I’ve spent eight years in Brighton – and it’s the setting for my upcoming book ‘Rebuilding Alexandra Small‘. Brighton, though, is more than just a seaside town.
When Swedish supergroup ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo‘, it took place in Brighton – at the Dome – and a few years back, the BBC went back to Brighton to pick the 2018 UK Eurovision Song – sadly Surie is better known for a stage invasion than winning the event.
Home to the UK’s newest national park
Locals might know Brighton and Hove as London by Sea, but the city stands on the edge of a huge national park. From my front door on the edge of town, it’s just ten minutes walk to the South Downs – officially the UK’s newest national park.
From something new to something very old. The oldest cinema in town is the Duke of York’s – also said to be the oldest working cinema in Britain. You get to sit in big wide chairs and watch a mix of big hit and festival films – and when Eurovision comes around, watch the show live and cheer along (obviously not right now, because Covid).
All around town, Blue Plaques tell you about all the famous people who once lived in the town. I share my street with Nick Cave and at one point, Cate Blanchett was once a neighbour. Other faces spotted around town include Fat Boy Slim, Zoe Ball (doing a complex three-point turn in my street), Adele and even Sir Paul McCartney!
If you’ve ever thought how much fun it might be to live in a Grade 1 listed building, I’m here to say it isn’t. If you want to change things, you’re up against many rules and committees. But one listed building designed for fun is the West Pier. These days, it’s little more than a ragged structure after fire destroyed the fun. Each year, high winds and storms take a little more away. At this time of year, starlings gather in a murmuration. The best way to show you this is with a picture.
The city is said to have once had many tunnels running under the streets – most now lost. One remains between the Royal Pavilion and the Dome. There’s another one leading from the gardens on Sussex Square to the sea front – believed to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll when writing Alice in Wonderland.
Want to know more about Brighton? My next book ‘Rebuilding Alexandra Small‘ set in this beautiful city comes out in June. If you’d like to read early chapters and enter the draw for free signed copies, please join my mailing list.