HERE & NOW asked Mike Pailthorpe, Worthing resident and music guru to give us his take on Worthing. A bit of a challenge on a page and a half.
Over One Hundred Thousand people live in Worthing. It’s not a litle town. I’ve been living in Worthing on and of since 1979, deciding to stop here in 1992 to run a recording studio and I’ve been teaching Music and Music Business since 1997.
I work at one of Worthing’s current success stories, Northbrook College, whose Creative Industries Department last year added a sumptuous, spanking new £muli-million suite of music recording studios. The Music Business Degree turns out cool kids who go on to run the Music Industry.
From these studios, exciting new success stories: local band High Tyde are all over Radio One, fresh from their sell out tour and appearances at Leeds and Reading Festival, could well become as huge as last year’s Number One album local band Royal Blood. DJ producer Kideko, aka ex-students Ryan Hurley and George Kwali have just been recording with Dizzee Rascal after signing their number one hit “Crank It” to Ministry of Sound. Our graduates work in venues and studios all around the world.
I was first brought to Worthing in 1973 by my parents on a series of Summer day trips. I lay for two hours in the boot of our Vauxhall Victor estate listening to Slade, the Carpenters, Blue Mink and Focus on the radio. We’d stumble out of the car into Beach House Park, and I felt we’d arrived in Paradise, sitting in a beautiful park, in front of a stately home, facing the sea: next to us a boating pond, the Peter Pan play park, and the open air paddling pool. Compared to 1973 Hounslow, this was amazing. Some things have gone, new developments have brought us Splash Point, a new playground, handball court, water sports and the Artist Studios, all around Coast Cafe.
What’s great that has always been here, or at least longer than any of us?
The sea, the downs, the weather that’s a few precious degrees warmer than most of the UK. The Pier, from which you get to see the most incredible sunsets. For anyone who grew up in a city like I did, the air is really special; fresh, not laced with diesel from cars and planes.
What’s new in this town?
Some of us grew up here. Increasingly people are coming to live in Worthing by choice. There are people who are really excited about the town’s potential, and they’re sicking their necks out, putting their money where their mouths are, and making more cool things happen. Let’s run through just a brief and incomplete list of these heroes:
Ant Dickinson and Thom Milner-Smith: in 2012 Ant opened Feast smack bang in the middle of town, topped by a six-metre-high, brightly coloured urban art mural, which offended some but also drew support from large numbers of younger visitors. He followed that by founding with Thom the music promotion company Atom, bringing stars like Grandmaster Flash, Kratwerk’s Wolfgang Flur, the Blockheads, and coming late September, top DJ Norman Jay. The pair now also manage St.Paul’s Art Centre, where parties and gigs are already the stuff of local legend.
Bar 42’s Mark Knowles – nowhere else in Worthing are you as likely to see a Korean pop band, or a New York punk band stopping by on their UK tours. This little venue is known around the world.
Amanda O’Reilly became manager of Worthing Theatres just three years ago and revolutionised their approach. Out went the tribute acts, in came new comedy, new music promoters, dance and this summer, on the WT listings, our brilliant Circus Seen and some truly incredible nu-circus shows we would never have attracted here in the past.
Alex Bailey was once the bass player with 80s bands, It’s Immaterial and The Mighty Wah. He then became a music industry lawyer. Years later he is now CEO of Adur & Worthing Councils, charged with masterminding the renaissance of the town’s cultural soul. You’ll often see him at events in town, not just turning up, but visibly enjoying the great range of circus, dance, theatre and music.
Stef Sykes founded the only cafe in town where you can eat on the beach – Coast Cafe Des Aristes. With Councils’ support, he turned the neglected old beach huts next door into the now thriving East Beach Artist Studios, runs the very cool Worthing Film Club, and now co-manages the Sand Courts.
Creativity Waves artists Vanessa Breen and Nadia Chalk are the instigators of Art on the Pier. The latest addition, New Amusements, is an exhibition of the work of the work of Jamie Hewlet & Alan Marin, and tells the story of Tank Girl and their time working in Worthing.
The new Green Dreams & Food Festival in October at Field Place showcases fabulous community projects you can get involved in.
Phil Ducket, who invested tens of thousands of pounds transforming the run-down old nightclub at the end of the pier into the fabulous Art Deco Grade II listed wedding and events venue it is now, which hosts international Blues stars during the week. He’s also the man who brings us the winter Ice Rink between November and February each year at Steyne Gardens.
Alex the guitar guru who runs the opulently fabulous guitar cave, We Have Sound, and who has supported Northbrook College S’koolFest each year as a sponsor, donaing great guitar-based prizes to delighted young kids.
Kevin Hough who opened Train of Thought Emporium and puts on cool art and music events in his own venue and around the town. Watch out for October’s Cassete Store event, Life’s Rich Tape History.
Melody Bridges has created a successful and unique spoken word festival in Worthing WOW.
Colm Sweet, who runs Facebook page Sunny Worthing, Networth & this year’s Oxjam.
Mark Guthrie started as a dance music promoter with DJ Fresh and Kraty Kuts last year, and has settled into the popular monthly Samurai nights at 42, providing cuing edge dance music, for and by the ultra-
talented youth DJs of the town.
We’ve just begun to shine a light on the growing group of creative Worthing people stirring things up in the best possible way.
Next month we’ll uncover even more. Who have we missed so far?
Let us know. Facebook @ Here & Now Magazine Worthing.
Mike helps run Soul/Gospel choir, Spring into Soul, term started 22nd Sept. Want to join?