The Ultimate Alternative.

So, it looks as though the ‘Ultimate Alternative’ magazine has ceased publishing.

If that is the case and i sure hope that it isn’t, it is a sad day for all music and entertainment lovers in the Hastings area.

I was going to contact the UA recently about the impending launch of Pierless Music and tried to go onto their website. But, it was no longer there. And speaking to someone involved with the production of the magazine seems to have confirmed my fears, that the September issue was the last.

I know that the UA has suffered a few blips over the past year, for a number of reasons. It even ceased publishing for a couple of issues at the beginning of this year. But, like so many things that you take for granted, it always seemed to be there.

I think i’m right in saying that the UA had been going for around 20 years?* That’s some achievement for a local magazine run on a shoestring. What a great job it’s done during that time, keeping local people well informed of everything happening in this busy town. And all for free too.

I have been reading the Ultimate Alternative for all of those 20 years and have had much contact with both editors over that time. Firstly with the late John Shotton and more recently with Graham. Both of them were always very supportive of Hastings Rock and probably got sick of me pestering them about it every year.

Whilst thinking about what to write here, i remembered an email that i sent to Graham when the UA stopped printing for a while at the end of 2011. I won’t share all of it here, but i do feel that it sums up my thoughts both then and now. I’m sure many others will have similar feelings?


“I’d just like to say a very big thank you for all that you’ve done with the Ultimate Alternative over the years. The UA will be sorely missed by many people in and around Hastings.
Both yourself and John Shotton have been big supporters for and advocators of local music over the years.

You also deserve thanks for all of the support that you’ve given to local charities over the years. I know that this is something that is quite possibly not very well known. But, there are many in the town who recognise & appreciate what you’ve done.

On a personal note, i’d also like to thank you for all your help and support for Hastings Rock over the years too. That support has been a great help & much appreciated.”


There will still be “1,000’s of things to see and do” in our local area. But now we won’t have that free and handy guide to tell us all about them. How are we going to know what’s on and when?

Hopefully, something will come along and fill the void?

In the meantime, all we can do is thank Graham and the late John Shotton for all of the hard work that they both put in over the years and to let them know that it has all been very much appreciated by anyone who ever picked up a copy of the Ultimate Alternative.

I’d also like to wish Graham a long and restful retirement.

Thanks guys.

Andy Gunton

* Update:

Since writing this post and whilst rummaging around looking for something else, i stumbled upon a copy of the first ever issue of the ‘Ultimate Alternative’. It was dated May 1998, so i was a few years out and the magazine had actually been published for “only” 14 years. Still a very worthy acheivement, i think you’ll agree.

I thought i’d share that first cover with you:



4 comments on “The Ultimate Alternative.

  1. James Grant on said:

    Just dropping a line to say good luck with this in Waterford City Ireland we have a vibrate local music scene well covered in local press.

  2. Tony May on said:

    Such a shame to hear of the demise of the Ultimate Alternative. What with the loss of The Crypt, the demise of a lot of local (and national) pubs and the burning of Hastings Pier a lot has changed here since that first issue in 1998.

    I’ve never been an avid gig goer myself but back in about 2000 I was crazy about the music of Madeline Milla and used to grab every edition of UA to search for her next gig. Then of course there was Jonathan Martin’s ‘Words’ evenings of poetry (mainly) and other local news and updates to keep us all informed. The mobile phone and the Internet has a lot to answer for…

    • I tend to agree with you Tony. The loss of both The Crypt & the Pier have left a big hole in the local music scene. Especially when it comes to suitable venues.
      We are planning on trying to put a gig guide on this site. But, it won’t be quite the same as having it in a paper format.

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