I found myself with an unexpected day off on Wednesday so, having been tipped off by Josie Tipler of Lend Me A Tenor 'fame', I walked into Eastbourne to take a closer look. The Tea Shop has a great retro vibe with red and white polka dot tablecloths and Enid Blyton hardbacks scattered on the tables. As I got there, 'The Biggest Aspidistra In The World' was playing - not sure if it was the Gracie Fields version but this gives you an idea of the cosy ambience.
The two photographers are showing very different work and I liked the contrast between them. Much of Mark Sander's work is black and white, portraits and landscapes, with curious compositions that made me pause and consider. Elizabeth Doak on the other hand uses vintage dolls as her subjects, brightly coloured and initially fun but with an increasing element of sadness and poignancy to them the longer I looked. My favourite was of a Sindy doll, very like one I used to own, gazing into the camera.
The photography exhibition was opened with a performance by Brighton songwriter Lorraine Bowen. Described for me at the Tea Shop as a great cabaret with hints of Victoria Wood who plays her piano with an ironing board as the stand! If you haven't been lucky enough to catch her act, already, Lorraine will be at The Lamb in Old Town tomorrow evening (26th April, tickets on the door)
The Tea Shop, Mon to Fri, 19th Apr to 11th May, 10:00 - 17:00.
Free admission but do try the ginger cake - it's delicious!