More Open Houses

Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Well, the Festival of Artists' Open Houses is over for another year (or until Xmas, but I don't usually show then) and I'm pleased to say that I sold about 7 prints from The Dragonfly House. Yesterday I sent in a sicky to the Clarion, and decided to scale the heights of Hanover to check out some more Open Houses. Katie Mac had sent me a Facebook invitation to 134 Queen's Park Road so decided to make that the summit and work back down from there. It's not easy finding a route up the hills that doesn't involve some bike pushing, but I zigzagged up the steep streets and eventually arrived at the summit. There should be a funicular railway for Hanover, or at least a ski lift - the people who live there must be very fit! Also in the house was Andy MacLynn (who did the cover of the AOH brochure) and I really love his reductive acrylics of Brighton, just black line and one or two colours - and lots of white. Katie's saucy screenprints were a delight too and there was lots to see in this huge house, including the dark animals of Simon Postgate, son of Oliver, creator of Bagpuss, the Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. A quick pop into the basement at 134a, and across the road into 145 then it was cycling uphill again (I thought I'd reached the top?) then down Bentham Road to a nuclear bunker!

No. 62 is an installation by a group of 'pengineers' (pen engineers, not residents of Penge) led by Philip Cole who have explored the futility of preparing for nuclear war. Their garden is deceptively huge and in the middle is a restored Anderson shelter, the inspiration for this piece (it also has a view - though a massive concrete wall - of Hanover's mysterious reservoir). Back in the house under the floorboards is a secret stash of tinned pears! I bought an unknown chilli pepper plant and a large courgette plant (to replace the one chomped by slugs the other day) and headed down Whichelo Place (completely missing another open house I was going to pop into, but there was no going back!) to the Hanover Community Centre for a cup of tea and a scone, and to buy two heritage tomato plants (along with a set of Ben Naylor postcards!). Then it was round the corner to 88 Lincoln Street to see the photos of Andy Deighton and Lauren Chauvin - Brighton Flickr group regulars. A quick pop into 13 Lincoln Cottages and it was off home, fully laden! But... I decided to pop into 17 Clyde Road to photograph Alan Baker and Curtis Tappenden, but Curt was up at The Pecks at 145 Ditchling Rise having cake, so I trudged up the hill and rewarded myself with a slice of rhubarb cake and more tea! Then it was back to the Dragonfly House to pack up for Adur - I'll be showing in Krysia Drury's open house during June!

Other Festival highlights included Jarvis Cocker's highly entertaining lecture on lyrics - from Louie Louie to Leonard Cohen, via Des'ree and 'I am the Walrus' - at the Dome on Friday night (including 3 songs with him accompanying himself on guitar) and jumpin' an' jivin' to Fat 45 at the (Pussy) Parlure Spiegeltent on Thursday night (well past my bedtime!).

Peter Chrisp's Tiki-themed birthday bash at Hove's retro Bali Brasserie was the debut public performance of Uklear Reaction (sadly, no MySpace page yet), plus a stonkin' set from Jailbait. UR's second gig was at the Dragonfly House end-of-show party on Saturday night, tho Peter and Foz? missed most of it (and the whitebait and chips from Bardsley's), due to theatre-going commitments!


Jane's Blog

Jane's Blog: Highly entertaining blog from Jane Millar, of 11 York Villas. If you want to know who everyone is, consult the first posting!


Atters' other world

Originally uploaded by fred pipes
I don't normally go out on a Monday, but the prospect of some theramin action plus tasteful striptease, all under the direction of Atters - and FREE - was too much to resist. So it was across the border into Hove once more, and the Iron Duke. This is another pub I have so far missed in my 20+ years in the 'city', but with Harvey's (at £2.65 a pint) and Landlord on tap I'll be back! The band was Spacedog, with Sarah Angliss on theramin, musical saw, and one of those blowy plastic piano things that Foz? has, all processed through a Mac. Atters did his hilarious paranormal slideshow (spookily, the sheet screen dematerialised at one point!), then it was Spacedog again, this time with Clara 2.0, the robot doll. They're on at the Sanctuary on Wednesday if you want to catch them. Finally, Atters couldn't contain his excitement when burlesque star Ruby DeMure performed her sensational 'Beneath the Tash of Atters' routine. What more could a chap ask for?


Artists' Open Houses

Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Yesterday I arose too late to make the Clarion bike ride, so resolved to visit some Open Houses as recompense. I decided to do Seven Dials, via Hove (to avoid the hill of New England Road), via George (closing down sale) and Robert Dyas (where on earth can you get small terracotta flowerpots in Brighton?). First it was up the hill of Brunswick Road to see Colleen Slater's gorgeous underwater flower photos at 'Our Beautiful Maisonette' at No 19. Also liked Dee Berridge's life drawings (note to self: must get down the Sussex County Arts Club soon!). The combination of heat, hill and art was making my temperature soar, so I set off deeper into Hove to see Tessa Wolfe Murray's ceramics. They weren't where they were last year tho, so I copped an unexpected one at Amews Art, 23a Wilbury Grove - some first timers showing sculpture, photos and screenprints in their studio. Onwards and upwards, past some very grand villas, to 51 Wilbury Road, two flats in the same building, where Tessa's sublime ceramics (she hates me calling them pots!) were on show. Tessa BTW is a comrade Clarionette. I marvelled at Lawrence Latham's time-lapse photography and bumped into Ali Hastilow, who is showing in a Seven Dials house later on my list.

Now was a tricky bit, getting from one map in the AOH brochure to the other! By chance I took the right turning and spotted Silverdale Road, so popped into The Glass House for one of Kim Glass's prize-winning cream teas, a sit down and a chat. Revived, it was on to Chanctonbury Road, where two houses right next door to each other were open: first timers Eight O Nine at no. 13 showing the eery photography of Cameron Watt; and at 15, festival regulars Artists Live Here. I resisted one of Terri Bell-Halliwell's cakes and wandered upstairs to bump into old chum Jerry Webb, with whom I used to work at EMAP many moons ago! He's showing photos there. Bought a signed book: The Illustrated Brighton Moment, and it was off again, retracing my steps to get to Granville Road. A coach party was filing into Square Enough so I popped over the road to see Cecil Rice's phenomenal watercolours (and equally fantastic oils). I did a workshop with him at BIP last year to try learn some of his secrets (lots of space, big brushes, lots of water!) - he's been to the Taj Mahal and the paintings are breathtaking. Did I mention that I love his work?

Then it was across the road to see Oli and Joe at no.13. I got them to sign my Illustrated Brighton Moment book and bought a card and a badge (it's a cracker!), which both turned out to be by Joe again (I bought his Beer book last year!) - Oli didn't seem too upset! Ben Allen's mansion was going to be my last stop. Bumped into Stella Starr in the garden next to the tortoises and said hello to Jon Crane who'd been printing his pansies next to me at BIP the other week (he also did Cecil's workshop!). All the BIP boys and girls were on show in this huge house: Jane Sampson, Rich Townsend and Rosie Irvine, daughter of my mate Rick (Rintintin) and Jan (who has a new studio down on the seafront). About to go home, I bumped into old clubbing chum Marek Kohn, who is also in the Illustrated Brighton Moment book, who insisted I visit his neighbour at 11 York Villas, only to discover it was the house of Jane Millar, another screenprinter and friend of my ex-lodger Ellie Curtis. [On today's trail, I also kept crossing the paths of a couple (Caroline and Jamie?) who know Nick Hider!]. This debutante house was full of high quality contemporary work, including the digital prints of their 13-year old son Jacob (not quite the youngest artist in AOH - that's got to be Noah Tappenden!). And so, all cultured out, home. Only another 195 houses to visit.

I must mention 13 Gladstone Place, whose PV it was on Saturday night. If you think Open Houses are all crocheted toilet roll covers and painting by numbers, get down to Vogue Gyratory! This flat is an installation! You're given a map on the way in and even told to poke around under the stairs. The work inside the narrative is all hauntingly beautiful: from Frances Stott's pencil drawings of shipwrecks in oyster shells and Lucy Cash's video loop, to Michael Hutson's photographic memories of when he was in a coma. You may have met Michael, he may have cut your hair - he's a barber on Sydney Street and frequents the Off Beat Cafe. Very Brighton!



Loppy remembered

loppy remembered
Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Well, the Open Houses are once again open for the weekends in May. I haven't seen many of them yet (preferring the Vintage Commercial Vehicles rally down at Madeira Drive yesterday!) - but I am exhibiting as usual in The Dragonfly House, where Angie and Marc provide me with a dark corner in which to show my prints old and new. Only one new one (made at BIP) this year, I'm ashamed to say, but one has sold already! Visitors to The Dragonfly House, 48 Ditchling Rise, Brighton --
winner for the past two years as Best Open House in the Artists' Open Houses Festival - may well remember Loppy the pet rabbit in the garden, always a big hit with the children. Sadly, Loppy passed away last year, but a memorial has been unveiled - a wooden automaton by Helen Sinden, best known for her wooden heart boxes. Turn the handle and Loppy dives into view and a cloud (his ghost? his dream?) rotates. There also a peep hole where a carrot is hidden! Go on, have a go - you know you want to.