more on the booth of many wonders

A photocall yesterday at the station booth. I popped along to get a quick quotes from Geoffrey Theobald, who is Chair of the Environment committee on Brighton and Hove City council (and former Mayor). Andrew Comben, Festival CEO who I’ve previously interviewed, and Chris Hudson of Southern Railways.

My colleague Simon was taking photos, and I joined in, if only to be able to menace Andrew Comben with a camera again. I also met Kath Travis, who is from journey on. For some reason I didn’t know about this before, but it is a marvellous site that lets you know where your bus is, when it’s to be expected, the traffic situation, even the carbon footprint of your bus journey. Amazing.

Just another sign that Brighton is one of the most sustainability minded cities in the UK, and that its festival is part of that mix.

This little booth is one sign of joined up thinking, and an example of the new kind of partnership that could ultimately help us all.

Below Andrew, Geoffrey and Chris joining forces for sustainability.

The Brighton Moment at the Komedia

People who live in Brighton think Brighton is big and clever. Judging by the number of scribes who live here and write about it, this big and cleverness will live on long after the current crop is being squabbled over by the seagulls.

Having evolved in three years from a cosy fringe event at Joogleberry Playhouse, to its current ability to effortlessly fill the 300 seats of the Kommedia, The producers of The Brighton Moment Susanna Jones and Alison MacLoud have done great things with an event that this year is now officially part of the Brighton Festival. (I noticed Andrew Comben, incoming Festival supremo, present and correct.)

And, frankly, damn right it should be too. Where else can you hear a burst of something like 18 excellent authors reading their own material all focused on one theme? And what other English city could produce it? The variety of material and the change in voices meant the literary longueurs were rare, and the delights were many.

Hosted by Annabel Giles, who managed to be both ramshackle and slick, the event attracted a flock of Brighton’s finest scribes. Tanya Murray, who I’d seen read once before, is fairly new and largely unpublished. She “used to be a man but gave it up”, and for my money Murray is an authentic Brighton voice, and a talent to watch.

Next year’s Brighton Moment may extend beyond one night. If it does, you should seize that moment, and see it.

the vanity of hacks

A text from my friend Spooner: Are you a journo-whore now? alerted me to the fact that Southern On Track mag was now out. So on my way to work picked up a copy. I’ve got three photos (although nowhere near my best ones) in it too. It’s also online, and here are my interviews with Andrew Comben and Thurstan Crockett (as well as the bit on the wood slick).

Something lurks in the heart of most writers: the familiar little glow, and the vain pleasure of seeing your name in print. It’s happened many times over the years, and each time it feels good. I like it best when it’s by a printed poem or story. One thing about working for an agency is that, despite my stuff being seen by literally millions of people, you almost never get your name printed.

As I write, I have one more week to go helping out at my old agency – and after groundhog day feelings abated, and I find I’ve enjoyed being invited back to familiar surroundings. But I am champing at the bit to get on with lots of new projects as soon as the week’s up.

interviews and mind maps

Off today to London to interview Andrew Comben, the new Chief Executive of the Brighton Festival for On Track magazine. He hasn’t yet started the job, and is still working in the Wigmore Hall. I had to zoom up to the smoke. Quite nice to lurk in the west end and rubberneck at, for example, a young woman preaching in the street at Oxford Circus, looking like some office executive who’d taken an odd turn in life.

I haven’t done a formal interview for a while, so I made sure I was well prepared. I read up what could be found about him on the Internet (which makes you feel a bit of a stalker) and made mind maps to work out the question areas. This means, should your swinish recorder gives up the ghost on the train journey into London, you can actually scrawl your notes directly onto your mind maps too without looking like too much of a chump.

It’s always best to actually meet people face to face too. So many people give interviews over the phone, but nothing beats being able to see the whites of their eyes, and get an instant sense of the person you are talking to. Andrew, it turned out was a really nice guy, and very easy to interview.

I also took some photos of him, but he (wisely) declined to do the rather bizarre shot I wanted of him popping out from behind a curtain. But you gotta ask.

Below Andrew Comben.