Went to see a couple of new Rough Theatre plays at the Open House pub on Friday night. First off: it's not far from home and they do a decent pint of Harveys for £2.40. John (fringeguerilla) said get there by 7.30, so I did, but they weren't open. So I went out in the garden by the railway where Jonny the ex-lodger and his chugger friends were drinking. Went up again and was admitted. I was the only member of the audience!! Sat 3 rows back on the groom's side of the aisle -- on my own. Thankfully 5 other people arrived and sat on the bride's side before off. First up was 'Picaresque' by Alan Morrison, a poem for 4 voices a la Under Milk Wood about a dossers' night shelter seen as a pirate ship. A bit hard to follow for me, especially with the throbbing young persons' music downstairs. After an interval, a couple more punters arrived and we got 'Graduates anonymous' by John O'Donoghue -- much more entertaining. It was about a support group for graduates having to live at home with parents. Some very funny lines in it (tho apparently the actors missed a few chunks out!). A new Abigaile's party? Nice chat and another pint with the writers, audience and actors, most of who seemed to be students of journalism at the City College.
What to look for when collecting old Ladybird books -- a fascinating read! I've a long way to go with my collection!
Review of David Devant at Tunbridge Wells, 29 May 2004. They got a mention in the Indy today on p25 of the ABC section.


Saw Gorgeous George on TV last night promoting RESPECT - The Unity Coalition. Yo! respect! what a good idea...
Georgian fireplaces lost in art store blaze: "Rare fireplaces worth £1.2 million, removed from an historic house in Brighton, were lost in the warehouse blaze which destroyed works by modern artists Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst."


Great :-: Anal Beard :-: gig last night at the Richmond, errr I mean Pressure Point, to launch their fab new CD 'Din Noir'. Caught the end of Eastfield's set and bought their single (on green vinyl) of 'Ooo Ahhh just a little bit'. Des B and his Port Slade posse spotted in the rather thin audience.


City bids to bag winter festival cash: "Brighton and Hove will stage a new winter festival if plans for a spectacular series of shows are supported by the Government." Pie in the sky or another gravy train??


Cycled through the tailend of a thunderstorm last night to see David Darling and the Bunun Singers at St George's church in Kemp Town. There was DD at the back against a badly creased backdrop of mountain forest, a string quintet (including a bass player just called Jub) and about 30 swaying indiginous Taiwanese chanters in national costume. There was also an irritating ambient soundtrack of chirping, birdsong and treefrog noises, which along with dripping water from the roof gave us the rain forest experience. The men paraded out with rifles!! Blimey, hope they weren't loaded! First song was a 2001 A Space Oddesy type men-only circle dance ascending chant emulating bees and praying for a good millet harvest with which to make beer. Then the Bunun women came on and we had a more polyphonic Hawaiian type sound with DD adding a bluesy feel. All in all, a very unusual sound -- quite spiritual in a way. It was a called a collaboration, but I imagine the Bunun boys and girls were just doing their 'traditional' thing, and DD and Quietus were joining in. We also got one very short experimental solo piece from DD, and some of his singing! Wine sales (no millet beer!) in the interval went to Amnesty International.
Our Open Houses First published on Thursday 20 May 2004: Letter: Our Open Houses Pardon me, but I have a better claim than Norma Binnie to having begun the Open Houses. In 1982 I was Ned Hoskins' co-conspirator in opening the first Open House in Brighton. At the time, Brighton Open Studios (which Norma cited as synonymous with the Open Houses), were dying. The previous year, Ned and I did visit the diminishing number of open studios but rather than vowing to continue a tradition, we opted for something new. Our open house concept was to show a variety of original works of art in a domestic setting and to offer the works for sale at an affordable price. This was quite different from inviting study of an artist's work and studio techniques. Today, with the advent of working from home, many artists' studios are in their houses and visitors can catch them at work. But this is not the main reason they flock to the open houses. They're also looking to purchase unique artwork directly from their host or one of their guest artists. They also want to be entertained and educated. They crave inspiration, social interaction and, perhaps, some exercise as they walk from house to house. Sorry, Norma, but the Open Studios didn't bring this about. You weren't there when we burnt our furniture in the garden and hung our first show. You had nothing to do with our early efforts to generate publicity, sponsorship and visitors. And, to my knowledge, you've not been involved in the subsequent development of the Fiveways Group or the wider promotion of the open house concept. Enduring successes do attract groupies but without Ned Hoskins there would be no Open Houses and nothing to hijack. -Stella Cardus, Creative director, Desktop Display Limited, www.display.co.uk"


After hearing an item on Melita Dennett's show on Radio Reverb, Saturday morning, I cycled down the front yesterday to see an exhibition at Medina House, a strange half-demolished building next to Marrocco's ice cream cafe that used to be a turkish baths, now squatted. The exhibition was called 'Secret erotic flock box' and comprised female erotic art (oo-er!), 'flock' wallpaper of the Pavilion and little exquisite secret boxes. Also watched our new cycle bobbies at work along Hove Esplanade, visited an exhibition by Red Hen (who?) in the newly restored St Andrew's Church, Waterloo Street, bought some spices at Taj Mahal, spotted an Anal Beard CD next door at that gallery whose name escapes me (Permanent?), shopped at poshy-poo Waitrose and not so poshy-poo Robert Dyas, visited Andrew Mockett's exhibition at Ian Brown's house on Rosehill Terrace and had a glass of something fruity at Judy Martin's pv on Viaduct Road. Had a night in!


Great Neil Innes gig last night in the packed Spiegeltent, on Brighton's pavilion lawn, despite a late start and short sound check (caused by previous show over-running). Neil and friends (weirdy beard Tom Fry on double bass and JJ Jones on drums) did all the usual Neil things plus a couple of Python songs -- the minstrel song and the philosophers song -- because Carol Cleveland was in da house! He even put the duck on his head for an encore of 'How sweet...' But... pissy beer at £3 a pint and no toilets!! Mind you, the noise ban for the Festival Club seems to have been lifted -- lots of loud Tamla to dance to....
Letter: Our Open Houses are not her Open Studios First published on Friday 14 May 2004: Letter: Our Open Houses are not her Open Studios Pardon me, but I think Norma Binnie is in error (Letters, May 12). As both a former member of Brighton Open Studios and a founder member of Fiveways Artists' Open Houses, I feel I must write in support of my friend and fellow artist, Ned Hoskins. Brighton Open Studios (B.O.S.) would have been B.O.S.H. had it had the word 'houses' attached to it, which it didn't. When I joined in about 1979, the organisation was already all but defunct and I have never knowingly even met Ms. Binnie. By then, not one artist opened their studios and what exhibitions were put on were all at 166-168 Kings Road Arches. I know the three other former members of B.O.S. who have since joined Fiveways Artists' Open Houses would agree that the concept of showing your own and others' artwork in your home was Ned's and Ned's alone. The legacy of Brighton Open Studios is in its name above its premises on the seafront which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary, whereas the legacy of Ned's first 'Open House' in 1982 is now all over the city of Brighton and Hove and beyond. -Philip Dunn, Ditchling


Been trying to compile a list of all the songs The Beatles covered in their early days. This website -- The Roots of the Beatles -- has already done some of the leg work!


I got sent Saga Magazine unsolicited the other day. Blimey, I thought, am I that old? I was about to chuck it away when I started to browse and actually found it quite interesting! Not only was there an article about Raymond Briggs and lots of gag cartoons, but an interview with Wendy Cope. Love her lines about parties from 'Being boring': I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for, If you don't need to find a new lover? You drink and you listen and drink a bit more And you take the next day to recover. I can empathise with that! At least with private views there's usually something to look at!


The Brighton Festival kicked off yesterday (notice I don't use the word 'fringe'!) and I sold three of my linocuts in the first morning! They are in The Dragonfly House, part of Beyond the Level -- scroll down to the bottom of the page to see an example. Also went to Ditchling to the opening of the Picture Book exhibition, starring Chris McEwen and Carol Lawson, John Vernon Lord, Val Biro, Jane Hissey, Alan Baker, Justin Todd, Leo Hartas, Chris Riddell and many others. Well worth a visit, and you get to see the Eric Gill stuff as well in a quirky old-fashioned museum.