Brighton Station by night
"Breakfast in Brighton: Adventures on the Edge of Britain" by Nigel Richardson
On a slow news day in August 2013, and according to a dubiously credible poll by travel website called Real Holiday Reports, Brighton and Hove was voted Britain's worst holiday resort. Some tourists accusing the city of being "too trendy" and too "full of bohemians and bad art". Yes, exactly! As Nigel Richardson explains with wit, charm and eloquence, it's all part of the myriad, enduring appeal of the city. Always the same, always different.
I adored this book. That said, it ticks all my boxes. History, and plenty of it: local, personal, social, and cultural. And it's mainly focussed on Brighton and Hove, one of my favourite places in the world, and a place I know very well indeed having lived here on and off since the early 1980s.
Nigel Richardson returned to Brighton and Hove after a gap of 20 years and attempted to capture the spirit of the place. He succeeded - and how. Lodging with a theatrical landlady he takes us through the city's mythology, landmarks, pubs, art, communities, murders, literature, diversity, architecture, and history, whilst also introducing us to some of his friends and other local characters. As a reasonably well informed resident, I found this book to be an engaging, meandering trove of triv. I felt sad as I reached the last few pages, wanting the book to last longer.
Nigel Richardson has also written another book about Soho - Dog Days In Soho: One Man's Adventures In Fifties Bohemia. Soho is another part of England for which I hold a long and enduring fascination. I cannot wait to read it.