Monday, 31 March 2008


As the strains of Scheherazade wafted from the stage and swirled around the audience, I sat back and my mind travelled into the magical world of 1001 Arabian nights. The Dome concert hall was full on Saturday night for the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s very popular choice of music – Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie and the mystical Scheherazade. Rimsky-Korsakov’s delightful suite follows the fairy-tale and exotic wonders of the stories told by the Sultana to her bloodthirsty Sultan husband to delay her execution. For 1,001 nights she narrates her stories, each night ending with a cliff hanger and her life is saved. Eventually, he abandons his bloodthirsty vow to kill her. The beauty of this piece is that you can follow the stories by just listening to the mood of the music. The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship, the Shipwreck on the Rock - dramatic, powerful and exciting. The Young Prince and Princess – sweet and romantic.

And what of the orchestra? Always a professional performance from the LPO. I was a little disappointed at the absence of Vladimir Jurowski (the young, handsome, intense, Russian Principal Conductor of the LPO and Music Director at Glyndebourne) – always a show stopper. However, Dmitry Sitkovetsky took control of his orchestra with gusto and enthusiasm and produced an excellent evening.

LPO – keep coming back to Brighton – and bring Vlad with you next time - please…


Friday, 28 March 2008

New Brighton hotel - The Royal York

The weekend started early for the three witches of VisitBrighton (Richard, Liliana and myself) as once again we had to drag ourselves off to a cocktail party, I know it's a hard life! This time it was in order to celebrate the opening of another new Brighton hotel, hot on the heels of Jurys Inn and myhotel we now have The Royal York.

This gorgeous Regency building had been left empty for a couple of years but fortunately the owners of Lansdowne Place came to it's rescue and it has been lovingly restored to it's former glory. Apart from the luxurious guest rooms there is also a fabulous cocktail bar with a varied list of drinks on offer although going by last night the one thing they will all have in common is a potent kick! We each sampled a Strawberry Daiquiri and a Blakberry Bramble (at least I think that's what it was called).

While the three of us are regularly at this kind of event, so much so that the photographer felt there was no point taking another picture of us, and we did manage to spot a couple of familiar faces including James from GScene and Andrew Kay from the Latest Homes for the most part it seemed to be an unusual mixture of people. The other guests included some local celebs such as Chris Ellison (from the Bill), David Van Day (from Dollar) and another actress who looked a bit familiar but we weren't sure why, then there were other people who clearly felt they were very important darling but quite why they felt this was a mystery to us!

Anyway whoever they were hopefully they will all spread the word about this sumptuous addition to the hotels on offer in the city and whether you end up staying there or not, do pop in for a cocktail and you never know you may be as lucky as we were and get the chance to see David Van Day singing My Way!


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

50 things to do in Brighton

Well, I was sat in the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery cafe with a friend yesterday, putting the world to rights and drinking enough camomille tea to make me relaxed enough to think walking along the seafront in sub zeros temperatures was a good idea. And as we walked past the Theatre Royal and the pier and the Brighton fishing museum and all the fab Lanes shops, we thought how lucky we are to have so many things to do in the city.

So if you want some inspiration, we've put together a 50 things to do in Brighton PDF. We reckon we could probably have got to 100, but thought that might have been overdoing things a bit!

Let us know if you have any gems you think we should add...


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Seven Wonders of Brighton

Since Nick left the team I have been asked to attend a lot of meetings, which I'll be honest can sometimes be slightly tedious, and with some of the invitations I get I'm not entirely sure how much benefit it would be either to myself or the organisers if I went. One such event was a seminar examining Brighton's cultural offering and so I asked Adam what he thought and he encouraged me to go as he thought it should be of interest.

And I am glad I did, as attending the event were a lot of the big cheeses from tourism businesses in the city, and the guest speakers were all from the cultural tourism industry. While we all love our city and know what is on offer it was interesting to hear the outsider's perspective. I won't go through it all with you as you probably wouldn't find it so interesting, however there was one bit I thought I would share with you and ask your thoughts on...

One of the speakers was Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent and a rare breed among journalists as he always insists on paying his own way in order to get a realistic experience. Anyway he put forward the idea of the Seven Wonders of Brighton and this was his list, starting in seventh place:

and in first place... drum roll please... (goodness what could it be we've already had the Royal Pavilion?)

As he said it is a beautiful building and apart from the permanent features they also host some great exhibitions including the current one On the Pull which includes a unique installation called 'May happiness knock you over'

So do you agree with Simon or do you have your own ideas on what the Seven Wonders of Brighton actually are?


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Another concert review!

Yes I'm back again and I've been to another concert! It seems to go like that; I won’t go out in ages and then suddenly lots of concerts all at once. While I don’t think it's necessary to review every single one, I thought I would do another one in order to show the diversity of music on offer in Brighton (and perhaps my slightly eclectic music tastes!)

Last night my mum and I went to see Chris Rea at the Brighton Centre. Actually before I move on to the concert I'd just like to add that we had a very tasty meal and some real ale at the Bath Arms on Meeting House Lane, made even better by the ever so friendly staff so thanks to them (in particular Daniel, at least I think that was his name!) Anyway once at the concert I was particularly pleased as there was no support act. Chris Rea started off by doing a fifties Shadows-esque instrumental section before bringing his raspy voice into play on the blues tracks he has become known for in recent years. The only slight problem was that much as we both like the music it does seem to have a slightly soporific effect and the audience were the quietest I'd seen for a long time!

Actually that is one of the reasons why I like going to concerts, sometimes you want to be in the middle of the crowd dancing around. However it is also good to sit in the balcony as this is a great vantage point for a spot of people watching. When he started to do some of his classics including Julia, Josephine and Stainsby Girls people started to move. Actually hats off to the woman who for a while was the only one in the whole centre dancing but by the time he sang Road to Hell, On the Beach and Let's Dance there were quite a few of them there including one chap who particularly made me chuckle as he was stood at the back with his coat in his arms ready for a quick exit, and at first only hesitantly shuffling and swaying and then he suddenly let loose and even put the coat down! Unfortunately my writing skills are not up to the task of describing his moves, all I can say is that the young chaps going in circles with linked arms had nothing on this guy. Very entertaining! I was also amused by the fact that once people decided to get up and dance they all went down the middle aisle as this was where the first person was dancing, in spite of the fact they could have gone to the front if they had gone down one of the side aisles. Is this simply sheep mentality or a love of queuing?

Anyway the combination of the amazing guitar playing, Chris Rea's deep, gruff, rasping voice and the people watching made it a good way to spend a Monday night :)


Friday, 14 March 2008

The Hoosiers

Last night I was at the Brighton Dome to see The Hoosiers and while they were fabulous I have noticed a worrying new trend and that is to have not one but two support acts, and I am not sure why they feel this is necessary. Do they want to market themselves as mini festivals instead of gigs? It just seems a bit odd, I mean if you go to the theatre you don't get the local am dram society warming you up with a couple of scenes of a play they have written.

I know a lot of people always skip the support act anyway however I usually like to try and catch them as you might as well get your money's worth and you never know they might actually be good. Last night the first support group was Envy and Other Sins and their indie tunes were ideal for getting us up and dancing, ready for the Hoosiers. But then we had to sit through the second act as well, who I thought had said they were called Squib or Scrib but they actually said they were called The Script. Anyway while they were ok the music sounded more like an American type band (they were actually Irish) who seemed to be very cool, slightly R 'n' B and was all terribly heartfelt and emotional I'm sure but not really the mood we were after, thereby undoing the good work of Envy and Other Sins. Clearly this new trend is the music labels trying to get more exposure for their new bands and hopefully selling a few extra albums, however I think it is rather annoying as at the end of the day you have paid to see the main act not these other numpties. Festivals such as the Great Escape and Brighton Live are when you want to run around and see as many bands as possible, however when you have paid to see the Hoosiers then they are the ones you want to see. Ok I'd better wind this rant up before I move on to the whole charade that is the encore, I mean we know they are coming back, they know they are coming back, so what's the point?

After all that you may think that I didn't enjoy myself but au contraire as from the moment the band came bursting out of the closet, closely followed by a couple of skeletons, they were full of energy and enthusiasm. The songs sounded even better live and it was a great fun show. They had encouraged people to come in fancy dress so when they came back to do their encore they too were dressed up, however as I had already thought the lead singer was just the right size to go in my handbag to serenade me whenever I wanted, when he came back out in an Admiral's type jacket I couldn't help but be reminded of the toy soldier from Bladerunner, bless! So if you get the chance to see them you are in for a good show just be warned that you'll have two support acts to see first.


Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bird's eye view of Brighton

Well it seems I have been neglecting our lovely blog recently as I was away last week (I went to see Editors - I might have already mentioned that, not that I'm a fan or anything!) and so have been playing catch-up this week.

However I was surprised to see that none of my colleagues had mentioned the exciting new addition to the website that I discovered when I logged in on Monday morning. Sarah has cleverly added a new virtual interactive map so you can get live shots of the city before you visit. So you can either pretend to be a seagull flying over the Brighton Pier or alternatively that you are in Willy Wonka's glass elevator or is that just me? When I gave it a go I even managed to spot a parking space in front of my house, not that it matters as I don't drive but it's still quite exciting!

Anyway why not give it a go and see what you can spot from up above? Then pop back and let us know what you think :)


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Stormy Brighton

Cor! It was a bit windy yesterday. I nearly lost a Starbucks coffee to a passing gale, which at £2.05 a pop would have meant I'd have had to approach a passing loan shark to cough up the dosh for another. Initially I'd had visions of repeat of 1987 and thank goodness, it really wasn't that bad. Look at this picture from My Brighton and Hove of 2 lamposts from 1987. It really was wind at its mightiest that night! They look quite romantic actually - a kind of phone box embrace...!

So, where were you on the night on the 87 hurricane (if you're old enough)? I was doing my A levels, was generally a bit stroppy and slept through the whole thing, thanks to my lethargic teenage leanings at the time. I walked to college oblivious to the whole thing and wondered why it was closed and no-one was about. I did manage to wonder why there were trees and beach huts everywhere, but it still didn't seem to phase me that much!
Anyone else have any stories?


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

It's Spring - or is it?

Well, you would have thought it was spring by the clothes people were wearing to travel to work this morning – or, should I say, lack of clothes people were wearing. Thin sweaters, bare midriffs, no coats, pastel shades. Are they crazy? It’s 7 degrees this morning.

The sun’s out! The sun’s out! Must be summer! Let’s get the summer togs out. It’s got to be hot out there – the sun’s out.

Oh, na├»ve ones. It’s freezing today. You should be thinking what more you can pile on, not what you can take off. And I bet that on my way home from work this lunch-time I’ll count at least 10 people walking down Preston Road in short-sleeved T-shirts, or less…

What is it about Brightonians and the sun? I’ve always wondered why they bring out their summer finery as soon as the sun emerges. Are Brightonians made of stern stuff? Do they feel that being in Brighton is a permanent summer experience? It doesn’t matter what time of year you are in this city, you will always see people wandering around in their summer clothes.

A frame of mind? Perhaps…

What's the weather in Brighton?

Coming to Brighton? Worried about the weather? (Why would you be though, since its always sunny here!!) Well, we've just come across this little widgety thing where you can compare the weather where you are with the weather where you are going!

I was a bit surprised though to see that the weather in Hove was a healthy 7 degress C, whilst in Brighton it was a considerably more chillsome 1 degree C! It's all a bit of fun and you can download it from the peeps at STA Travel. Or if all that's a bit of a palarvar, just keep your eyes on our VisitBrighton Brighton weather feed instead! Right, I'm off the BBC website now, to see if they think you're gonna plummet 6 degrees in the walk from Hove to Brighton...

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Win a Spring Brighton Hotel Break

Spring is in the air at VisitBrighton and Easter is on its way, so to celebrate like true Easter Bunnies, we're giving away 2 splendid Spring Brighton breaks for 2, as well as a meal for 2 at an award winning Brighton bistro.

Simply check out the Easter quiz, on the VisitBrighon site, find out your egg type and you could be in for the chance to win one of the following fabulous prizes:
Cor! Its all a bit eggtastic…