Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Scoop and Crumb

Scoop and crumb is the fab new name for a scrumptious ice cream parlour - come cafe - come sarnie shop- at 5-6 East Street in the lanes of Brighton.

Owners Jonathan and Helena Dickson have been trying to get it off the ground for years and believe you me it's worth the wait. Lots of stylish modern art on the walls and an amazing choice of home made ice cream using local ingredients. My favourite - Christmas pud flavour! It also sells some very special sandwiches - Scandinavian open sandwiches - so you can check out the ingredients in situe as it were.

Definitely recommend you pop-in when you are next in town.

They are currently developing their own website but here's a link to their page on

Scoop and Crumb web page on


Baroque Rocks

The usual motley three witches AKA Charlotte, Liliana and Richard were invited to the first birthday party of Baroque Jewellery in the Lanes, a collaboration of several talented designer makers. The design of the shop is amazing with dragon wallpaper inspired by the Royal Pavilion, display cases made specifically for their work and even a contemporary chandelier made of black porcelain fronds .... wow!!

We were taken round by one of the designers who showed us the workshop on site and the gorgeous jewellery some of which was inspired and indeed used natural products such as feathers and slate to cast their pieces. All the designers together offer a diverse yet cohesive mix of styles from traditional to contemporary, and prices range from around £100 to £10k. The evening was sponsored by Tuaca and scrumptious food from Maugherman's Deli also in the Lanes, we particularly loved the baby stuffed peppers with cheese, they were to die for darrrrrling!

The drink flowed and was served by the cute barman who can normally be found at Blanch House or the Hanbury club and he shakes up a mean Tuscan Mule.

So if you are looking for that special gift for a loved one look no further and take yourself down to Baroque Jewellery, an Aladdin's cave of inspiration. To see exactly what we are talking about go to their website

Monday, 26 November 2007

VisitBrighton Film night

Last night we were at the Sallis Benney theatre for the Visit Brighton film night. The evening was all about how Brighton has been depicted on film, I don't mean in fictional films such as Brighton Rock and The End of the Affair but in tourism films and some early footage from the pioneers of film making. Some of the footage shown included an eccentric man who would keep the visitors amused by peddling his bike off the end of the West Pier and another one where they were experimenting with special effects which showed a man diving off the pier and then apparently jumping back onto his diving board. The films were shown in chronological order from the early 1900s up until the 1950s.

The films shown included a promotional film of Brighton from the '50s. What struck me was that our key messages have not actually changed as much as I expected. The video included the Royal Pavilion, The Lanes and of course the beach. However what surprised me was the range of restaurants on offer and the fact that they used the word cosmopolitan and we thought we were being terribly modern with our marketing strategies, well I guess what goes around comes around, or as the fabulous Dame Shirley would say it's all just a little bit of history repeating! Although I think that is what is so great about Brighton in that while there are always new things happening such as the i-360 there are certain things that will always be here such as the sea and the cosmopolitan atmosphere

The rest of the evening was given over to our film competition. For those of you who don't know, we worked with Final Cut and held a competition for people to film a 60 second promotional short about Brighton. So last night we gave out the three judges awards, the peoples choice award and the runner up prizes, all of which can be seen on our YouTube page:
The People's Choice and third with our judges was Daniel Parsons with Hold Tight: Brighton, second was Drew Cameron with B Right on (you know it makes sense) and congratulations to Tony Moon who won first prize with Brighton's Worst Kept Secret:

If I'm honest I origianlly only went to support our work bit of it but it was actually really interesting seeing all the old footage of Brighton & Hove particularly the aeroplanes flying very low over the beach, I doubt they'd get away with that today! To find out more see the Screen Archive South East website


Friday, 23 November 2007

The Toy Museum

I was wondering where to take a 9 year old child now that the weather has turned, and then I happened upon the Toy Museum which is on the way to Brighton Station or if you are looking at the station then the museum is underneath.

As you enter the first thing you see is this great big helicopter that actually was someone's remote control toy. Other exhibits include Corgi cars and trains and lots of other old-fashioned toys where you are bound to say "Oh yes I remember those" There are also a variety of machines where you can actually see puppets come to life for only 10p, there is also a big model railway set up that you can press to activate as you walk round.

As well as all of these things to see there is a meccano and lego set where children can sit and play and build their own things which should keep them amused for a little bit longer. And if you still have any money left they do have a little shop that sells toys and games. It's certainly a place worth a visit and not just for children.

And afterwards why not stroll down into the North Laine for a coffee avoiding the big chains and go to one of the independent cafes for a home made cake.

So has anyone else been to the Toy Museum? Let me know what you thought


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Go to bed

You may have noticed that the blog posts have slowed down a bit recently, this is because poor Sarah has been manically working on re-branding the website, apparently it’s not quite perfect yet but I think it looks great, so well done Sarah.

As for the rest of the contributors, well a couple of us have been off work due to illness. This is rather ironic as apparently we live in the healthiest city and it was thanks to Dr Richard Russell proclaiming the benefits of the fresh sea air that originally made Brighton a popular place to visit. However even us healthy Brightonians are powerless when it comes to the world’s mightiest foe; the common cold. Personally I find this to be the most annoying sickness as there is always the dilemma about whether to go in to work or not, if you have the ‘flu and are semi-comatose then obviously you cannot work equally with a stomach bug you need to stay near the loo. But sneezing and coughing don’t really stop you from doing your work do they?

So initially I did come in to work but who benefits from you making the effort? You are not able to work to full capacity and you are risking passing the germ on to everyone else. So in the end I took a day off and while I don’t like to argue with the lovely Dr Russell I have to say that my miracle cure was not a swim in the sea but sleep as I slept on and off for about 14 hours and after that I felt much better, I still had some cold symptoms but overall I was much better, so much so I thought it was worth sharing with all of you!

So don’t be a hero, go to bed. Unless anyone else has any miracle cures they would like to share?


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Guess who invented the scissors!

It's strange how life throws you little lifelines sometimes. I just can't seem to fit everything in this week and was quite frankly starting to panic. Miraculously, my daily dosage of 'Interesting Facts of the Day' came to the fore when it pointed out that Einstein calculated in his youth that putting his socks on in the morning and taking them off at night would occupy him some hundreds of hours during the course of his life, and thereafter went sockless. So, I've done the same this week and although my tootsies almost dropped off from exposure yesterday, I've been ever so productive with the extra time.

In fact, sockless as I was, I had so much time on my hands that I frivolously clicked on 'Random Fact of the Day' and found out it would have been significantly cheaper to build an identical replica of Titanic than to make the 1997 film of the same name. The original ship was built in 1912 for £1.5m, the equivalent of £66m in 1997. James Cameron's film cost about £200m.

And then this got me thinking about the film industry that used to thrive just down the road in Hove and nearby Shoreham By Sea. There were some quite pioneering filmic things done there at the turn of the century and in my experience not that many people know about it. Its fascinating stuff and if you're into film or local history its worth checking out the Hove Museum, where there is a permanant exhibition on display all about it.

Let us know if you know any interesting Brighton filmic facts.

And if you must know, apparently Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors...


Friday, 16 November 2007


Murmuration. What a lovely word. Until this morning not one I'd ever got my lips around but now its firmly ensconced in the hundreds - or more optimistically - thousands of words that rattle around my brain.

So what is it? Well according to our handy intranet at Brighton and Hove City council its when tens of thousands of Starlings come together to form an aerial ballet. And for us Brightonians we're very lucky that the Brighton branch of Starlings UK choose to do it over the 'ravaged but proud' remains of the West Pier.

This weekend (16th - 18th November) you can see it in the company of some friendly RSPB volunteers. Go to for more.

And if you already have enough friends you can pretty much see it anytime of the year. See our website to start planning your trip. Best time to catch them is about an hour before sunset. And being Brighton there's a number of options for how to see it. Maybe over a glass of red and some Ditchling lamb at Due South (, while watching the kids running around the Pavilion inspired playground, or perhaps over a fortifying pint of Guinness at the Fortune of War. Enjoy.

Nick, VisitBrighton

VisitBrighton win at Brighton Web Awards

Not that we want to blow our enormous great hooters or anything you understand, but it seems to be the month of awards at VisitBrighton.

Ever since the VIC won their lovely Excellence Award a couple of weeks ago, we've all been a slightly off green colour in the marketing team, which, of course, we could put down to jealously, but prefer to laugh off as a result of too many E numbers over the years.

So, you can imagine our excitment when we won the Searchability Award at the Brighton Web Awards last night. A specialist award judged by the lovely peeps at Leapfrogg Internet Marketing (we didn't even have to ply them with cream cakes), the award was in recognition of how well optimised is towards the search engines. Based on criteria such as spiderability by search engines, on and off page optimisation, social reputation and social media its really great news to know that we're on the right track search engine optimisation wise. I mean, if we're totally honest, we're all a bit obsessed about SEO here - almost to the point of tragedy really. I once threatened to do a Google screen print, blow it up to gargantuan size and frame it when we reached number 1 for 'Brighton hotels'...

I would put a spangly photo up but we let Charlotte loose with the camera again and I came out looking like I was doing a Tango with Rosie from Leapfrogg. Which I wasn't...


You can find out more about the web awards here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Dome Sessions

One of the perks of working for VisitBrighton is that we get invited to launch parties and private views. Last night Richard, Liliana and I went to the Brighton Dome for the launch of the Dome Sessions For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Dome consists of three theatres - The Concert Hall, Pavilion Theatre and the Corn Exchange. These verstaile spaces mean that they can host a variety of events including popular music, dance, classical music, ballet and comedy.

Over the course of the last twelve months, photographer Grant Scott has taken portraits of some of the artists who have performed there. The photos will be on display in the Founders Room (by the bar in the main Concert Hall) until December 30th and are free to view for anyone going to see an event there. Artists featured included The Feeling, The Go! Team, Richard Hawley, Lenny Henry as well as this portrait of Rufus Wainwright

So be sure to pop in and have a look the next time you attend an event at the Dome, and don't forget to let us know what you thought of the exhibiton and if you were tempted to buy anything!


Monday, 12 November 2007

From Village People to Tchaikovsky

The closest I usually get to classical music is Go West by the Pet Shop Boys, which apparently emphasised the original 1979 Village People version's chord progression from Pachelbel's Canon in D Major! But on Saturday I took my sister (who loves classical music) to see the Sussex Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet Overture and Violin Concerto at St Bartholomew's Church in Brighton.

Well, it took me somewhat by surprise because it was actually rather emotional. If you don't know St Bartholomews its tucked away behind London Road. In fact, you can almost miss it, despite it being the highest church in Brighton, with the tallest nave of any church in the country and one of the largest rose windows. Its an amazing building - quite awe inspiring - so the rousing orchestra was quite an experience. I was almost drawn to tears at a live performance for the first time since the spectacle of Starlight Express made me blub mildly hysterically in the mid 80s! (Oh, OK , so I nearly cried whem I saw Madonna for the first time too and I'm not even a gay man!)

The acoustics were amazing, although with the astonishing height of the church, I imagine the sound of anything less than a full blown orchestra would have been lost into the ether. How the vicar copes I don't know. I imagine he or she is a little hoarse!

One of the most important of the churches built by Arthur Douglas Wagner, St Bartholomew's interior is awe inspiring; a vast space with a wealth of art nouveau work by Henry Wilson carried out between 1899 and 1910. Mosaics by Hamilton Jackson date from 1912 and create a real Byzantine effect. St Bartholomew's is a grade 1 listed building and one of the City's proudest possessions. Well worth a look if you're passing.

And much as I love the Village People, (well who doesn't secretly like doing the YMCA) I'm off to the classical music section of Borders at lunchtime. Hmm, and last week I was sipping green tea in the Duke of Yorks - I think I've officially joined the Brighton artsy, scratchy beard brigade. Oh dear...I was hoping to wait until I was 40...

Find out more about St Bartholomew's Church


Thursday, 8 November 2007

Queens at the Dukes

Well there was more than one queen at the duke of yorks screening of Elizabeth:The Golden Age this weekend, fortunately those in the audience did not opt for the red wig and oversized collars otherwise no one would have been able to see the screen. If you ask me that Queen Lizzie was wholly inconsiderate in her choice of head gear, her poor old courtiers must have been mightily peeved at not being able to see beyond her enormous beehive.

A large glass of wine always helps with a dose of costume drama, and Charlotte particularly enjoyed her chocolate fudge cake, the beauty of this, the oldest purpose built cinema in the UK, is that you can take your alcoholic refreshments into the auditorium, making the experience even more enjoyable.

The film rather plodded in comparison to La Blanchettes first film of the same subject; the whole of the famous Armada speech was ditched in favour of a bland rant that had none of the substance of the original, why change something that dosn't need fixing??!! Clive Owen was Clive Owen (not allowed to put anything bad about him cos the girls in ths office threatened me with toe nail pulling if I did, they are so bossy!!)

If you didn't know anything about Elizabeth 1 its a great film but if you have any education at all you will realise its a load of old smelly cod pieces


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Wednesday Wave

Well I thought it was time I stepped back into the fray and write another post, however as I have not attended any events lately I thought I would give you a little insight into life in the VisitBrighton office, and more specifically the bizarre daily routine of the Marketing team - in other words me and Nick :)

Each morning we wave at each other, not your simple wave for us though, oh no, each day has a different wave. Monday we just stick our hand out, quite low down and keep it static as it is a melancholy day, the weekend is over and the working week stretches out ahead of us. Tuesday is in the same position however we introduce a little wave. Wednesday is probably my favourite as we get a bit creative mid-week, and replicate a sort of sideways S shape with our arm.

Hmmm I have spotted a flaw in this post in that it is very difficult to describe an action however to quote a famous Icelander (if not the only famous Icelander) "I've started so I'll finish"

On Thursday the arm is raised up next to our heads but is static once again, I'm not sure why and finally on Friday there is much excitement so both arms go up in the air and wave enthusiastically, hooray :D

So there you have it a brief snapshot into our office. I can imagine that if you have got this far you will be wanting to ask me one question - why? Well to be honest I do not know, I can't remember how it started but I am going to place the blame on Jessica who worked with us over the summer as she is not here to defend herself and anyway we like to blame Americans for things :)

So now it's your turn do you have any bizarre daily rituals?


Update: Following on from Nick's comment I have dutifully done a couple of drawings to try and demonstrate the waves, so now you can join in and brighten (glad I resisted the urge to be terribly punny and type Brighton!) up your working week as well!

Monday, 5 November 2007

We've been disambiguated...

I discovered that ‘Brighton’ was subject to Wikipedia’s process of ‘disambiguation’ today.

Ow, sounds painful.

Well, actually, its the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic. And apparently that applies to Brighton.

Why? Because there are 28 of them. 5 in Australia, 1 in Canada, 1 in NZ, a mighty 20 in the States and 1 over here.

Apparently, they all owe their name to the Brighton in England though, since the ancient settlement of Brighthelmstone (now Brighton & Hove) dates from before the Domesday Book (1086), way before any of our little old colonisations made a bid for world domination…

And according to the Domesday Book Brighton was valued at £12 and charged a rent of 4,000 herring! I always thought that William 1 was a bit fishy…

Anyone else know any quirky facts about Brighton?


Thursday, 1 November 2007

Glass of Moet anyone?

Well I wasn't supposed to be drinking anything stronger than the odd nettle tea this week, but then I got invited to the opening of Toast. And since Toast is a new champagne and champagne accessories shop in Church Road Hove...well, I thought it would be rude not to. And anyway, its only champers, I can say no. Seriously, I can. No, really!

Well, you know, it was really weird because when someone asked me if I'd like a glass of Tattinger, with nasturtian soaked in vanilla and rhubarb, the devil grabbed hold of my tongue and I bellowed YES far louder than was strictly necessary. 4 glasses later my colleague Richard and I were still chowing down on nasturtians ( I think we ate a whole bouquet between us) and scrummy Audreys chocolates, whilst waxing lyrical about civil partnerships with a rather lovely couple we bumped into.

All in all it was rather a splendid way to spend a leisurely 2 hours after work and the shop really is unique and is the only one of its kind, well...anywhere... Its got all the major champagne houses on board and you can even get a hamper made up! The owners are really enthusiastic and friendly too and have made the place so stylish it just makes you want to crack open a bottle as soon as you step inside.

Perfect for those elusive Christmas pressies, just think think how well it will do on Valentine's too, when all those naughty boyfriends (and girlfriends) in Hove leave the gift until the walk home...

The Toast of Brighton & Hove officially opens on 9th November. Pop in and have a look and maybe treat yourself to a bottle....or 2.

Just don't take me - I'm back on the nettle tea...

Find out more about Toast


What is it about the smell of cow dung?

You either love it or hate it. I have to confess to loving the fragrance of a freshly laid cow pat myself, but I guess that is probably down to my rural upbringing, or maybe I am just wierd (I do love Marmite after all!).

On Monday one of my partner's friends decided to come down from Surrey and pay us a visit. As it was not his first time to Brighton and the weather was so lovely, the 'cow dung lover' in me suggested that we go for a jolly jaunt in the beautiful Sussex countryside that surrounds our wonderful city by the sea!

So with an enthusiasm reminiscent of 'The Famous Five', we set off with our SuperSaver bus tickets (only £4.20) and hopped onto the upper deck of the number 12 from Churchill Square.

The journey along the coast was lovely, as we were bathed by the lovely warm glow of Autumn sunshine. We got off the bus at Exceat (the bus stop is just next to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitors Centre) and then backtracked a couple of hundred yards by foot to the Golden Galleon pub. From there were took the footpath at the end of the car park that runs parallel to the everso picturesque River Cuckmere. Within a couple of minutes the sounds of the traffic were inaudible, and were were in a haven of bird song, nieghing horses, bleeting sheep and mooing cows. As we walked along the footpath, it was not long before we encounteredd some of our bovine friends. They were just the other side of a wire fence, right next to a sty (I considered climbing over but decided against it, having been traumatised during childhood by the experience of witnessing my auntie Barbara do herself and injustice while trying to cock her leg over a piece of unused carpet that my uncle John had laid across a barbed wire fence!)So, I contented myself with giving Dolly (she reminded me of one of my old neighbours) a rub on the snout as I wallowed in the elixir of her exquisitely scented meadow muffins.

Once I had been dragged away from Dolly, we continued along the path that brought us to the picture postcard cottages that overlook the beach at Cuckmere Haven. Walking up hill past the houses, we took a the left hand footpath that leads along to Hope Gap, from where you get (short of being in a boat or an airplane) by far the best view of the majestic Seven Sisters cliffs. I gloated as my two walking companions sat back in awe at the stunning view.

After 30 minutes of savouring the wonderous sight, we headed back to the bus stop and continued a bit further along the coast to East Dean, from where we walked back to the cliffs at the Birling Gap. Birling Gap is in the middle of the Seven Sisters and at this point you can walk down the metal staircase to access the beach that lies below the cliff face. We continued our walk back along the top of the cliff, passing the Belle Tout lighthouse (which was physically lifted and moved 50 metres inland in 1999 to prevent is from falling into the sea), and ended up at Beachy Head for a glorious view of the sun setting over the sea (they truly are amazing the sunsets in Autumn and Winter). Content with our walking expedition, we headed to the Beachy Head pub for a gammon steak and a pint, before heading back to Brighton with a headfull of wonderful memories from our afternoon strolling along the glorious Sussex coastline and our visitor from Surrey went home with a completey new experience of the area.

Brighton is great, but as with any city sometimes we need to get out and revitalise ourselves. We are so lucky to have the most perfect place in which to do it literally right on our doorstep!

Darren :o)

Deliverance of Shopping & Eating

The annual distribution diary of events has many deliveries listed but none as eventful as that of the Shopping & Eating Out Guide. Tuesday saw me on ‘lorry watch’ duties from the Balcony Suite of the illustrious premises of VisitBrighton (back of Brighton Town Hall) as the clocks approached 10am. At 10.30 I spotted Maddy’s copper mane glistening in the morning sunshine (next to the red pillar box). I decided to join her… and so did Julian and Gavin. I was very glad to see that they are all most pleasing to the eye and in exceptional physical shape. It was the later quality found eminently useful. Everybody is now dying for me to introduce you to all these people. Maddy and Gavin are from our local business forum, publishers of the guide, and Julian produces it. They had all come to (physically) give me a hand with unloading 75,000 of them from a lorry and bundle them into my store room in the vault that is the town hall basement with the aid of assorted trolley of all shape and sizes. Julian communicated to the lorry driver who was stuck somewhere on the seafront but a few minutes later the full lorry watch committee (now including Tony, the suited master of the business forum) sighted it angling precariously around another delivery lorry.

The lorry driver was physically matching his newly found entourage and went on about health and safety but the distribution officer reassured the gathering that she is also wearing the hat of the official VisitBrighton health and safety officer and first aid appointed person. With such an arty bunch it was not surprising that boxes were arranged rather artfully – as opposed to practically - on top of trolleys but I could not fault the enthusiasm. A convoy of loaded trolleys soon made its way along the corridors of the town hall basement to the pre-allocated hole on my storage facilities. We were only briefly interrupted by the VisitBrighton divisional assistant looking for curtain rails (??????). Tony Big Master did not winch once (well, once perhaps) when the health and safety officer got him to trap his finger in between a swiftly moving trolley and a door frame whilst she was chatting away about the less known history of the ghost ridden town hall basement (but this is anther blog entirely). On the way back out we bumped into Cllr Pat Drakes, no less, by the entrance of the Police Museum. I told her that Tony was doing heavy labour and she agreed that the old Victoria police cells are just the right setting for this.

One hour down, job done! Maddy got dispersed back to her office to sort out the fireworks for the Christmas lights switch on at 1800 on the 15th Nov by the Clock Tower. If you see some exceptional well toned biceps wandering around Brighton say hello to Gavin, Julian, Maddy or me (Tony is wearing a suit). All that remains to do now is to extend my introductions to the new Shopping & Eating Out Guide 2007/8. Packed full of shops and restaurants galore, copies of which can soon be found all over our city, in tourist information centres throughout Sussex and partner hotels. Note to our most treasure partners: the order form for the guide should hit your doormat any day now, give me a shout if not.