Posts Tagged ‘Brighton’

The Bevy; a co-op run for Bevendean, Brighton

Posted 03 Feb 2013 — by Jonathan
Category Beer, General, Share

Brighton is pretty spoiled for places to get a drink; we have a jolly impressive 278 pubs for 250,000 residents, but of course that doesn’t mean that every community is equally well represented. The area of Moulsecoomb (which includes the huge Bevendean and Bates Estates) contains over 18,000 residents, and is thought to be one of the most populated areas in the county without a local. Since police closed down the troublesome Bevendean pub in 2010, residents have nowhere to drink and (more importantly) nowhere to hang out and talk.

So what’s the answer? The answer is The Bevy.

The Bevendean Pub, founded by residents of Moulsecomb and Bevendean, will be the first co-op run pub on a city estate in the UK. The pub is happening because of collaboration and social capital, with locals and supporters of the project buying shares in the pub and gaining a say in its future in the process. The aim is to “create a place to eat, meet, drink, study and relax in the heart of [the] community!”, incorporating a pub, a cafe, a community kitchen and garden, as well as meeting rooms and play areas. They’ll grow their own salad, make good coffee and even collaborate with the excellent Brighton Bier Company to provide their own local ale. What a bloody brilliant idea it is.

In order to make this happen, the pub needs a lot of backing – so they’re offering shares at a minimum price of £10. I spent ten minutes chatting to the organisers at Seedy Sunday in Brighton today and invested a small amount in the project through their website when I got home. If you live in Brighton, care about pubs (18 close a week in the UK, you know) or want to encourage local, community solutions to societal problems, please consider getting involved. Buying a share through paypal took me less than 2 minutes – and made me feel good all evening.

Here are the links you need:
The Bevy on Twitter
The Bevy’s own website
Their prospectus [17mb]
The Bevy on Friendface


Dream geography

Posted 14 Jan 2013 — by Jonathan
Category Observations

I’ve been warned before that there’s nothing very interesting in talking about one’s dreams. People who analyse them are deluded and people who describe them are dullards. That’s probably true – but one’s own dreams always seem interesting to oneself, particularly if you wake like I did this morning, thinking, “bloody hell, that was vivid”.

A couple of fragments that I remember, to amuse myself.

I was walking through an altered Brighton – I assume I’m not unusual and that everyone distorts geographical reality when they dream. The Brighton of my dreams is pretty close to the one I inhabit when awake, except that some roads are louder, quieter, nearer, further away, blended or bent out of shape. My home is often different, although weirdly it’s rarely an amalgam of real places I’ve lived and rather somewhere quite distinct, a figment of my imagination. But when I dream it up – or at least, on the occasions when I remember it – I find I’ve done a good job of designing something really complete. I could knock on the walls.

I was walking through an altered Brighton – and it was a bit hotter and swingier; something of Lisbon transplanted to St James Street. People drank on doorsteps or cross legged on the pavement, people drifted diagonally from bar to bar. I walked to a camera shop (Jessops, I suppose, which has just closed down in real life, although there isn’t one in Kemp Town), and got invited to a party while I stared in the window. I crossed the road, and watched two men run at each other outside the Thai restaurant. One man was bent low, like a bull. The other man pulled a gun from his pocket and shot him. Then he pointed the gun at me, and I grabbed at a bit of loose wooden boarding which was nearby – quite calmly – and held it like a shield. He shot me through the board. I was carried away.

I woke up in a garden just around the corner, here in Seven Dials. It was New Year’s Eve and I had decided to sleep outdoors. It was a warm and balmy night. When I think about it, it often is in my dreams. I tossed and turned – in my dream – unable to sleep. So eventually I got up and walked through another part of Brighton (which is down by the seafront) back to my flat in Kemp Town. I slept there. After a while I rose and went back out onto St James Street and to an L-shaped bar which has never existed, but of which I dream, oddly, often. Downstairs they do cocktails and there is a small, tropical garden where you can stand. I think I dream about this bar twice a year.

I know what my dreams mean – they mean nothing. But I am intrigued by the geography of them. I often wake wishing for a map.

Sam Said, by The Middle Ones

Posted 24 Sep 2012 — by Jonathan
Category Music

I went and saw a couple of really great bands at the Riots Not Diets night in Brighton on Saturday. The first were the excellent Edible Arrangements, who played a short set of really excellent stuff, a kind of slightly gothic take on Electrelane’s two note minimalism. It’s obviously v early days for them as they’ve released nothing so far – but they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

Likewise The Middle Ones, who were up next and played some absolutely terrific songs. A two-piece who combine wonderful lyrics and beautiful voices with rudimentary playing and occasional bursts of joyous noise, they were really great.

We picked up one of their CD afterwards and I’ve been absolutely floored ever since by one song in particular – the very short and very beautiful ‘Sam Said’ which is so simple and profound that I feel the need to share it, lyrics included. Shades of those early, devastating Emmy The Great songs like ‘City Song’ and ‘MIA’.

Do listen; learn the lyrics, sing along. It’ll make your life better.

“Driving away
I feel stupidly happy again
I feel more like myself every day
Since you said I should stop worrying, stop worrying.

Sleeping on trains
always used to make me feel safe
made me think that I could be more brave
made me think I could stop worrying, stop worrying now.

and today I ought to feel bad
for the loss of the hero I used to have
but maybe that just means I can
finally stop worshipping, stop worshipping
people I see
who seem better at living than me
who seem louder and faster and free
Maybe I should stop worshipping, stop worshipping

Sam said it’s better this way
Sam said it’s better this way
Sam said it’s better this way
and at last I believe him, at last I believe him today.”

There’s more about this excellent band here.

The Green Centre, Brighton

Posted 20 Sep 2012 — by Jonathan
Category General, Share, Video

One of the most inspiring Green organisations I’ve come across is based on my doorstep right here in Sussex. My girlfriend Lyndsey has been volunteering at The Green Centre, situated in East Brighton, for the last three years, and at a recent Open Day & Recycling Bonanza I helped out and, working with a fellow film-maker, Dan Corns, made this video about the centre and its amazing Creative Director, Melanie Rees.

Mel has turned the centre into a real community project, working with local people to create a sustainable, open and inspiring space. The Green Centre market is full of nice objects which keep the business ticking over, but the heart of the Centre is the amazing recycling resource it offers, helping to ensure that practically nothing goes to waste, but is re-used, re-cycled or re-purposed. Out in the back of the Centre, a new pond provides social housing for the local wildlife.

The whole thing is brilliant. Please watch and share the video, and do feel free to stop by the Centre or like it on Facebook.

The Green Centre, Brighton from What You Sow on Vimeo.

[Filmed using two Canon 600Ds, a Zoom H1, and edited in Final Cut Pro X]

Pride 2012

Posted 01 Sep 2012 — by Jonathan
Category General, Photos

Went to Pride today; lovely as always to join in the festivities, especially as we went to hang out with our friends Oli and Sanj beforehand, in what they cheerfully term their ‘gay house’. Sanj was ashamed to have no sparkling water to hand, and rebuked me for folding my arms at one point. “I need you to relax”, he told me, wrenching my posture. “This is a gay house”.

Kemp Town Books

Posted 22 Jan 2012 — by Jonathan
Category Books

Yesterday’s Independent contained a feature on Britain’s best 50 bookshops; the sort of list which is probably rather meaningless, but which nevertheless is a good chance to catch up on a few places one might not know about, and of course to track the inclusion (or otherwise) of our favourite shops. Predictably, Hove’s lovely City Books is on the list (it always is).

8. City Books

"City Books has to go on my best of the bookshops list," states Sara. "This bookshop has been in business for 25 years and I was drawn back to it again and again, dollying between the two floors, when I was down in Brighton last year researching my latest book". The staff, she adds, are charming.

Where: 23 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1AF (01273 725306;

Well, that’s all well and good. If you live in or near Brighton, you definitely need to get down there more often; it’s a terrific shop. But for the sake of balance, can I just express a moment of frustration that Kemp Town’s equally wonderful Kemp Town Books is not in the list, and seems to be a little less well known nationally. It really really deserves a mention; a wonderful atmosphere, delightful staff and a lovely cafe upstairs. If you’ve not been, go.

91. St. George’s Road, Brighton, Sussex, BN2 1EE


picture by Eva.

Timelapse fun

Posted 16 Jan 2012 — by Jonathan
Category Technology

A couple of timelapses for you; a charming display of moving books and some really amazing shots of Brighton – the latter the work of, believe it or not, a 13 year old camera enthusiast. Good work.

This is Brighton from Caleb Yule on Vimeo.

A song a week #52 (I Will Be Your Referee)

Posted 31 Dec 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

Well, this is it. My last song of 2011 is as simple as can be. I recorded it on the 30th December, curled up in bed at about eleven o’clock, playing my ukulele and recording it with my iPad and cheapo headphone-mic. Somehow it seemed better to finish the year with something simple and clean, rather than complex. So that’s it. I’m done. 52 songs, over 52 weeks. And none of it would have been possible without the support and encouragement of my friends. So that’s nice. Here it is.

A song a week #51 (Let It Snow)

Posted 25 Dec 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Observations, Weekly Song

Inevitable, given my song a week project, that I’d attempt a Christmas song; this one was written and recorded in an single sitting on, you guessed it – Christmas Day, after having sat on my doorstep with a cup of coffee watching people packing up cars. Recorded straight to camera with a bit of overdubbing afterwards. I might buy myself a clarinet next year.

Happy Christmas.

“It’s the first Christmas in a while,
When it’s been so unseasonably mild.
I drink my coffee on the step
and watch my neighbours heading home again.

I watch them go,
oh let it snow.

It’s my first Christmas in this street,
moving from place to place really takes it out of me.
Drinking coffee, watching cars.
Counting presents, counting cards.

I watch them go,
oh let it snow.
I don’t know,
why won’t it snow?”

A song a week #49 (Peach)

Posted 09 Dec 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

As I approach the end of my song-writing year, I find myself flicking back through the work I’ve done looking for things to tidy up and complete; there have been plenty more songs started this year than there have been finished. As I go, I rarely find much I want to keep; perhaps a drum loop here or an arrangement there. This week’s effort grew out of the latter; a simple passage of synthesized string instruments which lingered after I gave it up, and saw a bit of life injected at the weekend. The song is very simple; for some reason I had in mind a cottage in the footholds of some Welsh valley; and I like one line very much – “you skim off the rind but you know you’re the skin of the peach”.

I shot the video in Cambridgeshire visiting my parents; the explosions of seeds from the bloated bullrushes counts as one of the most memorable things I saw, never mind filmed, in 2011.

A song a week #48 (Focus On Things)

Posted 02 Dec 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

Oh look, here’s Sam on lead vocals, with Dan and AS on back up. Sort of.

I put together this music slowly, over the course of the year, looking for an opportunity (or the courage) to do a rap over it, and eventually chickened out. But over the course of the year I’ve swapped lots of voice messages with Sam, who’s over in Paris, so I thought I’d put some of those rambling messages to use.

Most of our musings and conversations over the year have related to various projects we’re undertaking, and our shared need to focus on things. So there’s our chorus.

A song a week #46 (Done Driving remix)

Posted 18 Nov 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

I love this one; I was very proud of ‘Done Driving’ when I recorded it a few weeks ago, but Dan gave me the idea of trying a remix rather than a new song. That felt, on the face of it, like a bit of a cheat, so I decided to do it only on the condition that it was a radical re-vamp rather than just a slightly adapted take. Specifically, I wanted to change the mood without altering the basic bones of the song; so this version features almost all of the components of the original but filtered through a totally different mood; so we have upbeat horn breaks where before we had moody introspection. Thanks to Dan for a really good video, as well.

A song a week #45 (Hudson River)

Posted 11 Nov 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

As with so many of my songs this year, I’d struggle to tell you what this one is about, but I can give you an exact geographical reference for where I was, mentally, when I wrote it. Literally, I was in my flat in Brighton, but everything about the song somehow is located for me by the Stuyvesent High School in Manhatten, just across from Jersey City over the Hudson River. That sounds horribly pretentious, but I have a clear memory of standing there trying to hail a cab a year or so ago, and somehow, early in the writing of the song, that memory came back to me and infected the song. Conversely the video, very literally, is set in my flat – you can tell, perhaps, that these flowers are a touch past their best.

A song a week #44 (Jackdaw)

Posted 04 Nov 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Observations, Weekly Song

I try to write a bit about each song I do here, but sometimes other things seem more relevant. This is a nice enough song, I think, but the moment I paired it with the images below, filmed by Dan the morning after our friends Ali and James got married, it meaning got lost a bit. So instead of rattling on about the song, I’ll just mention what a glorious day we had with our friends, and how nice it was wondering through the fields and orchard the next morning.

A song a week #43 (Drowning Song)

Posted 28 Oct 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

Very early this year I asked my friend Pete if he’d be interested in helping me write a song, and he immediately sent through some guitar stuff for me to work with. Almost immediately I was struck with paralysis and the files sat on my hard-drive untouched for about six months. Pete is one of the best friends I’ve ever had and the co-architect of some of the happiest afternoons and evenings of my life, playing with my band, so working together on a song meant a lot and I wanted to get it right. Eventually I dug the files out and worked them up into something that I’m very happy with, sounding, as it does, very like the kind of song which me, Pete, Andy and Ali wrote in the early 2000s. So of all the songs I’ve worked on this year, this is probably the most important to me.

A song a week #42 (Coast)

Posted 21 Oct 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

Sometimes songs come together incredibly easily and it’s always a little bit wonderful when they do – especially if they’re super tuneful, as this one is (or at least, super-tuneful compared to my usual fare). If I remember right, I wrote it during Question Time. So there’s a tip.

Lyrics and chords; why not play along.

A song a week #41 (Aldrington)

Posted 14 Oct 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

Because I’m writing so frequently, and seeking to prevent things from sounding samey, I’ve noticed little trends in terms of how I arrange songs – early on I was introducing electronic elements and looking to borrow from dance music and hip hop in how I structured things; a bit later I seemed to be working hard on intricate string arrangements. Following that, I concentrated hard on glockenspiels and harps, looking for warm ringing sounds to offset the bleakness of my strumming. Recently, I’ve used woodwind instruments and accordians, instruments I wouldn’t have dreamed of incorporating twelve months ago. I dunno if these surface differences keep things interesting for my listeners – assuming I have any – but they certainly keep things fresh for me. Anyway – here’s an example of the more organic sound I’ve opted for recently. This one’s called ‘Aldrington’.

A song a week #40 (Forty)

Posted 07 Oct 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

For this week’s song, I was satisfied to shy back from creating something with a verse and chorus and, for the first time, dispense with lyrics. For reasons I’m not altogether sure of, I’ve never listened to any instrumental rock music; the likes of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor bore to me tears, although when you consider that I very much like listening to Durutti Column, jazz and modern classical stuff, perhaps it makes more sense to simply say I don’t like post-rock. Either way, I always think it’s rather pointless writing music and not lyrics, but that’s my own prejudice and one I should get over. For this, I tried.

It’s really just a slightly awkward riff, looped with some weird distortion over the top – but I’m pretty pleased with it. My friend Dan shared it with a friend of his, Linda, who took a bit of time out of her day to dance along; and Dan created the accompanying video. Thank you, both.

The song is called, aptly, Forty – it’s the fourtieth song in this project.

Get up to date with the other 39 songs here.

A song a week #39 (Patterns & Exits)

Posted 30 Sep 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

This song is really just another collection of images, inspired by a walk through Brighton on a foggy morning this week; watching prescription lines snake out of chemist doors and postmen rattle their carts down Buckingham Road. It ends with an image I didn’t spot, but which sprang organically to mind as I was writing – that of kids on bridges, noting down trains or dropping pebbles on cars. Lyrics below.

There’s a stupid typo at the end there; ‘kids go two ways, getting older / up on the footbridge / carrying notepads or boulders’.

A song a week #38 (Still)

Posted 23 Sep 2011 — by Jonathan
Category 52songs, Assistant, Music, Weekly Song

I feel like talking about this song is kind of pointless when the obvious point of interest is Dan’s regal, rather scary video, made using his brother’s iPad and some somewhat emerging technology. The song itself is about being over sentimental and squeamish. Which I am.