The Victorians certainly knew how to make a building’s look suit its purpose. Lewes Prison, built in 1853, is a case in point. One glance at its towering walls, its grim facade and its ugly gates make you think that this is one place you certainly don’t want to spend any time inside. Perhaps this is what its architect was thinking when he designed it - that its ghastly presence was enough on its own to keep the citizens of the town on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of the new governor of the prison, Eoin McLennan Murray, anybody who travels past and those residents unfortunate enough to live nearby are now able to get a much better view of this redbrick monstrosity, once hidden by a canopy of beautiful trees as old as the building itself. Last month Mr McLennan Murray, without public consultation, took it upon himself to chop down scores of trees and open up the view to this unwelcome new landmark. This is the sort of thing that happens when locals are not consulted about new developments that will scar their urban landscape. And this is why it is important for us to get knowledgeable about any future building projects (ie supersize Tesco and the Phoenix Quarter plan) before they happen. So when the planning proposals are finally made public we can make concrete objections before they can create concrete eyesores. So we can become literate in a project’s pitfalls before they are set in stone. Enjoy the week.

Old Nick: itís a Victorian period piece, but did we really need
such a good view of it? Cover: Fire & Ice by Jessica Zoob
Issue 14
Jane Orchard (9); Jessica Zoob (12); Paddock Studios Spring Exhibition (20); Artwave (27)
Bricks & Mortar:
Pelham House (26)
The Return (8); Brokeback Mountain (13); Good Night & Good Luck (14); Chicken Little (15)
Classical Music:
Ian Glen & Glen Capra (19)
  Comedy: Barnstormers (6)
Contact / Back Issues:
Kevin Barber & Mark Taylor (7)
  Food & Drink: Elephant & Castle (17)
Blood pressure (11)
Policing (21); Tesco (22); Phoenix (23, 24); Prison Trees (2 & 25)
Green Fingers (4); Art & Craft (5); Teddy bears picnic (10); Chicken Little (15); Tile-making (18)
  My Lewes: Philip Garr-Gomm (25)
  Next Week: (30)
  Opinion: Mark Mansbridge re: Tesco (22); Tony Cox re: Phoenix (23)
Mark Mansbridge (28)
Public Meeting :
Policing Lewes District (21)
(2 & 29)
Karma, a law for change (16)

Waxing lyrical: Jessica Zoob at Flint (page 12)

Easter Activities - Green Fingers

The term Green Fingers means little to an American, who is more likely to refer to someone with the ability to make plants grow well as a Green Thumb. Either way, both terms hark back to the early 20th century and surely arise from the chlorophyll stained hands of a gardener turning their plot into a vision of beauty.

To celebrate the fact that spring is finally bursting forth all over Sussex, there is a session today at Anne of Cleves House to welcome it in. Suitable for the 4+ brigade, the two-hour period will be filled with a combination of activities centred around art and plants. As with most Sussex Past events, the aim will be to entertain and inform, so expect your kids to come away with a passion for foliage and their hair full of paint. Immediately after the session we suggest that you direct them straight in to your own garden before the early enthusiasm has a chance to wear down. The Royal Horticultural Society’s top five tips for the best April projects to set them are; 1. Keep the weeds under control, 2. Protect fruit blossom from late frosts 3. Tie in climbing and rambling roses, 4. Sow you hardy annuals and herb seed and 5. Start to feed your citrus plants. What do you do? - retire to your kitchen, make a cup of tea and watch… NW

Kid gloves: hoodwink your progeny into doing the weeding
Anne of Cleves House, Southover High St, Lewes
When? 10.30am - 12.30am
How Much? £3.50 (book in advance)
Anne of Cleves House
(t) 01273 474610
Horticultural Advice
(w) Website
Arts and Crafts at the All Saints

If you’re looking for holiday arts and crafts activities to keep your kids amused, try the new Smartees sessions at the All Saints Centre. Organisers Sue Barham and Mary Cleeve tell us that the classes are suitable for children from two-and-a-half through to seven. The emphasis is very much on creative art – hence the word ‘art’ in the middle of Smartees. Today’s two sessions are Easter-themed, so by the end of a highly productive one-hour slot, we predict that your kids will come away equipped with a bagful of Easter bonnets, flowers, ducks and bunny masks. It’s not a drop-off session and parents are actively encouraged to join in the fun. Expect noise, expect good design tips from professional illustrator Mary, and a free coffee and the chance to buy a nice bit of cake.

Back outside, take a moment or two to walk around the outside of the church. This best shows you how the original sixteenth century tower was developed in the nineteenth century to include its existing galleried nave and Victorian east end. Also look out for details like the quirky cat-topped totem pole and outside wall murals, giving additional style and character to the place. Finally, don’t leave without a selection of leaflets for the many other regular events the centre hosts for the wider Lewes community to enjoy. NW

Cat amongst the chickens: Easter art at the All Saints
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 10am-11am & 11.30am-12.30pm
How Much? £5
(t) 01273 470479
(t) 01323 811494
Comedy - Barnstormers

I went to the last Barnstormers night a month ago expecting to laugh, which I did a bit at the first act (who was nervous), and a lot at the second act (who was funny). There were only fifteen in the audience. The third act, a malicious character with studied facial hair, a showy Dickensian check jacket and a very dark sense of humour, decided to use me as the butt of his jokes when things got quiet, which they often did. At first his malicious jibes were met by a frozen smile, as I prayed for his attention to wander. As they continued, I stopped pretending and adopted a scowl. He was like a school bully who’d found a victim. I didn’t have the nerve to heckle back. When his set finished I clapped for good form. I felt more like taking him down a dark twitten and giving him a good kicking. And I’m not a violent man. Afterwards I kept working out what I should have said back. This wasn’t audience participation. It was audience humiliation.

Tonight I am assured that there will be more people at the gig - two 10-people tables were booked by Monday, and other tickets had been sold. One act, Pierre Hollins, is from Lewes. He plays ‘Englishman’s Blues’ and a musical interpretation of cunnilingus on a guitar and an electric squash racket. There are two other acts tonight, Eddie Izzard’s associate John Gordillo and another unnamed comedian. I shall sit at the back, in the dark, trying not to be noticed. AL

Stand-up and be counted: but donít go too near the front
Pelham House
When? 8pm
How Much? £9 on door. £7.50 in advance
Tickets from:
Garden Room Café, Station St,
or (t) 01323 490001
‘Cabaret-style’ tables for up to
10 people are bookable for £60.
Folk - Mark Taylor and Kevin Barber

Mark Taylor has been involved in a punk group, a Brazilian disco unit, an avant-garde noise band and a soul combo, but it’s country music that’s always made his heart pulse. “I think there are few sounds sweeter than the pedal steel, few things more white-knuckle thrilling than bluegrass fiddle,” he says. A few years back he got together with fellow Brighton performer Kevin Barber and started touring folk clubs playing what they have decided to call ‘acoustic Americana’. Or, to be more precise, according to their website, ‘Kevin and Mark perform an eclectic range of roots music, energized by driving bluegrass rhythms and tinged with melancholy Americana. Using a range of instruments: slide guitar, mandolin, banjo and lap resonator guitar, the duo have established a reputation for dynamic live performance.’ Maverick Magazine put it more simply. ‘Simple in concept and delivery: two men, two microphones and two guitars set up and play acoustic Americana.’

They have three albums under their belts: Live at the Open House, Let the Mystery Be and Lately. The latter shows a growing maturity and confidence: ten of the songs are self-penned. Listen out for Lighthouse, My Old Friend the Moon, Anabelle, Deep River Blue and Blue. Otherwise expect covers from anyone from Iris Dement to Woody Guthrie, through Robert Johnson, Slaid Cleaves and Paul Simon. AL

The grass is greenerÖ unless itís a bluegrass folk duo
The Royal Oak, Station St, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
Folk at the Oak
(t) 01273 478124
(w) Website
Mark Taylor and Kevin Barber
(w) Website
Cinema - The Return

A father returns home to his wife and two sons after a twelve-year absence. Nobody knows why he went, nobody knows why he has come back. The very next day he takes his kids on a fishing trip. The tension rises as the three of them are forced into roles they are not used to, with tragic repercussions. The Return is a Russian film first-time directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, which ran away with the blue-riband prize in the art-house Oscars, the Venice Film Festival, in 2003. It works on several levels. The plot is compelling. The acting is convincing. The photography is stunningly shot. It has great emotional depth. After it has finished, you realise that it probably has allegorical meaning, too.

The main tension lies in the relationship between father and sons. The sons have accepted fatherlessness as a given, and they react to his return in different ways. The older one responds well, eager for love; the younger one becomes surly and disrespectful. He wonders about his father’s motives. Why did he come back? What is the real reason for the trip? You wonder about the same things, too. After the film is over, you also wonder whether the allegory is religious (the return of Christ) or political (the return of totalitarianism). Perhaps it is meant to be both at the same time. DL

Daddyís home: and there are problems for the kids in The Return
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website
(t) 01903 523 833
Art - Botanical Art Exhibition

The Society of Botanical Artists is celebrating its 21st year and if you’re in London this weekend, it’s worth checking out their annual pre-Easter Exhibition. This year it's entitled ‘A Celebration of the English Garden’ and it's taking place in the Lecture Hall of Central Hall Westminster. There are over 750 works on show and two local artists, Jane Orchard and Vicky Mappin are represented. ”This style of painting obviously predated photography as a means of categorising plants, and some say it is outdated,” says Jane, a Southease resident whose work Crimson Parrot Tulip is one of four she has in the exhibition. “But some artists choose to exaggerate a particular element of the plant to make it more obvious, and sometimes a camera doesn’t capture this salient feature.”

Many think that such supernaturalistic representation of its subject matter shouldn’t be considered ‘art’ as it contains no metaphor. Jane, perhaps surprisingly, agrees. “To me it is not so much art as technique,” she says. “But it’s not a soulless process because to me it’s impossible to paint an object in such detail without getting emotionally involved in the subject and starting to love it.” And it is a painstaking process. It took Jane, using an extremely fine brush and watercolours, 90 hours to paint Crimson Parrot Tulip. “This sort of painting is becoming more and more fashionable,” adds the artist. “The Chelsea Physic Garden has been offering classes for a long time and they have become wildly popular in recent years.” AL

Jane Orchardís Crimson Parrot Tulip: beautiful, but is it art?
Central Hall Westminster
When? 10am-5pm until April 9
How Much? Free
Jane Orchard
(t) 01273 513681
(e) Click here
Vicky Mappin
(t) 01273 486320
(w) Website
Vicky Mappin gives classes in botanical art in Rodmell, Ditchling and Lindfield
A Day in the Country… and a Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Today’s event is organised by the excellent Sussex Wildlife Trust, an organisation dedicated to preserving and enhancing the unique countryside around us. Compared to much of England, Sussex is still very green, with forest covering 17% of our area, providing us with a rich array of woodlands to explore. The Trust has a bold 50-year vision, planning to recreate wildlife-rich areas lost to intensive farming over the past century or so. They contend that a combination of less intensive and more sympathetic farming measures, coupled with more EU-wide farming competition will free up the land needed to give nature a chance to fight back.

They are hosting today’s picnic in the Seven Sisters Country Park (SSCP), one of our existing countryside treasures. As well as the picnic, we are told that there will also be a puppet show starring the animals of Friston Forest. Take food, take drink, take a blanket or two and enjoy a great morning surrounded by the trees and the animals of the type of woodland the Trust are so keen to protect and develop. We’re assured the event is suitable for anyone with a teddy bear, so dig yours out of the wardrobe and head along, armed with a honey sandwich or two. Booking is essential. NW

If you go down to the woods today: youíll find a small proportion
of the teddies are transvestites
Visitors Centre, SSCP, Exceat, Seaford
When? 10.30am - 1pm
How Much? Adults £2; Kids £3; Family £9
Sussex Wildlife Trust
(t) 01273 497561
(w) Website
Blood Pressure Advice

I know I should be worried about strokes; after heart attacks and cancer, strokes are the UK’s third biggest killer. Also, strokes run in my family. My grandfather, who drank and smoked, had a stroke, and started to recover, and then started to drink and smoke again. Then he had two strokes in the same day, and, we were told, no chance of recovery. What had happened to him, exactly? A nurse tried to explain it to me; it was something about blood and the brain. My grandfather died after being in a coma for eleven weeks.

For a while, I thought I understood how strokes worked, because a stroke is the result of high blood pressure. If you’re trying to water a flowerbed with a hose, and the water won’t shoot far enough, what do you do? You partially block the end of the hose with your thumb. Then the water comes out much better, doesn’t it? That’s how I imagined strokes – blood shooting through narrowed arteries much faster than usual. Apparently, though, that’s completely wrong. But now, I’ve got a chance to find out the truth, and perhaps add years to my life, because strokes are, to some extent, preventable, and because on Saturday I can find out exactly how… WL

Bloodline: is your pressure too high?
Cliffe Precinct
When? 9am-5pm
How Much? Free
The Stroke Association will be on the streets today taking blood pressure and explaining about strokes.
Art - Jessica Zoob

Jessica Zoob is as inspired by satellite landscapes of the world as she is by the inside of shells. “It’s amazing how nature recreates the same patterns again and again,” she says. She represents these patterns using all sorts of different media: plaster, crushed glass, antique lace, jewels, pearls, stamps, whatever she lays her hands on. And, of course, a lot of paint. She applies many layers, and then works away at them. Sometimes she has a subjective starting point, sometimes an image emerges which she works on. “People wonder whether I am an abstract painter,” she says. “But I would call myself more of a landscape painter. I am inspired by what I see in nature, then I filter it through myself.”

She is very eclectic, and highly productive. One collection is very different from another, though instantly recognisable as her work. The current collection, created especially for Flint, draws many of its influences from Lewes. She uses plaster, precious stones and fabrics to recreate the beauty she sees in the local rural and urban landscape. In the detail we are featuring (right) she has fashioned a pregnant woman, standing. “Though I don’t expect others to see what I see in the painting,” she comments. “People say to me that they like my work because they see different things in it every day. When the human eye sees something, they want to make connections. It is a little like looking at the clouds in the sky.” AL

Jessica Zoobís Bluebirds and Pebbles Ė and whatever else you
care to see in it
Flint, 70 High St, Lewes
When? Tues-Sat 10am-6pm April 8th-18th
How Much? Free
Jessica Zoob
(w) Website
(w) Website
Cinema - Brokeback Mountain

Love stories usually follow a pretty similar plot line. A young couple fall in love, but the course of that love doesn’t run smooth. There’s always some stumbling block to them getting together. It might be war (Casablanca), family feuds (Romeo and Juliet), the haughtiness of one of the characters (Pride and Prejudice), or the fact that one of them is a dithering middle class twit (all Hugh Grant films). In Brokeback Mountain the problem is the protagonists’ fear of society’s reaction to their homosexuality. The couple (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) meet on the eponymous mountain looking after sheep in 1960’s rural Wyoming, but hell, they wear Stetsons and ride horses, for which reason it is usually referred to as ‘that gay cowboy movie’.

The pair deny their true feelings, and do the done thing. They both marry, both have kids, both lead depressing lives in unhappy families. In the second half of the film we see them grow older, occasionally getting together on trysts billed to their wives as male-bonding fishing trips. Ever wrinklier, they lie in motel beds talking about what might have been, what never could be. The eclectic Ang Lee directs, and of course his latest film is a visual feast, which won him the best director Oscar. Its moral is simple: obey your true nature. Towards the end of its 133 minutes you start wishing it had served you a little more moral ambiguity to chew over. DL

Oscar Bravo: if it ainít Brokeback, donít fix it
All Saints Centre, Friar’s Walk, Lewes
When? 8pm and Sunday 5pm
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website
(t) 01903 523 833
Cinema - Good Night and Good Luck

Senator Joe McCarthy was a US lawyer who used the anti-communist hysteria engendered by the Korean War in the USA in the early fifties to manipulate a smear campaign against left-wingers, claiming hundreds of journalists, writers, actors and politicians were communist traitors. The political climate became akin to a medieval epidemic of witch-hunting. Hundreds of intellectuals and entertainers were blacklisted; many fled to Europe where they could speak, write and think freely. Goodnight and Good Luck examines the part that a TV broadcaster Edward Murrow plays in McCarthy’s downfall in 1954. “We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason,” said Murrow in his show, See it Now. “If we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.”

While the film exaggerates the role the show played in McCarthy’s downfall, it is a well-acted, well-shot and bravely rule-breaking movie, filmed in black and white, largely in smoky rooms, with little physical action. It is also very timely. After you have watched it you wonder whether or not we are living in an age in which the government is stirring up a state of hysteria as a smokescreen to help it achieve its own ends. You wonder whether there is a figure like Joe McCarthy down the line. And you sincerely hope there isn’t. DL

Witch-hunt saboteur - Edward Murrow stopped Joe McCarthy
in his tracks
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 6pm (and Sunday 7.45pm)
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website
Cinema - Chicken Little

Zach Braff is the star voice tasked with bringing Chicken Little (CL) to life, in this cartoon following the adventures of the eponymous bigheaded little chicken. CL is suffering from low self-esteem after becoming a laughing-stock by claiming the sky was falling down, when it was in fact just an acorn landing on his head. He regains some pride by hitting the winning run in a baseball game, but at the same moment notices that the sky really is falling in. Either this, or his hometown of Oakley Oaks is about to be invaded by aliens. Either way, his dilemma is whether to risk further ridicule by warning his recent tormenters of their imminent fate.

The success of computer-generated imagery (CGI) movies, like Shrek, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles has set a new benchmark for cartoon makers to reach. CL is Disney’s first full-length in-house CGI effort, and, technically it is close to former partner Pixar’s standards. The story however, falls well short of the Disney classics we know and love. As a consequence, though it still works for kids, most adults come away disappointed. When the film premiered in the States it rated highly for effects, but badly for its plot. Steven Rea suggested, “For a movie that’s supposed to launch Disney’s official CGI era, Chicken Little doesn’t stand tall enough”. Whilst Chris Smith in Maine simply said, “Obviously, this is the source of the new bird flu”. NW

Chicken Little: large complexes from small acorns will grow
All Saints Centre, Lewes
When? pm (also 3pm Sunday)
How Much? £4.50 Adults;
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website
(t) 01903 523 833
Talk - Karma, The Law for Change

One night, when my children had got out of bed for the millionth time, I lost my temper and went into their room and shouted at them. As I stormed out, my scalp was pulled back by a sudden violent force from above. My hair was totally entangled in the wooden airplane mobile hanging from the ceiling. It was painful and humiliating. “That was Karma,” I thought. That was, in fact, my dumbed-down Western interpretation of Karma: You do something bad and something bad happens to you - as a non-logical consequence. But, Karma is an idea as old as they get and is rather more complex than this. The philosophy represents the backbone of spiritual ideas about sin, re-birth, retribution and forgiveness, and is a highly influential part of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian belief. Karma has many interpretations. The trendy one is about taking responsibility for all your actions however small: raise yourself and you improve the world. The extremely dodgy one is about being punished for sins you committed in a previous life.

If Karma is a topic that you want to look into, then go to the Subud Centre on Sunday 9th April where you can join a lively discussion entitled “Karma, the Law of Change” led by Ravi Khanna. If the talk does your head in, then remember to look out for low hanging objects when leaving the room. JW

Sometimes Western ideas of karma arenít quite what the
Buddhists had in mind
Subud Centre, 26a Station Street, Lewes
When? 2:30-4:30pm
How Much? Free
(t) 01273 279481
(e) Click here
(w) Website
Lunch for a Fiver - The Elephant & Castle

Lunch envy? - mere child’s play. Try ordering lunch with indecision and selective menu blindness. We’re in the Elephant, checking what the new chef had to offer, and things start well. I scan the menu and select three things to make my final selection from. It looks easy with a wide range of sandwiches, baguettes and jacket potatoes within the £5 budget we aim to strictly stick to this week. Sadly, a few items, including Dave’s initial choice of the Ellie Burger (£5.50), go tantalisingly out of reach. (A quick chat with regular consumers of the beast however, assured us that both the Ellie, and its controversial cousin the Smellie, appear to be in safe hands.)

Dave orders sausage, egg, beans & chips and my affliction kicks in. I forget everything I was going to order and can only offer a weak “the same”. I sit down feeling ashamed. Then I look up and the specials board saves me. ‘Sausages with Carrot and Swede Mash, Peas and Onion Gravy - £5’, it screams at me. I change my order, and within minutes I’m enjoying succulent sausages with light and tasty mash and perfect onion gravy. With Dave confirming that his food is also excellent, we’ve achieved the highly improbable: Indecision and Selective Menu Blindness 0 - Lunch Envy 0. And both bang on budget - what a result. NW

Give us a bash of the Lincolnshire Sausages with Carrot
and Swede Mash me mamma used to make
White Hill, Lewes
When? Noon - 2.30pm
How Much? Pay attention at the back…
Elephant & Castle
(t) 01273 473797
Easter Activities - Terrific Tiles

I made a clay pot when I was five, and it still sits proudly in my parents’ house. It’s not the best pot ever, it wobbles, and if you ever tried to put any fluid in it, it would drain through the not insignificant hole in one side. But its porous nature wasn’t the point; just making it was the point and I can still remember my flushed feeling of pride when I presented it to my parents at home. Kids of all ages remain fascinated by the art of making ‘useful’ things, and we’re sure that today’s clay tile making activity at the castle will appeal to this creative urge.

The art of clay-tile making can be traced back at least eight thousand years, and fundamentally, the process remains the same today. Technological advances, such as glazed decoration, were then introduced a few thousand years later by the Egyptians, and the knowledge spread to Europe via the Moors invasion of Spain. However, though there is an interesting history to the process, the real meat of the session will concentrate on the fun of actually making the things. Every child will get the opportunity to design and make their own tile. Then, best of all, at the end of the session, the proud youngsters get to take their masterpieces home, where, I’m sure, the tile will be admired by themselves, their friends and all passing family members for many years to come. NW

Childsí clay: tile painting at the castle
Lewes Castle, High St, Lewes
When? 11am-12noon & 2pm-3pm
How Much? £3 (book in advance)
Sussex Past
(t) 01273 405739
(w) Click Here
Classical Music - Westgate Chapel Series

The bassoon is usually an orchestral instrument: it’s very rare to see a bassoon up close and personal in a recital setting, as you can tonight at the Westgate Chapel. It is a very strange animal indeed, a woodwind instrument with the same pitch frame as a cello. It is usually made of maple and is over eight feet in length, though it doubles up to four-foot plus. Its distinctive tone makes it suitable for plaintive lyrical solos (like Ravel’s Bolero) and more comical pieces (like the grandfather theme in Peter and the Wolf). Tonight’s concert features local bassoonist Ian Glen and Canadian pianist Glen Capra, who will perform five very different pieces. Best known is Vernon Elliott’s Ivor the Engine for Bassoon and Piano, which most of you will remember as the music accompanying the 50’s-70’s children’s cartoon about the accident-prone anthropomorphic Welsh steam locomotive. Another well-loved piece on tonight’s schedule is a bassoon version of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata. The card is concluded by lesser-known pieces: Johann Friedrich Fasch’s Sonata, Alexander Mossolov’s Four Pieces and Roman Morishnikov’s Scherzo.

The concert is one of seven this year offered as part of the Westgate Music Series. The chapel, built in 1596, is a wonderfully intimate setting for a concert, seating 80, with fine acoustics born of its high roof and old wood. AL

Yours for a tenor: a rare chance to hear a bassoon recital at
Westgate Chapel
Westgate Chapel, 92a High St, Lewes
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £7 on the door or reserve on 01273 564824
Paul Gregory
(t) 01273 564824
Ivor the Engine music
(w) click here
Wednesday 12th April
Art - Paddock Spring Exhibition

Unannounced, I open the door into the Paddock Art Studios and there is a flurry of activity. A naked couple are hurrying into dressing gowns, whilst several onlookers look to see who is intruding. There are large dented cushions on the floor, a silk drape is pinned against the wall. I have stumbled upon the end of a life drawing class. I am sent out again and walk around the studio’s wonderful sloped gardens, shaded by a couple of fir trees and a magnificent magnolia. Five minutes later I am called back in. The models are fully dressed, and being paid. A bearded man tells me about the studio. It used to be the first floor above a stable. From the interesting square-shaped flintwork on the walls, it was possibly connected with Shelleys Hotel.

It was bought in the mid forties by Cecil Heathfield, who turned it into a centre to give affordable art tuition to local artists. After Cecil’s death his widow arranged for the studios to become a Registered Perpetual Charity: they can never be used for any purpose but for adult education. The Paddock is now run by Lewes & District Visual Arts Association and offers classes in different creative processes from drawing and painting to clay modelling, printing, mosaic-making, and picture framing. Members of LADVA exhibit their work every year for a week. The exhibition should be well worth checking out; the building certainly is. And I am assured the magnolia will be in bloom. AL

Open arthouse: A detail from Ben Whiteheadís Paddock Art Studios
courtesy of the Chalk Gallery
Paddock Art Studios, Paddock Rd, Lewes
When? 10am-4pm until Weds 19th April
How Much? Free
Paddock Art Studio
(w) Website
(t) 01273 483000
Wednesday 12th April
Public Meeting - Policing Lewes District

The UK’s new Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) has centralized the work of tackling terrorism, espionage, secret WMD programmes, major arms and drug trafficking. This is good news for Lewes District Police force, who have been relieved of a massive workload, and can now focus on more serious local issues: low-level anti-social behaviour, burglary and vehicle crime. On the 12th of April Sussex Police Authority are holding a public meeting to discuss crime, policing strategy and current issues in Lewes. The line-up includes Chief Inspector Bob Gough (Lewes District Commander), Carina Hinkley (Community Safety Officer), and Margery Turner (representing Lewes District Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership). They will each be giving a short presentation of their work in the past year. The figures are looking good: vehicle crime and burglary are both down by a quarter compared to last year; shoplifting is down 9% and robbery, a massive 70%. After the presentation Lewes residents are invited to ask questions. Pressing concerns they might want to address include the possible merger of Sussex and Surrey police forces, an event that may have a significant impact on Council Tax.

With its forbidding Gothic prison, Crown Court, Magistrates Court, CCTV, and active police force, it’s no wonder that Lewes’ youth keep their spray cans on the art studio shelf. In Chief Inspector Gough’s words, “criminals and yobs will continue to have a tough time in Lewes District”. JW

Dial M for (less) Murder: crime figures have gone down this year
Newick Primary School
When? 7pm
How Much? Free
Sussex Police Authority
(t) 01273 482351
Opinion - Mark Mansbridge, supermarket boycotter

Tesco opened a huge store in Shaftesbury, Dorset last year and I've watched as shops and businesses I knew as a kid down there have collapsed one by one. Somerfield had already built on the cattle market, turning the heart of the town into a car park. Goodbye then to The Sport-e-quip, Mr. Anstee's Bakery and Hall and Woodhouse offie and hello to ‘lifestyle’ shops selling overpriced cappuccinos and garden nick-nacks to the weekend cottage people. Lewes shops have managed to withstand having two supermarkets as the greedy cuckoos in the nest, but now Tesco proposes expansion into ‘other areas of retail’. They dangle a ’50 jobs’ carrot*, but how many real jobs will be knocked out in the wave of closures as local independents inevitably go under? Ten years ago Common Cause hosted the Sustainable Lewes Conference addressed by Charles Secrett and other local visionaries and this helped to establish local food initiatives like the Farmers Market, Just Trade and the Veg Box schemes. Meeting local needs locally provides affordable accountable food, the opposite of over-packaged and over-travelled supermarket food.

I gave up supermarkets a year ago and found the speed and cost arguments to be a myth. This is a small town for Christ’s sake and we want to do things slowly anyway! Whilst shoppers are getting tetchy in the checkout queue, waiting to be served by a stressed minimum waged teenager, I'm having a great time gossiping with Sue at May's Stores or admiring Bill's monumental veg displays.

*That'll be a standard sized straight carrot of course.

Tescopoly: a supersize Tesco will spell the end for many
local businesses

Opinion - Phoenix Industrial Estate resident Tony Cox

I am one of the few Lewes residents who live on the boundary of the Phoenix Industrial Estate site and I am not happy about the proposals. It is often said that many people rarely visit the current site. I would suggest that this is a good thing as it confirms the low impact the existing site has on the town as a whole. Granted it is not pretty but is the new proposal really better? At present I enjoy wonderful views from my house (see right). Should the current proposal get planning permission, this view will be completely obliterated by a multi-storey car park that will be considerably higher than my house. I realise that I am open to accusations of being selfish but I think there would be few people, in my position, who would welcome such a development. It is difficult to believe Angel Properties when they say that they will integrate their development with existing buildings and are aware of the need to blend with the town.

Quite apart from my personal situation, I believe the proposal is for 1400 parking spaces. Many of these are to be short stay and will, therefore, generate many thousands of car journeys every day. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that Lewes will not be enhanced by this. Does that make me a 'nimby'? Damn right!

If you want to write a 200-250 word opinion on any locally-based issue send it to Please include a picture or be prepared to have your picture taken.

Room with a view: but not for long
Phoenix development - what we should be asking

You wouldn't buy a car without looking into its make, so why sell a chunk of the Ouse without knowing something about developers? Selma Montford of the Brighton Society is that town’s best-known foe of demolitions and skyscrapers. Here she gives pointers to anyone looking at a new planning application.

1) Find out what the development actually looks like. Developers show narrow views, or views from above, and not what most people will have to look at.
2) Demand to know the impact on surrounding buildings. A block in isolation might look reasonable, but seen next to the tiny neighbouring buildings, it could look totally unreasonable.
3) How will the buildings be used? Houses need schools, offices need parking spaces. "Three eight-story buildings," Montford asks, "what are they for?" Of the 800 housing units proposed for the Phoenix site, she says, "That’s a whole dormitory town - a suburb!"
5) Beware of distractions. In Brighton developers show off sculptures they will erect, though art accounts for a tiny part of the development. Beware big name architects, designers and gardeners, whose reputations can lend sparkle to bad plans.
6) Find out what the council gets from the developer. Using something called a Section 106 Agreement, the council can force a developer to provide amenities for the town. In other words, any big development, by law, must have something in it for the council. “Although this is legal,” says Montford, "it is, in effect, litte more than a bribe." DB

Dancing in the streets: a fanciful detail from the Phoenix proposal.
But why havenít we seen any detailed 3D plans?
Selma Montford
(w) Website
Name: Philip Carr-Gomm.
Profession: Author and psychotherapist.
Other activities? I help to run the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.
Best thing about Lewes? Its architecture, history and hills.
Worst thing about Lewes? The county council building.
Favourite pub? I don’t drink much, but I like The Snowdrop.
What’s your poison? Coffee at Nero’s
What do you think about traffic wardens? I love them. Wouldn’t it be great if Lewes became the first pedestrianised town?
Local lad? After thinking London was the centre of the universe for years, I came here 18 years ago and realised it was actually Lewes.
Favourite Bonfire Society? I’ve found a secret location where you can see three perfectly!
Phoenix Development, yes or no? I have no problem with more housing as long as it doesn’t encroach on the countryside, but the problem is the increased volume of cars.
Supersize Tesco? I want to put in a planning application to build an incinerator next to Tesco’s to burn all the packaging they produce to get the idea across that supermarkets = consumerism = environmental degradation.
Lewes landmark? The magnificent copper beech outside Lewes prison, one of the few trees left after the recent orgy of destruction by the new prison governor.
Perfect Sunday afternoon? Walking the hills with my family.
What cd is in your hi-fi? Verdi’s Rigoletto
Lewes would be better if… we could conserve the beautiful big trees we have in town.
What Lewes really doesn’t need is… the rubbish all along Winterbourne Hollow and either side of the A27 out of Lewes.

Philip Carr-Gomm: ďHands off our treesĒ
Bricks and Mortar - Pelham House

When Pelham House was built in 1597 St Andrews Lane was a bustling central street with a slaughterhouse and a cider-maker’s. Now it so quiet that many people live in Lewes for years without noticing one of its most historic and beautiful buildings. And few realise that you are allowed to walk inside the building and look around its beautiful interior and garden, which belie the ugly front entrance (originally its back door). If you ask them nicely, Circa will even make you a coffee, which you can drink in a room walled with ornate Elizabethan oak panelling, the only original feature of the building. The entrance and hallways of the interior are decorated with some fine work by local artists, including Julian Bell, Jo Lamb, Peter Messer and Carolyn Trant. Strangely there are also some fine Soviet social realism oils.

The construction of the mansion cost the Sheriff of Sussex and Surrey, George Goring, £2,000 and it stayed in his family for five generations, before being sold to Sir Thomas Pelham of Laughton. It stayed in the Pelham family for 150 years – extensive restorations were done in 1705. The building was eventually bought by the County Council in 1938, and a new wing was built. It was acquired by a private company in 2004, and is now a hotel, event venue and conference centre. Our favourite features are the ceiling mural by Julian Bell, featuring tightrope walkers seen from below, and the otherworldly reception sign by Christian Funnell. AL

Pelham House: modern local art in a period setting
St Andrews Lane, Lewes
When? Open all hours
How Much? £110-£150 for a double room including breakfast
Pelham House
01273 488600
(w) Website
Pelham House are looking for sculptors to exhibit in the garden over the summer.
Please contact Pelham House
Artwave Art Festival 2006

Artists who wish to participate in this year’s Artwave event must register before April 19th. Lewes District Council’s annual arts festival will take place this year between August 26th and September 17th. The festival is open to any local (Lewes District) ‘maker’ (Councilese for artist or craftsman), who wishes to be included. The Council will co-ordinate the festival and produce and distribute a brochure and a poster advertising the event. In the past ‘makers’ have included corset makers and bookbinders, as well as oil painters and sculptors. Participants can exhibit their work wherever they want, whether in a gallery, open house, or outdoor space. There is no quality control to artworks which can be part of the festival - this really is art for everybody.

Everybody with a bit of cash to stump up, that is. It is a sign of the times that this is the first time in thirteen years that artists are expected to pay for the privilege of participating in Artwave. Each participant must stump up £50 to be included in the official listings. Artwave is a not-for-profit festival, but the Council have recently removed their arts development budget and got rid of the post of Arts Officer. The project co-ordinator for Artwave 2006, Paula da Luz, is hired on a part-time basis. AL

Calling all artists: The Council are looking for artists who
want to exhibit this summer
Lewes District
When? Register by April 19th
How Much? £50
(t) 01273 484497 or 484400
(e) or
Photo of the Week - Mark Mansbridge

We received this photograph from Mark Mansbridge, who enjoyed the cheekiness of the adbuster who made this advert for a 4x4 into a ‘subvert’, changing the slogan from 'ITS HARD' to 'RETARDED'. “Of course there are practical uses for such vehicles if you have a farm or work in mountain rescue,” he says. “But most 'Chelsea Tractors' never see a speck of mud.” He regales us with statistics about the anti-social nature of 4x4 vehicles. They are profligate petrol users in an age where weather patterns are undoubtedly being changed by C02 emissions. "I guess a high wheel-base is handy if we keep flooding" he says. “If ROSPA is to be believed a child is much more likely to die under one than under a conventional car so its pretty ironic to see them nose to tail on the school run. In a town where parking is difficult to come by, they also take up much too much space. If you really want a status vehicle, buy a car with a low-fuel hybrid engine and if that doesn’t satisfy your thing about size, travel on the biggest thing on the road - a bus.”

We enjoy getting your opinion columns (250 words max with photos please) and your photos, so keep them coming in. We also welcome any correspondence, whether it’s a short rant, some information on an issue we are covering or you think we should be covering, or news about an event you would like us to alert our readers to. Our address is

Who ya gonna call? Adbusters

Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content. Viva Lewes cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations. Please let us know if you want any event or opening to be considered for publication at or on 01273 488882 Contact us using the relevant email addresses or the form on the right

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Design & Technical - David Wilson (
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That’s another wrap then. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but we’re off down the pub for a well-earned pint. We hope you go to at least one of the things that we have proposed in Issue 14. We’d like to thank, in no particular order, Philip Carr-Gomm, Deirdre Seymoure, Paul Gregory, Jessica Zoob, Paula da Luz, H.P Bulmer, Hannah Weller, Mary Beaney, Selma Montford from, Anthony Cox and Jane Orchard.

Contributors this week were: William Leith, Jessica Wood, David Burke, Nick Williams, Dexter Lee, David Wilson, Mark Mansbridge and Alex Leith.

Highlights next week include:

Until Sat 15th: Duncan Bullen at the Star Gallery
Sat 15th: Skank into the night with the Ska Toons at the All Saints
Sun 16th: Military re-enactment at Newhaven Fort
Mon 17th: Celebrity Race Day at Plumpton Racecourse
Mon 17th: Lewes play for their pride and a top three place against Havant & Waterlooville

Night Prayers: your last chance to see Duncan Bullenís
excellent exhibition at the Star