Well guys, sorry to disappoint any pretentious wannabe Brightonians out there but… Brighton is a Grade ‘A’ s**thole!
I’ve been studying in what I first found to be a charming seaside town, full of exchange students and wonderfully intelligent people with ideas to share on life and a high percentage of witty, stimulating conversationalists… then… I moved off campus and into the great town of Brighton (or ‘London-by-Sea’ as it is increasingly aptly known).
Home to one of the highest rates of homelessness and drug related rime, Brighton was once the jewel of the South coast and chosen holiday destination for Mad King George’s son, George, whose ‘beach hut’ (otherwise known as Brighton pavilion) still stands proud in the center of Brighton. And by the Gods how things have changed.
Now the pavilion grounds are home to a bunch of roving homeless alcoholics (just as any open grassy area in Brighton, come to think of it), as well as the scene of many a friendly punch-up betwen gangs of local chavs. A meeting of any stranger in Brighton will doubtless lead to you making the acquaintance of an interesting person from any one of hundreds of different nationalities, British towns, or most usually London. If you are lucky enough to make the chance acquaintance of a local Brightonian then beware! Of the ten that I have actually met in my two years here, one has been a violent-minded outspoken thatcherite (capital not deserved)… “she was for the people I tell you, the people”!.. tell that to the inhabitants of many a northern town now languishing under the closures of pits etc… Another was a convicted paedophile who used to work for the Kray twins “not actually *for* them as such, they controlled the other side of the river”… and another is a knife-wielding maniac, imprisoned once for attempted murder and twice more for other, lesser crimes (GBH and ABH, if I remember correctly). Otherwise, true locals avoid carrying cash, valuables or anything less threatening than a butcher’s knife just to avoid marauding psychopaths like the greater part of Brighton chavs are…
All of this set against a background of ultra-rich London playboys (and girls) that infest Brighton’s classier nightclubs and drive ludicrously expensive cars which cost more than their age in tens of thousands. The chavs, not to be outdone, drive their barried-up novas with a rainbow of colours streaming from between their alloys with louder and louder RnB and rap streaming from their car stereos, only drowned out by the straight-through exhausts that make a noise like an ageing chainsaw chewing through a pile of rusty cans. On average, at least three police cars can be heard each day on Brighton’s busier roads (the rest take the back way), usually followed by an ambulance or two and a fire engine – just to be sure. The main road into brighton from London is a constant death-trap, the local florists do a tidy business in recycled wreaths with an A-B-C list of possible epitaphs.
Drinking establishments for the chavs are numerous, the ever-popular Creation is of course present, next to the ‘walkabout’ (actually staffed by genuine Australians in a rare departure from the norm), and across from the ever-present Weatherspoons, where the local chav is presented with his usual choice of fine lagers, Carling to Stella to suit even the lightest Burberry pockets, which are strangely not so much in evidence in the town. I can only assume that Brighton, as home to the fashionable elite of our times, such as the unforgettable Britney Spears and Boxing sensation Chris Eubank, has bred a kind of ‘superchav’ or chav royalty. Of course, they still bear their burdens of 9ct gold rings, necklaces and earrings, (maybe 10ct, this is the richest part of the UK after all), but seem to have moved on to trendier pastures than Burberry… a la mode at the moment in Brighton is an obscure variant of the FCUK theme, although stepping outside into the midst for half an hour to find a chav and ask him his opinion on cool would be enough to find out its name, I hope you can sympathise that I simply can’t be bothered to at this time of night… as well as a french ‘label’ that produces yet more identical-looking, thin wearing articles of clothing that nobody but a chav would ever pay the 10 quid that the stolen equivalent would cost.
Brighton town council has made a good job though, top respect to them, of keeping all the chav hangouts (which include a tanning studio in a gaming arcade of all places) in roughly the same place, one street, the imaginatively titled, and aptly chosen for its easily-remembered name, West street. Here is where you can find a 16-year old willing to satisfy every twisted pleasure you could imagine while her boyfriend holds your coat, a selection of the finest eateries a pissed-up chav could want, and any number of abuse-hurling, drunken twats on their way to a ‘right sesh’, or discussing the ease of ‘finding someone’ in such a small town in a pub toilet. For a delightful selection of local tales, such as ‘the one where the girl gives a guy a BJ outside a taxi-rank at club closing time’, or ‘the one where some guy twatted me in the face after hitting my mate with a balloon for half an hour, then claimed that *I* was being lairy and looking for a fight when it went to court’ look no further than the local cab drivers, who are full of humourous stories… oh, wait, that last one was mine, damn.
Anyway, not that I have anything personal against the chavs of Brighton, but this place is crazy. The famous St. James’ street, known for it’s ‘alternative feel’ so to speak… is home to the one 24hr lager selling shop in Brighton with its nightly clientele and unofficial doormen, the Glaswegian alcoholics, who I think got lost down here and kept drinking what they had begged for the train fare… whereas they come on duty at around 4am, in earlier hours you can find a medley of pleasant people storming up and down the place shouting ‘fa**ots! you’re all fa**ots! Come and have a go you qu**r scum!’ then running off when a group of them actually talks back… or the BMW RnB dudes gesturing suggestively at 14 year old girls as they walk out of a pub… most pleasant of all is the crazy-looking woman who follows you up and down the street and as you stop to roll a fag points you in the face and says ‘don’t you case me, I’m watching you’ before storming off in the opposite direction to the one she was originally walking in.
Nutters aside, though absolutely no description of Brighton could ever be complete without them, relevant or not, Brihton is THE place to be for the aspiring southern chav. Tim Westwood was once reputed to be DJing in a tent at the Radio 1 party, and a particularly impressed looking chav who had apparently been invited to his afterparty but ‘got lost’ and ended up crashing a student party, he had, of course, to be moved aside and forbidden from knowing the name or number of the party he had just left (probably to buy fags and water) was easily deflected by a reply of ‘ye m8’ to every utterance he made in the fifteen minute-long ‘conversation’ – one thing you can say for chavs – they’re easily moved aside if you can look them in the eye long enough…
So, advice to anyone thinking of travelling to Brighton, be like the wise locals, carry nothing of value, as an 18 year old American girl recently found out losing all of her earthly possissions, her cash, passport and, bizarrely, surname in a chance meeting with one of the more enterprising chavs of the area; don’t look anyone in the eye, or indeed at them at all if they are more obviously pissed or otherwise chemically charged (you learn a kind of peripheral sixth-sense for the intoxication levels of people you meet after a while), and practice by building up your running speed and find out where local police stations are before you come. Don’t get caught out after 4am when police coverage becomes dangerously low, and keep a spare twenty quid handy for the extortionate taxis in case you are desperate.