Brighton’s Finest - Journalist, David Hillier

David Hillier, AKA the Original Voice of PLATF9RM, has been breathing life into us with his wise and witty words since 2017. Ever the modest man, David’s made it all about us for the past two years. So before we wave goodbye as he moves onto other writing pastures, we grabbed him for a coffee to find out about him – his past, his passions and his picture of his future.

Hi David! Firstly, we want to say a massive thank you for helping us to build Platf9rm’s personality. Your way with words, your ideas and your dedication to developing our brand has blown us away. We’ll miss you for sure, but we can’t wait to hear about what you’ve got coming up next.

Thank you! I feel very lucky to have been a part of it. It’s been great to come up with ideas and have them brought to life immediately. I was always given a lot of creative freedom by Emilie [Lashmar – PLATF9RM Creative Director] and I’m so grateful for that. PLATF9RM was always much more than a client to me: they really helped me personally and career-wise.

So it sounds like you’ve had an interesting career so far. But where did it all start?

Well, in my early twenties I set up a music website called Gobshout. It was only small but allowed me to write loads about music, go to festivals for free, and gave me a foot into the industry. I started writing for a few other websites and wrote a novel whilst doing other jobs, but it wasn’t until I was 28 and I did an NCTJ* that I got serious about my writing career.

*a journalism qualification from the National Council for the Training of Journalists

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A novel! Tell us more.

Well, I read a bit recently and I think it’s best buried in my hard drive! But it was therapeutic to write and I’m sure most writers have a bad book or two in their closets. Sounds trite but I now see it as part of my development.

You’re working on another novel now, aren’t you?

Yes, I’m about a third of the way through it. It’s about two people who meet on a cliff, both intending to jump. The story looks at how their lives are interlinked and how everyone has foibles they can’t always control. My dad sends me texts asking if I’ve hit my word count for the day so I’m hoping to get it finished sometime this year!

When did you discover your passion for writing?

I’ve always written in one way or another; I think it was the only thing I felt like I might be okay at! I am the most unpractical man on the planet.

My breakthrough moment was probably when I got full marks on my English coursework at A-Levels. I wrote an essay on Catch-22 and Birdsong and honestly didn’t expect to do that well. That gave me a bit of belief. I actually found Ms. Schwartz – my English teacher – on Twitter the other day and said thank you for teaching me so well.

You’re an award winning journalist – you’ve probably had your fair share of proud career moments! Can you pick a proudest?

It was probably winning that award for UK Best Festival Journalist from the Association of Independent Festivals. That was in 2016 after a I wrote a lot about drugs-testing at festivals. I think I was more pleased for my parents because they have always believed in me, even during a few shall-we-say unfocused years in my 20s.

That must’ve been so exciting. Were you at the awards ceremony?

Yeah! I made a very short, bumbling acceptance speech. I hate public speaking. The rest of it was lovely, though having to chair a conference panel the next morning with an 8/10 hangover was tricky.

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What else do you love to write about?

I think this is an interesting time to be a man so I’m enjoying writing about issues around masculinity. I’m also writing about mental health, festival and drug culture, and tech. I’m not tech-minded at all but I find tech fascinating as it affects everyone’s lives so deeply.

What’s your dream assignment?

Well I’d love to write for the New Yorker – that’s the pinnacle for a journalist.
And I’d love to interview Bruce Springsteen. At his house. So yes – my dream assignment would be to do a profile on Bruce Springsteen at his house, for the New Yorker!*

*If you’re reading, David Remnick, feel free to get in touch…

Go on, name drop us a few of your biggest clients!

Editorially, I guess Playboy, The Guardian, most of the Vice verticals, Shortlist, Wonderland. Always looking to add to that list!

Have you got any exciting projects in the pipeline?

I’ve just published an article for Vice about brawling in British horse racing. It was really interesting and I love deep-diving into a world I don’t know loads about previously.

What’s your availability like at the moment? (Just asking!)

Erm… (blushes)

Your availability for new commissions, I mean. Not your relationship status!*

Oh, right! Yes, I’m very up for new projects. I’ve done a lot of content writing and copywriting for brands too. Commissions actively encouraged.

*In case anyone’s wondering, David does in fact have a girlfriend. Sorry ladies.

Will Clarence [David’s dog] always be your right hand man?

Ha, Clarence is pretty much an extra limb. He’s a cute fluffy buffer between me and the world. People make a fuss of him and go, “sorry, I’m saying hi to Clarence before you,” and I’m like, “no, that works for me.”

Let’s talk about Brighton. What brought you to the city?

I’m from Kent but lived in London for nearly 10 years before here. My mum's from Brighton and I came here a lot as a kid so I’ve always been drawn to it. I’d fallen out of love with London and came to Brighton for my NCTJ. I loved it so moved permanently a year-or-so later. I’m like an old man when I go back to London now – moaning about it being big and loud and having too many people.

How do you get your writer’s kicks in Brighton?

I like this little café near where I live called Salvage. You’d probably call it “very Brighton” – there’s antiques everywhere, the owner wears a fedora and has a well-pomaded mustache. Clarence was sick on the floor in there once, and they were really cool about it. Since then, I've always been like, “you’re good people.” Plus the brownies are insane.

So we can find you there when we want to say hi, then?

Yes, Salvage in the afternoons, and maybe the Robin Hood pub in the evening.

Okay, see you there! Thanks for chatting to us David,

and we’re looking forward to reading your next big story.

@dhillierwrites / www.davidhillierwrites.com


Member of the Week - Cat Duval

Introducing Cat; yoga teacher extraordinaire, coach and founder of Nine Lives Yoga.


Hello Cat, so tell us about your business and what you're focusing on at the moment.

Nine Lives is all about collaborative yoga practice; I lead a teacher training course in collaborative yoga practice. We also provide yoga team building for businesses and inspirational yoga raves. In a nutshell it’s about inspiring people to dive into personal development in a fun and creative way. I’m currently developing wellbeing coaching for entrepreneurs and business coaching for wellbeing practitioners. I have a method called the four pillars of happiness; they’re peace, power, purpose and play and what we do is work out what someone’s blocks are and aim to get past them using many techniques including yoga, NLP, EFT and mindfulness practice allowing people to step into their power and their peace.

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Tell us a bit about your yoga raves?

Yoga raves were inspired by my love of music, I used to work in radio and I organised events and festivals. The place I went to on the dance floor was the same place in my heart I went to when I discovered yoga. People told me I was totally bonkers to bring the two together but I thought ‘maybe I’m just bonkers enough’.

So we create a conscious festival environment - we choose really spectacular venues so people have the wow factor but in terms of experiences it’s about connecting to each other, your heart and setting yourself free. The slogan is 'Where yoga lovers experience the rhythm of the bass and bass lovers experience the rhythm of the breath.'

We do the yoga in concentric circles with 300-500 people doing it all together, everyone feeling the breath together.


What led you to transfer yoga into less conventional settings?

I am always looking for opportunities to allow people to enter personal development in a fun and inspiring way.

I've always been a bit of a maverick, I don’t often stay in the box. I like thinking of creative ways to connect people to their hearts and to each other with a sense of humour. We neglect physical touch in our adult lives. With self awareness, yoga and meditation becoming more and more popular I thought it made sense to take yoga to unconventional places.


How do you feel about the growing global obsession with fitness and exercise?

It’s wonderful that people are more aware of how important health and wellbeing is. Fitness is hugely vital to the sustainability of our souls and our spirits as well as our planet. However fitness misses the mark when it becomes about merchandise and superficial ways of being more good looking. True fitness is about feeling energised and being happy to be alive.


Besides practicing yoga what is the one thing you’d recommend to a friend if they were struggling?

There’s an example I can give - I was on the plane home from France and a woman was having a panic attack due to fear of flying and I just got her to breath into her belly and focus on the breath. I asked her to focus on the sensations and to make the breath as long as possible and calm and smooth. She went from panicking to smiling and laughing about 10 minutes later.

That for me is magic; that breath and mindfulness can allow you to slow feelings and sensations with focus and awareness.


What inspires your creative colourful style?

I celebrate life, that’s one of my fundamental principles. I love being alive and why should I ever grow up? Growing up is about being responsible for yourself and it’s not about not wearing colourful sparkly clothes!

How long have you been working at PLATF9RM?

I first came in April then had a crazy summer touring festivals and events then came back in August and there was a space. I pounced on it like a cat.


Have you been to any of our events?

I went to the awesome halloween party. I loved the apple bobbing. I love how PLATF9RM really feels like a community. Also the coffee is fantastic, that’s important for me - you can’t have rubbish coffee! It’s a wonderful thing as an entrepreneur to be here - having worked for myself for 5 years. It’s great to be in an environment that is buzzing. That energy puts me in the right mindset to be my most productive. I can take 5 minutes to chat and have some green tea and then get back to my work.


Have you thought about hosting one of your yoga raves at PLATF9RM?

I would love to host something. I would love to do a workshop - maybe not a rave, it’s not quite big enough! I’d love to do a social yoga event. Or a mini yoga rave perhaps...


Thank you Cat!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

INF9RMER #12

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The INF9RMER Newsletter is matt-iculously crafted, lovingly nurtured, marinated in enthusiasm and cooked at 200℃ for 15 minutes, by PLATF9RM's Membership Assistant Matt. If you have any exciting upcoming projects within your company, would like to let everyone know how your business is progressing in some way, or have a future event coming up - then feel free to email Matt, drop him a message on Slack or come find him in person for a quick chat.


The Vlog Academy, Virtual Reality and a Video about Ethical Sustainability


International Women's month is important to us all, especially to our members. Sarah Bagg guides us straight into the first section of this month's INF9RMER, sharing her female focused Artists Open House. Scott Sale's Hen party haven was given the limelight it deserves whilst PLATF9RM Hove Ground Floor's newest member Wendy Dolan, treated us all to a podcast she guest starred on last week; ranging from her New Orleans inspired playlist to life as an overseas entrepeneur.


Offworld Industries' Tristan Mills told us all about Squad's goals, sharing an insight into about his life alongside his work as a environmental digital artist. We tightened up our running boots (prematurely as it may be...) as Claire Jenkins let us in on an early bird discounted entrance fee for Brighton's oldest 10k run.

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SuPR-man Mike Marquiss explained how his company Decoded Comms stands aside from the rest as it continues to grow entering his second year of freelance work, whilst Vlogging pro Mi Elfverson fills PLATF9RM members in on the benefits The Vlog Academy courses can provide for companies.


PALA's ethical genius John Pritchard yet again found himself an exciting addition to the INF9RMER Newsletter as he presented his video which tells the bigger story behind his glasses cases. Finally, Tower Point's touring twosome Roxy and Jerome of Coglode take a pit stop from their UX trip to invite PLATF9RM members along to their talk at UX London - with a discounted entrance code!


Thank you to everyone who put in the time to offer news for this month's INF9RMER, if you have something you would like to include for April then contact Membership Assistant Matt.

Member of the Week - Angela Brightwell

Introducing Angela Brightwell; Cofounder of Brighton Food Tours, writer and owner of Bubs the dog.

HELLO ANGELA, What made you want to begin Brighton Food Tours?

A friend of mine Cat and I started it together because we really love Brighton. We are really passionate and proud of Brighton's independent spirit and its exploding food & drinks scene. We wanted to spread the message that if we don't support and celebrate independent Brighton businesses they won't be there in 5 years. We have very strong values and it comes across in everything we do; we have been known to confiscate one or two punters’ Starbucks coffee on a tour, but by the end of their time with us, people are usually really inspired and fired up to support local businesses.

What made you decide to make it a walking tour rather than just picking one spot or facilitating a supper club?

I think because we have got such a huge range of independent food and drink hot spots, makers, producers, pop-ups, creators etc. We aim to showcase as many places as we can in our tours. We want them to have an experience that surprises and delights, which is why we call our tours a smorgasbord experience; it’s a real variety of different experiences in one.

Brighton for us is eclectic, it lends itself really well to a walking tour format - we can cover as many as 6-8 food or drink experiences in one tour. We also like to not tell people where they’re going, we call it a magical mystery food adventure! We love to include hidden gems that everybody should know about.

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What has been a highlight of running Brighton Food Tours so far?

Without a doubt, it is the sense of connection with Brighton I now have. I’ve lived here for 6 years, and more than anywhere else I’ve ever lived I feel at home. Meeting such incredible people through my work has helped me feel a connection to the beating heart of the city.

Also, having the majority of the punters on the tours being local to Brighton is an absolute joy; they say it helps them fall back in love with their city which is a fantastic feeling. They’ll be the ones going back to the businesses and keeping them alive.

What initially drew you to PLATF9RM?

Dogs. Also having space where you get away from home where you can get in your own head, to being surrounded by lovely people is a plus. It’s relaxed, everyone's creative, friendly and open but still professional... Plus there are about 50 different ways of making coffee here. The dog-friendly part was a clincher though.

Do you have a favourite spot to sit in at Tower Point?

The cubby holes, the booths. I feel like I’m in a little creative shed.

Have Brighton Food Tours been to any events and are you looking forward to any coming up?

We just did a talk here the other week, T-Shaped Talks, where we spoke about local community and values, was really good fun. I’m looking forward to joining the next social and I fancy going to the next Cereal Filler.

I’m sure this a question you get asked a lot, but, what are some of your favourite eating spots in Brighton?

It all depends, there are so many variables; what’s your price, what mood are you in, do you want somewhere fancy pants, or somewhere relaxed? Off the top of my head, if you’re wanting to go fancy pants but still feel relaxed then Little Fish Market is absolutely amazing. It’s not cheap but totally worth it. For lunchtime, head to Happy Maki, I’m totally addicted. Curry Leaf cafe. Baby Bao at The Pond. And I can’t wait to go up to the Hampton who have the new Easy Tiger kitchen, it’s the same people that run the pond. Plateau as well - they do amazing cocktails. There’s so many!

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

I suppose, naff 80’s music? I can't get enough of disco. Although I don't think it’s that guilty, to be honest. And watching First Dates on the telly.

Do you have any favourite ‘That’s so Brighton’ moments?

There’s not a tour that goes by where you don't pass someone on roller skates dressed as a GI Jane or something equally as strange… A hippy at a bus stop with a dog on a piece of string… Whatever it is, there’s always something.

Thank you Angela!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.