Whatdayaknow? I went to Brighton and it brighton-ed up my week. I was totally having one of those left-my-umbrella-on-the-tube, spent-three-hours-in-Apple, missed-my-yoga-class-by-10-minutes weeks. Oh, and it’s been raining and cloudy and cold. You know, it’s been London. (See? I’m totally starting to fit in now.)
I needed a pick-me-up. I needed some sunlight. I needed the sea.
Upon arriving in Brighton, I went straight for it. “You can’t miss it,” said Clare, as I left the flat early in the morning. She was right. You could see it from the station. Oh, how I love to be by the seaside! I practically skipped down to it. (Thankfully, the sun was on my side. Skies were blue and bountiful with white fluffy, but not gloomy, clouds.)
On my way, I stopped at this cute market of food stalls and picked up a Scotch quail egg breaded in apple and onions for breakie. There were other yummy delights, but I was saving room for my main sustenance: the salty air, the squawking seagulls and the glistening turquoise sea. Oh and how it delivered in satisfaction! I honestly couldn’t believe how beautiful and tranquil it was. THIS was so close to London?! Just an hour by train?!
As I approached the shore, I was also surprised by the “beach” itself. Rocks! Big ones, too. I think us New Yorkers don’t realize how spoiled we are to live by soft, sandy shores. (Say that five times fast!)
But I didn’t mind the rocks. Aside from the fact that it was still a bit chilly to take off my shoes and dig down deep as I love to do back home, I liked the sound of them: a click-clack-swish. The sound of Rock.
Little did I know the rest of the day, I’d hear more Rock. Not by the seaside, though. Rather inside many of Brighton’s “toilet venues,” a.k.a. dingy, but awesomely authentic houses of R&R.
I’ve written about my love of music, and I how I had planned to see several live shows while here in London. But what I loved most about this was how I didn’t plan any of it. That’s something I’m not used to. At all. Me and spontaneity? Yeah, not so much. But the more we get to know each other… the more I see the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Now, I will admit, it felt a little odd to be so clueless about what was going on around me — and there was A LOT going on around me. But it was also super fun to just pop into a venue, listen to a few songs, charge up my phone while having a lager shandy (that’s fizzy lemonade and lager, for those who don’t know — delish!) and then be on my merry way to another (free) gig.
Not all gigs were free, though. Actually, for most you needed a pre-paid wristband. But there were plenty smaller, alternative venues offering gratis shows. I think I saw about 5 in total, including one I’d actually seen before two years ago in New York: VV Brown, and another I know I’ll see again cause they were epically awesome: We Were Evergreen. I know it’s a band’s worst nightmare for people to say they “sound like someone else,” but I swear as I walked toward them playing outside at dusk, I thought they were Vampire Weekend. They’re catchy, instrumentally experimental and totally head-bop inducing. Sandweaver was another band I happened upon and immediately fell into. The lead singer was pregnant and sharp in sound and sassy in boddy with her burgeoning belly and feather earrings.
After bouncing from one gig to another, back to the beach, and then back to another, I considered being as rock ‘n’ roll as one could be by booking a hostel and staying over in my same clothes, without even a contact lens case or a toothbrush. But I also didn’t have a wristband, and it was becoming clear that my access to some of the larger evening shows was about to become limited.
But wow! What a full day. A day of sunlight, the sea and the click-clack-swish of Rock.