Category Archives: Editorial


Editorial – April 2023

Do you know where the chicken’s from?” asked The Whistler’s food editor as we swung at the table at one of Brighton’s latest eateries. I’m used to this: it’s one of The Whistler’s food editor’s favourite questions. 

“I’ve never been asked that before” said the waiter. It’s what they always say. “I’ll go and check. Any drinks in the meantime?”

A few minutes later, he came back, all tray and gin’n’tonic. “I asked in the kitchen and the chicken’s from Poland”. 

Which seemed odd. Why would you buy your chicken from Poland? What’s wrong with British chicken? Did we fight The Brexit Wars for nothing?

The Whistler’s food editor looked at me and mentioned something about industrialisation and factories and broken legs – our waiter appeared not to hear that – and we ordered the aubergine. 

We were going to talk about The Whistles, our new awards. We’ve been planning this for a while. I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee and digestives have gone into this. We’ve done role plays, dress rehearsals, all sorts. And now’s the time. People read magazines like this to get a bit of a steer, a guide, knowing what to do and where to go, what’s hot, what’s not… all that. And so it seemed the right thing to do to celebrate the good, to recognise the best. Thinking next year we might have a bit of a do, have awards made. The full red carpet. 

So what are we looking for? What do you want when you go out to eat? Well, good food, obvs. But it’s more than that. You want heart and soul, imagination and verve, the beating pulse of passion. You also want somewhere that does things the right way, somewhere that puts welfare above profit, somewhere that knows animal welfare is paramount because eating an animal is hard enough – and don’t get The Whistler’s food editor on that subject. Before you can say “Another vodka please” you’ll be knee deep in a discussion on soil health, poo and hooves tramping the land – but how can you eat something you know who’s been tortured its truncated life? Just to save a few quid. 

But, you know, maybe I’m just a cynical old Hector. Maybe Poland is the luxury holiday resort du jour for chickens. Maybe if we spoke chicken we’d hear conversations like “Where are you going this year? Mauritius again?”

“No, I’ve stopped flying. It’s terrible for the environment, Plus, they bred my wings out generations ago. This year I’m going to Poland. Hetty went last year and apparently it’s just lovely”. Maybe that’s what they would say. And maybe let’s not ask Hetty. Anyway. Here’s a picture of Pickle because that’s all a bit grim. 

Check out page XX to see where readers of your Mighty Whistler rate the hottest of the hot. And next year, put a few quid on Bonsai Plant Kitchen. It’s not insider trading. It’s just… crystal ball time. 

Editorial – February 2023

I’ve come full circle with Valentine’s Day. I used to get right grumpy about things like Valentine’s Day. Being told what to do and when to do it. I don’t need Hallmark or Cadbury’s telling me when to be romantic. It’s like all those other days that have crept into the calendar, days that have different names  – Black Friday or whatever – but are all basically the same. Today is “Buy Stuff Monday”. I’ll decide when I want electronic things and I’ll decide when I want to give an expression of my love. It’s commercialised nonsense, it’s rampant capitalism exploiting our love. But then

“Have you forgotten anything?”

“No, not all at. I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but I’m not buying into that. We don’t need to be tol…”

“You forgot, didn’t you”

It was never a conversation that was going go well. What do you mean, the chances are she was probably right? 

Things change, we get older and different things seem important. Things that used to seem important… I don’t even know anymore. As I write there’s a bit of a kerfuffle because the Welsh rugby people have banned the singing of the Tom Jones song Delilah. Should they, shouldn’t they? Is it right, is it wrong? No idea. Sure the lyrics are seriously dodgy and no one – you’d hope – would write that now. But should it be banned? Instinctively, I’d say it shouldn’t be simply because I don’t like banning things. Apart from people who vote Tory. And Arsenal fans. And marmite butter which my fine wife has just started to make which is basically taking some perfectly good butter and rendering it inedible. So… shouldn’t be banned. But then, maybe it shouldn’t be sung either. Life’s not easy being liberal. 

Talking of Arsenal, wasn’t it a treat to see Brighton smile sweetly at their attempts to steal Moises Caicedo. Even in football, money doesn’t always talk. 

Anyway. Valentine’s Day. Let’s embrace it. Telling your loved ones you love them, there are worse things to be corralled into. So take it on and do it your way, and if you’re going to get a Valentine’s Day card, why not avoid all the corporate stuff and support local artists, and maybe head to FlyingCircusDesigns at – because if you can’t give your friends a plug, what is the point of life? 

We’ve given The Mighty Whistler a bit of a re-jig this month. There’s a new quiz page, recipes, gardening tips,  a murder story… Next issue we’re starting a new column with a local councillor to talk about all things local and councilly. And if anyone would like to get involved, we’re looking for someone to write about architecture and local history. Maybe at the same time. Think about it. The pay’s really good. 

Next time out we’ll have a feature on the hot new sport Pickleball, which is as good a link to Pickle, our new-ish pup, as we’re going to get. 

For Pickle, every day is Valentine’s Day. He knows he’s loved and he knows that even if he runs off and gets lost in the woods for two days and two nights on the coldest weekend of the year and worries mum and dad stupid, they’ll still love him unconditionally*. He’s not going to care if he gets a card. A treat he’d care about. Chicken, that’s the hallmark of love. Be more Pickle is, I think, generally a decent mantra for life. 

*Just don’t push your luck. We’ve still got the receipt from the rescue centre.

Editorial: December 2022

It’s that grey time of year, that stay under the duvet time between autumn with its romantic golden leaves and winter with its Bing Crosby snow. There’s nothing to like about this time of year – and this year, blimey. 

Every time you open the front door it’s like some outtake from a post-apocalyptic “Day After Tomorrow” type film. Turn on the telly and there’s David Attenborough looking at a forlorn polar bear standing on a lump of ice, a lump of ice which was once a block of ice but which would now find employment in a large vodka and tonic.

Turn on the news and somewhere else is under water. Last night on the news there was a story about a town on a small Italian island that had been swept away by a tidal wave of mud created by the most rain since whenever it was that records began. No one knows when records actually began, but it was a long time ago. There’s the cost of living crisis. Recession. Inflation. More rain than there’s rain, all that. 

Back in the old days I’d say to My Fine Wife “Come on, let’s just get away” and a couple of hours later we’d be at Gatwick holding a ticket that said “Somewhere sunny”. And in truth there’s a part of me where that impulse still lives. When friends say “Oh we’re off to Morocco”…  there’s a part of me that reaches for my new post-Brexit blue passport (which has still got blimmin foreign writing on it – really, was Brexit for nothing?) because here it’s dark and cold and it’s wetter than ever since records began – I mean really, how much rain? – and Morocco’s nice, but I don’t know, you can’t really do that anymore, can you? Can you? No you can’t. Not when there are small Italian towns being swept away. 

But it’s tempting, isn’t it. When you’re living in difficult times, what you need is something to cheer you up, something to make you smile, something to fill you with joy, with wonder, with awe. Something that would make you feel life was just better. 

That was the train of thought when I turned round and looked at Pickle. Pickle is our new puppy dog, our new 12-year-old rescue, and without wanting to cast doubt on his previous owners, safe to say Pickle’s life has taken a turn for the better. 

There are small clues. For example, we take him for walks. To you this may be a small thing, being taken for a walk. But to Pickle, this is a revelation. Similarly, playing with a ball. Not sure Pickle had ever seen a ball before. He still doesn’t quite know what to do with it, but Mum and Dad say it’s fun and that’s good enough for Pickle. 

As antidotes to the grey go, Pickle is perfect. How can we sprinkle a bit of Pickle’s joy over the grey? Not by going to Gatwick. Not when there are small Italian towns getting swept away. 

But why are we talking about this? We should be talking about Christmas and with due respect to Sam’s column on page 7, we like Christmas. Drinks, chocolates, that song by The Waitresses… Baileys on your cornflakes. Another bottle of Old Spice. Eat, drink and be merry. Or eat, drink and fall asleep. Maybe play charades or that one where you stick a piece of paper on your head and people have to guess who you are. Whatever you do, be more Pickle and have a ball. And remember, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

Editorial: October 2022

We don’t fly these days. Flying is, well, the planet you know. It’s My Fine Wife’s doing really – she’s more principled than me – but I agree with her, so we just don’t do it. But sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and so a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in row 5, seat A listening to someone telling me the exits are here, here and here. In Spanish. 

I haven’t been in a plane for years, since long before Covid, and I’d been unashamedly excited. We live, objectively speaking of course, in the best place in the UK, but there’s still something exciting and romantic about travel. When I was young, I used to go to Heathrow and just hang around, watching the planes fly off, wondering where they were going, fantasing about the adventures, wondering what it was like the other side of the “Departures” sign.  

I’ve been on a few planes since then, but there’s still something curiously glam about flying, still something a bit jet set. It’s kinda like still thinking a sun tan and smoking still look cool. But then again… they do still look cool. They shouldn’t, but they do. 

There’s nothing cool about row 5, seat A. I’m not sure Danny Wilde and Lord Brett Sinclair ever travelled Economy, and even if The Terrible Thing did happen I’m not sure I could get to the exits that are aquí, aquí y aquí because, as my new best friend, the guy sitting next to me, said “It’s cosy here, isn’t it”.  

It’s quick and it’s cheap and I suppose that’s good in a sense, but really. Think about it. Anything that sells itself on being quick and cheap… it’s probably not going to be a great experience. 

“Come and eat at our restaurant – it’s really quick and cheap”. It’s not where you’re going to go on your hot first date. On the other hand, I’ve just described the global fast food industry so maybe that’s not the best example.

The whole flying experience is  a bit odd. Before squeezing yourself into row 5, seat A you spend an hour and a half wandering around a faceless soulless shopping mall full of shops selling a variety of men’s clothes, women’s clothes, posh bags, shops that don’t exist anywhere else, shops that are completely empty. I walked into a men’s clothes shop, the t-shirts were all neatly folded into squares and the shirts were hanging up. I said “Hello” to the woman behind the till. She shuffled uncomfortably, like she didn’t quite know what to do. 

“It’s quick and it’s cheap” – and as clunky links go, this is up there – made me think about this issue of Your Mighty Whistler. The reason we don’t fly isn’t because the experience is rubbish; it’s because the planet. And if you read “Gull About Town”, Feedback Special and the interview with Philip Lymbery, they’re all also because the planet. Everyone likes quick, everyone likes cheap, but we’re a little bit past that now. We’ve got to really start being a bit more careful and if Philip Lymbery is right and there are only 60 harvests left… quick and cheap won’t cut it anymore. As mother used to say, you get what you pay for. Maybe it’s time to stop doing quick and cheap. Maybe it’s time to take a bit more care, to take a bit more time and if it costs a bit more, well do it less often.