Friday, 17 October 2014

Brighton Facades

Many seaside towns have an agreeably louche mix of new, renovated, repurposed, and time-worn buildings.  Proximity to the sea causes the changeable winds of economics, and the irregular tides of fashion to leave behind a different sort of architectural legacy to that found in more buttoned-up, landlocked towns.  Even so, Brighton is somewhat special in this regard, with buildings ranging from squalid multiple-occupancy houses (it seems the Student Experience has not changed much in the last 40 years, except that it now costs £95 a week), through the bijou terraces in the famous "laines", all the way up to grand Georgian and Victorian villas.  Culminating, of course, in the grandiloquently ill-advised Royal Pavilion.

This crumbling wall, surprisingly, is not the basement area of a student squat but is the Royal Pavilion, as seen from an approach not customarily used by the sight-seeing public:

I'm not sure what the opposite of a "whited sepulchre" is, but that would be it.  But here is the full-on gleaming spectacle, a Regency fever-dream of India, as mediated by a nearby and rather more mundane modern facade:

Hmm, if the right angles in these images seem a bit tortured to you, they do to me, too, despite the corrective work I've done.  I'm beginning to wonder whether my Fuji 18-55 lens is optically flawed, or whether perhaps Photo Ninja is failing to correct for barrel and pincushion distortion when interpreting the RAW files from the X-E1.  Or maybe Brighton is just too characterful for anything as, um, straight as a right angle.

Perhaps just one more pinnacle, Your Majesty?


Debra Morris said...

Oh, my word...the Pavilion AND bicycles! Truly the place of my birth, not nearly as pretentious and self-obsessed as I had found it to be in the early 2000's. The fine, the tawdry and then the plain that first image from the Old Steine, Mike? I have early memories (1960's) of boarding a no.13 double-decker Southdown bus (beautiful cream and green livery) there, driven by my grandad. Destination, Coldean - about half a mile away from where the Falmer main campus is for University of Sussex now. The no.13 route.

Mike C. said...


Um, where indeed... I tend to get "creatively lost" when on a Search & Portray mission like this, but it must be one of the streets running off the north side of North Street,in the North Laine, so probably Vine Street or Robert Street?


Mike C. said...

North *Road*, I mean, looking more carefully at the map. It leads out onto Victoria Gardens, whereas North Street, wierdly, does lead out onto Old Steine.