Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A very happy visitor

One of our main marketing activities is PR and working with journalists who are writing pieces about the city, either providing them with information and images or helping them plan a visit and ensuring they make the most of their time here.

We don't always get a chance to meet up with the journalists and so we're usually not sure what sort of piece they are going to write until it is actually published. However we do sometimes host group press trips where we do spend a lot of time with the journalists and therefore can usually (not always!) gauge their reaction to Brighton & Hove.

Earlier this month we hosted an international group (German, Swiss & Austrian), the itinerary for the weekend was fabulous - I can get away with saying this as m'colleague Ruth did all the hard work of organising it! I won't give you the full programme but any weekend that includes cocktails at the Hilton, afternoon tea at Metrodeco, the Biba & Beyond exhibition and a Blitz themed supper club at the Proud Cabaret can't be bad!

Anyway the city certainly worked its magic on one our lovely Swiss journalist Helena. After her stay she sent us a lovely thank you note, which was virtually a love letter to Brighton. In it she says: "I have never visited such an outstanding, charming and great place as Brighton!" and she has even told her family that if they ever leave Switzerland they are moving to Brighton. When her Mum complained about the weather, Helena's reply was "But there is much more sun in the hearts of people there.

However I think my favourite part of Helena's note was the fact that while previously she had just been a coffee drinker, she was so inspired by Metrodeco that she recreated her own afternoon tea at home...

Very impressive! As you can imagine we were thrilled to hear Helena had such a great time and we look forward to seeing her article as I'm sure her enthusiasm will encourage more visitors to the city :)


Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Judas Kiss

Back in August when the Theatre Royal Brighton's Autumn programme was released one of the first plays to catch my eye was The Judas Kiss, partly because it will be the first time I'll have seen Rupert Everett on stage, in fact I believe this will be his Brighton debut although please do let me know if I've got that wrong.

However the main attraction for me is the fact that the play is about Oscar Wilde, who has always been one of my favourite playwrights, ever since I saw the film version of the Importance of Being Earnest starring Michael Redgrave. The Judas Kiss depicts Wilde relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas also known as Bosie. The play takes place during two pivotal moments in Wilde's later years - the eve of his arrest and a night after his release from two year's imprisonment.

While I am a fan of Wilde and am obviously a fan of Brighton too, I hadn't realised that Douglas connects the two... Bosie and his sister Edith used to spend their summer holidays in their father's flat on Oriental Place. The children were often sent off to amuse themselves on the Pier while their father enjoyed a cigar in the Metropole hotel. In later years Wilde & Bosie regularly visited Brighton, staying at the Royal Albion or The Grand hotel. Although on one occasion the pair crashed their horse-drawn carriage into the railings at Regency Square, after which Wilde assured the papers that it was 'an accident of no importance' (As ever the Encyclopedia to Brighton by Rose Collis was very useful here!)

I doubt the crash scene will be included but knowing that Wilde and Bosie may well have visited the theatre during one of their visits will add to the atmosphere when I go to see the play in a couple of weeks time. So far the play has been getting rave reviews and it'll be on at the West End in January so now's your chance to get ahead of the game! See you there...


The Judas Kiss will be on at the Theatre Royal Brighton from 5th - 10th November, tickets from £19.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Brighton Early Music Festival 2012 – Early Music with a distinctive Brighton twist

Today we hand over to a guest blogger - Cathy Boyes is the new Festival Producer for the Brighton Early Music Festival...

This year is my first as Festival Producer for Brighton Early Music Festival and I’m feeling at this stage slightly overwhelmed (as well as overexcited) by all the fantastic acts that have played at the Festival over the past ten years (this year is our 10th birthday) and hoping my organisational skills are up to the challenge. By this stage we are juggling press interviews, volunteer and van lists, music printing, rehearsal logistics and much more - with almost 300 performers taking part, that’s a lot of rehearsal cups of tea!

BREMF is a million miles away from an early music festival for aficionados only, and is known for the vibrant and often eclectic take it brings to its performances. This year is no different with costumed nuns, a celebration of medieval food, and a recreation of the most extravagant Medici wedding involving aerial dancers.

If you’ve never heard ‘early music’ before (music written before about 1800) then there are some great opportunities to try it out in BREMF 2012.

The first of these is a completely FREE event which is part of Autumn Lates and a follow on from last year’s BREMF @ White Night – five ensembles performing in St Bart’s Church on Saturday 27th October. For this event we strip all the chairs out of the church and light it atmospherically, with the audience free to move around and come and go as they please. Several of the groups are collaborating with dancers, actors, shadow puppeteers and film artists so this should be a really special evening.

We were so bowled over by two of the groups who played at BREMF @ White Night last year that we’ve invited them back to give their own concert – a sort of White Night 2 on 1st November in St Mary’s Rock Gardens. This will also feature atmospheric lighting and an informal vibe with the musicians introducing the pieces from the stage.

And BREMF wouldn’t be BREMF without a major spectacle – and what could be better than seeing aerial dancers running down the walls of St Bart’s Church (the highest nave in England) as we recreate one of the most spectacular weddings of all time! Ferdinando Medici married Christine of Lorraine in 1589 and the entertainment provided was a set of “intermedi” featuring nymphs, sorcerers and a whole host of classical gods – not to mention a serpent and a couple of dolphins. This is going to be something else!

So if you thought early music was boring maybe BREMF 2012 is the time to think again!

Cathy Boyes, Festival Producer

Concert Listings 
  • Journeys Through Europe: BREMF @ Autumn Lates – Saturday 27th October, 8.30pm & 10.30pm St Bartholomew’s Church, Ann St, Brighton BN1 4GP FREE event – no ticket needed. Come and go as you please (until 12am).
  • Follow the Tide: Young Artists @ BREMF – Thursday 1st November, 8pm St Mary’s Church, Rock Gardens, Brighton BN2 1PR Tickets £12 (£10 conc) from or 01273 709709
  • The 1589 Florentine Intermedi - Saturday 3rd November, 9pm St Bartholomew’s Church, Ann St, Brighton BN1 4GP Tickets from £12 (£10 conc) from or 01273 709709

Friday, 12 October 2012

Walking Dead

As we've said before one of the perks of working here is getting to try out new things in the city and this week I was lucky enough to get to try the new 'Walking Dead' tour run by BrightonWalks.

The tour is based on Peter James first two novels in the bestselling Roy Grace series - Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead (published by Pan Macmillan). The tour starts at Brighton Railway Station and takes visitors around the city highlighting key locations from the novels. Lyn Neville, the blue badge guide who runs the tour, spent time with Peter James discussing the route and which locations to include. So if it's good enough for the man himself, it's good enough for me!

I have read a couple of the books but I haven't actually read these two, however that didn't matter as while plot details were discussed, Lyn was careful not to give the ending away and so by the end of it I was keen to get hold of the books to find out what happens. Obviously this walk will be of interest to fans of Peter James, however it's also a good way to get an alternative view of the city. I should add a brief warning though, fans of the books will know that some of the content is quite gruesome so visitors should be prepared for some gory details! Although it's not all grisly as apart from significant locations linked to the cases, you'll also get an insight into Roy Grace's personal life by seeing some of his favourite haunts.

And while we're on the subject of Peter James, fans will be pleased to hear that there are a couple of opportunities to meet him as he will be signing copies of the newly released paperback version of the latest Roy Grace novel - Not Dead Yet. The book signings will be take place on Saturday 13th October at Waterstones (North Street) from 12-2pm and also on Friday 26th October at WHSmith (Churchill Square Shopping Centre)from 12-2pm. And if that wasn't enough Peter James will also be hosting a special Crime Quiz in aid of The Martlet's on Thursday 8th November at the Thistle Hotel.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

September's LoveBrighton Flickr Winner

My, how quickly time flies, and how chilly it’s getting brrrr. We’ve announced the winner of LoveBrighton’s Flickr winner for September’s competition, for which the theme was ‘Love Eco, LoveBrighton’. This was to celebrate the launch of our new Green Guide (see the post below), and we loved the colour of this photo (a tad green :)) but also the dramatic skies above the sea. It reminded us of the powerful force of nature and how Brighton is so closely defined by the sea and ever-changing coast. It’s also a stark reminder of the impact our own lives have on our local landscapes, and those around the world.

Russ has won a £30 voucher to spend at the yummy Brighton Temptation cafĂ© in the North Laine.

October’s theme is Love Laughing, LoveBrighton, and links with the hilarious Brighton Comedy Festival taking place until 20 October. Check out all the acts taking place throughout the city, and the new Squawker Award, a competition for new acts, with the winner decided during the festival.

Here's what Russ had to say about his fabulous photo:

"I often walk along Brighton sea front looking for photo opportunities. I'm mostly into street photography and capturing life as it happens, but on this occasion I went right down to where the sea meets the pebbles and there weren't many people around. I love trying to capture motion because it can add a sense of power that is vacant from many images. The sea was quite rough and there were waves rolling in steadily. I could watch them all day.

I had my beloved Fujifilm X100 with me, and as I walked along between the piers I came to a part of the beach where the pebbles seemed to dip down slightly. This caused the waves to curve in towards each rather than dispersing away. The curve you can see in the front of the photo is what I'm referring to, it's not due to a wide angle lens. It was also approaching golden hour, which helped produce good light.

I got home and loved how sharp the image had come out. The X100 captured some lovely detail in the crest of the wave but I wasn't satisfied with it overall. I tried black & white, but I wanted colour. I started playing around with split toning and ended up using blue and green to give the image a more powerful tone, and then added some clarity and contrast to give it extra punch. I'm aware the colour is not realistic, but it seemed to transform the photo into something quite special.

I always name my photos, usually with a single word. As I looked at this one it made me think of what it might be like to be seasick, and so, the name 'Chunder' was born. You might want to google it if you're not sure what it means!

I'm really pleased to have won September's competition. Thank you for supporting my work."

'Till next time,

Siobhan :)