The West Pier was built in the 1800s and closed in 1975. Unfortunately it partially collapsed in 2002 during a storm and 2 arson attacks in 2003 finally finished it off.
Now it stands, skeletal and derelict, but eerily beautiful - just a short distance along the beach from the vibrant, tacky, lively East Pier.
Believe it or not..... this was a genuine question asked by a visitor to our southern coast a few years ago. The pebbles have always been there - our butts have toughened accordingly - no soft sandy beaches for us - we're 'ard!!! (Although deck chairs will be provided at a cost!)
Try to avoid the West Street area on a weekend. This area provides the spot for visiting binge drinkers/stag & hen nights/day trippers and generally it's mayhem at the weekend.
Visions of blonde bimbos in pinky fluffy bunny ears puking up on the pavement while drunken lads trying to take advantage hover nearby ever hopeful.
This is not typical Brighton and is a tiny part where all such visitors are usually contained to a small area by the watchful eye of the local constabulary (thank God).
Avoid it - We do.
There can be few enjoyable pastimes which involve humiliation and bruising. Well, there is one but frankly I'm far too shy to talk about it. No, the pastime I"m referring to is the ancient art of putting up of deckchairs!
Visit a British seaside resort or venture into any decently maintained park and you'll have a good chance of stumbling across the much-loved and seldom-mastered stripy deckchair. Often left stacked for the passing tourist to unravel and open, many happy hours can be spent watching ones fellow man coming to grief when faced with this unwieldy assemblage of canvas and hardwood. The pride you feel once you've mastered the mess and overcome your ordeal is extraordinary. And believe me, by the time you've finished you'll need a sit down. Don't worry if there's nobody around to pay. Normally ticket collectors will find you and collect your money in the course of their seafront patrols. if they don't turn up you can feel free to move on unfettered by guilt.
Fancy a nice little swim in the sea at Brighton ? Think again. Apart from the fact it would be bloody freezing, the local water company still pump the equilvalent of 80 full-sized olympic swimming pools of raw sewage into the sea every day. It seems unbelievable in this day and age on environmental controls - but is still goes on.
The campagin against this disgusting piece of pollution is being led by the SAS - surfers against sewage, Check out the website below.
I'm saying nothing, or casting any aspertions about the sexual proclivities of VT members, but I thought you should know the urban myth surrounding Brighton.
It is said that if you want to know the next STD to explode upon the population, then look no further than what is happening in Brighton, and in particular the higher educational establishments of the town.
I could have just written that Brighton if full of wayward tarts with the clap, but that would just be openly offensive, and would not be acceptable on VT (oh damn)
Brighton is well know for having a large and extensive gay scene.
Now Sourbugger is as broad-minded as the next person, but it can cause a few problems when booking a hotel on the net.
I found a very well-appointed hotel on the net, good location and price. Delighted, I read a bit more of the 'blurb'. It began by saying "We are a gay freindly hotel", no problem with that. I continued a bit further "We have an all-male sauna open until the small hours". umm, not my scence, but still, whatever. "Nobody allowed onto the hotel premises under the age of 18".
I think I will book elsewhere.
Arriving at Brighton, it seemed like every man and his dog were here too!
Trying to find a car park was hard!
We drove round and round more than once without any luck in finding a street park.
I did happen to notice a parking station sign on one of our "rounds,' and we managed to find that and park there. It was by no means full, and not that far to walk to the Beach.
There is all day pay and display parking available along Madeira Drive (between Brighton Pier and the Marina)
There are city centre car parks and NCP car parks.
A Park and Ride service is available from Withdean Stadium in the north of the city. It is signposted from the A23 and enables you to park your car and catch a bus.
If ever there was a case under the Trade descriptions Act, then this is it. 'Brighton Beach' sounds alliteratively pleasant enough, but you wont find a spec a sand anywhere (except for the little imported into children's play areas and the beach volleyball court).
Brighton beach consists of stones, stone and more bloddy stones. Not comfortable to sit on, but at least it doesnt ruin your sandwiches.
At least you can still sit on your stripey deckchair and wish you were somewhere with palm fringed beaches, overhanging coconut trees and dusky maidens walking by.
Brighton has always been known for having something of a sinister underbelly.
It is no surprisr that Grahame Greene used it as the setting for his book 'Brighton Rock'. The film of the book, made in 1947 is a classic. Well worth rooting out, it follows the violent life of 'Pinky' (played brilliantly by a young Attenborough) who ends up marrying a dippy waitress so she won't testify against him in the murder of 'Kolly Kibber'.
As part of a Newspaper promotion, as people hunted for Kolly, it spawned the line : "You'r name is Kolly Kibber, and I claim my reward !"
Let's hope you don't run into any of the modern day equilvalents of Pinky and his gang.
If you walk around in Brighton, you will find people who are bagging for money. There are people who are standing on a corner and sell a streetmagazine. Some of those people are running to you and say it is their last copy and say: please, please, please... buy the last one!
Every Saturday night in Brighton is like something from out of the film 'The fast and the furious'. The little boy racers in thier souped up cars use the main road next to the promenade as a personal racetrack. You or/and your car are not really safe down this road. If these guys smash into your cars or other personal belongings? you can be sure that they will not stop to rectify anything, and I bet most of them have no insurance etc anyway.
The police do try and calm this down, even try to stop it, but it doesn't really make much of a difference. There are chicanes down there now, but you can guarantee that the boy racers are certainly around.
Particulary in the summer the nightlife gets very crowded and consequently bouncers can be very picky in the more commercial clubs. These are the Event ,Paradox, and particulary the Beach club ( which can be harder to get into than the Ritz).
The specialised dance clubs are a bit more relaxed - Zap , Escape , Concorde 2 ,Enigma but even they try to weed out the undesirable customers.
This is my guide to getting in , based on several encounters with the rock hard boucers at the Beach.
1) Work out where you want to go and dress accordingly - if its a cheesy normal club night dress up ,if it's a techno DJ at the Concorde dress down.
Trainers won't get you into the Beach but shiny shirt/shoes will get you turned away from the Concorde.
2) Get there early , the queues are huge and as the queue increases the bouncers get pickier. Also asking the bouncers about how much it is -who's playing is good way to get them to view you with a bit less suspicion.
3) Find some girls - if you're one of the beautiful people don't worry you'll get in anywhere if you aren't then there's nothing bouncers like more than knocking back large groups of lads. All girl groups will also get in anywhere , you'd have to throw up on the bouncer to get turned away.
4) Try and act sober , propping each other up isn't going to get you far.
5) If they ask you where you come from - LIE
Foreigners are normally o.k unless the club's a real dive ,when you'll be turned away for your own safety. U.K residents may have more difficulty ,WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T SAY YOU'RE FROM LONDON, either pretend your local or say you're visiting friends and come from somewhere remote no-ones ever heard of ,small villages are best, claiming you're from any big city should be avoided. Never say your from London because they have a lot of trouble with gangs coming down from Croydon and you won't get in.
Hopefully this should avoid the embarresment of being turned away and having to walk past the queue that you've just spent a wasted hour in.
Getting a cab late on Friday and Saturday nights can be a pain in the arse ,as the cabs that use the ranks can't be flagged down.
There's normally a huge queue for the rank opposite the Event/Paradox so your best bet is to head up the hill ( which most other people are too lazy/drunk to do ) and grab one from either the station or the rank outside the Ice Rink.
I haven't experienced anything really dangerous in Brighton (and hope I never will) but thought you would be amused with this story about my toes (and ears).
I was sitting on a bench, reading a university book in Queen's Park when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a rather large object working its way closer to me....
....as the seagull drew nearer I noticed an inquistive look in its eye. It slanted its head from one side to the other, trying to work me out....
....then walked up to me, opened its beak and grabbed my foot!!
I told it off in what I thought would be an adequate seagull stopping way and returned to my book. After a moment, I peered down and it looked at me once more, head to both sides, pausing in between and then attacked my toes again! This time I shouted NO and gave it the sort of glare I learnt whilst teaching naughty children. It stopped and walked away disappointedly to a space about 5 metres away. From there it spent the next half an hour giving me looks which ranged between latent aggression and conscience stricken guilt - completely putting me off the complex theory behind human rights but amusing me at the same time.
Eventually I decided to move to another bench. So I chose one which was sheltered by bushes from behind and on the path away from curious seagulls. Happily I read my book but...
...I heard a strange noise behind me, then I felt a strange furry wetness on my ear...
.....Visions of wild animals raced through my head and I nearly fell off the bench out of surprise, but then a little dog with a ball in its mouth bounded over my shoulder and ran onto the grass. Don't worry shouted its owner he only wanted to play....
From now on I study in the University library!!