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We asked the owners of local businesses what they think about being part of the community in the Seven Dials / West Hill area. Unsurprisingly, most of them yearn for an improvement in the parking situation and an overwhelming percentage think that business rates could be much fairer. Every one of the businesses love the community in which they are based. Part 1 below, Parts 2 and 3 follow in future issues. Meanwhile, please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about the businesses in this area and your improvement suggestions.

The Almond Tree Michela and Claudio are a couple and they run the café together. They have been here since 2013 and they like the area because “it’s quite lively but not as chaotic and busy as the North Laine” where Claudio worked before. “You get to know pretty much all your neighbours and people working in the area”. What they like most about the Dials is the “nice variety of independent businesses, finding many things here and being a quick walk from the town centre.” Improvement suggestion: traffic-free days and street events could bring more people up the hill. (more…)

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A New Seriousness?

Peter Batten writes about poetry . . .

When World War 2 began I was just six years old. When it finished I was twelve. I spent those years living in, or very close to London. So I was part of a generation whose earliest memories were of a nightmare of bombing and destruction. That experience has left me with a firm conviction that the world is a cruel, spiteful place and that to live in it is to take part in a meaningless lottery of suffering or happiness. Shortly after the end of the war our local vicar called on my mother to make arrangements for my confirmation. “I’m sorry”, she told him, “He doesn’t believe a word of it.” (more…)

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Brighton’s Soul of the City Choir starts a new term in April and they’re looking for new singers to come and join the regulars. They’re a fun, friendly and funky choir singing pop, soul and gospel classics in 4 and 5 part harmony – everything from Chaka Khan to Florence and the Machine, Bowie to Bastille, Prince, Queen and gospel classics.

There are no auditions and no requirements to read music, it’s all about the enjoyment of singing. Every term ends with a gig and this term the choir have an extra special treat in store with a performance in the Voices Now Festival at the iconic Roundhouse in Camden in July.

The sessions are fun, friendly, upbeat and lead by an experienced vocal tutor so you’re bound to have a fantastic time.

Soul of the City has 2 choirs – one in Brighton and one in Hassocks. If you’ve never experienced the amazing feeling of singing in a choir with 140 other singers, why not try a free taster (there are free taster sessions for every new singer).

For more information or to book a place on a taster session, you can contact the choir via
Email – soulofthecitychoir@live.com or through their website – www.soulofthecitychoir.com

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It’s amazing how the internet has become part of everyday life – 9 out of 10 people use it, and 70% of us now have a smartphone or tablet. It’s so popular because it’s quick and easy to find information, keep in touch with the family, do the shopping and be entertained. Yet not everyone is confident – people of all ages struggle because they don’t have the equipment or the connection . . . or find what they do have, difficult to use. (more…)

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Peter Batten is amazed by what he’s discovered about Oliver Sacks . . .

These three words form the title of one of the most famous English poems of the 1950s. It was written by Thom Gunn, who went on to spend most of his life in the United States. He became a well-known resident of San Francisco.

Recently, I was surprised to find the same three words used as the title of the autobiography by Oliver sacks-london-motorcycle-388Sacks. You may remember him as the author of a book which became the successful film ‘Awakenings’ or of the best-selling collection of essays, ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’. I was even more surprised to see on the book’s cover a picture of a young and handsome Dr Sacks seated astride a motorcycle (pictured). (more…)

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