo by John Henty


LEWES DISTRICT

Lewes Town & Country

Residential Sales & Lettings T 01273 487444

Land & New Homes

E lewes@oakleyproperty.com

BRITISH

PROPERTY

2019

GOLD WINNER

ESTATE AGENT IN

LEWES

Property of the Month Styles Field, Lewes - prices from £650,000

With just 3 homes now available Styles Field is a unique development of sixteen contemporary 2, 3 & 4 bedroom houses and 2

& 3 bedroom apartments. All of the homes come with a selection of terraces and balconies. All properties benefit from secured

underground parking with gated entrance and a 10 year new homes warranty. For further information visit www.stylesfield.co.uk.

COMING SOON

Bell Lane, Lewes from £500,000

A collection of striking contemporary town houses & indulgent and

expansive apartments. The apartments are luxury personified

with open living spaces, 3 double bedrooms & large balconies

ideal for entertaining. Arranged over 4 storeys the town houses

offer versatile living accommodation to suit a range off needs.

Lewes Vaults, Lewes £865,000

Superb three bedroom town house located in the town centre with

far reaching views. The property is finished to a high specification

with a stunning open plan kitchen/living/dining room, 3

bedrooms, study, 2 bathrooms and a historic Vault. There is an

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The Orchards, Ringmer from £450,000

A boutique development of 9 substantial 3 & 4 bedroom detached

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a selection of allocated parking spaces and garages. EPC-TBC

The Grays, Newhaven from £329,950

Show home now available to view! The Grays is a stunning

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street parking. Available on Help To Buy. EPC-TBC.

oakleyproperty.com

LEWES BUSINESS

OF THE YEAR 2018

BUSINESS

AWARDS

2018

WINNER


THE WAY WE WORK

This month’s photo series was shot by local portrait photographer

Bethany Hobbs, at Victoria Hospital. She asked the staff there to tell us

about an act of kindness they’ve experienced recently...

beehobbs.co.uk

Caroline Passfield, Outpatient Receptionist

‘I was buying a coffee and didn’t have enough change, so the man behind me in the

queue gave me the 20p I was missing. It was the nicest coffee I’ve had, thanks to that!’


THE WAY WE WORK

Kati Tewkesbury, Sister on the Day Surgery Unit

‘Seeing my colleagues supporting each other through hard times,

both inside and outside of work.’


THE WAY WE WORK

Linda Beddow, Staff Nurse in the Outpatient Department

‘When the staff at Barons Down go the extra mile with caring for my mother.’


THE WAY WE WORK

Frances Ashwood, Health Care Assistant on the Intermediate Care Unit

‘Having some flowers arrive from far away, a belated gift from my daughter.’



FEATURE

Vandu Language

Services

Open for communication

When Mebrak Ghebreweldi says that the way to

care for each other is to communicate, she knows

exactly what she’s talking about.

Born one of nine, in the mountains of Eritrea,

Mebrak found herself alone one day in 1999,

pushing a pram up the hill to the county council

offices in Lewes in search of a job. “I came to

England on a scholarship,” she explains, “I studied

for a degree in business and I met my (ex-)husband.”

But things didn’t quite go as planned. “I

felt so guilty. I was supposed to finish my studies

and go back to Eritrea to make a successful life

but now I was a single parent with no work and

two little boys to look after.”

Times were hard, but having, from the age of 16,

been a Morse code operator in Eritrea’s war of

independence (the conflict ran for 30 years and

killed more than 100,000 Eritreans) Mebrak suspected

that if she could make herself understood

in a war zone, she could probably manage Lewes.

“I pushed my pram up to the reception desk and

said ‘I need a job. What jobs do you have?’ The

receptionist asked what skills I had and I said:

‘Well, I can translate.’ And her eyes lit up and

she said ‘Take a seat for a moment.’ Then she

rang her colleague and said ‘We have a translator

in reception.’ Then this woman came down –

her name was Marion Johnson – and she asked if

I was a translator and I said yes, and she rubbed

her hands and said ‘Right. You’re going to set up

a translation and interpreting agency.’ And that

was that!”

During the Bosnian war, Eastbourne and Hastings

were home to many refugees, and social

services were struggling with the language barrier

as well as the great expense of hiring translators

from London. Marion and Mebrak set about

contacting everyone they knew who could speak

another language and within six months they had

30 translators and interpreters working in 16 languages.

“I had one fax machine and one telephone

and I did it all from my dining room. I tell you,”

she says, at the beginning of our interview “fighting

for the freedom of your country is hard. But

running a business on your own when you are a

single parent is harder.”

Vandu Language Services has just celebrated

its 20th birthday. With about 1,500 freelance

translators on their books, their work takes them

into pretty much every area of private, public and

commercial life you can think of. The ongoing

Syrian conflict means that Arabic translators are

especially busy, but Vandu are also working locally

in Russian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Polish, Amharic,

Tigrinya and Vietnamese.

“We are all the same species” says Mebrak. “It

doesn’t take much, we smile, we look each other

in the eye, we say hello, and then we might have a

conversation. That’s what it’s all about. We need,

all of us, to be open for communication.”

Eleanor Knight

St Nicholas Lane, vlslamguages.com

Photo by Eleanor Knight

83


WE TRY...

Dolly Clothing

The true cost of clothes

When Diana Uprichard set up Dolly eight years

ago she had no formal business plan: just an inclination

to do something with her life-long passion

for sewing, 20 years of teaching experience

and a growing concern for the planet. What

started as a sewing group around her kitchen

table has grown into a business offering bespoke

alterations, a growing line of easy-to-follow

dress making patterns, a small clothing collection

made with surplus fabrics from the fashion

industry, a busy timetable of sewing classes and

inspiring events about sustainable clothing.

In her small but well-equipped sewing room

just off Cliffe High Street, people of all ages and

abilities are learning to make their own clothes

and to copy and restyle the ones they already

own. There are introductory classes for absolute

beginners, ongoing courses for more experienced

makers and a monthly mending morning

where you can go along and fix your well-worn

favourites under Diana’s expert guidance.

As well as teaching people how to sew, Diana

is increasingly concerned with why we should

be learning. “I used to find doing alterations

and mending a bit of a drag,” she admits. “I just

wanted to be making. But then I realised that this

is really important. This is part of the solution.

The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter

on earth. There are already more clothes

than we’ll ever need. I’m convinced that mending,

84


upcycling and restyling is the one of the best

ways forward.” To that end, she’s taking every

opportunity to talk about the true cost of clothes:

at after-school clubs, at school assemblies, and

by organising visible mending workshops, fabric

swaps and second-hand fashion shows.

I join Diana in her sewing room one Friday

afternoon and set about making a swish apron

in herringbone linen, using one of her own patterns.

I’m a reasonably confident if self-taught

dressmaker, so Diana gently corrects my bad

habits while passing on the sort of expert knowhow

that makes life so much easier. With us are

fellow sewing enthusiasts Diane and Eliza and

the conversation soon turns to the enjoyment

of being absorbed in a practical skill and the

satisfaction that comes with wearing the finished

article. It’s something that Diana hears a lot.

“Once people start sewing, it really changes

their relationship with their clothes. You begin

to realise what goes into making them. You’re

much more likely to hold on to the things that

you’ve made or mended. You just value them

that bit more.”

As we work away on our individual projects, a

steady stream of people stop by to ask about

repairs and alterations: a suit that needs taking

in, a pair of jeans that are too tight. The final request

of the day is from a man with several pairs

of much-loved but holey woollen socks. Can

Diana fix them? “Hmmm,” she muses. “Darning

is a real labour of love. I can do it for you, but I’d

rather teach you how.” Lizzie Lower

Dolly Clothing’s joining Depot for an event on

Sunday 26th April, 11am, as part of Fashion Revolution

Week. dolly.uk.com

Photos by jeannefee.co.uk

85



FOOTBALL

Nathan Stroomberg

Lewes FC’s number one

It’s 5pm on Saturday,

February 8th, and Nathan

Stroomberg isn’t in

a good place. The Lewes

players are warming

down after putting in

an abject performance

against relegation rivals

Cheshunt which has

resulted in the Rooks’

biggest home defeat

for over a decade. The 21-year-old keeper has

separated himself from the group and is squatting

on the side-line, staring into nowhere.

Nobody’s pointing any accusing fingers at Nathan

– in fact he’s made a couple of great saves

to keep the score down – but the lad has let in

six, and he’s not happy. I wonder if he’ll have

the guts to fulfil the post-match interview we’ve

arranged. I’d probably just want to go home

and hide under the duvet, in the circumstances.

But 15 minutes later he’s sitting in front of me,

in the Rook Inn, apologising for the performance.

“The fans have paid good money, and

they deserve better than that,” he says.

But his mood soon lifts, as he tells me about his

short career so far. A local lad, from Brighton,

he’s been a Rook for five years now, but most of

that time has been spent waiting in the wings.

“I actually made my first team debut in 2015,

aged just 16,” he says. “I was on the bench for

the first game of the season, and after half an

hour Dan Hutchins got knocked out and I had

to go on. Was I nervous? I was determined not

to let a goal in. It was 2-0 when I went on and

they scored a third in the last minute.”

After that it was a

question of biding

his time, and getting

a bit of experience

out on loan to other

clubs. “I was lucky that

Ross Standen (now

co-manager) was the

assistant manager. He

was a keeper, of course,

and he knew exactly

the right time to let me get a bit of experience

elsewhere,” [at Hassocks and Saltdean].

“The goalkeeper is the most specialised position

on the pitch,” he tells me. “It’s not about

being able to run for 90 minutes, it’s about

bursts of pace and acceleration. We need special

short, sharp drills to build up our explosive fitness,

and Ross is great at training.”

Nathan got into Lewes’ first team again at the

beginning of this season, and he’s made the

position his own. “It’s been a step up, because

the opponents press a lot more at this level,

but I’m known for being good with my feet,”

he says. “It’s vital nowadays, as the game has

evolved: keepers need the ball-skills of an

outfield player.”

A West Ham fan, Nathan’s professional role

model is Rob Green: “OK he let himself down

a bit in the [2010] World Cup, but he’s been a

phenomenal player,” he says. His professional

target is to play at Conference level, “hopefully

for Lewes: goalkeepers don’t reach maturity till

28, 29, and can play till they’re 40. I might be

here another 20 years!”

Alex Leith

Photo by James Boyes

87


P I C K U P A

V I VA B R I G H T O N

Do you have Workspace to Let?

Workspace to Let as a Desk,

Office or Studio?

I have a list of clients wanting

workspace in Lewes.

For more info visit:

www.spaceagentlewes.co.uk

C O V E R A R T B Y S O P H I E D A R L I N G

S O P H I E D A R L I N G . C O M


LEWES WORTHY

RIP Jim ‘The Fish’ Smith

The Ouse has lost its dearest friend

With his battered trilby and

deep Sussex brogue, Jim Smith

(aka ‘Jim The Fish’) was the

archetypal river bailiff.

One of a fast vanishing breed

of countrymen, Jim, who was

head bailiff for the Ouse Angling

Preservation Society for 55

years, devoted his entire adult

life to the river and was a legend

throughout the county.

A Trustee of the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust, he

also gave many years of service to his local parish

council and played an active role within the

Cliffe Bonfire Society.

Jim was born in Brighton, but when he was 12,

after the death of his father and his mother’s

remarriage, the family moved to Isfield, where

he remained throughout his life. He left school

at 14 to begin work as a garden boy on Lord

Rupert Nevill’s estate; when the nursery there

closed, he transferred to the East Sussex River

Board where among other things he worked on

the early Lewes Flood defences.

A keen angler since boyhood, Jim was approached

by the Preservation Society in the

1960s to take on the role of Head Bailiff. This

was a full-time post where, in addition to

managing the fishing on the River Ouse, Jim

supervised the Society’s stocked trout fishery at

nearby Barcombe Reservoir.

Jim was a keen writer and a staunch environmentalist,

long before the term became

fashionable. He was a founding member of the

original Sussex Ouse Conservation Society,

which preceded The Rivers Trust. Jim’s love

of the countryside was evident

through his regular features in

the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust’s

newsletter and more recently the

Freshwater Informer magazine. In

2015 Jim appeared in a three-part

series for Meridian TV entitled

Tales of the River Man. That year

he also featured in a lengthy

interview (by Nick Davies) for

the Guardian newspaper.

Undoubtedly, Jim’s happiest memory was receiving

his Long Service Award by the Country

Landowners Association, from the Duke of

Rutland, at the CLA Game Fair in 2009. This

was awarded in recognition of Jim’s 45 years

of continuous service as a river keeper. One

of only three such medals ever to have been

awarded, it took Jim completely by surprise.

The closure of the Barcombe Reservoir fishery

in 1992, after it was taken over by South East

Water, deprived Jim of a substantial portion of

his income. Worse was to follow when, in 1997,

the Preservation Society found it could no

longer afford the services of a full-time bailiff.

It says much for Jim’s determination and devotion

to his calling that he continued to fulfil

this post on a largely voluntary basis.

In recent years, Jim’s health began to decline,

and his mobility suffered, though he still

enjoyed getting out on the bank whenever

he could, talking to the anglers and generally

keeping an eye on things. Jim passed away in

Eastbourne Hospital on 27th December 2019.

The River Ouse has lost its dearest and best

friend. Stewart Allum

Photo by Stewart Allum

89


Domestic Pet, Farm Animal and Equine Services

Your local

Veterinary

Practice

since 1865

LEWES MAIN SURGERY

21 Cliffe High Street

01273 473 232

WOODINGDEAN SURGERY

01273 302 609

RINGMER SURGERY

01273 814 590

EQUINE CLINIC LAUGHTON

01323 815120

www.cliffevets.co.uk | www.cliffeequine.co.uk


WILDLIFE

Illustration by Mark Greco

Common Frog

Passion in the pond

My friend Alf passed away recently. He loved

Sussex and he loved wildlife but Alf’s real passion

was amphibians: newts, frogs and toads. Alf loved

them so much his funeral service ended with

that Paul McCartney Frog Chorus song. That’s

commitment for you. I spent the rest of the

week with that annoying ‘bom-bom-bom-ayee-aye’

tune rolling round my head. I’m sure Alf

was laughing somewhere. While I was helping

Alf’s family clear his house I was honoured to be

given one of his prize possessions: a clock which

chimes each hour by playing a variety of frog

croaks. Long ago Alf’s wife, Iris had made him

take the batteries out because it was unbearable.

But there was no silencing Alf’s pond each spring.

Each year it would come alive with the sound

of a real frog chorus. Alf was proud of his pond.

Creating a garden pond, no matter what size, is

one of the best things you can do to help wildlife

in your garden. If you’re lucky in March it will

turn into a hotbed of sexual activity as Common

Frogs return to mate and lay their eggs. After

spending the winter hidden away in the garden

it’s time to go a-courting.

Approach the pond quietly with a torch and you

can observe the mating frogs. Look closely and

you may be able to identify the male frog (darker

with a bluish tinge to his throat) and the female

(white granulations on her flanks). But if you

can’t notice these features, then the males are

on top and the females are on the bottom. The

lustful male will hop on the female and grasp her

as tight as he can. He even develops special extragrip

pads on his forearms so she can’t get away

and he’ll use those powerful legs to boot off any

rival males who try to muscle in. In theory males

with the longest and loudest croaks are the most

attractive, but with females sometimes outnumbered

ten to one by males the pond party can get

loud, chaotic and confusing. Amorous male frogs

will grasp anything, a log, a fish, even another

male (males have a special croaking signal which

politely informs other males there has been a

misunderstanding). Female Common Frogs can

lay up to 4,000 eggs, although 1,000 to 2,000 is

more normal. These are fertilised by the male as

they emerge and form into those familiar clouds

of jelly spawn.

So, in tribute to Alf I decided to restore his

croaking clock to full working order. I reinstalled

the batteries and nailed it proudly on

my office wall. After two hours I turned it off.

That croaking was unbearable! I’m still sure Alf is

laughing somewhere.

Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement

Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust

91


S H E F F I E L D PA R K

F L E T C H I N G

C H A I L E Y

N E W I C K

E A S T C H I LT I N G T O N

D I T C H L I N G

C O O K S B R I D G E

P L U M P T O N

FA L M E R

B A R C O M B E

L E W E S

& K I N G S T O N

R O D M E L L

R I N G M E R

G LY N D E

R AY S T E D E

F I R L E

B E RW I C K

A L F R I S T O N

W I L M I N G T O N

C O V E R A R T B Y C R E S S I D A B E L L

V I VA L E W E S

V I VA B R I G H T O N

11,500 copies printed

every month

Delivered to homes in Lewes &

Kingston and available to pick up

in surrounding villages

15,000 copies printed

every month

Delivered to homes in Hove,

North Laine, Fiveways and

Hanover and available to pick

up in the city and beyond

C E L E B R AT I N G L O C A L L I F E S I N C E 2 0 0 5 .

vivamagazines.com


BUSINESS NEWS

Woodruff’s Yard is changing hands again,

and the latest caretaker for the much-beloved

outdoor garden shop is taking it back to its more

homespun origins, more like when it was run by

its founder Matt Woodruff. Fiona Dennis, who

has for three years been the head gardener at

Charleston – and has written some gardening columns

for Viva Lewes – will focus on what she calls

‘sustainable plants of discernment’, largely for

herbaceous borders. She will, she tells us, paint

the wooden hut pink, and rename the place ‘Fi’s

Yard’. “It’ll be English country garden stuff, with

a Bloomsbury feel, but not old-fashioned,” she

adds. There will be some cut flowers and a few

gardening sundries, too, it seems. “We shall definitely

have trugs.” Unlike the outgoing manager,

she won’t be using the shop over the alleyway,

formerly Oyster, which is up for grabs.

The long-empty space at 4, Fisher Street, owned

by the District Council, is to be turned into a

co-working hub, aimed at freelancers in the

digital and creative industries. It seems likely the

Council will form a partnership with The Werks

Group, which runs a number of such hubs in

Brighton, including Coachwerks, Printwerks and

Werkshop30. The building has been empty for

a number of years now, so extensive renovations

will need to take place before the new hub – Fisherwerks?

– is up and running.

After a brief and eventful incarnation as Martyrs

Gallery, the exhibition space in the Star Brewery

is in new hands. Sometime Viva cover artist Neeta

Pedersen has taken over, renaming it Star Brewery

Gallery, thus tipping a wink at its original

name. If the line-up for Neeta’s first exhibition

is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat: she will

display works by local heroes Peter Messer, Tom

Benjamin and Andrew Fitchett (all of whom have

also created previous Viva covers).

And then there were three. Opticians in Lewes,

that is. A couple of months ago we reported in

this space that Barracloughs were closing down

their Lewes outlet; this month it’s the national

chain Vision Express, at the top of School Hill.

Let’s hope that prime spot fills up soon. In the

meantime, we still have Spectrum, Wilson Wilson

& Hancock and Specsavers.

Further up the hill, the hairdressers Newman

and Burtenshaw have moved… but not far. Just

the other side of the Bottleneck, in fact: they’ll

now be doing business in what was most recently

The Little Natural Co, just next to the chippy.

And finally… over to the Needlemakers. We’d

like to point out that Emma, the fashion designer

who runs Along Came She, sells colourful, sustainable

clothing aimed at all ages of womankind,

and not just young mothers, as we previously

suggested in this space. Sorry, Emma! There’s

also talk of an exciting new collective project for

the big space the other side of the Needlemakers

Café, formerly From Victoria, involving a number

of Lewes makers. As ever… watch this space.

Alex Leith

Send any news to alex@vivamagazines.com

93


DIRECTORY

Please note that though we aim only to take advertising from reputable businesses, we cannot guarantee the

quality of any work undertaken, and accept no responsibility or liability for any issues arising.

To advertise in Viva Lewes please call 01273 488882 or email advertising@vivamagazines.com

• Digital TV aerial upgrades & service

• TV, DAB, and FM aerials

• Extra points

• Communal systems

• Aerial repairs

• Satellite TV installs and service

• SKY installs

• Discreet fittings e.g. listed buildings, thatch roofs, flats

• European systems serviced and installed

• Gutters cleared • CCTV installed

WE FIT BIRD DETERRENTS

WE CAN BEAT ANYONE ON QUALITY AND PRICE

Free estimate • over 40 years experience • OAP discount

Open 7 days a week • Fully guaranteed • Same day service

Freephone: 0800 0323255

Tel: 01273 617114 Mob: 07920 526703

We specialise in TV wall mounting

We can beat anyone else’s price on a like for like basis

www.1strateaerialsandsatellites.co.uk

P M Services

Plumbing. Heating. Gas

Repairs and installations

Landlord Safety certificates

Friendly, local and reliable

07958 473 622 | 01273 046 039

GUTTER UNBLOCKING

DOWN PIPE REPAIRS

MINOR ROOF REPAIRS

CHIMNEY COWLS PEST &

BIRD DETERRENTS

GENERAL HANDY MAN SERVICE

Free

estimates

& advice

Call David on 01903 920 114 or 07716 443 957

or email david.sanders90@yahoo.co.uk


HOME

We are an established

family-run business

based in Sussex.

Our services include:

• new builds

• extensions

• alterations

• brickwork

• driveways

• landscaping

www.philchapmanbuilders.co.uk

tomchapman186@gmail.com

07835427974

• Waste disposal & recycling

• Van clearances

• Grab Lorry / Muckaway

• Skip hire, all sizes

• Road Permits arranged

Call 01273 600909 or visit

www.greenacrewaste.co.uk

SAME

DAY

SERVICE


HOME

Plumbing & Heating

Design & Installation

Bathrooms/Kitchens

Plumbing/Heating

Boilers/Central heating

Gas Safe Registered

Tiling / Woodwork

Free estimates & Advice

T: 01273 487 565 M. 07801 784 192

E. tonywplumbing@icloud.com


HOME

PROFESSIONAL RELIABLE

FLAWLESS

LADY DECORATOR LEWES

For a no obligation quote call

07917 067847

hello@ladydecoratorlewes.co.uk

Don’t get caught out,

Locked out - put this number

in your phone NOW!

• Digital Locks fitted

• One Key For All Locks.

• Cylinder Replacement.

• 24hr / 365 days a year.

• OAP Discount, No VAT.

• No Obligation Quote &

No call Out Charge!

• Lockout within 30 minutes.

• uPVC Door & Window Locks problems.

• Garage Door Locks

• British Standard Locks.

• Mobile key cutting service.

• CRB Checked & Approved.

FREE ESTIMATES

UIS OF EWES 07778987286

leweshandyman@hotmail.com

LOCAL HANDYMAN _ PAINTER AND DECORATOR

Interior and exterior painting

Plastering

Flooring & Tiling

Plasterboard

QUALITY FINISHES

All work in the house, big or small:

Carpentry

Assembling and fitting furniture

Curtains/ Door handles and locks/ ...

FINDING SOLUTIONS

REFERENCES AVAILABLE

IF YOU THINK “WHO COULD REPAIR THIS?” CALL LUIS OF LEWES


HOME

LTD

We are a building company specialising in residential

extensions, refurbishments, loft conversions

and conservation work on listed buildings.

We pride ourselves on paying attention to detail,

using bespoke materials and bringing projects

in on time and on budget.

Contact us for a free quote and please

visit the website for more info:

www.stjamesbuilding.co.uk

01273 499 641 / 07780 964 608

OVER 30 YEARS EXPERIENCE

FREE estimates on all types of

plastering work and finishes.

TELEPHONE: 01273 472 836

MOBILE: 07974 752 491

EMAIL: cdpoulter@btinternet.com

Aluminium windows, doors,

lantern roofs and bi-folding doors.

Trading in your area for over 30 years

We guarantee all our products, installation and service

for the best doors, windows & conservatories

CLARKS GLASS LTD

Unit 10, Ringmer Business Centre,

Chamberlaines Lane, Ringmer, BN8 5NF

For your FREE no obligation consultation call us now on:

01273 814077

www.clarksglass.org.uk


HOME

TIM SMITH

PLUMBING

+ HEATING

Bathroom renovation

Boiler installation

Service and repair

Small plumbing works

Nina Murden,

the Lewes Seamstress

E S T . 2 0 0 5

Also Professional Repairs and Alterations Service.

01273 470817 | 07717 855314

TheLewesSeamstress.co.uk

T: 01273 317403 | M: 07879 573040

E: info@plumberlewes.co.uk

Handyman Services for your House and Garden

Lewes based. Free quotes.

Honest, reliable, friendly service.

Reasonable rates

Tel: 07460 828240

Email: ahbservices@outlook.com

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HOME & GARDENS

PAUL FURNELL

Carpenter / General Building

and Renovation works,

Based in Lewes

t. 07717 862940 e. paul.lee.furnell@gmail.com

Global

Gardens

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07976 418299 | 07766 118289

Mobile 07941 057337

Phone 01273 488261

12 Priory Street, Lewes, BN7 1HH

info@ globalgardens.co.uk

www.globalgardens.co.uk

Jack Plane Carpentry

07784053679

Affordable fitted tom@tbacc.co.uk

furniture

jackplanecarpentry.co.uk

thebuildingandcarpentryco.co.uk

01273 483339 / 07887 993396

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Affordable fitted furniture

jackplanecarpentry.co.uk

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RHS

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award winning

garden design

Real gardeners for all your gardening needs.

Design, regular and one off maintenance

07812 028704 | 01273 401962

brookhartservices@gmail.com

www.brook-hart.co.uk

Art Frames

New in Lewes town centre.

Bespoke coloured frame to complement artwork, finished in

natural wax. Quick turnaround if required for exhibiting.

Please contact Richard.

Mobile: 07940 512021 | Email: rejpelling@gmail.com

Hamblin

Tree Care

expert arborists

Tree surgery • Hedges • Gardens

Nathan Hamblin FdSc (Arb)

Experienced, professional and insured

www.hamblintreecare.com

0777 364 2640


GARDENS & GARAGES

Qualified & Experienced gardener

07912 606 557

MOT

SERVICE

I N C O R P O R A T I N G F L O T Y R E S

QUALITY

PARTS

MOT SERVICE AND REPAIRS

DIAGNOSTICS

GENERAL VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

ALL MAKES AND MODELS

FULLY QUALIFIED TECHNICIANS

QUALITY PARTS

COMPETITIVE PRICES

EXPERT ADVICE

Units 1-3 Malling Industrial Estate, Brooks Road, Lewes BN7 2BY

Vehicle Servicing, Repairs and MOT Service: 01273 472691

www.mechanicinlewes.co.uk | info@flomargarage.com


HEALTH

The Cliffe

Osteopathy &

Complementary

Health Clinic

Julie Padgham

Western Herbal Medicine

& Reflexology

Menopause Support in Lewes

at The Cliffe Clinic & via Skype

I have been offering women informaaon &

support at menopause for over 18 years.

• FIND OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING

• DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

• OPTIONS WITH OR WITHOUT HRT

As a natural health praccconer I draw upon my

experience to create an individually tailored plan.

Book a FREE MINI CONSULTATION to see if

my approach might suit you.

LYNNE RUSSELL

BSc FSDSHom MARH MBIH(FR)

www.chantryhealth.com

07970 245118

OSTEOPATHY

Mandy Fischer BSc (Hons) Ost, DO, PG cert (canine)

Caroline Jack BOst, PG cert (canine)

Cameron Dowset MOst

HERBAL MEDICINE & REFLEXOLOGY

Julie Padgham-Undrell BSc (Hons) MCPP

PSYCHOTHERAPY

Julia Rivas BA (Hons), MA Psychotherapy UKCP

Tom Lockyer BA (Hons), Dip Cound MBACP

ACUPUNCTURE & HYPNOTHERAPY

Anthea Barbary LicAc MBAcC Dip I Hyp GQHP

HOMEOPATHY, COACHING, NLP

& HYPNOTHERAPY

Lynne Russell BSc FSDSHom MARH MBIH(FR)

REMEDIAL MASSAGE THERAPY

Nuro Weidemann ITEC & MTI

01273 480900

23 Cliffe High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2AH

www.lewesosteopath.com

Open Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings

neck or back pain?

Lin Peters - OSTEOPATH

VALENCE ROAD OSTEOPATHS

for the treatment of:

neck or low back pain • sports injuries • rheumatic

arthritic symptoms • pulled muscles • joint pain

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Art Therapy • Massage

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32 Cliffe High Street • Lewes BN7 2AN

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Intrinsic Health, 32, Cliffe High Street, Lewes, BN7 2AN

Gift vouchers available to purchase

Acupuncture, Alexander Technique, Bowen

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Psychotherapy, Family Therapy,

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Nutritional Therapy, Life Coaching,

Physiotherapy, Pilates, Shiatsu,

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Look for latest details

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Ayurvedic Yoga Massage

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Contact Reggie at reggiebjm@gmail.com

or call/text 07554809732

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For appointments call

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REFLEXOLOGY

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Treatment room in Barcombe, Free parking

Rachael 07917 842771

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LESSONS & COURSES

OTHER SERVICES

blank canvas

Photography

Studio

adrianapdeblair@gmail.com

Spanish

GCSE • Beginners • Conversation

Experienced and qualified teacher, central Lewes

Contact Sara on 07598 784579

STUDIO SPACE for hire

for photo shoots in LEWES

we supply :

black/white/grey vinyl backdrops 3m wide

professional lighting / tripod

WIFI / desk / parking

all you need is the camera

07968 484457

midray88@gmail.com

OTHER SERVICES

www.andrewwells.co.uk

We can work it out

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99 Western Road Lewes BN7 1RS


INSIDE LEFT

BLUE BOYS

These chaps are the patients at St Anne’s Red

Cross Hospital, a military institution which

was based in The Shelleys during WW1, for

soldiers convalescing from injuries received at

the Western Front.

We know, thanks to a remarkable coincidence,

that the fourth soldier from the left in the back

row is one Herbert Ablett. And, that Ablett

had been wounded in the shoulder, by a bullet

which had deflected off a cigarette case in his

breast pocket.

The picture was very possibly taken to mark an

exhibition of the handiwork of the convalescent

soldiers, held on Wednesday 6th September

1917. The public, according to The Sussex

Agricultural Times, were invited to view the

embroidery and other craftwork which the

‘Blue Boys’ (so named after the colour of their

hospital uniform) had been producing to fill

their time. The Shelleys had been requisitioned

for use as a military hospital in 1916.

The coincidence? A battered old print of the

photograph was, many years ago, inherited by

Mrs Anne Buck, Private Ablett’s granddaughter,

who vaguely knew it had been taken in

Lewes. It wasn’t until she visited the town for

the first time, after retiring to Sussex, that she

walked past what is now The Shelleys Hotel,

and recognised the building. She remembered

a ‘Reeves’ watermark on the picture, and was

surprised to see, on continuing down the High

Street, that the Edward Reeves studio was still

in existence. She went inside, to be told that she

could have more prints made from the original

glass plate negative, should she so want!

The Shelleys was a private home – dating back

to the 16th century – before its wartime incarnation.

In May 1919 the hospital was closed, and

its equipment, including 36 iron bedsteads, was

sold by auctioneers Herbert Morris & Son. The

house was converted into private flats, before

being made into a hotel in 1932. Alex Leith

Thanks, as ever, to Tom and Tania at Edward

Reeves Photography, 159 High Street, where you

can buy cards and prints of images from their

extensive archive.

106


Join the 1,500 who already own a

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www.lewesfc.com/owners


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