I was born in London, but I grew up in Brighton, a small town turned city, which is exactly one hour and nine minutes from Victoria on your average non-fast Southern train.
Because of this, when people talk about the places they came from I find it weird that so many of these places supposedly had nothing going on or were dull and dreary, void of creativity, or the negative connotations to the phrase ‘regional theatre’.
Some of my favourite places are the Artist Residence, where I had the privilege of being on the launch event, where I consumed a lot of free wine in plastic cups and took photos of the rooms that had been decorated indulgently by various artists. There are a multitude of theatres and arts hubs such as The Basement, Brighton Theatre Royal (which by the way has a river running underneath it, which you can supposedly access down some stairs).
…the last place in Brighton to expect anything of the sort…
There’s the Brighton Fringe and Festival which is wonderful, second best in the UK by far next to Edinburgh, but also host to some of the most ridiculous pieces of theatre you’ll ever see (one time I got forced to sit through an hour and a half of a Bette Midler tribute, one woman show in a venue which was just weeks ago not a venue at all and in fact widely known as the last place in Brighton to expect anything of the sort).
The nightlife is varied, no nights are specific to fashion sense or sexual preference and you can go clubbing in your pajamas if you want to, not as a statement, just because you couldn’t be bothered to get changed. There’s RDF, a posh Coyote Ugly bar run by a woman who is actually Lil from Coyote Ugly, there’s karaoke bars, Sushi bars, clubs and cocktail bars everywhere, live music everywhere. Also everyone either works in a club or at Amex so chances are you’ll get in somewhere for free. There was (not sure about this bit these days) a cracking drum and bass scene, as well as a cracking everything scene depending on what your scene actually is. You can see anyone there from Paramore, to Ben Howard doing an intimate gig upstairs in a comedy club, to Chase and Status playing a grimy DnB night at The Concord.
…amazing flea markets and independent clothes shops…
There’s the burning of the Clocks every New Year, beautifully crafted body ornaments and decorations parading through the city, and there’s Bonfire night next door in Lewes which if you haven’t experienced you wouldn’t be able to fathom, and though not a pagan holiday still resonates all the traditions of the Beltane fires.
Then there’s the Laines, the amazing flea markets and independent clothes shops, food shops, in my opinion the best Deli in Britain (Hell’s Kitchen) and there’s art everywhere, free art as well – walls with amazing graffiti which changes practically every week, pop up arts events (Look up Saints of the Lot) kitsch food diners, all night diners, street performers, the Royal Pavilion Gardens and my personal favorite the seaside and various parks and gardens which stop the place from feeling claustrophobic and add a bit of Zen to your walk home.
…blessed out, relaxed, easy like Sunday morning…
The final thing: It is a not so wide spread story that a long time ago an angry prince (no, no one knows who this prince was or where he came from of course) cursed the town because he fell in love with a girl from Brighton who wouldn’t have him, and the curse was that no one who lived there would ever reach their full potential. I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s just that everyone’s kind of blessed out, relaxed, easy like Sunday morning, and what’s wrong with that after months of working non-stop in the busy city of London? Students need a break too you know! (Weekend returns £6.60 – £10)