More to Me Than HIV Read more

More to Me Than HIV

First published in Gscene July 2020 For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being           Read more

More to Me Than HIV: GScene post Aug 2020

More to Me Than HIV is a project that aims to breakdown the stigma that has historically been attached to this virus.  When I saw my piece in last months Gscene to promote the More to Me Than HIV project, I was extremely proud, but a small part of me was filled with anxiety; but why should I feel this way? I have been on effective antiretroviral therapy since the Read more

More to Me Than HIV: first published in GScene July 2020

For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being             diagnosed HIV+ 32 years previous. Back then there was no treatment and a lot of fear and misinformation concerning how HIV was transmitted. As such stigma was rife, Read more


Love your Library

For many people who have not visited their local library for a long time, they may still have memories of places steeped in silence that should it be broken a stern librarian, wearing tweed and half rimmed glasses dishes out a severe, “SSSHHH!”th





The truth is many libraries are now far removed from this past image, anyone who visits Jubilee Library, Brighton (just up from the road from the Dome) will quickly realise just how much things have changed.

The award winning building, was built with energy efficiency in mind. As well as the building itself, Jubilee library’s collection of books are also diverse; from their rare books to the wide range of fiction and non fiction collections. You will find everything there from Africa, Animals, Anne Boleyn to Zombies, Zorro, to Zadie Smith.

As well as the physical books, there are also plenty of online material to get stuck into. All you need to do is to become a library member, which is free and then log into the Brighton and Hove Library website to have a plethora of information at your finger tips. What is your interest, newspapers, magazines, biographies, career help, Which magazine, (in libraries only), UK citizenship information, Academic research, it is all there waiting for you to discover it.
Fan of the graphic novel? not only is there a large collection of all your favourites along with a few hidden gems at Jubilee and Hove Library, but there are literally thousands of  comics and graphic novesl to download for free on to your device for you to view 24/7.

Libraries are all about diversity, In a town like Brighton, it would have been expected that such books would have always been on offer to the public, but it has only been in the last six years that this collection has . Of course, there have been LGBT themed novels available on the shelf, with the likes of Lesbian/gay classics, Radcliffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness and E.M. Forster’s Maurice, but now there are now a wide range of fiction, non fiction and a great collection of DVD’s aimed at the wide range of personalities that make up the LGBT communityth

There had been a consultation on whether in the 21 century if such book should just be absorbed within the libraries collection. I personally feel, that although we are living in a very forward thinking city, there is still a need for a dedicated LGBT collection that can be accessed easily.

In our city of Brighton it may be too easy to think that those within the LGBT community live their lives as if every day was a Pride celebration, but the fact is any one of us will at some point have to face up to any number of obstacles that can have an effect on our mental or physical health. Again, Jubilee and Hove Library, along with smaller collections in the branch libraries, have a fantastic collection of books shelved under, Books On Prescription.

th-3Books On Prescription are a carefully selected set of books, covering a wide range of health topics, including: anxiety, depression, phobias, eating/drinking/smoking addictions, sleep problems, dementia, that you can either access via the library or have recommended to you by your GP.
I’m guessing for those who have not been to their local library, be it Jubilee, Hove, Coldean, Hangleton, Hollingbury, Mile Oak, Moulscoomb, Patcham, Portslade, Rottingdean, Westdean Saltdean, Woodingdean and Whitehawk.

In a time when Libraries are closing across the country, Brighton and hove libraries are going from strength to strength, so go on, do yourself a favour and pop into your local library today to see what’s on offer.

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writing everyday in October: Filthy Weather

Filthy Weather

“The ongoing stand off between the waste collection service and the recently elected government has now spread up from the South Coast and as far as Nottingham. The dispute started when the Brighton council increased working hours and cut holiday pay. The situation has been exacerbated by the increasingly hot weather. Many of the local beauty spots have seen a dramatic increase in fly tipping. A local woman said that she no longer allows her children to play in the local parks after her daughter came home holding a used syringe. Councillor Richard T Summers said talks where on going with the union and he hoped this issue will be…”

The television suddenly went dead, Barry turned round to see Genie in her nurses outfit. “Oi, I was watching that!”
Gina rolled her eyes as she dumped her bag on the chair and said, “Oh, hello love hard day at work? Well, yeah it was actually.
Sensing Gina had once again been run ragged, Barry jumped out of his chair and gave Genie a hug, “Sorry hun, you want a cuppa?”
Gina flopped herself down on the sofa, “We got any of that wine left?”
Barry looked out of the window, the mid morning sun was already unbearably hot, then back at Gina, but before he could say anything, Gina spoke up, “Yes I know its mid morning Barry, but after the night shift I’ve had a cup of tea just won’t cut it.”
Knowing better, Barry scurried off into the kitchen and poured out the last of the white wine. As he returned to the lounge he saw Genie sitting in her chair with her eyes shut.
“Busy night then hun?” said Barry as he passed Genie the glass”. With one eye half open Genie took the glass and nodded, “More people coming down with that stomach bug. Why didn’t I choose to be a pole dancer, or a bank clerk, at least then I could just pretend to care”.
Barry flung himself onto the sofa, which nearly caused the wine to go flying, Gina was about to shout, when Barry threw his arm around her gave her a big kiss and said, “You wouldn’t be any good in those jobs, it’s in your nature to look out for others, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Gina wanted to protest, to say she had great legs for a pole dancer but she knew that Barry was right. She had wanted to be a nurse for as long as she could remember. Growing up she was forever bandaging up her toys and on occasions her baby brother.
Gina drained her glass as the sun shifted and poured into the room.
Holding his hand up to his face, Barry squinted, “You’re off tomorrow aren’t you? If its like this we could go on the beach. Find a nice quite spot, away from the crowds”.
When Gina didn’t jump at the chance, Barry added, “I’ll make us a picnic, what do you say?”
Gina snuggled up to Barry and nodded before falling asleep.

The next morning Barry was up bright and early, putting together a picnic, by ten o clock Genie and Barry were driving along the seafront.
As they whizzed past the main tourist’s beach and passed the Marina, Gina piped up and said, “Barry! We are not having a picnic at that end of the beach, that’s where they pump out all the sewage.
As he pulled the car into park, Barry said, “Look, it’s nice and quite and at least this end it’s not all pebbles; besides, the sewerage is pumped out miles into the sea, it’s the law.”
Not happy, Gina let out a long sigh as they grabbed their beach gear and made their way down the long stairwell. Once settled on the rare bit of sand Brighton had to offer, Gina had to admit that it was a lovely spot, a great sun trap and best of all their were no tourists!
By midday there was not a single cloud in the sky as the sun beat down at its fiercest.
Genie fanned herself with her book and was about to say that if they had gone to the other end of the beach, they could have popped into a bar and had a nice cool drink, when Barry suddenly jumped up, “Come on let’s have a dip, cool off.”
Genie looked over her sunglasses at the sea and shook her head, “The water’s not clean Barry, let’s jump in the car and find a bar, get a nice long cool drink.” Barry wiggled in his trunks and winked, but Gina was having none of it, “No I don’t fancy it, Barry no matter how much you think a wiggle and a grin will help, but if you want to, you go ahead.”
“Chicken” said Barry as he ran to the waters edge, waded in up to his trunks and dive din head first. No sooner had he disappeared under the water then he was up again. Genie couldn’t help but laugh as Barry staggered back up the beach; arms reaching out like a horror film zombie.
He tried to speak but his words were not forthcoming. Eventually he managed to say “Orange, orange” while stabbing his finger towards the cooler bag.
Genie passed him the carton, which Barry gratefully gulped down. Once he got settled back on this towel Barry turned to Genie, “You can’t see it, but there’s something nasty in the water, yuk, I can still taste it.”
“That will be the sh..”
Barry held up his hand, “Don’t even say it.”
Even though he had drank all the liquids from the cool bag, Barry was unable to get rid of the taste from the back of his throat. He then tried his best to lay still but each time he laid flat he started coughing and his eyes were streaming. Gina looked at Barry and said, “Come on, let’s get you home”.
That night Genie spent most of the night lying awake in the darkened bedroom listening to Barry in the bathroom throwing up. It had got to that horrible stage where there was nothing left but stomach lining to bring up; Gina pulled her pillow around her ears as she was convinced Barry’s stomach was actually going to make a very unwelcome appearance.

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Blanche Street 19: Dead Famous


Art By Julie Peterson

Janice: By Julie Peterson

Way back in early 2012, QueenSpark books put a call out for writers to submit ideas for stories based on Brighton’s diverse history. The stories in turn were to be to a local artist to bring the stories alive. My original story was based on the Infamous Brighton Trunk Murders. Although this story won me a place in the project, during later meetings the group was asked who would like to write a story based on Brighton’s LGBT scene; I put my hand up and wrote a completely different script but reworked my trunk murder story: Dead Famous.

While writing Dead Famous I had the idea for the Blanche Street tale, Filth and began to write the two stories to complement each other and reveal the truth of what was attacking Netty in her tale and also connect this Brighton tale with my Blanche Street Tales.

I began to get the threads of my story together by first reading up on some of the grim deaths and murders of Brighton: there have been a fair few which has kept those men and women dressed up in Victorian clobber busy as they take people around Brighton and reveal the darker side of Brighton.
For me personally it was Brighton Trunk Murders that stayed with me as being the most shocking and soI decided to write an updated version of these tales while linking it to the past.
While writing the two tales, Filth and Dead Famous I played around with names for my protagonist, again I tried a few but it was when I introduced the other main characters, Janice and Nic that the Name Bryan popped into my head. I needed a device to give the reader an idea of age difference and so I had Janice do the work for me.

“Bryan with a Y”, replied Janice, “like Bryan Ferry. I guess you’re too young to remember him.”
I wanted to make further differences between these three characters, this was achieved through the use of costume; While Bryan wears an ill fitting overcoat, Janice and Nic are much more smartly dressed which intrigues and disturbs Bryan and hopefully the readers too.
Bryan dived round the corner and straight into the path of a woman in a full length mink fur coat.
This story is worth reading more then once as the reader gets to understand some of the more sinister moments that first time round seem quite innocent. A good example come in the scene when Janice cajoles Bryan to go to the pub for a drink.
Before he had a chance to answer, Janice linked her arm into Bryan’s and led him through the narrows lanes, until they came outside the Cricketers. Bryan tried to protest by saying he’d forgotten to bring his wallet, but Janice just laughed and pulled him into the warmth of the pub.
“Sit yourself down Bryan, I’m just going to powder my nose, while Nick gets us all a drink. What you having, lager?”

Poor Bryan genuinely thinks he has made some new friends when in fact the pair are putting the next part of their evil plan into action. For those who know the ending of the brilliant film, The Vanishing, will recognise the weapon Janice uses against Bryan.
The ending of the film, The Vanishing is one of the most deliciously disturbing films of that style of horror genre, non-gory but equally horrifying.
I wanted the ending of my story, Dead Famous to have a similar impact. Want to read it? then follow the link below to Inkitt and download it to read for free, in return please sign up to Inkitt (you won’t get bombard with spam) and rate my story.

Bryan become s dead famous.

Bryan become s dead famous.

Thank you.

The Brighton Writer.

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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

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What Do the BrightonWriter and Miley Cyrus Have in Common?



Read this months Gscene column from the

BrightonWriter to find out… (page 49)

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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.

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Life is a Pantomime Old Chum.

Okay, first up I’m going to refrain from saying any of those well worn phrases from pantomime land  and just get on with the blog.

(reader’s voice) “Oh no you won’t”

Peter Pan Panto

Oh Yes I will!…Bugger!…..It’s that time of year again where men dress and women, women dress as men and someone warning that ‘It’s behind you”, nope not a regular Saturday night out in Brighton, but Pantomime season is upon us once again. With this in Mind, the Brighton Writer invites you to peep behind the curtain on a couple of the characters that have become two of the mainstays in pantomimes, the Dame and the Fairy Godmother (in a variety of guises) and to see where they are playing over the next few weeks across the South.


Every year there is reports of the decline of the pantomime. This year is no different with reports suggesting there is a decline in women taking on the role of the principle boy. In reality, pantomime has always been an evolving production, adjusting to the trends and fads of the day, but always keeping an eye on the traditions of pantomime, including: gender swaps, good battering evil and a rapturous group sing-a-long at the end of the show. Although some characters may come and go, for now the two cornerstones of this years show are the Fairy Godmother and Dame.


There is nothing like a dame, and in particular a pantomime dame. For years the pantomime dame, played mainly by a man, has been a dominate figure, maximising the role through outrageous dresses, extravagant expressions of emotions along with having some of the best lines in the show. When you learn that before the pantomime dame, the main role was taken by the harlequin and then the clown, such attributes make perfect sense that they should be the show stealers. However, the other main character vying for our attention in many of this years pantomimes is the fairy princess, (which traditionally is played by a woman) whose main weapon of mass “look at me look at me”, comes down to her super sweet attitude,  a heart bigger than a shed load of care bears and customs so glittery that even Sindy would get glitter envy, Hey! What’s not to like?


These main characters continues dominate many pantomimes as there role is to act as the glue for the whole production, standing as they do between the goodies and the baddies and are given equal pegging in this years round upon pantomimes on show throughout out the south coast in the coming weeks.

This year we have a fair few familiar favourites popping up, including the most well known dame in panto-land, Widow Twankey, in Shoreham-by-Sea’s production of Aladdin. This particular dame first hit the stage in Convent Garden’s 1813 under the name Widow Ching Mustapha. Gradually the name evolved into the more familiar Widow Twanky, which itself comes from the Chinese province of Tuan Ky (or Twan Kay). her original role was as a taylor, but that role changed to a washer woman, given the charter lots of scope to get a bit messy with soap and suds, and one made popular in the past by many including, Les Dawson, Danny La Rue and John Iman.

Worthing are rolling out the Pantomime favourite, Jack and the Beanstalk, where the traditional dame is John Imna as widow twangynamed, Dame Trot. way back when this dame was known as Dame Durden, Mrs Simpson and even Mrs Halleybutt, but in most productions the name Dame Trot is the one most used. Now, there are times when you think, do I really need to know this, but here goes. The word trot comes from the 18th-century slang word for vagina, which somehow or other then got turned to mean ‘old hag’. Don’t have a go at me, i’m just reporting the historical facts.

Close to the knuckle humour has always been part of the pantomime, allowing the adults to get into the fun, while such naughtiness goes over their siblings head. That is unless you are going to Brighton’s alternative pantomime, Cock Robin and his Very Merry Men, produced by the brilliant Brian Ralfe, (who has been producing Brighton’s Alternative Panto for the past 11 years), while Andrew Stark returns to writing/producer duties in this years pant. The other great thing about this particual production is you get Maid Marion played by Lee Tracy, a nurse (Phil Harlequeen) and Wesley Sebastian in the duel role of Fairy godmother and fortune teller. If you think you have grown out of pantomimes, this is one to get you back in the mood.

1476584_10202845181760777_155006876_nElsewhere, Cinderella is playing in both Crawley, Working and Brighton. Crawley has Stephen Mulhern dominating all of the publicity, with little said about the supporting cast, and Working has the brilliant Dave Lynn and Miss Jason as the ugly sisters, while the Brighton’s version which, unusual for pantomimes, has a near all female cast in their production of Cinderella. In this production, as in the original Brother Grimm tale of the same name, it is the fairy godmother who steps into the role of the pantomime dame, although early pantomimes of Cinderella only had the wicked step mother and not the now traditional ugly sisters in place. According to Peter Lathan’s book, “It’s Behind You, The Story of Panto” the (un-ugly) sisters made their first appearance in Rossini’s opera, Le Cenerentola (1817) under the names Clorinda and Tisbe. Since then they have been a mainstay in the Cinderella story and are always known to the cast and crew as “The Uglies” with topical names of the time, which in the past have included, Pearl and Dean (1970’s cinema fans will get that one), Posh and Scary (girl power!) and most recently the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury has caused outrage by having their ugly sisters named, Beatrice and Eugenie… I wonder if those sisters will be wearing ‘that’ fascinator?

Cinderella, Brighton

Back to the Brighton production at the Emporium their ugly sisters are names the less contentious names, Init and Thou (which the Brighton Writer rather likes!). Lucy Bundy, better known on the Brighton Fridge scene as Fake Bush, appears (in a flash of glitter perhaps?) as the Fairy Godmother at the Emporium, Brighton, Charlie Dimmock is appearing at the Worthing Theatre production of Jack and the Beanstalk as Fairy Organic (What is the betting that get’s mispronounced before the pantomime season is over?) Meanwhile over in Hastings, Sheila Reid, (aka ‘Madge’ in the ITV sitcom Benidorm), stars as Fairy Bowbells in the White Rock Theatre’s pantomime, Dick Whittington.

So there you have it. In no time it will be 2014 and before you know it, it will be pantomime time all over again.
“Oh no it won’t!”
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Over the Rainbow (Fund)

Over the last few weeks there has been much to celebrate and remember within the LGBTQ community, which is really important to make note of.

This year while waiting (and waiting) to get into this years  Brighton Pride, I heard a lot of people complaining about how long it took to get into the event and the price of tickets. 

To be fair, those organising the event had to ensure security me suers were in place, so long queues were inevitable. On the plus side of things, the sun was shining and once inside the park there were just about every kind of visual entreatment you could possible wish for. Personally, I thought the early bird ticket price of £9.00 was a bargain

More importantly and something that many people perhaps are unaware of is £1.00 from each ticket was ring-fenced for the Rainbow Fund which, along with a host of other individuals and groups including: Bear-Patrol’s, ‘Bear Weekender’, Legends, Tony Chapman, Queens Arms, A-Bar, Charle’s Street, David Raven, James Ledward, The Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and Many more helped raise over £41,000 for local HIV/LGBTQ charities.

For the uninitiated, The Rainbow Fund was initially set up by Gscene’s James Ledward and Paul Elgood to help fund the development and construction Brighton’s AIDS Memorial, with local artist Romany Mark Bruce giving all his time for free in creating the finished piece.

Since then, The Rainbow Fund has been the hub for excepting donations which in turn are given out as grants to local LGBTQ/HIV charity organisations, who each apply via a vigorous process ensuring the funds are used to help benefit the individual groups maxim potential in all areas.

This year The Brighton Writer attended The Rainbow Fund annual awards ceremony, hosted by the irrepressible Lola Lasagne aka Stephen Richards, along with many familiar faces from Brighton, including, Gary Pargeter (Lunch Positive) James Ledward (Gscene) Cllr Bill Randall, Deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, David Raven and Romany Mark Bruce, Jennie Castell, Davian Sparkle, David Harvie (Brighton Bear Weekend) and Philip Marini (Rainbow Fund) who were all on hand to present the grants to the following organisations.

Allsorts – £5.000 For a youth engagement worker to support the Transformer Group for young Trans* people.

Clare Project – £4,640 to extend their psychotherapy and speech therapy sessions Trans* people.

Brighton Gems – £4.000 towards support cost for befriending & support work for older gay men.

LGBT community Safety Forum –  £7.000 towards hate crime advocacy.

LGBT Switchboard – £2.500 towards clinical supervision for counsellors.

Lunch Positive – £7,000 towards food, venue hire and lunch club running cost for people with HIV.

MindOut – £7.000 towards peer support groups and housing advice for people with mental health issues.

IMG_0050Peer Action – £5.000 for health and wellbeing activities for those living with HIV.





Sussex Beacon – £4.000 towards a new occupational therapy project.The remaining funds were earmarked for a feasibility study to develop a funding needs assessment of all LGBT organisations, the service they provide and their future grant needs.

Individuals from each of the groups took to the stage to talk a little about how the grants awarded their group is so important and what a difference it will make in the coming year.

 The evening was a great success and an important event to remind us all that although the queue at Pride was a little tedious, by buying our ticket we each contributed in helping some amazing LGBTQ/HIV groups continue in making a huge difference to many people all year round. 

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The Brighton Writer’s contribution to the Brighton Graphic Novel

Over the last year a group of volunteer writers and artists have been working on individual projects for QueenSpark books latest project, Brighton, a Graphic Novel.QueenSpark Books

At the beginning of the year, QueenSpark Books invited submissions for the lesser known historical events to be put into a fictional story.

The Brighton Writer’s submission was a tale called, Dead Famous, about one young man’s desire to be famous, being granted by a couple who’s knowledge of Brighton’s murderous past, who were only too willing to help.

However, at the second group meeting, QSB’s mentioned that there were no tales representing the LGBT community and would anyone like to change their story line. As a tumble weed blew across the room, I volunteered, thinking my story could be used for another project, more of that in an upcoming post.

Given the limited space in which to tell a story, I quickly decided to write a story around gay men. I tried out several ideas, a jaded young queen on the scene time traveling back to the clubs of old, to gathering stories from the scene and turning these in to a running strip.

Taking a step back, the idea of using Brighton drag artist came to mind, as visually they make great visual character’s for the graphic novel. From this, the ideas came thick and fast. Thinking of the 1970/80’s show, Charlie’s Angels, I created, Brighton Angels, with David Raven aka Maisie Trollette, Dave Lynn and Stephen Richards aka Lola Lasagne as the three main angels.

Mr. david Raven, aka Maisie Trollette







After setting up meetings with David, Dave and Richard, I formed some questions, ranging from their previous jobs, how they got into becoming drag artists, the creation of their characters, who had influenced them and how their chosen career had changed their lives. It was during these interviews that I got given some essential information that helped me create my ideas.

Rough Sketch by artist,  Emilie Majarian for QueenSpark Books upcoming graphic novel, Brighton, a graphic Novel

Rough Sketch by artist, Emilie Majarian for QueenSpark Books upcoming graphic novel, Brighton, a graphic Novel

For example, Lola lasagne first hit the scene with her trademark Marge Simpson wig, but as Stephen Richards told me, “It was too big for some of the smaller nightclubs, so it had to go.”

It was with my conversation with Dave Lynn that he said, Lola’s the one for false nails, I can’t get on with them, tired it once and they ended up all stuck to my pants when I went to the toilet.”

I also leant that Dave Lynn uses false breasts (nicknamed chicken fillets) as part of his act, while Maisie Trollette, prefers a flat chest. Lola wears short skirts, Dave Lynn, likes a slit up the side of his, as does Maisie, along with his feather boa and elbow length gloves. All these little details had to be listed, along with photos of each character; all of which was to be passed on to my artist partner, Emily Majarain.

And so the project was on it’s way. Within each fame I had to source photo references for Emily, detailing what was in each frame, positioning of characters, objects and colour scheme. To help, I also created my own storyboard.

Next came choosing some historical events.

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Russia’s LGBTQ Comminity, You Are Not Forgotten!



Although it is still frustrating that the big news corporations still hold the capital on what they decided to be newsworthy, Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like have paved the way for all of us to exchange a much wider selection of  news, views and the occasional skateboarding cat. Despite the numerous chances for any of the main channels to show the brutality many of Russian’s LGBTQ community are facing. For the last few weeks there has been no reports on the draconian law Putin passed, stating that it is against the law to promote homosexuality in  any form. It seems only that the major news channels are only giving a small snapshot of this problem, referring to the Human Rights Act, when the brutality the LGBTQ Russian community is facing is not being fully addressed. Read more

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