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Brighton in General
Member Name: zusy
Brighton in General
Date: 12/07/00, updated on 12/07/00 (121 review reads)
Advantages: something for everyone, vibrant, laid-back yet bustling place
Disadvantages: You wont want to go home....
If I am away from the place for a few days, I start missing it terribly - the eclectic mix of people from all over the world or just a village nearby, standing around in huddled groups and staring out to sea with mystical expressions on their faces... or slightly bewildered coach tour groups staring in amazement at the array of unnatural haircolours that abound here.
I miss the smell of salt on the wind, candyfloss, exotic perfumes wafting in with a tang of chip fat and sugary rock. I miss the wildly painted shops with zebra stripes and rows of immaculate brightly coloured houses. I miss the sudden shock I always get when The Royal Pavillion comes into view around some dingy corner - famously called "an Oriental Tart" by Noel Coward (I think...) for the frippery and frivolousness of it's structure.
I miss the bustle of the Laines, with their entwining streets that look like a plate of spaghetti has fallen on the map whilst they were designing it. I miss the splendour of the Regency squares, gathered around little squares of green as if they were having a picnic. I miss spotting celebs hobnobbing with us commoners in supermarkets and cafes... oh the cafes. Hundreds of them. Enough to visit a new one for brekky every day of the year, I should think. I like to imagine they breed at night, for there's always a new one sprung up somewhere.
I love London, but sometimes I get a bit tired of all that fast paced running about everywhere....anyway, secretly all Londoners want to live in Brighton - that's why the house prices are so bloody high here ;-) They come here for day trips or holidays, looki
ng jealously around at the mix of mayhem and laid-back grooviness.
Brighton isn't for everyone - my Mother raises her eyebrows a bit when she visits. I think this is as good a reason as any to stay... :-)
You cannot visit Brighton without going to the Laines - these were originally fishing cottages, but when the hoity toity snobs from London came down in Regency times (for the sea air 'cures') they shoved them all out because they weren't nice to look at... now they're a twisty turny surprise-round-every-corner area for quaint and frankly bizarre shops you wont see anywhere else. The North Laines are the more studenty/cool/weird shops and cool place-to-be-seen cafes; the South Laines are your more cottagey, antiquey, upper-class boutiques area. Don't forget to visit 'Snoopers Paradise' in the North Laines - a sprawling mass of stalls selling funky clothes, bric-a-brac and oddities under one roof. Both areas are wonderful but I prefer the North...
Churchill Square Shopping Centre and surrounding area: This is where you'll find all the main highstreet shops and a few surprises along the way.
Waitrose Supermarket: I have seen more celebrities here than anywhere else in the country. Zoe Ball, FatBoySlim and Gaz from 'Supergrass' all shop here regularly... Don't try to look in their baskets, that just wouldn't be cool...
The Beach: Pebbles galore, so bring your flip-flops. The sea is very dodgy looking in some areas, I certainly wouldn't swim in it from the horror stories of swallowing poo I've heard from my friends... paddling should be harmless, though :-)Fantastic place to come when it's misty at night...the piers seem to rise from the fog like ghostly galleons.
The Piers: The Palace Pier has, in the infinite wisdom of the council, been re-named 'Brighton Pier'. Apparently this was to help people know where they are.... Err, yea
h, right mate....if you say so..... Old-fashioned amusements, overpriced 'Ye Olde' fake pubs and funfair rides. It's cheaper to get a bracelet pass than to pay for them separately. Race you to the Helter Skelter! The West Pier is a neglected disgrace....it's slowly washing away from the grand pleasure dome it was to the spooky looking home for seagulls it is now. Still oddly beautiful to look at, though. Restoration work is supposed to be going on... Chris Eubank (who often drives around the place in his idiotic Jeep expecting people to look at him) tried to buy it as his home. I think I'd rather it washed away!
Pubs: There are about as many pubs as people here, I think.... A good mix of the ultra hip and trendy, the 'local' and the inbetween. A pub to suit everyone here... if you don't like one, throw a pebble from the beach and it will ricochet off ten others....
The most bizarre bookshop ever: ...is in Trafalgar Street (leading down from the station). It has no name. You will recognise it by the slightly dishevelled, slightly sozzled looking man who runs it standing in the doorway smoking cheroots. You will mostly recognise it by the fact it looks like a fleet of lorries have dumped their loads of books and driven off at speed. Or maybe *on* speed. Walking amongst the towering stacks of books is a very unnerving experience, but thrilling as you come across so many unusual books at great prices. Ask him to find a book and he will scurry to a pile and put his hands on it immediately. You should ask him to do this even if you don't want a book, just to test him. He never fails. I like to imagine he has a seedy, criminal-mastermind past....
Clubs: Again, hundreds of 'em to suit all types, from the goth nites to the studenty, from the don't-even-think-about trying-to-get-in to the relaxed Big Beats, from the cheesy to the sublime.
Kemptown: The heart of the gay culture in Brighton - lovely
unsusual independent shops here, a villagey feel where everyone seems to know everyone else, but in a nice way (not cliquey).
So, what are you waiting for? There's *always* loads going on here, you'll never be bored. Grab your coat and flip-flops and come here immediately!
P.S: Below are two of the best books I've read about Brighton
'Cheeky Guide to Brighton' by Jeremy Plotnikoff, Alex Berardi & David Bramwell - fantastic guide that lists all the places to see, both main touristy ones and weird only-the-locals-know type shops/clubs/restaurants etc... Currently on sale at amazon for only £3.99 - get a copy before you come. It's very funny and really manages to convey the atmosphere of the place... (also lists all the local 'characters').
'Breakfast in Brighton' by Nicholas Richardson - Not really a guide, more a personal tale of one man's love affair with Brighton. Fascinating tales from the history (the infamous 'Brighton Trunk murders to the 'sea monster' found by fisherman). It lovingly describes the characters that make Brighton what it is.