Saturday, 30 October 2010

Brighton excursion

I'm just back from four days in Brighton with my daughter while my son was on a school trip to Rome. What fun! Even if, for the first two days, we did have to beat our way along the sea front through film-set rain that fell in sheets. Oh the shopping! The endless fripperies and cupcakes and gorgeous junk and expensive beautiful things that we don't need. How the wind enjoyed blowing up our shopping bags like balloons as we struggled back to the hotel with our haul on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the weather settled down a bit and there was an extravagant sunset on Thursday:
I loved both piers, but perhaps especially the poor, skeletal West Pier which is just a ghost structure now:


The early evening sky turned the sea a lovely pearlescent pink:


The shops in the North Laine were wonderful, especially the giant vintage emporium, Snooper's Paradise. But I was overcome with shyness when I had to ask the slightly daunting woman on the cash desk to open one of the cabinets for me. I only wanted a couple of tiny plastic deer out of it and was almost too embarrassed to say what I was after, seeing as it was so humble. I managed to get it out by pretending I wanted them for a 'Christmas project' (not true, I just like them):


The thing I most wanted to buy was an amazing wall mirror by Anna Tilson, very similar to this one:


But her stunning work is a bit out of my league price-wise. I'll have to stick to the plastic animals. I found a couple of clowns, though:


A Jack-in-the-box and a biscuit tin.

We visited the Pavilion -- at last! I've wanted to see inside it for years and it was worth the wait. I don't terribly enjoy 'stately homes' on the whole and find them stuffy, but this was such a wonderful fantasy and so over the top. There were even palm trees in the kitchen, and dragons everywhere.
     You couldn't take photos inside the Pavilion and all my exterior shots were grey and fuzzy, like the weather. The only shots that came out were of this pigeon and squirrel in the gardens outside:

They were perched on different branches of the same tree. The pigeon, a rather battered specimen, was minding its own business when the squirrel threw the nut it was eating at it and then leapt after the nut. The poor pigeon got such a shock it almost fell onto my head. The squirrel has a naughty gleam in its eye in my photo but I've perked up the background on Photoshop as it was so grey.

The most exciting thing we went to see was The House of Vernacular, at a venue called Fabrica in an old church in the centre of Brighton. This was part of the Brighton Photo Biennale and consisted of seven linked rooms, all curated by my favourite photographer (and collector), Martin Parr. Parr's curatorial hand was so exuberantly upon these seven mini-exhibitions that it felt as though he could have taken all the photos himself -- wonderful. There was a room of Brazilian family portraits 'enhanced' with highly stylised overpainting; a room of photos showing the kitsch interiors of dictators' private aeroplanes in the Fifties and Sixties; Bogota street photography; wonky-looking babies lovingly posed in front of luscious phoney backdrops (flower-filled meadows and so on); a collection of litter bins and some saturated slideshows of Americans and Germans enjoying the good times between the wars. All highly enjoyable.

A Brazilian 'retrato pintado'
It was quite hard to return home to the solid life we lead here in Hertfordshire. Above all, I love Brighton because it's...
Rollercoaster structure

3 comments:

Lilli said...

I like a good story; usually so many pictures, so few words on blogs! Looking forward to more; and I too love the little plastic, deers - so fragile and adorable.

Kitsch and Curious Elaine said...

Ooh, jealousy... I love Brighton, but I haven't been for years. That top photo of yours is fantastic - I love the light and the colours. Looks like you had a great time - and plastic deer too! Brilliant!

Country Cottage Chic said...

What a lovely trip for you & your daughter!

I would have bought the reindeer too....I have a bit of a vintage reindeer "thing" at the moment!

Jayne