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Archive for the ‘Brighton Bits and Pieces’ Category

Dracula at The Brighton Little Theatre

Posted by Sara on December 18, 2009

Liz Lochhead’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic is a tale of tragedy and the madness that comes with desire and power. Lochhead brings this nightmare to life against a backdrop of the death of the 19th Century and a world  where the line between sanity and insanity is difficult to distinguish.

Tickets are still available for this cracking adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written by Liz Lochhead and directed by Tess Gill, at the Brighton Little Theatre – but hurry, the last performance is tomorrow. As well as some fine writitng and acting, this play has  some genuinely chilling moments and loads of atmosphere. I loved it. And for extra seasonal splendidness, treat yourself to a delicious glass of mulled wine served at the festively festooned bar during the interval.

For more informaton click here: www.the-little.co.uk

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Heritage Open Day

Posted by Sara on September 13, 2009

Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

There has been loads going on this week as part of the Heritage Open Days, in which interesting and historic local buildings open their doors for (free!) public viewing. Visiting relatives and work commitments meant  we couldn’t take full advantage of all we wanted to this year but we did manage a few visits nonetheless.

sussexmasoniccentrestairs

Sussex Masonic Centre

The Sussex Masonic centre is one such place I walk past all the time, wondering what it’s like inside – so what a treat to be able to visit for a very interestng tour and talk, hosted by the building’s curator, Reg Barrow. The centre, first bequeathed to the Masons in 1897, has grown over the years and has  merged with the buildings on either side so it is very spacious inside and comes complete with all the usual features associated with this sort of ad hoc development – including wonky floors and tempermental plumbing and electrics; there are even passages that run right under the pavement, complete with grills allowing one to look out on to Queens Road. We were shown two of the Temple Lodges, including the very grand and beautiful main Lodge on the top floor. There is lots of masonic memorabilia on display and throughout the tour we learnt about the history of freemasonry and the role it plays today.  Charity is one of the fundamental tenets of modern masonry and anyone involved in a local charity was invited to make contact. I was struck at how big the place was, in contrast to how it looks from the outside, and I thought the central staircase was particularly striking.

Main Lodge Sussex Masonic centre showng part of the beautiful wooden domed ceiling depicting the signs of the zodiac

Main Lodge Sussex Masonic centre showng part of the beautiful wooden domed ceiling depicting the signs of the zodiac

Next up was another place  I have long been curious about – the Middle Street Synagogue, consecrated in 1875. What a splendid building, I was in stained glass heaven! The mosaics on the eastern wall and the ornate ironwork railings were also very beautiful and contrasted nicely with the clean, classical layout of the synagogue’s interior. The synagogue has a Grade 2 listing and has been officially described as “an extremely sumptuous example of late 19th Century craftsmanship.”

middlestsynagogue

Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

An interesting feature is the wonderful stained glass wheel of the zodiac above the main door, which we were told is a very unusual feature to have in a synagogue and co-incidently the same was said about the zodiac featured on the ceiling in the Lodge at the Masonic centre – so maybe this proclivity for all things astrological on historic buildings is a unique Brighton thing!

Middle Street Synagogue

Middle Street Synagogue

Last but not least was the wonderful twilight tour of the Woodvale cemetery, with a chance to explore its beautiful mausoleums and to enjoy some stunning views over the grounds at sunset. ..

Woodvale

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Tales from the Seaside

Posted by Sara on August 12, 2009

Talesfromtheseaside

Nice to see neglected buildings put to good use – as in the case of the old music library in Church St which is now home to  the Prescription Art Gallery and its rather fabulous exhibition of Street Art. Spread out over three storeys in this splendidly dilapidated listed building, the exhibition features artwork by over 25 artists from around the globe. From monumental monopoly boards to basement Madonna’s and scary wooden robots this is an amazing collection of artwork.

robotI loved this and cannot recommend it enough – there is something about the combination of crumbly mansions and cutting edge creativity that always manages to warm the cockles of my heart and as we speak I am scrimping and saving my pennies so I can buy one of their gorgeous canvases – failing that I guess I’ll settle for one of the brilliant books or bargain prints on offer.

heavy artillery

And if that isn’t enough spray can splendiferousness for you, an exibition of local grafitti legends Heavy Artillery will be opening upstairs in the gallery from Wednesday 12th August, featuring special screenings of the film that followed the creation of their work in Kensington St. For more info go visit Prescription Art.

god is what

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Mommy, what’s a Coccolithophore?

Posted by Sara on August 9, 2009

fabrica 006

Why dear, it’s a single-celled algae responsible for forming the chalk bed we now call the South Downs and the inspiration behind the lastest art installation at Fabrica. Called The Elephant Bed and created by John Grade, this sculpture consists of a series of beautifully crafted horn shaped cones suspended in the gallery, some of  which are left hanging over a pool, slowly disintgrating into the brackish water.

John Grade’s work is characterised by the crafting of sculptural objects which are then left outside to the mercy of the elements and Fabrica are running a series of events throughout the installation celebrating this sculpture’s ongoing decay and eventual destruction. Last Wednesday we attended a free Drawing to Film evening in the gallery. Hosted by artist Jane Fordham we were invited to draw our responses while watching the classic sci fi film The Day of the Triffids (1962 Dir Francis & Sekely)

fabmovieThis film is based on the John Wyndam novel and was chosen by John Grade specifically for the fact that those pesky Triffids were eventually destroyed by sea water, in much the same way his sculpture will be. The evening was free and all art materials supplied. It was a great fun and a wonderfully eerie location to watch a movie with the advantage that, being in the dark, you don’t even need to be able to draw too well! There will be another Drawing to Film event this Wednesday featuring The Creature from the Black Lagoon in glorious 3D no less, so that should inspire some interesting pictures too.

fabart

Fab Art

On the morning of August 31st the Elephant Bed will be laid to rest on the beach to dissolve forever into the sea. For more info on this beautiful, haunting piece of work and future events contact Fabrica.

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Pride Beside the Seaside

Posted by Sara on August 2, 2009

prideparade09

brighton pride 09

oldestgayinthevillage

Brighton Pride 2009

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100 Reasons to Love the Seaside

Posted by Sara on July 1, 2009

Number One: The Sea!

nowyouseameAre we really only halfway through the week? The weekend seems so far away…. Last Saturday marked my first swim in the ocean this year (though I’m using the term loosely here- spluttering around trying not to swallow too much sea water more like) and it was wonderful, here’s hoping for a long hot summer (and I wonder how many of us are seriously considering throwing a sickie tomorrow…..)

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Armed Forces Day

Posted by Sara on June 28, 2009

actionman

Yesterday’s Armed Forces Day in Brighton got off to an exhilarating start with a parachute jump over the West Pier. Performed by the Tigers Freefall and Parachute Display Team it was amazing to watch what at first looked like tiny toy action men jump out of a plane miles overhead- then land with incredible accuracy on to a 3ft by 3ft  spot marked out on the seafront. Fantastic.

paracutelanding

armypier

zombiesinvadebrightonandthearmyiscalledinasweareallgoingtodie

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Brighton & Hove World Naked Bike Ride

Posted by Sara on June 14, 2009

A big well done to everyone who took part in the Brighton & Hove World Naked Bike Ride today – you are very brave!

naked2

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The Royal Alex – Appeal rejected

Posted by Sara on June 14, 2009

Great news! I got an email from the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association last night informing me both appeals by developers Taylor Wimpey to demolish this beautiful building have been rejected. For a little background into the appeals, you can read my earlier post here.

royalalex3The main issues cited by planning inspector John Papworth were the effects the demolition would have on the character and appearance of this important conservation area. He also noted the strong affection still held for the old Royal Alexandra Hospital and the values she stood for. Although the report doesn’t discount the possibility for future total redevelopment of the site, for the moment at least this beautiful building is safe.

The report itself makes interesting reading and takes into account both sides of the appeal. If you want to read  it please contact me and I’ll be happy to email a copy – it’s only eight pages long and  provides some food for thought on  balancing the needs of  urban development while preserving the character and history so important to local communities. Let’s hope something can be done to keep this important and wonderful local landmark safe.

pleaselookafterthisbuilding


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Safe as Houses

Posted by Sara on June 11, 2009

It’s that time of the year again – when the air is full of the flutter of tiny wings as our city’s avian population find ever inventive spaces to raise their little ones in relative peace and quiet alongside their human counterparts. This one on Western rd is my favourite nesting site so far:

safehouse

Of course if you’re a very posh bird you get your own box made for you, with built in telly to boot. For updates and web cam on Brighton’s very own resident Peregrine falcons at Sussex Heights – click here

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