Brighton Live

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

This blog was only ever meant as an aide memoire pour moi, so please don't expect any detail or critique! It's been a busy week what with the wonderful Brighton Live putting on free gigs all over the place, and often nearby. Last Tuesday I popped down to Audio (formerly the Escape) to catch The Fuck You Planet Earth (aka Mark's band) who are a lot less frantic than they used to be, in fact quite mellow! Just Mark on acoustic, a Jack Black-lookalike electric guitarist and drummer. It was an early gig so I got back home in time for Holby City and Silent Witness. No mySpace yet. Wednesday was the NUJ Brighton Branch AGM at the bland Brighthelm (but pub after) and I thought I'd catch Peggy Sue and The Pirates at Barfly (formerly the Gloucester) but there was a long queue so I didn't bother. Thursday was the monthly Brighton Illustrator Group meeting at Castor and Pollux (on the subject of Agents), but it was late when it ended so went home. Friday aftrenoon I popped down to the Corn Exchange for the Brighton Art Fair, had a bottle of Harvey's and a natter with some old mates, then home. I'd filmed the road-roller printmaking in Pavilion Gardens on the Monday - see photo above (and spent most of last week trying to improve the video on YouTube to no avail!) and the finished prints looked great. After my tea, I popped down to the City Gate Centre above Blockbusters and caught the end of a set by Los Piratas, a jolly South American style band with accordian and ukulele. I'd come to see The Ukes of Hazzard, 3 ukes and a bass, 3 blokes and a gal, but they were disappointing and only came alive during the last number.Don't get me wrong I love Django-style jazz numbers but more variety would have been nice. By this time the quasi-religious hall was filling with 50s throwbacks and rockabilly joungsters awaiting the jumpin' jivin' sounds of the Fat 45s (hear 'em here) - there were hundreds of them and they were great - doing a mixture of Louis Jordan and rock 'n' roll - any band with a honkin' baritone sax is OK by me! Well, the joint was still jumpin' as a pedalled up the road to the grand old Duke of York's for David Bramwell's Oddfellows Casino: David on piano, sounding a cross between Paul McCartney and Victoria Wood, singing wistful Northern songs accompanied by a lovely lady flautist (Eliza?), an electric guitarist and another bloke on trumpet (it was getting late!). David's website is a bit out of date; so is the MySpace! This was followed by a screening of the 1932 film Freaks - amazingly I stayed awake throughout! Aiming to see Asbo Derek and The Curst Sons tonight, but I do need an early night. Well done, Brighton Live - I just wish I had more stamina!


Howe Gelb

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Howe Gelb was a delight last night at the newly redecorated and de-privatised club The Hanbury Ballroom in Kemp Town. I'm not yet familiar with Mr Gelb's oeuvre - I confess the only song I recognised was Ketty Lester's lovely 'Love letters', but he was a class act, accompanying himself on guitar and grand piano along with Swedish bass player Thoger Lund and - thanks to the enthusiastic audience - doing a long encore with various members of the bands of the supports. Who were: Kate Maki from Canada, who stood in for a choir during the encores, and Lonna Kelley from Arizona (with a great electric guitarist, heavy on the tremolo). It's a wonderful venue and as intimate as it gets, but be warned there's no proper beer at the bar!


I like trains

Of course, I didn't actually see anyone die on Saturday - I saw a chain of events that led me to believe no-one could have survived. And that has been confirmed since: Brian Brown of Doncaster crashed Hawker Hurricane BD707 from Duxford into a field near Lancing College during a simulated dogfight involving Spitfires, Hurricanes and Messerschmitts during Shoreham Airshow. That shocking and tragic event has rather reset my memory. I was going to blog that Thursday and Friday nights were ideal for the elderly gentleman about town. Thursday's Catalyst Club [when is Cheeky David going to update his website?] provided four talks for four quid, plus a slideshow on the World Moustache and Beard Championships of which David Bramwell was a judge. The talks were: Astrology (boring), Pierrepoint (by Ross Gurney-Randall who had a play called 'Follow me' on the subject at Edinburgh), cunnilingus (rather puerile), and finally and aptly Hitler's moustache (apparently he had bits sticking out each side in the first world war but his sister in law in Dublin told him to cut them off - later she said 'I think he's gone too far'! A white supremacist website say it was the minimum necessary to purify the air going up his nostrils...). Friday night , I popped into the MA illustration show PV briefly but it was a pay bar so resolved to go back when it's less busy. Onwards to the seafront and the Jonny Hannah PV at Castor and Pollux. The show is entitled 'Hot dogs and rocket fuel' and Jonny does gorgeous linocuts and silkscreened prints (usually at BIP) and has painted several 'oilcans' (great value at £120 each). Whenever I see a book cover I like these days, it's usually by Jonny - so he's getting the respect he deserves. Mike Levy was very generous with the 'red plonk' so I was quite merry when I set off along the beachfront (past a huge queue to see Maximo Park at a new nightclub called Digital) to Barfly (formerly The Gloucester) to see iLiKETRAiNS. Any band with that name I've got to like, especially as they issue Railcards and have an enamel badge to buy with iLiKETRAiNS written in a British Railways totem. I used my former to buy the latter at the merchandise stall and received a free button badge and poster! They were excellent live, albeit very sombre and downbeat, a bit like British Sea Power. And it was all over by 11pm so I could get home to my pipe, slippers and wee dram of whatever is on special offer at Sainsbury's this week. Many thanks to Anna Moulescombe of Melting Vinyl for getting me in. Train spotters will see from my Flickr website that I was at the Bluebell Railway yesterday with the Clarion cycling club (Horsted Keynes buffet does a lovely pint of Harvey's). Tonight it's Howe Gelb at the newly refurbished and private-members club The Hanbury Ballroom in Kemp Town. Wonder if it's proper beer there or will I have to resort to the old standby of lime 'n' soda again?


Pilot Is Named

The pilot of Hurricane BD707 has been named: Tragic Airshow Pilot Is Named (from The Argus): "Moving tributes have been paid to a Hawker Hurricane pilot killed when his historic fighter aircraft nose-dived into a field at Shoreham Airshow. Brian Brown, an experienced airman from Yorkshire, was killed instantly when the plane, which was taking part in a Battle of Britain dogfight display, crashed at 3.20pm on Saturday."


Shoreham Air Show

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I saw someone die today. It was horrible. At first I thought it was a stunt: plane dives behind trees followed by a big bang, just like in the Battle of Britain films. Only it was real, surreal because it was during a simulated World War II dogfight complete with 'anti-aircraft guns' and fireball bombs going off on the runway of Shoreham airport. Then I spotted a plane near Lancing College going straight down towards the ground. I waited for it to reappear but there was an ominous pause, then the explosion I photographed from Rick and Krysia's Velux window! I always used to joke that I carried a camera around in case of a plane crash - now I've actually seen one and it wasn't funny. It was a Hurricane apparently and the show carried on, 'because that was what he would have wanted' so they said on the Tannoy. I need a drink.


The Monkey's Paw Club

I haven't been out much lately so - thanks to a Facebook aside from socialite Peter Chrisp - last night popped down to the Komedia for the inaugral meeting of The Monkey's Paw Club: 'a literary evening inspired by the legendary Hellfire Clubs, Tales of the Unexpected, Ripping Yarns and Gothic Horror! An opportunity for Louche Libertines, Dapper Dilettantes and Cunning Courtesans to convene in leisurely fashion over fine wine and shady conversation'. Well, no David Devant unfortunately, but an evening of storytelling, burlesque and physical theatre staged by Vavavavoom's Stella Starr and Mr World Moustache Championships Michael 'Atters' Attree. The Monkey's Paw is a three-wishes gothic horror story by WW Jacobs and we were treated to a reading of it by Guy Venables from the throne. This was after erotic stories from Stella and some Sherlock Holmes. In the second half things got more physical: a deadpan clown with bubble skills called Mr Ed, lots of saucy vampiresses, and finally a magic lantern show and 'seance' by Atters, with ectoplasm everywhere! Top night out for the more discerning (and elderly) punter (seated, and all over by 11pm), despite the price of Komedia beer! This morning around 6.50am I was woken up by 8 or 10 bangs that sounded like gun shots! Eek!


Statue stolen for scrap

Police Piece Together Statues Last Moments (from The Argus): it's surely the end of civilisation as we know it when a bronze statue is hacksawed to bits for an estimated 100 quid's worth of scrap! A Henry Moore statue was stolen in 2005 (presumably for scrap) from the courtyard of the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. Nearer home, the bronze statue of Olympic gold medallist Steve Ovett was stolen from Preston Park, Brighton last weekend. Police have since recovered pieces of it across the London Road from a bonfire near a tree protest camp. A 44-year old woman was arrested and later cautioned. That's it! Sculptor Peter Webster, then a teacher at Cardinal Newman School, spent four years creating the £25,000 piece some 20 years ago. He was also responsible for the statue of Max Miller on New Road. Peter lives across the road from me!



Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

It's not often that Brighton is visited by a steam loco - and even rarer for such a beautiful beast as 'Spam-can' Battle of Britain class 34067 Tangmere (built at Brighton in 1947) to steam through my local station, London Road. So I dragged myself up at the crackle of the dawn at 8.55am to cop the train to Faversham Hop Festival belching out filthy smoke along the Lewes line. I knew it was coming back to Brighton at 10.12pm so thought I'd watch it steam over the viaduct. That would have made a fantastic photo in daylight! Tangmere will be this way again, passing through Preston Park, Hove and Worthing, for a trip to Bath and Bristol on 22 September. The rest of the day? A 22-mile bike circular from Berwick (not -on-Tweed!) with the Clarion.