The Shooting Party From Gresham Blakeâ€™s new Autumn / Winter collection
Ray Winstone wears a !00% British waxed cotton jacket, quilted with a hunting design and corduroy collar. Photo by David Ellis 8
Overcoat - Single breasted covert coat with cream contrast hunting embroidery and black velvet top collar.
Photography/Lighting Olly Hearsey@ Lion Works Studios Model Joe Pointing @Saphier Models Retouching/MUA Xoe Kingsley Hair Phil Gilbert @Simon Webster
greshamblake.com 20 Bond Street Brighton BN1 1RD 01273 609 587
Star Styler Gresham Blake tells Ian Trevett about working with Ray Winstone, his love of Brighton and his new Autumn / Winter collection
erched at the top of the Bond
good shops to attract people to come into
“London has worked very well for us.You
Street store, Gresham Blake’s
town in the first place.
need to be there for people to take you
office is a hive of activity as the
‘I was offered some crazy money for this
final touches are made ready
place about two years ago from a large coffee
Perhaps one of the reasons he is taken
for their designer’s stand at the
chain as they are always on the lookout for
seriously is the fact that his marketing nous
Goodwood revival meeting.
new premises. I turned it down as this is
matches his creativity in design. It isn’t
Despite the deadline rush, Brighton style icon,
where I started and I don’t want to move.
unusual to see household names dressed in
Gresham is in fine form as usual - chatty and
“This will always be our head office. We have
Gresham’s unmistakable style, notably actor
jokey, with the conversation punctuated by
finance in place to open new retail stores but
Ray Winstone who is sporting Gresham’s new
his hearty infectious laugh. But as he looks
this will always be our base. I will own this
autumn / winter collection on our cover. The
out across the North Laine, the conversation
shop until the day I die. Brighton is where my
celebrity link-up is no accident.
turns a touch more serious.
“When I was studying at university I was
I had asked him about the state of the
Gresham is Brighton’s highest profile fashion
looking for a way to be noticed, because
Brighton fashion scene, and he is concerned.
designer and it is refreshing to hear that
no-one would pay much attention to what
Not at the quality or the innovation, but at
his loyalties are with the city. He studied at
another student designer was doing. I wanted
the increasingly difficult process of finding a
City College and Brighton University, before
publicity, but no-one was going to write about
retail outlet to promote the new designers.
opening the shop in 2000. However, he was
me. I was friends with Jay Kay from Jamiroquai
“From here,” says Gresham, “I can only see
very aware that to make an international
so I made a suit for him. I also knew Mark
two shops that aren’t coffee shops or food
brand, he needed a London presence, and he
Williams from seeing him around in Brighton.
outlets. There has been a far higher quality of
now has a store in the East End.
I made them both suits and asked if I could
shops over the years we have been here, but
“Shoreditch has been great for us. We were
tell people about this, which they were fine
we are in great danger of losing them at the
in London anyway in South Molten Street,
with. It was a deliberate marketing plan but
moment. In the last two months, six coffee
but we wanted to move to a more creative
now it is less important. I still do celebrity
shops have opened up within 500 yards of
area and it has worked really well. We have
shoots but now it is more a bit of fun.
the shop. I’m not against coffee shops but it
been there about two years now. It is very
“There are some big names I have worked
means there is less chance of a fashion shop
much like Brighton - lots of digital marketing
for but I can’t mention the names. I work
opening up. It is a real issue.
companies and there is an attitude where
closely with David Ellis, who is an acclaimed
“The mark-up on coffee is really high, much
people try to do their own thing. There is a
photographer - his work is excellent. We will
higher than on fashion. But coffee shops need
very eclectic mix of people there.
do an exhibition of his photos at some point.
I will own this shop until the day I die.
“The great thing about the photo shoots is that it gives a perception that the brand is bigger than it actually is. The shoots would cost tens of thousands of pounds if it had been set up by a international company like Nike. We have people from China asking us to set up over there as they perceive us as being a massive UK brand. In fact we are a niche brand. “I met Ray Winstone through a stylist who was doing the Bet 365 adverts. We met and got on really well and he opened my London
whole mag oct.indd 16
Tailor it like
Woodies DUKE STREET BRIGHTON
“Woodies can cater for all occasions”
oodies is a family run business which has evolved over the past 33 years into one of the finest independent menswear retailers on the South Coast. With a fantastic array of designers from across the globe, Woodies proudly offer over 20 collections ranging from classic Italian tailoring house Corneliani, quintessentially British blazers from Harris Tweed, to timeless lifestyle brands GANT, Paul & Shark Yachting, Hackett London, Hugo Boss, Woodies has brought the best of both worlds in tailoring and casual wear under one roof. Another stand out service offered at Woodies Brighton is their off-the-peg suit department, with some of the finest suits on the market from revered Savile Row tailor Richard James, British newcomer Without Prejudice, and Italian powerhouse, Corneliani.
To finish the look, there is a range of ties, cuff links and accessories from brands such as Penrose London, Italo Ferretti and Duchamp, with footwear provided by some of the UK’s finest shoemakers – Oliver Sweeney, and Loake 1880. Woodies signature bespoke tailoring packages offers luxurious fabrics and linings from some of the finest mills in the world. Using only the finest cloths, canvases, and linings in the construction of our garments, Woodies can cater for all occasions, creating business or lounge suits, wedding attire, sports jackets, shirts, waistcoats, trousers and more, with our expert tailor guiding each customer through the process with confidence and ease. This personal service all adds up to heaven for the discerning customer who enjoys to shop in
a relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere, with quality pieces that are second to none. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to discuss your requirements and come with a wealth of knowledge, and unlike many of the fast-moving and frenetic department stores, we are generous with our time, allowing us to pay more attention to your exact needs. The result - a more satisfying shopping experience. To book your consultation or to arrange a fitting, please contact the store on 01273 776 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beautiful Bodies Absolute Magazine meets Lisa Henning, founder of Skin Confidence, as she launches her MCA Micro Needling treatment. Tell us about Skin Confidence by
What piece of advice would you give to
smooth enough, a short needled derma roller
anyone who is concerned about a scar
can be used to maintain as a home beauty
or stretch marks?
treatment. It’s a mistake to think needles have
Ever since I first discovered my permanent
to go in deep to maintain the skin or prevent
makeup tattoo machine could help with scars
Are you ready to see if the area can be
and stretch marks, I wanted to know more.
improved? Trying to fix something before you’re
Skin Confidence offers treatments that go
ready can backfire emotionally if expectations
beyond oils and creams, a middle ground for
of having the area ‘gone’ are not met.
scars, burns, stretch marks and wrinkles that
Consultations with a client, for areas larger than
aren’t serious enough for surgery, the ones you
60cm, are carried out first over the telephone,
Botox™ is a taboo subject amongst
might not have thought could be helped or
and I always ask the client to send me a photo
many. What are your views?
of the area which requires treatment.
One of your treatments is medical tattooing using MCA Micro Needling. What does this involve?
Wanting to have a specific scar needled can be strange, instinct will tell you it must hurt as much to help as it did to cause, but the treatment is surprisingly quick, and gentle.
Needles and tattooing - those two horrible
Three treatments are recommended, 4 to 6
words because the next word that the brain
weeks apart, with a 20 - 50% improvement
usually generates is pain! I use very good
seen after one visit. The body’s response to
numbing creams and pain isn’t a part of this
MCA Micro Needling continues for up to a
treatment and pigments aren’t used either. In
year, so after the initial treatments the area can
the past few years, skin needling has gained
be allowed to develop and mature for several
popularity with the derma roller and by using
months before considering further treatments.
the same principles of collagen induction; MCA Micro Needling uses a digital tattoo machine and only 3 or 4 needles which gently
I’ve had Botox™ in the past and it was done well as no one really knew I’d had it done as my eyebrows still moved. But that’s not always the request and I expect this is where some negativity comes from. If pushed, I don’t agree with people having Botox™ as a wrinkle prevention treatment, maintaining skin quality should be the concern. I’m 46, and since discovering skin needling I’ve not and I’ve only got visible
to micro needling - nothing has been inserted,
wrinkles when I smile.
injected, resurfaced, removed or cut away. It’s a simple little treatment that has such a positive
Every line, wrinkle, stretch mark, scar and
effect, thus naming my needling services Skin
burn and almost anywhere on the face and
Confidence. I’m not a beautician or a clinician,
body. Lines and wrinkles are just creases and
and ultimately this is a tattoo without using any
micro needling, through each crease, promotes
pigment. I was trained by the mother of medical
collagen growth in those places, resulting in a
and cosmetic tattooing, Dawn Cragg MBE, and
smoother line. Scars, burns and stretch marks
Dawn has given me such good guidelines to
are poor quality tissue, and needling essentially
work by. As its scars we are talking about, I’m
brings new life into the area. Tight, raised or
very aware of my responsibilities meeting and
sunken scars including acne scars are softened
managing a client’s expectations. Is MCA Micro Needling for everyone?
mis-pigmented scars, return to a more natural
It’s not just for scars and stretch marks,
colour. The only scars that cannot be treated
wrinkles and lines can be naturally smoothed
are keloid and before treatment starts, scars
by MCA Micro Needling too, and the results
and stretch marks must be more than one year
are more impressive on mature skin than
younger skin. When the face is satisfactorily
from mainstream aesthetic procedures?
damaged is not treated.
marks are naturally firmed and white scars and
0.3mm long to do a really good job as a beauty
had Botox™ (or fillers)
The results are your body’s natural reaction
and smoothed; whilst loose scars and stretch
derma roller needles need only be 0.2mm or
What differentiates MCA Micro Needling
and precisely work each area. Skin that is not
What areas of concern do you treat?
wrinkles. The top layers of skin are so thin that
Our Sussex Wedding Buxted Park, July 2013
Richard Skerritt and Heidi Edwards
The monthly column from our windswept Brighton gal
Zoe Lyons Have you been a Harvester Before?
ow that the mist of Autumn embraces us within it’s mittened grip and chills us with it’s cool morning breath lets look back and give praise. Let us all raise our t shirt tanned arms to the heavens and thank the meteorological gods for a Summer that, for once, delivered. A Summer where most days were best summed up in the style of George Formby, “turned out nice again”. For the last few years I have felt so sorry for the seafront businesses who’s seasonal “harvest” is so weather dependent. Bad weather means fewer tourists and a struggling local economy. Not so this year, the blue skies and warm air have seen the city buzzing with activity. Yes ok, so the parking was horrific and on weekends you couldn’t prise a warm butter knife between the sun burnt, badly tattooed bodies on the over crowded beach but who cares. We had a summer and Brighton and Hove blossomed! Business wasn’t the only thing blooming this year. I have joined the increasing number of people growing edibles in the back garden and the fine summer has resulted in a bumper crop. I haven’t done
anything overly fancy you understand, I kept it pretty simple for my first attempt. Just some herbs, lettuces and tomatoes in a home made raised bed. Spent a few quid on decent dirt, or soil as I believe the technical term is, bunged in my wee plants and waited. I am not a particularly complicated person, my needs are basic and I take pleasure in the little things in life but even I was surprised at the burst of joy I experienced on seeing my first toms appear. I am not too proud to say I squealed like a toddler that had just been presented with a frisbee sized lolly.
and the dog sprinkled on the coriander. The tomatoes grew in abundance but I had them in slightly to shady a spot so many remain green. But I have never been a harvester before and my tiny successes far out way the failures. Not to be beaten I have bought myself the necessary accoutrements needed to make green tomato chutney. The Summer may be gone but I will be enjoying fruits of my labour long into winter if I manage to jar up this lot. Anyone who knows me can expect a present of home made, slightly runny, overly vinegary, face twisting chutney for Christmas.
My baby steps into horticulture were coupled with a few weeks of looking after someone’s chickens and for a time there I really felt like I was living The Good Life. Chickens are so underrated. These girls were popping out an egg a day regular as clockwork powered by kitchen scraps, grass and a bit of porridge. It’s impossible to open up the hatch on a chicken coop to retrieve the eggs and not omit a gleeful “oooooooooooohhhhh eeeegggss!!” I will be the first to admit that mistakes have been made this year on my tiny smallhold. The mint went feral and overtook everything, the rocket turned to straw
I spent a few quid on decent dirt, or soil as I believe the technical term is...
PLAYING THE PEOPLE’S PRINCESS There aren’t a great many actresses who could convincingly portray Princess Diana, let alone be brave enough to take on the challenge, but as the movie of her final two years shows, Naomi Watts has excelled in treading a path that few others would dare.
ow do you go about portraying one of
And even if Watts has previous form in playing
news, her presence keenly felt by all in society.
the most famous women of all time on
real-life people on film – she showcased former
The (in)famous royal wedding of 1981, where
the big screen? It is not a question that
CIA agent Valerie Plame in Fair Game, J. Edgar
Diana married Prince Charles, was watched by
is asked of many actresses, but for the
Hoover’s long-time assistant Helen Gandy in
an estimated global audience of over 750 million
last few months it is a puzzle that has consumed
J. Edgar, and Maria Bennett, who survived the
– Watts included.
the every thought of Naomi Watts.
2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, in The Impossible
It has been a long and difficult road to stardom for
– bringing Diana back to life is another matter
“I remember the wedding. I watched that on
entirely. Was she aware of the significance?
TV. I also remember things happening in the
news and stuff, but I don’t remember everything
personal tragedy and years in the wilderness
“Yes, because she was so famous,” she begins.
because I left the UK when I was 14, and I didn’t
underpinning what is now a story of success.
“Automatically people will make comparisons
read newspapers at that age. Then we went to
From early roles in shows like Home and Away
and right after that, they are going to say, ‘Oh,
Australia where she was very popular, too, but it
in her adopted home of Australia through to her
she’s not right.’ So that was sort of daunting.
wasn’t obsessively, every single day on the front
big breakthrough in Mulholland Drive, Watts has
Also, because of that level of fame, everyone
enjoyed a varied and challenging career that is
feels intimate with her. They know her. Their
now bearing the fruit of her talents.
version of Diana is the truth. It’s hard to take
For a youngster to look at old photographs and
ownership of a character when she is in the
video footage now, it might seem improbable
But nothing in her catalogue of work could
minds of so many people. You feel like, ‘Oh gosh,
given how times have evolved, but Diana was
prepare her for this latest role, one that has
how can I live up to this?’ And for all the reasons
known for her fashion sense as much as any
caused as much consternation and controversy
I hesitated, it ended up being kind of a draw at
of her other qualities. It certainly made an
as it has excitement and intrigue. This month,
the same time. I was intrigued by the fear I had.
impression on Watts.
Diana is released in the cinemas, Watts starring
I like challenges.
in the lead role as the Princess of Wales, who
“At the time, I wasn’t so interested in fashion,
was tragically killed in August 1997 in a Paris car
“So once I got past that, the hesitation, we had
but I do remember thinking she seemed unlike
crash, alongside lover Dodi Fayed.
to work on things. Like obviously the voice,
other members of the royal family. She definitely
which is the most important thing, because she
had a fantastic figure and wore some striking
Adapted from a screenplay by playwright
had such a distinctive voice we remember so
dresses, one-shoulder for instance. There were
Stephen Jeffreys, based on the book Diana:
well. It was posh and aristocratic but at the same
more risqué fashion choices with her. Now, in
Her Last Love by Kate Snell and directed by
time, it was modernised by the breathiness of
the film, those clothes feel a bit dated; not really
the German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel, the
her that made it feel like she was normal. She
my thing. But she was classic. She was always
film tells the story of the last two years of the
felt so accessible with that voice.”
modern and classic, not over the top.”
Fayed, the affair with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan,
If we take it back to the start, 44-year-old
Yet by the time that fateful night in Paris
along with her struggles with the pressures of
Watts was, like many people of her generation,
came around, Diana was a controversial
fame and detachment from the royal family.
growing up when Diana was constant headline
figure, harassed by the media desperate for
princess’s life and includes her relationship with
her celebrity status to sell newspapers. Watts
“Because there was such a warmth about her.
I wanted to be and do. From that point on I
can empathise with press intrusion, although
There was something about her we trusted and
was in these little skits and local shows around
goes some way short of comparing her own
believed. Although she was a princess, she felt
Brighton and Sussex, and I loved it.”
experiences to that of Diana’s. “It was a totally
human and accessible, but still felt like she was
different scale. I can imagine it because I had a
a princess too. And she did a lot of great work.
Watts says it wasn’t until she was 14 that her
taste of it, but nothing to that level. Every single
Her empathy was something we felt was very,
mum put her into a proper acting school, but
moment of her day was scrutinised.”
very real, and also, who she was as a mother –
she “knew even in Shoreham that I wanted to
she was always holding those boys. It made her
Diana’s death sent shockwaves around the
feel like the rest of us. But at the same time, she
world, and like so many people, Watts can recall
still had this other-worldly charisma.”
exactly where she was when she heard the tragic news.
“I never had the guts to actually give it up,” says Watts of her long and torturous road to the top.
It has been a long road for Watts to get to the
“There was always some small part coming up
point where she is skilfully able to dominate a
which saved me from total poverty, and I always
“We were at a restaurant with a group of
film of such cultural importance. She grew up
had good friends behind me, like Nicole Kidman,
people. We got told that she had been in a car
in Shoreham, the daughter of former Pink Floyd
who was incredibly supportive.
accident and she was dead.Then we went home
road manager Peter Watts, who “wasn’t around
and watched the news at the hotel. I watched it
much, we never really saw him”. Her father
“She knew what it was all about and she kept
for a good hour or so. I remember being really
divorced Watts’ mum when Naomi was just
reminding me to hang in there. She would tell
shocked and upset.”
four years old, and died of a suspected heroin
me, ‘All it takes is one film.’ And that turned out
overdose three years later.
to be Mulholland Drive, which was a lifesaver in
Everything about Diana’s life meant that Watts
many ways because I was about to be evicted
had immense responsibility, especially with
“Everybody has that side,” she says, “whether
regards to Diana’s children William and Harry,
it’s their vulnerable side or their fragile side,
something she “felt great concern about”.
or dark side. No one is ever one colour, but
David Lynch’s 2001 opus did indeed change
But what was the most difficult aspect of the
growing up in Sussex was a lovely experience
Watts’ career beyond recognition, and since
nonetheless. We moved to Australia just as my
then, starring roles in huge box office hits such
teenage years began, so I’m actually lucky to
as 21 Grams and King Kong have taken her
“There were moments I felt good,” she says.“The
have quite a defined mental and geographical
career to a level she had only dreamed of.
hardest I worked on was the Bashir interview.
separation between childhood and later years. I
That was in people’s memories and they will be
used to love Brighton – so life and energy. The
“I feel like I have been lucky, because I have been
looking back to that, so I worked hard on that.
seafront is the kind of place you can visit any
a late-bloomer. I think I was a bit naïve at first,
Not just hair and make-up and phrasing but how
day of the week in any weather and it will seem
and by the time my career took off I was in my
she held her face, intake of breath and exhale of
different each time. And the people down there
thirties. But that has been an advantage, because
breath. I really wanted to get that exactly right.”
are magnificently alternative.”
I had a better idea of who I was and what I was
from my apartment in LA!”
doing. And I think as you get older, the roles you Understandably (and perhaps hypocritically)
Nowadays, Watts splits time in Australia and
get to play are deeper and have more meaning,
the sad events brought about a sea change in
the US with actor Liev Schreiber and their
which I enjoy. Older women are getting more
how Diana was viewed. Having done so much
two children, but always returns to thoughts of
and more roles and respect now. Everything has
research into her life, what does Watts take
Sussex for the artistic inspiration that set her on
changed. Life doesn’t have to stop at 40 these
away from her legacy?
her way to a career in film.
days. I hope that I have lots of great roles ahead of me.”
“I was just impressed by the way she grew up.
“When I saw my mum on stage playing Eliza
There was some sadness in her childhood – her
Doolittle in My Fair Lady, I was fascinated,” she
parents divorcing, being separated from her
smiles. “I would have been about five years old,
mother. That created fragility in her. I became
and being the show-off that I was, I loved the
“Whenever I’m in the UK my mind slips back to
impressed with how she wanted to heal that.
wigs and make-up and everything that went
Shoreham and Brighton. I’ve not spent serious
She was doing quite a few things to heal that
with it. I loved watching my mum, talking in the
time there in recent years, but I will. I know I
and of course when her marriage broke down, a
strange funny voice, and I wanted to be part of
don’t have to rush back as it won’t change, and
lot of that came back again. I always empathised
it. I used to sit in the front and wave at her. She
that’s a reassurance I love.”
wouldn’t wave back, and it was then that I was
And returning to familiar surroundings?
transported into that make-believe world, and Why does Watts believe so many people are
I knew that I wanted to be part of that, even if
still fascinated, and indeed still in love with the
I didn’t know how. I felt all the magic and glory,
Princess of Wales?
and right then and there I decided that’s what
Christmas at the Basement How would you describe your venue? The Basement is a unique and atmospheric space in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine. It is a flexible venue ideal for business and corporate events as well as wedding receptions and private parties. We endeavour to make your event memorable and spectacular. From the conventional to the unusual, your ideas will be supported by our friendly and professional
be dressed in a classical Christmas theme. This,
banqueting rounds The Space can be set for a
coupled with our top end sound and lighting
formal dinner for up to 100. The Basement will
equipment, combines to help you create a
work with you directly to design a package that
stunning, intimate setting for your Christmas
meets your requirements for capacity, layout
party or event. We have a partnership with
and technical provision to make sure your
The Secret Restaurant who deliver imaginative,
event is a visual and atmospheric success.
tasty and beautifully presented food that will enhance and compliment your experience at the venue.
Catering at The Basement is provided by
staff from conception to delivery. What packages are on offer? Why choose your venue for a Christmas party? With exposed brickwork and iron beams, and its underground location, The Basement has an edgy industrial feel, and is a perfect setting for something unique and inventive, but can also
What’s on the menu? (Food and drinks?)
The Secret Restaurant, who prepare amazing food and will work closely with you to fulfil
The maximum capacity for the venue is 230,
your ideas. They can provide anything from
but the venue is adaptable to make a great
a contemporary finger buffet to a multi-
setting for smaller, more intimate events. Using
course dinner. Our bar is stocked with an
our in house round cocktail tables we can seat
array of high-quality wines, beers and spirits at
120-130 people, or if you would like to hire in
Service that makes you smile Peter James has experienced exceptional service at some of the finest establishments around the world, but few restaurants are as enjoyable as Topolino Duo.
“It is that special something which leaves you at the end of your meal reaching for your wallet with a smile on your face rather than a gloomy scowl.”
hat distinguishes a great
monsieur, Chablis pour Madame? ’Now that’s
Although, as I always maintain, good food is
hotel from a merely good
what I call service.
only part of the point of a restaurant. It’s
one? Service is one element, for sure. I know a hotel
guide writer who applies a number of tests. One, he told me some years ago, was the roll of film that needed developing. Staying as an overnight desk at the Savoy he asked the concierge how he could get his film developed. The concierge helpfully wrote down directions to the nearest Boots, in The Strand, and handed
Service is also when a restaurant provides the same level of attentiveness and the same quality of food whether it is two or twelve of you dining together. For the twelve I deliberately chose courses where timing is everything. Grilled lobster – undercooked and it is chewy, overcooked and it is mush. Ravioli aux girolles; again both the mushrooms
him the strip of paper.
and the ravioli have to be cooked to texture
Next he stayed at the Plaza in New York
twelve plates was exemplary. Then sirloin
and there the concierge said, ‘Leave it with
steaks. I can never understand why anyone
me sir, you’ll have your photographs by
eats fillet steak, unless they have badly fitted
tomorrow evening. Then a few weeks later,
false teeth, as fillet is invariably a tasteless
at the Peninsular in Hong Kong, the concierge
lump of limp muscle. Steak needs fat – and
immediately despatched a junior member of
ideally bone – for flavour. All twelve steaks
staff, at a running pace, and said, ‘Give me one
were cooked to perfection as ordered. Like
hour sir, and we’ll bring them to your room.’
many great restaurants Le Club has a cheese
Now that, my friend said, is service! The Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, is my favourite hotel in the whole of the US. I’m an early morning runner, and each time I arrive back at the front entrance, the smiling doorman hands me a towel and a bottle of mineral water. That is service. And I guess in not many places would you ride in an elevator with George Clooney, then sit down to Sunday brunch – the best brunch on the planet, with sections of food from every region of the world – with Morgan Freeman on the table to your right and the Prime Minister of Israel to your left. It is also renowned for former President, Ronald Reagan, nearly mistaking the fountain in the foyer (now gone) for a urinal – but that, as they say, is another story… And Le Club De Cavaliere is another hotel that knows a thing or two about service. I had last been there in 2009. On arriving a few weeks ago, we walked into the bar for a sharpener before dinner. The head barman, Laurent, greeted us with, ‘Bonsoir Monsieur et Madame James. Vodka Martini with four olives for
perfect or the dish is a disaster; each of the
sommelier, happy to talk anyone, exuberantly, through the selection of 54 on the trolley. Illes
the atmosphere, the service, as much if not more than the food that go to create that indefinable feel-good factor, that special something which leaves you at the end of your meal reaching for your wallet with a smile on your face rather than a gloomy scowl. I had an overcooked Dover Sole there a few weeks ago. In a different establishment I might have sent it back, but sitting at lunchtime outside, in glorious sunshine, with a chilled Pinot Grigio, and enjoying great conversation with my companion, Graham Bartlett, the recently retired Commander of Brighton and Hove Police, I didn’t mind. A little overcooked, it was still a Dover Sole, huge and at a bargain price of £19.00 – you’ll pay over forty quid today in most establishments - and the courgettes with it were to die for – lightly battered, totally sinful, the kind that only Italian restaurants themselves can produce with such a sure touch.
flottant followed, followed by petit fours on
We started with one of my favourite dishes,
cake stands that would put those served at
Parmigiana di Melanzane - oven baked
the Ritz for afternoon tea into the shade. Little
interwoven layers of aubergine, tomato,
wonder that Le Club de Cavaliere is where
mozzarella, parmesan and basil – as good as
Manoir Au Quat Saisons owner, Raymond
I’ve ever eaten, and a generous bowl of mussels.
Blanc, goes for his annual summer holiday. I
We avoided dessert, but from past experience,
won’t attempt to itemize their prices. As they
their Tiramisu and Apple Rustica Tartlet are
say in the Stella Artois advertisements, it is
both to die for. Prices for starters are around
the £7.50 park. Pizzas all £7.95. Pastas around
Which is something my restaurant of the month is most definitely not. From the
£10.00. Risottos £13. 30 and meat mains £15-£25.
moment you walk into Topolino, you know,
The wine list is short and safe rather than
instantly, it could not be part of a chain. The
inspirational. But after a few glasses of Moet
warmth of the greeting you get, the Italian
and Chandon, at a bargain £39.95 – barely
restaurateur attitude, ‘My house is your house,’
more than the price in most wine merchants –
the higgledy-piggledy layout, all gives the place
are you actually going to care?
the feel of an establishment that has enough confidence in itself that it needs no refurbishing or tarting up. Long a haunt of Brighton and Hove celebs, Des Lynham held his 70th birthday here last year, and was sufficiently confident in its cooking to include food goddess Delia Smith among his guests.
65-67 Church Road Hove BN3 2BD Tel: 01273 725726 Email: email@example.com
Your guide to what’s on in the city Fri 18th Oct Simon Munnery: Fylm Start 7.30pm £12
Brighton Centre, Brighton Box Office: 0844 847 1515 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2GR Highlights for October Fri 4th Oct Lawson Doors 7.00pm £19.00
Sat 19th Oct Seann Walsh: The Lei-in King! Start 9.30pm £13 Thu 24th Oct Jaga Jazzist + The Physics House Band Start 7.30pm £14 Mon 28th Oct Efterklang Start 7.30pm £12.50
Komedia, Brighton www.komedia.co.uk Box Office: 0845 293 8480 44-47, Garden Street, BN1 1UN Highlights for October Tue 1st Oct Collister, Kelly & Filleul Start 8.00pm £13.50
Latest Music Bar, Brighton www.thelatest.co.uk Box Office: 01273 687171 14-17 Manchester St Brighton BN2 1T F Highlights for October Wed 2nd Oct Tango Boot Camp every Wednesday Doors 7.00pm £3.00 - £8.00
Sun 13th Oct Love Beyond – The Musical Doors 7.00pm £25 - £45
Wed 2nd Oct Andy Fairweather Low Start 7.30pm £22.50 Over 14s only.
Fri 18th Oct Russell Brand Doors 6.00pm £27.50
Sat 5th Oct Krater Comedy Club Award winning comedy every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Start 7.00, 8.00, 10.30pm £10.00 - £13.50 Over 18s only.
Wed 9th Oct Marc O’Reilly Doors 7.30pm £5.00
Fri 11th Oct Ben Montague The London singer-songwriter brings a collection of songs from his new album ‘Tales of Flying & Falling’. Start 7.30pm £8 Over 14s only.
Fri 11th Oct The George Kypreos Band Doors 8.30pm £8.00
Sun 13th Oct Racing Minds An improvised comic adventure based entirely on audience suggestions. Start 8.00pm £5
Sun 20th Oct Brighton Twisted Market Doors 12.00pm £5.00
Tue 22nd Oct Jake Bugg Doors 6.30pm £17.50 Wed 23rd Oct Micky Flanagan Back in the Game Tour Doors 7.00pm £23.50 Thu 24th Oct Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler Doors 6.30pm £25.00
The Dome, Brighton www.brightondome.org Box Office: 01273 709709 29 New Road, Brighton BN1 1UG Highlights for October Fri 4th Oct First Friday Doors 5.00pm FREE Sat 5th Oct Andy Parsons Doors 7.30pm £16 Wed 9th Oct Robin Ince Doors 7.45pm £11, £13 Thu 10th Oct Milton Jones Doors 8.00pm £21
The Old Market, Brighton www.theoldmarket.com Box Office: 01273 201801 11A Upper Market Street, Brighton Highlights for September Thu 3rd Oct The Albion Band Start 8.00pm £15 Tue 8th Oct Michael McIntyre Start 8.00pm £15 Sat 12th Oct The Umbilical Brothers: Don’t Explain Start 7.30pm £16
Sat 12th Oct Doc Brown Doors 10.00pm £15 Mon 14th Oct Russell Kane Doors 8.00pm £18.50 Mon 14th Oct David O’Doherty Doors 9.30pm £14, £16 Sun 20th Oct Herbie Flowers’ Jazz Breakfast Doors 11.00am £6.50 Sat 26th Oct Black Slate Doors 7.00pm £12.50
Tue 15th Oct Dave Fulton Based On A True Story Personal opinions, social observations, drugs, guns, bad choices, more guns and some stuff that might be considered legal. Start 8.30pm £10 Thu 17th Oct Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip The duo bring their electro-hip-pop, featuring a new album ‘Repent Replenish Repeat’. Start 8.30pm £12 Over 14s only. Thu 24nd Oct Terry Garoghan: The Aunty Flo slide show An evening of songs about vanishing cats and fornicating dogs among other stuff. Start 8.00pm £10
Thu 10rd Oct The Catalyst Club Doors 20.00pm £5.00
Tue 15th Oct Café Scientifique Doors 7.30.00pm FREE
Thu 24th Oct The Ratells Doors 7.30pm £5.00 Tue 29th Oct Hawklords Doors 7.30pm £10.00 Wed 30th Oct Blackbeard’s Tea Party Doors 8.00pm £6.00 List compiled by Iszara Morgan and Gabriel Wright
If you would like to feature an upcoming event then please contact our sales team on: 08707 707 765
MUSIC NEWS Chalk album release Red Priest
Brighton artist Chalk –aka Steven Strides – released his eponymous debut album on September 2nd through Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company (SARC). The album is simple, yet thought-provoking, as he takes a wonderfully introspective journey through personal highs and lows that leave the listener absorbed. Birth, School, Oaf, Death Brighton’s own ‘pronk’ band ‘Oaf ’ have released their second album ‘Birth, School, Oaf, Death’. The duo, made up of bassist and vocalist Dom Lawson and drummer James Rayment, describe their sound as “punk rock with a dash of prog and a hint of wrong”. P for Persia join forces with Speak Galactic
Dog in the snow
Photo by: www.danielcampagne.it
The bands P for Persia and Speak Galactic
piece linked up with produced Steve Hiller –
the 12th century right up to the present day.
have teamed up to release a split EP titled
famed for work with Keane and Dubstar – to
This year’s festival will take a look inside to
‘Aegis Arctic Alp’. The two bands from Brighton
produce an infectious track filled with piano
examine the theme of the show, ‘Passions’,
released the it via Cupboard Music/Beatabet/
chords, pounding toms and the soulful voice of
with performances from Emma Kirkby, Jacob
Fcking The Night on Limited 12” Vinyl with the
Helen Ganya Brown.
Heringman and Red Priest.
EP containing 5 tracks between the groups. Brighton Early Music Festival Dog In The Snow single release
Local act ‘Dog In The Snow’ have released their
The Brighton Early Music Festival returns to
new single ‘Fire In The Sky’. The Brighton three-
Sussex this year with an offering of music from
GIG GUIDE Kids In Glass Houses – Tue 1st Oct @ Concorde 2 For What It’s Worth – Wed 2nd Oct @ The Hope Martin Barre – Thu 3rd Oct @ Komedia Lawson – Fri 4th Oct @ Brighton Centre The Monuments – Sat 5th Oct @ Audio Natural Child – Sun 6th Oct @ The Hope Slaid Cleaves – Mon 7th Oct @ The Greys Nina Nesbitt – Tue 8th Oct @ The Haunt Drenge – Wed 9th Oct @ The Green Door Store Charles Bradley – Thu 10th Oct @ Concorde 2 Cherry Suede – Fri 11th Oct @ The Hope Majical Cloudz – Sat 12th Oct @ The Green Door Store
Alison Moyet – Mon 21st Oct @ Brighton Dome The world-renowned musical icon Alison Moyet takes her UK Tour through Brighton bringing music from her first album since 2007 ‘The Minutes’. Written and produced by Guy Sigsworth, Moyet’s new music indicates a new lease of life, offering experimental, captivating elements of pop-smashes, R&B, modern club sounds and electronic experimentation.
Tamikrest – Tue 22nd Oct @ Komedia This desert blues band hail from Mali, with roots in Ishumar Rock and Tuareg Blues, and bring their unique blend of inspiring music and strong political messages to Brighton’s Komedia for the first time. Tamikrest
Wheatus – Sun 13th Oct @ The Haunt Famed for their 2000 debut single ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, Wheatus visit The Haunt this month with their new line-up as part of their UK Tour. Following the release of ‘The Valentine LP’ in August, the band will bring an offering of tracks from their six studio albums.
The Toy Hearts – Mon 14th Oct @ The Greys Emily Baker & the Red Clay Halos – Tue 15th Oct @ Komedia Gerard & the Watchmen – Wed 16th Oct @ The Latest Music Bar Willard Grant Conspiracy – Thu 17th Oct @ The Green Door Store Half Man Half Biscuit – Fri 18th Oct @ Concorde 2 Brother & Bones – Sat 19th Oct @ The Haunt Gideon Conn – Sun 20th Oct @ Komedia
Black Twig Pickers – Wed 23rd Oct @ Prince Albert Sean Nicholas Savage – Thu 24th Oct @ The Hope Beans on Toast – Fri 25th Oct @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar The Knife – Sat 26th Oct @ Brighton Dome Clean Bandit – Sun 27th Oct @ Digital Oliver Wilde – Mon 28th Oct @ Prince Albert Waxahatchee – Tue 29th Oct @ The Green Door Store Blackbeard’s Tea Party – Wes 30th Oct @ The Latest Music Bar The Dillinger Escape Plan – Thu 31st Oct @ Concorde 2 Mark Lanegan – Fri 1st Nov @ St George’s Church The Icarus Line – Sat 2nd Nov @ The Hope The Family Rain – Sun 3rd Nov @ Concorde 2 Jamie Cullum – Mon 4th Nov @ Brighton Dome The Staves – Tue 5th Nov @ St George’s Church
Mount Kimbie - Wed 6th Nov @ Concorde 2 The London electronic duo consisting of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos are visiting Brighton as part of their European tour. Hot on the heels of their second album ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ the music from this two-piece is bound to absorb you with its mix of bass, sax and beats.
Jessie J – Thu 7th Nov @ Brighton Centre Blue – Fri 8th Nov @ Brighton Centre Enemies – Sat 9th Nov @ The Hope KT Tunstall – Sun 10th Nov @ Brighton Dome Boy George – Mon 2nd Nov @ Concorde 2
whole mag oct.indd 79
THE PURPLE VAN MAN Stand-up comedian Sean Lock talks to Daniel White about his abstract views, Lenny Henry and his UK Tour. The life of a comedian may look like bundle of laughs but in reality it is far harder. Stand-up comedian Sean Lock is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand comics in Britain today, however, a label like that is hard to come by. “I’ve always worked at it,” said Lock. “I’ve always had an office, somewhere to go everyday and sit down and write. You may produce nothing that day but I know it doesn’t come easy, there’s no easy trick to it, you just graft really. I remember Frank Skinner saying to me years ago, ‘if somebody can do eight hours a day in a factory, I can do five or six hours sitting at a desk trying to write jokes and that’s really what I’ve done over the years.” Lock, who has appeared on most of England’s biggest comedy shows including QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Mock the Week, has made a reputation out of his unique blend of surreal and observational comedy. On stage he is able to blend wordplay with slapstick while everyday observations are met with ridiculous reactions. The 8 Out Of 10 Cats team captain, who has also written material for comics such as Bill Bailey and Lee Evans, is currently touring the UK with his show ‘Purple Van Man’. “The idea of it was because of the white van man, which I’ve always found very absurd,” he explained. “People always say ‘lets see what white van man thinks’ so it’s basically just anyone who does a manual job thinks exactly the same about everything. So I just thought, the way I see things, I would probably drive a purple van.” The show features more than 50 dates over a nine-month period, including an appearance at the Brighton Dome on October 6th. “It’s gone very well so far, I did a big leg of it in the spring and it seemed to go down alright there. It’s a lot of travelling but I’ve enjoyed it so far, I’ve had about five or six weeks off so I’m raring to go again,” said the 50-year-old. Prior to his introduction to stand-up, Lock
worked in many different fields, including jobs as a toilet cleaner, a labourer on building sites, an office worker for the Department of Health and Social Security and a goat herder in France.
people because I really like comedians. There’s this perception of comedians as a sort of resentful, back-stabbing community but actually most comedians I get along really well with.”
Although some of these may have influenced his jokes in the past, it wasn’t the reason he ventured into the world of stand-up comedy.
The absurdism of Lock’s observations fused with his ability to appeal to the masses has made Lock one of the most renowned comedians throughout the country and this has been reflected in the number of awards he has won over the years.
“I did it purely by chance,” Lock said. “I went to a few pubs in the late 80s, early 90s, and they used to have alternative comedy on as they called it then. It was about £2 to get in the back room of the pub and they’d have open spots and after a few nights, over the course of a few months, I thought ‘I’ll have a go at that’ more as a test really, so I got in to it slowly, quite gradually like that.” At the time of Lock’s introduction into standup, the alternative comedy scene was just beginning to boom. Initiated in the 1970s, alternative comedy was born out of the folk clubs where performers such as Billy Connolly would infuse comedy within their musical acts and, by the end of the decade, clubs such as the Comedy Store in London were fully catering towards the stand-up genre. A successful spell performing his early sets for free in comedy clubs increased Lock’s interest in the style and how far he could take it. “I liked being able to get up and say whatever you wanted,” he recalled. “As long as you fashioned it as some kind of joke, as long as you got a punch line at the end of it, you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. When I grew up comedians wore dinner jackets and bow ties and told Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman jokes so it was pretty much a new world for us.” Despite the lack of stand-up comedians he had to aspire to at the time, Lock, who lives with his partner and three children in Lewes, East Sussex, has always enjoyed the company of other comics. He said: “One of the things I liked about stand-up when I got into it was that I instantly had this social life of a lot of funny, interesting
Winner of the British Comedy Award for Best Live Comic in 2000, nominated for a Perrier and consistently placed on Channel 4’s ‘Greatest Stand-Up’ list, he has certainly managed to master the comedy world with a style of his humour that has always come naturally to him. “I’ve always had a warped perceptive throughout my life,” he explained. “I didn’t have an accident where I fell off a bus and suddenly I had an abstract view of the world, I think I was born like this.” Over 20 years after getting involved in the world of stand-up comedy many things may have changed for the Purple Van Man, however, one thing still remains the same. “My approach to it has always been that I want to do the material that I would like to see or that I find funny,” he said. “I don’t have any objectives with my comedy, I don’t have a message, I just try and make people laugh as much as I can in the time that I’m up there.” While the writer and lead role of 15 Stories High has featured in a number of television panel programmes over the years, he is not planning to follow past comedians into more serious roles. He explained: “I was in my own sitcom, which was basically me just at different volumes, but I’ve not really gone up for any acting work, I don’t get offered any. I’m not going to do a Lenny Henry and start doing Shakespeare, nobodies phoned me up and suggested it anyway!”
Sean Lock.indd 2
CRISIS POINT Ed Bryne mourns getting older and no longer feeling trendy
d Byrne says he’s a miserable old
forget to indicate just the once, for instance?
Irishman is actually super-fit; a keen hillwalker,
git. He didn’t celebrate his 40th
“I don’t have time for you! If we have to
he recently climbed Mont Blanc and bags
birthday last year and his new show,
get into a debate about it, then no,” he says,
Munros in Scotland.
Roaring Forties, is partly about the
many things in life that annoy him. But in the
As he is about to mark 20 years in the
flesh he’s smart and funny, and as for being a
Being the married father of two young sons
business, has he noticed any differences in
party pooper... Well, not really. He’s planning
(with his publicist wife, Claire) has given him
his performances over that time? “One thing
a celebration in November when his tour
lots of new things to talk about on stage, but
that has changed is that I now don’t pretend
reaches Glasgow, the city where his career
do Claire and his family, who often appear
to think something for the sake of a joke. I
began 20 years ago after he had studied
in his material, ever object? “It’s something
mean there’s always comic exaggeration and
horticulture at the University of Strathclyde.
that most comics experience,” Byrne replies.
embroidering a story to make it funnier, but
“People know what you do for a living and
it’s more true to my life now. I used to say
The Irish observational comic, who grew up
then they complain when you mention them
I hated kids, for example, and it wasn’t true
in Swords in Dublin, started re-evaluating
in the act, and I’ve certainly had at least one
– I’ve always loved kids and wanted to have
his life after that landmark birthday, as you
girlfriend in the past who objected.
them, but that wouldn’t have fitted with the
do. It gave him the idea for Roaring Forties,
style of comic I was earlier in my career.
which is his trademark mix of one-liners and
“But my wife and my family are really funny
extended anecdotes, and covers a range of
and Claire understands what goes with the
“I think being truthful makes it more chancy,
subjects from fatherhood and friendships to
job. Actually she comes off very well and
but if I take an opinion and try to find a way
vasectomies and driving awareness courses .
people say our relationship – very sparky,
to make it funny – even if people don’t agree
“It’s about getting older,” Byrne says, “about
very joshing - comes across. I can’t think of a
with me - I think it pays off because audiences
being at an age where you’re not really
time when she’s said you can’t use this, but if
know what’s authentic.”
that old but no one thinks you’re trendy
she did, I’d not use it.
His fanbase is, he says, “pretty broad” - people “As for the kids, any stuff I do about them I
of his own age and above, and teenagers
Byrne has embraced middle age and reached
seriously doubt in years to come they’ll hate
who know him from his Mock the Week
the conclusion that on the whole people
me for and make me pay for their therapy,”
appearances, while some of his audience is
annoy him. “It’s like a spring-clean of my life,”
he says with a laugh. “Although I am aware
drawn from from his TV advertisements and
says Byrne, “and I’ve come up with reasons
that there’s an age at which you have to be
occasional acting roles.
why you can’t be my friend. There are seven
sensitive to their wishes and not embarrass
billion people on the planet and I only have
them, but that’s some years off.”
the time to be friends with 10 of them and so I have to choose carefully.”
Byrne may do more acting as he has some ideas bubbling away for a sitcom – no doubt
Talking of sensitive matters, Byrne finds the
one about a miserable middle-aged git one of
funny about having a vasectomy, but he was
them - and who knows if we’ll lose him to the
What are his rules? “It’s the little things that
also under the surgeon’s knife recently when
small screen. Catch him live while you can.
annoy me,” he says. Such as? “People who
he tried to move a compost bin in his garden
don’t indicate on roundabouts, people who
and gave himself a hernia. Fans may have seen
Brighton Comedy Festival, 17th October. Brighton
use the phrase, ‘Touched a nerve there’, or
him exposing his midriff on Graham Norton’s
‘I’m just making conversation’...
BBC programme to show off his war wounds,
The list runs on.
but they’re healed now. “It’s all fine, and I’m
How flexible is he? Could we negotiate if I
stronger than ever before,” he says. The
NOT SO DUMB The ground-breaking ventriloquist Nina Conti talks to Daniel White about her UK Tour, former mentor Ken Campbell and the sudden need for gaffa tape.
s the daughter of actors Tom Conti and Kara Drummond Wilson it would have seemed logical for Nina Conti to follow in her parent’s footsteps but instead she chose to study philosophy at university ahead of acting. After three years studying she met writer, actor, director and comedian Ken Campbell. Opinions were split over her relationship with Ken, a man 34-years her senior, however, when he brought her a teach-yourselfventriloquism-kit her life changed dramatically. Now, over a decade on, BAFTA nominated filmmaker and innovative ventriloquist Nina Conti comes to the Brighton Dome with her grandmother, her daughter, her handyman and her monkey as she explores the seven ages of man through a series of characters that all pertain an emotional depth of Conti’s while keeping you laughing long after the final curtain. How did you first get into ventriloquism? I was in my late twenties, when eccentric genius Ken Campbell bought me a teachyourself-ventriloquism-kit - I had never been interested in ventriloquism and still wasn’t, but Ken had a way about him, that impels you to do his bidding. So I tried it out. I filmed myself doing it, so that I had hard evidence to show him that venting wasn’t for me, but lo and behold I impressed myself in the video. I was struck by the presence of a second being in the room, which I hadn’t felt whilst practicing. I thought, ‘this is a powerful and underrated art form’. How did you meet Ken Campbell, and how did he become your mentor? I first saw his shows at the National Theatre and thought they were terrific. After leaving university I spotted him from afar and ran up to his open car window on Hampstead High Street and said “I think you’re wonderful!” to which he replied “I like you too!” Years later, I heard he was directing a play called The Warp, which was a 24-hour
marathon. Apparently you could just turn up to be in it, so I did and that’s how I met him. He was directing and I was acting. The ventriloquism came about eight years after I met him.
iPads in dressing rooms, on either side of the show. It’s potentially dull and I will miss my family if they are not able to come with me, but the show itself is the fun part, that really is the party for me.
Do you see the characters as extensions of yourself, an interesting way of expressing and exploring hidden emotions and sides of yourself? Yes I think so, opening your own brain into dialogues rather than just doing monologues, I find that quite interesting. I seem to travel further when I’m doing that than I do when I’m just thinking in my own voice.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
You’ve appeared and won awards at festivals across the globe – has this experience altered the way you perform? I don’t suppose in any way other than to give me confidence, but that is no small help. Confidence unfortunately is a large part of this business. To trust that an audience will be responsive is a great help. Sometimes a severe lack of confidence can be funny, but not reliably night after night. I don’t mean the kind of confidence that is visible - I find that nauseating actually – but just enough to make you feel able to play. What’s integral to the work of a ventriloquist? Integral to the work of a ventriloquist, for me, is finding funny characters. If you do that the ventriloquism itself almost becomes irrelevant. After that, it’s exposure of the tricks and failings. Also, believability is important so that your distance from the character is natural and not wooden - looking like you are listening rather than looking like you’ve had a botox treatment... Oh, and try not to move your lips!
The thing I am most proud of professionally is my film Her Master’s Voice, as I had no prior experience of filmmaking. I worked on it for years and found the process fascinating. What do you have coming up that we can look forward to? I’m making another film, another documentary, which is about studying to be a clown doctor in children’s hospitals and we won’t finish filming that until way into next year. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given came from Ken Campbell, and it is the backbone of my documentary. He delivered it straight to my monkey puppet and didn’t look at me once as he spoke - “Human beings are in fact barmier and crazier than they would ever let it be known, what they’ve developed through their education is that you’ve got to armour and guard against your own insanity, once your insanity starts to leak that’s when you’re put away.” Schiller said ‘there is a gatekeeper in the mind, and it’s the gatekeeper that stops you being creative, because creation and insanity are almost the same thing. However, the ventriloquated doll can kill off the gatekeeper and give us access to the insanity of the ventriloquator, so that we go raw into spontaneous imagination and creation.’ It’s like a call to arms.
What’s it like taking a show like Dolly Mixtures on a tour of the UK? Lots of bags, lots of faffing, last minute sewing up of puppet faces and sudden needs for gaffa tape. Eating sandwiches on trains and hefting suitcases into the boot of the car in late night carparks. Keeping children entertained on
Brighton Comedy Festival, 13th October. Brighton Dome. £17.50. www.brightoncomedyfestival.co.uk
Below we have listed our Absolute favourite UK boltholes – unusual places to escape and recharge before Christmas mania descends. Perhaps you might try broadening your horizons through an improvisation weekend or ignite your passion in a secluded lighthouse…..
A mountain top church retreat… with all mod cons For the believers (and non-believers) out there, how about a weekend in a converted church in Snowdonia? This very cool bed and breakfast effortlessly combines ancient and modern design within a 19th century church in the mountain village of Capel Curig. Where else can you sleep beneath a carved stone pulpit, enjoy a hot tub under the stars or play table tennis beneath a fabulous 19th century mosaic ceiling? And all with lovely views of Snowdonia’s mountains from every window. Priced from £140 for two nights based on two sharing including dinner, bed and breakfast. www.stcurigschurch.com 91
Seaside comedy weekend For something close to home but at the same time a completely new experience, Brighton’s award-winning improvised comedy company, The Maydays, has launched a package dedicated to groups of friends keen to sample an exciting, alternative weekend other than the usual. In addition to regular performances at various top UK venues (including regular appearances at Brighton’s famous Komedia) and comedy festivals, the energetic, company offers perspective-altering tuition, enabling participants to build on their confidence and creativity by learning the dark art of standing in front of people and making them laugh. Ideal for absolute beginners or those with a little experience, the focus of the Mayday’s tuition package is on fun games and commitment
Dark skies and the Milky Way
exercises which help the group get to know
In October 2012 the Scottish village of Glenelg became the only place on earth to be twinned
fear of having nothing much to go on but
with another planet – Mars. The area is fortunate to have the most spectacular dark skies, with
nonetheless producing something.
excellent views of the Milky Way and other stunning sights. The village has applied for International
one another better whilst conquering the
Dark Sky status and hopes to make the celebration an annual event.
Sessions take place at Brighton’s Vine Street
For those wishing to experience this stunning sight, the Holt is a cosy semi-detached holiday
decked out in a funky New York, post-industrial
apartment situated on the edge of Glenelg and benefits from views of the Isle of Skye. The area is
chic style in the heart of the fashionable North
renowned for stunning scenery and the wide variety of wildlife which can be spotted – otters, sea
Laine, which can also be hired as weekend
eagles and seals to name but a few. Visitors can also take a ferry trip from the village over to the
accommodation, sleeping up to 16. Priced
Isle of Skye or visit Eilean Donan Castle. Glenelg is also a fantastic place to view meteor showers
from Prices start from £100pp for Friday
as many meteors can be very faint and only the very bright ones are seen in light-polluted skies.
and Saturday night, self catering, throughout
Usually meteors can be spotted for about a week either side of the ‘peak’ of the shower but the
October (10 guest minimum)
Studios , a spacious luxury loft apartment
best night is the peak when the shower will reach its maximum number of visible meteors. www.themaydays.co.uk Price: £210 for three nights’ self-catering accommodation, starting 4 October. Sleeps up to three (and one pet) in one bedroom. www.cottages4you.co.uk (ref W41768)
A romantic lighthouse in Wales
Award winning vintage chic
For those not suffering from vertigo perhaps
Fabulous interiors and en suite
a stay in a lighthouse might be in order?
roll top baths put the glam
Less than two hours from London, this
into glamping at The Dandelion
restored lighthouse offers secluded B&B
Hideaway in Leicestershire, whilst
accommodation with the accessibility, modern
Bluebells – a canvas cottage just
touches and luxury treatments which make it the perfect getaway. The lighthouse boasts four
poster beds and en suite facilities whilst the stunning view from the roof can be enjoyed from the rooftop garden and hot tub or whilst barbequing your lunch. Guests can unwind in the flotation tank before trying the range of complimentary therapies. With everything from Indian head massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and Reiki healing, to stop smoking sessions, hypnotherapy and life coaching The West Usk Lighthouse B&B provides a great place to unwind and recharge this autumn. Fish from the harbour wall and bring it back to barbeque for lunch, camp out and stargaze in the grounds’ Mongolian yurt, experience some of the best walking and bike trails in South Wales or take advantage of a lighthouse-guests discount and play a round at one of the ten local golf courses; The West Usk Lighthouse B&B has it all on the doorstep.
for two - offers sheer romance for couples. Proof is certainly in the pudding in this destination as the
Dartmoor Escape. Get away from it all and come to The Bothy for an unusual and special treat, you will be pampered with a delicious welcoming hamper, a charming range of fragrant soaps and lotions, high quality towels and linen and a bottle in the fridge too! This absolutely gorgeous little detached cottage, 16th century in origin, is a truly romantic hideaway! Buried in glorious countryside and surrounded by 4 acres of wild, informal but beautiful gardens and woods, recognised by the National Garden Scheme, the cottage is alongside the owners’ home, has its own large private area of garden, is very tastefully decorated with delightful personal touches and has an extensive library. Close to Dartmoor National Park, famous for its rugged beauty, the Two Moors Walk and the glorious
property has already witnessed some unforgettable proposals and anniversaries (with just a little help from the farmer’s wife!). Sheltered on the edge of a woodland spinney, the opulent, candlelit canvas cottage,” Bluebells”, has billowing toile de jouy curtains and vintagechic furnishings. Eschewing modern day life, this tranquil sanctuary is designed for two to spend lazy days sitting in the rocking chairs on the veranda, or reclining on the old fashioned day bed, reading penguin classics, listening to the gramophone, playing board games, spotting birds and star gazing from the telescope. There is a large sitting and dining room, a well equipped kitchen with a wood burning stove, a roomy bedroom with king size sleigh bed and of course the en suite bathroom with roll top bath and lashings of hot water.
Priced from £290 for two nights based on
Teign valley, where a visit to Castle Drogo is
Set on a working farm you can look after the
two sharing including dinner, double bed and
highly recommended, the cottage is also close
hens, groom the Shetland ponies, milk the
to the A30, giving easy access to the whole
goats and ride the mini tractor. Start the day
collecting eggs for breakfast and end it toasting
www.westusklighthouse.co.uk For prices go to www.toadhallcottages.co.uk
marshmallows over the camp fire. Arrive to a home cooked stew waiting in the wood burning oven. Supplies can be bought from the farm’s own Cow Shed Stores, including cheese and milk from the delightful goats on the farm. The Dandelion Hideaway is the current holder of the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year Award by Leicester and Leicestershire Excellence in Tourism Awards, (for the second year in a row) as well as being given 65 five star reviews on trip advisor. Priced from £612 for three nights weekend accommodation. Prices include all wood used for camp fires and wood burning stove. www.thedandelionhideaway.co.uk
Bothy Cottage 93