Section: Sussex

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What Sussex means to us

Sussex Bylines
A glider flies over the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

On the first anniversary of Sussex Bylines’ inaugural issue, some of our key contributors have written a short piece on the subject of “What Sussex Means to Me”. From memories of being a student at the newly built Sussex University in 1966 while living in shabby digs in Brighton to the legendary magic of bonfire night in Lewes, this compilation is a wonderfully eclectic mix of short personal essays…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

The magic of Sussex bonfires

Rick Dillon
Hastings Bonfire Night

“Here in Sussex, Bonfire Night isn’t just for children – and it never loses its magic” Hastings resident Rick Dillon explains why…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

Deeper currents

James Joughin
Quirky poster for the Small Wonder short story festival at Charleston

For Scottish-born and bred James Joughin, it wasn’t until he’d been living in Brighton for quite a few years that he began to tune into the intriguing “deeper currents” of life in Sussex…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

Over six decades of [East] Sussex

Tom Serpell
A glider flies over the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

One of our most prolific contributors, Tom Serpell, takes a break from article writing to give us a succinct breakdown of his relationship with (East) Sussex from the 1950s to present day…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

A room with a sea view

Vivienne Griffiths
Palace Pier, Brighton

To celebrate the first anniversary of Sussex Bylines’ inaugural issue, we asked some of our key contributors to write a short piece on the subject of “What Sussex Means to Me”. From memories of being a student at the newly built Sussex University in the sixties while living in shabby digs in Brighton, to the […]

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

People’s Republic of Brighton

Robert Ellson
An electoral map of Sussex, entirely Tory blue except for Brighton with two red and one green patch

Most constituencies in Sussex have Conservative MPs (thanks to our FPTP voting system) but Brighton & Hove is a progressive exception, having elected on Green and two Labour Party MPs

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

My adopted home

Ginny Smith
A view of Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Writer Ginny Smith explains why, after four decades, she considers Sussex to be “home”, yet still retains the feeling of being a slightly removed observer too…

A win for rogue landlords as Tories block council licensing

Rick Dillon
Members of Acorn, the renters' union, protesting in Hove regarding landlord licensing

Lack of repairs creates misery for thousands in private rented accommodation. But getting councils to back a scheme that forces landlords to act is only the first step and, so far, applications to renew council licensing are being turned down by the Conservative Housing Minister Robert Jenrick.

Playing For England: Football and national identity

Mo Kanjilal
Image showing the England football team kneeling on the pitch with Priti Patel arriving in a tank and Boris Johnson streaking topless

The wonderful fact is that this team really does represent what it is to be English today. They represent Englishness and belonging. They inspire those of us from immigrant backgrounds to embrace being English and to be proud to support the team. Sport does have a way of doing that. And it is especially needed for a country that has been so divided in recent years.

Our Great British Seaside: a love affair celebrated in art

Rick Dillon

The British seaside is enjoying a renaissance this year due to Covid overseas travel curbs. Back in the day, far fewer holidaymakers went abroad, instead flocking to the nearest bit of coastline for fun regardless of sun, as can be seen in a new exhibition at Hastings Contemporary Seaside Modern featuring work by a range of 20th century artists span-ning 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Sex, Lies and Videotape: Has cronyism finally had its comeuppance?

Vivienne Griffiths
Led By Donkeys poster featuring a CCTV still of Hancock and his aide in a clinch, highlighting government hypocrisy

While some expressed moral outrage, most people were more upset by the hypocrisy shown by the Health Secretary in brazenly breaking the social distancing guidelines that he himself had set, especially when so many who have lost loved ones to Covid had stuck to the rules…. It was only the unrelenting outcry from MPs, the public, and the media, that finally forced Hancock’s hand into “doing the decent thing” and resigning.

PODCAST

Pride podcast special with Brighton MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle

Sussex Bylines
Brighton Pride August 2019

In this week’s Bylines Network podcast, Chris Davis in Brighton and co-host Connor Lamb in Newcastle (North-East Bylines) have a lively and revealing discussion about what Pride means to them and share their personal experiences of growing up queer. They also interview the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who is only the second British MP to be open about living with HIV. Their conversation proves fascinating, covering everything from the history of Pride to its subsequent commercialisation, and the empty virtue signalling or “Pride-washing” that some corporations are now guilty of. And they don’t shy away from asking perhaps the most contentious question of them all: which Brighton Pride headliner was better – Kylie or Britney?

OUR FUTURE, OUR VOICES

Sussex Bylenses: Spotlight on new young photographer

David Holden
Photo of the Brighton beach by Ben Muir aged 12

Sussex Bylenses is pleased to showcase the work of 12-year-old Ben Muir, a young photographer from Steyning. Photo editor David Holden writes: “Ben’s composition and eye for detail demonstrate a natural talent usually only achieved after some years of practice.”

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND – how can land be treated as personal property?

Tom Serpell
Private property sign on a barbed wire fence in the UK countryside

Over the centuries, and particularly in the last hundred years or so, there’s been a decrease in wealthy land-owning aristocrats, an increase in “self-made” rich businesspeople, and therefore a larger number of owners participating in the real estate market. Yet shockingly, around half of England is owned by just 1% of landowners, and they are almost entirely a mixture of corporations, oligarchs and aristocrats. Tom Serpell asks: should anyone actually be entitled to claim ownership of land?

NEW WRITER

Bum note – does Johnson’s government hate choral singing?

Ruth McDermott
Photo of a Heathfield Choral Society concert from before Covid

Many activities that prolong exposure to heavy breathing have been given the go ahead for indoor activity, such as working out at the gym, laughing with mates down the pub or chatting over a meal at a local restaurant, not to mention thousands of fans gathering at a football stadium to watch a game, no doubt doing what fans will – hugging, celebrating, chanting and singing! So why has the Government banned all amateur choirs from rehearsing indoors?

What legacy do you want to leave?

Tom Serpell
An adoring grandfather holds up his infant grandchild, who is smiling back

A retired, lifelong left-of-centre activist ponders what constitutes a meaningful legacy, and worries his generation is failing to leave the next with the right kind of wealth…

OUR FUTURE, OUR VOICES

Podcast: Our Future, Our Voices

Sussex Bylines
Close-up of a microphone.

This week’s Bylines Network podcast features three young hosts, who are all also involved in various regional Bylines: Kerry Pearson in Grantham, Jules Greenbank in Bristol, and new host Chris Davis in Brighton.

OUR FUTURE, OUR VOICES

Brighton Fringe: performers raring to go

Alivia Arief
Mural in Brighton, titled 'Brighton Fringe'

Many actors, directors, producers and technicians have suffered at the hands of Covid-19 and the impact that the virus has had on the economy, but also owing to live performances being banned during lockdowns.

OUR FUTURE, OUR VOICES

Talking rubbish? – What really happens to your recycling

Chris Davis
Plastic trays and tubs for recycling

Of all the plastic routinely placed in recycle bins across East Sussex, less than 30% is actually recycled. The rest is incinerated, along with most of the non-recyclable rubbish, and – perhaps surprisingly – it is the incinerator company that decides what is recycled and what is burnt. Changes to the current equipment could allow more types of plastic to be recycled but it would cost upwards of £1million. What cost our environment?

Our Future, Our Voices

Sussex Bylines

The team of citizen journalists at Sussex Bylines are proud to announce the launch of Our Future, Our Voices, a platform for young people, where they can speak of their own experiences first-hand. A space where they can explore their creativity – their skills in photography, poetry, art, podcasts and articles that look at life through their unique and special lens. Throughout this week we are publishing articles by young writers. Subjects range from life at university during lockdown to the Swiss vote to ban the burqa, from the impact of social media on mental health to the environmental impact of incinerating our rubbish.