Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
I figured it was about time that I finally wrote about the city that I have called home for the best part of my 22 years of existence, Brighton (and Hove, actually).
In years of late, Brighton is a place that has been doing quite well for itself. Brighton became a city just 12 years ago; it made political history by sending Britain’s first ever Green MP to Westminster; the city’s football team, which was once a side that almost lost its place in the Football League entirely, is now a Championship side and is housed in a new kick-ass stadium; the Brighton Pride event is now the largest of its kind in the UK and perhaps in Europe as well; and for 10 years or so now, Brighton has been the drug-death capital of the UK. Great success!
Brighton is one of those places where it is virtually impossible to be a misfit. An incredibly unconvincing transvestite walking in the opposite direction as you? No one will blink an eye. Lady Gaga walking down the road in a meat suit? Completely normal! The day I see a misfit will be the day I see pigs fly. And I don’t think anyone will blink an eye to the sight of pigs flying either.
There are terrible things in this city however that makes every Brightonian cower in fear. No, they’re not IRA bombers nor arsonists that set fires to piers, but seagulls. Those massive flying turkeys that go around terrorising the streets of Brighton by dive-bombing and crapping on your head; pecking at your rubbish; and threatening to try and eat the car it’s sitting on if you try and approach it. What’s worse, those flying rats we call pigeons have started learning their tricks and also terrorise Brighton by dive-bombing and crapping on your head. One of my friends had the unfortunate experience of having a pigeon poop on his forehead and, instead of the belief that pigeon poo on your forehead brings good luck, he also had the unfortunate experience of his dad driving past, stopping the car to laugh at him, and then driving off again. I guess whilst seagulls and pigeons are nightmares for some, they make good comedy material for others.
And what of the celebrities of Brighton? We don’t have many to boast of, but let’s start with the most annoying: Chris Eubank. I cannot think of a single person in Brighton who hasn’t almost been run over by that former boxer’s hummer. Whilst he likes to believe that everyone in Brighton loves him and affectionately calls him our dear “Lord of the Manor of Brighton”, most Brightonians usually use a number of expletives to describe him and give him a two-fingered hand gesture after by being clipped by his hummer for at least the fifth time. We do have some celebrities and well-known figures we do like however: Fatboy Slim, Steve Ovett, Gus Poyet to name a few (believe me, we don’t have many more).
If you’re wanting to visit Brighton, no trip is complete without a visit to the North Laine (see pic), a district of the city bustling with independent shops of all kinds, especially of the alternative and organic type. There are also the other obvious attractions: Brighton Pier (or the Palace Pier as locals will call it), the Pavilion, that big Ferris wheel and the i360 when it finally opens. Brighton is also rightly well-known for its great clubbing scene. If you’re one of the many clubbers who simply gets the train here to go and pre-drink at the nearby Wetherspoons on West Street and go on to Yates, Oceana or Tru, then why bother coming to Brighton, you could just be anywhere! If you really want to experience Brighton properly, there’s “Digital”, “Coalition” and “Audio” on the seafront that all have great DJ nights, “Casablanca” is good if you’re into funk and the newly opened “Volks” is great for those drum n’ bass nights. The pubs are great as well and there are many a good restaurant in town, especially in the North Laine and Preston Street, Brighton’s informally-named “Chinatown”. There are too many good places to name, so you’re just gonna have to check them out for yourself!
In short, there is something for everyone here. He, who may be a misfit in Bristol, Bangor or Barnsley, is not a misfit in Brighton, and that doesn’t just go for party people or gays as the stereotype goes. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself, come to “London-on-sea” and check it out!