We spent a night at Arundel, in a boutique hotel. We weren't quite the oldest people there. At our table for the evening meal an ice bucket and fizzy wine was awaiting us. I could get used to being middle aged.
I've been blasting away writing prose, following on from last year's burst of activity. I've been giving rein to my Kundera/Julian Barnes tendencies, trying to get the story/essay balance right, trying not let the past take over. Few new poems, but I've been sending old ones off - I've 30 things in the post, including over 70 pounds-worth of competition entries. I'm not counting my chickens, I'm making hay - in writing and more generally. That said, I'm burnt out writing-wise just at the moment, so the Arun break was timely.
On the way back we stopped at Brighton. Straight and tattooless I could have felt out of place there, even on a Sunday, but it's easy to enjoy the scene - like Camden? Like Berlin with a beach? Not really, but it's fun. I picked up the programmes of festivals and learnt a lot of jargon - ghetto funk, lo-fi, dubstep, riot grrrl. The tattoo convention has a new venue this year with natural lighting and beautiful views. At the Brighton Fringe there's
- Naked Boys Reading (£9.50 for a 1hr show) - "Five naked men deliver readings on, by and about 'women'".
- Naked Girls Reading (£10 for a 1hr 30m show) - "an intimate show where beautiful women read naked. It's a witty, pretty, grown-up bedtime story for lovers of fine words and fine women".
I hadn't realised that the Royal Pavilion had been a hospital for Indian soldiers. It's a strange story of image management. In Brighton, names and image matter. Shop names include "Barber Blacksheep", "Wooden It Be Nice", "Abra Kebabra" etc. My favourite is "Brighton Wok". Beware - "Singles Bar" sells records.