Experiences of an American library volunteer

One of our brilliant library volunteers, Peter, took time out during this very difficult time to write the following piece sharing his own personal experience of volunteering for Brighton and Hove library services.  Read his touching and eloquent story below:

I am a 58 year old American living in Brighton. I came here because I fell in love with a lovely Brightonian while visiting in London last spring. While here, I am doing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Brighton.

To my surprise ‘Uni’, as you call it here, only met once a week during the fall semester so I found myself with lots of independent time to do my studies where I wished.

I have always loved libraries and I soon discovered Jubilee. What a treasure you have here! I love the open atrium. It happened that the day I first visited was some sort of special day and there were greeters there who helped me get an account. Since I live near the small, often unstaffed Westdene library branch, I was encouraged to get a Libraries Extra. In addition I learned about the electronic tools Borrow Box and RBDigital which are especially useful now. The cafe area is very nice and the communal seating has led to some nice conversations. On one of my first visits, although everyone around me was ensconced in their reading, I noticed a sign on the table that encouraged chatting. I gestured to my neighbors on either side of me and said “It says here we are supposed to talk”. The man to my left said, in a friendly way, ‘We’re English. We don’t talk.” I replied, “Well you can probably hear that I’m an American.” and, before we knew it, the three of us were having an active conversation. The man to my left had to leave after a bit as his lunch hour was over. I learned that my other neighbor was a semi-retired mathematician and we had a nice chat about his work and my nephew who also studied mathematics. I was also able to share with him an interesting article that had recently appeared in the excellent Quanta Magazine, which frequently covers mathematics.

In my second semester I am taking a Communities of Practice module which encourages writers to engage with their community. I had already considered volunteering at the library and this gave me the incentive to actually make it happen.

The process of becoming a volunteer was fairly straightforward and all of my dealing with Brighton & Hove library staff was efficient, professional, and friendly. My situation was a bit more complicated than most, due to the requirements of my university for a volunteer placement but the person at Jubilee was easy to work with and did the extra work to sign me up without complaint.

After communicating via email, I met for an interview at Jubilee. I am a retired software developer and very comfortable with technology so becoming a Library Connect volunteer to assist people with computers or phones seemed a natural fit.

After my reference was checked and I was accepted as a volunteer, I got the opportunity to ‘shadow’ one of the experienced Library Connect volunteers as he helped several people. I felt a bit as a novitiate being instructed by an older priest as he showed tremendous empathy to the people who had come to us for help. In some cases people needed quite straightforward help but in other cases their needs were connected to bigger events in their lives such as the need to apply for European Settled Status or to access their bank account after the death of a life partner. It became clear to me that the role had subtleties I had not appreciated and required sensitivity and discretion.

Finally, it came time for me to me begin my own first shift. I appreciated the trust I was given with access to the non-public parts of the library and a lanyard showing my status as an official volunteer. I looked in the appointment book and was happy to see that all three 45 minute sessions were booked. Less good, I was informed that the first person had cancelled. I was sitting at the Library Connect desk when, to my surprise and pleasure, a woman who had been working nearby asked if I could help. It turns out that the library is also used by the National Careers Service. The person who spoke to me was a Careers Advisor and her customer needed assistance uploading her resume to the job placement company Indeed. The customer had been out of work for more than 10 years after quitting to take care of her aged parents and another relative with cancer. She now wished to return to part-time work. To reacclimate herself to the workforce and get some recent experience she had been working in a charity shop. I was pleased to be able to assist her.

My next customer did not show up. Please don’t do this! It wastes volunteers time and prevents the slot from being used by someone else who needs assistance.

My third customer turned out to be very interesting and helpful to my own studies. She is an accomplished artist, playwright, and novelist with over a dozen published novels. Over the last few years she has been adapting some of her stage plays and novels to screenplays. I happen to be taking a screenwriting course at the moment so found working with her particular relevant. After our fruitful session we connected personally and I have now helped her edit three different plays. In the process I am learning from an accomplished writer. With the library now closed and my volunteering finished for now, it has been good to still be able to help someone who I met in the position.

Before the current pandemic shut things down I had the opportunity for two more sessions. In session number two, I was able to help an older woman set up a Gmail account, write an email to her son, and put names to telephone numbers in WhatsApp so she could better communicate with her extended family. Another client is a legally blind person who I was able to help by taking dictation of a letter to an incarcerated relative. I felt privileged to help this person with such a difficult circumstance.

In my third and final session before the shutdown I helped the widow of a former Cambridge Don research the life of a famous violinist from the reign of King George IV and helped another Brightonion create a Gmail account and use it. This last customer is an active volunteer in the community so I felt that he was getting a bit of good karma in return for his service.

All in all, my experience was very positive. It gave me a chance to meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily have had a chance to. I got a small taste of the wide variety of tasks that people are using these powerful, but sometimes confusing machines, for. Most importantly, it gave me a chance to give back a little to this community which is my new home and which has been welcoming to me. I look forward to when normal life resumes and I get to meet and help more of you.

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National Storytelling Week 3rd – 10th Feb 2020

The Network of International Women meet every Wednesday morning at Jubilee Library. To celebrate National Storytelling Week, members of the Hangleton & Knoll Multicultural Women’s Group were invited to visit them.

Monir came to talk about the project that the Hangleton & Knoll ladies are working on with Sharon Duggal of New Writing South. The project, Telling Our Stories, involves regular workshops where women share and write down some of their life stories.

The women are also encouraged to bring in items which have a special meaning for them. Monir told stories about her childhood in Mashhad, Iran’s 2nd largest city, located in the North East of Iran. Monir showed us the dolls (pictured) which one of her friend’s had made for her. The dolls represent the forgotten women who live on the Iran/Iraq border, whose lives are still overshadowed by the lengthy Iran/Iraq conflict. Many men from the rural villages were killed during the war, so the women had to take on everything.

Their tasks include collecting firewood and water every day for cooking and washing, while looking after their children. The doll on the left has a bundle of firewood and a baby on her back, as well as holding a basket in front of her. The storytelling project is going to continue this year through New Writing South and author Alison MacLeod’s The Stories We Tell initiative.

Find out more about:
The International Network of Women
Hangleton & Knoll Multicultural Women’s Group
New Writing South
National Storytelling Week

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Summer Reading Challenge themed top 10 books

Hello Everyone, Carlos here. With the Summer Reading Challenge theme being Space Chase, I have decided to look at the interstellar and cosmic books at the library.



10. Star Wars character encyclopedia by Simon Beecroft- Now with an updated edition including characters from the new movies, the star wars character encyclopedia is perfect for those who want to find out more about their favourite space adventure franchise. From Anakin Skywalker to Zuckuss and everyone in between, you’ll learn more about the heroes and villains of the saga with this wonderful volume. See also Star Wars the last Jedi: the visual dictionary, Star Wars: the complete visual dictionary and Star Wars alien archive for more fun facts about a galaxy far far away.





9. The alien hunter’s handbook: how to look for extra-terrestrial life by Mark Brake- is there other life in the universe? What might it be like? How could we communicate with them? How will we find where they live? Discussing the history of life on earth and what we currently know about outer space, The Alien Hunter’s Handbook is a fun, engaging and in-depth guide to what aliens might be like.







8. How did robots land on Mars? By Clara MacCarald- We know a lot about the planet Mars through the robotic probes NASA sends to the planet. But how were they made in the first place, and how do the scientists at NASA control these machines? Find out in this book all about the engineering that went into making this incredible feat possible. See also STEM in our world: Space technology for more information about the gadgets and machines that allow us to find out about space.





7. iHero Alien raid by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore- In this gamebook, you must save Planet Earth from Alien Invasion. Make the right decisions and you will save the earth, but if you make the wrong choice you’ll have to try again! Fun for anyone who’s dreamed of being a hero in a sci-fi film of their own. Check out iHero Monster Hunter Alien, I hero Tyranno quest and I hero Toons Invasion of the botty snatchers for more interactive intergalactic adventures.





6.png6. Astrosaurs vs Cows in Action: The dinosaur moo-tants by Steve Cole and illustrated by Woody Fox- A crossover between two of Steve Cole’s comedic adventure series, the planet-hopping Astrosaurs books and the time-travelling Cows in Action novels. The Fed-up Bull Institute and the League of Galactic Carnivores create strange Cow-Dinosaur to conquer the universe. Can Space Captain Teggs the stegosaurus, communications officer Gipsy the Corythosaurus, first officer Arx the Triceratops, chief engineer Iggy the Iguanodon, scientist Professor McMoo the bull, sidekick Pat Vine the calf and fighter Bo Vine the heifer save the day? Also look out for other Astrosaurs and Cows in Action adventures, like The mind-swap menace and The ter-moo-nators, some of which are also available as audiobooks.



5. The first men in the moon by H.G. Wells. 68 years before humans actually set foot on the moon, H.G. Wells wrote this thrilling and highly influential interplanetary adventure. A London businessman named Bedford and a physicist from Lympne, Mr. Cavor, discover a mysterious substance called Cavorite which allows them to defy gravity. They travel to the moon and discover a strange civilisation of insect-like creatures called Selenites.







4. DK pocket eyewitness Space: facts at your fingertips – With over 170 profiles on planets, stars, meteorites and moons, this ‘Pocket Eyewitness’ book will make you a space expert in no time. Find out about Jupiter’s red spot, the martian mountain Olympus Mons, craters on the moon, the scale of the Universe, how telescopes work, the life cycles of stars and much more. Check out DK illustrated encyclopedia of the universe, DK find out! Space travel and DK find out! Universe for more fascinating facts about outer space.




3. I took the moon for a walk by Carolyn Curtis and illustrated by Alison Jay. A charming, wonderful picture book with a few bilingual editions available. A young boy wanders through the night whilst bringing the moon along with him as he walks. Set in lyrical rhyme and using language that will boost reader confidence, I took the moon for a walk is a charming book regardless of your age.





2. The Phoenix colossal comics collection Volume 1 by Various authors and illustrators. A selection of comic strips from the weekly Phoenix magazine, including the space adventure strip Troy Trailblazer. Troy and his allies discover a race of part-machine part-biological beings called the BioTeks. The Bioteks plan to wage war on the Galactic military, for imprisoning their computer leader the God-Brain. Can Troy and his friends save the universe? The other strips included are also highly enjoyable.




1.png1. Neil Armstrong and travelling to the moon by Ben Hubbard. With the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing this year, I thought the number one had to be a book about the moon landing. This amazing non-fiction book includes information about Neil Armstrong’s life, his first trip aboard an American Spacecraft, the development of Space Travel and the training astronauts undergo. See also Yuri Gagarin and the race to space for more information about the history of space travel.


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Brighton Library Music Club talks 2019

Our latest music talk, Pink Floyd Brighton ’72, is now available to listen to on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/BHLibraries/julia-pink-floyd-roadie-in-conversation-with-francis-brighton-library-staff/

Hear the full interview with Julia Trangmar, who worked all of the Brighton 1972 shows (The first “Eclipse” Dark side of the Moon show).  Julia has many fascinating insights on her time with Pink Floyd.  Interestingly, she praises Easy Star All Stars reggae version of Dark Side of the Moon as “really impressive” and a “fresh look at it”.  Big thanks must go to Stuart Avis (Servants of Science band) & Julia Trangmar of course, for the talk.  Please see Brighton & Hove City Libraries social media for information on future talks.


The Brighton Dome, venue of those legendary concerts.

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Hollingdean – Library Access Point Launch

On Thursday 1st August several members of library staff (and Spider-Man) headed over to Hollingdean Community Centre to launch the all new Library Access Point.


Situated in one corner of the hall, this space is available for the community to use from 10am – 2pm on Thursdays, when the Junk Food Project also provide a delicious pay as you feel lunch.  The library is self-service and available resources include books for adults and children to borrow, a free to use PC with internet connectivity and Wi-Fi for those bringing their own devices.

During the event we had the opportunity to speak to members of the Hollingdean community – from seniors browsing local history texts and young multi-lingual families looking for dual language picture books, to teens wanting support to learn to drive.

Gemma and India were on hand to promote the vast array of free e-resources available to those with library cards – there are too many to list here but highlights include e-magazines, e-comics and e-books.


Hollingdean’s Favourite 3 Resources:

Theory Test Pro – a realistic online simulation of the UK’s driving theory test

BorrowBox – e-books and e-audiobooks

Britannica – a comprehensive online encyclopaedia

To see our full list of free resources visit https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/libraries/free-access-subscription-websites

Matt from Free University Brighton (FUB) joined us to promote their Freegree courses, another fantastic resource available free to anyone looking to further develop their education. If you think this might include you, pop over to http://freeuniversitybrighton.org/ or follow them on Twitter @FreeUniBrighton.


For younger customers, our colleague Jo also hosted a free Party Bag Making Session with cake decorating and arts and crafts. With 13 children and 5 adults getting involved Jo’s session was a big hit and two dedicated young readers even managed to start and finish the Summer Reading Challenge to win their medals!

We would like to say a big thank you to Ceza and Shirley for their behind the scenes support of the event and for all their assistance on the day. It was a pleasure working with you!

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Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage – 80’s New York Punk, Funk & Reggae

Once a month at Jubilee Library, there’s a free music talk – everyone is welcome!
In Febuary, Francis gave a talk about the infamous Larry Levan and in case you missed it, he’s kindly given us the transcipt!

Larry Levan & the Paradise Garage

Larry Levan & Grace Jones

Why I admire Larry Levan and what he achieved…

Born Lawrence Philpot in 1954….maybe wisely changed his surname, he started out playing records in the early 70’s with another legend, Frankie Knuckles at The Gallery and then Soho Place (not the trendy new one).

He was the main DJ at the Paradise Garage in New York from 1977 to 1987 when it closed and the people who went there loved him. This was the civil and gay rights era and the Stonewall Inn protest in New York was only back in 1969, just a few years before Larry started as a DJ.

This was when customers at the gay pub had had enough of Police harassment and stood up to them, their bravery became a historic moment in gay rights. Larry was black and gay, this makes his success all the more impressive for the times he lived in

He was very open minded in the music he played, especially being interested in the synthy and experimental new European music of the early 80’s, Kraftwerk being one of these bands, their records were also popular with the Bronx hip hop scene. (Whitfield Records, home of disco-funker’s Rose Royce, assisted in the production on the Man Machine album, which includes with Model.)

As the 80’s got going he experimented more with spacey and dub effects, in his remixes and his own two bands.

He died at just 38 in 1992, after a very successful DJ tour of Japan with the DJ, mixer and great friend Francis Kervorkian. Drugs had alas become more a part of his life and caused problems, sometimes his friends would buy his records back from market stalls, which he’d sold for his habit. One of his friends remarked that Larry was an intelligent and smart guy and it was a choice he made, but a real shame.

Returning to the positive, he played, mixed and made his own great records. We’ll look at the records after taking a look at the Paradise Garage itself.

The Paradise Garage, sadly knocked down for flats in 2018

Paradise Garage & New York club scene

84 King street in New York was set up by legendary West End Records Mel Cheren’s boyfriend Michael Brody. The idea was originally for a downtown Studio 54 styled very fashionable club. However on the snow bound opening night, the sound system got stuck at the airport and the trendy crowd left after freezing as they queued for ages in the snow.

This actually did the club a favour, as instead it developed into a much earthier and underground place, far removed from Studio 54 where you went to be seen. The Paradise Garage however was where you went to hear great music with a friendly and accepting atmosphere.

It had a very mixed crowd, black, latino, gay, straight men and women, though more men when it started. Initially one of the women said she had to go in disguise as a man as it as more male orientated, when Mel Cheren found out he went out of his way to make sure women were welcome too. It opened in 1977, only 8 years after the Stonewall protests of 1969 and it was membership only, this meant that the Saturday night booze hounds and brawlers were not there and it was a safe place to be.

There are many pictures of Larry happily standing by the incredibly powerful state of the art sound system he had put in or behind the three record decks with room enough for a party behind them, which there often was!

Other NYC clubs

There were other very exciting and cutting edge clubs in New York at the same time and the Paradise Garage didn’t exist in a complete bubble, though as the 80’s went on it did maintain a kinder friendlier atmosphere. I’ve listed a few of these other great clubs and it’s very interesting checking out the DJ playlists for them. They all have a slightly different take on what they played but generally it was very eclectic, no club just playing say just disco or rock.

The Loft

Larry was heavily influenced by David Mancuso, the bearded chap who created and ran The Loft. People literally partied in his own loft. It was guests only, long mixes of deep disco, funk often with a spacey nature. Tracks such as War’s psychedelic soul-funk “City, Country, City” and Dexter Wansel’s very trippy disco song “Life on Mars” were favourites.

David Mancuso

The Roxy

In 1982 Kool Lady Blue ran the “ All races dance club”, featuring punk and early hip hop club, gay night with lots of DJ’s. Live there was Madonna, Beastie Boys, Kurtis Blow and Kraftwerk.

Ruza Blue AKA Kool Lady Blue


The club scene from Desperately Seeking Susan was filmed here. Featuring DJ Mark Kamins who got Madonna signed and produced her first single “Everybody”. A hangout also of Duran Duran, the B52’s , New Order, Jesus & Mary Chain, Sonic Youth. Alternative rock, rap and disco was the sound.

Mark Kamins with someone we all know!

Radio support

Frankie Crocker of WBLS was often in the DJ booth with Larry.

Frankie Crocker

He would check out the records Larry was playing, see which ones went down well with the dancers and then make haste to a record shop and play them on his radio show. This really helped make what were often very underground records become club hits and sometimes chart hits. It also helped promote both Larry and the Paradise Garage as a place to fins cutting edge music.

Great NYC disco/boogie labels

Queen Yahna – Aint it Time 1976, P&P Records

Prelude Records

Sam records


West End


Becket –(see below Denroy Morgan)

Some Great Records he played

Sinammon – Thanks to You

Eddy Grant – Walking on Sunshine

Grace Jones – Nipple to the bottle

Lace – Can’t play Around

Central Line – Walking on Sunshine

Central Line

Later garage record labels (with disco-boogie sound still)

Easy Street

Jump Street

Supertronics records

Lola – Wax the Van (Lola Blank, Arthur Russell)

Euro electro and rock on the Playlist

Kraftwerk – The Robots

Manuel Gottsching – E2-E4 (Ashra Tempel)

Ian Dury – Spasticus Autisticus

Marianne Faithfull – Broken English

Modern Romance – Salsa Rhapsody (Dub Discomix)

The Police – Voices inside my Head

Cat Stevens – Was Dog A Doughnut

Cat Stevens

Ian Dury – Spasticus Autisticus

The Clash – Magnificent Dance 

(This track had Norman Roy-Watt from The Blockheads on bass and was used by Larry to tune the sound system in the club)

Joe Strummer said “When we came to the U.S, Mick stumbled on a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang…these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us.”

The Clash

Selected Remixes

Influence of dub when mixing Island records

Gwen Guthrie – Padlock EP 1983 (Garage Records)

Class Action – Weekend 1983 (Sleeping Bag) – Arthur Russell Connection

Ednah Holt – Serious Sirius Space Party 1981 (West End Records)

Ednah Holt

Loose Joints – Is it all over my Face 1980 (West End Records)

Gwen Guthrie – It should have been you. – Sly & Robbie

Class action – Weekend – Leroy Burgess

Frontline Orchestra – Don’t turn your back on me (Eddy Grant again – legend!)

The Funk Masters – Love Money

Larry’s bands

Larry had two bands and I’ve just named a few selected tracks, there are other very good EP’s and also unreleased tracks that have come out for the first time. Man Friday’s “It’s in the Rythmn” and Peech Boy’s “Stay with Me” are amazing songs that for whatever reasons never made it to vinyl in the 80’s, though with the latter just go for Tom Moulton or Larry’s own mixes. The Peech Boys also included the fantastic Bernard Fowler.

NYC Peech Boys – Don’t Make Me Wait 1982 (West End Records)  

On a Journey 1983 (Island Records)

Man Friday – Love Honey, Love Heartache 1986 (Vinylmania)

Peech Boys

End of the Paradise Garage in 1987 and feedback from fans

Sherri Eisenpress; “It was the only place around where no matter who you were, people came together in the shared spirit of love and music that, when you heard it, you had no choice but to get up and dance”,

Anonymous; “Not a day passes when I don’t think about the man or listen to one of his totally unique trippy and dub inspired mixes”.

Dave Piccioni, owner of London’s Black Market Records lived in New York in the late 80’s, he said it was ; “New York, cut throat money time. Everybody was sticking knives in each others backs. It was dog eat dog. Aggressive. Dealing, sixty thousand people living on the street. And then you’d go to this little oasis, where people were really well-mannered and friendly to each other. You just felt totally comfortable. People who shared something, and that was an open mind”.

Last night at the Paradise Garage

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into the life of Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage. I’ve only mentioned a tiny bit of the amazing music he was involved with, there are loads to discover on-line and of course on the great CD’s in the library. We’ve got a lot of rare underground disco-funk from the late 80’s early 80’s and funky rock cross-over bands such as The Clash and talking Heads.

Thanks for the music Larry!

Francis Field

Larry on the Decks

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Refugee Week

Next week is Refugee week and there’s a full week of events happening at Jubilee library, from talks and workshops to children’s crafts and exhibitions!
Here’s the programme of events:

Find out more about refugee week events across the city here, including more information about refugee Week and Sanctuary on Sea:


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Did you see us?

Once a month at Jubilee Library, there’s a free music talk – and the Hanover Directory was kind enough to print a piece on the talks & what’s coming up!

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Make Music Day – only 4 weeks to go!

Make Music Day logo

21st June 2019 10am – 5pm at Jubilee & Hove libraries

Make Music Day is the world’s largest annual music festival with FREE events in more than 800 cities across 120 countries. As part of the celebrations, both Jubilee & Hove Libraries will be hosting a day of community music events including performers of all ages and abilities. There will be performances, workshops, taster sessions and music talks for you to enjoy and participate in!


with Aneesa Chaudhry and Martlets choir (conference room 3) Join Aneesa and members of the Martlets ‘Good Vibrations’ community choir to learn some songs that you will then perform at 11:30!

10:15-10:45 BABY BOOGIE
drop-in music session for pre-school children and parents, with Ian (children’s area)

with Ian (community space) An introduction to this fun and easy-to-learn instrument. You will be playing songs by the end of the session! Ukuleles provided.

with children of Queen’s Park Primary School (main hall)

12:00-12:15 GIULIA PEDRANA
singer-songwriter (community space)

guitar group (main hall) New Note Strummers is a guitar group, open to anyone who is in recovery from addiction. We cover well known songs and also encourage players to compose their own music. The group is very supportive and open to all abilities. If you would like to join the Strummers for a jam at the end of their slot, bring your guitar along on the day!

singer-songwriter (community space)

(main hall) A performance by Brighton & Hove’s very own late-starter string band, featuring cello, viola and violin, led by Bela Emerson. Most players were complete beginners to music-making before they came to their first session. The band plays a mixture of popular music, folk, and classical themes as well as some original material.

(community space)  Children aged between 8 and 11 who have been attending a weekly ukulele club perform numbers and invite you to sing with them.

1:45-2:15 JAMPOTS
singing group. Led by Andy Miller, the Jampots is made up of residents and friends of Lavender House Senior Housing Scheme. Together they perform songs from the 1850s to the 1980s!

mandolin orchestra (main hall) This award-winning community music group are based in Brighton and formed of players from all over Sussex and beyond. As an ever-expanding orchestra we welcome new members, from novice to expert, and can even supply instruments. Rehearsals are at St George’s Church every Tuesday from 7.30p – 9.30pm. Why not pop in and meet us!

(community space) Tight Squeeze are a Brighton based ceilidh and barn dance band. Lively jigs, reels and polkas from these islands and beyond, played on fiddle, banjo and squeeze boxes.

3:30-4:00 SILVER SOUNDS SAMBA (main hall)
Silver Sounds is a community-based band for people aged 50+ which sets out to challenge the stereotype and celebrate what older people can do. The band meets weekly and performs at many community and charity events. http://www.silversounds.org

with members of The Piranhas, Peter & The Test Tube Babies and Fish Bros (conference room 3)

(main hall) Brighton’s Jam Tarts are an indie choral collective who perform unique and shimmering arrangements of indie, post-punk, electro, Britpop and artrock classics, from Nick Cave and Tom Waits to Arcade Fire, Ezra Furman and The Stone Roses. Think choirs aren’t your cup of tea? You’ve never heard your favourite songs quite like this before…Joined by a piano, cello, percussion and 2 trumpets, the library will be anything but quiet!

4:45-50 FINALE
performance of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’. Join us for a mass rendition of this joyful classic with your voice or even an instrument! Instrument notation/chords can be found at https://makemusicday.co.uk/mmd-song/


10:30-11:30 HOWL singing group
drop-in workshop (children’s library). Howl is an informal, daytime, drop in choir for adults. Pre-school little howlers very welcome too. We run Friday mornings in Hove. More information on our website www.howl.org.uk 

singer-songwriter (community space)

singer-songwriter (community space)

12:45-1:05 DAVID CAMILLI
singer-songwriter (community space)

sing-a-long. Come and join in! (community space)

singer-songwriter (community space)

(community space). Brighton & Hove Classical Guitar Group play arrangements of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical & Romantic periods as well as music written in the 20th & 21st century. New players are always welcome to join us.  There will be an opportunity for guitarists with some experience to join the group for a taster workshop at the end of the performance. Bring your guitar along if you are interested.

(community space). Coastline Harmony is a friendly, award-winning all-female voice group of around 30 members who share a love of a cappella singing and enjoy performing a wide range of music: rock and pop, ballads, folk and songs from shows.

4:30-40 FINALE
performance of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’. Join us for a mass rendition of this joyful classic with your voice or even an instrument! Instrument notation/chords can be found at https://makemusicday.co.uk/mmd-song/


Make Music Day logo partners

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80’s Dub Disco, New York to the World!

Once a month at Jubilee Library, there’s a free music talk – everyone is welcome! Francis, one of the members of library staff who runs the music club, gave April’s talk and in case you missed it:

80’s Dub Disco, New York to the World!


steve 1Steve Miller rocking out in the 70’s

Steve miller band – macho city

As a fan of funk, disco, reggae, punk and psychedelic rock this is genre of music that takes in influences of all of these and also affected all of them too.

Late 60’s, 70’s, early 80’s were all particular times when people experimented a lot with music and took influences from a wide range of places.

Also it seems record companies let them do it as I suspect they didn’t quite understand this unusual new music but as people were buying it, didn’t mess with the people making it. As the decades progressed record labels regrouped and restricted the freedoms of these bands. Could you imagine Thirteenth Floor Elevators putting out a psych album in 1975 or The Specials “Ghost Town” coming out in 1985?

60’s and 70’s soul funk was more influenced by psychedelic rock whereas dub disco was from dub reggae, though I’m sure there were people the late 70’s/early 80’s music scene that were involved in psychedelic rock, for example both Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers from The Police had been in psychedelic rock bands, Frolk Haven and Dantalian’s Chariot. The Police released a classic dub disco epic “Voices inside my head” in 1980.

Psychedelic soul, prog & fusion rock – the first wave

In Don Lett’s “Tales of Doctor Funkenstein” documentary George Clinton, the founder and inspiration between Funkadelic and Parliament said that in the 60’s black people listened to rock music and the album that really affected and influenced him was The Beatles Sgt Pepper. It is noticeable after 1967 how trippy sounds drifted across the soul world, especially to Motown.

One of my favourite and I think most talented song writers and producers ever was Norman Whitfield, he’d go to Funkadelic gigs and get his house band the Funk brothers to play a version of what he heard on his groups, especially The Temptations, Undisputed Truth and white funky crossover band the Rare Earth. His lyrics were more outspoken politically than Marvin Gay’s “What’s going on” and the sound of the last two bands really trippy and heavy on the fuzz and wah wah guitars, something I love!

Bands such as Gong on their epic 1974 “You” album brought jazz-funk and space rock together, Canterbury’s Caravan on 1972’s “Waterloo Lily” combined some very spacy fuzz keyboards with funky rhythms and also German bands Agitation Free had moments of spacey psych rock on their albums released between 1972 and 1976. Not forgetting the legends of this area Can, their 1978 track Aspectacle is my favourite example.

I’ve chosen to play more of a psychedelic soul than funk track called “Fantasy is Reality” by Parliament and recorded in 1970 but never released. Not sure why it wasn’t released as it is brilliant!

parliament 2.jpgParliament in psychedelic times

Fantasy is Reality – Parliament 1970

Aspectacle – Can 1978


Dub Disco

There was a run of spacey disco records around 1977 following the mega success of Star Wars , Meco did an album of Star Wars music and Space released “Magic Fly” these had a spacey and trippy edge but were also a tad cheesy too. Kool & the Gang released the much better “The Force”in 1978 and Instant Funk had “Dark Vader”in 1979, again a quality track.

Also to remember is some pretty groovy reggae tracks came out which whilst not being dubby, did add the disco element, Bob Marley’s “Could you be loved” is a great example.

An amazing record that came out in 1976 is often talked about as one of the first dub disco records, it the aptly titled Disco Dub Band’s cover of “For the Love of Money”.

It was the inspiration of music exec and songwriter Davitt Sigerson, who made two records in the 80’s on legendary left field New York Ze Records. Recorded in the basement of Beanstalk Music in Camden and by legendary funky reggae artist Mike Dorane. Also check out his tracks Penguin Funk and The Ghetto.

This record really sets the sound and was very influential, being re-released in 1979, 1981 and 2018.

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Davitt Sigerson looking smooth in the 80’s
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Mike Dorane & Carol Williams, funky reggae

Though the 70’s music came out that would fit the dub disco description, but it is mainly in the early 80’s that the majority of music that fits into this style can be found.

Again the big difference to me is that the early 70’s dance music was more influenced by psychedelic rock and the late 70’s/early 80’s by dub reggae.

The next track I’m going to play came out in 1976 but really set the scene for the sound of dub disco.

Dub Disco Band – For the Love of Money 1976

There were many mixmasters responsible for great dub disco mixes across disco, rock and funk especially, to me three stand out as real leaders, Francois Kervorkian, Larry Levan and Paul Simpson.

We’ll also need to mention David Mancuso who had a club in his own loft apartment aptly called “The Loft”, he influenced a lot of these guys in that he played long trippy and often less commercial and more serious records such as Dexter Wansell “Life on Mars” and War’s “City Country City”.

Another very influential record, or I would say probably “the record” was Funk Masters “Love Money”.

Recorded by South Londoner Tony Williams, a 70’s soul and funk DJ and reggae presenter on BBC Radio London in the 70’s and 80’s. He didn’t release a lot of records but what he did were a brilliant mix of dub reggae, disco-funk and early rap. “Love Money”

Funk Masters – Love Money 1981 remix

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Tony Williams, Mr Funk Master himself!

The record was very influential on the New York disco scene and especially to the king of disco dub mixes Francois Kervorkian. He said of it;

“I hadn’t been exposed to King Tubby’s early stuff at the time. But when I heard a dance music thing with all those big reverbs, those stops, those crazy effects where a piano comes in, cuts off and decays. To me, that was a revelation. “Oh, you can do that?” I immediately I started searching out those sounds. I started searching out records that had that in it. Then I started going in the studio and playing with tape delays and all kinds of crazy regeneration effects.”

Originally released in 1980, a few copies made it to Vinylmania record store, very near to the Paradise Garage where Larry Levan deejayed. It was 1981’s heavy dub mix on Champagne records that really took off.

The man himself said “I’ve always been involved in music in some way or another. I never thought I was going to be a producer. I never thought I was going to make a record. And what your telling me is that the first record I made in my life is a phenomenal, legendary record.”

As we heard from Francois K earlier he got into the spacey sounds from the dub reggae he was hearing and really applied the sounds to a lot of his mixes on New York’s Prelude Records. D Train being a band he did a lot of great work for, my favourite track is Michael Wilson “Groove it to your body”, where there is a very funky and trippy B Side instrumental.

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Francois Kervorkian

Michael Wilson – Groove it to your body

Francois K said Larry Levan got into the world of dance and dub a bit later when he started mixing dance tracks for Gwen Guthrie and Grace Jones. These had funk reggae legends Sly and Robbie as the rhythm section. The song “Seventh Heaven” is from a special remix album of Gwen’s that Larry mixed in 1983.

larry 7Larry Levan on the decks

Gwen Guthrie – Seventh Heaven

Paul Simpson put out some great tracks under different act names in the 80’s, Paul Simpson Connection, Serious Intention, Pushe, Subject and Paradise Girls. He really went in for the dub mixes and brought more synth sounds in though keeping a definite foot in early 80’s boogie disco.

For vinyl fans, check out the B Sides and instrumentals.


Subject – The magic the Moment

Noel Williams was a Miami based producer and musician, coming from a reggae background ne co-wrote “Buffalo Soldier” with Bob Marley & the Wailers. He released records under his own name of King Sporty and his music moved from reggae, to funk and then to disco. He’s responsible for a lot of good music released on via his Konduko and Tambasha labels, Connie Case “Get on Down” being a classic, the other legendary release and dub disco classic is The Ex Tra’s “Haven’t been funked enough”.

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Paul Simpson in the early 80’s

This was a very influential record and I think especially popular in the underground New York clubs and also with Manchester DJ legend Greg Wilson. Check out his memories on-line at Electrofunk roots, there are so many great tracks listed and many of them fit in the dub disco manor.

The Ex Tra’s “Haven’t been funked enough

There are many other examples of dub disco, Atmosfear “Dancing in Outer Space” and Patrick Cowleys pre Sylvester work among them.

Reggae bands who had so inspired the scene also got into the spacey disco funk sounds themselves, Monkaya “Go Deh Yaka”, Chalice “Funky Kind of Reggae” and UB40’s excellent B sides “Mek Ya Rock” and “Nkomo A Gogo” are brilliant examples.

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Noel Williams, Miami’s funkiest chap

Dub rock

As in the late 60’s/early 70’s the late 70’s and early 80’s was a time of real music openness for bands to take in wide musical influences and make more exciting music because of it. A friend Stewart who had the Jesus and Mary Chain as his neighbours in East Kilbride and played in a band at the time said, “the record labels were following the bands as the 80’s went on they took control”.

This allowed for some great unusual bands that mixed indie rock, dub and funk, The Clash, Raw Sex (feat Neneh Cherry), Pigbag, Generation X, The Slits, 23 Skidoo, A Certain Ratio and maybe surprisingly Modern Romance.

In America, Chris Stein and friends from Blondie made provided a very dubby and funky backing for New York’s rappers in the 1983 movie Wildstyle soundtrack. There is an excellent release as the early rappers are awesome, there is also a release just with the music too.

Bands such as ESG a Bronx punk funk band with sometimes spacey leanings released “Moody” and “Ufo”, Mark Kamin’s who helped introduce Madonna to the world did very spaced out mixes on Affinity’s “Don’t go away” and UK funksters, Quando Quando “Love Tempo”.

I used to think of Modern Romance as a more poppy, blond with highlights version of Duran Duran. On hearing their first album and their incredible Salsa Rappsody mix of Everybody Salsa I definitely changed my opinion. This track was on the B side and was widely played on the New York club scene.

Modern Romance – Salsa rappsody (dub discomix)

The last band from the alternative rock scene to really take to this sound was The Clash, they were a band that really experimented with many styles of music, punk, funk, reggae and even folk on Sandinista. Mick Jones was really into the New York hip hop scene but they were all very open minded musically. Slated by some of the London music press as a disco sell out at the time, history will have recorded who was right. This song to me captures the best of them, funky, dubby, punk rawness and fun.

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Modern Romance, secret funkateers!

The Clash – This is Radio Clash

The Clash with Rankin Roger – Rock the Casbah

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Joe Strummer and Rankin Roger 

Summary of some great sounds!

The dub dance sounds spread across many genres in the early 80’s, though especially in the underground disco and garage scenes.

The music carried on throughout the 80’s though reducing as the years went on. Larry Levan’s second band Man Friday produced the dub disco classic “Love money, Love Heartache” in 1986, a time when commercial funk or soul had become often very overproduced and commercial sounding.

Mick Jones from The Clash’s new band Big Audio Dynamite mixed dance, rock and dub and later on bands like The Orb, Eat Static, Happy Mondays, Future Sound of London and Primal Scream on their Screamadelica album all added the dub to the dancefloor.

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The Orb live with Steve Hillage from Gong

Francis Field 2019
From his talk at Jubilee Library Music Club, 12th April 2019


Don’t want to miss the next music club talk? Here are the upcoming dates!
It’s 4pm-4:45pm on a Friday, once a month.

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