Hastings is busting at the seams with offbeat and unusual cultural events. Here’s a few of the things on our radar for the next few weeks!

Hastings has been hitting the headlines for various reasons at time of writing – which need not concern us here in the lovely cocoon of the arts pages – but it was great to see the Guardian picking up on Tom Hunter’s exhibition ‘A Journey Home’ – photographs featuring the taxi drivers of Hastings. The cab driving community here is truly global. Tom took a ride with them, listened to their stories and photographed them at dusk or dawn in locations around the town. The exhibition is at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery from 9th February to 2nd June.

If you like the look of Gregory Heath’s magnificent photo of Jason Yarde (over there!) then there’s plenty more where that came from. Greg is of course a fantastic sax player himself, but with his photographer hat on, he has been documenting the gigs at Jazz Hastings since 2013. The photos have been collected in a rather lovely book which is only available at Jazz Hastings gigs. So get yourself down to the next one, which is going to be drummer Rod Young’s Power of Three featuring Denys Baptiste on sax and Larry Bartley on bass. Hastings Sea East Angling Association, The Stade, Tues 12th February. http://jazzhastings.co.uk

St Leonards-based Barefoot Opera (you may remember their Crazy Carmen at the Source Park back in September) are cooking up a new community opera in the Spring – of which more later. In the meantime, you can support them by attending their Black Tie fundraiser at Fairlight Hall on Sunday 10th February, featuring international soprano star Elin Manahan Thomas, who sang at the wedding of a certain Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Tickets are available at: www.barefootopera.com

Elin Manahan Thomas

A reminder about A Town Explores a Book – I’ve been racing through Robinson Crusoe in anticipation of the festival in April. The highlight for me so far has been the protagonist taking 42 days to make a single shelf – that is true DIY dedication. Get involved with the festival by emailing [email protected]  

And now for something completely different – an intriguing multidisciplinary arts event called The Dirty Old Gallery curated by artist Adam Dando. It’s billed as 1 painter (Ange Bell), 1 Photographer (Leo Leigh), 1 Sculptor (Rowan Korkill) and 1 Performer (Notes from Underground). It’s running every weekend from 12 – 6pm from February to March, and is to be found at 31a West Street. www.adamdando.com

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