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Bring on the Pussy Parlure …

Bring on the Pussy Parlure …

… and to hell with the church

I LIVE just a stone’s throw from that useless great neo-Gothic lump they call St Peter’s in Brighton – so my delight knew no bounds when I learned that plans were afoot to site the Pussy Parlure spiegeltent on council-owned land adjoining the church during this year’s Fringe Festival in the city.

The Parlure is a Belgian mirrored travelling theatre in a similar style to the spiegeltent which proved popular with visitors when it appeared during the Brighton Festival for three years from 2004.

The original Art Nouveau structure, in which I have seen several highly-entertaining acts during past festivals, came into the city each year flat-packed, like some giant Ikea self-assembly kit, and in no time at all rose up to form a plush and substantial theatre, complete with ornate stained glass panelling, and a startling arrangement of mirrors.

But now I learn that church officials are less than ecstatic at the idea of the Pussy Parlure on their doorstep. The parish committee, according to the Brighton Argus “is concerned that the venue is too risque and will offend members of the public who mistakenly believe the lawn is sacred ground.”

Now the spineless City Council, which agreed to rent out the land, says it will only do so with the church’s agreement.

As soon as the threat to the spiegeltent became known, hundreds of godless Brightonians rose up as one to let the Argus know that they were entirely in favour of erecting it next to the church – which, at the last count, was attracting maybe three people a week to its regular services. Almost a thousand people who took part in an Argus poll were in favour of placing it near the church, while only 50 were against.

The uselessness of St Peter’s has even been recognised by the Church of England, which has earmarked it for closure, along with several other churches in the city, and I think the parish committee has a bloody nerve to try and deprive us of a venue which promises things far more uplifting, entertaining and sensible that anything the C of E could ever offer. Especially when it’s not on land they own.

What infuriated me even more was the suggestion by Brighton Council that the agreed ground rent of £5,000 could be paid into church funds.

Excuse me? The ground belongs to the council, and, by extension, to the city’s taxpayers, and any money raised should go towards improving public services, and not to prop up an ossified institution which started dying on its arse decades ago.

I am by no means the only one to think this. One outraged reader of the Argus wrote:

As for handing over the £5,000 rent to the church fund, I, as a council-tax payer, am completely against giving our money to the richest institution there is – or to any other religious cause.

I was also unhappy to learn of the placatory suggestion by the spiegeltent’s owner, Malcolm Haynes, who wrote to the church saying that he was prepared to drop the word “Pussy” from the venue’s name to spare the blushes of the pitiful handful of parishioners who dodder off to St Peter’s each week.

This is Brighton, for goodness sake. The only thing that offends people here is religion, and it’s about time the city leaders took that message on board and told the church council to get stuffed!

3 responses to “Bring on the Pussy Parlure …”

  1. aharon says:

    Yes, very good point!

    If you want, as I did, to register your objections to the council’s behaviour, you might want to give Ian Taylor an email or a buzz – he is the outdoor events tszar.
    email – ian.taylor@brighton-hove.gov.uk
    phone – 01273 292711

    It might be a good idea to give him a bit of a head ache, so next time when anti-skeptical, superstition and ignorance merchants come knocking in – Ian might think more carefully about who it might be easier to dismiss…

    It might also be woth while giving your councillor a call and press on her/him to have a word with Ian Taylor..

    Find your councillor from:
    http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/index.cfm?request=b1000143

  2. […] EARLIER this year I expressed my indignation over the suggestion that the famous Pussy Parlure Spiegeltent, due to be set up shortly as part of this year’s Brighton Festival, might have to shorten its name to placate St Peter’s Church leaders. (See Freethinking Aloud here.) […]

  3. David says:

    Interesting. The church feeds 100 homeless people once a week throughout the year. Runs an addiction recovery course and a divorce recovery course too. Has a congregation of around 450 people (with a huge student following), so is providing a social outlet for many young people and hosts Brighton Fringe events. Not sure about the financials – but they sound pretty good value. And for £5000 would almost certainly be paying their way if that’s what they cost. Just a thought.