Brighton Life

My Magic Brighton


On 22 May Free University Brighton (FUB), the community-led scheme offering education ‘for love, not money’, officially launched.

Organiser of the launch, Ali Ghanimi, set up FUB in response to cuts in adult and higher education. She said “This is about reclaiming education and making it accessible to all of us.” People teach for free in public spaces, eg libraries, cafés, thereby placing education at the heart of the community. Students are invited to choose what they want to learn using the website’s ‘wish list’ in the hope those teachers will come forward.

The menu will be diverse, from academic to practical. Current courses range from criminology to using Twitter, and economics to reading music. There are practical workshops, introductory taster sessions, lectures, talks, discussions and debates on many subjects, at many levels. Anything that enables us to think, develop, learn, enquire, question the world around us and, above all, explore how it could be different and better.

The response to FUB has been consistently positive. Says Ghanimi, “There’s an increasing concern about what’s happening to education and people love the concept of creating our own, alternative system. The massive increase in tuition fees, government cuts and privatisation are putting education out of reach for many of us. Now, more than ever, we need free education for all regardless of ability to pay.”

Free University Brighton is inspired by the ‘Occupy’ movement, the free school movement of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries and other contemporary free universities around the world. It aims to create more democratic educational experiences where teachers and students learn from each other.

What’s on offer is decided by local people and placed into the heart of the community by making use of existing public spaces – universities and colleges, public libraries, community centres, cafés, unused buildings, even caravans or bandstands. In fact, just about any building or space that people are willing to offer up to others for the love of learning.

They need people who can teach, people who want to learn, people who can help spread the word, buildings and spaces suitable for learning, and ideas for courses and educational events.
For more information about the courses on the Wish List as well as the current courses on offer, visit the FUB website


A new choir for people affected by cancer and their friends and family is being supported by Macmillan and the Sussex Cancer Centre.

The choir is about having fun and making lovely sounds and connections with others who have been or are going through a similar experience. Songs come from various musical traditions around the world. They may be folky or funky, silly or serious, and are all taught in a warm and encouraging atmosphere.

The Come and Sing choir was set up by Julie Nye, an experienced singer and former GP. She has a classical music training but broad tastes, which is reflected in the choir’s varied repertoire.

Sessions take place at Space for Change, 14 Windlesham Avenue, BN1 3AH. They run during term-time on Tuesdays from 6.30pm to 8.00pm. Thanks to the sponsors, there is currently no charge.


There’s something new at the Duke of Wellington pub in Upper Gloucester Road. Bistro @ The Duke has recently introduced a new bistro menu, which contains good, hearty dishes at very reasonable prices. They are all cooked to order, using fresh ingredients. The new chef, Jerry, has recently returned to the area from Marbella, Spain, where he lived for six years and had a bar/bistro in a classic Andalusian village. Unfortunately, the Spanish recession forced him to return and now he is happy to be back in West Hill. He lived in Alexandra Villas previously and some readers may remember his white collie dog who played pool!

The new menu includes Paella, Thai curries, Beef Teriyaki, Caesar salad and mussels in a marinière or Thai  sauce. Prices from £5.95 to £7.95. It’s good value and something different from the usual pub fare.

Open every evening except Tuesday. Well worth a visit.


I remember a day when we were getting ready to go to a party. My eldest, then aged 7, half-dressed, came flying into my room, full of excitement. “Mummy” she said, “is this a party for children or for human beings?”

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