Photo by Adam Bronkhorst
Melita Dennett, radio broadcaster
Are you local?
I am. I’ve been here since 1986 so I’m part of the Brighton furniture. I’m from Hastings originally, and was drawn here by the music scene, the gay scene and work. I was a civil servant in Worthing which was the worst job I’ve ever had.
What do you do now?
I mainly make radio. I do a live programme on RadioReverb about art, culture, community, politics… whatever is happening in Brighton that interests me. I figure if it interests me, it’s going to interest somebody else. I love doing it because I get to meet all sorts of people doing amazing things, with fantastic stories to tell. I go to a lot of gigs and Brighton has some superb bands, of every genre. The number is staggering and they are really supportive of each other, which is as it should be.
What is RadioReverb?
It’s Brighton’s community radio station. Radio made by and for the people of Brighton & Hove. We like to get under the skin of the town. (I should say city but I’m not going to.) We broadcast upwards
of 50 shows a week, 24/7, on 97.2 FM, DAB+ and online at radioreverb.com.
What do you like most about Brighton?
Live music and strange, niche events. There’s such a variety of things to do. People who say it’s London by the sea will get a very stern look from me because it’s not. It’s Brighton. It has its own unique character and a really strong community spirit. There are certain things that would only happen here. You expect some weird shit to be going down... and if it’s not, then what went wrong?
What don’t you like?
I don’t like the creeping corporatism and gentrification. Let’s have fewer Costa Coffee shops, fewer chain stores. The commercialism really bugs me but there are still enough off-the-wall things happening to keep us on our toes.
Where’s your favourite part of town?
I like the part I live in, Brunswick Town. I’ve been renting the same flat since I moved here. It’s very multicultural and I love the small shops and the quirkiness of it. Obviously, I love the Pavilion. You have to. It’s so tarty. This bizarre collection of imperialist adventures... ‘Let’s have a bit of China, a bit of Africa, a bit of Asia and put it all into a glorious camp wedding cake!’ I go to a lot of gig venues - the Green Door Store, the Prince Albert and the Hope and Ruin - but the Free Butt is sadly missed.
Your perfect Sunday?
A vegan roast, a pint of real ale and a walk on the seafront. I don’t have a particular recommendation because pubs change all the time but, for consistency, the Basketmakers gets a big thumbs-up. I’ve been drinking there since around 1980 and my friend Sandra and I claim to have started the tradition of leaving notes in the tins on the walls. If anyone wants to dispute that, they can challenge me, but I’ll fight them on the beaches.
Where would you live if you didn’t live here?
I’m seaside born and bred so I have to be near the water. I guess there’s a nice line between Brighton and Bristol. Quite why anyone would want to leave Brighton I don’t know, but if the Mafia hounded me out of town, then I’d hide in Bristol. They’ve got a community radio station there but I think we’re better. Reverb is the best in the country.
Photo by Adam Bronkhorst