There’s nowt so queer as folk


I am now on maternity leave from my “money job”. Three weeks until my c-section and I’m waddling around Rye, huffing and puffing like some obese, 40-a-day-smoker. I do not feel attractive or friendly. Despite this, I have been out, seeking Rye treasures to share with you all.

To watch
Grayson Perry: Who Are You?
began Wednesday October 22, 10pm Channel 4


Jack, a Rye-based, stay-at-home dad and his “queer, mixed-race family” are to feature in Bafta award-winning presenter and Turner Prize-winning artist and transvestite Grayson Perry’s Channel 4 upcoming documentary series Who Are You?  The series explores the inner identities of unusual or controversial “types”. A young muslim convert from up the road in Ashford, Loyalist Marchers, a plus-size beauty queen and a transgender teen are among those featured. It sounds like a line-up for a series of Big Brother. In fact, Rylan Clark, a Celeb Big Bro contestant features in episode one. Grayson spent time with each of his subjects, visiting them in their home towns, before capturing them as artwork “at a moment in their lives when they need to define who they are”.

So, “Who are you? Jack”  I asked, over tea and brownies . . . Well, a “Radical anarchist, performance artist, costume assistant and cheesemonger”. His partner John is a director and their proud presentation of their family embodied in an artwork will be lemon juice in the eye of any right-wingers who may stumble across its image online after the documentary is aired.

See Grayson Perry visiting Rye and Rye Harbour in his “unsuitable for a walk at Rye Harbour-shoes” with Jack and family in next week’s episode. The accompanying free exhibition of Grayson’s works is at The National Portrait Gallery from October to March (Photo: Channel 4)

To see
Cabinet of Curiosities starts Saturday October 25, 10:30am
Rye Art Gallery, 107 High Street, Rye TN31 7JE


This festive show marks the first new exhibition during the six-month transition period for the gallery, following the appointment of new gallery director, Jane Fenn. It will feature quirky, unique works from Peter Quinnel and stunning mermaid pieces from Claire Fletcher among work by Rye’s art “super power” Richard Adams. Prices from £3 to £3,000, and small pieces that you can take away as gifts – there is something for everyone. So pretty. Do not be daunted.

To Drink
A&W Rootbeer Float at The Ship Inn
The Strand, Rye TN31 7DB


In case you don’t know, a float is a fizzy drink, topped with a scoop of ice cream. I grew up in The States, and consider myself a connoisseur. This one is so delicious it will make your eyes pop! With 45 grams of sugar in the root beer alone, it’s not for every day, but it will send you into a creamy, puffy caramelly sugary cloud of satisfaction. Of course, I can also recommend adding a shot to make it a hard drink.

To do
Wild Boar Week – from Saturday October 25 to Sunday November 2
Various venues, Rye

Embrace autumn and take part in a week-long celebration of food and drink. This is the second, successful food festival dreamt up by upward-turned-thumb-wielding event organiser Oliver Campion. First came the now famous Rye Bay Scallop Week. Related events and special menus to take place throughout the town, kicking off with, among other activities . . . a hog roast at Olde Worlde Wines, Cinque Ports Street, Saturday at noon. See full listings.

To buy
How To Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier
from Lion Street Store, 6 Lion Street, Rye TN31 7LB Britainy1

Among the beautiful items I’m coveting this week, my favourite is this book. It is a genuine guide written by a wilderness survivalist, Bradford Angier (1910-1997) who lived in America and Canada. Pop into the Lion Street store and have a flick through yourself. There is a reading corner, equipped with leather armchair and a tea-making station! Absorb the cute surroundings, nice tunes and wish your home was Lion Street Store. I always do.

To talk about

As this is my first column for Rye News, I’d love your feedback. I already have a few items lined up for future columns and I plan to keep it varied, and feature the weird and wonderful, normal, cheap, expensive, you name it. So for this week’s “gossip” segment . . . Gossip to me about . . . me.

Photo: Tim Redfern

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