To Brighton with love (Part I)
Weeks in London, with sound of the sirens and drug dealers asking me to buy weed every hundred metres led me to seek retreat. For a neat tenner you can get a train from London Victoria to the seaside. I didn’t fancy Southend on sea so I opted for Brighton. All you need is an extra forty quid, for a cheap Fawlty Towers-esque hotel room and then you too can sod off away from the smog.
Brighton was a ‘trendy’ place I suppose. Wandering through The Lanes and passing by The Royal Pavilion, I felt cool by default. On Monday when our gang of future hacks would sit listing off all the amazing career opportunities they had received over night, at least I could say I’d been to Brighton.
The shops were unique, special but of course filled with products tailored for the middleclasses.
Selling ethnic wood (nope, not a porno), fossils, ceramic horses and other purposeless goods, the shops proved too tempting for me, as I wracked up a further forty quid’s worth of expenses.
I ventured to the seafront. When you’re single I think it’s important to set yourself mundane challenges, in order to prove you’re embracing ‘independence.’ My challenge came in the form of finding some legit seafood, that wouldn’t muck about with my bowels, to enjoy alone, staring out to sea.
The exercise would be pretentious but apt. In a sexless existence, other sensory experiences become of equal value. So there it was, my confirmation of a satisfactory singular life. With every bite of each chilli prawn, came the sublime taste of freedom. Yeah right, but the prawns were good and cheap. Happy days. Seafood holds less complications than sex anyway. You know who you are.
Brighton is a workable city, with the seafront beckoning the placement of each ‘tourist attraction.’ This makes it easy for newcomers to form an internal map of the city, avoiding the shame of standing disorientated on a street corner. I knew where the taxi rank was so I abandoned my bachelorette dinner and headed for Breakout festival at Brighton racecourse.
After a failed attempt at locating a chippy on the way home from the festival, I went back to the hotel-The Royal Albion. It appeared to be the perfect combination of a run-down dignity and grand Regency architecture. It had exchanged any former decadence for endearing charm.
The concierge was affable, but stressed, flapping his arms around like Basil Fawlty. I wanted to help. Am I alone in this notion or does anyone else develop a certain complex, when highly inebriated in which they believe they can change the world? Only small deeds mind, like that Kelvin Spacey movie, ‘Pay it Forward.’ So I stepped forward, pledging my allegiance and services to the hotel.
I was at the helm of the Albion. Room service, complaints and breakfast enquiries, were the usual topics of conversation. I was getting bored and ‘Basil’ wasn’t breaking for a cigarette anytime soon. Just as I thought I would retire to my basement floor windowless room, in she walked.
A lady approached the counter, dressed in a long camel coat and small, black, kitten heels. In one sophisticated swoop, she removed her un-kept blonde hair from her face. She was well spoken with a hint of cockney. She was, at first glance…ordinary.
As per, The Royal Albion, their bookings with Expedia had malfunctioned that day, leaving her without a bed for the night. There was no sign of my friend removing his tongue from the events manager’s arseholes and returning to our room, so what was the harm inviting her to stay in our hotel room? None.
“Stay with me, I’ve got a room and I’m bored and lonely,” I shouted across the counter.
It was agreed she would stay with me, in exchange for all the drink I wanted from the bar. Sipping whiskey together, I began divulging any penile activity I had received over the last four months. This is a common topic between women when they meet for the first time. It’s either that or what contraception they’re on, but we won’t go there.
Flicking and kicking her limbs around like a chorus girl in a musical, she crossed her legs. The men at the bar soon became intrigued by her presence. She wasn’t flirting obviously; it was somewhat magnetic and natural. This annoyed me. She had at least ten years on me but had far more promise of attention. However her admirers were fat cockneys, which made it less of a devastating blow.
The men were predictable in their advances. They pulled the old, “OH NO! The bars closing soon girls, we’ve got plenty more booze down in our room.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Tossers! Of course they thought we were naïve to their advances, but we were five steps ahead. In a brief exchange we confirmed this and clarified our dual intentions to drink their room dry and then make a swift exit.
We accompanied the three stooges down the stairs. All three men had a hint of tinted tangerine about them, dressed typically in chinos, squeaky-clean plimsolls and wrapped in gold chains. Coincidently the stooges also had a “bachelor” room on the basement floor. ‘Come on in girls,’ the alpha stooge gestured as he opened the door.
One of stooges took the initiative to plonk on some unrecognisable, mainstream trash on his ipod. Perhaps he thought the sound of klaxons, heavy bass lines and crap lyrics, would to whip us into a frenzy. She pretended be interested as she listened to their tangent of nonsense. I assumed the rogue roll, of sipping my drink and observing the view of the outside world.
Whilst standing alone, I was ease dropping on her conversation with the stooges. “I lived in Brighton but I came from London today to visit a friend.” This is where the loop-holes began. She had earlier informed me that this was in fact her first visit to Brighton. Clearly, this was not the case. I began to size her up. Previously she had an air of sophistication about her, but now I was drawing over analytical conclusions about her character…