It’s Pride, this weekend in Brighton. The rainbow flags have been up since last weekend (those that aren’t there usually, I mean) but today’s the day and there is lots of colour all around town. Which is just as well, as it’s been raining all afternoon, so the colours livened up an otherwise grey and pretty miserable day. The first day in August and it rained on the coast of East Sussex.
Still, no one who was here especially for Pride let it ruin their day, it seems, as the streets were packed. At the other end of town, by the marina, there is no sign of the festivities at all. There are still rainbow flags in places but this is Brighton – you find them everywhere, all year round. But the general air at that end is quiet and subdued. That said, the old Volks Railway (the oldest running electric railway in the world, I believe), which runs from the marina to the Sea Life Centre, was still packed with idiots (oops, people), including me, my parents and a friend. One of the trains has no windows and is open to the elements, the other one has some windows and is open in places. Guess which one we were on… We were drenched.
Despite the pubs spilling out onto the streets, the cafés were surprisingly empty, so we went in one for some food before my folks and Helena (their neighbour and good friend) needed to get back for their train home. The station was a riot, British Transport Police were herding everyone like sheep, the inside of the station was cordoned off (WHY??? there’s loads of space inside) and getting back OUT of the station so I could get home… That was even worse. I’m sure some people forget that, just because there’s a festival on and there’s fun to be had, there are people who live in town as well, and those people just want to get home, dry off and settle down with a hot drink. Boring as that may sound (believe me, I’m not that old just yet), I was cold, wet and now on my own as my lovely man is away. The last thing I needed was to be stuck out in the rain for any longer than I had to be.
Back inside, said lovely man was online, which was rather nice, and I found some YouTube links I felt he should see: Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan at the O2 last month. Not only does Greg love NIN and we both think Numan is the dog’s whatsits, but we were there, so it brought back some amazing memories. We felt privileged to have been there for what may end up being the last London gig NIN ever play. I do like NIN but it’s only since the gig that I’ve been really quite turned on to them. One thing I’ve always thought they were excellent for is when we’re getting ready to go out (the more-make-up-than-clothes type going out). Reznor’s music is a real mood enhancer and sets me up for a decent, decadent night. I’m glad we both had the chance to see them for the first and perhaps only time. It was a blast. Thanks, TR – I kowtow to your undeniable genius.
Last week, we went to a rather more intimate gig – an acoustic double set by Mark Shaw and the current line-up of Then Jerico (forgive me, Mark, if you’re reading this, but I’ve forgotten their names). It had been a good ten years, perhaps twelve, since I last went to see Mark, having been used to seeing him play live practically every fortnight while I was at university in Ealing in the mid-90s, and it was great to see him again. It felt rather like seeing an old friend and, as I tend to be quite comfortable around musicians, famous/famous once/not famous/whatever, I found it as easy to talk to Mark as I always had, maybe even more so, since I’ve grown up somewhat since the last time I saw him and I wasn’t giggly and nervous, as I used to be around the person who was my first major crush. (If you do happen to be reading this, Mark, I think I hid the nervousness rather well – but it may have been obvious I had a thing for you. Hm.) Older he may be, wiser – debatable – but the young Mark is still in there fighting to get out. I was watching him after the gig as he was talking at the bar and his profile hadn’t changed even a smidgen. He still has the looks, he still has the charm and he is still surrounded by women. And he made me cry… because he sang ‘Breakdown in Paradise’ from his 1998 album ‘Orgasmaphobia’. I swear it’s the most beautiful, heartbreaking song he’s ever written, and he’s written some stunning ones in his time. When I told him it made me cry, I got an extra hug. That was nice.
Will there be more gigs between now and December, when we’ll be at the O2 again to see Placebo? Undoubtedly. Until those come to pass, I shall be watching DVDs and playing albums rather loudly, to get my hard rock fix. I would, seriously, go quite insane without it.
Keep on rockin’ in the free world, friends, and never ever take freedom for granted. (Thank you, Mr Neil Young, for that most excellent quote.) Peace.