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The Dr Blighty Pavilion Projection- In Memory Of World War One’s Forgotten Indian Service Men

During the war the Pavilion was used as hospital for Indian serviceman. My understanding, from long ago, is that my old school- St Luke’s in the Queens Park area- was used in a similar way.

Dr Blighty is a project taking place in the Royal Pavilion Garden from 2pm – 10.30pm every day until Sat 28 May.

The aim is to ‘experience a dreamlike environment of immersive installations, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes, inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home’

Very poignant stuff. Lots to see at the Brighton Festival, but if you only get to see this light show then take the time.

http://brightonfestival.org/event/8490/dr_blighty/

The light show is on a ten minute loop from 9.30pm till 10.20 pm each night till Saturday 28th May. Arrive early for a good spot, although the projection can be seen far and wide.

 

Bye Bye Brighton Wheel. I’ll Actually Miss You.

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When the wheel appeared in the autumn of 2011 I hadn’t been aware of its coming. Obviously the local news had passed me by- especially as I am far from an avid reader of The Argus.

I live very close to it now and became aware of a lot of objections that had been previously made concerning it. Personally, at the time, I thought it was a bit of an eyesore. Especially from the sixth floor of our tower block in North Road that had east facing views across the town.

I found myself getting used to it though and grew to rather like it. It’s probably my most photographed landmark. The ghostly view of the wheel on a cloudy day as one looked down Madeira Place was something to behold.

But now it’s on its way.

I never actually went on the wheel. I saw no reason. But it became an accepted feature of any seaside walk.

Soon we have the I360. Much controversy in its building. I’m not sure what to make of it, although I think it will work. Time will tell.

On This Day….2008 It Came, It Snowed, It Disappeared…

Twas a Sunday morning on April 6th 2008…

Unusual as laying snow may be in April, we had a good few inches in a very brief period of time that morning. I took the opportunity to take the short walk to Queens Park and take a few snaps.

The park was brimming with life around mid-morning, like an unexpected opportunity of mad revolution against the usual Sunday chores. Adults seemingly enjoying the park as much as their excited youngsters.

As I took in the shivering scenery, and walked through the rockery, I felt a snowball come thudding into my back. I turned and saw a young teenager with a broad grin upon his face. “You can stop that right now” I bellowed with the gusto of an apprentice to the onset of middle age. The boy looked suitably scolded whilst trying to show his sadness at my parental bluster. “Ohhhhhh” he protested. I turned feeling like Victor Meldrew had nothing on me.

I went to work that afternoon and finished at 7pm. The pensive walk to North Road was replaced by a most able stride home. The rising spring temperature had melted all but the light roof top blankets.

My kind of snow.

 

 

 

Brighton Pride 2015- FAQ’s…..

It’s that time of year again, when the town seems to go a little crazy. This year saw the 25th anniversary of the event and, having attended a few over the years, I can say that its popularity hasn’t dwindled.

I was working today until 2pm, so I was due to miss the parade. So I was rather upstaged by my 84-year-old Dad who had popped out to see the opening of festivities earlier. Due to delay, caused by a bomb scare, he had to leave early, but it meant that I managed to see the back end of the parade later.

I have been a little surprised by the antipathy that a few folk have towards the event, so with this in mind have set out here to offer my views on the various opinions that seem to be offered up in this camp (excuse the pun). I respect people’s views and prefer to offer a measured response rather than confront them, so below is my response to the most common of negative responses I seem to hear:

……..

It’s a coarse display of vulgarity

Largely depends whether a person sees this in isolation or not. The parade is watched by thousands of people from all walks of life. There are a few isolated cases of displays of attire (or non attire) that may be questionable for something that is increasingly billed as a family event. I’m not so keen on that, not because I am personally offended-I’m not, but because it may seem inappropriate.

However, the number of people on the day who create their image in this way probably numbers less than one percent. So it would smack of agenda to promote this as the whole. It, for me, is not really much of an issue, and, even if folk don’t like it, most are able to see the whole picture rather than a small pixel of its image.

Why don’t we have straight pride ?

Dreadful ignorance.

At no stage have heterosexuals been a persecuted group within society, and they will always form almost the entire majority of it. So such a celebration would be designed to counter and marginalize.

Those who say such things fail to understand the origins of the event, which I will deal with in a more sympathetic view of another question, and the fact that so many gay people in the world, perhaps a majority, cannot express themselves in this way- and neither can heterosexuals be seen to support them.

Sometimes this view may come from a feeling of exclusion, but Pride should never exclude anyone, and for the most part it doesn’t.

Why do gay people have to shove it in our face ?

Well, they don’t. Not many of them anyway.

Whilst I don’t deny that there are some who seem to think that being gay is a full time occupation, most just live their lives like any other. Nobody inherits a liking for Kylie Minogue, Absolutely Fabulous and quiche (deliberate stereo-type)-it’s what they enjoy.

People’s lives develop in the way of nature, and to a degree conditioning. I would say that gay people are probably less conditioned than their heterosexual counterparts. It could be argued that a typical red-blooded male likes football and fast cars, and evidence produced to confirm this. It doesn’t matter either way.

There is no difference between a person who spends much of their time talking about football, and one who talks about things, which are parodied as ‘gay’.

As regards talking about their sexuality, most gay people don’t really dwell on it too much. But it seems that the ones that do are heralded as an example of the whole. They are not. But they may do this in rebellion of their upbringing, and often have more to fight for though. It’s better to understand than condemn.

Why do we need Pride at all ? aren’t we all equal ?

A sensible and well constructed question asked by many.

I did once express concern that what was once a festival of self-determination was in danger of becoming one of self-indulgence. This is not because I have a problem with the event itself, not at all, but because I see it as avenue to challenge prejudice and discrimination in all walks of life. When it starts to lose that, I start to lose my passion. Or perhaps it’s because I’m a middle-aged man who is incapable of revelling for an entire weekend…..

The fact that so many people ask the above question is a reflection of their own belief that we are all equal. So rather than scrambling their question and falsely calling ignorance, I would show admiration for their level headed take on things, and call on others to ensure the event is full reflection of the widened political message is originally set out to put across.

We do need Pride. We will always need Pride. But the celebration of sexuality, and the coming together of folk from all parts of society needs to have a political message that never fades in the enjoyment of the event.

All forms of prejudice exist, and all should be challenged. Pride can be a flagship for the courage of conviction.

…….

I could talk more, and give deeper thoughts and insights, but I know people don’t want a dossier.

Now as regards Brighton Pride this year, I was so happy when I saw the collective spirit of happiness fused with so much colour this afternoon. So many folk, all very different in their own way, coming together to be as one. For different reasons perhaps, self-determination, indulgence, intrigue. Whatever it was, the town was a good place to be this afternoon, and long may it continue.

A few images below:

The Ode Of The Satanic Seagull…..

Look, your tormentors, your coastal Kings, the rulers from the edge of your eyes.

All seeing, all evil, our name means fear, our deeds much more….

Gazing, watchful, and ready- your comforting fare the exposed and mouth ready prey..

Our providers, our clowns, our culinary captives….

We were here before you, and will also be after. Our domain, our rules- harsh and without remorse.

Such desire for you, so unloving and cruel, from the stomach not the heart, from our twisted minds- but not our conscience.

So stay a little longer; for our supper is due, for our bowels are weak, and our warped gay abandon needs its subject…

Queens Park-On July’s November Day

Not a soul around. No one. Although I’ve been in the park quite a few times when the weather has been worse than today. There was always some folk around- even if it was their dogs that took them.

So I had the place to myself. I was only on my way through, as it were, just visiting a friend. But I got snappy as always.

I noticed today that the colours seem so vivid in this type of weather, more what you would expect in bright sunshine. Today they looked very autumnal- especially the trees.

Walking in Queens Park while alone is an eerie experience, but a pleasant one. It’s nice to have the place to yourself for a while. Although dawn and rainy days are your best chance, I much prefer the latter.

Summer And The Seafront

Despite bemoaning having not spent a day on Brighton beach a while back, that fact still remained. Actually, I don’t think I’d even taken a walk along there this year-until tonight.

People come from far and wide to this part of the coast. Londoners (anyone north of the Twin Pillars) and folk from elsewhere. Yet, living a fifteen minute walk away, I rarely venture.

Tonight was warm and pleasant and a short walk was calling. My problem with the seafront area of Brighton is that it seems to lend itself to my inherent prejudice against ‘kiss-me-quick’ hats and the focal point of the pier. I’m a bit of a bohemian snob, and I’m more endeared toward the cosmopolitan, artistic side of the area than the provincial English aspect.

That said, a pleasant evening like this warrants a visit to the front window of our jewel of a town. I recorded a few moving stills to remind me of it- in case I don’t return for another few months.

Phone Boxes- Remember Them ?

Phone Box

The Phone Box. I remember those. I had actually forgotten they exist. The last time I remember using one was 1998.

When I was a youngster there were homes without telephones, some of my friends couldn’t be contacted in this way. Is there any home without a communication device these days ?

Having finally taken note that they do exist, and that some of them do take money as well, it does appear that they are in a bad state of repair generally. The photograph above is taken of one on the corner of Jersey Street and Southover Street. And it’s typical of many. I think BT have pretty much began to phase many of them the out, and given their current state of disrepair, it can’t come soon enough.

Technology has truly become the God of our age.

Milner Flats Mural

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It looks like a painting. A quite beautiful one. Vivid colours, capturing a tropical oasis of harmony and splendour between colourful and content creation. Although slightly faded by the inevitable bashing of a few local winters.

It’s not that though. It’s a mural which can be found on the north facing wall of the Milner Flats at the top of Morley Street. The artist is ‘Nick the Brush’, and very good he is.

Brighton, although suffering the usual plethora of rubbish graffiti, has a lot of splendid street art too. Probably the best I’ve encountered anywhere so far. I walk pass this one every day and wish it had a much higher profile. Some of the offerings in the slightly derelict areas of the North Laines are equally as pleasing to the eye.

It always makes me realise how many talented and creative folk we have here, and how it’s a shame that, in such a crowded market, some must be frustrated that their talent doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves.

Egg Chase At The Amex

If I hadn’t been placed in to bonded slavery to Brighton & Hove Albion as a youngster, I would most likely be indifferent to Football as an adult. But the game, as we all know, is so much more than a sport, and our affiliation to a team goes way beyond our love for the game itself. For me Rugby, probably my favourite sporting pastime when emotions are withdrawn, is somewhat different. My passion for the game means I am just as happy attending a match when my beloved Harlequins are not on show, the annual Aviva Premiership Final being just such an example.

So this evening brought a rather unique, if slightly surreal, occasion. The deciding match of the U20s Six Nations was to be staged at the AMEX. It was to be the first time I would visit the ground for something other than an Albion match. I soon felt at home.

I’ve never been in the North Stand at the AMEX before, so today was my first experience. As I entered the concourse I wished I had decorated myself in Harlequins apparel- a decent number of our supporters were present. In fact it was the only Premiership identity I saw. Chest pumping in pride-Harlequins has a large Sussex, and Albion, fanbase- I took my seat in the North, just as God Save The Queen was being belted out over the tannoy.

As the match kicked off it became apparent that the 12,000 attendance, the largest in the UK for such a match, was not wholly a Rugby crowd. Although a large number were, of-course, diehards. Some were understandably present out of intrigue, others just wanting to see an England international of any sort, some were probably unsure as to why they were there at all. A few Albion fans present took it upon themselves, to the bewilderment of most, to start a few Saturday songs. Sometimes this was amusing, other times irritating, the crowd being mostly unresponsive, although ‘Swing Low’ was always received well.

The match itself was not a classic, England winning 24-11. The AMEX is a large pitch, and the conditions were suited to an expansive running game. The nature of the occasion seemed to afford a battle of attrition, although, surprisingly, the French youngsters seemed to be best equipped to bring fluency to a tense encounter. Yet once they had broken the English zest of the first twenty minutes they failed, by tight margins, to produce the healthy half-time lead that their possessional play demanded. It’s a while since I’ve seen a team score so many turnovers, and prove so strong in the scrum, yet fail to dominate the scoreboard. And this was pretty much the end of their challenge. In the second half England’s physicality proved the clincher. It wasn’t pretty, but in the end the result was not in doubt.

The evening ultimately brought much of note. Firstly, the AMEX is a fine Rugby venue. I was unsure at first, but the posts on the pitch did not look out of place. 30,000 Rugby fans in this September’s World Cup will enjoy this experience. Secondly, to allay the fears of a few, the pitch is more than capable of coping. Most recent large scale football venues have modern grassing systems. Think Swansea City. They share their venue with Ospreys, a Celtic League outfit. Finally, and most pertinently, events like this make me proud to know that Brighton & Hove has become, and will continue to grow as a major venue of sport and entertainment, thanks to our new home. Tonight gave us another one of those growing acorns. I honestly believe that, if England is successful in its bid for the 2028 European Football Championships, the AMEX may well be one of the host stadiums.

It is doubtful that I will return to see Rugby at the AMEX, unless it is for a Rugby match with a full Rugby crowd, no insult intended (I’m like this with the London Double Header in which Harlequins feature), it’s just my preference as a Rugby purist. But tonight has made a further step forward in putting our town on the sporting map.

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