The Whistler – August 2011

Charles Kempe window in St Nicholas Church
Charles Kempe window in St Nicholas Church

At a well-attended Annual General Meeting on 31 May, chaired by Sylvia Alexander-Vine, members heard about the installation of the new stylish windows in the West Hill Hall and the excellent refurbishment of the kitchen and office by Simon Kelly of Sky Dec. All the work has meant a big expense, in the region of £16k, which, due to good house-keeping and careful accounting, we had in a CAF bank gold account.

Lianne Hall was thanked for her expert handling of Hall bookings. The Hall has also become a successful Festival venue, with several sold-out performances of Anima by the Karavan Ensemble. Members were given a retrospective of the Hall and The Whistler by Sylvia and were asked to note that WHCA has not received any funds from the Council. Pam Bean was fondly remembered and Gina Dodds and Sue Williams from the Gardening Group reported on the pleasure that the garden surrounding the Hall gives, and requested that any shrub cuttings or over-ordered seeds could be donated to the West Hill Hall garden. Members were invited to pick, with care, the various herbs that are growing there.

The accounts were formally adopted and it was agreed that we should ask Mr Jones to continue his work as our auditor. Sylvia emphasized that Mr Jones checks the accounts but the actual book-keeping and accounting is done by her and that she would welcome some help. Erica McKenzie and Rhonda Gregory promptly and kindly offered their expertise. The full committee, as usual, stood down and were thanked for their service. The Committee was then re-elected en bloc, proposer Jim Gowans, seconder David Perrett.

Sarah Taylor


Building on the success of the West Hill Street Party, more opportunities to meet neighbours and allow children to play safely on the street are planned by Dan Bernstein and co. Residents in other streets may also wish to hold similar events. A long-term aim is for West Hill Road to become ‘pedestrian priority’. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to organise neighbourhood events write to The Whistler and we’ll put you in touch with Dan.

Pam Bean’s Bench

It is hard to believe that it is over a year since Pam Bean died. She was remembered recently by the Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Society. Pam was a very keen gardener all through her life. She learned her gardening skills from her mother in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Living in the centre of Brighton, she never had a large garden at home but she greatly enjoyed allotments. She had her own allotment which she gardened with Fred at Tenantry Down near the Race Course, from where she once famously pushed her wheelbarrow all the way back to West Hill Street.
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Peter Batten writes about his obsession with jazz…

Have you ever been taken over, or possessed, by an obsession? I have. This is my story.

The trap was set in a way which I hardly noticed. In my final year at St Olave’s Grammar School in Southwark, my English teacher, Freddy Wickens, was laid low by a slipped disc. Once or twice I visited him at his home to discuss my University application. One afternoon, when we had finished and were having a cup of tea, he asked me if I knew anything about ‘Jazz’. I didn’t, so he played me a couple of recordings by Jelly Roll Morton. They were pleasant, but did not really stir my interest. I soon forgot them. About a year later I was on National Service in the Royal Air Force. This was quite a culture shock. I had not listened to much current popular music at that time; it was 1952. Now, I found myself among fellow airmen who were constantly listening to the radio for the records of Guy Mitchell, Kay Starr, Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray, and a host of others. It was awful. But one singer began to really annoy me. That was Doris Day. Little did I know that she was to prime the trap.
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A Midsummer’s Night Madness

On 22 June the Marlborough Theatre was packed on-stage with Brighton Branch Equity members and off-stage with a full house. Carole Bremson had miraculously condensed Shakespeare’s forest scenes, offering a pine-fresh perspective on transformation, displacement, temporary loss of inhibitions in five plays and several sonnets. The sylvan inter-cutting, like grafting, functioned as a fine critique, a hypertext of Shakespeare’s sylvan forest scenes. With masterful shifts in and out of character, eighteen actors were seamlessly re-deployed.
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Sounds Familiar

Running The Whole Gamut of Emotions is an unusual expression used to describe the full emotional range between delirious joy and abject misery. The simple musical explanation for the word ‘gamut’ is that during the 11th Century Guido d’Arezzo used letters of the Greek alphabet for the original musical scale. The lowest note in the vocal scale was called ‘gamma’ (the third letter in the Greek alphabet) and the highest was called ‘ut’. Subsequently gamma and ut came together, gamut, to describe the entire musical range. These days children use ‘doh, ray, me’ etc to sing out the musical scale and we thank the Greeks again. Can you imagine running the whole ‘doh-doh’ of emotions? I suppose Homer Simpson might. The expression was used to great ironic effect by Dorothy Parker when she described the acting of Katherine Hepburn, “She delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.”
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