wednesday: DRINK THE JAZZ

(see below for the first installment of my Brighton local travel diary)

The Victory

thanks to Patrick for the photo

Then Wednesday came a little groggy. But breakfast, coffee, gitanes on the wooden pallets that pass for decking in my back garden, there in the burning morning sun and I was burning to go to the sea. We walked down into town with only a couple of stops down North Laine to look in the Amnesty Bookshop, and I bought two books from Sandpiper Books, which is an excellent bookshop for art, film; culturey sort of books (I bought Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson and Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Bukowski). They have new books at very cut prices, so I bought my first new books in a very long time.

To the sea. But although the sun was hotter, the wind was stronger also and it was not quite hot enough, and when the guitar-playing 28p-scrounging juice-drinking fellow from yesterday turned up just behind us it was like a sign to get the hell out of there.

Over the course of the three days we went to quite a few pubs, and I don’t exactly remember in what order so I’m just going to list them all together:

The Victory, near the Lanes. This was my favourite, clean, fresh, and lovely, with art deco windows, a model ship and a green interior. Food was good.
The Dorset, in the North Laine area, felt continental although I’ve not been on the continent since I was about twelve, and then probably only Calais, so what do I know!? They seemed to sell a lot of Kronenbourg and not a lot else on tap as far as I remember.
The White Rabbit, North Laine again. I liked this place a lot. There is a cigarette machine in a red telephone box, and this made me very happy. I like to see cigarette machines in pubs and bars; it makes me feel warm inside. On the other hand, seeing them reminds me of the days you could still buy cigarettes from the bar and I don’t think you can do this any more, which is sad. I could say a lot more about the way this country is going re smoking, but it seems like good material for another post so I’ll save it.
The Hand and Spear
, opposite the Victory. We were attracted by the green tiled front. I had a g&t and felt like I could have slept forever on the tables outside, with a gauloise. Inside is small, kind of an old-man type of pub, but I liked it for this. We heard Geno by Dexy’s Midnight Runners twice.
The Cricketers, somewhere in town. A large, studenty pub, it wasn’t great.
The Hobgoblin, near London Road. I really like this pub, its dark candlelit interior, it has a good atmosphere although the beer ‘garden’ doesn’t much live up to its advertising. Practical, large, functional – sure; but maybe they could get some plants.

That’s the list, as I remember it.

We went back to the house to freshen up, eat a little; I saw that there was a jazz night at the Green Door Store so we went out to that at eleven or so, stopping at a couple of pubs along the way. Running through town at night is a really good thing to do (thanks Paddy for making us do that); refreshing after a day of sun and gin. We found a table and Patrick talked to an old jazz savant. As with Hi Zero there was a very sound atmosphere in the place, it was busy, it seemed to be in a pretty good mood. I think the band playing were Monica Acevedo/Diego Parada Quartet. Seeing a good jazz band in the right place is fun. Jazz is another thing I know absolutely nothing about, but what I’ve found is that you get into the music a lot; it’s all about the music. And you get to applaud a lot too, and I do so like to applaud. The Green Door Store is also a really excellent venue; my favourite club in Brighton at the moment for sure. It reminds me a lot of Cardiff Barfly before its untimely demise (not long after I left Cardiff. Coincidence?).

The jazz was great, and late-night jazz feels especially proper (the night ran from 11-2am). The only other time I’ve been to see some jazz was a middle-class, middle-aged marquee affair at the Edinburgh festival, with overpriced barbeque food, overpriced alcohol and overpriced tickets. This event was free and way more authentic. I will be going back whenever I can.


tomorrow: Brighton bookshops and the pier


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