The Exotic Day Trip

You might look at the photo below and wonder where we’ve been on our most recent trip. Which far flung land does that rather grandiose structure call home? If you guessed India, you’d be on the right track. Wrong continent, but right track. That marvelous piece of architecture was built about two hundred years ago in Brighton, as a bit of a playhouse for the Price Regent. Indian design was all the rage back then. Welcome to Brighton, the original quick-getaway tourist destination for the wealthy crowd of London Town! It’s less than an hour from London on the train. Or about two and a half hours along the coast from Bournemouth, our starting point for the trip.

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Brighton, like most English towns and cities of any size, has a rich seam of history, intrigue and culture running through it. But today it is famed for being a centre of new media, its slightly hippy-ish shopping, fantastic wall murals, being the gay capital of the UK, and of course for its piers. One of which is grand. The other, sadly, is just a burnt shell now separated from the shore. Hordes of tourists still descend on the town (the twenty and thirty-somethings, usually in large packs) intent on a weekend of binge drinking and partying till the early hours.

We came for a bit of shopping and sightseeing, not the night life. And I for some photography. I’ve already written a couple of posts on my photography blog – click here. I used my phone camera extensively, but did snap a few shots with my Fuji for upload to Flickr – click here. Did we like Brighton? Yes, we did. Of course. Although. But. There’s just something about Brighton that’s a little bit…I don’t know.

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A lot of English towns have had to reinvent themselves in recent years to adapt to a changing world. Brighton feels like it tried too hard. Which is ironic, really, because at first glance you’d have assumed everyone just got thoroughly stoned and went mad with a limitless supply of spray cans, then chilled out on the beach eating gluten free organic veggy pizza while braiding each others hair, before putting on a selection of mad hats and colourful clothing to strut around town. Someone encountering Brighton for the first time might wonder if the town inspired the book Alice in Wonderland. But this Brighton didn’t exist back then. So perhaps it’s the other way round. So, yes. We liked Brighton. But if truth be told, we preferred Bristol.

8 thoughts on “The Exotic Day Trip

  1. If you want to avoid the posh patina, motor up to my type of beach town — Blackpool. No Prince Regent detritus there. I was introduced to the place by a British couple who lived there. On my annual pilgrimages, I would usually spend a few days there. I suspect the town is incapable of reinventing itself. But that is the source of its tawdry charm. Rather like an old hooker who thinks Norma Desmond’s makeup is something to replicate.

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  2. I love your description of Brighton. It makes me want to get stoned, eat gluten free organic veggy pizza, and visit.

    But I’m afraid I don’t have enough hair to braid though.

    I guess I’ll just have to make up for it with colourful attire.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where on Saturday we attended an accordion festival hosted by a Russian-Emigré drag queen. I’m sure it would have fit right into Brighton, too.

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    1. When God created Brighton, he saw was it was NOT good. In fact, OMG. WTF. And God created all manner of illicit substances. And then he saw that Brighton was good.

      This true account (I read it in the papers after all…) explains both why there are drugs on earth and why he needed such a long rest on the seventh day….

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  3. I like your description of Brighton. I lived there for 6 months and I really liked the place tho. I guess that’s not a surprise coming from someone born and raised in Iztapalapa, and tired of living in the same neiborghood for nearly 20 years.

    Saludos

    zE

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