Just Go: Brighton

BY
AHMED MOKGOPO

If you ever asked me about the greatest invention, my answer would without hesitation be the aeroplane. Although I’ve never been asked this question and would cringe at the mere thought of indulging such a question – cause let’s face it ‘there’s a ton of dope inventions out there’ – I now think I have the perfect answer to a seemingly simple question. With quiet yet decisive coolness here’s why I think the plane is the greatest invention:

The planes importance has got little to do with the inflight experience, or the unlikely chance of joining the Mile High club, but rather the uncontainable excitement of arriving and immersing yourself in the coolest, hippest and trendiest destination in a matter of hours.  I got to absorb, let loose and go wild in one of the UK’s quirkiest little cities, and experienced the charms and an understanding of Britain’s historic obsession with Brighton for over a year.

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There are very few cites in the world that can boast to offer hip and trendy urban vibes without pushing out the poor or coming off as artificial. Without traces of a visible class struggle or gentrified debris, located on the beach, an hour south of London, with more hip shops, restaurants and rhythmic bars than one can visit, Brighton offers an eclectic experience for all who live, work, and play within its mixed use spaces. Brighton is an eccentric city that never sleeps. The bohemianesque North Laines offers everything from dingy flea markets, funky cafes, offbeat designers and handmade crafts and paintings. Wandering through the North Laines whether it is day or night is always an ideal way to immerse in the city’s vibrancy.

If you find yourself wandering through the Laines, the heart and soul of the city, you’ll soon find your feet trotting over pebbles as you soak up the cosmopolitan vibes around you and find yourself drifting towards the tranquil melody of waves which are enough to clear any mind and ascend you into a trancelike state under the bright night sky. I had a slightly obstructed view of the sea front and pier that was dreamlike, hearing the hustle and bustle of the Friday night crowds, or the swooshing sounds of the calming sea left me ever present and in an intensely liberating state of mind.

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The architecture in central Brighton characterizes the opulence and excesses of the 19th century capitalist class. Built by George IV, the Royal Pavilion has unique character and is definitely an architectural masterpiece. Brighton always suited George IV, being the extravagant and vain man he was. The building very much mirrors this, the royal interior, the intricate detail of the building’s exterior and the lush green gardens. Extravagance is an understatement. His debauched lifestyle is mirrored in this masterpiece and it is definitely a part of Brighton’s character and presence. The pavilion transforms into nothing short of a royal extravaganza every winter when the paths are lit along with flashy lights and the sounds of children and party goers alike light up the palace grounds as they soar and glide across the icy surface.

 If you’re like me, and can only function on a satisfied stomach, there are over 5000 different restaurants and cafés in Brighton. When they say seaside food they don’t just mean ‘Fish’n’ chips’ or ‘dunkin donuts’. From mouthwatering South Asian Chaats, to spicy East Asian Nasi Gorang, you can find everything and more in this city. Brighton has an appetite for gourmet burgers, which has become even more memorable with the arrival of MEATliquor to the city. With a lively atmosphere, UV lights and a range of liquors to quench the thirst of Britain’s unappeasable boozers, it is definitely a dining experience to remember.  Further into the Laines you find food and craft beers and an unparalleled range of vegetarian mouth water delicacies.

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Brighton’s bizarre appeal draws Londoners that colonize the city streets every weekend, if you want to escape the commotion and cosmopolitan city vibes temporarily, a few kilometers north of the sea front you’ll find Devils Dyke. This tranquil spot nestled within the South Downs National Park has spectacular views and instagram worthy views #nofilter.  Devils Dyke is 100m deep v-shaped valley -which is a result of massive soil erosion due to freezing and melting of soil. This geological process has transformed this area into a remarkable paradise perfect for hiking, picnics and gliding for adrenaline junkies.

Brighton is otherworldly and can often times leave you in the surrealists of existential stupors. My time there absolutely flew by with moments of chaos, confusion and lots of laughter. I probably wouldn’t be able to dub my time there as ‘my best year yet’ if it weren’t for the ingenious invention of the plane. This proves my cool yet quiet confidence in it being the greatest invention, though a ship could’ve allowed me the same experience, in addition to disapproving my claim regarding the nifty plane, but hey, I did add in a disclaimer stating that ‘there are a ton of dope inventions out there’- Go explore.  

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