Before I headed to England to live I was told by many; ex-pats, travelers and current Brits, that Brighton was probably the most fun place in England (besides the monstrosity that is London). So to say I wasn’t super excited about heading to Brighton was a major understatement. To top it off, we were going to see a days worth of music after having not been to a gig since December – it was an orgy of excitement building up.
A four hour train ride (dear me o my that is long) and a 2 mile walk along the seafront, the unbelievably windy and cold seafront, to the campsite left us a bit down spirited. Once there things started looking up, tent sets up easily, seems sturdy and most of all appears to be rainproof (Coleman Avior X3 for backpacking). We were now off to experience Brighton.
I’m sure everyone to Brighton goes to the Royal Pavilion and thinks, “Why? just…Why is that necessary?” But at the same time, “hmm, that bizarre structure is superb!” It appears to be the hub of Brighton and with 20-50 people laying about on the grass (with little or no sun) gives a very laid back vibe to a city. With 3 festivals; Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe Festival and the Great Escape going on, the city was buzzing with excitement.
After a thorough walk around the lanes and markets of Brighton, crackers, carrots and dip with some warm Elderflower cider on the seaside was warranted. At the abandoned West Pier a group of flatliners (?) were putting the old piles to good use. As the cold set in, a nice warm meal was on order. Bill’s is a store cupboard bonanza and to say your eyes get to feast is a large understatement. With pickles, jams, beans, pastas, rices and allsorts of other things on the walls; the roof hanging with signs; recipes on the empty wallspace, there is a lot to keep you occupied. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and the tables are close enough so you can definetly eye-dine on other peoples food. The food itself is well made and cooked, dessert was extraordinary. After all this yumminess and long walk back to the Marina and the cold hard campground helped ease off the caloric intake.
Day 2, lets try out Hove and the Fringe festival. Hove worked, the museum was small but interesting and the community itself is beautiful, large regency buildings, small green spaces and the promenade towards Brighton is a wonderful walk. The fringe however was to dissapoint, after spending a few hours lying in the sun watching a circus being set-up we headed to the Catherine of Brunswick to see some free comedy, only one problem no comedy; failure number 1. Then fine lets have a pint and grab some food before the circus begins. Almost all cafes are closed and restaurants are already full, so hmm… cheap mexican, sure. Good mexican food from a microwave for 5 pounds, will do. Circus time, no more like sitting for over an hour waiting listening to bad, repetitive beats, failure number 2. Well lets go get another pint and try a Finnish/German band in a small Finnish bar. Finnish bar thumbs up (Finland had just made its way to the Gold Medal game in the 2011 World Championship of Hockey), Finnish/German band thumbs undecided. After waiting an hour, he came and played a short, intimate gig where he complained about the amount of people at the show, rambled about Finland winning the hockey game and mostly showed off how much he celebrated the win. Back to the cold, hard ground of the campsite.
Day 3: The Great Escape. Shall this festival let us down. No, no it will not. Beginning with Sacred Animals at noon (a slightly boring band, playing mediocre, repetitive music), then the sublime balladier Fionn Regan, the cute country couple of Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, the extravagant Jezebels, a really good thai meal, then the unexpected shows of The Bonfires and Dry the River, the let down of The Antlers, another really good unexpected show by Dark Dark Dark and the always amazing Buck 65, it was a hell of a day. Not only did we go see all these bands but also got to enjoy wandering around Brighton with a purpose and enjoying all the different pubs and venues. Back to the cold, hard ground of the campsite.
Day 4: Lets go home. The weather had finally set in and the wind and clouds were to much. The Brighton museum did little to brighten the spirits and uninspired all you can eat pizza and salad helped little, so back on the train for 4 hours to Bristol, warm tea, blankets and the hilarity of Hoodwinked. Ahh home.?