Imagine a new use for Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion

 

A Christmas late afternoon seafront walk took me to Worthing Pier as the sun began to set. Right at the end of our Grade II listed art-deco pier is the Southern Pavilion - a beautiful oval shaped building currently standing empty and unused after the most recent tenants Angelik (sic) nightclub were refused a renewed premises licence by the council - presumably on grammatical grounds.
    A chat with Worthing's unstoppable Dan Thompson (the man behind #riotcleanup) alerted me to the nightclub's closure and we discussed how wonderful it would be if Worthing Borough Council were to grant a licence for use of this space to a community organisation at a peppercorn rent. It breaks my heart that one of Worthing's finest buildings (with the best panoramic sea views) is closed to most of our residents, and not being a frequenter of night clubs myself, I for one have never set foot inside.
   Apparently the interior has a vast 800 people capacity dance floor. Imagine Saturday afternoon tea dances! With its unspoilt views out to sea and daylight streaming in through those curved windows it would make a make a great art gallery space, and a tea room and shop would help pay the rent. In the evening it could be the perfect place for all kinds of community groups to meet and hold events (music, independent film screenings, arts clubs, circus and of course I'm thinking ukuleles) and would totally transform the way the Pier is used.


View from Worthing Pier at sunset, Christmas Day 2011

We moved to a Better Room - Euros Childs in Brighton

Last night I travelled to Brighton in the bitter cold to see Euros Childs in concert at the Unitarian Church - part of his solo piano UK tour. It was a thrilling event. Euros performed pieces from his new album Ends - songs that are melancholy, deeply romantic and sometimes very funny all at the same time.

During a splendid set he began to give us a rousing version of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's canine anthem Poodle Rockin'. The sheer boogie woogie joy of this tune brought more excitement to the old church piano than it had seen in years and its strings dramatically snapped half way through with one piece flying into the air and landing in the lap of a surprised woman in the front row. We, the audience, were actually all thrilled until it looked like Euros would be unable to continue without a working piano.

A short chaos-limitation break intervened when it was remembered that there was an upright piano in a room at the back of the venue. The entire audience squeezed into the smaller back room with its bright ceiling lights, completely transforming the event from one of respectful but appreciative distance (for the audience) to a much more familial, cosy and cheerful sing-along affair.

By day this room is used as a Montessori nursery for pre-school children and is a place already filled with nostalgia and warm emotion for me, as it's the first nursery my daughter went to. Euros sang and played the upright piano without amplification against a backdrop of kids' drawings (including a jolly snowman themed Christmas mural) and we sat knee-to-knee on plastic children's chairs, everyone somehow not able to believe their luck at such a happy and intimate turn in events. It was my favourite live music show of the past twelve months and a fine way to end the musical year.

For those who don't already own the entire Euros Childs back catalogue, you can start by visiting www.euroschilds.com

Transistor radio lavender bags in the Ivy Arch shop

Radio print lavender bags in white, turquoise, red and mustard are now on sale in the Ivy Arch shop! Using fabric from Kokka's Ruby Star Rising collection (designed by Melody Miller), I've cut out the transistor radios and sewn them into pouches backed with cotton, then filled them with highly fragrant dried lavender flowers from Provence. 

December's ukulele appliqué tote bags

This is the last batch of ukulele tote bags I will make this side of Christmas. They're mostly made from vintage fabrics - check out the sublime 1950s red atomic print bag.

My favourite is cut from an African wax print cotton remnant left over from a dress made for me by Dig For Victory's Eleanor Callaghan (also of top uke combo The Bobby McGees). It's the one I wore at Wukulele Festival and there's a picture of the heroic dress amongst the festival photos. I've made two tote bags in this fabric, so I can keep one for myself!



Applique ukulele tote bags are on sale now in my Etsy shop.

Upcycled party bags for the Age of Reason

It's the time of year when I need to remove all my precious ceramic pots, breakable trinkets and collection of ukuleles from the lounge. My daughter's birthday party is imminent. This year I made the party bags myself in a feeble attempt to offset the frightening quantities of landfill-bound tat that a child's birthday seems to produce. I've used red cotton gingham left over from a previous project and have appliquéd them with Jane Foster's lovely printed birds saved from the offcuts of this uke gig bag, and bright butterflies salvaged from making from these lavender bags.
Now I better go and pack away my sewing machine...
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