The i360 wasn’t as bad as I thought

It still looks vile, but it’s not all bad

While 2016 was a pretty crap year for the world, one of the worst things to come out of it was the opening of British Airways’ i360: a 162m “observation tower” on Brighton’s beloved seafront. I’m not the only one who thinks the i360 is rubbish, with some people likening it to the “Eye of Sauron”.

We experienced one of the city’s greatest tragedies when the Brighton Wheel was taken down, made ever worse by the growing height of the concrete pole in front of the West Pier. Locals made sure that their voices were heard and I fall into that angry group where I took to the internet to write just how awful the i360 is. It’s a tourist trap, pure and simple.

I was lucky that my words did not fall on deaf ears and a small broadcasting channel called the BBC contacted me to have a go on the i360. They wanted to see if I would change my mind if I gave it a go.

Now I’m not one for hypocrisy, but when you’re given the opportunity to take a “flight” on the i360 for free (every student’s buzzword), it’s hard to turn down when you’re ever so slightly curious. So I took one for the team and took a trip to see the city from above.

“Shit it looks even worse up close”

And it wasn’t actually that bad.

I still despise the idea of having a huge vertical pole on the seafront, and my trip only reinforced that, but the views you get once you’re up there are insane. On a clear, sunny day, which I’ll admit is rarely found in Brighton, there is nothing quite like looking down on a city you adore from an angle you never usually witness.

Look at this beautiful picture… Oh wait

Although the view is pretty rad for the five minutes you’re stationary at the top, it is hard to stomach the site of the massive shadow the beast casts across the beautiful Victorian crescents Brighton is known for. It is also tricky to wholeheartedly agree with the possibility that you can see into people’s apartments from a variety of angles. Looks like some people really need to invest in some blinds.

The saving grace of the i360 is that at least when you are up there you don’t have to look at the giant metal toothpick, maybe that is the bittersweet appeal of it.

Part of me loves to hate the thing, but it is hard to completely loathe it when you’ve managed to spot your house and feel like a seagull all within the space of 20 minutes. Maybe I was a bit rash to judge, but after going up I probably won’t do it again. I can see why some people would go on it but for the locals who love their seafront it stands out and ruins the aesthetic.