Thursday, 31 January 2008
Why did the Brightonian cross the road? Or rather, how did the Brightonian cross the road?
Some might say the answer to the first question is universally ‘To get to the other side’ but I quite prefer the answer given by Capt James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise: ‘To boldly go where no Brightonian has gone before’. I reckon he’s been watching us...
The art of crossing the road in this city is to wait for a space in the traffic, step off the kerb, stare straight ahead and walk purposefully to the other side. No matter that the space between the traffic is lessening by the second; no matter that you are in a 40 mph speed limit zone; no matter that a car has just whizzed out of a side-turning at great speed and is heading for you. Just keep staring towards the other side of the road - never left or right - and your devil-may-care attitude will get you where you want to go.
There is also a Brightonion road crossing strategy when crossing the road at pedestrian-crossing lights. This strategy is fuelled by the knowledge that at some time in the near (or possibly distant) future there will be a gap in the traffic. Whatever you do, Don’t Press the Traffic Light ‘Wait’ button. Even though you are standing in the main street in Brighton: even though the rush hour’s constant stream of traffic is thundering past you; even though it’s very unlikely that there will, in fact, be a gap in the traffic... Don’t press that button!! It goes against the grain. It certainly goes against the Brightonian grain.
So, when you approach your next traffic-lit pedestrian crossing in Brighton, just stand back and watch. You’ll see what I mean...
Well, its getting terribly close now to the Brighton Dome's Valentine's Ball and, of course, the biggest question for me, as the organiser, is what to wear...actually that's so not true; the biggest question is will the band send me their play list before the event so I can reassure the people who can't dance that there will be plenty of well known tunes to shuffle around to; and the people who can dance that there will be lots of recognisable waltzes and quicksteps and foxtrots!
The ballons are booked from the wonderful Nicky at Balloonwise and we have got little night lights ready for the tables that havent got balloons, I have boxes of sample rose petals and we are thinking of a spot prize for something or other. Actually romance must be really in the air because the pre-event dance class is sold out, I have visions of all those people persuading their partners to give it a go - just this once as it's Valentines Day.
Really hoping that this time we attract a real Brighton mix of couples, the ball is for lovers of every orientation - here's hoping we have got that message across. Anyway my partner is coming from London midweek, specially , so I am off to Monsoon........there's these lovely little red floaty numbers in the sale!
Valentines Ball organiser
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Well it seems I am in a romantic mood again having been out to buy my gifts for Valentine's Day. Clearly I cannot mention what I bought as he might read this, but I can help you out with a good suggestion. Rather than racking your brains thinking what to get I feel you cannot really go wrong with the classic gift of Champagne as who doesn't love a bottle of bubbly?
Apparently, contrary to popular belief, a bottle of Champers should not go off with a big bang but actually a soft sigh, so it sounds romantic even before you have tasted a drop! Also you might like to know that there are 49 million bubbles in a regular bottle of Champagne, although surely the real question should be who managed to count them and is that really the best way for them to be spending their time? Final fact for now is that the tinier the bubble the better the Champagne.
So now that I have whetted your appetite, then get yourself down to Toast and I am sure they will only serve bottles with tiny bubbles in! They also sell Champagne accessories and hampers, which make perfect gifts. Best of all they currently have a special offer so go to our main site and print off a voucher to take into the store with you
Monday, 28 January 2008
It was really busy on the beachfront yesterday. I wasn’t surprised. It was one of those special, Brighton winter days. You know the sort – blue sky and bright sun - crisp, clear, almost gleaming air. An invitation for a walk by the sea.
Well, we made our way down to the Lower Promenade which runs along the beach. So good to see the return of the Passacaglia sculpture. The Fishing Museum was open as well as the seafood shop and business was brisk around the stalls under the West Pier. As usual, the children’s playground was full of excited children sampling the pirate-themed assortment of climbing frames and boats. Definitely time for a coffee on such a crisp day, so we headed for Alfresco’s ground floor coffee shop which is level with the beach. Seated in the window, the world wandered by. So many people out on the beachfront at the end of January – and then I started to wonder who they were. Were they day-trippers? Perhaps they were taking a short-break over the weekend (very lucky to have such wonderful weather) or were they locals?
I’ve always had a fascination for Brighton locals. You can spot them a mile-off on the beachfront. Apart from an ability to walk in a leisurely, more relaxed way than visiting townies, there’s something that’s a sure give-away. 90% of the women don’t carry a bag. Now, it is definitely the custom in this country for women to take a bag of some sort with them to carry all the junk they need, but not on Brighton beachfront. Just watch and observe. No bag… Afterall, what do they need apart from their door key, some money, a mobile and a hankie? Nothing, except for a couple of pockets.
And there are other Brighton idiosyncrasies I could share with you… perhaps next time…
Thursday, 24 January 2008
After hearing about the Hollywood film photographer who gave his girlfriend a £500, 000 gift wrapped waterfront house for Valentines Day, I became even more hell bent on finding an somewhat more 'anti' Valentines idea. So, imagine my glee when I discovered that those dark horse Victorians (not known for their sense of humour) had a rather endearing little habit of sending comic, insulting and even abusive cards on this romantic day of lurrrve.
A lunchtime lecture at the Old Courthouse in Brighton lovingly entitled 'Love letters and Hate Mail.' reveals all about these cheeky little Victorians and their viscious Valentines verbalage. So, if like me you are non too impressed with the obsessive card buying, rose wielding, smoochiness of the Big Day of Love, why not agree to not exchange cards this year and spend the money on a giggle finding out how the Victorians did it on Valentines? You could come out with the perfect insult!
The lecture starts at 1pm on the big day and is a smoochsome snip at £4.50...
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Anyone working for Brighton & Hove City Council (not just us delightful tourism peeps) get to work flexible hours. For the most part we do the normal Monday - Friday, 9 to 5 hours, apart from the lovely folks at the VIC as they have to do weekends as well. But it is always nice to know we have the option of changing our hours, for example if you are going away for the weekend and want to leave early on the Friday, then as long as you have enough hours saved up then that's fine. Equally if you need to be at home to let in a little man to look at your flat, as I did this morning, then that is ok too.
As I had enough time stored I could have easily spent the morning reading or watching trashy telly, however I thought as I had had to get up and dressed early I might as well make the most of it and get some work done. Which could have been tricky but actually although a lot of stuff is saved on our hard drives there is also a lot we can do from home, so I forwarded a few e-mails I had not had time to read at work on to my home address and I was able to put together an itinerary as of course all the information about what to do I could get from our website then I e-mailed it back for me to format at work, although really I could have done that from home as well as any of the images that I use are also available from our online image library - brightononview
And for a change it was nice to work at home and be able to have the radio on and listen to Ken Bruce's Popmaster partly to challenge my pop trivia but also to see what would go wrong - today they managed to loose the caller in the middle of the quiz! I also felt I got more done in a relatively short space of time than I might have at the office as I was able to focus completely on what I was doing without the usual distractions. There was also the added bonus of my walk to work being quicker than usual as there were no parents walking their children to work. Don't get me wrong it is admirable that they are walking instead of herding their offspring around in 4x4s, however I do not see why they cannot rein their little darlings in a bit rather than splaying all over the pavement and leaving me no room to get round them, grr (waves fist randomly in the air)
That said I would not want to work from home all the time, partly because I would run the risk of becoming a hermit, especially in winter but mainly because I would miss the office antics be it Sarah's angry rants, seeing just how many bargains Nicky manages to buy at lunch or the latest double entendres from Linda and Richard :)
Monday, 21 January 2008
‘Thank you’ – two words when spoken. ‘Thankyou’ – one word very often written. As a bit of a stickler for correct spelling and English grammar, I find this modernisation of our language a little uncomfortable. I’ve even seen these two very expressive words written with a hyphen ‘Thank-you’. Where will it end? We have come to accept the spelling of ‘all right’ as ‘alright’ so it’s just a matter of time…
Anyway, back to ‘Thank you’. Two words that divide Brighton from the rest of the country. “What is she talking about?” you ask. Well, have you travelled on our local buses? Have you noticed that all the locals say ‘Thank you’ when they get off the bus? From small children to Senior Citizens. From students to businesspeople. They all thank the driver as they get off.
As a Londoner, who came to live here 22 years ago, I was astonished the first time I took a bus ride into town. It just isn’t done in London. Ok, so now the exit on London buses is from the centre of the bus, but even before this new design nobody thanked the driver. What about abroad? France, I don’t think so. Italy, nope, Greece, definitely not.
I think it’s something of a tradition – and what a wonderful tradition. Let’s keep up the politeness, Brightonians – it makes our city that little bit special.
Most visitors to Brighton and probably all residents have found themselves in beautiful Preston Park - whether for Pride Day, playing sport, walking the dog, jogging, or just a relaxing stroll in the sun. When you're next there, check out St Peter's, the little medieval church tucked away in its atmospheric churchyard next door to Preston Manor. This is a place which has a big romantic significance for a lot of people, because so many people got married here.
Since last April St Peter's has been opened every day from 11-3 (and often for longer) by the Friends of St Peter's -- and they've been amazed by how many love stories they've been told about. It's not just visitors from the UK either: former GIs and Canadians have been thrilled to discover they can once again stand in front of the altar where they pledged their vows sixty years ago. Yes, there's definitely something very special about this little medieval church, with its faded wall paintings and richly decorated Victorian chancel.
In fact, The Friends have been so touched by the romantic stories they've been told that they've decided to have a special weekend dedicated to lovers. Did YOU get married at St Peter's? Then come back to see it again on the weekend of 29th June 2008, when there will be special events including the first church service celebrated at the church since it was declared redundant. It's now safe and sound in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust and the Friends of St Peter's - and there are lots of other events going on here as well as the Romantic Reunion Weekend.
St Peters, Preston Old Church
Friday, 18 January 2008
Its goodbye from me....
1. The undercliffe walk between Brighton Marina and Saltdean – a beautiful man made walk along the coast. Watch out for the waves crashing over the wall if its stormy.
5. Queen’s Park, one of Brighton’s award winning parks and one of the closest to town and the beach. Their café does a great cream tea with real strawberries.
6. The Duke of York’s cinema – one of the oldest working independent cinemas in the country. Great big seats and you can take a glass of wine and nibbles in with you.
7. The Evening Star, another pub I know, but the range of beers is just amazing, from Dark Star to Espresso Stout to Spiced Vice. And don’t get me started on the ciders.
9. The sea, go on, have a dip, the colder it is the more it will wake you up!.
10. All the people at VisitBrighton. A. Because they’re lovely. B. Because they’re devoted to making sure you have a good time in our amazing city. C. Because I’ll miss them lots.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Last night my Mum and I braved the terrible weather to go to the Brighton Dome to see Jimmy Carr - Repeat Offender. I always love going to the Dome as it is a lovely setting, and while it is large it still has a cosy atmosphere. If you want an inside tip then I'd recommend doing as we did and book seats in the front row of the rear stalls as there is a handy wooden shelf in front which is useful for putting your drinks on and gives you a bit more space. Although wherever you sit you'll be fine as the seats are definitely more comfortable than a lot of venues.
Anyway on to the gig itself, well I will have to be careful what I say as Jimmy reads a lot of his reviews and pointed out that while at first they may sound good, if you think about it they could easily be misconstrued. For example: "Catch him before he gets massive" or "there's funny, then there's Jimmy Carr" So I will have to choose my words carefully but I think it'll be safe to say that he was extremely funny, I was a little worried when he started to do a bit about the odious Gillian McKeith from You Are What You Eat as I have seen Dara O'Briain do a particularly funny rant about her, fortunately Jimmy's material was completely original and just as funny.
Throughout the evening politically correctness was no where to be seen and we were laughing the whole way through, although sadly that means that I will not be able to share the vast majority of the jokes with you but I think this one is safe:
"3% of Britons do not leave a tip - they are known as the weirdos who live at the tip"
He also had a philosophical moment (where he almost vanished in dry ice!) and gave us a few nuggets of wisdom to ponder over - If you walk backwards while wearing flip flops do they become flop flips
As ever members of the audience became the butt of a lot of the jokes, so for anyone else who was there I will just add: I loves me boots
Anyway it was a great night out and don't worry if you missed him as he usually comes back to the Dome for the Paramount Comedy Festival in October, or if you cannot wait until then for a chuckle at the Dome then coming soon will be Omid Djalili, Daniel Kitson and Paul Merton
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
One of my favourite things about Brighton, and it’s free, is the return of the starlings to the Brighton Pier, the derelict West Pier and the West Quay in the Marina. Up close they’re aggressive, ugly birds – really greasy looking – but in a flock they act as one mass.
At dusk this dark cloud of thousands of birds wheels and spins above you creating an infinite number of different shapes – globes, funnels, long streaks like black smoke across the sky. After 10 or 15 minutes one bird breaks cover and swoops beneath the pier to their roosting place and all the others follow in one great streak. An evening sky full of birds empties in seconds.
Avalon Hotel Brighton
Monday, 14 January 2008
It occured to me that for many people my last post about luxury romantic breaks would be purely aspirational as many (myself included) cannot afford the hotels, boutiques and designer jewellery I mentioned last time. This got me thinking that in most cases if you asked someone to name their most romantic spot it wouldn't necessairly be an expensive restaurant or hotel but somewhere that would seem mundane and everyday to most people but reminds the person of a special moment
For example I will always have a soft spot for the Shakespeare's Head as I went there one night to meet a group of friends and ended up becoming more than friends with one of them. And even though I work here, Brighton Town Hall is also a romantic place for me not becasue of the weddings and civil partnerships I often witness but becasue of the single red rose I was sent last Valentine's day.
My point is that it is not always the obvious places which are the most romantic, and this is a theme Brighton Museum has developed in their I love history exhibition, which looks at different romantic stories from Brighton people and local musician Al Start has penned an album with the same name as all of the songs have been inspired by the stories feaured in the exhibit. To find out more about this exhibition and Romantic Brighton in general then download our latest podcast which is free and so is the museum, hooray!
So romance doesn't have to cost anything and if you still want ideas of romantic things to do then what could be better then skipping along the seafront with your loved one, watching the sunset over the sea and singing Do Wah Diddy...?
Well I'd better sign off now before I make anyone feel too quesy but please feel free to leave a comment telling us about the apparently ordinary places in Brighton which remind you of a special moment...
Oh but before I go I should just remind you that if you do want a nostalgic break to relive those magic moments or perhaps would like to create some new ones then we have some great offers to help you do that from only £50 per room per night
She's been an 80s pop legend, a bit of a punk, a raucous blues shouter, a dance-floor diva and is famous for being in a band with Vince Clarke.
But these days the 4 times Brit winner, Alison Moyet has developed into one of the most respected voices of British pop. With an expressive voice, which she uses to vividly depict the depths of despair and the celestial joys of love, Alison Moyet, has regularly challenged the limits of pop music.
And she's playing in Brighton on Valentines at Brighton Dome. So if you're a bit averse to the usual smouldering eyed couples at every restaurant and bar in town, a night with the croonsome Alison Moyet could be the ideal alternative...
Last October saw the release of Alison's sixth studio album of new material, the critically acclaimed The Turn. You can hear some sample clips and get tickets on the Brighton Dome website.
And I've got the album too, so can vouch for it being pretty darn good! It takes a few listens, but then I always think that's better than an album that burns out after a few plays....
Friday, 11 January 2008
Back to our slightly more alternative Valentines ideas, we reckon an edible Valentines could be the way to go.
Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton is infamous for its scrumptious chocolatey creations, some of which are practically works of art! So how about some smooching with one of their lip lollies? Or maybe a romantic tear jerker at the flics in the company of one of their mighty chocolate popcorn slabs? You can find these and lots more at their online shop or if you're in Brighton, drop in and have a look for yourself.
And if you want a romantic type bespoke creation they can do that too. In fact from chocolate covered marshmallows to to a Pret a Porter Wedding, they can pretty much do anything...
Personally, we rather like the buxom ballerinas!
Right, I'm off to the kitchen - I KNOW someone hid half a Twix in there the other day...
Although I have lived in Brighton since I was 2 and know the city pretty well one of the things I love about this job is getting to see the place from a visitors perspective. I spent most of yesterday with a journalist and photographer from the French magazine L'Officiel Voyage as they are doing a piece about a break in Brighton targeted at people looking for a high-end luxury type of break, but as Sarah has got us all thinking about romance it struck me the places we were visiting would also be ideal for a romantic trip to Brighton
I started off by meeting them at the Grey's hotel which has cosy four poster beds you won't want to leave and I was reassured by the owner that it is not too late to book a room there for February 14th, so no excuses guys!
Then we went to look around the Lanes and popped into Simultane the flagship store of local designer Sarah Arnett, the gorgeous silk dresses would be perfect for a romantic date in fact I was very tempted by a red dress that was in the sale but unfortunately I have not been able to think of a good excuse for buying it. Then we moved onto John Harrington another local designer (we really are a very creative city!) who makes some fabulous jewellery by taking traditional styles and giving them a contemporary twist
Then it was off to see a couple more hotels - Drakes and Blanch House both of which are ideal for a luxurious break for two. At Drakes the two of you can sip Champagne in a bubbly bath which is handily placed in the window so you don't miss the spectacular sea views. Or stay at Blanch House where you cannot fail to impress your loved one if you book the Decadence suite or for chocolate lovers it has to be the Galaxy room!
Alternatively, Neo Hotel's warm, sophisticated and chic vibe and original wallpapers from Ralph Lauren and vintage Osborne and Little, lends itself really well to romantic breaks.
If you feel inspired then don't forget we have some great Winter Break offers on the main site so that you can treat your loved one to a luxurious romantic break in Brighton
And make sure you keep checking the blog for more Romantic ideas or why not share some of your own suggestions with us?
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Continuing our January romantic Brighton theme, I asked a colleague earlier what he'd be doing on Valentines. I was practically blown headlong into the cupboard by the sheer force and ferocity of the 'NOTHING' that he bellowed at me.
Which got us thinking...
Surely there must be something a bit more alternative to do in Brighton on Valentines for those of us who are a bit less traditional in our romantic inclinations? The first thing we came up with was a Valentine's smooch in 'Quadrophenia Alley'.
People actually come from all over the world to find this alleyway, which was featured in the cult film Quadrophenia - set in Brighton in the 1960s, the period of the Mods and Rockers. But when you live here its easy to forget its even there. One of the major scenes from Quadrophenia takes place in this alleyway, where 2 lovers escape the police and fall through a doorway into a yard. The alley has become a real shrine to Mods.
So, whilst we're not planning to get in trouble with the police and will probably leave out the bit about falling through a doorway into a yard, we just might try and catch a smooch in there around the 14th...
Oh come on, we reckon there are lots more alternative Valentines ideas out there...
Oops - we nearly forgot. To find Quadrophenia Alley, walk along Prince Albert Street to the Town Hall. Past the town hall, turn right into Little East Street. Beyond a set of nineteenth century cottages with walls made from tarred beach pebbles, turn left down a winding unmarked alleyway marked 'To East Street'. You can find Little East Street on our Brighton city centre map.
Sarah and Richard
If you're feeling a bit fruity or just fancy a bit of romance in the lead up to Valentines and beyond, Brighton Museum is going on goes On the Pull from 14 February to 1 September 2008.
You'll get to explore love and attraction, tender romance and the call of the wild! Pop along with your friends and partners to discover hidden love stories - from coming of age to the thrill of the chase, from when love goes wrong to the happy-ever-after.
Through music, film, paintings, pottery and postcards, you can explore all about courtship across the ages, as well as in the animal kingdom! Roarr! Drop in and take the covers off love, lust, adultery, intrigue and revenge. You can even track your conquests on the Museum's local love map or make your mark in the kissing booth!
On the Pull takes over Brighton Museum from14 February to 1 September 2008. Drop in for a ten minute taster, or linger at your leisure. Admission is free.
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Friday, 4 January 2008
Well we all seemed to have been a bit quiet this week so I thought I'd write a quick post to say Happy New Year, and as I can't think what else to write I might as well let you know what I've got planned for the weekend.
While most people use January to detox it looks like I'll be spending most of tomorrow in and out of pubs, which will come as no surprise to my colleagues I am sure! First of all I am meeting my Mum and grandparents for lunch in the Hove Cricketers (not to be confused with the one in the Lanes which is reputedly the oldest pub in the city). The Cricketers has recently been refurbished and has a lovely home from home relaxed feel to it.
Then I'm meeting my Dad although I might break from the pub and suggest a coffee instead as in the evening I'm meeting a friend in the Ancient Mariner which is another great pub and hopefully we'll get one of the sofas so that we can get comfy and catch up before she goes off to teach in Lithuania (yes she is mad) and then I'll be going on to meet a few more people in the Robin Hood which is more of a traditional pub except for the fact that they give their profits to charity so there we are I will be doing some good after all!
So after all that I'm guessing Sunday will be a fairly quiet day.....
So what about everyone else - are you all paragons of virtue and I am in fact the only one who can't be bothered with this detox malarkey? Perhaps those of you who are still drinking would like to share your tips on the best pubs to go to....
Tuesday, 1 January 2008
Let me be the first of the VisitBrighton team to greet you in 2008.
I nearly had to apologise to you again about the phone, but it is ok, it is all working now, you can ring us on 0906 7112255 (calls cost 50p per minute, standard rate)! I won’t bore you but this triggered a very complicated chain of events involving an unscheduled visit to the Brighton Town Hall, alarms, telecom modems, my manager’s desk and Mr Alan Price, telephone genius at Brighton & Hove City Council.
What else can be achieved in Brighton on this fine first day of the year of our Lord, 2008? When I wondered in from the Hanover direction at 9am this morning I met quite a few revellers staggering in the other direction. I do hope the lad in the red tights has found his way out from the underground car park entrance by the side of the Ha! Ha! bar – the poor thing looked more than slightly confused. Shop keepers and restaurateurs were tiding up outside their premises in the Lanes earlier. I managed to decipher a chappy from Ecuador and we have sent him on his way to Bath by coach. Karen has done the dusting, so it is quite save to come into the VIC to see us. She has new fan in the shape of a German boy, who is now not going to Hull today, as the trains were a bit chaotic.
And if you have made it out of bed this morning (congratulation!) you can do the following:
Visit the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Sea Life Centre or Brighton Pier
Go the Cinderella at the Theatre Royal
See Brighton & Hove Albion beat Bournemouth at the Withdean Stadium
Make the shop keeper’s and restaurateur’s day in the Lanes
Happy New Year from VisitBrighton!!