Sunday, 19 January 2014

Brighton

We returned the daughter to her studies yesterday, but rather than drive all the way back again decided to make a weekend of it, and stayed overnight in a hotel, gambling on good weather.  The gamble paid off, and today was one of those bright, blue-sky winter days that are made for a day at the seaside.


On top of being an intensely attractive shabby-chic Regency town and a magnet for creative types and wannabes, Brighton has become known as something of a centre for photography in recent years, and is probably one of the most intensively photographed places outside London.  It must be hard to find an original angle.  I was happy just to potter around like any tourist, banging away with my camera.


That edifice in the background is the Grand Hotel.  If it looks familiar, that may be because you saw it on the news in 1984, when an IRA bomb very nearly killed the entire Conservative government of the day, including Margaret Thatcher, attending the party's annual conference.

I was surprised how few actual photographers there were around.  Yes, smartphones were ubiquitous and various people were setting up tripods on the beach to photograph the pier (yawn), but the bustling carnival of folk enjoying the sunshine was mainly going undocumented, which seemed a pity.  I guess you get bored with it, if you live there.  I have rarely seen so many dreadlocked, pierced or tattooed people in one place.  I have also rarely seen so many young children:  it seems Brighton is where hip young London goes to breed.


I was pleased with that one, though.  It makes a nice companion to the "St. Paul's in The Globe" image from a few weeks ago.  It seems that no matter where you go, there you are.

9 comments:

Zouk Delors said...

Given Brighton's (erstwhile?) reputation as "the gay capital of England" (qv - some would even have "Europe"), the preponderence of dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings is less surprising than your impression that it's now where "young people go to breed".

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Yes, plenty of gay presence in the town, but I think those guys favour a more wholesome "buffed" look these days -- the crusties look like the leftovers of various other scenes.

The sheer quantity of tiny kids was very striking -- scooters and buggies everywhere. AFAIK, it's not half term, so these were most likely local. I must admit, I could be tempted to live in Brighton myself, though it must be a different prospect in summer. Southampton doesn't suffer from a seasonal tourist influx...

Mike

Martin Hodges said...

Haven't been to Brighton since I was a boy! My paternal grandfather worked as a hotel waiter there, before the war. I remember being impressed during a visit (around 1959) when a foreign customer was having problems with his restaurant bill, and my grandfather surprised us all by engaging with the man in fluent French. As youngsters might exclaim today, 'who knew?'

Mike C. said...

Martin,

You'd certainly see some changes, though parts of the the town clearly haven't been repainted since 1959. It's a very enjoyable place to visit, with the kind of small specialist shops that have died out elsewhere, and excellent restaurants, coffee shops with wifi, etc. "Recommended for an easy day trip or weekend away" (Idiotic Hat Trip Adviser).

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Yeah, but if you were to retire to Brighton, by the time you were old and crotchety (older and crotchetier?) those kids would all be teenagers. Maybe Eastbourne would suit better?

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Not sure I understand your point here (do you think I'd want to live there *because* there were lots of young kids in evidence??) but I'll publish it anyway.

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

No, I thought you might *not* like to live somewhere where there are loads of teenagers at a time of life when you are likely to value a bit of peace and quiet.

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Ah, got you. No, actually, after bringing up two children and spending my working life surrounded by successive hordes of lively young people, I'd hate to spend my declining years amid crumbling contemporaries... The only alternative (for me) to life in a university town would be utter and complete solitude, which seems increasingly unwise, given the apparent ambulance response time in Wales...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Have you considered Stevenage? Plenty of teenagers and they're well lively (not necessarily in a good way).