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The Muddy Guide: What’s On May 6 – May 12

Get crafty, get curious, go batty or get shopping with this week’s Muddy Guide, I’ve even tacked some extra Brighton festival and Fringe picks on the end for you.

Fashion Cities Africa, Brighton Museum, until 8 Jan 2017

Sauti Sol photographed by Sarah Waiswa

Sauti Sol photographed by Sarah Waiswa

The first ever major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion is on and it’s right here in Sussex. The styles of Lagos, Cassablanca, Nairobi and Johannesburg, including cutting edge band outfits, are being showcased at Brighton Museum alongside images, film and sound from the cities. I have a couple of African dresses in my wardrobe and I love their vibrant prints so can’t wait to get along and find out more about the whole scene. Local residents pay £3.50 for the exhibition, if you’re coming from further afield you’ll get access as part of the museum entry fee (£5.20 for adults).

Mass Observation Project, One Day Diary, 12 May 

drawn to page notepad-926046_1280

I’ve been quite obsessed with the Mass Observation Project ever since I read the moving wartime diaries of Nella Last which, among other things, chart her growing confidence and capability as a woman as she swaps incessant housework for important voluntary work. The first book was adapted into TV film Housewife, 49 by the late, great Victoria Wood. The Mass Observation Archive is right here in Sussex and on May 12 you have an opportunity to get involved by sending in your anonymous one-day diary. Children can also take part. It’s a state of the nation snapshot the archive undertakes every year  for research and teaching purposes and first ran on May 12 1937 – the coronation of George VI.

Bunting Workshop, Much Ado Books, Alfriston, 8 May


Get set for summer parties with a bunting workshop in the barn at Much Ado Books. Following instructions from a new book you’ll be helped to produce your masterpiece – without sewing a stitch. Paper, fabric, ribbons, buttons etc will be provided, as will refreshments. The workshop costs £20 and you’ll get a copy of new book Banners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants : 40 Creative Ideas Using Paper, Fabric & More.

Hair Peace, Bedales School, Petersfield, 10 May 


This fascinating, part comic, part moving one-woman show traces the roots of hair extensions to Russia and India. It was on in Brighton back in February but if you’re up in the Northwest part of Sussex now’s your chance to catch it just over the border in Petersfield. I saw it last year at the Edinburgh Fringe and thought it was fascinating – see my review here.

Rockett St George warehouse sale, Ditchling Common, 9-13 May


Super-stylish online store Rockett St George is having a warehouse sale at its Ditchling HQ. Pick up homeware and giftware samples and seconds for up to 50% off – cash only. Many items will be one offs and they sometime sell out before the last day at these events so head along sooner rather than later.  I got several Christmas presents from these guys and they’re always really on trend so well worth checking out. The doors will be open 10.00am – 4.00pm.

Bat walk, Sheffield Park, 12 May


Holy mackrel Robin – you can encounter bats on a nightime nature walk at Sheffield Park garden this 12 May ! A guide will teach you to track, record and identify the creatures. Good for youngsters this one – in fact it’s one of the National Trust’s  ’50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4s’. Tickets are £6 for adults, £3.50 for children and it runs 8.00pm to 9.30pm. Booking is essential.

Stones in His Pockets, The Capitol, Horsham, 11 May 


A quiet Irish village is turned upside down when a Hollywood film crew comes to town. Two actors have their work cut out playing a whole cast of eccentric characters in this well-loved comedy which is coming to town as a touring production. Tickets cost £16 and the performance is suitable for over 12s.



National Mills Weekend, various locations, 14-15 May


Here’s your chance to peek into some of the lovely mills we have dotted around Sussex. Jill windmill on the downs above Clayton, Polegate, West Blatchington, Nutley and Rottingdean mills and several at National Turst properties are among those open for the weekend. Some have extra family-friendly events on like vintage car displays and face painting. Most ask for donations only. There’s a full list on the Jill windmill website.

Eurovision Party, Duke of York’s, Brighton, 14 May


I LOVE Eurovision, there, I’ve said it. The overblown power ballads, the terrible Euro-pop, the proliferati0n of tight white trousers and plunging necklines (and that’s just the men), even the obvious voting for neighbouring countries – it’s all so-bad-it’s-good. If you embrace the event too then there’s one place to be – The Duke of York’s cinema in Brighton which puts on one of the best Eurovision parties in the land. There’s serious dressing up and camping up, with games in the interval and a compere parading with signs under the screen giving their verdict on whether the act is good, bad or in the closet. I went the year Conchita won and it went wild. Just don’t bring children or you’ll have to explain what that coloured condom is among the sweets in the goody bag. Tickets cost from £21.


So many great things on all May for the festival and fringe I’m like an excited dog chasing its tail. If you haven’t got a brochure already grab one quick (the station is the best bet) or get sifting the website. It’s well worth plotting a day in the city around the shows – there’s plenty from the high-brow to the downright silly and heaps for kids. Here are just a few of my picks for the week ahead…

Charleston Brighton Speakeasy, Brighton Spiegeltent, 7 May


Get a string of pearls, stick a feather in your hair (spats and braces for men), channel The Great Gatsby and say “tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1929″.  This retro dance afternoon promises to help you master the Charleston and other dance moves, through workshops and a dance-off, all backed by a jazz and electro-swing soundtrack and fuelled by cocktails. The fiesty flappers of Savoy Kicks will be showing you how it’s done. It’s runs from 1.00pm to 4.00pm and costs £12.

Fringe City family picnic, 7 May and 14 May 

A children's performance at the Fringe City Family Picnic (c) Nick Henley copy


Bring a rug and some food and plonk yourself down in the Royal Pavilion Gardens for an afternoon of free performances, games, crafts and other activities. The fun starts at 1.00pm. The popular fancy dress children’s parade also leaves from the Pavililion on 7 May, at 10.30am.

Lionel Shriver, Brighton Dome Corn exchange, 11 May


The prize-wining author of We Need to Talk About Kevin will be in discussion about her new dystopian novel The Mandibles, set in a fiscal crisis near-future America. Tickets costs £10.

Bridget Christie, A Book for Her, Brighton Dome Corn exchange, 12 May


I saw this show at Edinburgh last year and it was a tour de force. If you like furious, feminist and funny you’re in the right company with Christie. Politicians, media frenzies and gender stereotypes get the benefit of sharp tongue. There’s even a post show discussion for the festival. Ticket are £17, or you might get a £10 festival stand-by.

Got a favourite children’s attraction? Vote for it now in the Muddy Stilettos Awards

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