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Last weekend saw the end of British Summer time, and you could tell it in the weather. I was heading down to Brighton with Clare, to go to a meeting of people I knew over the Internet. I used to do this a lot, spending most of my weekends over university bouncing between Newcastle, London, Durham, Wales, Nottingham, Ayr, Portsmouth. I kind of wish I’d kept all the various train tickets I was going though at the time, especially when my student loan reminders come though.

Brighton, though, I’ve only been to a few times. Once or twice with family and friends of same, last time to go watch the entire run though of Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, and this time to go see people who I normally only see while pretending to be other people, for this was a LARP meet, which means a whole host of people I know better as “Third cat-person on the left, the one with a spear” than, say, “Brian”. My plans, such as I made them, were to catch the last train back from Brighton, for I had been unable to get crash space. Once there, however, I was soon offered somewhere to sleep by Sam and Rhi, who I saw LOTR with all those years ago.

For the celebration of the end of the summer, the extra hour granted to us between 2am and, confusingly, 2am, the Brighton and Hove Arts Commission had organised the White Night, where installations, galleries, presentations, tours and general things of interest were to be open until the early hours of the morning, and various people at the meet – including my gracious and glorious hosts – were planning on going. The swimming pool was open, with underwater speakers broadcasting only to those below the surface, and rubber ducks and boards above. A cardboard city was being built from boxes decorated by the people walking though, The galleries were open, and some of the buildings had been lit for the occasion.

In the middle of the square in the city centre ten foot high letters, painted in blackboard paint, had been erected to spell the word “Love”, and then painted throughout the day:

LOVE by monkeymillions, on Flickr
(The best picture of the LOVE public art thing that I could find. Taken by MonkeyMillions on Flickr)

From there at midnight started the Lit-Lit Trail, a walk around various places in Brighton, each specially lit for the event. At each we heard a story from Brighton’s history read to us by (I think) William Shaw), stories of poisoned chocolate; of Kings, Regents and Lovers; of the first civil partnership in the uk; and the First World War. The Commission have made (terrible quality, unfortunately) MP3s of the tour available at the White Night web site, and I’d recommend doing it. Fascinating stuff.

All in all, a far better way to spend the extra hour of the autumn than sleeping, which was my other option. Though next time, I’ll try not to be in Brighton at – subjectively – 4am wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

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