Should I move to Brighton ? If yes, where would be a good place to live ?

The short answer is yes, because I’d like to meet you. (NB, that doesn’t actually just apply to the questioner, I generally like meeting people. I would definitely like to meet the questioner though).

The long answer is yes, probably.

Except that the long answer is shorter than the short answer.

Brighton kinda changed my life.

Brighton exposed me to so many different viewpoints and ideas that I swelled and exploded. Brighton gave me somewhere I could experiment with myself until I figured out who I was.

I’m still in that process. It’s still fun.

Brighton wakes up late and shouts a lot in the evening. Brighton sings more than a lot of places. Bands and performances seem to spring up underfoot. There’s art hidden away in weird places, and people generally want to talk and be friendly.

It’s open minded, in very specific ways. It’s more that nobody is going to care what you’re doing, than everything you could be doing is welcomed.

And it can be hard to get over how white it is. And I grew up in a relatively small and often racist town. Brighton isn’t racist, so much as it isn’t mixed race. And the affluent think the outskirts are full of dole scum, when actually the ‘rough’ areas are pretty and full of nice people. It’s weird how the middle class need to ghettoise themselves as well as the less well off.

When I walk through Brighton, I can’t help but smile and bounce. I am allowed to be myself here. I am a tall, curly haired man with a beard and a skirt (often). I rarely stand out that much.

Nobody does. There’s a uniform of bizarreness across the town. Which is wonderful. The charity shops cost a fortune because everyone needs to be unique.

And it works. The Brighton aesthetic is warm and weird. Everyone thinks they look cooler than everybody else, and nobody minds.

The centre is wonderful, and small enough that you bump into your friends on a regular basis, yet you’re always close enough to the sea and the countryside that any claustrophobia is likely to be caused by laziness.

You start to recognise people. People smile a lot.

I noticed yesterday just how incredibly fashionable all the young people are. It’s amazing. When I was in sixth form all the girls looked like slappers and the boys had ill fitting shirts and trousers, or dressed as goths.

Here the sixth formers look breathlessly slick.

It’s terrifying. But it’s very Brighton.

I bet it’s a wonderful place to grow up.

I just wish more people here would bother to grow up.

But the downsides don’t matter.

The sea is here, ready to wash away your troubles.

Move to Brighton.

It doesn’t matter where you live here. Just be sure to dip in the sea and climb the hills.

Little raises my heart more than cresting a hill, looking over city, and yelling to myself:

‘I fucking love this town.’

Illustration by Anna-Kaisa.

About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Anna-Kaisa, Questions by Winnie. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Should I move to Brighton ? If yes, where would be a good place to live ?

  1. flyingrowan says:

    wow. now i miss it even more

  2. After I wrote it I regreted not writing about more of the things people do here. The Cowley Club, the bike workshop, the enthusiasm for allotments. The Poetry festivals, the fringe, the open houses, the people who just wander around being happy and singing. The crazies.
    Those last two probably include me.
    Gotta love it, as much as part of me wants to get out of it. Conflicted.

  3. babychaos says:

    Brighton and the surrounding countryside, is a VERY cool place to grow up… I lived half way up a down. I left Brighton to go to Uni in the midlands where I learned that young people are, at heart, rather elderly and conservative… I learned that young people elsewhere were dressed in shell suits with step haircuts, or peach lacoste t-shirts, trainers and stonewashed denim jeans (it was the 80s) and I learned that they were unsure how to approach somebody who dressed like a goth (but in colour).

    Even now, despite the fact I’m one of the normals these days, I find my default viewpoint is often considered subversive by my peers… I find my nearly 80 year old parents are more open minded and laid back than people my own age, or younger.

    If you do leave, then unless you go to London, be prepared for others to be agog at the skirts… ah… no wait! I know… just mention Eddie Izzard and David Beckham… you should be alright! 😉

    You know, Suffolk’s not far off, it’s tolerant and friendly, but there’s no sea where I am and no downs… and I envy you!

    Spawny get!



  4. It’s definitely weird how fashionably diverse the kids here are. I remember nothing but tracksuits and ‘posh jeans (karl Kani?). Horrid.
    But here in brighton the young people look like they’re auditioning for skins. Which is kinda horrific.

    And yeah. Part of me wants to get out of the brighton bubble, and into the real world. But part of me is terrified of having to talk to real people. With their spongy but hardened actual brains.

    I’m sure you’re still the colourful goth you were. Just differently so.
    Keep it up.

  5. babychaos says:

    Ah you know how it is… you can take the girl out of Brighton… 😉 Actually, you know I envy the spongy but hardened people, imagine being so convinced you were right the whole time, always knowing… in some ways it would make life a great deal easier, if a lot more boring…

    Says a lot that when Brighton and Hove Albion won their lowly division and went up one, 50,000 fans turned up at Cardiff to watch them… And I wasn’t even there!



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