Brighton is the city London wishes it could be
I have to praise you like I shouuuuuuld
Brighton gives a lot of blowjobs but no fucks. It’s the only city in the country where no one wistfully dreams of moving to London: they can keep their Fortress of Solitude-esque Qatari eyesores and that crippling sense of panic they get when someone stands on the left hand side of the escalator. We’re fine where we are thanks, flicking the ash from our rollies onto the pebble beach and sipping our room temperature Harveys Best.
As twentysomething Londoners fight like rats to secure the honour of an illegally-sublet airing cupboard in the far reaches of Walthamstow, down here in the dirty south we’re taking it easy. Here’s why.
The Lanes are what Shoreditch hasn’t been since 2004
In a world of Adidas-branded pop-up malls and bar nights hosted by marketing agencies, it is refreshing to know there are still places with a modicum of authentic street cred. Brighton is blessed with two of these hotspots – the Lanes and North Laine – where you can bag rare vinyls at Resident Records, pick up choice cuts from the subculture of your choice and buy anything from an ornate chaise longue to a cursed jewellery box in Snooper’s Paradise. Find me somewhere in Shoreditch you can still buy a cursed jewellery box. I dare you.
The clubs are cool while keeping it provincial
Brighton offers all the glitz and variety of a big night in London – at nearly half the price – married to the tacky provincial glory of a wonderfully shit local night out. Secret Discotheque at Coalition is where the world goes to lose its virginity and even though no-one knows what to call Digital anymore (The Arch? Coalition? The Nightclub Formerly Known As Digital?), it’s still an absolute treat to have the seafront as your smoking area. Oh, and Funfair’s VIP is a ball pool for Christ’s sake.
It’s a lowkey Mecca for celebrities
Imagine you’re Steve Coogan. You’ve spent the last six weeks driving around Italy with Rob Brydon, penning furrowed-browed op-eds on press censorship for The New Statesman and not quite breaking the surface of international self-sustaining fame, forever being the “hey, I know that guy but where from?” guy for American audiences. It’s a high-stress life for Steve Coogan.
Would you want to go back to a London flat after this if you were Steve Coogan? Would you fuck.
You’d want to live in a plush house on the cliffs, overlooking the best seaside city in Europe. And you wouldn’t be alone – famous residents Adele, Fatboy Slim, David Walliams and Chris Eubank all call Brighton (and Hove, actually) home. So did Sir Paul McCartney – until he lost it at the denouement of one of his less successful marriages.
Everyone from anywhere even slightly close claims they’re from Brighton
You’re on the other side of the world, out for drinks, and you meet a friend of a friend. “You’re from Brighton too?!”, you say, stunned by the serendipity. But of course they’re not. They’re from Worthing or Eastbourne, trying to pass themselves off as a cool-by-association denizen of their Sussex cousin. I once met someone “from Brighton” who lived in Royal Tunbridge Wells. That is 36 miles away. Everyone in the southeast of England is united by their lust to be thought of as a Brightonian. And who can blame them?
Our newspaper headlines > all other newspaper headlines
It’s a shame print journalism is dying, because The Argus has acquired global notoriety for nailing their Chris Morris-esque headlines. The guy who writes them has 6,000 Facebook fans, and frankly, he deserves ten times that.
It’s a great place to be gay
Brighton is the gay capital of Europe, and we are proud of it. No one in Brighton has batted an eyelid at anything since the Regency era, nowhere on earth are people freer to be who they are. Gay people love how gay it is, straight women love how gay it is. Even the dogs love how gay it is.
The football team thinks it’s Barcelona
By all rights, Brighton and Hove Albion should be viewed in the same light as Brentford or Preston North End, as second-tier nearly-men who don’t have the budget or the skill set to get promoted to the Premier League. But the Seagulls are so much more than that. Brighton’s first team is peppered with imported Spanish flair, the residue from the influential reigns of Gus Poyet and Oscar Garcia. No, most of them couldn’t cut it at the Nou Camp or the Bernabeu – but their energy and passion have charmed the Championship for years – and who knows, they might make it through the play-offs this time round.
The ‘Brightonicity’ that surges through you when you arrive
The feeling you get as you pull over the Downs and see the city poured out in front of you giving way to the ocean, the buzz you get stepping off a bleak Southern train that’s been through harrowing places like Lancing and Aldrington – you don’t get a rush entering other British cities like you do with Brighton. Stepping out of the station, Queens Road rolled out before you like a red carpet, leading you towards a glistening sea, inviting you home. You just don’t get this at Victoria, you think to yourself, as you vow to never go north of Gatwick ever again.