Have a Word Summer Special

Founder of Have A Word

Founder of Have A Word

Ellis Collins, the brainchild behind Brighton literary event, Have a Word, returns for a summer special on 27th August, at the Latest Music Bar, Manchester Street. An all male line-up promises to be an exciting and diverse range of poetry, story telling and music.












Nicolas Collins first collection of poetry, Washing the Duvet, spanned the life of a gay man exploring subjects: love, lust and loss with equal amounts of soul searching and humour through personal experience and wry observations of the world around him with a panache of exploring the world of cats! For the Have a Word Summer Special, Nicolas will be reading from his new collection of poetry.
Nicolas’s first book, Washing the Duvet will be on sale on the evening and from






Where all the neighbours are a nightmare.

Where all the neighbours are a nightmare.

Glenn Stevens passion is the short story, taking great pleasure in dissecting the world of suburban gothic in his collection of stories, Blanche Street: where all the neighbours are a nightmare, available on the night to download as an ebook. He will be reading the Brighton based tale, Dead Famous.

During a ghost walk in Brighton’s Lanes, Bryan bumps into Janice and Nick. As a new boy in town, Bryan is pleased to meet such a nice couple. Even better, Janice loves the fact that Bryan longs to be a writer, an actor or someone famous. With their help he will be, but at what cost? (website coming very soon)










Liam Murray Bell who will be reading second novel,The Busker, published by Myriad in May 2014 and Scottish Book Trust 2014 Pick of the Year.

“A modern-day ballad set across three cities and two years, The Busker is a richly comic exposé of the music industry, the occupy movement, homelessness, squatting — and failing to live up to the name you (almost) share with your hero. It is also the story of what survives when the flimsy dreams of fame fall apart.”








Singer, song writer.

Singer, song writer.

Paul Diello is a Brighton based singer songwriter and it is a real treat that he will be bringing his soul drenched songs to Have a Word Summer Special, singing songs from his second album, Looking Glass, including new double side single, (I am) a Voodoo Doll, reminiscent of Soft Cell’s Marc Almond in both sound an dark lyrics, with the flip side bringing Paul’s soulful sound to the Bronski Beat/Jimmy Somerville classic, Small Town Boy

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, Gay, Gothic horror, Leisure, Music, Uncategorized Leave a comment

The Power of a Kiss

thSince time began the emotive power of a kiss has been well documented, from Judas’s betrayal kiss to Jesus, to the emotional pull of Rodin’s world famous sculpture, The Kiss. This simple show of affection continues to be extremely powerful when shared with the wider public, particularly if the kiss is between a couple of the same sex and even more so if the same sex are male. One just has to take a look at the furore caused by the chaste kiss between the two Eastender characters, Colin (Michael Cashman) and Barry (Gary Hailes). This gay kiss was a first for any UK soap opera and caused equal amounts of praise and homophobic abuse from fans of the show. The red top tabloids went into meltdown with headlines like Eastbenders. Since then all the major soaps have included gay characters, reflecting the majority of the public opinion that being gay and showing affection through a kiss is not something to be ashamed of. However, there is still a section of the community who are literally repulsed by the sight of two men kissing; rather predictably two lesbians kissing receives a more titillating response from the tabloids and the majority of those (mostly male) homophobic complainers. Most recently Eastenders introduced a new gay character’s, Danny Pennant and Johnny Carter (played by Gary Lucy and Sam Strike) and once again complaints from viewers came in, however, the amount of complaints was dramatically smaller to those received back in the 1980’s. What is interesting to note is there has apparently been no complaints from viewers of Hollyoaks when they aired there own gay storylines. This has been put down to Hollyoaks having a younger, and perhaps a more enlightened audience fan base. Away from the soaps, John Barrowman’s man on man kiss at the opening of the Commonwealth Games got many of the social media sites buzzing with many people congratulating organisers for including the kiss, which helped highlight the fact that gay marriage is illegal in 42 of the 53 commonwealth counties taking part in the games. Even The Mirror congratulated the games with their online page showing “14 more amazing gay and lesbian snogs” Of course there was the usual backlash from others who were so disgusted that they had turn the television off and go and sit in their shed and fume. Living in Brighton it is easy to forget that there is still so much prevalent homophobia across the UK, and worse anti-gay legisation in the other countries across the world. For this reason alone it is all the more important that high profile, out gay men like Barrowman, show the world the power of the kiss, giving hope to all those who fear to share this simple act of love. John Barrowman’s Commonwealth Kiss



Posted on by admin in Commonwealth Games, Gay, LGBTQ Leave a comment

Positive Nation, World AIDS Day (2013) Piece.

Please click the link below for my piece for Positive Nation, World AIDS Day, 2013.

Posted on by admin in Gay, Health, HIV/AIDS, Lesbian, LGBTQ, Positive Nation Leave a comment

Happy Birthday David Bowie, A True Visionary of Our Times.

th-10 th-11 th-6 th-2






Happy Birthday David Bowie, 67 today. There can’t be that many people who have not heard of Bowie’s music, with his incredible output of twenty six studio albums, nine live albums, and a whooping one hundred and nine singles. Part of his success has been to his constant reinvention of not only his style of musical output, but also his every changing alter-egos, from the Boy next door, David Jones, Ziggy Stardust, that scary clown from the ashes to ashes video, Thin White Duke right up to last years incarnation getting all post modern with Tilda Swinton taking on the Bowie’s character, Thomas Jerome Newton in the cult film; The Man who Fell to Earth, in the brilliant video for his single, The Stars (Are Out Tonight.)

Typical Tilad pose from the video, The Stars (Are Out Tonight

Typical Tilad pose from the video, The Stars (Are Out Tonight

No doubt there will be many blogs today talking about Bowie’s contribution to music, but he also has made many memorable appearances in film, including The Hunger, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Labyrinth and his film debut, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

th-3 th-2 th-1 th

With Bowie’s birthday in his frame of vision, The Brighton Writer sat down last night and revisited this brilliant sc-fi film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. For those who have not seen it, or have vague memories of sitting through the two hours and twenty minutes of a visual feast, here is a recap.



Thomas Jerome Newton (Bowie) is an alien from the planet, Anthea, who has come to earth in the search of water to take back to his his drought ridden planet. He has nine patents from his own advanced planet, which once put in place garners him incredible wealth. The money he raises was intended  to build a space ship enabling him to return to his planet (in the book his plan was to bring his race back to earth, infiltrate key government powers and divert the human race from destroying itself with a nuclear war, as had happened on his own planet.

Th mean who fell to earth th-4 th-3

However, during his stay he meets a chambermaid at his hotel, a  a lonely woman called Mary Lou (played brilliantly by Candy Clark). Although together their love grows and Mary Lou’s character blossoms, Newton becomes addicted to alcohol (Beef eater Gin in particular) and television, (watching several television program at once).

images-10 images-3 images-2 images-4 images-11 Hello Mary-Lou

Despite this, Newton managers to create his  spaceship, but is arrested before he can make his highly publicised maiden launch and is incarcerated in the depths of a large hotel. there he is experimented on, by officials who believes he is a fake.

After many years he is eventually released from his Imprisonment, but by now he is a chronic alcoholic and unbeknown to him, his own specious has died of drought.

What is fascinating about the film is the continuous low level pace. Even during the more violent scenes, when Newton is being tortured or his business partner is murdered, thrown out of a top floor window by two men in glittery motorcycle helmets (The whole film has a very 1970’s feel to it) as a viewer your heart races with out feeling you are being bombarded with violence, that so many modern films of this ilk insists on showing.

Bowie’s performance as an outsider, quietly looking in is pitch perfect, as is his ghostly features, framed in a shock of red hair. It was only later that Bowie confessed that he was heavily addicted to cocaine and that for the most part he had little idea of what was happening.


“I was going a lot on instinct, and my instinct was pretty dissipated. I just learned the lines for that day and did them the way I was feeling. It wasn’t that far off. I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was. It was a pretty natural performance. … a good exhibition of somebody literally falling apart in front of you.” David Bowie

It has been Bowie’s intuitive instinct that has made him one of the most influential performers for the last five decades, with little sign of that creativity stopping yet.

Happy Birthday David Bowie, a true visionary of our times.

The Man Who Fell to Earth, Trailer

Posted on by admin in Fiction & Books, film Leave a comment

Sound and Visionary: Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc

Way back in 1899, famous French gay composer, Francis Poulenc was born to Emile and Jenny Poulenc. His mother, an amateur pianist, taught Francis to the piano, which in turn would begin his life-long love affair with music.

In his early career he embraced the radical Dada movement, (imagine the work of Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam without any restraints and that’s Dada art)an art form that suited Poulenc’s playful compensations as shown at the end of this blog.


During this time, Poulenc joined forces with a group of French and Swiss composers who would become known as the avant-garde group, ‘Les Six’. Together the group set about redefining musical compositions, while reacting against the impressionist and late Romantics of their time; including, composers: Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.


From the aged of eighteen, onwards, Poulenc had an extremely successful career in music, which would take him across the globe. During the years of 1921-25, Poulenc undertook his first formal training, but the majority of his learning from thereon in was self taught compensations. It has been said that he’s work was influenced by that of Stravinsky and Satie, but when one listens to his work, it is distantly his own. 

Although it has to be said being gay in 1920’s Paris wasn’t seen as particularly shocking, Poulenc was always open about his homosexuality, had a string of affairs with men but was rather taken by the painter, Richard Chanlaire to whom he dedicated  the ‘Concert champêtre’ and is quoted as saying of  Chanlaire, “You have changed my life, you are the sunshine of my thirty years, a reason for living and working”


Random fact: Poulenc’s piece, Perpetual Motion Nr. 1 was used as part of the soundtrack for Hitchcock’s gay themed film, Rope.

Poulenc’s , Perpetual Motion Nr. 1used in the film, Rope

Poulenc’s , Perpetual Motion Nr. 1used in the film, Rope

in 1936 the death of his close friend and fellow composer, Pierre-Octave Ferroud, led Poulenc to return to his Catholic faith, which interestingly did not stop him embracing his own homosexuality. However, his musical output changed dramatically where he composed both liturgical music and compositions laden with religious themes.

Pierre-Octave Ferroud,

In later life he would dedicate the one act opera, La voix humaine (The Human Voice) to his lover, Louis Gautier who was with Poulenc on the day he died of heart failure in Paris on January 30th 1963.

As well as giving a little history lesson, the Brighton Writer wrote this piece because, with Christmas but a distant memory, and those New Year shenanigans locked away as you get yourself back to the grindstone, he asks you to take a moment of time from your day to sit back and enjoy the beautiful composition from Francis Poulenc, while watching this brilliant piece of Dadaism at the same time.


Suite en 3 mouvements, FP 19 (1920)

1928 Dadaist Film

Posted on by admin in Music Leave a comment

What Do the BrightonWriter and Miley Cyrus Have in Common?



Read this months Gscene column from the

BrightonWriter to find out… (page 49)

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, Gay, Gscene, LGBTQ Leave a comment

Born on This Day: Joe Orton

Joe Orton


On this day, John Kingsley Orton, (better known as the brilliant playwright, Joe Orton) was born in Leicestershire 1933 and at a meer thirty-four years old, would die a brutal death at the hands of his lover, Kenneth Hallliwell.

During his short life, Orton would write some of the most iconic and scandalous plays of their time, including, Entertaining Mr Sloan, Loot  and What the Butler Saw.

Orton’s plays broke the mould and dared to question authority figures, from policemen to middle class couples, twitching their nets. Although Orton’s work shocked, it also gave the theatre a much needed kick into reality. Entertaining Mr Sloan, Loot and What The Butler Saw, where all made into successful films too.


As well as Orton’s plays having overtly gay overtones, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, Orton himself was open about his own sexuality, was a rampant cottager (seeking sex with other men in public toilets) as well as having a long standing relationship with Halliwell. Together they revelled in sticking two fingers up at established authorities; most famously when then defaced 72 library books in protest about the “endless rows of rubbish” at their local Islington library, in Essex Road. The two men managed to avoid being caught for some months. Such is Orton’s and Halliwell’s place in history, that the book where recreated at Islington Library in all their defacement back in 2011 and put on display.

Orton wrote about all of his exploites, highs an flows in his diary, which would also become the catalyst which would drive Halliway to bludgeon to death his lover with a hammer.

Although a tragic end to an extremely talented writer, Orton’s work continues to be as popular now as when it was written way back in the 60’s.


If you have never explored his work, now is as good a time as any.

Entertaining Mr. Sloan trailer:

Loot, Trailer:

Joe Orton: The Orton Diaries. 

Posted on by admin in Fiction & Books, Gay Leave a comment

Holiday! Celebrate! 2

Holiday! celebrate! (2)


I visited Sicily earlier in the year and loved it. Why? Well, I loved the balance between history and good taste versus the craziness of contemporary life, mad driving and bin strikes. Somehow the beauty of the past came alive by the casualness of the contemporary residents. The food was amazing, served with an ease that only tradition could offer. We dined in a cave by the sea where we pointed at the fish we fancied on the way in the door. The grumpy chef then shrugged and nodded towards a table as his wife plonked a jug of unnamed wine in front of us. What followed over the following hour was possibly the best meal of my life. 








In the time it takes you to drive from Brighton, to Leicestershire (3hrs) you could be basting in the sunshine of the beautiful island of Sicily.

Sicily, a collection of nine provinces, each linked to the mainland (with the exception of Enna) giving travellers a host of experiencers to explore. Furthermore, the inhabitants of Sicily are extremely friendly, proud of their heritage and eager for tourists, particularly families, to have the best holiday during their stay. 

San Vito lo Capo.

For sun-lovers, the temperatures starting at a pleasing 19c (60f) at the start of May and  can reach up to 26c (79f) during July and August. Even in the later months of September and October, the heat is still a pleasing, 24c (76f), 21c (69f respectively. This of course mean stat the crystal blue waters are equally warm, making the whole summer experience so much better.

Catacombs of the Capuchins

Villa Romana del Casale

Mount Etna


However, Sicily is so much more than just a place to catch some rays, it is also a place steeped in history; from the fascinating Catacombs of the Capuchins, where thousands of preserved corpses dating back from the 16th century are on display, to something less macabre like the Roman mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale, or to get your pulse racing visit th worlds most active volcano, Mount Etna.

Even for the most seasoned tourist, Sicily continues to surpass and delight on each returning visit, with sunshine, good food, excellent hospitality and a breathtaking landscape that reminds you just what a fantastic holiday destination you have arrived in.

Sicilyian pasta Sicilian cakes

Sicely Fish

Sicely shell fish







Getting there: Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Manchester, Birmigham and Dublin airport each offer direct flights to Sicily

Accommodation, Places to Eat: Sicily has a huge range of hotels, B&B and apartments to rent: and equally some stunning places to eat:

So, while the weather continues to lash and bash outside, do yourself a favour and book that bit of summer sun now. 

P.S. Random New Year Eve fact about Sicily: An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year’s Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck. “

Posted on by admin in Leisure Leave a comment

Holiday! Celebrate!

With Christmas all but a distant memory and the new year getting ready to kick 2013 into the long grass, the British nation’s thoughts will be thinking of two things and two things only, diets and holidays.

th-5Camping At st. David's Pembrokshire

My first and only thought on diets is life is too short, eat chocolate in moderation and you should be fine, as for the second, I have asked a group of friends to tell me their favourite holiday destination, which in turn should give us all a little inspiration to start imagining what the sun on our face feels likes as opposed to the biting wind that is lashing our windows at this very moment in time.

First up: Camping at St David’s in Pembrokeshire.

Calm warm sea, seagulls riding the wind, soft white, perfect sculpting sand, tea, toast and papers in the morning, the sound of the tent zip, unzipping to see the edge if the cliff as it dips away gently into the blue sea. I like it cos it’s idyllic, with calm space and the most beautiful weather. 



With its miles of golden sand, blue waters and some of the best surfing in the country, St David’s in Pembrokeshire offers the perfect break with a range of budgets to suit all pockets. Although their are some fantastic bed and breakfasts guest houses, their are equally some brilliant camp sites dotted across the coastline.

For the uninitiated, the idea of camping may send a chill down their spine, but for that very reason camping should be given a second chance. These days their are a range of tents to suite all families, couples of for those who want to seek a little solitude and get away from it all. 

The other main thing to remember is comfort. Invest in a descent inflatable mattress. Their are two main types, those that can charged via the car’s cigarette lighter, or pumped by foot or even a reachable pump. For a stress free experience, invest in a self-inflate mattress, with a twist of the toggles a perfectly comfortable mattress is ready to stretch out on in minutes. F.Y.I. the former have more bounce, but the latter are firmer.

Forget sleeping bags, who wants to roll over onto a cold zip in the middle of the night? so, grab your duvet and pillows and be assured of a decent nights sleep and be ready and refreshed to wake up to amazing sunrises and the beauty of the expansive ocean on your doorstep.


Pack a camping stove (never ever use any type of gas stove inside your tent. Ever) to make that morning cuppa, or just take a flask of your favourite beverage to get you up and running in the morning and get the local cafe or eatery to fill your flask with hot water for the next day; yep it really can be that stress free.


As for St David’s, the place is perfect for whatever kind of holiday you have in mind, from taking yourself off to the quieter parts of the beach to catch some sunshine, to the perfect blue waters, many of which continue each year to win the prestigious clean water, ‘Blue Flag Awards’; something of great importance to all those who are seeking the perfect wave. Further along the coast the rock face offers stunning coastal walks and fantastic climbing opportunities to the adventurous, while inland their are many historical places of interest to visits  includingSt David’s Cathedral, fantastic pubs and restaurants with lovers of fish cuisine spoilt for choice, while those with an artistic bent can absorb themselves in the many art galleries St. David’s boast.

For more information about St David’s in Pembrokeshire and camping outlets, visit:

Packed with further information about What St David’s has to offer:

For all your surfing needs, from shops to surf reports:

For all your camping needs:

Posted on by admin in Health, Leisure Leave a comment

Brighton: The Graphic Novel, Part Two


Th eBrighton Writer's story board

Th eBrighton Writer’s story boardQueenSpark Books: Graphic Novel. (A shameless post Christmas plug).

Brighton: a Graphic Novel is turning out to be one of QueenSpark Books best sellers of 2013 and looks to continue to do so as we enter 2014.PTDC0002

With this in mind, The Brighton Writer invites you to take another peep behind his involvement in the process along with the extremely talented artists, Emilie Majarian  and Collette Tarbuck.

Having interviewed the main drag artists David Raven, aka Maisie Trollette Dave Lynn and Stephen Richards aka Lola Lasagne (see previous blog)  The Brighton Writer set about interviewing other key players who would become part of the projects storyline.

As HIV and AIDS has had such a devastating effect on many of those within the LGBT community, The Brighton writer felt it important to include this era within the storyline. With this in mind, The Brighton writer got in touch with local artist/sculpture, Romany Mark Bruce, James Ledward (Gscene) and Paul Elgood (Rainbow Fund); who collectively enabled the development and construction of Brighton’s AIDS memorial. From their feedback The Brighton writer was able to find out that the AIDS memorial project faced a fair few hurdles, including protests that fundraising for the project would take away funds from other local HIV health care. This issue was quickly resolved by Paul Elgood and James Ledward’s reassurance that all fundraising for the AIDS memorial would be raised through individual and business private backers.) Romany also worked for two years on the project free of charge, allowing all funds raised to go towards the completion of the AIDS memorial project.

One of the other major problems Romany faced was having the 11ft clay structure collapse while he was working on it, forcing him to begin the project all over again. This storyline gave The Brighton Writer the perfect opportunity to combine the ‘Brighton Angels’ alongside Romany’s journey in the construction and unveiling of the AIDS memorial By David Furnish.

Part way through, the clay structure collapsed on top of Romany mark Bruce

Part way through, the clay structure collapsed on top of Romany mark Bruce


Romany Mark Bruce


The middle section of my storyline was used as a vehicle to not only to introduce some of the other well-known faces from the Brighton scene but also allowing me to promote some of the LGBT projects they have been involved in. The main bases of the storyline was to introduce James Ledward and The Golden Handbag Awards; a project that give the LGBT community an opportunity to celebrate individuals and groups achievements from the previous 12 months. Within the storyline I also included Stephanie Starlet, who had led the march for Stomp out Stigma campaign, as part of LGBT mental health group, MindOut. Unfortunately this piece of information hit the editing floor, so I have included it here.



PTDC0037The other well-known face on the scene I included was Ant Howells; partly for his longstanding involvement with the Sussex Beacon fundraising/social group, Bear-Patrol, as well as his involvement with HIV groups like Act-Up who were an extremely important campaign group who helped bring the plight of those living with HIV/dying from AIDS.

Jason Sutton aka Miss Jason and Poo-la-May also appear allowing me to mention one of Brighton’s oldest and perhaps most infamous gay pubs, The Bulldog and Club Revenge; both venues would be instrumental in development of the Gay Village in Brighton as we know it today.

The final story from the trilogy tells the story of Brighton’s Hankie Quilt Project. At the time of researching varies ideas for the final tale, I was introduced to Maurice Mchale Parry, who along with Peter Moxom, revived the idea of the the Names Quilt Project, through the Hankie Quilt Project, inspired by the 25th anniversary of the Names Quilt Project. Both projects have great strength in their simplicity by inviting people who had lost friends, loveres, family members to AIDS, to sew their name onto a piece of fabric, which in turn made up a quilt of many names, memories and love.




The piece couldn’t be finish without a mention of Brighton’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Pride. From a few of us gathering in Queens Park to protest about the Consecrative Parties legislation, Clause 28, which effectively stopped school teachers discussing homosexuality with their pupils, leaving many young LGBTQ people unsure about how they were feeling, and without any knowledge of who to turn to for help. Since then, Brighton Pride has become an extremely important date in many LGBTQ people’s diaries, not only as time to celebrate, but to also remember their are still many counties whose anti-LGBTQ laws are causing misery and oppression and that will always be the main driving force for the visibility of Brighton Pride as we all protest and celebrate and party on down for future generations to come who will in turn leave their own mark and become part of Brighton’s unique history. The final panel had originally been designed with a host of volunteer groups from the LGBT community being represented. It was with regret that this grand scene was also to hit the editing floor, but the prominence of the AIDS quilt, the main players and one of Brighton’s most iconic tourists attractions, The Royal Pavilion helped frame this important slice of Brighton’s history.Final splash page, all the main players come together.





One more thing, check out the brilliant animation from Angie Thomas, who has brought the whole project to life.

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, Fiction & Books, Gay, Gscene, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ Leave a comment