|Location: Brighton, England|
|Local time: Monday, 1:50pm|
|Music: Dub 'n Bass - a tripomatic jazz experience|
The weather can actually be nice in England. It's given me a fair few days of no t-shirt weather, while I've been working outside. I've been in England for about two weeks now, having managed to score a job a few days after I arrived, working for a rediculously rich family (owner/director of Britain's largest bed manufacturer/retailer). It's been a long time since I've done manual labour for a job (other than humping my 20+ kg flag-adorned backpack and guitar around the world), and it was a nice change. From cutting their massive lawn, or sanding/oiling wooden outdoor furniture, to masonry work and making oak tongue-and-groove cabinet doors. All cash in hand.
I like that phrase. 'Cash in hand' is what has gotten me this far for so long. My family has often wondered how I get by without having a regular job or not really doing much work (is it that obvious?!), and that's a nice succinct way of replying: "cash in hand Mum, cash in hand." These 7 days of work, plus another confirmed upcoming job in France, will allow me to carry on well into August or later if I'm good with it. I also played a low-key gig on Friday night at a little English bar in suburban London. Every little bit helps. (And it's always pleasing to convert British pounds sterling back into NZ dollars - by tripling it).
But now I'm back in Brighton ("London by the sea"), with friends Ron and Hayley. They've just got two pure-bred Burmese kittens, so there's never a dull moment here. Travelling doesn't expose me to that many domestic animals (bar a few people I've met along the way) and I miss cats sometimes.
On Tuesday I fly back to France (Grenoble), play a gig Thursday night at a bar in the city, then take a train south to Nice, ultimately getting to Beaulieu Sur Mer, an upmarket village 6km from Nice, in the Cote d'Azur (french riviera). Through my brother I've landed a temporary (one month) job on a 61-foot 1929 restored British lifeboat, owned by a cool french friend of his, whom I met while in St. Maarten. For a long time I've wanted to visit that part of France, so I'm looking forward to this.
Brighton ain't so bad. It's much less-hectic than London, and although the beach is comprised of small round stones and not sand, when combined with the famous Brighton Pier (bristling with fish 'n chip shops, hot dog stands and amusement rides), it has a festive air about it. Like there's something about to happen. It's full of foreign students who come to the university here to study English, and has some of the best clubs in England (my ears were ringing for days after!). If I had to live in England, I reckon this place would be one of my picks. But, like London, it can be a pricey place.
Last weekend I went on the May Day Run with Hayley and Ron. It's an annual motorbike ride from Kent to Hastings, now involving some 20,000 bikes. Ron was on his Fireblade, Hayley on her CBR600F, and I was lucky enough to use a friend's one-month old 2006 Buell XB12R Firebolt. Fun fun! I haven't ridden much since leaving NZ, and it was great to ride such an amazing 1200cc V-twin bike for the day.
Quintessential Brighton - the famous sheds lining the waterfront for as far as the eye can see.
Apparently it can be as much as £20,000 (almost US$40,000) to buy one of these!
The ice-cold waters of southern England lie just beyond those garden sheds!
Testament to the loads of money around here, I noticed this million-dollar Ferarri Enzo at the end of the street.
The guy owns the local pizza/pasta restaurant (boy, there must be money in Pizza!). Still, give me a
400kph Bugatti Veyron any day...
The sea of bikes in Hastings, our destination on the May Day Run.
Bikes, bikes, everywhere....
My bike for the day - a Buell XB12R Firebolt. It's got loads of torque, sounds amazing (Ducati-ish),
and bizarre advanced tech features (fuel kept in the frame, oil in the swingarm, rubber chain-drive
etc), but I'm not sure about the looks. It's an acquired taste I think. I'm yet to acquire it. But it
was definitely a unique bike on the day, among the large Japanese contingent of sports bikes,
and drew a few discerning stares.
Lots of hot bikes everywhere. Took me a while to notice the custom upside-down numbering on the Ducati though!
(the left bike).
The photo doesn't really show it, but the roads were completely jammed with motorcycles. It took us
quite a while to actually find somewhere to stop and park the bikes.
Hayley joined me for a few songs, during my bar gig on Friday night.
(We used to be in a band together).
The famous Brighton Pier, half a kilometre long.
The pier, seen from another angle.
The old West Pier, built in the late 1800s,
but now destroyed by nature, and by fire.
Once a high-society feature attraction that the city was proud of and the country envious of, it's now looking rather derelict.
Yet it still remains one of the most photographed sites in Brighton.
Looking along the beach towards the end of the city. Shame it's not golden sands here.
Brighton's very own crop circles. I'm not entirely sure what this guy's motivation was, but it passes the time I guess.
The Royal Pavillion, built by George III and begun from a simple farmhouse in the late 1700s.
Brighton's very own Taj Mahal.
The little terrors - 'Rani' (Bengali for 'queen') and 'Nala' (Simba's girlfriend in the Lion King ).
It was a hell of a job to get a decent photo of them, as they're constantly romping around
the house at high speed.
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