Category Archives: Style

A taste for genius… David Bramwell’s Odditorium

David Bramwell’s Odditorium returns and if you’re at all familiar with Dr Bramwell and The Catalyst Club – “celebrating the singular passions of everyday folk” – you’ll know we’re in the world of curious talks, performances, music and arch-weirdness from the fringes of culture. There’ll be people who’ll make you think or maybe smile. Expect the unexpected, as someone else probably said about something else. 

Lucy Cooke Bitch: Sex, Evolution and the Female Animal

Sun 14th 7.30-8.30pm, Bosco Theater

What does it mean to be female? Mother, carer, the weaker sex? Think again. Author and filmmaker Lucy Cooke demonstrates how the female of the species has been marginalised and misunderstood by the scientific patriarchy; not least Darwin, who cast the female in the shape of a Victorian housewife: passive, coy and monogamous.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Some Bizarre Records + The Book of Goth with Wesley Doyle & Cathi Unsworth

Wed 17th 7-8pm, Bosco Theater

Featuring the likes of Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Blancmange and The The, Some Bizarre was the vanguard of outsider music in the 1980s. Label boss Stevo’s unconventional dealings with the industry are legendary. Wesley Doyle tells us how a teenager from Dagenham took on the music industry and beat it at its own game.

Lifelong Goth, music journalist and crime-writer Cathi Unsworth takes us on a journey through Gothic music during the Eighties. 

Sing-Along-A-Wicker Man 50th Anniversary + Magnet’s Peter Brewis

Wed 17th 9-11pm, Spiegeltent 

Dust down your best Scottish accent, dress up as your favourite character and come join in with this horror classic. To mark the 50th anniversary of the film they’re joined by Peter Brewis, who appeared in the film and was  on the Wicker Man soundtrack.

Legacy of the Stones with Jeremy Deller, Annebella Pollen and other guests 

Tues 23rd 9-12pm, Spiegeltent

Billed as “An evening celebrating the rich neolithic history and stories around our henges and monoliths, our folk horror legacies and occult artists and groups”, speakers including Jeremy Deller and Annabella Pollen talk about Britain’s neolithic monuments and counterculture, and how they helped shape his work, and the mysterious green-clad hooded figures of the 1920s who performed ritual gestures (naked, obvs) on Silbury Hill, Stonehenge. The evening wouldn’t be complete without more Wicker Man (which Bramwell claims to have seen over 200 times) in the shape of The Dark Heart of Wicker Land. 

The Drone in Music 

Wed 31st 7.30-8.30pm, Bosco Tent 

Harry Sword, author of “Monolithic Undertow” joins  David Bramwell, for an exploration of the sub-cultural and spiritual significance of ‘the drone’. From the neolithic burial chambers of Malta to the psychedelic glory of Hawkwind; the vital influence of Indian drone traditions on the 1960’s counter culture to the thieving doom and stoner rock underground of today, They’ll also talk about the personal and spiritual significance of the ‘universal hum’.

There’s also a Catalyst Club Special: Live from the End of the Pier at Horatio’s Bar on Palace Pier,  

Tues 9th 8pm


Dressmith – Style and Substance

“So I walked past the shop and it was empty. I’ve always loved this shop, the frontage of number 77 because of the curved windows. It looks like an old apothecary and there aren’t enough of these shops left. When I saw it was empty just after lockdown, I stood at the end of the alley and waited for someone to come out of the building, ‘Who can I call?’

I literally had no business plan, you know, but I had around 40 samples which I sold from, plus several rolls of fabric. I also have close friends who are wonderful artists and designers and having wanted to show their work too for some time, I just went for it.”

The Whistler is with Jane the Dressmith, dress designer, fabric lover and owner of the coolest clothes shop in the Dials. 

“I’ve never had a shop, never really wanted to. But I love to this shop. I’ve lived in Vernon Terrace for 22 years, so I’ve been part of the Seven Dials community and seen its rise to… Yeah, that Time Out thing, the top 12 coolest destinations in the country.”

It’s a curious thing, that coolest destinations thing. You know Time Out wasn’t talking about ‘Oh, there’s a really big Co-op’ (he says pointedly). They’re talking about independent shops, individual shops, shops with heart and soul, this is what they’re talking about. They’re talking about Dressmith. 

It’s a beautiuful shop full of beautiful clothes and lovely, lovingly chosen fabrics. It’s been here about a year, and slowly but surely she’s making it exactly as she wants. Everything in the shop is carefully curated, carefully positioned. Well, she’s a designer. It’s what they do. And in the same spirit, because she wanted to get things just right, she made me some notes. 

“Dressmith. Beautifully British. Handmade in England. Ready to wear and utility clothing. Limited edition. Organic collections and sustainable collections made from overstocked fabrics, surplus to the trade. Luxury brand with ecological consciousness” – which is all very well, but it doesn’t give an indication of the passion. Walking around the beautifully designed, beautifully presented shop you just know that there’s a real love here. Wools, linens, cottons… 

And it’s not just hers. There’s art on the walls “they’re by Michael Bishop” – ceramics on the shelves, cards, candlesticks… All made by friends, all part of the same ethos. 

So this is your baby, but it’s a hub for your community as well. “Yes. It’s a Dressmith family, basically. Yeah, that’s what I like to think of it as. 

“Basically, I want this shop to be for everybody. So I get I’m getting gifty things in candles, socks, berets, room diffusers, soaps, tea towels. I want people to be able to come in and buy a card and a gift”.

I was desperate for Dressmith to be her real name – love a bit of nominative determinism – but “No, my real name is Jane De Lacey” which is maybe even better, especially when you consider that before 2014 when she established the dresSmith label, she designed underwear and lounge wear. “I just thought, you know, my initial concept was when you get home, you should put loungewear on you shouldn’t put an old tracksuit on, you should dress up at home. So I made lounge suits”. 

Jane the designer came of age in the mid-1980s and hit the ground running during the heyday of Kensington Market, the New Romantics, Vivienne Westwood, Camden Market, Club For Heroes… 

“I dressed bands like Madness, U2, the  Stranglers. Do you remember that newspaper print suit Madness wore?” Madness were always seriously stylish, but The Stranglers? “Oh, God. Well, I just used to make normal stuff. You know, Jet Black was rather a hefty chap…” 

So a year on, do you enjoy the shop life? “Yes, because I don’t have hundreds of customers, and everyone has been so welcoming. I’m not in the Western Road, I don’t have serious footfall, so I can sit there and get on with designing. My idea has always been I would have a shop that I could work at the back of, and then if somebody comes in then you can help them if they need help. So actually, that’s what I’m doing”.

Dressmith, 77 Dyke Rd, Brighton BN1 3JE