Turn around Bright Eyes, we’re going on a field trip to Brighton. London’s Coromandel. Well, we did. We left. Sorry, you missed out. What a day it was too. There were piers, puns, puddings and a whole load more. Aww hell, I can’t keep it all from ya.
While my desire for a bacon, egg, mushroom and tomato panini caused us to miss our train, we caught the next one 15 minutes later. Which, in my defence, I thought we were trying to catch in the first place. We loaded into a train and trekked right out there. Past Gatwick, all the way to the sea. An hour or so through pastoral lands, which feel like some of the first large patches of trees in ages. Arriving in town, we revelled in the San Francisco style steep streets and widespread street art. Then promptly bee-lined it for coffee. Being hipster Mecca, we figured it’d be hard to go wrong.
We figured wrong.
We chose the tackiest, most hipster establishment we could find. Walls adorned with endless shit. Old posters, articles, a large shark head with a stuffed toy camel on top. Star Wars ships hung from the ceiling. To be honest, I could spend the next 20 minutes describing things in there and I’d run out of minutes before things. If the place looked ramshackle, the staff were worse. The guy serving took about five minutes to serve a slice of carrot cake to the gentleman in front of us. Another dude behind him dropped a tray of plates, shattering them. He shrugged. The serving guy finally took my order for salad, then awkwardly stared at the salad bowls, pondering how best to get lesser amounts of salad into a smaller bowl. He settled on tongs, which would’ve been fine if I hadn’t ordered a cous cous salad with a topping of avocado, corn, capsicum and black beans. I didn’t dare risk asking him to make a coffee. The salad was cool and fresh, but totally devoid of flavour. No balsamic, lemon, anything. At least my friend’s carrot cake was both tasty and immense.
We wandered through shops, until we eventually found a Primark. Astoundingly cheap, I figured that since I’d already run out of clean clothes (the rest were at my cousin’s), I could buy a few days’ worth and crash with my friends, delaying having to go that far out of London again. I got a few basic shirts, underwear and the kicker: Pokémon socks. Fuck yeah. With that taken care of, we headed to the pier.
While crammed with exactly the tacky sorts of boardwalk amusements you’d expect, the pier was surprisingly pretty. A long stretch of pebble beach, punctuated by food stalls and seating. The pier itself was like a mini Coney Island. Donuts and crepes, hot dogs, fish and chips. Arcade machines and dumb little rides. One of my friends could not hide her palpable excitement at finding out how shit the haunted house ride could be, so we all shelled out the £4 to see. Ludicrous, it turns out, with most “scares” popping out after you’d already passed them by. We had a riot, roaring with laughter from start to finish. None of the prerecorded sounds fit the pop out monsters. Why did the fluoro skeleton jump out with a wolf’s howl? I don’t even need to know, it was so much fun.
We milled about town, a neat little liberal hub. Eclectically dressed locals and low key cafes made the place seem like it’d be a joy to visit for a weekend here and there. We entered a trendy pub, tragically late for its brunch/£10 bottomless bloody mary deal. If we’d had more than an hour, I would’ve jumped at the chance. We downed a few rounds of craft beer, whetting our appetites for my most anticipated experience: The Sunday Roast. We were dismayed to discover that it was supposedly more of a lunch meal than a dinner and frantically searched for a place. With relief, we booked a place for 5pm. It was a nicer establishment and did not disappoint. The staff let us know that there were four beef roosts left, so if we wanted them he’d set them aside. Immediately I said yes, else suffer my dreams of real British Yorkshire pudding fading away to nothingness. A huge portion of beef was delivered. Green beans, parsnips, carrots and a crispy Yorkshire pudding, drowned in rich gravy. It was exactly the experience I’d sought, leaving me too full for dessert. Happy belly, happy mind, happy heart, we waved goodbye to Brighton and onto the train.
Where I wandered six or more cars to find a toilet. Which would’ve been linked to our own car had I gone the opposite direction. I may have broken the door on the accessible bathroom.