Refugee Radio is a Brighton-based human rights charity. Their projects include a weekly radio show, live events and media training, as well as mentoring, a post-traumatic resilience panel, and a cookery group. Refugee Radio Times, a new book, was compiled by Stephen Silverwood, the charity’s chief executive, and Lorna Stephenson, who also edits a monthly newsletter of the same name. The book includes personal testimonies from refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants, alongside journalism and analysis by human rights campaigners. Continue reading
Those in the Brighton area can see Laura reading from the book at the next Ace Stories event at the Hotel Pelirocco, Regency Square, on October 16 at 6pm. Authors Edward Wilson and Jeff Sheppard will also read, with music from Twenty-One Crows. Entry £3.
Angry art for troubled times: found on a wall outside the Cobbler’s Thumb pub, New England Street, Brighton. The (anonymous) rhyme dates from the 17th century, protesting against land enclosure and rural dispossession.
Alan Corkish, Alan Morrison, Anne Sexton, Brighton, Caroline Lucas, Cuts, Emergency Verse, George Orwell, Keith Armstrong, Mick Moss, Naomi Foyle, Niall McDevitt, Pen Kease, PJ Harvey, Poetry, Protest
The UK’s general election of May 2010 produced no overall majority, and for the first time since 1945, a coalition was formed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron and Nick Clegg taking the roles of Prime Minister and Deputy. Chancellor George Osborne swiftly proposed the most radical cuts to public services in a generation, in order to repay a national deficit estimated at £7.5 billion, and following the worldwide economic crisis that began in 2007.
Between the coalition’s Emergency Budget, and its Comprehensive Spending Review four months later, a palpable sense of unease brewed among many ordinary people. Autumn saw widespread student marches and occupations, while campaigning groups like UK Uncut staged ‘sit-ins’ at high street stores including Vodafone and Top Shop, in protest at corporate tax evasion.
During this period, the poet and editor, Alan Morrison, collected submissions for a new anthology, Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State. As reported in The Guardian, it was released initially as an E-book, and a print edition was subsequently launched at London’s Poetry Library in January 2011. Continue reading
Backstage Brighton: Theatre-Going in Brighton & Hove (2010) is the latest offering from Queenspark Books, Brighton’s community publisher, specialising in oral history. It complements their previous book, Back Row Brighton: Cinema-Going in Brighton & Hove (2009.) Continue reading
‘Happy birthday, Norma Jeane…’
A hundred kids sang to me in the dining hall, the younger ones banging their spoons on the long table. Mrs Dewey pushed open the swing doors, wheeling a teacart.
On it was a large pink and white cake with just one candle. I got up, and blew it out.
Then Mrs Dewey cut a slice of cake and laid it on my plate. I scooped up the soft yellow sugar and marzipan. Before I’d finished, she cut more slices. But there wasn’t enough for everyone.
‘Who wants bonbons?’ she said. She had given me one last Sunday. Boys hollered, and she pushed the teacart forward.
At bedtime, I lay awake then sneaked up to the roof, led by Vera, a short girl who had freckles and ginger curls. The stairwells were dark but unguarded and it was an easy climb out of the loft.
‘I slept out here last summer,’ Vera whispered.
It got noisy in the dorms, with all the younger kids crying for their moms. The air up here was warm, and no stars shone. I looked out across the skyline. Vera pointed to her school, where I’d be starting in September.
The city looked tiny, from way above, as if I could pick up anyone of the factories or studios and crush it in my hand. A round, flashing sign loomed on top of a tall blue building.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘The water tower. That’s where we get our supply. My pa worked on the reservoir when we came to California.’
‘But the sign…’ I said, reading ‘RKO’ out from the neon letters. ‘That’s a movie studio, my aunt worked there once. It’s where Ginger Rogers makes pictures with Fred Astaire.’
‘You’ve been to a theater, Norma Jeane?’
‘Sure. My aunt’s taking me on Sunday.’ I shivered, and rubbed my arms. It had turned cold.
‘We’ve got to go back.’ Vera led me down to the dorms. I lay in bed thinking about Aunt Grace, wishing she worked at RKO now. Then I went to sleep, but not for long. A dream began, of a monster chasing me over the hills. People watched as I ran, but nobody moved or even spoke.
‘Hey, Norma Jeane, what’s wrong?’
I sat up. Other kids were staring from their beds.
‘Just dreaming, I guess,’ Vera whispered. ‘You were talking to someone. Go to sleep now.’
I pulled the covers up to my chin, but there would be no more sleep. I lifted the photograph of my father and held it to my heart, while Mother’s picture looked out from the night table.