Friday, 25 May 2012
'Brighton Is Still Very Gay And Full Of Balls' (Samuel Rogers English Poet 1829) - Times Haven't Changed
I held my hand over a sensitive part of my body and shivered when I saw this sign on Brighton Beach. Having just had an angiogram, I concured wholeheartedly with the advice.
I'd forgotten quite what a wonderful place Brighton is. It has transformed from the rather murky days of Brighton Rock and Keith Waterhouse's view that it is a town helping police with their enquiries. Gone is the seediness and jokes about being the best place for a dirty weekend.
It's buzzing. Buzzing with every nationality and a young person's place. There is something about the place, regardless of whether times are good or bad. It's lovely.
Successive councils have tired their best to ruin it. The blocks of flats blot the skyline. The burnt out pier is a sad reminder of incompetence and a lack of will to restore one of the world's finest pieces of seaside architecture, regardless of cost. The traffic is a nightmare. There are queues of visiting vintage cars, motorbikes and other forms of transport. Frank Gehry's vision of asymetric towers on the front at Hove was scrapped at the last minute, which preserved the beauty of the Regency architecture around.
And now - they want to ruin it for good by building the i360 Tower which will rise to 183 metres. It will be hideous, bear no relation to any of the beauty of the beach or the town, and I bet will sway in the wind giving all the tourists vertigo or motion sickness. What makes it even more incomprehensible is that there is a big wheel just around the corner, high enough to give great views of the city.
Graham Greene was right when he wrote in Brighton Rock:
'Human nature doesn't change - like a stick of Brighton Rock you bite all the way down and still reads BRIGHTON.'
It will survive well into the next century, tower or no tower.