Brighton, the "antithesis of England" as Nigel Richardson describes it towards the beginning of his lyric to a unique town, Breakfast in Brighton: Adventures on the Edge of Britain
. On the edge of England, certainly--Richardson makes much of his sea- front garret in a Regency square, café and pub life by the sea--but also Brighton as a place to live "on the edge": Richardson's Brighton is as much a state of mind as a geographical space, a refuge from the banality of everyday life. It's a fascinating tale, drawing on various real and mythic moments in Brighton's past (the Brighton Trunk Murders, the filming of Brighton Rock
, the "Sea Monster" dredged up by fishermen in the mid-19th century) as well as the story of the painting which haunts this book: "Breakfast in Brighton", painted around 1950 by Edward le Bas. Inviting his readers to join him in his (visitor's) homage to the diversity, and exuberance, of the cultures around him-- "Brighton has a rare genius for moving with the times yet remaining the same", he muses on his journey through the North Laines--Richardson casts himself as a modern day flaneur, a man on the track of the history embedded in the fabric, and spectacle, of urban life. --Vicky Lebeau
A hugely entertaining portrait of one of Britain's coolest towns.