I found all the hoo-haa surrounding the golden jubilee celebrations was getting right on my nerves, and I wasn't the only one for whom 'The Greatest Bank Holiday Weekend In History (© The Daily Mail, 2002)' was nothing but a great big bore, as I discovered while going to work one morning on the train from South Tottenham to Gospel Oak, glancing out of the window I stood at and noticing the sticker that you see below.
I decided that in order to avoid all the flannel,
grovelling and all-round, wall-to-wall nonsense that was to be going on that
weekend, I'd spend Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday down in Brighton
at my friend Dawn's place, as she'd invited me down to hers when we'd
met up again a few weeks earlier at the
Cannabis Rally in Brockwell Park. When the great, hype-filled weekend finally
came round, I went to work and then had some major good luck getting the train
to Brighton - there wasn't a conductor on the train, so I didn't have
to pay the extortionate fare that I usually do (it's great when you're given a
squeeze like that, y'know!). Getting off at Preston Park, I cycled the short(ish!)
distance to her house, and there she was, with her young son, Jasper. I helped
her with the p.c. in her bedroom, installing Dreamweaver and a few other things
for her to use.
The next morning, I got up and had a quick bath (while doing so, Dawn's lodger, Julie came in as I was just getting out and wrapping a towel around myself - so you could say we had an interesting introduction!), so I could watch the matches going on in the World Cup that day and endure Paul Gascoine's punditry skills (which are more fully appreciated if you speak fluent Geordie!). By the time Dawn's babysitter came to pick up Jasper, the main match had ended and it was time to head down to the beach for the afternoon. Here's the first pic I got down by the sea, of an old ice-cream booth doing brisk trade over the road.
....and here's a snap of the derelict pier, as taken down by the market on the seafront.
Here's Dawn on the beach, enjoying some chips....
....and she is again, a little later, with Jasper on a merry-go-round, having picked him up from the child-minder earlier on nearby. As it was (probably) the hottest day of the year, the beaches were seriously crowded and the bars/restaurants rammed out (chronically, it's got to be said) with people getting a cool bevvy to neck down in the sun that afternoon.
Heading back to her place, we came across a girl we'd seen & heard earlier on busking with her violin at the subway leading to over the road. Here's a snap I got of her in action below. In case you're wondering, yes, I did give her something in exchange for taking the pic you see (it's only fair that I did).
We stopped off at a pub on the London Road, but not before we went on a trek (of sorts) for the paper that I always get. Once at the pub, I sat outside, pint on the table and read what was happening in the world, and then got the pic below of Dawn sorting out little Jasper's hearing aid.
Just before we headed back to her house, Dawn gave me the directions to a quirky old building earmarked by Sainsbury's down on New England Street for demolition, so they could build a pointless new super/hypermarket. However, a group of protestors, backed by local residents who see the plans for what they are - yet another way of gentrifying Brighton and in the process pricing out the self-same people who've made it so desirable to the trendy set in the first place - were squatting on the site and raising issues certain folks (they know all too well who they are!) would prefer to keep from those in possession of curious minds. Here's a snap of the building that I got from across the road....
....and another one
of some graffiti
making an apt point up on the wall.
As Dawn had been to the place a few times before, she knocked on the door,
asking to come in and a stocky bloke in a boiler suit from Finland opened
up for us. I got this last pic while a programme came on the t.v. that evening
about England football teams post-1966 (pretty apt really, as Mr. Eriksson's
boys got their World Cup in Japan off to the now traditional fair-to-middling
start against Sweden earlier on in the day, 1-1 being the final score), which
lead to a discussion about English jingoism and football (my old theory about
E.D.T. - Empire Depravation Trauma - came up again, and the Finnish bloke
in the boiler suit & Dawn nodded their heads in agreement to what I said).
As the heroes of Italia '90 talked about what it was like reaching the semi-finals
of said tournament, and the heartache of the penalty shootout against West
Germany that led to the now familiar image of Gazza's tears, I saw a toy sheep
perched atop the telly in the squat passing ironic comment on advertising
in the speech bubble (a sideways dig at Sainsbury's too, perhaps?).
By now, it was getting a little late, and Dawn wanted to get Jasper home to bed, so we said our goodbyes and headed back. I helped her set up an e-mail account and discovered that there'd been a fire at Buckingham Palace during the day (unlike Windsor Palace in 1992, they caught it just in time -that would have really put the spoilers on all those celebrations going on had the place burnt down!). Julia was in a mildly solitary sort of mood (but who wouldn't be, doing their finals?), so we left her in peace. I hoped for an early night, so I'd be fresh for the next morning when we headed off to Kingston for the Green Fair, but as is always the case, things got in the way and was well after midnight before I got any rest on the sofa bed in Dawn's sitting room, and so ended my (relatively!) jubilee-free weekend in Brighton.
Back to homepage