Dear readers - welcome to the first weekly briefing from Seagull News! This will be dropping into your inbox every Monday at 7am ready for you to read on your way to work, in bed, or over breakfast.
News this week:
- Construction is nearly complete on the bridge across Lewes Road, which will provide pedestrians with a safe crossing between the University of Brighton sites. The fully-accessible bridge is part of the university's plans to provide a 'transformed city gateway'.
- Brighton and Hove City Council has passed a planning condition whereby any new building more than five metres high must have 'bee bricks', special bricks with holes which provide nesting and hibernating spaces for bees.
- A blue plaque was unveiled in honour of the first woman to swim the Channel. Hundreds of people, including MP for Brighton Kemptown Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Mayor Alan Robins gathered outside 124 Freshfield Road, the home she was born in 1900. Also in attendance were the cast and crew of Vindication Swim, directed by Hove director Elliott Hasler, which tells the story of her life and achievements.
The Big One
A vigil was held outside Brighton Police Station in John Street on Saturday, in memory of Jay Abatan.
Who was he? Jay Abatan was a 42-year-old accountant from Eastbourne. He was on a night out to celebrate his promotion with his brother, Michael, in January 1999, when he was killed outside Ocean Rooms in Morley Street. He was punched and fractured his skull when he fell to the pavement, dying five days later.
Why was the vigil held at the police station? Two men were arrested within the day after the attack. However, they were charged with affray and actual bodily harm to Michael, instead of manslaughter, and eventually acquitted. During the trial, the judge said the jury shouldn't be told that Jay died because the injuries he sustained from the attack, saying it might influence the verdict.
What happened next? The Abatan family put pressure on Sussex Police to review the investigation, and when Essex Police published its report summary 57 failings and inconsistencies were reported. One included a failure to record witness details. Sussex Police failed to treat the case as a racist attack until after the report was published, and as a result of the report replaced the investigation team and put in a complaint against themselves with the Police Complaints Authority. The Abatan family are still campaigning for justice for Jay.
What have Jay's family said? Jay's brother, Michael Abatan, said at the vigil:
Jay was a hard-working person, was a wonderful brother to me and he was always there to help you. He was a decent, law-abiding family man.
Jay was robbed of his life 23 years ago and I am going to keep on fighting for justice."
It's sad that we're in 2022 and there are a lot of black families who are trying to get justice for their loved ones, and police failings are at the heart of it.
I don't understand why the justice system is not geared towards getting justice for everyone.
Finger On The Pulse
🎶Gigs: Post punk trash pop duo Shelf Lives are at The Hope and Ruin on Thursday, February 3, seventies rockers Peter and the Test Tube Babies are at the Prince Albert on Friday, February 4, and indie rock band The Kooks are at the Brighton Centre on Saturday, February 5
🤣Comedy: Bent Double, Komedia's comedy night hosted by comedian Zoe Lyons, will see Lee Peart, Jodie Mitchell and Sarah Keyworth take to the stage. It takes place on the first Saturday of every month, and won the Chortle Award for Best Themed Comedy Club Night in the UK 2020, so it's definitely worth checking out.
🎭Theatre: Brighton Dome will be hosting a virtual reality experience until Saturday, February 5. unReal City will blend live performance by disabled artists with virtual and mixed reality to explore what personal connection means in an increasingly digital world.
🎥Cinema: Duke's at Komedia will be showing Licorice Pizza. Set in 1970s San Fernando Valley and starring Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn, a precocious high schooler and child star meets a photography assistant trying to find herself. Cue the two of them forming a bond and taking part in haphazard schemes across the city together.
🏛Exhibitions: Metropolis Contemporary Art Gallery will be hosting a Beautiful Uterus workshop, in celebration of the menstrual cycle to fight period stigma and celebrate the female body. Find out more here.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with CM at [email protected]
In Other News
- Work is underway in the Brighton Hippodrome, which has been closed to the public since 2006. The venue, in Middle Street, has previously played host to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Harry Houdini, until it was converted into a bingo hall in 1967. Roof replacement, fixing the dry rot and plastering work all need to go ahead, but the work is set to commence soon based on photos of the scaffolding inside.
- Christina Aguilera has been announced as the headliner of this year's Brighton Pride Festival, taking place in Preston Park. At the time of writing, the Pride event is still taking place from the 5th to the 7th of August.
- Professor Sasha Roseneil has been announced as the new vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, joining in summer 2022. She will direct the focus of the university's energy and resources into contributing to environmental sustainability and resolving intensified inequalities.
Where to eat this week?
Brunch - The Green Kitchen Just off Preston Circus, The Green Kitchen is a little out of the way but well worth the journey—however far you’re coming. A wholly vegan menu with several ingredients (like their delicious vegan bacon) made in-house (also available at crunchier local food stores), you’ll end up making repeat visits to try everything! We’d recommend The Great on an empty stomach, or avocado toast otherwise.
Coffee - Canvas Coffee Co. Tucked away in the Phoenix Art Space right by St. Peter’s, this charming little cafe is open late on weeknights to service people attending their night courses, and is popular with local students due to their student discount. We’d recommend an oat flat white and one of their bakewell flapjacks.
Dinner - Planet India Around the corner from Canvas, Brighton’s best Indian restaurant. Seagull might be biased as we go there so much we’re on first-name terms with the owner, and they’re up against stiff competition in terms of the food itself, but their charming decor (family photos), excellent music (80s-00s R&B and pop) put it over the top for us. We’d recommend the pappads, ketchoris, bhajis, pani puri and masoor dal, washed down with a Thums Up!
CM has recently finished reading My Policeman (that book which has been made into a film starring Harry Styles). Set in Brighton during the 1950s, it's got everything a romance novel needs: swimming in the sea, a love triangle, and a massive betrayal.
That's all for this week—if you liked that, please subscribe and forward to friends who might be interested. We've got big plans for The Seagull in 2022, and we hope you'll be joining us!