Friday, 30 October 2009

Spooky Brighton

While the weekend may be full of scary surprises designed to make you scream, I doubt you will be shocked to discover that today's post is going to be about Halloween ;)

Here are some of the macabre events happening this weekend:
  • Yellowave will be hosting a kids fancy dress Halloween party with fun ghoulish beach sports games on the sand, Halloween food, hot chocolate and marshmallows.
  • Take an after dark tour of Preston Manor - Brighton’s most haunted house. Hear about the Victorian ghost sightings, the 1896 séance and spooky experiences up to the present day.
  • At Brighton SEA LIFE Centre all children in full* Halloween costume will be given free entry into the attraction to take part in the various activities that are going on. There will be a trick or treat trail, scary face painting, a "yucky" dip, costume competition, Halloween music.... and much more!!
    *must be full costume, not just a hat or accessory
  • But Halloween isn't just for the kids so if you fancy showing off your spooky moves then get down to Komedia for Club Smooch: Monster Club for a horrifying Halloween show of spooky cabaret. There will be prizes for the best costumes and you get free entry into Club Ampwitch afterwards.
Although for those of you who view Halloween as a silly American holiday there is a classic example of British eccentricity happening this weekend. On Sunday it is the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and to qualify all the cars have to have been produced before 1905 and as most of them don't have roofs let's hope it stays dry for them!


Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Early Music Show broadcasts live from Brighton!

Clare Norburn, Co-Artistic Director of the Brighton Early Music Festival takes the guest blog slot to write about the experiences of a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the festival.

Wednesday, 21st October 11am
Les Pratt, producer of BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show calls to talk through the suggested order of the show. We planned it first with him back in February and we have chosen three young groups to perform live. Les has finalised timings with them for their pieces, has some ideas about what the presenter, Lucie Skeaping will ask and which CDs relating to festival concerts they will play. He wants to check that I am Ok to talk about certain of the festivals themes and concerts. Les tells me his next phone call will be to Deborah Roberts, my “partner in crime” the other Co-Artistic Director of the Festival.

Saturday 24th October 8am
The BBC van arrives at the Sallis Benney Theatre and the BBC team start setting up – which involves an awful lot of cabling.

Harpsichord arrives and is tuned by our lovely harpsichord provider, Malcolm Rose.

The first ensemble, Triologue, arrive promptly for their sound check. Lucie Skeaping, presenter arrives to go through her script with Les Pratt and Deborah Roberts and myself. 1607 Ensemble arrive and wait for their sound check.

Final group to have their sound check is Tempus Fugit – they have by far the most complicated set up – sitar, theorbo (extremely long-necked lute like instrument but with a second set of long deep bass strings), harpsichord, violin, recorder and two singers. It’s their first broadcast and they want to get it right!

Amazing! The sound checks finish 15 minutes early. Malcolm gives the harpsichord a final tuning.

Doors open to the audience.

Les Pratt, the producer comes on stage to introduce Lucie Skeaping, the presenter, to tell everyone what is going to happen. We wait in a hushed state trying to imagine the newsreader in London and keeping a weather eye on our watches. Suddenly, we’re live. The red light is on and Lucie announces “Today the Early Music Show comes live from the Brighton Early Music Festival…..” We are broadcasting live to the nation for the next hour!

You can hear the broadcast on BBC iplayer and the Brighton Early Music Festival continues till 8th November -

Monday, 26 October 2009

Brighton Rock Filming

As you may (or may not!) know 'Brighton Rock' is being filmed in Brighton and Eastbourne at the moment.

Starring Helen Mirren and Pete Postlethwaite, the re-make of Graham Greene's novel is directed by Rowan Joffe and transposes the action from the 1930s to 1964, amidst the imfamous clashes between Mods and Rockers. Pinkie is played by Sam Riley, who played Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in Control and I'm pretty sure he's in the 3rd clip below.

So anyway, Charlotte and I popped down to Madeira Drive at lunchtime as we'd heard filming was underway. And lo and behold it was. Bit disappointed not to have seen the lovely Helen, but might pop back for a sneak later.

And although I don't think Rowan Joffe need be concerned by by shooting prowess, here are the best sneaky video clips we took.

We still quite can't understand why they've chosen to film some of it in 'ahem' Eastbourne. How rude. It's not called Eastbourne Rock is it.

For more about films made in Brighton, check out our Brighton on Film section.



Thursday, 22 October 2009

White Night

We've been twittering about White Night recently although sometimes it can be a struggle to fit the information in to 140 characters. So the obvious solution is to write a lovely restriction free blog post :)

Regular readers will remember that 2008 was the first year of the Brighton White Night Festival and now it is back and with even more things going on then last year. And the best news is that most of the events are free, hooray!

I should give a quick description of White Night for those of you who missed it last year. The idea behind the festival is to encourage people to do something different in the middle of the night, and so there are a whole host of events, trails and tours going on throughout Saturday night (24 October). Also this is the night the clocks go back so there is a whole extra hour to play with!

It all starts at 6.30pm at Jubilee Square with a Venetian Choral concert in association with the Brighton Early Music Festival. Here you will also find the White Night information point as well as a surprise installation which can help answer your tricky questions as the theme of this year's festival is fortune so all of the events are linked to fortune-telling, the future and destiny.

You'll be able to pick up maps and event guides on the night from the information desk at Jubilee Square as well as from our Visitor Information Centre (open until midnight on Saturday) But to help get you in the mood here are a couple of things to look out for:
  • Café Babel at the Dorset: The café bar is transformed into a little part of France with menu and music to match. Be entertained by two live bands from Amiens France offbeat chanson from Délicieuse Alexandra and trashy trad from Tribal Jaze
  • Playgroup at the Ocean Rooms: Great music continues until dawn with Playgroup, a selection of French electronica and live bands from NuitBlanche (the French version of White Night which happened last Saturday)
  • Drawing Cards from the Deck: A night of life drawing at Komedia themed around 13 Major Arcana cards from the tarot deck
  • The Penny Drops: Bring a lucky penny and watch as it rolls across the façade of the Northern Gate of the Royal Pavilion as the building is transformed into a large scale slot machine.
  • Nightbusk: The Brighton Early Music Festival has handpicked a selection of young early music groups to try their luck at busking with a difference (New Road & Fortune of War pub).
  • Future Machine: BANG transform the front of the Unitarian Church into a giant screen. Watch a series of fortune teller's predictions for the future.
  • White Night Penny Arcade at Brighton Fishing Museum: Find your fortune the old fashioned way in this classic amusement arcade, where performers lurk inside fortune-telling machines bringing them back to life, accompanied by wonky fairground music and vintage memorabilia.
  • Dawn Chorus: This year the White Night festival has commissioned Juliet Russell to compose a choral piece to celebrate the end of the night’s events, greeting the new dawn with the aid of a haunting bagpiper (on the beachfront near the Fortune of War pub).

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Brighton's Nikky French's Mechanical Mash-up

I never expected to find my foot tapping to a car door slam, but a few moments ago it was.

Why? Well, Brighton based musician/producer Nikky French is the running to win a competition featuring a track that is created from nothing but the sounds of the Hyundai i30.

Sounds bit conceptual right? Well, no - Nikky's entry is really good. Check it out below:

Nikky's entry in 3rd place
Nikky is in 3rd place too, just a few votes behind the leader.

Nikky has been making electronic music for 12 years, but only started remixing last year. His entry was created by using the original car noise recordings taken from the Hyundai i30, and has already received an influential thumbs-up from car and some-time music enthusiast, editor of What Car? magazine, Steve Fowler.

Other entries have come from across of the country, some have kept their remixes pure and used nothing but the car sound samples, whilst others have added extra layers of music, synthesizers and drums.

Vote for Nikky online
If you like Nikky's carsome beats, you can register your vote for him online.

Brighton based Danny Barnes has also made the shortlisted entries. Voting ends 31st October 09.

Should I mention my initial confusion with Nicky French of Eurovision 2000/crooner of dance version of Total Eclipse of the Heart fame? Probably not.


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Download a new Brighton map!

There's nothing more annoying than getting lost when you thought you knew where you were going. Well, perhaps its just me that does it - but it is annoying.

A particularly memorable example was in La Paz in Bolivia (impressed much how i casually dropped that in) when I searched for almost an entire day for the famous Witches Market. A high point was being at one end of the city, convinced I was within seconds of the market, only to be told in hyper speed Spanish that it was the 'other' end of the city. To cut a long story short the market was 10 seconds from my hotel.

Download a Brighton walking map
So to avoid any visitors doing that in Brighton (difficult with the Royal Pavilion as it kind of sticks out!) we've created some great new downloadable walking maps to help guide you around the city. Marked with key landmarks and attractions, they are part of the new Brighton Wayfinding Scheme. (Look out for the new monolith, minilith and finger posting signage around the city.)

3 new Brighton maps to choose from
There are 3 new maps to choose from:
A compact city, Brighton is a great place to explore on foot. In fact most things are within 10-15 minutes of the city centre.

If I'd had one of these in La Paz I may have saved myself an awful lot of time! And my feet would have hurt less. The witches were nice when I got there though. In fact one saved me from getting run over. It was a successful day...


Friday, 9 October 2009

VisitBrighton Greeter Scheme

If you’re organising a break to Brighton soon, VisitBrighton have just launched a great new service which lets you get right under the skin of the city in a unique way.

Whether there is a particular area of Brighton & Hove that you want to explore or whether you want to see Brighton through the eyes of a resident who loves the city, Visitbrighton Greeters is a fantastic way to experience Brighton.

Sign up for a VisitBrighton Greet today
To sign up for a Brighton Greet, simply sign up on the VisitBrighton Greeter Book Your Greet page and we’ll match you with an enthusiastic city-wise volunteer who will impart their love and knowledge of Brighton to groups of up to six people wanting to find out more about the city.

Visits are approximately 2-4 hours long and are completely FREE.

Whether this is your first visit to Brighton or you’re a regular to the city, a VisitBrighton Greet is a fun and friendly way to explore Brighton and Hove and discover the many fascinating areas to this unique city.

Want to book a Greet? Check out the new Greeter website for more information or sign up directly on the Book Your Greet page.

More about the Greeter Scheme
The Global Greeter Network is the association of independent Greeter programs around the world.

Greeters are volunteers who share their love for their cities, travelling with visitors through their city for a couple of hours to experience the city in a unique way, from the perspective of a person who lives there.

Founded in 1992 with the 'Big Apple Greeter', Greeter schemes can now be found throughout the world. Brighton is the first city in the UK to launch a Greeter programme.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

World Sacred Music Festival

One of the advantages of living in a city which has festivals happening all year round is that there is room for a variety of genres rather then just the mainstream. So if you are a music fan but you are sick of the shallow, reality tv drivel that is filling the charts at the moment then Brighton has the answer.

The World Sacred Music Festival starts on Saturday and runs until Sunday 18th October. The Festival celebrates sacred music from across the globe and this year the theme will be South with artists from Africa, India, South America and Southern Europe and a focus on Gypsy, flamenco and indigenous traditions.

Events include Amazonian music from Brazil, a Catalan Gypsy band from France, local group The Vocal Explosion Choir and Malan Mamane Barka the last master of the Biram (see picture), a holy instrument used by fishing Nomads from Niger. So if that doesn't satisfy your need for something a bit different then I don't know what will!

The other advantage of the World Sacred Music Festival is that it also gives you a chance to see some of the beautiful churches and religious centres across the city. Venues hosting concerts include the striking Unitarian Church on New Road, St Andrew's Church in Hove and St George's Church in Kemp Town.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Karaoke Brighton!

Win a Lucky Voice Golden Ticket!

Love karaoke but don't want to belt out your favourite tune infront of loads of strangers? We may have the perfect solution!

Check out our new competition and you could win:
  • 2 hours of free karaoke room hire for up to 15 people
  • a prop box of hats, wigs and percussion at Lucky Voice!
Lucky Voice is Brighton's premier karaoke bar with private rooms for up to 15 people and a song list to die for, not to mention a swanky cocktail bar.

Check out the competition on the VisitBrighton Competition's page.

Starship anyone?


Monday, 5 October 2009

The Brighton Early Music Festival

It's time for us to hand over to another guest blogger in order to give you an insight into planning an event during the Brighton Early Music Festival:

Hi I'm Katie De La Matter I direct Ensemble Tempus Fugit a young London-based early music group with a difference. I'm on the top right of this picture:

We’ve been invited to devise a brand new project bringing together baroque and Indian classical music, as well as involving puppetry and dance. You can catch the premiere performance at this year's Brighton Early Music Festival, and during White Night on Saturday 24th October at 11pm at St. Bartholomew's Church.

As part of BREMF's 'East meets West' theme, we are very excited to be able to present this unique performance which aims to recreate music that could have been heard in and around Calcutta centuries ago.

We bring to life the music of colonists and traditional Indian classical musicians that would mix in the streets and in fashionable soirées. This means we'll be combining the sounds of our historical instruments (like the harpsichord, Baroque violin, recorder and lute) with the sitar and Indian classical singing. We don't know of anyone who has tried this combination before in recent times, so we'll be hard at work over the next month, finding ways to make these two completely separate traditions meet!

Really, though, our music hasn't always been so separate. Trade missions to Calcutta going back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I had musicians onboard to impress trade contacts and foreign leaders, and by the end of the 18th century, the city was full of harpsichords and fortepianos, with more arriving by ship almost every day.

These instruments weren't always used for European music though: we'll be playing Indian classical tunes from a manuscript belonging to a woman named Sophie Plowden in 1780. Sophie was married to an East India Company merchant. She would travel up the Ganges to Lucknow to ask Indian classical musicians into her sitting room, so that she could play along with them on her harpsichord. Luckily for us, she also asked a colleague to write down the songs they would sing together, complete with the music -- this is what we'll be using as our base.

Indian classical music doesn't really fit into the European way of writing music down, but it does give us a skeleton to work from, to make our own arrangements. The knowledge that we aren't the first to try fusion with older instruments, that someone was doing the same thing over two hundred years ago -- that definitely helps us along!

To link the music together, we've made a storyline for the concert -- which will involve drama, song, and shadow puppets (!), to portray a journey from the London of centuries past to the shocking new world that Calcutta presented to newcomers at that time, as they described in their memoirs and letters. At the end, the two worlds will blend together in our fusion music. We will hopefully convey the spirit of exploration that floods this music, and that we feel in our work with Sanjay Guha (an amazing sitarist) and Debipriya Das, a brilliant Indian classical singer who plays the sitar too!

Over the next month, then, we'll be setting up rehearsal/workshop sessions to make our musical arrangements, organizing staging rehearsals, building puppets, devising lighting, doing runs.... all thanks to the generosity of the Arts Council, which has made this project possible. The Brighton Early Music Festival has also supported us in developing this work, and members of the project and volunteers are donating their extra time to make this event the best it can be.

We hope you can join us in our theatrical & early fusion experiment! It'll be in the beautiful space of St. Bartholomew's Church on Saturday 24th October at 11pm. For more information or to book tickets (only £6) please visit:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Brighton Art Fair 2009

Like a bit of art?

Then we recommend popping along to the Brighton Art Fair this weekend. Now in its sixth year the highly acclaimed Fair is held every autumn at the Corn Exchange. Showcasing over 120 contemporary artists, the fair has built a strong reputation for exhibiting exceptional quality artwork in a welcoming, friendly environment.

The largest single visual art exhibition on the South Coast, Brighton Art Fair is promising once again to be a ‘not to be missed’ art event.

Its a diverse and eclectic mix too - you'll find painters, printmakers, ceramicists, photographers and sculptors exhibiting, all chosen in a rigorous and competitive selection process to represent the most exciting and eclectic work across as wide a variety of methods and subjects.

So no village hall tea cosies or woollen toilet roll holders here:)

This art fair is almost unique in that the artists themselves sell their work direct to the public, bringing a personal feel to viewing and to the buying process. So visitors get to enjoy meeting the artists, as well as browsing the art.

Brighton Art Fair is on from 2nd - 4th October at Brighton Corn Exchange.