More to Me Than HIV

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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

Hove

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.

Posted on by admin in Brighton, Brighton & Hove, Brighton and Hove Libraries, Gay, QueenSpark Books Leave a comment

Love to Read

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There is a new project called Love To Read, whose main remit is to get people of all ages from all walks of life back into the habit of reading. There are many reasons why people have stopped reading, from busy lives to just plainly falling out of love with reeading. Have a look on the Love to Read website to find ways of getting back into a habit that once rediscovered can bring so much joy.

As part of my involvement with the project, Love to Read, I would like to recommend some of my favourite books, first up, Ray Bradbury’s, Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s iconic novel, Fahrenheit 451 first came in to being when he was living in a cramped house with his wife and new born baby daughter, he desperately needed a ‘room of his own’ to write. it was around this time that he was walking through the University of California, he heard the sound of typing in the basement of the library. it was there he discovered a room filled with twelve typewriters that people could rent for ten cents for half an hour.

(Did you know that all fourteen of Brighton and Hove’s libraries offer use of computers for registered library uses, the first hour is free (2 hours free for people on certain benefits) and £1 per hour there after.

Bradbury’s book touchers on the dystopia themes that have been explored in many other mediums of this type, from George Orwell’s, 1984, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World and Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games. (all of which are availible from Brighton and hove Libraries.)

The title of Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451, relates to the temperature at which paper burns and it is book burning that is at the centre of this tale. Set in the future, where houses are fireproof, firemen are employed to seek out and burn any books that are found. Bradbury looks back on past history of both governments and religious authorities who have exerted their power and created fear over others through burning books.

The authorities in Fahrenheit 451 believe that books are harmful as they would make people question their existence and purpose in the world that is controlled through a banal feed of television programmes in which residence are sent scripts so they can interact with the shows.

The main protagonist, Montag, a dedicated firman and destroyer of books, meets a young woman called Clarisse McClellan who unlike the other residents in her neighbourhood notices the natural things in life and finds beauty in them, from a dandelion in the grass to the rain on her face. Montag finds these qualities most strange as he has lived a life of not feeling or thinking for himself for so long.

It is through his further encounters with Clarisse that he begins to question why he destroys books. His motives are shaken further when he, along with his team of firemen raid a house (neighbours are encouraged to inform the authorities if they suspect their neighbours are hoarding books). This is a direct echo of the Bradbury’s concerns he had of Republican U.S. Senator, Joseph McCarthy and his drive to encourage anyone to expose people deemed to be Communists.

On his latest mission, Montag is horrified to find that the person accused of hoarding books has not been arrested and taken to the local asylum. As the books rain down on her and are soaked in kerosene, the woman takes out a box of matches. in the mids of everyones panic, Montag steals one of her books and hides it in his jacket then runs as the woman commits suicide, setting fire to her belovered books as well as herself.

From here on in Montag’s eyes are forced open as he fights everything he had held as true and seeks out others who find passion beyond the mundane in books.

I would highly recommend this book for people who like sci-fi/dystopia novels and for those who have never given this genre a go before. The realism of the settings allow the reader to enter the world of Fahrenheit 451 with ease but will leave them wanting to explore many of the other brilliant novels by Bradbury.

For more infomation about the Love to Read project and how to get invloved please follow this link

Posted on by admin in Brighton and Hove Libraries, Love to Read 1 Comment

Brighton and Hove City Reads: My Policeman, By Bethan Roberts

My Policeman, Bethan Roberts’ third novel, and this year’s Brighton and Hove City Reads, revolves around a Ménage à trois, set in 1950’s Brighton that is doomed from the start.

            As an awkward teenager, Marion is befriended by, Silvia. I was thinking – you look alright, will you be my friend? During one of their shared times in Silvia’s bedroom while listening to Nat King Cole, Patti Page and Perry Como, Silvia’s brother, Tom makes an appearance at the bedroom door.

            He couldn’t have been more than fifteen – barely a year older than me; but his shoulders were already wide and there was a dark hallow at the base of his neck.

            From that moment, Marion is besotted with Tom, ignoring all the signals, and the coded advice from Silvia that Tom isn’t the boy Marion wants him to be.

            I know you’ve got a crush on Tom. But it’s not the same, Tom’s not like that.

            Tom struggles too with his inner emotions about his sexuality. Not because he hates the way he feels, but because society tells him that his feeling are perverse. After a spell in the army, Tom returns to Brighton and enrols in the police force; much to Marion’s delight. Unlike her friend, Silvia, whose main ambition was to get married and have a baby, Marion enrols in teacher collage, sharing the same passion and inquisitive streak as Tom, wanting to know more than the boundaries of Brighton. Although Tom shows little interest beyond a friendship with Marion, she is still hopeful that love will blossom if she continues to persevere.

            Meanwhile, Tom’s life is about to be turned upside down when he is asked for his assistance regarding a minor road accident by Patrick; a respected art curator at Brighton Museum and closeted homosexual. As is the case with Marion, Patrick falls deeply in love with Tom on their first meeting. And so begins the tragedy of one love destined to be unfulfilled and one dangerously forbidden. 

            Roberts presents the story through Marion’s present day manuscript and Patrick’s diary, written during the time of his love affair with Tom during the 1950’s.  Through these accounts we are reminded of the hopeless marriages many women unwittingly entered into and the sadness of those men who were compelled to enter into sham relationships; while all the time longing to be true to their hidden sexuality.

            Roberts’ is a well cvrafted storyteller, pulling the reader into the world of Marion and Patrick as they both share the love of their policeman. The draconian laws on homosexuality are exposed for their outdated views, with minor characters highlighting the opinions of many at the time that a change in the law about who we can love should be changed.

            We all knew he was queer – so many of them are around here – but one can’t help but feel sorry. Sometimes this country is too brutal.

            At times her beautiful description of their doomed love makes it nearly unbearable to turn the page as Marion fights to save her marriage, while in equal measures Patrick brings joy into Tom’s life as he swims ever deeper into a world that will ultimately destroy all their lives beyond repair.

            Roberts has created a story that once finished, this author felt compelled to start at the beginning and read the whole novel again.

      

 

 

 

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David Raven, AKA Maisie Trollette.

Brighton publishing group, QueenSpark Books’ latest project is a graphic novel based on the history of Brighton and Hove and the people who have helped put the city on the map. My story revolves around David Raven (Maisie Trollette), Dave Lynn (Dave Lynn) and Stephen Richards (Lola Lasagne) as Brighton Angels; (think 1970’s Charlie’s Angels, but with bigger hair and a hell of lot more make up). The script takes the reader through three different tales of the city, which will be brought to life by graphic artist, Emilie Rose, more of which to follow. In the meantime I’d like to shine a spot light on the three protagonists, first up, David Raven.

Read more

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, LGBT, QueenSpark Books 6 Comments

Brighton: A City to Visit, a Place to Call Home

From the moment Prince Regent drew up plans for his infamous weekend palace, The Royal Pavilion, and it’s surrounding gardenin the heart of Brighton, the city has gained itself a known as the place to go for a cheeky weekend away. However, since its promotion from a town to a city, its reputation as the place you must visit has lifted the city of Brighton above all other UK cities with many a tourists realising there is more to this little city then a stick of rock and a stroll along the prom. In fact a recent survey showed that a whopping 94% of Brighton residents live in a happy home, which reflects just what a great place Brighton is to live.

So what makes Brighton such a special place? For the people who live in Brighton and the vast amount of tourists alike, when it comes to shopping Brighton has the whole range covered. For the traditionalist, there’s Church Hill Square, and Western Road for a whole range of popular high street brands; but don’t be fooled into thinking that Brighton is just another identikit city, far from it. Just like the little islands that populate Venice, one just has to take a step to left or a jump to the right and suddenly you find yourself surrounded in a very different place. For example, there are Brighton’s famous lanes, a part of town that what many people regard as ‘the soul of the city’.

Here you will find narrow winding alleyways, with the old fisherman cottages turned into an array of outstanding quirky shops, selling everything from souvenir shops, military related paraphernalia, traditional and alternative jewellery to suit every taste. Mingled around are also a host of pubs and eateries for every occasions, from a quick bite and pint to something a little more special. Across the road there are even more to discover in the North Laine, where pop art, vintage clothes, and the alternative theatre, Komedia, merge into the legendary Kensington Gardens were everything and anything can be found; from herbal remedies, vintage clothes as well as a multitude of hidden gems under the roof of Snooper’s Paradise.

But perhaps the most important aspect of Brighton City has always been the way it welcomes everybody, regardless of race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. For those who come and visit Brighton they quickly realise there is something special going on 365 days a year covering all bases. From the Brighton festival, children’s parade, LGBT pride, traditional, alternative and street theatres, famous bands, up and coming bands and food fares galore. And unlike many a seaside town that closes when winter sets in, Brighton still has a few surprises. From the ‘ghost’ and ‘infamous murders’ walks, World Book Night, winter solstice Burning of the Clocks and there’s now even a Zombie March so even the undead don’t feel left out from this very special city we call Brighton.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Fiction & Books, Flash Blogs, Gothic horror, Leisure, LGBT, Literature, Outdoors, Plants and Gardens, QueenSpark Books, Zhoosh 2 Comments