Friday, 18 December 2015

The only time where size matters, it matters most.

Today we welcome back James Sharp to tell us more about his experience of ordering a bespoke suit from Gresham Blake... 

Welcome back, avid readers, to the second installment of my middle-aged escapades through the world of bespoke tailoring. In this delightful plethora of text you’ll find much more of what to expect on the next stage of your journey, and as expected, you’re shown through with reassuring expertise at hand. Now, you've made an appointment so see one of the associates within a branch of Gresham Blake, and you’re feeling confident in your ability to keep an appointment, but you’re not sure what to expect during it. If you've read the first part of this adventure, you already know you’re going to get quality service, (and if you haven’t you should read it here) but what you probably aren't going to be aware of is the sheer amount of choice involved.

There is a lot to peruse and choose from.
Speaking from new-found experience, it’s probably best to have a think about what sort of style, fabric and colour that piques your interest. The reason for this is simple: the choice is staggeringly high. Fortunately your associate is an expert at isolating what you do desire through your wants and needs but also discarding your dislikes discreetly. Your time is not wasted with options you were never going to approve of to begin with.

With myself, I wanted to stay simple and not over-complicate matters for my first time around. Mixing this in with my being a fan of styles around the 30s and 40s, the choices available were reduced drastically. Throw in my uses for the suit (casual, naturally) and the cost, (high quality fabric, yet affordable) and they get reduced even more. Preferred designs, colours and patterns follow, and you are even closer to your ideal image. All of this with amicable, personal advice to hand. This, I might add, helps take away the overwhelming options to make them, well, just whelming.

Yes, there’s more. I'm trying to prove a point here!
But you’re not done yet. Now you have the bit you've read in books and seen in the movies. The infamous measuring of your person. Nervous? Excited? Perhaps you’re perspiring under the sudden pressure dropped on your shoulders. The gargantuan responsibility you have to just… Stand there and let a professional work. Okay, so it’s a little anti-climactic to what you’d expect, but the act itself is a testament to precision and it’s rather interesting to be a part of your personal creation. It really sinks in that this is for you, and you alone. Your measurements are checked and re-measured by a second person to accommodate for variance and the phrase ‘measure twice, cut once’ is adhered to solemnly.
And you’re still not done. There are more options to go through. Perhaps you've never even considered them. I hadn't. It had never even occurred to me that there’d be another list of custom parts for you to browse. But there was. Lapel design, flat or angled pockets, even name embroidering is a feature. The list goes ever on!

Options are often illustrated on nearby friendly mannequins.
Eventually, after much deliberation and decision, you come to the end of your adventure. I found it quite fun, personally. The staff are easy to talk to and well informed and the whole thing felt very simple and controlled. Nothing hidden or run-away antics to worry about. What you see is what you get, only there was a lot more to see than you’d have realised.

Stay tuned for the final blog post in which I’ll take you through the last visits, on this occasion, to Gresham Blake. A fitting and the finished product are all that’s left to be delivered and I shall enjoy every second of it. While silently weeping over the calories I've been forced to abandon. Again.

Gresham Blake
20 Bond Street Brighton BN1 1RD
Mon - Thur : 10am - 5.30pm
Fri : 10.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday : 10am - 6pm
Sunday : 11am - 5pm

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Hove Plinth comes to Kellie Miller Arts in Brighton

Today we hand over to Kellie Miller to tell us about the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition finalists exhibiting in her gallery...

I am proud to be showcasing the models of the three finalists for the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition 2015 in my gallery from 22nd December to 4th January.  Please drop in and see the maquettes of the three winning entries.

Hove Plinth is a Hove Civic Society initiative bought to life by Karin Janzon. The project recently won The Argus Star Award for capturing the imagination of people in Brighton and Hove. To find out more about the project go to:

Hove will always hold a special place in my heart having lived there for many years. I was a founding member of Hove Arts, a group of artists opening their houses and studios to the public each year. And it was in Hove that I established Biscuit Studio, an artist workspace, over 20 years ago. So imagine my delight when asked to help to select the three finalists for the Hove Plinth Sculpture Competition. Being on the panel was an honour and allowed me to draw upon my critiquing and curatorship skills.

The selection day was spent meeting and viewing the works of the shortlisted artists resulting in the three following finalists:

Matthew James Davies’ piece, entitled ‘Escape’, is a fluid, amorphous sculpture cast in blue resin aiming to mirror the organic movements of nature; the sea breeze, gliding birds and rolling waves.

Matthew Davies 'Escape'

Pierre Diamantopoulo’s piece, called ‘Flight of the Langoustine’, was inspired by a discarded and mangled lobster pot found while beachcombing, which was first created in his studio under the King’s Road arches in Brighton.

Pierre Diamantopoulo 'Flight of the Langoustine'
Jonathan Wright’s work, entitled ‘Constellation’, is part mechanical model of the solar system, part film camera and part ship’s compass. The most popular landscapes and iconic images associated with Hove will orbit the system rather than planets.

Jonathan Wright: Constellation
For me all finalists represent the gallery's ethos of art that shows the hand of the creator.

Now, having selected the finalist, acquired planning and raised a substantial amount to help bring the project to fruition, it still requires support. I will be asking you to pledge your donations to aid the appeal during the showcase. I believe that, with cultural initiatives like this, we can make Brighton and Hove THE place to visit.

Kellie Miller Arts
20 Market Street
The Lanes

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mr Popper's Penguins at the Theatre Royal Brighton

On Saturday afternoon, I took my 4 year old daughter and hubby to the magical Theatre Royal to see Mr Popper’s Penguins.  None of us have read the book or seen the film so we weren’t sure what to expect. Luckily this performance had everything you would want for both kids and adults.

The tale began with Mr Popper describing his mundane life as a house painter and his aspirations to visit the Antarctic and join the adventures of Admiral Drake. The first song brilliantly conveyed his dreams but also his realistic beliefs that he was destined to only hear about these adventures through the medium of radio. My daughter was immediately hooked and in awe of the set and the actors.

After another song, introducing us to Mrs Popper and the life that she and her husband lived, we got to the good bit! The arrival of the first penguin – Captain Cook. My daughter thought the penguin was hilarious and my husband and I were very impressed with the puppet.

The play then moved very fast. We enjoyed watching the antics of Captain Cook and eventually his mate Greta and their very cute babies. One of my daughter’s favourite parts was watching Mrs Popper trying to get the penguin babies off to sleep! She also loved seeing Captain Cook sleeping in the freezer!

We all agreed that the penguin circus act was very entertaining and very cleverly done. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But the biggest sign that this production was a success was that there was a theatre full of children who were captured by the magic of Mr Popper and his Penguins, laughing at all the right bits and joining in right to the end – where the cast got everyone up and taught the children a penguin dance.

It was the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon – and it was the day before my daughter’s birthday so we kicked off the birthday celebrations in style.

Thank you to the Theatre Royal Brighton.