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A Trip to the Seaside

Brighton: Not Southend-on-Sea, Racecourse, Regency Fops, Pier, The Grand, Like Pebbles on a Beach (‘kicked around, displaced by feet’).

Somehow, instead, I managed to find this. I have no idea what it is. I was wondering if Jamie could help me out?

Going Stir Crazy

If Sigur Ros isn’t your thing, here’s an alternative – #1 viral video this week

Matt Whistler’s Merry Christmas 2010 Southover Street Brighton from Convict Films on Vimeo.

It made me laugh.

WARNING: contains some nudity…


Thinking about jobs I have had (and there are many) this was one of the better ones; one I stuck with for a record amount of time in my mid-twenties.

Leaving aside the day that I had to take someone to the police station for stabbing someone in his kitchen, and the afternoon trapped in the office with someone in psychosis shouting about that nose, and perhaps drawing a veil over the flying chairs and drunks, I really enjoyed working in a St Mungo’s mental health project on Camden Road.

I worked with some cracking people, none more so than Sean. Whenever there was a breach, he would step into it. Crap and vomit in the toilets: no problem. Incontinent alcoholics: fine. Whatever my sensibility, he would ride through the shit to my rescue. The best craic was when we took people on a weekend work trip away to Brighton. This involved driving a minibus each, stuffed with mental health service users. Sean, being a true gent, offered to drive the “smoking” van which travelled the highyways and byways in a fug of smoke, leaving me free to drive the uptight, but with clear visibility “non-smoking” van. Hurray \o/

In retrospect I think the smoking van was having more fun (I bet *Ron was drinking Super Sickly Lager). My own van’s rear-view mirror was filled with miserable little Easter Island faces for the duration. The only hint of excitement was when I clipped a roundabout somewhere in Sussex, threatening to flip the transit van, which caused a minor ripple of consternation in the non-smokers.

We tried our best to show them a good time, but the weather and sandwiches conspired against us. We had to have a meeting to risk assess a proposed trip to the pub on the Saturday evening. I think I was left behind at the youth hostel, nominally “in charge”. Of course, I am still fairly incapable of doing “in charge” so when Sean arrived back to cope with another person who had had some kind of turn and was wandering around the public landing in an aggressive manner in his underpants I was eternally grateful to see him.

It was 1995 and when we got back to N7 on the Sunday (driving against the stream of London-Brighton charity cyclists) Sean and I fell into the pub to watch the Rugby World Cup and process the weekend’s madness and in so doing got completely lagging, laughed about everything until we fell off the stools and had to be forced out the door at the end of the night. Well, you had to unwind.

Of course, you can’t work at the sharp end of chaos indefinitely. Sean had come to Camden Road from working in homeless hostels and pretty much burned out in front of my eyes. I staggered on to another project in South London and then another in Brent where being stalked across London by someone one night to my flat burned me out too. I went to work in investment banks (a rest cure compared to mental health), Sean became a children’s entertainer and carried on with his acting and writing. They were the best of times.

A weekend in Brighton

*Ron was an old street-drinker who warrants an entire post of his own sometime.