For those who weren’t paying attention (tsk tsk), I live in Brighton, UK. Well, Hove actually – the two small towns overlap and were awarded the title The City of Brighton and Hove for the millennium. Brighton is on the south coast, and just a 40 minute train ride from London – so there’s no excuse not to visit if you’re visiting the UK from abroad!
There’s no other way to say it: I love Brighton and I can’t stop going on about it. So here’s my little love letter to the beautiful city I’ve called home for the last five years.
You need to know that I love you. Like NYC to Carrie, you are the love of my life and I don’t know what I would be without you. I first met you, gosh, about ten years ago when I came to visit friends in university holidays. I was instantly smitten by your beauty and character, and you were always at the back of my mind from that moment on. Over the years, lots of my friends fell under your thrall and gravitated to your clutches so it was only a matter of time before I did so myself. Yes, I admit it took a catastrophic break up to get me there, but I was always going to end up with you.
How you wooed me
You wooed me with your charm, beauty and your ability to keep me distracted. No other city has so much going on – from White Night celebrating the extra hour when the clocks go back, to the month-long Brighton Festival and accompanying Fringe; through countless beach BBQs, quiz nights, lazy Sunday roasts and one-day festivals. You offer enough theatre, comedy and gigs to keep your inhabitants triple-booked every night all year. Your eccentricities endear you to all who visit; from the Duke of York’s – the country’s first purpose-built cinema with giant legs kicking their way out of the roof; the beautifully out of place oriental Brighton Pavilion; the Brighton Pier and the burnt-down West Pier that houses thousands of starlings and their dance practice. Your nightlife is legendary and you offer a restaurant for any occasion and budget.
Your shops, oh the Brighton shops
You have massive vintage warehouses, sprawling flea markets, tiny boutiques and numerous charity shops. The high-end designers have their place on and around East St, and Western Road and Churchill Square cover just about every high street outlet you can think of. Your bohemian North Laine is the place to go for quirky cafes, tattoo parlours, falafel houses, takeaway noodles and alternative clothing stores. Your famous jewellery industry is clustered in the tiny cobbled streets of your South Lanes, and draws people from all over the UK. The combination of your artistic flair and embracing of digital media is well represented by these jewellery shops. They may look traditional to the casual observer but they would simply not last in this economy without making the effort with Twitter, blogs and up-to-the-minute websites. For typical Brighton, one just needs to look at Union Jewellery on Union street – the perfect example of a thriving business based on carefully-selected gorgeous products and a savvy marketing technique that demonstrates a true love of fashion and industry knowledge. Brighton, you not only have something for everyone, but all your parts work together.
What you’ve done for me
Speaking of something for everyone, that takes me to the main reason I love you. You make me feel like I am truly myself for the first time, but also part of something bigger. I fit in. I am part of a whole yet I get to be individual. Someone once told me that you can’t stand out in Brighton – when everyone is different then we quickly stop shocking each other. We have every culture here, every sexuality and people from every walk of life. Perhaps your infamy for laid-back acceptance of the gay community is the cause, or perhaps it’s just another effect of your accepting character.
Now, Brighton, you are not perfect. You have poverty, you have homelessness. You have snobbery and of course nowhere is without prejudice. But which city doesn’t have those things? The main thing is that you do your best and, for the most part, you are going in the right direction. You have the first Green Party M.P. in the UK. You have the aforementioned unequalled reputation for accepting all sexualities and cultures. You have numerous schemes to help the homeless and disadvantaged. I love you because you try and because you have brought out the best in me. Never before have I felt so accepted, and I truly never thought I’d find a love like this. So I thank you.
Image via The Telegraph Travel.