Saturday, 17 February 2007

FLYING VISIT

I'm off to Brighton today - a flying visit in order to interview Dakota Blue Richards, the 12-year old who is playing Lyra in the film version of The Golden Compass.

Were I not in the grip a nasty cold that has turned into a chest infection with a death-rattle cough, I'd have made a day of it: crunching my away along the beach and getting myself a good healthy breath of sea air before enjoying a fish-and-chip lunch (with mushy peas, naturally) followed by a '99' ice cream on the pier...

But, alas, that is not to be... Instead, I shall be crawling out of bed, guzzling a slug of Lemsip, zooming down to Brighthelmstone and croaking my way through the interview before zooming up to London and hopping back into bed again!

Oddly, a year ago yesterday, I was in Brighton with David and our friend Polkadots & Moonbeams watching the fascinating natural phenomenon of thousands of swarming starlings swooping over, under and around the Palace Pier in the late afternoon...

Here's a moment of two from their fascinating avian gymnastics...



They'll be at it again this afternoon - I'll be sorry to miss the display!

LATER...

But I didn't miss it! Emerging from the Metropole Hotel at 5 o'clock this afternoon, there they were: thousands of starlings in a great cloud, hovering and swirling over the rusting skeleton of the West Pier...

So, here they are...

5 comments:

Scrooge said...

Notwithstanding the obvious role that Brighton has played, and continues to play, in the hearts and minds of Londoners everywhere, I have to say I found the place massively underwhelming.The beach is grotty, the buildings are run down and the people are as unfriendly as in a large city.The local council seems to be run as a para-military outfit with groups of traffic wardens patrolling the streets all day guiding tourists into privately run car parks (no doubt with a hefty retainer).It seems to keep croppping up on TV (presumably when film makers fancy a daytrip to relive their youth). I found it a huge disappointment.The best thing to come out of Brighton were those shots you posted on this site from your last trip. I'll wait to see if you can give the old lady a new lease of life with your camera this year !

Suzanne said...

You poor thing! Just come out of laryngitis myself, which doesn't help with the insomnia... Hope you get better soon.
Will this interview be broadcast on TV?

Brian Sibley said...

SCROOGE - I won't hear a word against the Old Lady! Maybe she has the odd wart or two (I'm not sure when you last looked at her) but she is magnificent and grand! The dinosaur bones of the Palace Pier and the strings of lights and the flashing glitterballs reflected in the wet sand at sunset when the tide is out is quite, quite beautiful...

Then there's the junk (sorry ANTIQUE!) shops in the Lanes; a host of lovely little delis, bars, eateries and coffee shops; yards of fascinatingly terrible original works of art; a fine museum; Vokes Electric Railway (the first or oldest or something in the country); the ghosts of literary lovers from Lewis Carroll to Grahame Greene; Ivor the tarot reader (a man to be reckoned with); and the crowning glory: the beautifully frightful Pavilion with more overpowering wallpaper than any known Indian restaurant AND an original Rex Whistler!

Sadly I'm not stopping: it's a case of a quick dash there and back again today, so, no photos... :-(

SUZANNE - Mercifully NOT for TV, just as research for the book I'm writing. The world is spared!

polkadotsoph said...

Scrooge is being a bit tough on the old lady here...
The whole point of Brighton is that it IS London-on-sea - noisy, vulgar, pushy, smelly, colourful, congested and above all familiar to those of us who spend most of our days in the Smoke but fancy a day at the seaside.

Scrooge said...

Well certainly no offence meant to anyone who has spent their childhood there and has fond memories of it ! I was very disappointed (not ever having been there) to find it was just a city that happened to be on the coast with all the attendant problems that brought with it i.e. the room next door to ours in the hotel getting kicked in on our first night very late,constantly having to move the car to avoid a ticket (and getting one anyway), walks along the seafront being disturbed by police with machine guns moving us on from the area around the conference centre, permanent cold wind blowing across the 'beach' etc.I think I'll just go to Whitby next time.. Nice pier though !