Great David Devant and his Spirit Wife interview by Dave Gorman last night (Wednesday) on BBC 6 Music - hear the whole show here while it's still available, or collect MP3s from the Chat Board courtesy of Mr Tim. Includes live tracks 'Distant stars', as featured on Mikey's blog and 'About it'.


Michael Chapman

Michael Chapman, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Michael Chapman is still going strong, and was playing at The Greys last night. Despite being rude about Lancs – his Yorkshire humour comes as a pleasant contrast to his songs, which can be a bit on the gloomy side – I really enjoyed his set. I last heard him around 1971 (I have a white-label acetate of 'Window', given to me by someone – Lynne Boot? – at Blackhill Enterprises, when we shared an agent). In Neil Innes style, he did a medley of his greatest hit 'Postcards of Scarborough' ('they 'ate me there', he said!) and many other favourites. He's a great guitarist too, doing a couple of instrumentals and finishing with a 'pastiche' (his word) tribute to John Fahey. He had a story about that great man too, but it was a hot night and after several pints of Harveys and a hay-fever pill, I was beginning to nod off and can't remember it! I must be getting old…


Embassy Court

Embassy Court, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Went on a tour of Embassy Court today, part of Architecture Week. Embassy Court is a grade II* listed building designed by Wells Coates and opened in 1935. The tour cost 6 quid and was conducted by Stuart Adams, who has a small flat in the building – a Canadian like Wells Coates, its architect. We started in the boarded-up lobby, which once had a mural by E McKnight Kauffer, a walnut desk and a doorman. Jo Moore, Chloe and Laurence also turned up. Then we went up to the roof (I took the lift!) for some magnificent views. Then down the outside stairs to a couple of empty flats, then to the 'office' down below. It's being restored with the help of Terence Conran's name, in the person of Paul Zara and is now owned by Bluestorm, a company formed by the residents. Once the residence of Laurence Olivier, Rex Harrison, Diana Dors, Graham Greene and Keith Waterhouse, but more recently a dilapidated eyesore full of junkies, it now looks pretty good! More photos on Flickr.

Another Embassy Court site, which doesn't seem to be working at present.


Michael Munday

Michael Munday, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Michael Munday has swopped watercolours for plasma screens for his Architecture Week installation 'Exploring the Labyrinth' at Brighton's new Jubilee Library. Went along to his PV last night (must go back and have a proper explore with my reading glasses!) and also found myself at an awards ceremony – for Art Plus 06. Deaf people were well served by subtitles and a signing person – tho the software that produced the live subtitling needed a bit of tweeking, some of the phonetic attempts at people's names were unfortunately hilarious. It was also a bit ironic in that some of the awards were for sound installations! Must muse on this a bit more, a bit controversial, but… when we all know that art is therapeutic by its very nature – like birdwatching, engaging with art can uplift the spirits – and we all want inclusivity, but why oh why, when it comes to public funding, does art always has to relate to disability? Forgot to return my CDs while I was there…

vegan selection


West Pier by moonlight

West Pier by moonlight, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Took a few photos of the amazing moonrise, after attending the solstice NUJ Brighton Branch beach barbie at Norfolk Groyne on the Hove border, where I got to chat with Carol Cleveland, she of Monty Python fame! Big thanks to Jemima for organising the bash...



Specimim, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Archetype is part of Architecture week: It was a serendipitous meeting while sending off the G8 cyclists. Jeremy Radvan was walking his Dulux dog on the prom and mentioned he was in a performance that night down the sewers. How could I resist! So at 7pm I turned up with sensible shoes and was led though a door under the Palace Pier and into the Victorian sewers (with hard hat and rubber gloves) to see 'Vestige': Rajyashree Ramamurthi emerging from the 8ft tunnel followed by a clarinetist and being drawn on live by Jeremy with Wacom.

Outside, bumped into Guardian photographer Roger Bamber, who very kindly took a photo for my publishers on my camera. He was part of a Sarah Heyworth gravy train that also included Foz? (from David Devant and His Spirit Wife) and Mrs Foz? (or should I say Max and Mr Max). Over to Frank-in-Steine for a pricey cappuccino (£1.70 in paper cup) and another Archetype performance, this time by Mim (Miriam King) and bloke on roof, called 'Specimim'. A quick visit to the Unitarian church, wine cup in hand to don spirit spex for Liz Aggiss's 'Men in the wall' 3D video starring Jedi Bassan, then back to the grassy Steine for band and chat with Foz? about ukuleles – top night out! A big thank you to the lovely Lisa O'Connor for my badge!

More pix on Flickr.


Train-home ban for big bike ride - it is ridiculous that bikes will be banned on all trains in the South East because of the London to Brighton bike ride! Surely Southern can bring back a few slam-door trains, or goods vans to carry all those passengers?
Indymedia UK - Critical Mass Brighton: a write-up of last night's critical mass. There's a G8 blog too.

g8 bike ride

g8 bike ride, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Got up early this morning to give the intrepid people cycling to the G8 protest a send off from the Palace Pier. Cycled as far as St Peter's church and left them heading for Ditchling Beacon.

Brighton critical mass

Brighton critical mass, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I'm a big fan of The Bill and would happily go for a pint with Reg or Tony Stamp, but for a middle-class Independent-reading cyclist like me it comes as a bit of a shock to come face-to-face with real policepersons at work. After a pleasant ride around town with a few friends (a critical mass event actually), we were stopped and told off for causing an obstruction to traffic just as we were all about to go home. One poor chap was arrested, handcuffed and taken to the nick. We were all asked for our names, birthdays and addresses on pain of being arrested under Section 25 of PACE or so Sarge 728 told me! Why weren't they having a word with those impatient van and car drivers, who are normally happy to sit in traffic jams chatting on their mobile phones, driven to making wreckless and dangerous manoeuvres at the sight of 20 or so cyclists using the road - or perhaps it was the tantalising glipse of the open road ahead? More photos on Flickr.

Afterwards, popped along to The Bugle to see (North) South African legend Solani S Mthombeni play guitar and sing, accompanied by Risenga Makondo on drums. Foot-tappingly sublime.



John Shuttleworth was in fine fettle - and fawn - last night at the Garden, err Gardner, Centre in Falmer. There was more chat than songs, and many of the songs were new, to me at least! 'Biscuits and confectionery', 'I can't go back to Savoury!' (my titles) along with 'Shopkeepers in the North', 'Eggs and gammon', a nice animated 'Unaccompanied lady', and of course 'Y reg' and 'Pigeons in flight' for the encore. We also got the trailer (on the website) for 'It's nice up North' widescreen, and a set by Dave Tordoff. Bought the Jilted John CD, but we really need a follow up to 'The Yamaha Years' with all the new songs on! Plenty of artists on the front row - inc. Jon Mills and Andrew Mockett; me and Alan Buck were on the second row, right in the centre. Tip: get your beer at the student bar opposite! No photos cos it was in a theatre venue!


Argus letter: EDO protests turn nuclear: "EDO is also closely involved in the development of the Storm Shadow SCALP E, a long-range, cruise missile".
TV's Time Team dig into the past near Worthing: what could be one of the most significant Neolithic sites.
Scuffles and arguments as marchers take to the city streets: the Argus take on the protest demo against EDO MBM Technology.


EDO demo

EDO demo, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Today was a demo march against EDO, the local arms firm that make release mechanisms for bombs on planes. Not too many people there, considering it was a national demo. Loads of police tho, and there were one or two confrontations – under the station tunnel by the Prince Albert and also on Queens Road, where we were hemmed in by lines of police all round, but generally it was good natured and I was even asked by a very nice WPC outside the police station if I'd enjoyed myself! More photos on Flickr, tho it's not easy to take good photos of a demo, when you're in the middle of it and not allowed out!

Popped along later to the Phoenix to view an exhibition by Greg DaVille called Covers. People had been invited to re-create their favourite album covers – what a great idea – and some fab photos produced. Unfortunately today was the end-of-show wrap party. Loved the King Crimson one.


Wreckless Eric

Wreckless Eric, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

After a quick PV (missed the wine!) in the old Argus basement - a sort of Brighton v. Worthing art show, with Worthing represented by RAG (Dan and Steve - love your work!) and Brighton by Contemporary Gallery (no website?), popped along to the Marlborough to see Wreckless Eric, supported by the very versatile Paul Stapleton and his other band Pog, Annalise playing a very cute heart-shaped lilac bass.

Eric was in fine form, just him and 3 guitars on the intimate (but hot under the lights) stage. The audience seemed to be mainly old men (myself included) and he was receptive to requests (except he refused do the Cliff Richard hit 'Broken Doll'), doing 'Joe Meek' straight after 'Reconnez Cherie'. For 'Whole Wide World' we had to wait for the end of the set, but in between we got an empassioned 'Same' and '33s + 45s'. And then there were the stories - about his crap French (denied later by his Mum who was also in the audience), the perils of playing on home turf (followed by 'Local'), singer/songwriters and lots lots more, usually accompanied by his trademark chug (but nothing about Elvis Costello this time!). A national treasure, can't wait for the sequel to 'A Dysfunctional Success'. More photos on Flickr.

(NB www.wrecklesseric.com doesn't seem to be working at the mo)


Flickr: Photos from fred pipes: I think I have this Flickr thing sussed now!

The Rutles 8 June 2005

There was already a queue at 7.15 last night when Nick and I arrived from The Angel on St Giles High Street (beer at £1.70 a pint - in London!). I'd picked up a Rutles DVD at Fopp for a fiver and the anticipation of the first night of the last London appearance of The Rutles was electric. We managed to get a table on the far side of the stage - Neil's set-up however was at the bar end and the grand piano was covered.

The first half of the Neil Innes double bill at the 100 Club was billed as 'with Friends', but Neil was All Alo-ho-ho All Alo-ho-ho-hone (except near the end when joined by Rutling Ken on 'Ego Warriors'). Where were they? He kicked off with 'Protest Song', followed by all the old favourites and a good portion of the new CD. Finale was 'The Philosophers Song' for the Monty Python fans.

For the second half, the stage was full of men in black: John Halsey (Barry) and JJ Jones on drums, Rutlin' Ken Thornton on lead guitar , Mickey Simmonds on keyboards and Mark Griffiths on bass. They started with 'Major Happy' and it was rocking and singing along from then on. I tried to keep a set list but, what with trying to take photos and getting carried along, it soon lapsed! They must have done 25 or so numbers by the time 'Shangri-la' and 'Get up and go' (appropriately) finished the set. First encore was a tribute to George Harrison with 'Isn't it a pity', followed by 'Back in '64', featuring Barry Wom on paper tearing. I can't even remember the second encore (too busy taking snaps) but it wasn't 'Love Life' despite the chanting from the delerious audience.

I was determined not to miss the encores like last year at the 100 Club when I had to run for the last sensible train - and I'll always regret leaving The Only Ones gig at the Lyceum back in the 80s before the end. So I managed to get the five past midnight train back to Brighton clutching my Legalise Tea mug (with tea bag!) and lots of happy memories of a fantastic gig. Is this really the end of the Rutles?

There are some more photos on Flickr.

The Rutles 8 June 2005 Neil and Barry do 'Back in '64'
Karis has launched a website for people to have their say on the Frank Gehry development on the King Alfred site in Hove. Lte's hope it's not all from the 'not in keeping' brigade!


Towers get go-ahead: "councillors agreed to take a 'leap of faith' in Gehry's design team and trust that problems with the scheme would be ironed out before the development was built." Hoorah! But how much will the daring design be compromised before it gets built?