BRIGHTON: Back By The Sea

I was far too excited to sleep. In all my memories, I can’t think of a time when I was honestly more turnt. Life was ecstasy and it was mine, and so I got myself up at two o’clock in the morning and impatiently waited for the time to pass so that Jessica and I could hurry off to England.

England has never called to my soul the way that France and Egypt do. Or the way that Los Angeles does. I appreciate it for what it is and for the great comedy it has given me, but I’ve never thought of myself moving to England permanently. I have considered it as a temporary measure, of course, since I’d like to take classes at University College London, and it is true that my dream job is to work in the Egyptological wings of the British Museum. I’ve tried several times to get a job there. I always receive polite emails in response saying, basically, “LOL NO!” That’s fine, I carry on with it; whenever I see a position that vaguely fills my ambition of wandering through the halls away from the general public, up close and personal with statues and papyri, I download the application and send it in. I’ve even applied to be a janitor. It’ll happen eventually. I’m sure the people in the jobs center are well aware of my name, and I know that the director of the Egyptology department has to know of me, too. I like EVERY photo he posts on Instagram, all but one, and he has less than a hundred followers. I have more, and I know most of them by name if they’re active on my profile. (HEY GUYS!) So, I’m going to get there someday. It’s all about patience. I have none of that. That’s why I was awake at two o’clock.

Now, I think getting up in the morning is an awful thing. However, whenever I’m up, I think it’s rather lovely to sip tea in the cool night air as I stare moodily off into the distance. Basically I’m always modeling. And it’s so quiet when all the world is asleep. I can write in peace, I can catch up on the Internet, I can read, I can think, and time seems to go at a different rate. It’s very peaceful, and I really should do it more often. Perhaps I will. (I NEVER WILL.)

Jessica woke up, very mean, and she was not nearly as excited as I was about heading off to England. I guess I failed to explain why exactly I was high on life. If it all went according to plan (and *SPOILER* it certainly did not, but it all worked out) the day promised to be one of the finest I ever lived through. I was going to wander through the biggest ancient Egyptian show of the year at the British Museum, I was going to sit on the beach in my favorite English town, and I was going to finally see the Absolutely Fabulous movie in theaters. God, I get a rush just thinking back on it! Anyway, she was tired, but she was soon ready to go, and so we scurried off into the Métro and then into the RER. It was all going according to plan until everything went terribly wrong. You see, the RER just wasn’t going. There was no reason, but all of the trains were delayed by thirty minutes. THIS WAS NOT GOOD.

The RER finally came, and it was gorgeous and brand new and beyond luxurious. I have never seen a train like that one before or since. Still, we made it to the train station just as we were supposed to finish checking in. The gate, of course, had closed a few minutes before we scanned our tickets…and the train left without us. I was infuriated. It wasn’t anybody’s fault there, though, so I couldn’t stamp my foot and glare. This isn’t America, so that wouldn’t work anyway. French people, bless them, just go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and then light a cigarette. They’re wonderful. I love them.

The Eurostar customer service was decent, though, and for a minor charge we got tickets on the next train which left in a half hour. The ticket lady said ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and then I said ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and then we were in line to go through immigration. British immigration has always been awful. I don’t understand it. They glare and ask three hundred questions about everything. I assume the woman who took my passport voted out in the Brexit debacle. I didn’t like her.

The train was delayed, but finally it got to moving, and a slow and painful two hours later, we were in London. It’s pretty remarkable that something like that train even exists. You can go back and forth between two major European capitals several times in a day. The future is charming. We dropped our luggage off at a storage center and headed out on the town.

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St. Pancras hotel looks gorgeous.

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It’s certainly no Paris.

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Russell Square Park, one of my favorite spots in London. I once melancholically ate a Krispy Kreme donut there whilst contemplating how meaningless existence is and the vastness of the Universe. I don’t recommend it. I still recommend donuts, though. Especially chocolate ones with sprinkles. God that sounds good. Do they make donuts anywhere in Paris?

Because terrorists are intent on ruining everything, there is a new security check going into the British Museum where they have to inspect your bag for guns and bombs and whatever else those horrible people use. Jessica and I must not look particularly threatening, since we were waved through the priority line without an inspection. This was utterly charming, of course, since I am addicted to anything even verging on exclusive. But, it was also worrying. Nobody looks like a terrorist, you know? What if they had made some horrific decision just because I was wearing well fitted pants and a gorgeous GAP shirt? They didn’t of course, and then we were in the museum.

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It’s a joy. It’s a delight. It’s filled to bursting with people! I had forgotten how infuriating tourist season is. I refuse to believe that I am a tourist, and I seriously don’t think I am…even though I am going to tourist destinations and am currently on holiday. I’m just deranged, I suppose. I do have multiple sclerosis, after all, so I suppose my white blood cells are feasting on the nerves in my brain that have to do with rationality.

We were soon in the exhibition (which didn’t allow any photography, ugh), and it was good, but I had been expecting something a bit more!

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I suppose that after you’ve actually been to Egypt and had columns and pyramids towering over you, a bunch of beautiful statues don’t make you gasp in awe. The ancient Egyptians must have been very ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about art since it was all around them. The people at the exhibit, though, were fabulously in love with everything they saw and were reading EVERY sign and discussing EVERYTHING. It was exhausting. “Isn’t it marvelous, Joel, how they carved a pleated skirt.” “OIE TRACY, look at this ring!” On and on and on in my ear as I’m  trying to admire the stele. It became impossible to look at anything in peace. Oh well. I did love the objects on display, there was an especially impressive statue of an Apis Bull. Looked almost like it was brand new for being several thousand years old.

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I finally realized why I found the remnants of Thonis-Heraclean a bit meh. I’m not a Ptolemaic ho, I’m a New Kingdom ho. I never cared much for the end of ancient Egypt. Too depressing. I prefer it at its height with crazy pharaohs changing religion, queens importing trees from mysterious locales, and others building gorgeous temples. I have no time or space in my brain for Greco-Roman nonsense. Their hieroglyphs are unintelligible when compared to Middle Egyptian. But…I’m boring you.

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Jessica and I left the exhibit and went for a bit of cheeky banter at Nando’s. If you are unfamiliar with that meme, I’m not going to get into it. I don’t rightly understand it myself, but that is the nature of any good meme. It speaks to the soul. The staff was great, but the food was meh. I have been several times, always for the same joke, and I have never rightly understood why exactly it’s such a popular eatery in England.

We hurried back to the train station, gathered our bags, popped into the Tube, emerged at Victoria station, grabbed our tickets, jumped on a train, and were soon chugging southwards toward our beloved BRIGHTON.

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We discovered this city a few years back when we went for a little day trip to see Dawn French. In the hours we were there, we fell madly in love with the culture, the beach, the shops, and the easygoing people. So, we determined that we had to go back for longer this time. I found a nice looking apartment on AirBNB for two nights, and we have been on pins and needles ever since! Today was finally the day.

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The moment we got off the train, I was in heaven. There were trash cans everywhere, shop windows screamed, “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS,” and people were handing out free coffee and Pepsi samples. It was literally like passing through the pearly gates into the bliss of the afterlife.

Our apartment was a bit of a walk, but it wasn’t bad. Jessica was dying, of course, and it was a bit more out of the way than the host had led on, but it was still a beautiful apartment — in a hideous building — but it did have a view of the sea, a full kitchen, fast wifi, and wasn’t in a district that made me think I was going to die.

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After a quick rest, we were out on the town, slurping up delectable gelato, strolling down the pier, lounging on the beach and trying to recreate Jessica’s most iconic photo ever. I scream with laughter every time I see it. I’m screaming right now. You may scream with me:

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Here’s as close as I got. Not great, but there is a severed hand.

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We were, obviously, starving after eating a hearty luncheon and an enormous cone of ice cream, so we got up, brushed beach detritus off us, and hurried to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. It was hella hipster inside — loads of galvanized metal and exposed beams and artisanal cocktails and nonsense. Hipsters are ridiculous. Nothing was served on a repurposed shovel blade or in a jar, but there was a multitude of Edison bulbs on display. I tutted disapprovingly at them and ordered a three course meal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The waitress was rather awful, but the food I had was good, if uninspired. For starters, I had a dish of fried mushrooms, for the main, I had a really nice tomato salad with very fresh burrata cheese, and then an awfully common chocolate lava cake for dessert. It was overpriced, but it was satisfying. Jessica didn’t care much for anything she had. Even though the food was hardly special, they made me a drink that was HELLA GOOD. I haven’t a clue what it was called but it had equal parts of: cranberry juice, lemon, amaretto, and simple syrup. I was blessed by that beverage.

We were physically and emotionally exhausted, but still hungry, of course, so we headed off to the movie theater to see Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. I floated gracefully. Jessica clomped down the street screeching about blisters on her feet. The movie theater was creepy in that way that abandoned malls are creepy. It was enormous, but there were very few people. Just a couple sad people at the concession stand wearing ill fitting hats. We paid extra for what were allegedly more luxurious seats. In reality, these turned out to be seats with a bit more legroom in the back but with a mediocre view of the screen, so, we moved. Waste of a quid.

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Then, after a few advertisements about people drowning — Brighton must have some kind of epidemic — the film began, and I was in heaven. It did not disappoint in any way. Absolutely Fabulous was absolutely fabulous and completely lived up to the legacy of the show. I did not have a single moment where I was unhappy. In fact, I left that theater a better human being. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are my forever queens and heroes and inspirations. I love them more than I can put into words, both as their iconic characters and as genuinely wonderful people.

If you don’t know about Absolutely Fabulous, you need to, so here’s an abridged explanation. Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone are best friends. They’re drunk and drugged, they don’t care a thing about anything but themselves, they adore each other, they’re horrible, and they’re completely hilarious. (I’m basically their love child.) Patsy is fashionable, elegant, and nearly immortal. Edina is overweight, rich, and has the fashion sense of Helen Keller. She has a daughter, Saffron, who is her complete opposite and is a complete annoyance. It’s so much better than I can ever describe it, so you must watch. The show changed my life. I’m not kidding.

In one of my favorite scenes, Patsy is asked why she sticks around. She stops and thinks for a moment, then she says, “Because it’s bloody good fun.” And that, dear readers, is my philosophy on life. Just have some fun. Everything is awful and looks like it is going to continue to be that way for the time being, so just have a laugh. I laughed heartily and I’ll be quoting the movie until they bury me.

Then, utterly exhausted after being up for nearly twenty-four hours, we hurried back to our apartment and slept blissful sleep. (After Jessica whinged about her feet and her legs and her bug bites and her sunburn. Honestly, reader, I don’t understand how she’s still alive.)

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2 responses to “BRIGHTON: Back By The Sea

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