January 31, 2014

This Is My Town: Brighton
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

This Is My Town: Brighton

Welcome to our brand new monthly feature, This Is My Town. Each month, we'll be chatting to one of our lovely hmv staff at our stores around the country, where they will give you the lowdown on everything that's happening in their local area. To kick off, we talked to Olly at hmv Brighton


First things first: I’ve arrived in Brighton, I’ve got a couple of hours to kill – where’s the best place to get a drink and some food?

“You probably want to head to the North Laine area, which is just in between the train station and the Royal Pavilion. There are loads of good pubs down that way, including The Prince Albert, The Basketmakers and The Heart in Hand. If you don’t fancy pub grub there’s also a load of restaurants there. There’s a really good Mexican called La Choza and a great Indian place called The Chilli Pickle.”

Where are the best / most unusual music nights happening? Are there any club nights that Brighton residents / visitors should go to?

“Probably the most unusual is a night called The Outer Church. It happens in various different venues and they specialise in things like hauntology, occult electronica and warped folk music. It’s pretty unusual stuff! If you’re after somewhere where you just want to go and have a bit of a dance, there’s a couple of nights at The Haunt that are pretty popular with my colleagues, they do a good 80s night and a 90s night, a bit cheesy with some more credible stuff in there as well. If you’re more into rock, there’s a night called Riff ‘til you’re Stiff at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. Also, The Green Door Store do some really good nights – Donuts is a hip-hop night, they also do one called Well Rounded which is more electronica, there’s Ye Ye Fever, which is world music, and another called Splitting the Atom, which is more experimental.”

Of all the venues in Brighton, which is the best?

“I’d find it pretty hard to choose just one to be honest. I feel like the Green Door Store is probably the hippest venue in town, but I really like The Prince Albert for more intimate gigs and Sticky Mike’s has really come into its own over the last year or so, it’s a small basement venue but they put on some really interesting stuff.”

I’m going out dancing and I want to look good – where do I get the best clobber?

“Obviously it depends on what you’re into but I’d say the most popular look in Brighton is a bit vintage, and there are quite a lot of good shops for that kind of stuff – there’s one called Beyond Retro and another called To Be Worn Again. Immediate Clothing is pretty good for basics like jeans and t-shirts and stuff. If you’re a Mod there’s also great place called Jump The Gun that does all that kind of thing.”


Scooter outside Jump The Gun
Scooter outside Jump The Gun
The Prince Albert, Trafalgar Street    (images by Paul Hudson / Beverly Goodwin, CC)
The Prince Albert, Trafalgar Street (images by Paul Hudson / Beverly Goodwin, CC)

Does Brighton have any famous sons or daughters? Or any famous residents?

“Well, he’s not from here originally but the most significant famous resident in my opinion is Nick Cave, who is often seen around town, bit of a local character! There’s loads of other people though who have either come from here or settled here – Norman Cook & Zoë Ball, Steve Coogan, Chris Eubank, Jordan, Noah Taylor, also Matt King who plays Super Hans in Peep Show. They’ve all been into the store at least once or twice, they’re all local faces.”

Are there any good local radio shows / stations?

“I guess the mainstream option would be Juice FM, but if you want something a bit more alternative I’d recommend Radio Reverb, which has got lots more cool and weird shows, it’s much more varied than your average radio station and it’s all run by volunteers, so quite a few good things to check out on there.”

Are there any Brighton bands / artists / DJs we should be looking out for?

"I think there are two Brighton bands that are probably going to do big things this year and those are Royal Blood and The Wytches. They’ve both got a lot of coverage in the music press and both should have albums out this year. Brighton also has a really good metal scene and I definitely recommend the bands War Wolf and Sea Bastard. I should also say that several of us working in the store are in bands ourselves, so check out Gorse, The Rocket Dolls, Fighting Fiction and Fools Empire. I’m sure there are more that I’ve forgotten!”

What’s Brighton’s best-kept secret?

“I’m going to say that its best-kept secret is my local pub’s beer garden. The Signalman has the best beer garden in town, but it’s stayed secret as it’s a little bit out of the city centre. I’ve spent a significant part of the summer sat in that beer garden and it’s a brilliant thing that not many people know about.”

If you could change one thing about Brighton, what would it be and why?

“I’ve got to say, the sheer amount of hipsters in town gets a little bit tiresome, but at the same time it’s part of what gives Brighton its atmosphere, so I’m going to say honestly if I could change one thing it would be the house prices. I’d like somewhere a little bit bigger and it’s quite expensive to live here.”

What’s the one thing I should do in Brighton before I leave?

“Well, it has nothing to do with any of the stuff we’ve been talking about but if you’re visiting I think you should definitely go down and check out the beach, because it’s one of the best things about Brighton. Even if it’s not a hot summer’s day, it’s still worth going for a walk along there, especially if you’re coming down from London or another big city, it’s good to breathe in some of that sea air!”

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