Salvage Cafe – art, coffee and comedy on tap!

Brighton’s creative folk love an independent café where they can relax and wile away the hours deep in artistic thought or conversation, one hand on their laptop, the other on their Mochaccino. Café Salvage on Western Road is a Mecca for such sorts, attracting a mixture of writers, designers, artists, performers, filmmakers and general café-goers through its doors every day.

Salvage’s owner Tazz, a former fine art student from Nottingham with a passion for good coffee and fine teas, rebranded and opened Salvage Café in April 2015. Tazz says:

“I opened Salvage because It had always been a personal dream of mine to run my own coffee shop and I felt Brunswick town didn’t have a community cafe where locals could come and have delicious affordable food and drink.”

But Salvage isn’t just an independent café with vintage furniture, ambient lighting and a great play-list. Everything in the café including the upcycled tables, huge railway mirror, pharmacy pigeon holes, postbox and traffic light is for sale. Tazz says:

 “I loved the idea of a shop where if you like the chair you are sitting on, you can take it home!”

At the moment that might be the vintage cinema chairs or a 1940’s recliner.

Passionate about art and photography, Tazz recently introduced a programme of arts event at Salvage including a monthly poetry evening, a fortnightly acoustic music event and a bi-monthly comedy night. In fact, Evolution’s own Sarah Charsley and newcomer to the Brighton comedy circuit will be performing her latest standup routine there on Friday 5th February. Sarah says:

“Salvage café is a great place for a cool and kooky comedy night such as Comestible Comedy. For £10 you get a tasty Indian veggie meal and laughter on tap. And if you fancy it, you can even go home with a traffic light.”

If you’re in the mood for a giggle and fancy writing your own comedy or even taking your first step into standup, Evolution Arts is launching its brand new Comedy Writing Taster, a VIP tour through top tips to tickle, led by BBC Comedy Producer & Director Diane Messias. Also guaranteed to put a grin on your face is Mahasukha’s celebrated Soulful Singing, an ode to joyful living if ever there was one.

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New autumn courses and workshops in focus

‘Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all’ – Stanley Horowitz

Though we seem to be in the midst of an Indian summer, our thoughts are now turning towards the time of year where the leaves fall from the trees, carpeting the ground in golds, oranges and browns.  The light mellows and the nights begin to draw in, bridging the gap between a soon forgotten summer and a here too soon winter.  Now’s the time to explore new pathways, discover a new passion and build your self confidence.  We suggest Evolution Arts courses as the perfect place to start. In this blog we take a look at some of the new courses and workshops starting this Autumn.

Whether you’re interested in writing, acting, painting, mindfulness or aromatherapy, we think we’ve got some fantastic courses and workshops coming up to see you through the season.

The Fool
The Fool

Acting for Everyone: A Fool’s Guide to Playing:
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned performer, come and experience A Fool’s Guide to Playing with tutor Jonathan Brown, starting 31st October. Together you’ll explore many areas including script, movement, character and improvised theatre inspired by the Archetype of The Fool. Telling the story of the moment, in the land where anything, any emotion is possible, from the irreverent to the sacred, from the daft to the deep, from the hilarious to the hallowed.

With playful exercises, these sessions will stretch your acting muscles, offering new ways to play, create and perform. Learn to develop your palette and tools, play with a broader set of choices, and find more freedom to act, both on stage, and in life. Learn through exercises, games and more, about giving licence to your imagination, using your whole body and voice, exploring your emotional range, developing a character, taking risks and incorporating your personal experience in the moment.

Collective Writing:
With tutor Pete Maguire, starting Thursday 8th October, Collective Writing is a playful series of workshops exploring the freedom and enthusiasm that writing collectively can generate. Rather than instructing creativity to arise, the workshops encourage it to appear through improvisation exercises and inventive word play. Words will be flung around the room and laughter will take precedence over the end product. The workshops will examine creative inspirations from poetry, theatre, literature and art and will culminate in a shared writing journey conjured by what is explored in the session. It’s suitable for beginners, and those more experienced, from any of the arts that would like to embark on a journey of writing discovery.

Henri Matisse, "The Dance II" (1910)
Henri Matisse, “The Dance II” (1910)

Paint Like Matisse:
With tutor Claire Harrison, starting on Sunday 18th October, this workshop will examine the French artist Henri Matisse’s use of colour and will explain how to combine bright colours successfully. The workshop will demonstrate how Matisse, widely regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century, painted, and the revolutionary ideas behind his painting. Suitable for all abilities as Claire helps each student on an individual basis.

Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass
Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass

Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass:
Starting Sunday 4th October, tutor Leigh-Anne Morell will lead this masterclass in blending aromatherapy to make aromatherapy candles, massage oils and bath salts. Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years and in this class you will learn both the benefits of these oils and the art of blending them. You’ll have time to develop your own special blend and whether you choose to create an energizing candle or a sensual massage oil, you’re guaranteed to go home smelling gorgeous and feeling invigorated.

Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living
Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living

Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living:
Starting on Tuesday 20th October, with tutor Natasha Lythgoe, this course aims to introduce mindfulness whilst exploring ways to re-enchant our everyday urban lives rather than needing to look or go ‘elsewhere’. The course will explore how to savour our lives just as they are – wherever they are. It’s an opportunity to re-connect with notions of belonging, community and nature in the city hopefully discovering meaning and connecting with your creativity along the way.

Feeling inspired? At Evolution Arts  we offer several courses and workshops focusing on arts and crafts, the body and mind, writing, acting, photography, dance and music.  Find a new challenge, discover a new passion and become part of the Evolution community this autumn.  Call the centre on 01273 204204 or click here for more information and to book.

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The power of the written word

“Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” ― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.” ― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” ― Confucius


There was an interesting article in the Guardian recently about how a makeshift library has been set up in a Calais refugee camp. The Jungle as it’s known is thought to shelter at least 3,000 refugees.  The library was opened on a voluntarily basis by Mary Jones, a British teacher.  Stocking around 200 books, the makeshift library also supports a school that offers classes to the refugees and asylum seekers that live in the camp. Jones believes people want to get on with their lives, they want to learn and discover and dream.

So do books change lives? The Jungle is not the only place where books have been a saving grace.  Libraries Without Boarders are setting up The Ideas Box at several vulnerable sites around the world.  It’s a portable multi-media kit for refugee and vulnerable populations, created by designer Philippe Starck together with Libraries Without Borders and the United Nations Refugee Agency. 

“When one has lost everything and there is nothing else left, the only thing that cannot be taken away is the ability to dream” — Philippe Starck

The library run by volunteers at the refugee camp in Minzhu after the Sichuan quake in 2008.

Building resilience, building futures: The Ideas Box supports the rebuilding of lives and communities, giving people the means to produce their own cultural creations (photographs and videos, artwork, writing, blogging, and more). In refugee camps, the Ideas Box contributes to cognitive development, supports the struggle against boredom and alienation, helps build resilience from trauma and grief, and fosters reconciliation.  

How truly remarkable that among the rebuilding of lives the written word has a place. Not only a practical one enabling people to get ahead and change their course, but an emotional one, offering an escape from alienation, grief and often boredom.

So do books really have the power to change life?  The written word has the power to shape your opinions and beliefs, change the direction of where you’re heading emotionally and therefore shape your life.  They let us travel the world without leaving our armchair, break our hearts and put them back together again.  They show us friendship, battles, fairies, humour, the world, heartbreak and love and above all the resilience of the human spirit.  Books can have such an impact that they change the way we think about the world.


What books have changed your life, or had a radical impact on it? Please leave a comment below.  Whether The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine changed the way you think about politics or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird was your first introduction to racial equality or your heart was broken in two by Ian McEwan’s Atonement, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the written word.

Feeling inspired? Do you have an interest in writing or need an extra push to get your creative juices flowing?  Is there a novel in you that could inspire and impact on others?  Do you have a story to tell? At Evolution Arts  we offer several courses and workshops focusing on the written word.  We have some starting this Autumn including a Memoir Writing workshop, a Myths and Fairy Tales writing course and a new Writing Club to kickstart your ideas. Call the centre on 01273 204204 or click here for more information and to book.

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Reconnecting with wildness and beauty

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Extract from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
From New and Selected Poems 1992 Beacon Press

When’s the last time you stopped on your way to work, or to the shops, or going to collect the kids from school and just took a minute? A minute to look around you. A minute to breathe and create a little space to catch up with yourself, to come into the moment? Yesterday? Great. How many times yesterday? In that whole 24 hours how much did you notice, what did you see to gladden your heart and bring a little peace to your mind? Did you find the time for a little wildness and beauty in your day, for a little mindfulness, a little creativity – or did life take over?


Life taking over is all too common. We deaden ourselves in so many ways, with over work, with screens and inboxes and smart phones; with rushing and busyness and things to do; with bad TV and bad food and sometimes even bad relationships – but we’re suffering for it and we need to come alive, we need a dose of wildness and beauty every day, in order to enliven us.


But it’s so easy to forget this, we’re always coming from somewhere – going somewhere, there’s always someone waiting, which is why I use a mindfulness practice I call #stoplookbreathecreate. It works like this, wherever you are, wherever you’re going – slow down – pause – Stop. Look – notice what’s around, look up, look down – listen, smell, feel, taste it too. Breathe – breathing in and out we’re just here, present in the moment. This isn’t like sitting meditation – I’m not suggesting you whip out your little cushion at the bus stop and get cross legged – what I’m talking about is a mindful pause, what I’m suggesting is making just enough space to be truly present for a moment. When we do this on a regular basis what we start to notice is the beauty and wildness that exists on every street corner.


At the moment what I’m noticing are the flowers growing everywhere in the Brighton; not in gardens, but in the cracks in cement, in drainpipes, on steps, in gutters. The city is flowering, self-seeding bright scraps of wildness, and this is the first time I’ve really noticed it. One day I was doing my #stoplookbreathecreate and then there they were. And now I keep seeing them everywhere. So I stop, look, breathe and then I take a photograph of them. (You can see them on my Instagram.) Photographing them is important – the Create part of #stoplookbreathecreate is very important. Stopping, looking and breathing brings us into presence – but when we create we are connecting with our intuitive, instinctual selves, our own wild. Being creative calls something out of us, it energizes and enlivens in the way few things can. Creating something – anything, is a crucial, transformative part of this simple little mindfulness practice. We need doses of mindfulness and creativity to stop the wild in us from dying; we need them to come alive. We need them every day.


So stop – look – breathe and photograph it on your phone as I do, or do a little doodle of it on the end of your shopping list, or write it down in your journal, or just tell someone about it. Telling stories is a creative act too. And if you want to – share your doodles or scribbles or snaps using the #stoplookbreathecreate hashtag on social media or by posting them on my Art of Mindfulness Facebook page.



Wendy Ann Greenhalgh is running a 1 day mindfulness, drawing and creative writing workshop in the secret garden at The Garden House on Saturday July 11th – which will give you lots of time to Stop Look Breathe and Create. Reconnect with the wild and beautiful in the heart of Brighton.

For more information and to book click here.


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