Last weekend I was in Brighton. This is not the easiest place to get to from Wiltshire by public transport, requiring:
- a walk
- a bus journey
- three different train journeys
- another walk.
This took around five hours and wore out one of the wheels on my pull along suitcase.
It was, however, worthwhile.
As I was there with my husband to celebrate his birthday, we were booked into a rather fine hotel – the Jury’s Inn on the waterfront. We had asked for a sea view room and it looked out over the promenade and Palace Pier – delightful despite the noise from the nightclub crowd as they congregated and dispersed in the wee small hours of the morning.
Having settled in and briefly explored the locality, especially enjoying the warren of lanes behind our hotel, on the first night we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Il Bistro.
The next day and the day after our daughter travelled down from London to join us which added greatly to the pleasure of our stay. Together we: visited the Royal Pavilion; walked the promenade as far as Hove in one direction and along the Undercliffs in the other; visited the museum and art gallery.
We breakfasted at Cafe Rouge and The Breakfast Club; ate dinner at Browns. On Sunday we indulged in a sumptuous afternoon tea at Malmaison on the Marina.
On our final morning my husband and I opted for a ‘Spoons breakfast at the Post & Telegraph. Having attempted to walk this off on the promenade, we set out on the return leg of our lengthy journey home.
The Royal Pavilion is splendid if somewhat outrageous in extravagance of design and colour. I loved the many dragons – appropriate as the place was built for a King George. Adding to the fun was the Stephen Jones hats exhibition, liberally and effectively displayed in many of the rooms. I had no idea millinery could be so entertaining.
A highlight of the museum was the archeology gallery. In our troubled times it is good to put man’s short and foolish history on this planet into wider perspective, and to be reminded that climate change is a natural, if often deadly, occurrence (albeit affected at times by various outside influences).
I will also mention my experience at the exhibitions: Museum of Transology, and Queer Looks.
The former wouldn’t have warranted a particular mention had it not been for a lady herding small children around the museum as we were browsing. One of her charges entered this space and was quickly detoured. I wondered what the woman feared would happen if the child viewed the exhibits. The displays may have prompted questions but isn’t that the point of a museum – to educate and encourage thinking? I hope that she had better reasons than the obvious – I try so hard not to judge what I cannot know.
The latter exhibition disappointed because, for all the variety of choice and challenge to heteronormativity in choice and design of dress, the displays were all aimed at slim shaped people – a standard definition of beauty. In my experience LGBTQ+ people come in many sizes of body. I found it distracting to consider that fatphobia may exist in the trans and queer community who, of all people, must be aware of the importance of acceptance.
This article from Culture Trip states:
“The fabric of Brighton is woven with inclusivity, equality and tolerance – creating a strong sense of community. It’s part of what makes the city so special and open to all.”
I enjoyed my few days in this small city. Walking ten or more miles a day will have helped my body deal with the effects of the delicious food consumed. It is the sights and their impact that will linger.
(For further, in depth discussion on inclusivity, equality and acceptance, listen to Episode 1 of the Comma Press podcast)