Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Saturday 07 May 2011

Brighton-Based Investigative Journalist Set To Speak About His Five-Years In Solitude & Near-Death Experience

A former award-winning BBC Panorama reporter headlines a literary event with his debut memoir that documents a half-decade living in a remote Welsh cabin – with no electricity or water.

Neil Ansell will read from his book Deep Country at Brighton Festival Fringe night Grit Lit.

The book was published in April on Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton, but climbed the bestsellers list before it was even published (it reached number five on Guardian's bookshop's bestseller list).

In 1990, Ansell, at the age of 30, was given an offer he couldn't refuse: a dilapidated cottage in the mid-Wales mountains, for a peppercorn rent of just £100 a year.

The book catalogues his five years of living in the cabin in the hills, "chopping wood and cooking over a log fire, drawing water from a well and growing enough food to become almost self-sufficient."

The 51-year-old Brightonian describes his 'departure from the rat race' as being 'alone but not lonely' and his near-death experience:

"What I had not allowed for was illness. I finally noticed that my ribs were protruding as though I was starving."

He shares the stage with debut novelist Ed Siegle, whose book Invisibles was also published this spring with Brighton publisher Myriad Editions, and an ambitious line up of seven published writers and novelists.

The night – Grit Lit - promotes non-fiction, short stories and real life tales that present an edgier seam of the world, from the hilariously surreal to the mundanely grim and from noir to crime to literary fiction and all genres in between.

Contributing writers on the night include Wendy Ann Greenhalgh, Stephanie Lam, Dan Holloway, Ed Siegle, Steve Silverwood, and Dan Tsu, Amy Riley and Tim Lay.

Brighton Festival Fringe literary event Grit Lit will be held on Thursday 12 May at Redroaster Coffeehouse, 7.45pm-10pm. Redroaster Coffee House is on 2d St James" Street, Kemptown, Brighton and has a licensed bar.

Advanced tickets are £6 from Brighton Dome box office or on the Fringe website

by: Mike Cobley


While flowing from the same, molten core of melody, songwriting style and self-belief, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new album, Who Built The Moon? alters the singer-songwriter’s course following a two-year creative collaboration with renowned producer, DJ & composer, David Holmes. 

Now in its fifth year, the Glyndebourne Tour Art Competition invited young visual artists to submit an original work inspired by the theme of Deception, a common thread in all three of the operas in this year's Tour.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are currently putting the finishing touches to their forthcoming eighth studio album, the follow-up to 2013's Specter At The Feast,entitled Wrong Creatures, which will be released early next year.

Brighton Festival's Your Place - two weekends of free entertainment in Hangleton and East Brighton, is set to return for 2018 following last year's inaugural programme.
Jon Ronson by Emli Bendixen

Writer, broadcaster and one-time keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom, Jon Ronson has spent a substantial chunk of the last decade thinking about psychopaths and, following an earlier tour, he's taking the results of that work back on the road this Autumn. 

It's not been an easy ride to 'stardom' for comedian Simon Day. Only the stability of marriage and the birth of a child saved him from the worst addiction-fuelled ends.

“I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever. To make a gigantic rock record but with Greg Kurstin's sense of melody and arrangement… Motorhead's version of Sgt. Pepper… or something like that.” 

REM frontman Michael Stipe has reflected that the band's seminal album, Automatic For The People, concerns topics of “mortality and dying,” but he further notes, “mortality is a theme that writers have chosen to work with throughout time." 

To mark 150 years as a performance venue, Brighton Dome is seeking memories from across its rich history. Submissions will help inform new heritage displays which will go on show when the refurbished buildings re-open in late 2018.

One of Mali's leading musicians, and descended from a line of Khassonké griots (traditional troubadors), Habib Koité is back in the UK this October for the first time in a decade, and he will be joined by longtime band Bamada for a concert in Brighton.

Denai Moore was in Brighton earlier this year for full-band shows at The Great Escape festival. Now she's coming back in the city with new album We Used To Bloom, which she calls 'a declaration of growth, a break-up letter to her demons and a love letter to the liberated self'.  

Hallelujah!  Your saviour is at hand. If you're concerned about a life with global advertising, multinational control, climate change, the threat of nuclear war, supermarket domination, and all the constant controversy caused by the US President's outpourings, this is for you. 

Filmed over a one year period at East Mountbatten Hospice, Isle of Wight, this new multi-screen video work - on show at  Fabrica, Brighton, next month - addresses the taboo subject of dying and current attitudes to palliative care.

Brix & The Extricated has – in the words of an old Fall lyric – something of a “track record”. 

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