The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'brighton'
In the wake of Brighton electing Westminster's first Green MP, the Grauniad's Alexis Petridis (best known for his music articles) takes a look at the place and its various contradictions:
Brighton is, after all, the perennially irksome, unofficial British capital of what the late rock critic Steven Wells once memorably described as "crusty-wusty, hippy-dippy, twat-hatted, ning-nang-nongers". Of course it elected someone like Lucas – who was recently photographed at home, standing, alas, before a shelf laden with self-help books called things like Awaken the Giant Within.
I walk past The World's Least Convincing Transvestite every day, on the way to my office. A man who has made the bold fashion decision to sport a jaw-dropping combination of earrings, eyeshadow, stubble and shaving rash on a daily basis, he has all the bewitching femininity of a rugby league prop forward in a pencil skirt; by comparison, Grayson Perry is the absolute spit of Audrey Hepburn. Judging by his clothes – demure court shoes, tights, pussy-bow blouse – he's en route to a clerical job in an office. For all I know, he might be facing yet another day of bruising homophobia and derision from his colleagues, but it doesn't look like it. He just looks like an ordinary bloke on his way to an ordinary job, albeit dressed as a woman. I've got a sneaking suspicion his workmates just let him get on with it. And if they do, that would be very Brighton.
There's been a lot of talk about the middle-class gentrification of Brighton over the last decade, but it doesn't seem to have impacted much on the city's famous air of slightly seedy licentiousness, on Keith Waterhouse's famous judgment that it's a town that always looks as if it's helping police with their inquiries. It now looks like a town that's helping police with its inquiries while enjoying an organic, locally sourced panini.As Brightonian crime writer Peter James points out, the city does have a dark side, and it could be that that gives it its edge and keeps it from turning into just another haven for moneyed yuppies to bring up their cosseted kids:
And nowadays, several police officers have told me, it's one of the favourite places for top criminals to live in the UK. You've got two seaports on either side, you've got Shoreham airport with no customs post, you've got masses of unguarded coastline and a quick train to London; in other words - a fast exit. Then you've got the largest number of antique shops in the UK for fencing stuff, and you've got a massive recreational-drug market with two universities, a big gay population and arty middle-class residents. One of Brighton's distinctions – although the local tourist office doesn't talk about it - is that it's the drug-injecting death capital of the UK, and has been for nine years (we lost the title to Liverpool for a year or so, but we've got it back now).
In East Sussex, pagans are pissed off at an ITV makeover programme, for desecrating an archaeological site, the Long Man of Wilmington, with pigtails and breasts:
Arthur Pendragon, a Druid battle chieftain, said: "We are very angry because this is so disrespectful." The nomadic 53-year-old continued: "We, the pagans, would not in our wildest dreams consider putting female breasts and clothing on effigies of any Holy Prophets, be it Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other revered figure of another faith. Why then, does ITV commission Trinny and Susannah to do so at the Long Man of Wilmington?"
One of the protest organisers, Druid Greg Draven, 31, from Eastbourne, told The Argus in Brighton they had staged their campaign at the site to make the programme aware of their views.I wonder whether he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Draven, or whether 1990s mall-goth movies are considered part of the pagan canon.
The Sussex Police are deploying extra officers in Brighton on nights where there is a full moon after the force's research showed a correlation between full moons and the frequency of violent incidents. No corresponding increase in lycanthropy has been reported, though an increase in violence has been found to occur on paydays (presumably because of people drinking portions of their paycheques).
Last night, Your Humble Narrator saw Belle & Sebastian at the Dome in Brighton.
The gig was excellent; as impressive as the Melbourne one*. They played a mixture of old and new songs, starting off the gig with Stars Of Track And Field. Stuart was particularly animated; other than dancing energetically, during a performance of Electronic Renaissance, he took to the railing that encircles the general-admission area of the Dome and did a circuit of it, singing into a wireless microphone. The audience was divided between those who turned to follow him, and those who watched the rest of the band on stage, including Stevie also singing. The version of Your Cover's Blown was also very groovy, and they did an impromptu live version of The Strokes' Last Night, which, whilst lacking somewhat in accuracy, more than made up for it in spirit.
I managed to get a camera into the venue, and took some photos. Alas, my batteries soon ran out (a pox on Canon's battery life indicator, which has only two settings: "everything's OK" and "about to die"). I took the remainder of the photos with my cameraphone, which turned out better than one would expect from a phone, though nowhere near proper camera quality. The photos are/will be here.
* except that the girl they got on stage for the encore didn't know the words to any songs, and stood there like a somewhat inebriated deer caught in headlights, singing the few fragments of The State I'm In she could remember. It was alright, though; the audience joined in to help her.
Jenny Everywhere is an attempt at an "open-source" superhero, i.e., a character whom anybody can use in stories. bOING bOING says that this is "like League of Extradorinary Gentlemen without the 75-year copyright interregnum". Which she is, except for the fact that she lacks the makings of a compelling character. She's a little too flawless and politically correct. In fact, some of the Jenny Everywhere comics have the blandly inclusive, committee-designed feel of a community health pamphlet or something.
The results of the 2001 UK Census are in; use of Gaelic is in decline (though the decline is slowing), but Welsh is experiencing a resurgence (thanks to people like Jim). Meanwhile, Britain has 390,000 Jedi; 2.6% of yoof party centre Brighton and Hove reports its religion as Jedi, and university towns and the bohemian parts of south London also report high concentrations.
When a disturbed patient told him that he feared that he might be gay, a psychiatrist told him to have sex with male and female prostitutes, with unfortunate results: (Telegraph)
Mr A had done his best to comply, despite his parents' objections, by going to Brighton and contacting two female prostitutes through cards in telephone boxes. Terrified of contracting Aids, he covered his body with plasters to avoid being infected through a cut. The meeting was "literally and metaphorically a flop".