Thursday, December 08, 2005

Travel Review: Brighton

Welcome to Brighton! One of the largest and most well-known seaside resorts in Britain, if not the World. One of Britain's newest cities, granted its status by the Her Majesty The Queen at the turn of the Millennium. Home to the rich, the famous and the not so famous. The music! The night-life!

A Brighton Resident

Brighton... London-on-Sea. Nudist beaches. Hippies. Drop Outs. Pickpockets. Petty thieves and hawkers. Pinky and his vicious gang of thugs running amok, slashing faces and flinging vitriol. Plump, rosy-faced prostitutes plying their trade in seedy guest houses. Mods and Rockers wielding chains in pitched battle on the beach. Streets piled knee-high with Class A drugs, dirty needles and used condoms. Shop doorways littered with the writhing, sweaty, sticky bodies of constantly fornicating sexual miscreants. Brighton - a dangerous, decadent, disease-infested crime-ridden modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.

At least that's what I was lead to believe, but it's wasn't like that at all.

I still really enjoyed it though.

It took some getting to, thanks to the exciting bus and rail tour of the Solent area laid on specially for the day by a handful of train operating companies and an unfortunate chap who'd obviously decided that sharing a bath with the fan heater would be far too convenient for everyone else. Eventually the day's fourth train slid to a halt under the impressively huge station canopy (what do they think this is, London-on-Sea or something?) and there was just time to wander down the hill to catch a glimpse of the sea and find our lodgings before darkness fell.

Despite being advertised on the Internet as being located on a charming square a mere stone's throw from the beach and within equally easy reach of the city centre, the guest house we had booked turned out to be located on a charming square a mere stone's throw from the beach and within equally easy reach of the city centre. The room was amply sized, clean and quiet and the staff were friendly and helpful. They obviously need to rectify these shortcomings and iron out some other problems if they expect to compete with the Big Boys of the hotel world. For example, breakfast should not be included in the room rate, while offering a left luggage facility and free wireless Internet are obviously both big no-nos if you ever want to be regarded as a proper hotel.

So we stepped out into the night and made our way in the vague direction of town, before getting thoroughly lost in the narrow shop, pebble and pub lined pathways that are The Laines. One of these pubs looked particularly inviting. So that the sightseeing pretty much over bar a stumble around the corner onto a main road where we found another pub with a Turkish theme and Leffe on tap. Then there was the and a lively place with swishing wicker fans, a happy hour and (even more to my delight than the cheap booze) Orbital's back catalogue playing on the sound system. Then there was the curry buffet then I took some photos of the pier all lit up and that was it for the day.

The Pier, all lit up. Guess who's just worked out how to do long exposures?

We rose early on day two, took breakfast in the neat little basement restaurant, left our bags with the very cheerful receptionist and headed out to the seafront. Sadly Volks Electric Railway (apparently the oldest in the world) had stopped running for the year, ruling out a trip to the Marina, so instead we walked in a westward direction, passing the Pier and a big metal doughnut thing with the shapes of some different countries stamped into it.

Doughnut thing and Sea. One of the blotches is Australia. I think.

Then there were the Big Hotels – the Metropole and the Grand Hotel. These are both absolutely incredible looking buildings – tall, wide and ornate. Sadly, though, someone has almost utterly ruined the Grand with a shocking act of terror. No, not them - I'm talking about whatever firm of architects it was who decided to attach a sixty foot high lump of concrete to the side of the place and call it a conference centre. I mean, why? Couldn't you build something vaguely similar to the existing building? Surely party conferences don't pay so badly that you need to crib leftover building designs from behind the Iron Curtain?

The Grand Hotel with its Ugly Sister. Note the newly added Santas.

The West Pier got burned down or got knocked down in a storm or possibly both. I could Google for it but I doubt I could add any insight so I won't bother. It was weird to think those big iron stantions once carried a wide board walk over our heads, though. It was all a bit depressing really. So we went off to the shopping bit of town, which was a lot like the shopping bit of town you find in most other towns. Obviously it has a branch of Waterstone's, but this one is about ten floors high, which is something a bit different, isn't it? And it had a book I wanted for half price so it was worth the climb.

West Pier: from The Minimal School of Pier Design.

After that and some eating and some drinking, we had a bit more of a walk around. The Pavilion was boarded up for some reason so it didn't photograph too well. The Pier was a good laugh, though – there are rides and stuff like that, and a pub in halfway along called Victoria's, which has a Royal/nautical theme. It must have taken them ages to decide on that. It also has Sky Sports, so I can imagine it acts as a sort of crèche for bored fathers during the holiday season.

A couple of pints later it was time to leave Brighton. The journey home was perfectly uneventful – very possibly because we took a longer route, avoiding the more direct, but perversely slower (even when it runs on time) service offered by the still-steaming coil of dog shit in a sandwich bag that is Wessex Trains.

In summary: I thought it was going to be an overpriced, pretentious dump with an overbearingly hostile atmosphere - like London. But it's actually quite a nice place. I bet it's hell in the summer though.


At 9:15 am, Blogger Fur Q said...

But what about the real purpose of your visit - your gay wedding? How did that go?

At 9:40 am, Blogger hungbunny said...

I'm considering moving to Brighton. The problem is there are lots of hills and I'm a lazy bastard. Plus there are too many vegetarian restaurants. When I get pissed I want a kebab made from reclaimed animal slurry, not organic falafel.

At 10:16 am, Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Brighton indeed has something for everyone: the pier for the kiddies, beautiful art-nouveau buildings for the women, and anonymous sex in public toilets for the men-folk.

At 6:59 pm, Blogger 01-811-8055 said...

No fur, I went there to challenge my predjudices - which I feel is our responsibility as human beings in this day-and-age.

(That is, my predudice that all seaside towns are dire shithouses. I lived in Weymouth, remember...)

At 7:00 pm, Blogger 01-811-8055 said...

...and Bournemouth is a cunt-hole, too.

At 1:19 pm, Blogger Fur Q said...

Fair point

At 1:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All seaside towns are shitholes. I bought some heroin from that big-nosed cunt from the Levellers in Brighton once. It was shit.

At 9:35 am, Blogger littlemissprincess_86 said...

Brighton is like London in that it's full of cunts.

At 11:31 am, Blogger 01-811-8055 said...

True. But there's one less now I'm back at home.


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