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Rare Rainbow Dolphins spotted off Brighton coast

A Rainbow Dolphin off Brighton Beach

A pod of Rainbow Dolphins has been spotted out to sea close to the West Pier off Brighton Beach this week.  Dr April Phouul of the Cetacean Underwater Nautical Tracking Society said that although its highly uncommon to see these common rainbow dolphins so far north in the English Channel that the sightings are not that unusual, they often get reporting of sightings from the ferry captains at Newhaven although it is unusual to have them come so close to shore.

Dr Phouul, an internationality recognised expert said this time of the year the sea is unseasonably warm, coupled with very low spring tides caused by the recent full moon and the jellyfish the dolphins feed on have been colonising the warmer Sussex waters. It’s the bright pink colouration of the jellyfish that produces such an amazing natural rainbow colouring in the skins of the dolphins combined with an increase in their hormones due to their early April breeding season. Rainbow Dolphins form same sex pairs to look after the young in their pod, this behaviour is very common in the animal world.

The Rainbow Dolphins have been seen for the last three days enjoying  the very low tides just around the West Pier which is bringing them into contact with people who are exploring the exposed foreshore.

Scene magazine reached out to Professor Uni Korn, marine biologist at Sussex University to explain what people should do it they come across these marvellous creatures whilst swimming or paddling out. Professor Korn warned the public that these were wild animals and were not to be approached, they are highly territorial and if they have young with them will attack. Prof Korn said ‘Beware these Rainbows are fierce!!  There have been recorded attacks by Rainbow Dolphins on people on paddle boards and people using highly coloured inflatables.”

Professor Korn said only last year two people who had paddled out from a beach in Devon on a large inflatable flamingo were attacked by a  pod of fierce Rainbow Dolphins who surrounded the scared people hissing loudly and slapping their tails on the water.  Professor Korn said if you find yourself cornered by a pod of these fierce sea mammals then the best defence is to squeal as loud and high pitched as you can, as this can confuse and scare them off.

You can see an amazing film of the pod of Rainbow Dolphins captured by local fisherman just off the coast of Brighton here.

Dr Phouul said if anyone is lucky enough to catch sight or film any of the Rainbow Dolphins to email them on April1st@phouul.com

REVIEW: Beautiful @ Theatre Royal

Beautiful

The Carole King Musical

Theatre Royal

Brighton

The main problem with this charming jukebox musical  is that Carole doesn’t really have an exciting life, she marries young, has two lovely children, phenomenal success and an unhappy marriage before shedding the hubby, moving to the sun-drenched California and becoming and international singer songwriter sensation who defines an era. Not a lot of narrative struggle and at times the action on stage felt like a lost episode of Laverne & Shirley, including the accents. A musical needs the protagonist to journey, to struggle, a coming of age, but with Carol we see a well-loved singer having a pretty good time of it really, from early success, followed by hit after hit.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

Long before she transformed into a chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit song-writing team with her husband Gerry Goffin played tonight by Tom Milner who sung wonderfully, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil, payed by Seren Sandham-Davies with energetic dappy charm and Jos Slovick’s Barry Mann, his voice seriously impressive. I hadn’t realised that King and Goffin had written so many famous tracks, it’s an impressive back catalogue of catchy tunes.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

It was fun and the all singing, all dancing,  musical instrument playing young cast give us a fine engaging performance with some stand out singing and dancing from this well rounded ensemble.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

It’s all cosy, comfy serving up a pleasant enough theatrical experience. I was disappointed that I didn’t cry, I adore Kings music and am a pushover for the right narrative nudge in a well written musical, embracing that feeling of welling up in the stalls, but tonight with all the right pieces in place I didn’t feel emotionally  connected to anything happening on stage.  Plenty of smiles though, from the happy, high energy cast who did their best to thread some silk & gold into the threadbare tapestry of the plot. The tensions in the central relationships on stage are played for laughs apart from the unhappiness at the heart of King & Goffins’ marriage, which are skimmed over, hinted at, or happen off stage. It’s so light touch as to barely register as action.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

There’s no real beating heart to this musical, just plenty of music, sung, played and performed with charm and verve by the cast but I didn’t feel connected or moved at the Theatre Royal. The rest of the audience seemed enamoured by the show, giving the cast a standing ovation at the end, my companion enjoyed themselves showing particular admiration for the on point dancers and their sharp coordination.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

Staging and lighting worked well in the confined spaces of the Theatre Royal, with the action taking place in a large off-Broadway musical studio of the early 60’s and 70’s which doubles up with cork board sliders and wheeled sofas for various spaces with a delightful ease.  Strong lighting and possibly the most dry ice I’ve yet seen in a show, allowed the atmosphere to highlight the music. We followed the pretty spectacular growth of Kings career with the swift comings and goings of plenty of music from those times, presented in shortened vignettes for our amusement, the girl and boy groups costumed with chic apparel.  There’s a lot of music stuffed into those two and a half hours, a little more action might have kept my attention.

Molly-Grace Cutler as Carole King is touching, she’s totally there,  filled with charming vulnerable and  buoyant hope, it’s a beguiling performance, hinting at the steeliness at Carols core and her tenacity to be heard on her own terms, and the second half focuses more on her music than the AWOL plot. Cutler gives us her version of King, the music is recognisable, arranged but it’s sung as Cutler, full of passion, it’s a lovely performance not a pastiche.   We end at Carnegie Hall, with an empty emotional dénouement but the most charming of musical performances, and learn nothing of the decades of Kings achievements that lay in front of her.

Beautiful – tour – 2022 Production photos taken on the 28th February 2022, at Curve Theatre Leicester, Directed by Nikolai Foster

I left unsatisfied, slipping away in the damp Brighton night with the audience on their feet clapping along to the cast funky encore, milking it.  I adore Carole King, her music is evocative of a certain period of my life, here the music is presented with care and love, performed well and the cast are uniformly engaging, but though they really did try to make it, Somethin’ inside has died, And I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it, Oh, no, no, no, no

For more info or to book tickets see the Theatre Royal’s website here:

Until Sat 2nd Theatre Royal Brighton

You can read more about the national tour and full company details here

 

REVIEW: Writing Our Space: An LGBTQ+ Anthology

Writing Our Space: An LGBTQ+ Anthology

Writing Our Space is a marvellous anthology offering up to you, Dear Reader, an assured collection of layered experience, delicate, firm, contrasting in flavour, substance, perspective and taste. It’s like a Queer mille-feuille, sumptuously constructed so the contrasting tiers combine into something outweighing its constituent parts.  With sweet empathic poems, buoyant pose, stark essays of searing truth, all baked in with an editor’s eye for combinations which set off and foil the wider collection.

As an anthology it works, as a compendium of Queer voices, gently roaring of lived experience it’s a decadent delight.  Its foundation is intersectional, that of the true identity, of us, being each one to ourselves our own infinite variety, depending on where the light falls that day, brining one facet of our multitude of experiences into full furious focus.

The book jumps around, from pain to sardonic observation from the roar of full powered empowerment to a scream of a new life just born, it writhes with potential, but each segment is just a taste of that writer, the windows thrown wide open onto their world. Flung wide we breath in the winds of their change, sail across oceans of possibility in a few short paragraphs and have our hands held in the caverns of endless grief.

It’s many voices, each given equal space and time to capture and keep our interest.  It’s written by us, for us, with us, to us.  The very paper it’s printed on is Queer, it has to be, for it honours the intention of the ink to express personal gospels which contain enchantment.

Writing our Space with a foreword from editors Eilidh Akilade and Ross Tanner which explores the genesis of the book and the collection of short pieces elicited from a wide LGBTQI+ pool of writers is wonderful. I could gush about it, but I’ll say buy it, read it, enjoy it for yourself; then gush.

Supporting publishers which support our community is key to getting our own stories in print and reading about others who share our outlooks and hopes for a better future.

Out now  £7.99 from publisher Arkbound Press to order or for more info see their website here

 

REVIEW: Edward Carpenter – A Victorian Rebel fighting for gay rights

Edward Carpenter

A Victorian Rebel fighting for gay Rights

This excellent look at the life of Carpenter from (Hove based author) Brian Anderson uses previously unpublished material and personal letters from his lovers and friends to shine a bold new light over the contributions to developments around sexuality and identify that Carpenter gave with his early writings on homosexuality.

Carpenter was embedded in the fabric of Victorian society, privileged in many ways, but struggling with his knowledge of being an outsider. This drive to be honest to his feelings for other men made him an outspoken critic of the society he was part of. His impressive achievement in the way he used his extraordinary writing skills and ability to influence people to gain a foothold and get published during the intense social panics and sexual repressions  of the Oscar Wilde ‘scandal’.

Anderson examines the influence and effects of Carpenters time at university and his early, fumbling sexually experiences and how they combine to fire up a mind which churns out thought and ideas truly transformative for the times. Carpenter is a rather neglected writer in the annuals of Queer libraries familiar to academics and people interested in societal change, but he was a passionate writer and individual.

In this engaging book Anderson holds him up, flaws and all, so everyone can really appreciate the struggles of the man, his quest for authentic living and his passion to tool up and share these freedoms with other people across the world.

I really got a feel for Carpenter as a gay man, living his live, finding his loves and lovers, with daring, passion and pain, carving out a path for us to follow and using his intellect to lay down some seriously ground-breaking writing on sex.

Out now £9.95

For more info or to buy the book see the publishers website here

REVIEW: The Chip Shop Wars by Terry Sanderson

The Chip Shop Wars

Terry Sanderson

Book three of the Doreen Potts saga. Older readers may remember Doreen and the Potts family from Gay Times and  Sanderson has continued his delightfully comic character  and their extraordinary family. Imagine Doncaster of the 1990’s, yeah grim!  Equal parts comedy, biting social satire and examination of small-town snobbery, the failed dreams of romantics and the ability of a family to pull together in hard times to find new ways of being and belonging it’s a fun, light read.  Rooted in a gritty reality of repossession, rehousing and the struggle to claw yourself back into the place in society you think you deserve the book allows Doreen and the rest of the Potts free reign the world they find themselves cast into and when eventually re-establishing themselves, quite how out of depth they really are.

Using the battle of established against new chip shop, Sanderson spears his favoured subjects, he’s a queer expert on the UK national press and they get a marvellous kicking here, he drags a sacred cow or two onto religious alters and sacrifices them for our pleasure, and turns his rapier eye on the way television likes a willing working-class family to exploit,  but amongst all the hard satire and cynical spot-on observations of the contradictions of English social climbing there’s a heart of gold. It’s here that Sanderson’s keeps the Chip Shop Wars on track, by giving this monstrous matriarch unconditional love which gets her and the rest of her brood though the roughest of times.

Love them or loath them you root for them to the very last page.  Sanderson is our very own Queer Tom Sharpe, and serves up thick deep fried pure Northern farce, battered with crisp satire, served with a generous sprinkling of his tart vinegar wit.

Out now £5.95

For more info or to order a copy see the authors link here 

 

REVIEW: Power Bear by Łukasz Majcher

Power Bear

Łukasz Majcher

This all new Queer superhero comix with its interwoven stories covering the Alien creation of life on earth, a German bear couple who wrestle with the challenges of everyday life and a secret life of superhero adventures is a fun treat. This first instalment of Łukasz Majcher Power Bear sets up the narrative and back story well.   From overarching threat of apocalyptic alien cancellation of the Earth to the niggles of plus size male relationships the artwork is colourful, engaging and using a subtle queer colour palate to keep the readers attention.

The male couple at the centre of the action are likeable with our protagonist Max – who feels trapped in a never-ending cycle of meaninglessness – and struggles with his lack of energy or passion for life. This is impacting negatively on his mental health, which is depleted after emotional exhaustion takes its toll on him. It’s here that the comic book comes into its own, serving up a queercentric story of a super hero struggling with the impact of their own traumas whilst being a hero for the LGBTQ community around them.  Set in a vividly familiar Berlin, with a tender domestic narrative wrapped in amongst the super powered antics and quirky Alien omnipotents Power Bear sets itself up for an interesting ride.

It would have been good to learn more of Max’s Nemesis in this first story and his romantic relationship  in this first issue but will be looking forward to seeing how this narrative develops and that’s the idea of a comic, to give us thrilling cliffhangers and hook us into the next issue!  Power Bear certainly delivers.

To order or learn more about Power Bear see the authors link here

You can also check out the authors Insta here: to learn more about his artwork.

PAGE’S PAGES: Eric Page reviews the best queer lit

Writing Our Space: An LGBTQ+ Anthology (out now, £9.95, published by Arkbound Press) is a marvellous anthology offering up to you, Dear Reader, an assured collection of layered experience, delicate, firm, contrasting in flavour, substance, perspective and taste. It’s like a queer mille-feuille, sumptuously constructed so the contrasting tiers combine into something outweighing its constituent parts. With sweet empathic poems, buoyant pose, stark essays of searing truth, all baked in with an editor’s eye for combinations which set off and foil the wider collection.

As an anthology it works, as a compendium of queer voices, gently roaring of lived experience it’s a decadent delight. Its foundation is intersectional, that of the true identity, of us, being each one to ourselves our own infinite variety, depending on where the light falls that day, brining one facet of our multitude of experiences into full furious focus.

The book jumps around, from pain to sardonic observation from the roar of full powered empowerment to a scream of a new life just born, it writhes with potential, but each segment is just a taste of that writer, the windows thrown wide open onto their world. Flung wide we breath in the winds of their change, sail across oceans of possibility in a few short paragraphs and have our hands held in the caverns of endless grief.

Its many voices, each given equal space and time to capture and keep our interest. It’s written by us, for us, with us, to us.  The very paper it’s printed on is queer, it has to be, for it honours the intention of the ink to express personal gospels which contain enchantment.

Writing our Space, with a foreword from editors Eilidh Akilade and Ross Tanner, which explores the genesis of the book and the collection of short pieces elicited from a wide LGBTQ+ pool of writers, is wonderful. I could gush about it, but I’ll say buy it, read it, enjoy it for yourself, then gush.

Supporting publishers which support our community is key to getting our own stories in print and reading about others who share our outlooks and hopes for a better future.

To learn more about Arkbound and order Writing Our Space CLICK HERE

The Chip Shop Wars by Terry Sanderson is book three of the Doreen Potts saga! Older readers may remember Doreen and the Potts family from Gay Times and Sanderson has continued his delightfully comic character and their extraordinary family. Imagine Doncaster of the 1990s, yeah grim! Equal parts comedy, biting social satire and examination of small-town snobbery, the failed dreams of romantics and the ability of a family to pull together in hard times to find new ways of being and belonging.

It’s a fun, light read, tooted in a gritty reality of repossession, rehousing and the struggle to claw yourself back into the place in society you think you deserve. The book allows Doreen and the rest of the Potts family free rein in the world they find themselves cast into and when eventually re-establishing themselves, quite how out of depth they really are.

Using the battle of established against new chip shop, Sanderson spears his favoured subjects, he’s a queer expert on the UK national press and they get a marvellous kicking here, he drags a sacred cow or two on to religious alters and sacrifices them for our pleasure, and turns his rapier eye on the way television likes a willing working-class family to exploit, but amongst all the hard satire and cynical spot on observations of the contradictions of English social climbing there’s a heart of gold. It’s here that Sanderson keeps the Chip Shop Wars on track, by giving this monstrous matriarch unconditional love which gets her and the rest of her brood though the roughest of times. Love them or loath them you root for them to the very last page. Sanderson is our very own queer Tom Sharpe, and serves up thick, deep fried and pure Northern farce with a generous sprinkling of his tart vinegar wit.

Edward Carpenter: A Victorian Rebel Fighting for Gay Rights (Out now, published by Matador) is an excellent look at the life of Carpenter from Hove-based author Brian Anderson, who uses previously unpublished material and personal letters from his lovers and friends to shine a bold new light over the contributions to developments around sexuality and identify that Carpenter gave with his early writings on homosexuality.

Carpenter was embedded in the fabric of Victorian society, privileged in many ways, but struggling with his knowledge of being an outsider. This drive to be honest to his feelings for other men made him an outspoken critic of the society he was part of. His impressive achievement in the way he used his extraordinary writing skills and ability to influence people to gain a foothold and get published during the intense social panics and sexual repressions of the Oscar Wilde ‘scandal’.

Anderson examines the influence and effects of Carpenter’s time at university and his early, fumbling sexually experiences and how they combine to fire up a mind which churns out thought and ideas truly transformative for the times. Carpenter is a rather neglected writer in the annuals of queer libraries familiar to academics and people interested in societal change, but he was a passionate writer and individual.

In this engaging book Anderson holds him up, flaws and all, so everyone can really appreciate the struggles of the man, his quest for authentic living and his passion to tool up and share these freedoms with other people across the world.

I really got a feel for Carpenter as a gay man, living his life, finding his loves and lovers, with daring, passion and pain, carving out a path for us to follow and using his intellect to lay down some seriously ground-breaking writing on sex.

Power Bear by Łukasz Majcher is the all new queer superhero comix with its interwoven stories covering the alien creation of life on earth; a German bear couple who wrestle with the challenges of everyday life and a secret life of superhero adventures is a fun treat.

This first instalment of Łukasz Majcher Power Bear sets up the narrative and back story well.  From overarching threat of apocalyptic alien cancellation of the Earth to the niggles of plus size male relationships the artwork is colourful, engaging and using a subtle queer colour palate to keep the readers attention.

The male couple at the centre of the action are likable with our protagonist Max, who feels trapped in a never-ending cycle of meaninglessness and struggles with his lack of energy or passion for life impacting negatively on his mental health, depleted after emotional exhaustion takes its toll on him.

It’s here that the comic book comes into its own, swerving up a queer centric story of a super hero struggling with the impact of their own traumas whilst being a hero for the LGBTQ+ community around them.

Set in a vividly familiar Berlin, with a tender domestic narrative wrapped in amongst the super powered antics and quirky alien omnipotent, Power Bear sets itself up for an interesting ride. It would have been good to learn more of Max’s story in the first issue.

To order and learn more about  the authors CLICK HERE

REVIEW: Footloose @ Theatre Royal

Footloose

Theatre Royal

Brighton

Based on the 1980s screen sensation Footloose with some extra classic 80s hits dropped in,  this is a cast of all singing, all dancing and also all playing young talent. All the music for the show is played by the actors on stage which gives the show real energy from the opening.  The plot follows city boy Ren, forced to move to a rural backwater in America to find dancing and rock music are banned. Taking matters into his own hands Ren has all hell breaking loose and the whole town on its feet.

The set is fun and moved in, out and  around a lot, in the tight staging of the Theatre Royal this leaves things feeling cramped, but the cast know their steps and the dancing is spot on, with most of the ensemble playing instruments while they dance, act, sing and shift the set it’s quite the ask of them, and I was impressed with their ability to negotiate the space with grace.

The dance numbers are great fun, impressive, athletic, done with a wink to the audience and some playful teasing allowing the main leads to showcase their talents and keep the narrative thrust bouncing along.

There are a few extra songs shoehorned in, including a rather delightfully silly rendition of ‘Holding out for a Hero’ which allows Jake Quickenden to show off their rather more muscular skills & body and offer the mostly older female audience some energetic but light titillation whilst Darren Day serves some hot silver Daddy action to please other thirsty demographics in the audience.  This is great fun but when held up against the problematic treatment of male violence in the play, including two clear dramatised domestic violent assaults which are left unchallenged, this leaves me feeling uncomfortable. This part is froth, but this bit is not?  If the play is ‘in context’ I can understand this, but when a musical is attempting to update itself in lots of other ways this stands out as a jarring misstep.

It’s certainly full of energy and the enthusiastic audience enjoyed themselves, clapping along, cheering and generally giving the energetic cast a warm response.  My companion was grinning and tapping his toes along to the loud rock anthems being played on stage.  There are some touching moments when the cast really connect; a sweet trip of female voices lamenting learning to be silent whilst dealing with the damaged men in their lives, the main confrontation of two mourning men struggling to help each other cope with their grief and  offers up tangible lessons in forgives and moving in. The musical can’t seem to decide if it wants to be froth or meaningful, which is admirable, but stutters the direction on occasion.

See the full cast and creative team on the national tour website here

The fist act is far too long, needs some sharpening up, those lighting cues really need to be hit, and the whole thing could do with a stronger emotional focus, but to cut the mostly young ensemble a bit of slack, this is also their first week so might just be opening niggles in the tight space of the Theatre Royal’s stage.   I slipped out into the cool night air on New Road wondering at some of the choices, but my companion  enjoyed himself a lot and saying how much he’d enjoyed the dancing.

The cast give it their all and for a feelgood show like this, that seems to be enough for the Monday night crowd who cheer and get up from their seats for the obligatory encore boogie in the aliases.

Until Sat Feb 26th.

For more info or to book see the Theatre Royal Website here

 

 

 

REVIEW: Ignite: Fire & Fantasy at Nymans

Ignite: Fire & Fantasy at Nymans

Nyman’s Gardens, Sussex

This after-dark winter experience offers the enchanting effects of fire, light and lanterns throughout the garden at the West Sussex National Trust garden at Nymans, a perfect setting for an illuminated trail, where you wander between flickering flames and majestic trees.

The first part of the walk consists of a series of elfin montages interspersed with wicker wildlife sculptures and the gardens themselves being lit in theatrical and engaging ways. Using the natural shapes and shadows of the trees and herbaceous borders to sculpt a crepuscular atmosphere. You’re given an opportunity to carry a flickering lantern, which is a nice  touch, and you follow the one way path enjoying the Pixie diorama’s as you progress.   Nyman’s is a wonderful garden to visit and an opportunity to enjoy the space at night is a treat, with the added whimsy of it being lit by flame, LED lights, atmospheric spots and up-lighting  adding to this wintery walk. It was a clear cold night so we had the moon and dark Sussex skies accompanying us.

There is a lack of narrative to the walk, although we quickly filled in our own, which is perhaps the point, allowing people to elicit their own stories as they wander along the trail.  The change from pathway, to walled garden, hedges, to open tree lined path was managed wonderfully well, so there was a real sense of  wonder to some of the reveals.

The musical accompaniments are disconnected and disappointing, more background music than majestic soundscape. With the set-up pieces evoking elves and other creatures of the night, wicker woodland animals, mysterious giant coloured crystals and some very sweet ‘can you spot the Pixie’s’ dioramas, the music’s range was light weight whimsical to shmaltzy classical music.  Vivaldi’s four seasons ( we get it… it’s winter), there’s no leaves on anything, the huge stark trees have been evocatively lit, hints of mist, a half moon, my breath hanging in the still night air, it’s magical. I’d like the music to throw me a narrative. To swell and move me.  This was a recurring factor, a gentle reflective piano recital of Clare de Lune for the frankly jaw dropping beautiful  turn which revealed a blood red ruined house and magnificent cedar trees, lit with an ocean of flickering lights, guarded with a fire breathing dragon, tinklely Bach for the woodland walk etc not the promised  ‘soundscape to inspire and intrigue.’

There’s no interaction to the lighting technology,  it’s a pretty passive experience, but charming and rather pretty nonetheless.  The willow sculptures are superb, with real character, there’s plenty of them to enjoy as you wander around and they are themed well. One or two moments are seriously impressive,  I adored the violently pink lit delicate Cyclamen’s flowers carpeting one space and an opportunity to see an early white rhododendron in full bloom, lit by the moon, some cheeky little snowdrops  looking like pieces of carved marble under the brilliance of the light, your eye is led to see the winter colour.   We’d have welcomed an opportunity to walk through the ruins as they looked astonishing as a blood red backdrop to the wander. The formal geometric hedges dressed in full LED netting shimmered in a dreamy white light and the brutal stark up-lighting showing off the majestic wintery splendour of the Lime avenue were arboreal highlights. Nymans also offered up the  olfactory overload of the sweet perfume of the Daphne tree walk, the night time air allowing it to hang and delight the nose. Worth a visit just for that.

Dress up warm,  it’s not a hugely long trail but dawdling along will take an hour. There’s a stop half-way for nibbles and warming treats, waffles, mulled wine, marshmallows with two huge charcoal braziers to warm chilly fingers on.

The whole thing is well planned,  fully accessible (with thought being given to sight lines etc) and the staff on duty helpful, chatty and nice. Parking is a short walk from the main entrance and if you book carefully you may avoid the early half term crowds or choose a full moon date.  The website shares its considerations of how this night time event may impact on the local wildlife and how they have attempted to minimise this.

Nyman’s is a superb small garden and green space in all seasons and this night time event is an interesting experience for all the family with some well thought out places for that perfect selfie or ‘Insta’  post.  The Tunnel of Love is a delightful touch. There’s plenty of opportunities for photo moments which have been designed with the social media crowd in mind;  we all love ‘that’ picture, and there is ample to delight and entertain the younger members of a group.

Ignite is at Nyman’s Garden until March 6th 2022

More info or to book tickets here

Nymans is just off the A23 in Handcross.

 

REVIEW: The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo

The Village of Eight Graves

Seishi Yokomizo

Translated into English for the first time the narrative is a wholly original take on The Hound of the Baskervilles and is part of Japan’s most popular murder mystery series, a set of fiendish classics featuring the Columbo-like sleuth & private investigator Kosuke Kindaichi.

Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village.

Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably charming, scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates, the narrator giving us a vivid account of the story unfolding around them, with a fiercely first person feeling of what’s occurring in this most strange of mountain villages.  Populated by a cast of utterly peculiar and delightful strange characters, from ancient twins, ranting nuns, deluded lovers, fragile siblings who range across deeply forested groves, caverns measureless to man and a hostile, village full of superstitious villages prone to form an angry mob at the drop of a sickle it’s a fun and vivid read. I felt myself in the Village of Eight Graves every time I opened this book.

The book is a delight, twisting and turning in Gothic wonder in your mind, the plot a writhing handful of teasing hissing threads,  bringing to life place and character with deft prose and the narrative grips from the off. I really enjoyed the grip of the tension and adored the slow and relentless discovery of the awful truth by the fun detective Kindaichi, mixed in with strange and foreign cultural ideas of curse, fate, forbidden love.  This rich murder mystery with a tucked in romance folded fan-like between the shade and blood, will keep you enthralled until the very last page.

Out now £8.99 to order see the publishers website here

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