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Heart & Hand

Heart & Hand

At the Heart & Hand, the jukebox is generally so good, that you can ‘lucky dip’, by poking in any old numbers to get a good playlist.

It only takes old pound coins though, but you can swap them at the bar.

I was once asked to play here. I played guitar, stood in front of the jukebox, to five people, including the barman, and a cat. If I had one of those life bucket lists, this would’ve been on it.

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Chrome Donut

i360, Brighton

The Chrome Donut is a big stick dominating the Brighton seafront by the crumbling wreck of West Pier. Its ‘real’ name is possibly the stupidest, most uninspired, obsolescent nonsense ever conceived for something that cost £46 million to build. The i360. It sounds like an accountancy firm that can’t quite add up. Even Apple appear to be dropping the dated ‘i’ lately.

The appallingly named i360 makes it to the top of its pole for the first time in a test run. It is very high. It is quite a feat of engineering. It is quite cool to photograph too – and this must be one of the very first of it at the top on its trial run. But, that pole is a really jarring eyesore on the Brighton seafront. It also casts an immense shadow across the promenade. I have totally mixed feelings about it, the almost pointless but amazingly engineered tourist attraction that no one wanted or needed. Like a pier maybe. Like the West Pier this thing is stabbed into the ground at the end of and is supposed to replace (they actually call it a vertical pier). It’s a thing of beauty in and of itself, but peering out of a chrome doughnut is never going to be as thrilling as perambulating in the sea air along the pier. There’s no dodgems or Waltzer on this.

I’m sure the views are spectacular and I’ll be going up it as soon as I can for curiosity. However, the southern view looks over the slowly decaying wreck of the West Pier, making the i360 appear like a mushroom growing out of the decaying carcass.

The name though. Someone needs to tell them. My vote is firmly with Chrome Donut.

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The Stairs @ Concorde 2, Brighton 4 June 2016

Ged Lynn, The Stairs @ Concorde 2

Concorde 2 is a beautiful venue, right by the sea. As ever, the crowd was very welcoming of the headliner act. Lots of smiles and singing along by some who saw the band last time around – twenty years ago. There are a younger crowd here too, showing the cult of The Stairs in full effect.

During the set there was a huge bang. Everyone looked for smoke coming out of an amp. None appeared and I put the bang down to sonic boom when the band hit the speed of sound. I’d seen and heard them rehearse just a few days before, but having just played Glasgow and Manchester in the preceding nights, they were beefier sounding than ever.

Met some old friends at the venue too, making for an extremely special evening.

The Stairs live photos

See the pics, click here.

Only thing about the evening that wasn’t great was that we were unceremoniously turfed out of Concorde 2 at 10pm. The fascist and pointless curfew system doing its worst. Concorde 2 has a late party after the curfew, so the sheep herding tactics are utterly meaningless.

What happened to Cool Britannia? This country feels so backwards at the moment, but I digress…

The Stairs play one more night on this tour, tonight at Hare & Hounds in Birmingham. If you are within a 100 miles, just go!

Just confirmed: The Stairs also play Liverpool Psych Fest 23–24 September 2016

www.liverpoolpsychfest.co.uk

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Marwood Café

This is my new favourite café! It’s basically a grown ups fantasy child home; Star Wars spaceships dive and swoop above the counter. Sharks emerge from the wall chewing up Starbucks cups as they go. Even the front door shakes your hand as you leave. The coffee is excellent. The cake is apparently life-changing. I didn’t have any, but the savoury spinach and feta muffins are damn fine.

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The Colonnade

The Colonnade, Brighton

This marvel of a pub has been a home of refreshments since 1854. The exterior is Edwardian, but the interior is a mixture of Georgian, 1920s and sort of stopped evolving somewhere in the 1950s.

Went for a quiet pint in this old favourite Brighton bar. Had an entertaining conversation with the Monster Raving Loony Party Candidate and a high powered NHS manager – who hugged me when I told her to save the NHS. Was also hugged outside by a man very well dressed, but clearly on acid. He stood next to me smiling for ages and then seemed to realise I wasn’t who he thought I was, and walked/floated away. I don’t think I spoiled his trip though.

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Hove

Hove seafront

It’s funny how fin de siècle (20th Century), analogue was dying, becoming more noble. Vinyl records shops were shutting down like dying flowers and film was starting to be superseded by slightly crappy digital cameras. I was running one of the first digital bureau, avidly converting analogue film and slides to CD. Scanning to make digitally magic giant-sized posters, T-shirts, mousemat and mugs. The better cameras were all really expensive, in the £2,000+ mark and still not really a patch on a £100 manual 35mm. A medium format film could sh*t on anything digital available at this time.

I was lucky to be using both professionally. Silver vs Digital was a huge debate when I did my LCP PostGrad in 2005 (this blog post is written in the future). I was already way beyond that dull and limiting argument. I did write about it however on that course. A photographic ‘expert’ was present at the final show and was extolling the virtues of film being superior. I asked him to look through my portfolio and tell me which was film and which was digital. He flicked through, “Clearly film… obviously digital… “, etc. He reached the end of the portfolio, a small crowd was now stood around us. “It’s all digital”, I said. His face went white and the crowd faded away in embarrassment for him.

My real annoyance was that this so-called photographic expert had failed to look at the actual content of my pictures. Maybe they weren’t good enough. I did vow, however to make images that ignored the Silver vs Digital debate and were wholly involved in content, people, animals, subject… stuff happening.

I hope I am still doing that and getting better at it.

This photo was taken in 2001, I think in January. It is cross-processed slide film. This, if you don’t know the technique, gives weird colours and certain random, uncontrollable effects to the image. Funny to think that with the pure perfection of digital, we all still want to slap these ‘vintage’ effects onto our images in our iPhones and Instagram images.