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Humans Of Mojo

Humans of Mojo is Brighton’s answer to the hugely successful Humans of New York! Individuals are featured to give us a little more insight on themselves, why they come to Mojo, or simply to tell us an interesting story. Contact us if you would like to be added!  http://www.mojocoffeeclub.co.uk/contact-us

Laurence Chapman, regular visitor to Mojo and an oh so talented music composer specialising in tv, film and gaming.  It’s always a delight to see him at the café.  Click the link below to allow Laurence’s incredible Heaven’s Vault do amazing things to your ears!

Frequenting Mojo is a no brainer, I’m largely incapable of functioning in the morning without some sort of caffeine in my system and they make the best coffee in Brighton. The fact that Mojo is only 2 minutes from my flat is perhaps evidence there is a God after all 😊  When I am there, there is always time for a quick chat and usually someone fusses over my dog, Benji, which is often the highlight of his morning!

Every visit is a nice one, but last year I was recovering from breaking several ribs and it was a great place to come and recuperate. Friendly staff (who picked up my change when I dropped it all over the floor and gave me local physio recommendations), chilled out music, and comfy healing-ribsupporting chairs.

On life in Brighton

“Brighton; so good I’ve lived here twice.” I studied here in 2007 and loved it. I then, more than willingly, followed my girlfriend (now fiancée) back down here a few years ago when she got her first teaching job and bought a flat. That wasn’t the only reason I asked her to marry me though, honest.

Brighton is a magical place to live.  It’s sunny and 20ºC at the moment and yet someone in the flat down the road is playing “Walking In The Air” at full volume – says it all really. It’s sandwiched between the sea and the South Downs so I can regularly indulge my hobbies of long swims and long walks. It’s also home to some of the most wonderfully eccentric people you can meet outside a medical institution.

On music

I’m a composer so I regularly need somewhere to go where I can claim I’m searching for inspiration, but in actual fact am procrastinating and thirsty. A trip to Mojo usually solves this! My recent soundtrack to the game Heaven’s Vault was fuelled largely by lattes from Mojo. You can hear the results on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify – all the usual places.

If you would like to read more about Laurence’s work, go to: www.laurencechapman.com or @composerchapman

Here is a direct link to Laurence’s beautiful Heaven’s Vault soundtrack:  https://laurencechapman.bandcamp.com/album/heavens-vault-official-soundtrack

Deborah, former Senior Manager at Mojo and now International Relationship Specialist in the banking world.  Deborah is not only a former employee of Mojo and customer but a longstanding family friend.  We have known Deborah from the time she arrived in Brighton and are very lucky that she has chosen to continue to stay and make her life in our lovely city!

I have known Mojo’s for a very long time.  Before Mojo’s was even an idea, I met Karl and I worked with him in the pub trade.  When he decided to open the café, it was a natural choice to stay together working with him.  It was a very exciting time to be part of a new small independent business in Brighton.

In the early days I wasn’t just pouring coffee but painting walls, varnishing, sanding etc.  It was certainly a job with a lot of variety!  I met so many colleagues and made and built some great relationships from working at Mojo.

I grew up in the South of France, my family are in catering so I had been born into that environment.  I moved to Brighton just over seven years ago and originally had planned to stay just for one year!  My main aim was to learn English and enjoy a great experience.  A friend of mine is a pilot and he was based near Gatwick and introduced me to the Brighton scene.  This was actually my first time coming to England. I just loved the vibe here and the mentality.  Brighton is a place where you can be whoever you want to be, where I come from in France it doesn’t feel like that. In my opinion there are great job opportunities here in Brighton.

Life in Brighton now

By having the opportunity to be a manager and leading a team, it gave me the chance to gain some valuable experience.  After moving on from Mojo I have had the chance to use the skills I learnt there to move forward and try new things.

If I am in town, I will always pass by to see if there is a familiar face behind the counter.  When I come into Mojo now, I will grab a hot chocolate, maybe a cookie or brownie as well.  Usually on my way to work.

I love how the café feels like a proper local, the staff that are there stay a long time, they get to know you and make you feel part of it.  It’s a great atmosphere that gives you a sense of belonging.  I also love how Mojo will always follow the current themes of whatever is going on in Brighton.

It’s hard to believe I have been here all these years but there is a lot to like about this city.  I love the diversity, the range of nationalities in Brighton and that there is always so many things to do, theatre, Brighton festival and Fringe, the historic lanes.  It’s a party atmosphere with a lot of culture added too.

I am busy in an office job now but my heart belongs to sewing, I have entered competitions and very much enjoy doing commissioned bespoke work.  If I had more time I would be sewing!  I even created a dress which sat inside the café when I worked there which had a catering theme.  Most recently I have created a dress for a wedding for a friend’s daughter, she was only a toddler, I loved that experience.

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Alex Povey, chef, hospitality representative and trainer.  Alex became a Brightonian back in 1993 and never turned his back on the city.  Our friendship started with Alex over 3 years ago when he provided some in depth food safety and management training for all of the Mojo team.  Alex is now at the exciting point of launching his own training company here in Brighton.

I have known Annette and Karl for a few years now. We first connected when I was delivering hospitality management training at a Brighton based training provider. Annette attended a course we were running and we hit it off straight away, perhaps a shared love of coffee? 

Annette comes from a training background and firmly believes in providing her staff with the correct support, knowledge and skills. We continued to work together to provide food safety training for all her key staff.  Additionally maths and english for some and management training for members of the team recently promoted. 

Over that time, I would often find an occasion to visit both the Queens Road and Lewis Road outlets. Usually I had time to take a few minutes with a white americano and soak up the atmosphere. Coming from a hospitality background myself, I enjoyed watching the bustling environment and the hard work and passion being displayed by the Mojo team.  Both Karl and I were chefs in a previous life.  We would discuss with Annette how we could streamline the food side of the business while maintaining the high standards of quality and hygiene already in place.

I decided to give up alcohol a few years ago and since then, coffee has become a genuine love. I have been able to learn a lot from the Mojo team about what makes a great cup of joe. I now buy all my coffee beans from Mojo, I can’t find anything better quality or value!

On life in Brighton

I was brought up in Horsham, 20 miles north of Brighton. As a teenager I would regularly visit the town for shopping and to enjoy the music scene. Just before my 18th birthday, I decided to move out of home. I took a bedsit in Brunswick Place (with a balcony!) and started living the Brightonian life. This was 1993 and the club scene was in full effect. Some of the world’s best DJs regularly played at clubs like The Zap, The Escape and The Shark Bar. It was one of the best summers of my life and also a steep learning curve after coming from a sleepy, middle class town like Horsham!

The culture in Brighton has always been the biggest draw for me. Whether it’s live music, comedy, visual art or any other kind of artistic expression, it’s represented somewhere in Brighton. Unlike other seaside towns, it doesn’t really have an off season. With the university and the conferencing trade, Brighton rocks all year round.

With recent events, I have started to appreciate the sense of community in the town. In my current location on Hove seafront, I have been a part of and witnessed all kinds of socially distanced interaction; live music being played from bedroom windows, speakers out of windows playing requests from neighbours, even a 3 metre distanced street dance party last Saturday!

On training

I have been working in training for around 10 years now, mostly directed towards management skills in hospitality but also including healthy and safety and food safety courses. Through this time I have diversified to include functional skills which is basically maths and English skills but applied to real life. I have many clients with English as a second language and that has been a great experience. Most recently, I have become self-employed and now work on a freelance basis for companies and individuals who want to gain qualifications or just improve their skills.

If you would like to connect with Alex, he can be found on Linkedin  https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-povey-42259946/

Andrew Allen, writer, director and of course actor.  Andrew’s journey arriving on the south coast from south London began on the week of 9/11 and he has been a busy man since!  

Mojo’s is a place that helps to support my work.  The coffee shop environment of sounds, people and energy manufactures a competition atmosphere that spurs you on.  My ideas go down in a variety of note pads, digital formats and a simple diary but it’s good to get these ideas out, then I can move onto my new ones so the first ideas don’t die.  And of course Mojo plays host to providing a nice area to meet local actors and artists to record our theatre podcasts.

I am most proud of being able to provide a platform for local writers and actors that was feels very much at home in this city (Andrew founded The Cast Iron Theatre with his wife Michelle in 2014).  It has also provided me with the ability to redress the balance of equality in theatre.  ‘Year Without Summer’ our first Brighton Fringe show was one of biggest achievement in 2016.  ‘Cacophony’, starring Heather Rose Andrews, was a success at Edinburgh festival this year which was an amazing achievement given the competition.

On life in Brighton:

A coastal town gives you an horizon and therefore the feeling of escape.

The chance to benefit from quiet off days next to the sea.

It’s a very networked city – it’s reasonably possible to walk from here to the sea front and bump into at least a couple of people that I know.

On writing and supporting young artists:

Genuine, interesting and exciting writing will always do well but the importance is to actually start.  All the stories I have not written yet are of course all perfect.

You give great power (to students) by admitting you do not know all the answers.  We normally tend to be so concerned about perfection and not forgiving enough of someone throwing in new ideas.  Try it, consider it, taste it – don’t say, ‘I don’t think that will work because…’

On acting and improv:

The great thing about writing is that I can fit it into the gaps of life.  Acting can’t generally be negotiated in that way.

My younger self would have been very perplexed to see posters of me all over the city (on being Brighton Ghostwalk of the Lanes actor, Jasper).  But that’s the product of me, not me: you can get over your shyness by realising that the audience – by being there – has given you the instruction to speak.  Even so, I don’t often get nervous before a show: it’s afterwards that the nerves hit!  It’s only then I have time to contemplate the realisation of how badly it could have gone!

To find out more about Andrew:  https://andthisisandrewallen.weebly.com

 

Tom, a writer and regular at Mojo, originally came to Brighton in 1982 for a weekend visit from Paris. He now lives here full time.

“I’ve been coming to Mojo since shortly after it opened, as it’s on the way to the library. One day, it was just here. I like Mojo because I feel comfortable here, it’s just the right distance from home where I do most of my writing. I bring my work down here to edit, so I can sit, think about my own work and occasionally meet some interesting people when I don’t have my nose stuck into my work. The staff are friendly and great to talk to. If the work is good then I don’t hear any of the café. Once the café comes into the world that I’ve made, I realise that I’m not focused.”

Pearls of Wisdom

“The trick with writing is to be lazy; you make as much work as it is.”

“The best thing about writing is everything becomes material.”

“If someone’s willing to criticise your work, it means you’re worth something.”

Martina, Mojo Barista:  “I’ve been working for Mojo since September, but I’m originally from Italy. I love working at Mojo because I love drinking coffee! My favourite meal to eat here is the scrambled egg with mushrooms. In my free time, I love drawing and creating art.”

Steve, Mojo Barista:  “I’m originally from Norwich, and I’ve been working at Mojo for about 3 months now. My favourite part about my job is the community vibe. I’m also a big fan of the House Smoothies, and love eating the chicken and chorizo paninis. In my free time I make music, and I’m currently working on writing an album.”

Lucy, Mojo Barista:  “I’ve been working here for 2 years now. I’m originally from Salisbury, but now I’m studying Nursing at Brighton University. My favourite thing about working at Mojo is probably the atmosphere, it’s really friendly and family orientated. My favourite food? Probably the chicken and chorizo panini, and to drink it’s peppermint tea. In my free time I love baking, and drinking tea of course!”