The verdict? Well, I was happy enough with what we got for the money on the hotel front. I would have been less than happy if we’d paid the listed price for the rooms, some £200 over what we did pay. However for £30 a night you could put up with the stained carpet, damaged furniture and the hole in the wall ‘repaired’ by someone stuffing toilet paper in it – not that successful a substitute for Polyfilla it transpires. To be fair the breakfast there was good, the bar much as I remembered, I think it was even the same mostly absentee mute barman there and it was well placed for the Sallis Benney Theatre / University of Brighton where the fourth Colour out of Space was being held…
This was my first Colour out of Space, described as ‘three days of unstructured, experimental sound and art drawn from an international subculture of musicians, artists and filmmakers’ I suppose I should have noticed that there was no ‘music’ as such included in the description and adjusted my expectations appropriately.
As It was I must admit I did find much of the weekend ‘entertainment’ something of a challenge. Arriving on a windswept Brighton evening to the Sallis Benney Theatre, it being a part of Brighton University, the atmosphere was quite institutional, right down to people serving drinks, who struggled to open bottles and operated in a three person to one purchase ratio, there was even a hand held school bell to signal the start of an act in a different area. It was all kind of charming, in its own way.
Two weeks on I can’t put names to several of the acts we saw, actually on the night we frequently couldn’t either as the brochure lacked a timetable and most of the acts didn’t feel the need to talk to the audience. There were several acts I enjoyed or found interesting for a couple of minutes, who then went on for forty or so more. In fact one of the funniest moments of Saturday night came from a panicked organiser who passing me and a friend who had retired from watching one particular act after half an hour or so to a seat at the entrance to the theatre enquired ‘They aren’t still on stage are they?’ in an incredulous way and then ran off backstage. The rest of the night ran slightly late with acts over lapping and the final act of Ju Suk & Oblivia having to play a shortened set due to that which was a shame as I enjoyed what I heard of them.
I really enjoyed the free jazz of Wilkinson/Nobel/Edwards or Steve Noble and Alan Wilkinson as it was, their third member being indisposed, who we’re the first act to play actual instruments in the/a traditional fashion, saxophone and drums with some vocal outbursts thrown in. Trevor Wishhart was very entertaining, Justice Yeldham was also a welcome breath of life, suffering from technical issues with the venues sound and his equipment he played as much of his set as he could, his frustration and ranting added to the act for me giving it a slightly cabaret feel, I did find the fact that this was the busiest we’d seen the venue so far to be a little worrying though, it seems audiences are a bloodthirsty lot indeed. That was about if for me. I guess I don’t mind a little sound experimentation but for me, a little goes quite a long way. On the Friday night I think my sanity was saved by hearing R L Burnside from DJ in the bar next to the venue and entering for a swift half or three.
Also over the weekend we managed to visit a pub with Hobgoblin at 1.09 a pint, watched a man in a panda suit play in a pub band, caught the end of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, enjoyed the sights and sounds of a weekend out drinking on Halloween [oddest costume – probably the guy dressed as superman with his mate in the bannana suit – wasn’t really in with the haloween theme] and ended the weekend with a very enjoyable reggae late night DJ set into the early hours of Sunday morning from an elderly gent who who looked all set to don a Santa outfit for next month. So all in all, a good weekend but I think once maybe enough for me on the Colour out of Space front.