Monday, 31 December 2012

Reminiscing on 2012

The New Year is traditionally a time for looking both backwards and forwards, and I thought I would do the same for this New Year's Eve post.

When I first began blogging in April, I set myself the ambitious target of writing a daily post promoting or reviewing an art or culture event around the Eastbourne area. Several people said this was far too ambitious and the general consensus was that I’d never find enough to write about. I am pleased to say that notion has been well and truly dashed and I would be surprised if this little blog has even mentioned half of the events on offer in a packed two-thirds-of-a-year. With the exception of two non-local posts (caused by insufficient forward planning before holidays), I have discovered an inspiring wealth of energy and creativity and I feel so lucky to have access to such a great variety of work on my doorstep. To everyone who acted, directed, painted, sewed, photographed, sang, played, danced, wrote, spoke, organised, sold, stewarded and volunteered - Thank You All!

It has just taken nearly half an hour to type out all the post titles from the blog so far. I tried to pick out my favourites, but it’s impossible to narrow the list down enough! Perhaps you can spot what really you really enjoyed and relive happy memories triggered by the list below. Hopefully, with the last few titles yet to happen, we will all be inspired to leap forward - paintbrushes in hand, guitars tuned and scripts down - as the curtain goes up on 2013!

Our Country's Good, Shame, Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, A Separation, Eastbourne Shout, Blackbird, The Clouded Yellow, Stepping Out, Blonde Poison, Mademoiselle Chambon, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Brass Jaw, The Gondoliers, Diary Of Anne Frank, Le Gamin Au Velo, ditzyladym interview, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Willie Doherty, Sunset Boulevard, Fairport Convention, Trishna, Guys and Dolls, Blackout and Bunting, Andy Panayi Quartet, Palm Court Strings, DNA, Andrew Voller, The Man With The Golden Pen, Lunasa, The Last Lunch, Born In The Gardens, Home Service, This Is Eastbourne, This Is ..., Voulez-Vous, La Grande Illusion, Chicago, A Point Of Departure, Terry Lees, Songs For A New World, Playing Dead, Uckfield Concert Brass, La science des reves, Holly Lindfield interview, The Cajun Dawgs, This Must Be The Place, The People's Monarch, Rope, La Delicatesse, The Big Art Secret, Hilary Bravo, Show Of Hands, Magnificent Obsession, Lansdowne Centenary Exhibition, My Gay Best Friend, Sally Dunham, Alan Barnes Quartet, Amy Winehouse Tribute, Lord Denis Healey Photographic Exhibition, African Cats, Dangerous Obsession, Society Of Eastbourne Artists, Old Hat, My Eastbourne Photography Competition, Honeybees - the Musical, Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder Mistaken, Kali and Katie, Beach Hut Courses, Singin' In The Rain, Lone Twin Boat, Macbeth, Battle Town Brass, Intimate Exchanges - A Cricket Match, Bof!, Harold Mockford, Roy Orbison Tribute, Gef Tom Son, Gilbert and Sullivan, Queen Of The Sun, Liane Carroll Quartet, The Angel's Share, Greg Harper, En kongelig affaere, Scenes from La Traviata, Street Styles, 2012, The Bugle Boy, Theatre Open Day, Denis Primett, Christine Chester, Leaf Hall Arts Festival, Alan Hammond Literary Lunch, Kevin Barber / Mark Taylor / Amy Reed, Gillian Toft, Moscow State Circus, 3 Daft Monkeys, BlueSkyInking, Roz Nathan, Lammas Festival, Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, Friends Of The Devonshire Park Theatre Summer Fete, Chariots Of Fire, Sonya Tatham, Creative Writing Workshop, Michelham Priory Contemporary Craft Fair, The History Boys, Tania Long, Gallery North Open Part II, Time 2 Potter, Three Men In A Boat, Grease, Take That Experience, Edge In Landscape, Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, Dana and Susan Robinson, Sara Humphrey, 42nd Street, Premier Marina Photography Competition, LGB Brass, Chapter 12 Music Evenings, Lament For Lorca, Small Wonder Story Festival, Pocketsize, Monsieur Lazhar, The Comedy Of Terrors, Medieval Festival, Tortoise In Love, Terminus Road Art Expo, Pride and Prejudice, Carillon Music Festivals, Hailsham Arts Festival, Just Between Ourselves, All In Good Time, Hunters Moon Morris Workshop, Hailsham Art Group, The Conspirator, Be Our Guest! Again, EBS Rock The Redoubt, Snared, We Built This City, Double Indemnity, Roy Hilton Quintet, Importance Of Being Earnest, Modern African Art, Starshine Music, Walkabout, City Of Ashes, Imogen Skelley, Fagin's Last Hour, Tyrannosaur, Hailsham Festival Art Exhibition, The Haunting, Fiona Hosford, Film Poster Auction, Joel White, Bourne To Write, Les Hommes Libres, Teej Festival, The Rivals, Lovers Walk, Ian Shaw and Sue Richardson, Liquorice, Radio Times, A Simple Life, VOICES Choir, Rough Justice, Les femmes du 6e etage, Pineapple Poll, St Wilfrid's Big Art Secret, Black Strap Molasses, Shadow Dancer, Steve Scott interview, Charles Dickens literature talk, Until The Cows Come Home, Hatful Of Rain, Little Voice, Even The Rain, The Vicar Of Dibley, Swan Lake, Life and Death Of Colonel Blimp, Secret Honour, David Armitage, Simon Spillett Quartet, Timon Of Athens, Aladdin / Jungle Book, Jess Robinson interview, Collective Observations, The Lady Eve, Kirsty McGee, Canterbury Tales, Repulsion, HomeGrown, Paul Carrack, Mansfield Park, Rope, The Dressing Book, Little Gem, The Second Art Expo, Untouchable, The Lamb Choir, Duet For One, Berberian Sound Studio, Night Folk, A Musical Novelty,  Poetry, Swan Lake, Edgar, Keith Pettit interview, Private Road, Sleeping Beauty, Eastbourne Christmas Open Houses, Un Amour De Jeunesse, Cabaret 2012, East Sussex Open Submissions, Nutcracker, Early Ghost, Ladri di biciclette, Francis Perry Gallery, Andre Rieu Home For Christmas, Tango Pasion, The Big Jazz, Cow Pie, Holy Motors, Andy Drudy, Jasmin Stringer, Sleeping Beauty, Christmas At The Bandstand, Andy Dickens Band, Hard Times, Christine Munro, Dracula, Into The Ark, Private Peaceful, Mask Making Workshop, Art For Christmas 2012, A Christmas Carol, Gabrielle Stephens, Polegate Sketching and Painting Group, Jake Nelson, The Moon And The Sledgehammer, Will Gudgeon, Tom Fitzpatrick, Corina Stupu Thomas, Margaret, La Boheme, Andrew Dandridge, Life Of Pi, Bon Hiver, The Magistrate, 2 Days In New York, Pentacle Drummers Wassail, Sophia Victoria Joy, Alice In Wonderland, Sarah Moule Quartet, A Small Act, Cinderella, Ed Boxall, R'n'R, Larry, Lesley Collinson, The Moo Man, Fabulous Red Diesel.

Phew - and people say nothing happens around here!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Fabulous Red Diesel (music)

Willingdon pub The Wheatsheaf Inn is bringing St Leonards' band The Fabulous Red Diesel to Eastbourne for their very first visit to the town on the 26th of January 13th of April (date has changed since I first published this post). The gig could well be a busy one and I'm not quite sure how the Wheatsheaf is going to cram in a six-piece band!

Driven by the creative force of Kat and Will Lee-Ryan, The Fabulous Red Diesel was formed about ten years ago. They are favourites on the underground festival scene and have a really funky jazz / soul sound - perfect for summer fields and winter pubs! They play all their own, original music and frequently go to town with their appearance, performing as a Bohemia vision of sparkle and colour. Their second album, We Know It's 43, was released in August 2012 and is available from their own website as well as by download from Amazon. I've been playing the music over Christmas and it has a decadent laid-back vibe with lots of brass and smooth soulful vocals. The YouTube below was recorded nearly a year ago, in Jan 2012, and is one of the tracks from We Know It's 43 entitled Blue.

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Sat 26th Jan Sat 13th April, 21:00.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Moo Man (film)

I first heard about the intriguingly titled film, The Moo Man, on Facebook as a huge announcement was being made. The guys behind the project were understandably very excited as they had just discovered they had been selected to compete in the World Cinema Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah - that's THE Sundance Film Festival! They wrote, "It's official! Absolutely, unbelievably amazing. Our little film is having its world premiere at the biggest independent film festival in the whole world."

The Moo Man tells the remarkable story of maverick dairy farmer Stephen Hook who attempted to save his family farm by rejecting the demands of the supermarket chains and, instead, returned to small-scale farming, sustainable and organic methods, and respect for the animals in his herd. Unfortunately, the fifty-five spirited cows didn't always seem willing to follow the plan. The resulting documentary was made by Andy Heathcote of Trufflepig Films and filmed on the Pevensey Levels marshes. Andy believes in 'slow food' filming so Moo Man has taken a lengthy four years to get to the screen!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Lesley Collinson (artist)

Winter Walk by Lesley Collinson
I had heard that Chapter 12 in Hailsham was going to be hosting a Lesley Collinson art exhibition in December but I had mistakenly thought it was just a one day affair - on a day when I was already committed to being elsewhere! However, when I went along for the Pocketsize gig last Friday, I was pleasantly surprised to see several of Lesley's paintings adorning the walls.

Based in East Sussex, Lesley paints mostly in oils and is inspired both by the natural world around her, by its spirituality and energy. She has been fascinated by art since early childhood with Van Gogh and Cezanne being particularly important to her. She paints works for sale and is also available for commissions, landscapes, buildings and pet portraits. Lesley is also a talented photographer working mostly in black and white to produce stunning landscape images. My favourite of those on show was entitled Contemplation and there are several others in the back room.

The paintings at Chapter 12 showcase a variety of styles. The first you will see as you enter the bar are a trio of stone arches and doorways inspired by Scotney Castle. Don't miss the largest work, the vibrant landscape High And Over, directly above these arches. Mind the steps as you crick your neck to see it! As you order your drinks, you can peruse a selection of small spiritual and abstract paintings on the easel, before moving across the room to what was possibly my favourite image, Winter Walk. I am also a keen walker, albeit not a dog owner, and this view is exactly somewhere I could choose to go. Another which caught my eye is Autumn Leaves, a gorgeously coloured imagined landscape which I am hoping never sells because it is perfectly positioned at the moment! The reds positively glow through the dark wood railings of the upper level and I thought this made it particularly effective, drawing me upstairs to view it properly.

Chapter 12, Mon-Sun, 12:00-24:00.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Larry (theatre)

A new one-man-play from Chancel Productions is coming to the Underground Theatre in January. You might remember their magnificent The Man With The Golden Pen, the Ian Fleming play that came to the Lamb Theatre last May? The new work, entitled Larry, recreates two episodes in the life of Laurence Olivier and will be performed by Keith Drinkel. It has also been written by The Man With The Golden Pen playwright Mark Burgess, and, as the previous script was so good, I have high hopes for Larry! Another reason to tempt you to go is that the director is Nigel Fairs who recently did such wonderful work directing Secret Honour and will also fairly soon be acting again in Eastbourne again in My Gay Best Friend.

Larry begins in 1975 as Laurence Olivier is recovering from serious illness that might have meant the end of his acting career. However director John Schlesinger has just offered him the role of Nazi dentist Christian Szell in the film Marathon Man. As he prepares for his first day of shooting Olivier reflects on his past and considers the future.
Act Two revisits Olivier a few years later as he is about to start filming a television version of King Lear. Only too aware that this will be his last great role, he reflects on all the work he has done since Marathon Man, his final days at his beloved National Theatre, and his lengthy battle with attacks of terrifying stage fright.

Keith Drinkel has a long stage cv with recent highlights including touring his own one-man adaptation of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, and starring as the eponymous Signalman in a tour of an adaptation of Dickens' famous ghost story. His recent television performances were Bob, Liz Macdonald's dodgy boyfriend in Coronation Street and Terry Kinney in Midsomer Murders. 

Underground Theatre, Fri 25th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets £10 (£9 members and concessions), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926 or in person at the Underground Theatre and the Tourist Information Centre.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

R'n'R (music)

The popular duo of Richard Walder and Ron Turner are returning as the stars of the Under Ground Theatre's Saturday morning Coffee Morning in June and in October 2013. They will be performing their own interpretations of a wide variety of songs of the 1960s and 1970s - folk, blues, rock and roll, and jug songs - together with some of their own compositions. The duo were introduced to each other at the White Horse Folk club by artist and musician Chris Liddiard whose art was on show at the Underground in March 2013.

Tea Chest Bass player Richard Walder is a great fan of blues music and other Americana styles. He can also be seen playing as one of the Country/Appalachian band Pocketsize and, occasionally, at reunions of the skiffle group Skiddle-Am-Bam (also at the Under Ground on Sat 27th Jul 2013). Richard has a beautiful singing voice but did not originally play any instrument. Apparently, when he joined Skiddle-Am-Bam, the suggestion was made that he should take up playing the jug as this should be fairly simple to master. However, when the jug turned out to be "too much like hard work", Sean Markwick, the instrument maker of Black Strap Molasses fame, stepped up with a Tea Chest Bass which seems to suit Richard perfectly! Coincidentally, R'n'R's Coffee Morning in October is the week after Black Strap Molasses.

Under Ground Theatre, Sat 8th Jun 2013, Sat 26th Oct 2013, 10:00-12:00.
Free admission.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Ed Boxall (artist)

The Gardener by Ed Boxall
I bought one of Ed Boxall's delightful children's story books, The Gardener, for my niece a few months ago as she had just moved house and had a garden 'of her own' for the first time. I heard back that she had enjoyed being read the story but did not understand why the pictures were in black and white instead of the bright, primary colours of her existing books. Apparently she got out her pencils and set to, (fairly) neatly colouring in all the pages. I hope Ed doesn't mind!

The Gardener is one of a series published as Pearbox Stories. A man has created a beautiful garden and keeps it all to himself. When the garden is destroyed and blown away, the man is left with nothing. He decides to begin all over again and this time he chooses a derelict churchyard to renovate. The Gardener meets lots of new friends as he makes the churchyard into a wonderful space that everyone can share.

Artist and illustrator Ed Boxall lives and works just along the coast in Hastings. He has a degree in printmaking from Hull and an MA in illustration from St Martins, London. As well as his own self-published stories, he has had five books published by Walker including Francis The Scaredy-Cat which was read out on the BBC. His work is sold at the Towner and the De La Warr Pavilion where he has done workshops with children, and he was also the artist in residence at West Rise School in Eastbourne.

The reason I have chosen Ed for my Christmas Day post is his wonderful Giants of the Winter Woods drawing activities which I think will be perfect for anyone trying to find entertainment once all the present unwrapping has been done! Ed saw ancient Giants while he was walking in the woods and drew them. But by the time he got home, only their shadows remained. Can you bring them back for him? Print out the pictures and find your pencils!

Ed Boxall books are available at the Towner Gallery shop.
Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00, free admission.
Also available online from 

Merry Christmas!!


Monday, 24 December 2012

Cinderella (theatre)

The third local family pantomime this season is the traditional favourite Cinderella which will be performed by Polegate Drama Group. I believe Cinderella was last performed in Polegate about eight years ago and this year the Group has again chosen the Alan Frayn script, he updates his work every year to be fresh and topical. Over 700 tickets had been sold by the 3rd of December and PDG are hoping to have hit 1000 by Christmas.

Cinderella is directed by Sue Wood with Musical Director Pat White. Luisa Livesey will be Cinderella with Laurence Dengate-Roe as Buttons. The Ugly Sisters are David Buck and Ian Parratt and the second comedy pairing of dodgy builders Bodgett and Leggett are Peter Tucknott and Cliff Bendall.

Polegate Community Centre, Sat 19th and 26th Jan, 14:30, 19:30.
Sun 20th and 27th Jan, 14:30.
Tue 22nd to Fri 25th Jan, 19:30.
Adult ticket £8.50, child/student ticket £6. 
Available online, in person from Archer and Partners in Polegate High Street or by calling 01323 483348.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Small Act (film)

Now that the Curzon cinema has gone digital, Eastbourne Film Society have a wider range of films from which to choose. Therefore, they have decided to screen a double bill of documentary films towards the end of January: A Small Act and How To Re-Establish A Vodka Empire.

A Small Act is written, directed and produced by Jennifer Arnold. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 to an amazing reaction from the audience there who donated $90,000 to the fund featured in the film.

Chris Mburu was an impoverished Kenyan student who was helped by a Swedish aid programme and a benefactor named Hilde Back, herself a holocaust survivor. Hilde donated the relatively small amount of money needed for Chris to complete his education which meant that he could go on studying, eventually gaining a place at Harvard. Years later, Mburu has become an international human rights lawyer working for the UN. Hoping to replicate the way the Swedish programme helped him, he has set up his own programme, named for Hilde, and this film shows how the next generations of children in his home town of Mukubu are striving to emulate his success.

Curzon, Wed 23rd Jan, times TBC.
Tickets £6.50, concessions £4.50. Available by calling 01323 731441 (3pm to 7pm) or in person at the Box Office.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Sarah Moule Quartet (jazz)

Acclaimed jazz vocalist Sarah Moule will be visiting the Underground Theatre on the 18th of January. From her website, it appears that she will be performing her show A Portrait Of Miss Peggy Lee and I very much hope that this will be the case. An iconic American singer of the twentieth century, Peggy Lee enthralled audiences with her 'electric blue voice'. Sarah revisits signature songs such as Black Coffee, Fever, Why Don’t You Do Right? I’m A Woman and Is That All There Is? and explores Lee’s own influences from the Blues to Ray Charles and Maxine Sullivan.

Born on the South Coast of England, Sarah travelled extensively after leaving university. Returning to London in the 1990s, she met jazz singers Ian Shaw and Claire Martin who introduced her to composer Simon Wallace. Something about the music Wallace was writing, with Fran Landesman, appealed to Sarah and she has since gone on to record two CDs of their work: It's A Nice Thought and Something's Gotta Give.
Sarah has forged herself a strong reputation on the London jazz scene, singing regularly at the 606 Club and The Vortex and guesting at Ronnie Scott's. She has also toured A Tribute To Ronnie Scott around the Mediterranean with Underground favourite John Critchinson.

Underground Theatre, Fri 18th Jan, 20:00.
Tickets £11 (UGT Members/Students £10), available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Underground Theatre and the Tourist Information Centre.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Alice In Wonderland (theatre)

The Hailsham Theatres pantomime choice for this season is the surreal tale of Alice In Wonderland written by Kate Parry. The show is being directed by Judith Brooke in a departure from her usual role of Musical Director, and will be an anniversary celebration as this year marks the 30th annual pantomime by the company. After months of effort from the cast and crew, the audience will also be expected to work hard – so bring your best cheers and boos with you!

Join Alice (Chelsie Sewell) with her mother Gladys (Ian Ward) as they make friends with the White Rabbit (Roy Langstaffe) who will take them to Wonderland. They’ll meet a pack of marching cards, the Cheshire Cat (Hannah Attfield) and we mustn’t forget the “oh so mean” Queen of Hearts (Diane Morris) and her ghastly spoilt brat of a daughter (Joanna Westwood). There’s a handsome prince (Tina-Louise Billing) and two hapless chaps Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Sarah Widdas and Linda Mitchell) to create the usual mayhem and confusion.

Tuesday evening's performance has already sold out and I am told that the matinee tickets are selling fast, so get booking as soon as you can!

Hailsham Pavilion, Tue 22nd to Sat 26th Jan, 19:30.
Sat 26th Jan matinee, 14:30.
Sun 27th Jan morning and matinee, 11:00, 15:00.
Adult tickets £7.50, under 16s and concessions £5.50, available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Pavilion Box Office.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sophia Victoria Joy (artist)

Another new-to-me art discovery for today's blog and it is the design work of Sophia Victoria Joy. I spotted her fun Christmas cards in the Towner Gallery shop when I went to see their wonderful Bon Hiver exhibition and wanted to find out more about her. 

A graduate of the Winchester School of Art, Sophia has a degree in Graphic Arts and her third year project there was the catalyst that led to the founding of her own business in 2010. It is very much a family affair to bring her design concepts to production, with both her sister Harriet and partner Mike involved in the team. Sophia is inspired by her own memories - childhood holidays, lazy summers and cosy winters by the fire - and also by our peculiarly British traditions. She makes it a point of principle to support other British businesses as much as possible. Sophia Victoria Joy has based her company in Winchester and almost all of the products are sourced and created ethically within the UK.

Towner Gallery shop. Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00.
Free admission.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pentacle Drummers Wassail (music)

Eastbourne's own drumming group, the Pentacle Drummers, will be holding their very first Wassail in January 2013 at Stone Cross Nurseries. Pentacle Drummers formed in 2001 to perform at the first Lammas Festival and have now grown to a troupe of forty members attending over thirty events each year. They dress in distinctive green and red livery with tatter coats and painted faces.

The Wassail is an ancient traditional ceremony originating in Southern England which involves singing while drinking the health of apple trees in order to frighten away evil spirits and ensure a good cider harvest in the Autumn. The finer details of ceremonies vary from town to town but there is usually a procession, a King & Queen of the Wassail, copious quantities of a hot mulled cider drink - also called Wassail - and the placing of toast soaked in Wassail into the trees as a gift to nourish them.

Plans for the Pentacle Drummers' Wassail include the procession, Morris Dancing - I'm hoping to see Eastbourne side Hunter's Moon, Drumming and the planting of five apple trees to mark the occasion. There will also be apple bobbing, belly dancing, face painting by Uncle Bumble, and music from Wojtek Godzisz. The event will raise money to support the great work of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue.

Stone Cross Nurseries, Sat19th Jan, 17:00.
Free admission.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2 Days In New York (film)

The second Seaford Cinema screening choice for January is 2 Days In New York, the sequel to Julie Delpy's 2007 romantic drama 2 Days In Paris. In the original film, Delpy starred as Frenchwoman Marion who was trying to rebuild her relationship with American boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) against the backdrop of Paris. Delpy has now relocated to America, hence her 2012 sequel, 2 Days In New York, is set in Manhattan and views the premise from the opposite standpoint. Previously, the American boyfriend had been isolated both by geography and by culture. Now he is in his home town but is cut-off from his idea of normality by the French family who surround him.

Marion is living with a new man, hip talk-radio host Mingus (Chris Rock) and their children from previous relationships. However, their cosy family life is disrupted when Marion's father Jeannot (Albert Delpy), sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) and Rose's boyfriend Manu (Alexandre Nahon) arrive from Paris to visit. Poor Minghus has to cope with the major clash of cultures as well as with Manu being Marion's ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile Marion is trying to come to terms with the death of her mother - in real life for Delpy as well as on film for Marion.

2 Days In New York premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and was also screened at the Tribecca and Seattle Film Festivals. Reviewers have compared it favourably with vintage Woody Allen and with Seinfeld.

Barn Theatre, Fri 18th Jan, 19:30.
Tickets £6 (£5 members). Available in person on the door or in advance from Seaford Tourist Office.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Magistrate (theatre)

John Lithgow and Roger Sloman, photo by Johan  Persson
The first National Theatre Live broadcast of 2013 is going to be a farce set in Victorian London. The Magistrate by Arthur Wing Pinero will star American actor John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun). He will be joined by Olivier Award winner Nancy Carroll (After The Dance) playing his wife Agatha, and the production is being directed by another Olivier winner, Timothy Sheader (Crazy For You). Their performance will include songs with music composed by Richard Sisson and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe.

With his louche air and a developed taste for smoking, gambling, alcohol and women, it's hard to believe Cis Farringdon is only fourteen. And that's because he isn't. Agatha, his mother, dropped five years from her true age – and his – when she married amiable magistrate Posket. When her deception looks set to be revealed, it sparks a series of hilarious indignities and outrageous mishaps.

NTLive showed a short interview with John Lithgow during their previous broadcast, Timon of Athens. He revealed he has previously only seen one NTLive broadcast - Hamlet starring Rory Kinnear - but is very enthusiastic about the concept and looking forward to the extra challenges of broadcast night.

Cineworld, Thu 17th Jan, 19:00.
Tickets £13.50 (£11.50 concessions). Available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person at the Ticket Office.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bon Hiver (art)

The French greeting 'Bon Hiver' meaning 'Good Winter' is traditionally used on the first day that the snowfall sticks to the ground. It has been co-opted for the Towner's new exhibition of winter landscapes featuring work by Christopher Wood, William Gear, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Duncan Grant, Joachim Koester, Edward Stott and Eric Ravilious. There is also a series of photographs by video artist Kelly Richardson whose solo exhibition, Legion, will be shown at the Towner from February to April, and perhaps the 'star' of Bon Hiver which is The Forked Forest Path by Olafur Eliasson. This was acquired by the Towner in 2003 but has not been shown in the new building until now.

The Forked Forest Path by Olafur Eliasson
The Forked Forest Path takes up the whole first room of the Bon Hiver exhibition. There is a wonderful scent from the sweet chestnut branches and I thought it was a magical experience wandering along the the narrow pathways between the 'trees'. The gallery assistant I spoke to described it as meditative. She explained that they haven't been able to show the work before now because the branches need to be cut at the right time of year and 2012 is the first occasion this has coincided with an appropriate exhibition.

Also on show is Camp by Kelly Richardson, a hypnotic video installation of a full moon distorted by the heat vapour from a fire. The photograph Hiatus by Mircea Cantor shows a Romanian forest scene but with the central tree having been carved into a mysterious dovetailed device. I found this image quite unsettling and was also unnerved by Landscape 268 by John Virtue, an artist whose work I have admired at the Towner on previous visits. Landscape 268 is a large monochrome painting where glimpses of roofs and a lane are visible in an expanse of abstract shapes and dripping black lines. To me, it felt as if this painting was on the cusp of resolving itself into some nightmarish scene and I wasn't to keen to turn my back on it! However, just behind - don't back away from the Virtue or you'll crash into it! - is a fabulous miniature underwater sculpture entitled Sea Of Ice. Created by Mariele Neudecker, this is a clear glass tank filled with dyed water obscuring a sunken ship. Different aspects of the ship are visible from each side of the tank and I enjoyed discovering the work. 

The third room contains paintings and drawings including Starlight Landscape by Edward Stott, a painting I first saw and loved at the Towner in an exhibition several years ago now. I wasn't expecting to see it again in Bon Hiver so was pleased to 'bump into' it again. The single tree image is bleak but I could spend ages staring into it, imagining myself there. Local winter scenes are provided by Claude Muncaster with the familiar scenery in watercolour, Snow On The Sussex Downs, and a Frank Wootton oil on canvas, Windover In Winter. From further afield, I especially liked Gilbert Mason's Hyde Park, Leeds, a study in gouache on paper, because it is the only scene that depicts winter as wet and windy rather than a snowy idyll. 

Finally I took the other fork in the path on the way out to see Nordenskiold and The Ice Cap by Joachim Koestler, a slide show of photographs taken in Greenland. This work was fascinating as it really  played with my sense of perspective. Many of the slides are of snowscapes with no other point of reference so I found it very hard to tell if I was seeing a small patch of snow close to the camera or a wide view looking miles ahead.

Towner Gallery, Sat 1st Dec 2012 to Sun 3rd Mar 2013.
Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00. Free admission.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Life Of Pi (film)

I remember particularly enjoying the 2001 novel Life Of Pi by Yann Martel so I am really hoping that the very-soon-to-be-released film adaptation has managed to capture the spirit of the original story. It is shot in 3D which I generally dislike watching but early reviews suggest that the medium has been used to enhance the cinema experience and not just as a gimmick.

The American-made adaptation is directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain) with a screenplay by David Magee (Finding Neverland). It took Fox 2000 Pictures several years to appoint and keep a director and once Ang Lee was signed up, they were unhappy at his projected $70 million budget but eventually the project went ahead. Over 3000 men were auditioned for the starring role of Pi before Lee settled on 17 year old student Suraj Sharma. Lee's international cast also includes Gerard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Hussain and Rafe Spall.

Piscine Molitor Patel, nicknamed Pi, lives at his family's zoo in Pondicherry, India. He is raised a Hindu but as a teenager also tries to follow Christianity and Islam as well, attempting to understand God and life through the teaching of each until he comes to the conclusion that they all have something to offer. Pi's life is totally changed when his father decides to sell the zoo and uproot the family to Canada. They all board a Japanese ship, including the animals which are to be sold at their destination, but the ship is lost in a storm at sea. The only survivors are Pi, a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Soon the survivors are reduced to just Pi and Richard Parker and an uneasy truce is established between the two as they endure weeks adrift at sea.

Hailsham Pavilion, Fri 3rd May, 19:45.
Sat 4th, Wed 8th and Sun 12th May, 14:15.
Tickets £6.50 adults, £5 concessions, Sunday Special £5, Wed matinee £4.50.
Available online, by calling 01323 841414, or in person at the Box Office.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Andrew Dandridge (artist)

I recently stumbled across an Andrew Dandridge exhibition by accident when visiting Cow Pie at Until The Cows Come Home. He had a two day event at the English Wine Centre and they had a giant poster along their fence so I popped in on my way back to Berwick station. This 21st annual exhibition was held in a gorgeous oak barn which really suited the work on show. Over ninety paintings were displayed and the barn was nicely full with at least a dozen visitors all the time I was there.

Andrew Dandridge is a prolific painter with, I am told, over 3,500 original paintings to his name. He lives near to Eastbourne and a large proportion of his work is landscapes of our local area and the South Downs National Park. He works predominantly in traditional watercolour and gouache. I recognised several views from walks my partner and I have taken and was also surprised to spot one painting - Walking by the Wey Canal at Guildford - which looks along the Guildford to Godalming towpath. We recently walked there on a weekend break as Dave used to live in the area. My favourite painting had a different, more contemporary feel about it to the others as it shows two slightly battered rowing boats - Boats in the Moonlight - although my eye was also caught by Lullington Winter, the ancient little church depicted in snow.

The English Wine Centre is just by the Drusillas roundabout, on the Alfriston Road. Its restaurant specialises in locally sourced meals and the centre is a popular wedding venue. Apparently there are 140 varieties of English wine available in the Wine Shop with specialists on hand to advise if, like me, you find that quite an intimidating number, and boutique guest rooms are available to book so you need not worry about driving home!

This exhibition was over the weekend of the 17th/18th November 2012 and I do not know of any further events in the near future. However, you can 'Like' Andrew's Facebook page to be kept updated.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

La Boheme (opera)

La Boheme is one of the most often performed operas. Composed by Giacomo Puccini, the libretto was written by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa. The plotline is based on an Henri Murger novel, Scenes de la vie de boheme, stories of young bohemians living in the Latin quarter of Paris in the 1840s, and probably also draws upon Puccini's own student escapades to provide some of the humour. The opera was first performed in Turin, Italy in February 1896, and quickly became a success with several other companies putting on the work over the next few years.

The Royal Opera House production has been designed by Julia Trevelyan Oman and directed by John Copley. The orchestra will be conducted by Mark Elder. A romantic tale of two couples, La Boheme is one of the great love stories. Seamstress Mimi (Maija Kovalevska) and writer Rodolfo (Rolando Villazon) fall in love with each other at Christmas time but their immediate happiness does not seem built to last. Mimi becomes sick and Rodolfo is not able to control his jealousy. Their friends, Musetta (Stefania Dovhan) and Marcello (Audun Iversen) help the stricken couple to restore their love but they eventually realise that they cannot live either with or without each other.

Cineworld, Tue 15th Jan, 19:15.
Tickets £17 (concessions £13.50). Available online, by calling 0871 200 2000 or in person at the Ticket Office.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Margaret (film)

I have done a lot of reading about Margaret while trying to decide whether to blog about the film or skip it in favour of something lighter, but it has slowly intrigued me. Another 'marmite' film, this is either a total masterpiece or two and a half hours you'll never get back!

Margaret is the first Eastbourne Film Society choice of 2013. Written and directed by theatre playwright Kenneth Lonergan, it is a sprawling, meandering tale which has had a difficult journey to the screen. Originally coming in at three hours, the studio insisted on drastic cuts which Lonergan resisted and there has been much antagonism and legal bickering. Eventually Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker stepped in to edit and save the work. Its running time is now 'just' 150 minutes and it has a stellar cast including Anna Paquin, J Smith-Cameron, Jean Reno, Matt Damon and Matthew Broderick.

New York high school student Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) is the unwitting cause of a traffic accident when she distracts a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) who then runs over a woman on a pedestrian crossing. The woman dies in Lisa's arms. As Lisa struggles to come to terms with her guilt and need to redeem herself, we witness her fraught relationship with her mother (J Smith-Cameron); sexual encounters with a classmate (Kieran Culkin) and then with her maths teacher (Matt Damon); and ultimately her discovery that adult decisions and choices cannot mesh with the simplistic world view of her childhood..

Curzon Cinema, Wed 9th Jan, times TBC.
Tickets £6.80 (£4.80 concessions). Available by calling 01323 731441 (15:00-19:00 daily) or in person at the Box Office.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Corina Stupu Thomas (artist)

 I mentioned Corina Stupu Thomas' art briefly on the blog when I wrote up my first visit to the Francis Perry Gallery in Susan's Road. Last week she began a small exhibition of her own at Beanzz in Grove Road, one of my favourite independent coffee shops in Eastbourne. The exhibition consists of eight prints of Corina's vibrant, joyful paintings and they fit perfectly with the friendly atmosphere of Beanzz.

Romanian-born Corina came to Britain six years ago and, as well as being an artist, is a solution focused psychotherapist and a creative coach. Much of her work is motivational and two of the works at Beanzz have strong positive messages. You Are Special (left in photo) is a colourful mixed media work in which I see a rather bashful woman being hectored by a bird who believes more strongly in her than she does herself. Believe depicts a group, maybe a family, abstract and featureless, but still appearing to gaze proudly straight out of the painting.
My favourite work is one of a trio of Corina's Travelling Soul monoprints (centre three in photo), Travelling Soul Goes to Africa. I am unable to pin down exactly what attracts me to the Travelling Soul series so much but I have returned to view them online several times since I originally discovered one a few months ago illustrating a post on Corina's blog. I really enjoyed seeing the three displayed together 'larger-than-screen' size and the single colour effect of each one is particularly striking. 

Beanzz is run by Tracey and Mikael who love art and local artists, as well as making great coffee. I visited on Friday evening just as Little Christmas was setting up outside and there was a lovely cosy atmosphere inside the cafe. The opposite wall to Corina's work features photographs from the Little Chelsea Gallery, with further photographs on show downstairs. I hadn't even realised there was a downstairs before so went for a wander and discovered more sofas (yess!) and pretty mirrors in lieu of windows. I now know not to walk on by when it looks full upstairs!

Beanzz Coffee, until 15th Jan 2013.
Mon-Fri 07:45-18:00, Sat 09:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-16:00.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tom Fitzpatrick (music)

photo by Davie Langham
Eastbourne swing singer and crooner Tom Fitzpatrick is going from strength to strength recently and his great year might just be topped by his very first radio interview being broadcast by Uckfield FM this Thursday evening. He will be talking about his new mini-album of self-penned songs and we will get to hear a play of his new single 'K.I.S.S.I.N.G' and also the follow-up, Sugar Girl. There is a humorous video to accompany K.I.S.S.I.N.G. on Tom's YouTube channel. The six track album will be released early this year and showcases a change in direction for Tom towards a more contemporary funk/swing sound. However, he won't be ditching the crooning - 2013 will also see him begin gigging with his Trio, which includes drummer Ollie Boorman.   

Apparently the youngest crooner in the UK, Tom is only 21 but is already gigging extensively around the South of England and London. He has even performed a couple of times on Broadway! Tom sang with a six-piece band at Eastbourne Bandstand last summer as the Michael Buble tribute act and will be returning there again at the end of August 2013 for a repeat performance. But in the meantime, you can find Tom singing at Chapter 12 in Hailsham in April.

Chapter 12, Tue 16th Apr 2013, 19:45.
Michael Buble tribute concert, Eastbourne Bandstand, Sun 30th Aug 2013, 20:00.
Tickets in advance £7.50 adults / £5.25 children. £9 / £6.25 on the door. Available online, by calling 01323 410611 or in person at the Seafront Office.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Will Gudgeon (artist)

I've been a fan of Will Gudgeon's distinctive and beautiful photography for months and have been meaning to blog about his work for quite some time. His 2012 calendar has brightened up our kitchen all year and there is now a 2013 limited edition available for purchase.

Will has, amazingly, only been into photography for about three years but his imagination and eye for composition suggests someone with far more experience behind them. He is primarily a landscape photographer, taking occasional forays into automotive and sport, and his work showcases the gorgeous scenery around Eastbourne. I particularly love the star trail and Light Graffiti images which I think are stunning. Fire Orb in the Woods is my favourite of these and of the landscapes, I love Jetty Sunrise. Will's dedication to get up and out at what I consider seriously stupid o'clock is definitely admirable in its own right and one of these failed early morning forays (t'was the weather that failed) led to some stunning longboarding photographs. However, I have learned not to look at these for too long because the tarmac appearing to race by actually brings on motion sickness - bizarre I know!

Will's latest local exhibition is at the New Wilmington Hotel in Compton Street, where selected large photographs are permanently displayed in the Reception and Bar areas. The images are available for sale and the bar is always open to non-residents as well as guests! His work can also be seen at The Secret Garden in Terminus Road and on his own website.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Moon And The Sledgehammer (film)

An unusual 1971 film about a family who chose to reject modern society is being screening at the Towner Gallery on the 16th of December.

The Moon And The Sledgehammer was directed by Philip Trevelyan and produced by Jimmy Vaughan. It shows the Page family - a elderly father and his four adult children - who lived in the Sussex woods and earned what living they needed by repairing old machinery. While in some ways a standard family set up for the time - the men are the ones who repair the machines while the women embroider, garden and play music - the Pages' lifestyle was also eccentric in that they lived an isolated existence without mains power or water. Lasting 65 minutes, the colour film is made up of un-narrated footage of the Pages going about their daily lives and interviews with them discussing their individual dreams and philosophies. 

The Moon And The Sledgehammer was re-released in 2009 and is now also available on DVD from the website if you would like to see it but cannot get to the Towner screenings.

Towner Gallery, Sun 16th Dec, 11:30, 14:30.
Free admission.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Jake Nelson (author)

I first came across author Jake Nelson through the interview I did with Eastbourne poet Sara Humphrey. He has published a story entitled King Arthur Goes To Wembley which is intended for children but is also being appreciated by adults - myself included!

In the tale, two schoolboys, Thomas and Marc, stumble across the enchanted resting place of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table while searching for their lost football. Due to a misunderstanding, the awoken King Arthur believes that the ‘Honour of England’ is at stake in a forthcoming international football match. He commands the children to teach ‘the beautiful game’ to the men from Camelot so they can play for England against the world champions!

The story was inspired by the lionisation of present-day Premiership footballers. Jake believes that, if the ancient legends were true, the Knights would have been treated in the same way and there are distinct parallels between the two cultures. He says. “The idea that the finest knights in all the world might just be the finest natural athletes too is only one step away from imagining that, maybe, they could also be great footballers. 

Although King Arthur Goes To Wembley is ostensibly a children's book, I enjoyed reading it. The intricacies of the football scenes were lost on me, but the story keeps up a great pace and I particularly liked the characterisation of Merlin and ideas such as the light bulbs' treatment! I also think that, if the right narrator was found, this story would make an excellent audio book.

King Arthur Goes To Wembley is available from Amazon as either a paperback or a download. I believe there are two further books on their way to being published - The Dinosaur Problem and Vigilante Tears.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jake Nelson / Fantasy / Books from England

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Polegate Sketching & Painting Group

The annual exhibition of the Polegate Sketching And Painting Group was held at St John's Church Hall last Saturday. Nineteen of the twenty-seven members chose to exhibit work and there were also tables with beautiful dolls, needlecraft, greetings cards and metalwork. 

I already knew that Jasmin Stringer was going to be there and quickly spotted her colourful flower and butterfly oil paintings as soon as I arrived. Most of the other artists were new names to me though and I enjoyed discovering their work. Animals were a popular theme and I liked Bette Hubbard's pastel Owl which glares out at anyone daring to approach him. Gillian Henning's Sparrow Hawk had a similar arrogance and I also liked her pastel portrait of a goat, Billy. Rita Reakes' Where's Breakfast made me smile. A grey pony looks expectantly out of his stall and Rita has accurately caught his expression.
An acrylic by Sheila Lower appealed to me as being a bit different. Yesterday is a nostalgic painting of a vintage car sadly rusting away in long grass. Watercolours also featured and my two favourites were Dancers by Kay Noble, which sadly was not for sale, and Chinese Lanterns by Wendy Pegler. This was a deceptively simple painting with eyecatching oranges and reds. The high spot for me was a trio of Eastbourne In The Rain scenes by Hugh Lowries, especially the seafront one where people are braving the Prom under their umbrellas!

The Polegate Sketching And Painting Group began in the early 1990s as an excuse for three people to get out of the house. There are now effectively two groups, one meeting on Monday evenings and the other on Tuesday mornings, and they all come together for various social events during the year. Richard Liley, BA (Hons), FRSA, RTS is the tutor and alternates between led work one week and members working on their own projects the following week. An example of the led work was shown at the exhibition where several paintings of the same garden shed scene were exhibited. It was interesting to see the different approaches to the subject that had been employed and how artists had applied their own style to the work.

If you are interested in joining, places have become available to start from the 7th of January 2013. I believe meetings are held at the Bernhard Baron Cottage Homes and the Community Centre respectively and you will need to have expressed an interest before attending. I briefly met the Treasurer, Bruce Margrett, at the exhibition and you can call him on 01323 484568 to find out more.