White Night! White Night!

Absolutely bonkers, more bonkers than Alice in Wonderland, a book inextricably linked to Brighton and also bonkers, but White Night beats it hands down. In one night to celebrate the changing of the hour seventy events themed around concepts of Utopia will take place across Brighton and Hove.

From urban golf, throwing seed balls, playing adult tag, running a half marathon, learning night digital photography to a QR code treasure hunt, peering in windows to watch film installations or standing on the rooftop of Embassy Court with headphones on, transport yourself for the night and stay up until dawn. Brighton’s never dull.

So having got over-excited reading a whole heap of options I thought I’d filter a little in order to give you a flavour of what is on offer, then I suggest you head to the White Night website to find out more and then get involved yourself, preferably dressed as Alice (or not, that's optional).

White Night 2011 Brighton MyHotel

The Metahub, Beatabet, 18:00 – 02:00 GMT, at Jubilee Square Jubilee Library

VJs will remix sounds and images recorded during the festival at the various events, which will then be
projected onto a sculpture in Jubilee Square. 

The metahub, White Night

The Alternative, Village Fete Home Live Art 18:00 – 01:00 Old Steine Gardens

The Old Steine will play host to the village fete delving into its darker side through performance and installation artists, craftmakers, musicians, food producers and community initiatives.

Flickers Under the Pier, Rachel Henson and Neil Manuell 19:00 to 01.00 – In 10min slots

Sign up for a night walk leading from an underground car park to the sea-edge and beyond, using a flick-book to reveal the way forward.

No Place Chroma Collective @ Embassy Court 17:00 – 00:00

Wearing a video headset on the rooftop of the iconic Embassy Court challenge your assumptions about real and possible worlds.

Navigator Periplum 21:30 – 02:00 GMT Secret Location

Using iPod films follow the trail of a dark, dystopian journey into the heart of Brighton’s hidden alleyways and winding lanes in this theatrical and cinematic thriller.

Tower of Dreams BN2 Shared Space Light 20:00 – 22:30 The Pepperpot, Queens Park Rd

Marvel at the transformation of the Victorian curiosity, the Pepperpot by art video mapping over the entire façade.

Beach Party Animal Liz Aggiss and Joe Murray 19:00 – 06:00 On the beach at the artist arches

Beach Party Animal is a 20-minute film portrait of British eccentricity and Brighton beach life. Set over twenty-four and capturing private moments in public places.

Dogwatch Red Earth 21:00 – 00:00 Norfolk Groyne, near bandstand

For three hours Red Earth will embark upon their own night-watch, an improvised ritualised soundscape using conches, horns, bronze percussion, bells and fire, Red Earth will listen and respond to the weather and the actions of the October Sea.

Hope springs Eternal Strike a Light 20:00 – 23:00 Outside Pavilion Gardens cafe

A perambulating swing band will play some old 45s, spun by Desert Ivan Discs, dance along or sit with your tea and cake and watch a short film about hope and experiencing the positives of growing older.

Two Trees: Trunk Call Joanna Brown 18.00 – 01.00 The Quad, Brighton University

A live audio link will establish a connection between two trees, one in central Brighton, the other in the depths of Friston Forest. Pick up the receiver of an old telephone to be put through to the forest and explore with the artist the dislocation which gives rise to utopian dreams.

Dawn Chorus Nordic Giants Playgroup 05:30 – 07:00 approx Hove Bandstand

A very special type of finale where the land meets the sea and the day meets the night. Enjoy dawn views of the sea, heralded with a special live music and cinema performance from local audiovisual pioneers Nordic Giants.

BHF Midnight Half Marathon

Run a half marathon at night, through the buzz and art of the White Night festival. Do something amazing as the clocks go back, knock an hour off your personal best and help The British Heart Foundation beat heart disease!

Ebb Tide Sussex Wildlife Trust with Same Sky 20:00 – 01:00 On the beach east of Brighton Pier

Join Sussex Wildlife Trust Youth Rangers to explore the hidden world that emerges when the sea goes out.

Outdoor Perfect the Pedestrian Brighton Dance Flash Mobs Brighton and Hove City Council Road Safety Team 18:00 @ Jubilee Street/19:00 @ Churchill Square/20:00 @ Old Steine

Keep your eyes open and be aware of what’s going on around you because, at any moment across the festival, anyone might spontaneously start to dance...

The Invitation Antik Theatre Company 18:00 – 00:15 at 45min intervals New England Street

Combining live action with projection and shadow puppetry, Antik animates a building in a quiet side street with a dark tale for a long dark night…..

Urban Future Golf Sussex Golf Partnership with Same Sky 20:00 – 00:00

Use the urban landscape as a course and which ends with a special artist-designed final hole.

DollyTopia Community Safety Team 19:00, 21:00, 23:00 & 00:30 Corner of North St and New Rd

Singers and musical performers will draw you into the wonder of Dollytopia with music raining down from the balconies of New Road.

Silence of Snow Cine City 20:00 – 01:00 North Gate of the Royal Pavilion

Glimpse through the windows of the gatehouse to a writer’s desk and the silence of snow filling the room and complete your own narrative.

Resonant Spaces: Resonant Voices The Voice Laboratory in association with Brighton Early Music

Festival 19:15 at East St seafront 20:15 at West St seafront

Using early polyphonic vocal music, a consort of voices will hijack spaces with exquisite music. Become immersed in a sonic utopia.

Glow in the Dark QR Treasure Hunt The Brighton Treasure Hunt Company & Sodaworks 18:00 – 00:00

Scan QR codes to bring up a question, with points for QR codes found and questions correctly answered. The team with the most points at midnight will receive a prize.

Vitrine Film Co Lab 19:00 – 06:00 Shop windows of Bond and Gardner Streets

Illuminating shop windows with short silent films, Film Co Lab harness the sounds of the festival to create a unique soundtrack for each film. Bringing cinema out of the dark and into the street,

the boundary between art and life is challenged and the audience transformed from spectators to participants.

Seedy Business Josie Jeffrey and BH Food Partnership 19:00 – 01:00 Regent St – back of Infinity Foods

Beautify forgotten wastelands and reclaim derelict urban spaces as utopian public gardens! Enter the laboratory to learn how to concoct your seedbombs then sneak to a secret location to bomb

the urban environment with native wildflowers. Learn about edible seeds, try seeds, plant seeds and win prizes for knowing your seeds. Child friendly activities before 8.30pm.

See the Light! Janine Boyer and ALG 20:00 – 00:30 From Temptation Café

Free one hour digital photography workshops provide an opportunity to explore the light at night.

Join a walking tutorial, then return to the café to enjoy a slideshow and discussion of your images over coffee and cake. A selection of the work will be printed, framed and displayed at the Café in December.

Stories from the Churchyard SNGSA 18:00 – 20:00 St Nicholas Church Yard

The past can seem like a utopia when viewed from the present so watch in wonder as the dead and buried inhabitants of St Nick’s churchyard come back to life in order to tell us their real life and death stories in this amazing setting.

Urban Arcadia Manhunt Brighton Group 19:00 – meet outside Brighton Town Hall 01:00 – meet at Jubilee Square information point

Maximum capacity 30 people – first come first served. Take a trip down memory lane and connect with new friends with a grown up game of ‘tag’ played through the streets of Brighton.

Miss High Leg Kick’s Promettes Walkabout at 18:00, 21:00, 23:00 North Laine; Old Steine

Five elegant guides in matching, styled uniforms have re-invented Brighton’s 1950s Promettes for White Night, who will delight and entertain you along the prom and be on hand for information about all of the events of the night!

Higher than the Sun OneWayTheatre 19:30 – 23:00 Open Market

Enjoy short films from around the globe, thought provoking, moving and hilarious. The large HD cinema and powerful speakers are entirely solar powered.

Bike to the Future Bike Train 19:00 – 01:00

Envisage a car free city centre by joining one of the fun hourly mass cycle rides through city centre streets, from the Old Steine to The Level, linking key White Night venues and on to the Universities Falmer sites. Dress your bike at the ‘pimp your bike’ workshop at Steine Gardens.

Route from University of Sussex – various stops - Steine Gardens.

Right on Brighton Sam Carroll - CCE, University of Sussex 21:00- 22:30 Meet at Jubilee Square info point

A walk through the history behind our city’s right-on reputation. How did Brighton & Hove become such a right-on city in the 70s, 80s and 90s? Visit key locations in the local history of environmentalism, gay liberation, animal rights, women’s rights, squatters’ rights and peace politics. This walk with Brighton born social historian Sam Carroll

Best Vintage in Brighton

42 Vine Street,
01273 671937

It’s no wonder Brighton has become known as Brick Lane by the sea, what with girls in aran sweaters, oversized 80s glasses and their hair tied up in loosely arranged buns appearing all over Brighton you could be forgiven for thinking you’d somehow landed in the East End of London. And now I’ve found out why, it’s amazing how you can live in a place as small as Brighton and have missed out on an absolute gem like Beyond Retro for as long as I have. Visiting it for the first time I couldn’t believe what a cornucopia of clothing delights I had been missing out on for so long and with its vintage ethos it fits in perfectly with the heart of Brighton, where it’s all about re-use, recycle, reinvigorate.
Beyond Retro Brighton

Grabbing an unsuspecting member of staff, Josh, I bend his ear a little to find out more about this treasure trove I have just wandered into.

“It’s owned by a Canadian couple, Steve and Helen who come over every three or four months from Vancouver, Canada. I think it was Steve’s passion for Rock ‘n Roll that was the driving force behind it. Our flagship store is on Brick Lane (that would fit, says I, looking around at clothes that would suit any Shoreditchette or dude). It has a cult following and has become a destination shop, where people from all over the world will come over especially to visit it. Maybe as many as 40% are tourists, from places like Japan who have come over just to see the store (crazy, I say in wonder).

"The store in Brick Lane, which opened in a disused dairy and has been there for ten years, has got a really good customer base in East London, and we’ve now opened one in Soho, Great Marlborough Street, near Carnaby Street, which attracts Topshop customers and only a couple of weeks ago we opened one in Dalston, with a cafe in it. The company is growing every week it’s kind of intense.
Beyond Retro original 50s glamour

“This store in Brighton has been open for two years (Wow, I marvel, I can’t believe I’ve never even been in here, it’s ridiculous!)

“We put on student events, the one today will involve emptying out the front section and filling it with a hundred boxes of items with 50% off and we’ll have a drinks company providing beer and wine.

"We’re more than just a clothes store, we want to reach out to people by building mutually beneficial relationships with other organisations and bands, we’ve already created a good relationship with Audio.

So how do you source your items?

“We have a team of people who look at what’s on the catwalk and predict trends. They put together a list of everything they want and send it over to the team of pickers to source the items from charity shops, vendors and donations and will rifle through the stuff that other people don’t want and then we select what we think will work.

“In theory you can go into a high street store and pick up whatever is on trend, for instance this summer it was all about the seventies and then you can come in here and find the originals. We actually have jumpsuits from the seventies.

Beyond Retro clothes sorted into decades

What trends should we be looking out for this autumn / winter?

“For blokes there is a lot of work-wear like chinos and brogues, parkas are going to be really big, block colour is going to be massive. Women’s wear for next summer will be focused on leather, lace and crochet, floral and western are going to be really big as well.”

Beyond Retro skirt

Wow-ee I say and I’m loving the box of scarves. The great thing is you don’t even have to make it down to Brighton to get involved, just head to their website and you can buy a whole heap of originals right there.

Beyond Retro Box of scarves


Best Boutiques of Brighton

37 Ship Street
East Sussex
Tel: 01273 770407

Having recently travelled back along Western Road from Hove central for the first time in a while and then walking through Brighton I was struck by the number of empty premises. Even in Brighton! sunny old, tourist busy, bustling Brighton. A stark reminder of the current climate and a further inducement for me to carry on posting about my favourite independent shops, which do what Brighton does best, offer a unique experience.

In this case the business of note is one of the best boutiques in Brighton, where ladies with busy lives can drop in and find stylish everyday clothes to make them feel special from a selection of carefully chosen labels.

With over 25 years experience in the fashion industry and having run her own boutique for the last six years, Lyn knows the difference between unflattering trends and those items guaranteed to sculpt the female form.

Covet wrap dress

Driven by a desire to create a shop for women who want to look good but without letting clothes rule their lives, Lyn has realised her ambition in her beautiful Boutique, Covet. ‘A lot of my customers are writers and artists and I think what I offer is a little bit more creative, for women who want somewhere non-pretentious, where people feel comfortable with nice wearable clothes, decent sizes, decent prices, good fabrics, a bit interesting and not high trend, or fashion victim.’

Taking me round the store, Lyn’s eyes light up when she talks about each item of clothing and why she loves it, ‘for the Covet label, we’ve just done a raincoat which I was really buzzing about and we’ve already sold the prototype last Saturday.’ Clocking a leather jacket in the kind of leather you don’t even have to touch to know how soft it is, ‘this leather jacket came in this morning and I think it is absolutely gorgeous, and so I’ve just put it in the window.’

Urbancode leather jacket £225

Other labels include a recent addition from a local lady, who came in wearing one of her own designs in a butterfly print which Lyn was so taken with that she added the Hart label to her collection with great success.

And now that the last rays of summer have well and truly shone it’s time to look at autumn wardrobes and what to put in ‘em. Lyn’s tip is to look out for shift dresses to team with coloured tights and wear with a heeled shoe or boot. Holding up a perfect example, ‘although it doesn’t look much on the hanger, it is beautiful on.’ The dress, hand-designed by Mauvette Phillips has been made in a soft fabric, appealing to touch. Personally, I know it would look good on.

Mauvette Philips shift dress