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Issue 6 . Summer 1999

At Last! The Book . Barbara Bell Invites You . Barbara's Lesbian Century . A Spanking Good Read . Rodin in Lewes

At Last! The Book You've All Been Waiting For...

  It's been an exciting few months for Brighton Ourstory Project. At last, our eagerly awaited second book has been published: Just Take Your Frock Off!, the frank and fascinating life-story of 84-year old Brighton lesbian Barbara Bell. If you haven't yet got your copy of the book which Emma Donoghue calls 'an authentic, hilarious picture of lesbian life in the twentieth century', don't delay: they are selling fast!

Our sell-out Brighton Festival event, the Lavender Lounge Bar, also delighted all comers, recreating the atmosphere of a queer drinking club of the 50s and 60s in song, story and drag most daring, with fabulous guest appearances by Phil Starr, Nicky Mitchell, Jane Boston, Simon Lovat, Len Read and Glen Capra, all generously offering their time and talents to support our work. We were delighted to be joined for the evening by famous club impresario Jo Purvis, who gave us the idea by kindly passing on to us songs performed originally at the Rehearsal Club in the 1960s.

Also in the Brighton Festival, BOP member Andrew Le Flohic enchanted his audience with a guided walk through the camp past of Kemptown, which certainly lived up to its billing when the ghostly voice of Kenneth Williams was distinctly hard resonating along Marine Parade.

As for the near future, there will be a chance to meet Barbara Bell at the Marlborough pub on 15 August at 7pm.

And our final piece of news is that we are making yet another attempt to apply for lottery finding, under the Millennium Festival Awards for All scheme, so keep your fingers crossed for us... Meanwhile, a big thank you to all those of you who support our work: it just wouldn't be possible without you!

The Lavender Lounge Bar

Especially for all those of you who turned up at the box office and found all the tickets sold out, here's a little flavour of the camp crooning and butch ballads from that enchanted evening (with thanks to Jo Purvis) to the tune of There's No Business Like Show Business:

There's no scene like a gay scene
It's like no other we know;
Butches dancing close to other ladies
Bitches dancing close to other guys.
We don't care if people think it's shady,
Because it keeps us from normal ties.
There's no club like a gay club
In the evening when you're bent;
Just when all the normals start to watch TV
You to to Brighton and c'est la vie -
Every night in Brighton can be heavenly
So get with it and dance, get with it and dance...

Click here for more information on The Lavender Lounge Bar.

GLAM events

While the Barbara Bell event is going ahead as advertised on 15th August, regrettably Brighton Ourstory Project has had to pull out of the other event advertised for August 3rd, due to pressure of other work. But do come along and meet us with Barbara on 15th August at the Marlborough pub, Princes Street at 7pm.

No Priest But Love

Anne Lister was a Yorkshire landowner who wrote coded diaries about her lesbian loves in England and on the Continent. Helena Whitbread will be talking about her book No Priest But Love, excerpts from these diaries covering the years 1824-6, at 7.30pm on Friday 13 August at Waterstone's, Clocktower, 71-74 North Street, Brighton. Phone 01273 206017 to reserve your free ticket. Wine will be served.

Walk on the Wilde Side

As part of the GLAM pride festival, BOP member Andrew Le Flohic invites you to Borders bookshop/cafe in Churchill Square on Wednesday 4 August at 7pm. The event, organised by Hove-based publisher Slab-O-Concrete, is the joint launch of Fun Fur by Craig Conlan, the sequel to his marvellous bubblegum-drag-manga comic Hairy Mary; and Andrew Le Flohic's A Walk on the Wilde Side: a pocket-sized walking tour through central Brighton, with a bit of an Oscar Wilde theme.

A Walk on the Wilde Side is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, caricatures and of course a map to make it easy. It celebrates trivial details from the lives of Aubrey Beardsley, Vita Sackville-West, Noël Coward and other artistic visitors to Brighton in the last one hundred years or so. So if you've missed his walking tours during the May festival over the last two years, or if you simply can't wait until next year to do it again, please walk this way...


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