Everyone tells you – you’ve got to post regularly. But what do you do about February? If like me you live in the Northern hemisphere you will have weathered gales, relentless rain, dark low skies and probably be on your second cold.

‘I thought the month of February would never end. No stars no clarity. Just wind pushing the clouds and trees and fences. All month I dreamt of my father. ‘

That’s from the title prose poem of my collection I’ll Be Back Before You Know It  published in 2009 by Pighog Press. It gives you an idea of what I think of February. In my most recent collection At The Library of Memories from Waterloo Press  I’ve also written about the February festival of Candlemas associated in Poland with Our Lady of the Wolves and for me with leaving Warsaw as a child. You’d think that was enough and I could now skip writing about February altogether. But then this year something utterly amazing has taken place.

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Something happens when people come together to share stories.

February 2014 saw the launch at Jubilee Library in Brighton of the Queer in Brighton anthology co-edited by myself with artist Anthony Luvera. It is the culmination of 18 months intensive work by many, many people. It contains creative writing, oral history extracts, academic essays, collaborative photography, collected photographs and ephemera from over 150 people who grew up in Brighton and Hove, moved to live here or visited. Published by New Writing South, Photoworks and Pink Fringe.

Both for the LGBT* communities and for the city as a whole it’s a vibrant, complex, gorgeous, vitally important book. From the minute it arrived from the printers I just haven’t let it out my hands.

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The launch was fun with wonderful readings, speeches, flowers, badge-making from Boogaloo Stu and music by Qukulele. But it was more than that. People have been contacting us since. This is a book which makes people cry – and that’s a good thing – recognising, remembering hard times as well as laughing at other memories. I love how inter-generational it is. You get stories by people in their eighties nestling alongside stories by teenagers. Western society is  so segregated it’s wonderful when different generations talk to each other and share experiences. The cultural heritage project Queer in Brighton has also produced a film Are You Happy? Are You Free? in collaboration with Allsorts Youth Project and a citywide exhibition not going shopping.  So there was a lot to celebrate this February.

And there were snowdrops.

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