Exposed: Brighton - The Hope & Ruin x Acid Box

by Tom Tye, May 09, 2019

Join us on a 35mm visual tour of an integral part of Brighton's music scene

See what's on at The Hope & Ruin here

In an age when digital content comes streaming at you from every conceivable angle, there's something to be said about a good, old-fashioned, matte-finished snap from the local Boots. A photograph you can hold in your hand - a slip of resin-coated paper topped with a light-sensitive emulsion that makes you think "yep, I was definitely there".

Because in the era of fake news, how can you trust information that exists purely in the digital realm? Did I really take that picture? Did I even go on a gap year? Once that henna tattoo has faded there won't be a shred of tangible evidence. Real photos, real experiences, stuff that we can truly cling onto - that's what it's all about.

So once again we presented another local with the challenge, a 27-exp 400 ISO disposable camera and the task of giving us a window into their city through what they do and what they love. Meet Polly Miles, manager of the Hope & Ruin and founder of Acid Box, as she takes through a 35mm visual tour of some of what Brighton's live music scene has to offer. The Hope is one of Brighton's most beloved bar and venues right in the centre of town, packed with eclectic decor, music and people, with Acix Box working to put some of the best bands on the psych, garage and fuzz-rock scene on their stage.

Here are the results:

The Hope & Ruin. Sal, my boss, loves hunting for weird, obscure objects which as you can tell, get put anywhere around the venue. It was originally just ‘The Hope’, then 3 or 4 years ago it became the Hope & Ruin - we had a refurb, we ripped out the bar upstairs, put a new sound system in which sounds amazing - Leon, our head tech here designed it. Personally, I think it’s one of the best sounding small venues in Brighton. There’s lots of live music going on, pretty much every day of the year either upstairs or downstairs. DJs, creative art nights, bands, quizzes, all sorts.

That’s me and Chris who manage all the bookings and social media for the venue!

That is the door upstairs to the venue at the Hope & Ruin, it’s got many stickers from over the years!

That's FEELS, who're from LA. We had them play at the Hope & Ruin on International Women's Day. Yeah they're a really cool post-punk-y garage-rock girl band. Ty Segall actually produced their last album, but they've just released a new album which is really fucking good.

That’s after the show with FEELS and the support we had, Gene Pool. You can see see one of the girls eating - we make food for the bands a lot of the time - everyone sits around eating chilli or curry or whatever we’ve made in the evenings which you can see being enjoyed there, hopefully!

That’s Letty, Ollie who I do Acix Box with and Del - Letty and Del are in a band called The Hoodniks, it’s kind of 60s surf rock. This is actually from a DJ night we did at Dead Wax Social, all vinyl, surf-y garage kinda stuff - I think it was quite late in the evening by that point! We have a weekly night at Dead Wax doing similar kinds of stuff.

That’s Jax, Lily and Patrick who all work behind the bar at The Hope!

This downstairs at Hope, from Kick Out The Hams which is a punk, old-school punk, post-punk, disco, dance-y stuff.

That’s our trusty caravan where all vegan cooking action happens. No idea how they got it in here! Beelzebab lives in there. It’s all totally vegan junk food, they’re based at the Hope and they also do burgers down at East Street Tap.

Patrick looking suave…

That’s Black Doldrums, they’re a London duo who are really cool, really dark, fuzzy sound. You can see weird bits and bobs around the room like that clown in the corner, he’s seen better days. I think he’s always just had one arm.

Sam, steaming away! That’s such a great photo.


This is the Acid Box pad - those cushions were actually made by my gran! Those sofas have seen a lot of bands, I’d love to work out how many bands have stayed with us. We’ve had everyone from Night Beats to Wand, even Julian Casablanca’s band. We’ve got like four sofa beds and a basement so we’re pretty kitted out!

I started Acid Box up about 5 years ago after leaving college and not really knowing what I wanted to do. I’ve always had a love for music and one of my last projects was putting on a live radio show with bands which went really well - I was putting on friend’s bands at shows too but Eastbourne wasn’t really the place to do it so I started interning over here but quickly realised I could do my own thing a bit differently - that’s when I started Acid Box - I never thought it would get to his point where it’s actually turned into a career - we just do it the fun, just putting on bands we want to see, which other people seem to enjoy!

This is my little office at home when I’m not at the Hope or Sticky Mike's (RIP). It’s where we host all the bands that play for us too, it’s a bit of a band BnB. There’s our record collection too - it actually looks a bit empty there - we usually have boxes full of them since we travel about DJing several times a week.   

That’s our cat fuzz, if we have bands stay who’re quite tired or don’t speak great English, we just stick the cat in front of them and everyone’s happy.

Want to see what's on at The Hope & Ruin? Click here!

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