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on 4 October 2003
I picked up Nigel Richardson's 'Breakfast in Brighton' as I was leaving Brighton after my first visit. If I hadn't fell in love with the place anyway than this book reaffirmed it. As the train made slow progress back to London I felt like getting off and going back.
We see Brighton from every angle, historical and cultural and are left with an idea of the place as a way of life, a place of adventure and something that you can't get anywhere in England.
A very involving book -- like the other reviewer I was left hanging on for a resolution to the 'adventure' but maybe it wasn't necessary; maybe the story stops when you leave Brighton.
There are plenty of stories there to tell, and Richardson does a great job of telling them.
See you all in Brighton soon!
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on 2 May 2016
I've owned x3 copies reason being I've lent two copies out that have never been returned to me they themselves having been passed forward. This is my 'go to' book to connect again with the multi layered feel of Brighton and Hove. It captures the smells emotions connectedness and unique sensations that only Brighton can trigger. I'll keep on re reading this book it has the smell of the sea and streets inside its covers.
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on 5 August 2015
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

I strongly suspect that this book, in its final form, is not the one that its author Nigel Richardson originally set out to write.

I think he planned to rent a flat in Brighton for a few months, make contact with some of its quirky residents, get them to tell him their stories and then he would write it all up.

It doesn't quite work out like that. Yes, Richardson does come across some quirky residents but he is as much rebuffed as he is welcomed. When he does succeed in making contact with willing participants, he produces some interesting copy. The account of the life of a former rent boy, Graham, is harrowing and probably the best part of the book.

In the absence of new material, he falls back on anecdotes about old Brighton which have been rehearsed before, for example, the tourists gawping at Rudyard Kipling as he sat in his garden at Rottingdean.

Richardson is also curiously disengaged from some of his encounters. He embarks on a fish catching expedition with local fishermen but spends most of the time below decks. He also spends a lot of time in the company of clairvoyants and mediums whilst ridiculing them.

And his research is sloppy. He speculates on whether the Blue Gardenia murder might have happened (p126). Well, it did, in 1962. On page 186, he makes the claim that Vita Sackville-West was cremated in Brighton. She wasn't, but her mother was.

The book is an enjoyable read and Richardson has a nifty turn of phrase, but, for me, there is a phoniness about the whole construct.
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on 1 August 1999
This is a fantastic book that covers many fascinating facts about Brighton's murky history. I have lived here for 4 years and it was an enlightening read - I certainly look around the streets with opened eyes (having learnt of the Trunk Murders etc...!) It's not a history book, though, as contempory Brighton is portrayed just as vividly and lovingly as the past. The author is obviously deeply in love with the place, as am I (and anyone else in their right mind should be). I have given 4 crowns instead of 5 because the ending trails off somewhat at a critical point the reader has been building up to throughout the book. Perhaps the author is planning a follow-up - I certainly hope so, but I felt rather cruelly let down!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2013
On a slow news day in August 2013, and according to a dubiously credible poll by travel website called Real Holiday Reports, Brighton and Hove was voted Britain's worst holiday resort. Some tourists accusing the city of being "too trendy" and too "full of bohemians and bad art". Yes, exactly! As Nigel Richardson explains with wit, charm and eloquence, it's all part of the myriad, enduring appeal of the city. Always the same, always different.

I adored this book. That said, it ticks all my boxes. History, and plenty of it: local, personal, social, and cultural. And it's mainly focussed on Brighton and Hove, one of my favourite places in the world, and a place I know very well indeed having lived here on and off since the early 1980s.

Nigel Richardson returned to Brighton and Hove after a gap of 20 years and attempted to capture the spirit of the place. He succeeded - and how. Lodging with a theatrical landlady he takes us through the city's mythology, landmarks, pubs, art, communities, murders, literature, diversity, architecture, and history, whilst also introducing us to some of his friends and other local characters. As a reasonably well informed resident, I found this book to be an engaging, meandering trove of triv. I felt sad as I reached the last few pages, wanting the book to last longer.

Nigel Richardson has also written another book about Soho - Dog Days In Soho: One Man's Adventures In Fifties Bohemia by Richardson, Nigel (2001). Soho is another part of England for which I hold a long and enduring fascination. I cannot wait to read it.
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on 13 November 2013
An appropriate find in the Saturday North Laine street market.

Skimmed through only to alight on the word `polari'. What a wonderful word, used to describe Georgian slang popular with the likes of Kenneth Williams - Bona, lallies, vada, palone etc. On such whims are books bought from a roadside stall.

Got home to find the reviews were very positive so expected a fine read.

What a treat I was in for. Pure magic.

I now have a problem as to what book to read next, `Breakfast in Brighton' being a hard act to follow.
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2006
This book starts in the style of a personal narrative - "This is how I wrote this book on Brighton", and then manages to weave in explorations of the author's particular interests.

I was sufficiently taken by the analysis of Brighton Rock to re-read it after this. The Brighton presented (which predates my own experience by a long way!) is understood to be no more real than any other recreation of the past - e.g. the London of Dickens and Sherlock Holmes.

The book wanders around in the way that life itself does, mixing anecdote and experience. It then surprises at the end by becoming a histrical detective story (no spoliers, just a mention of a painting and a boat trip) then stops without resolution.

A haunting read, well recommended
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on 6 November 2003
This booked had remained on my book shelf after being bought, for a good few months. Until finally I picked it up, as a lunch time read. It has now turned into a 'any spare minute read'! It is un put down able. The story line grips you, and the mix of fiction with non; entices you to researching about what really has gone on in Brightons history.
An excellent book that I would highly recommend to others.
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on 6 September 2015
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