Youth and music

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

Saturdays in the seventies
and me in middle teens
caught the bus oft into Brighton
forty-nine from Southwick Green
then went up to the Clock Tower
through the door and up the stairs
to listen to the music long
on cushions sprawled up there
Virgin Records, ah those halcyon days
for some a misspent youth
but the music that I heard has brought
a lifetime hence of truth

©Jemverse

Photo – from one in the authors’ collection

[Virgin Records moved into the building on the corners of North and Queens Roads by Brighton’s Clock Tower early in 1973. Next door was the old Regents Cinema, by then empty and disused. Both buildings were demolished in 1974 to make way for a new building now housing Boots the Chemist. Curved and on the corner, Virgin Records (the second in the country after London’s Oxford Street branch) was a three-quarters circle with a further semi-circle on a raised level behind. This raised level was covered with floor cushions with headphones for private listening. For a return fare of 20p I could take the 49 bus from the Green in Southwick (where I lived at the time) into Brighton where most Saturday mornings were spent lounging on Virgin’s listening floor cushions simply soaking up the sounds].

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The last West Pier II

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

I found it on the high tide line
after a night of fire
the Grand Old Lady of the sea
destroyed by spite and ire
Yet carried on an ebbing tide
along the coast to me
a memory of those boards I trod
now rescued from the sea
So though her grandeur is no more
complete her fall from grace
Brighton's West Pier always will
in history have her place

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics – Brighton’s closed West Pier, early 1980’s (pre fires).

On 28 March 2003 the pavilion at the end of the derelict West Pier in Brighton caught fire. Always presumed to have been the work of arsonists, yet never proven, it was still the final death knell for the grand old lady. Opened back in 1866 and surviving two world wars, the pier was sadly closed to the public in 1975. However, I still have fond memories of walking its promenade decks back in the 60s and early 70s. Who knows, I could have trodden the very board fragment I rescued and which now has pride of place in my back garden.

The pier head, summer 2002
My salvaged board fragment

There was lightning

Out to sea off Brighton
a flash lit up the night
there, just outside the Shelter Hall
fleetingly in sight
But pausing for a moment there
and waiting patiently
whilst rain fell there in splatters
I got a shot for me
We never heard the thunder
but there was lightning there for sure
coupled with the heavy rain
which fell as down it poured

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Gigsters Divine

Though many bands we've seen
it's been six years since last we all
were collectively 'the gigsters'
at least, as I recall
But last night for Divine Comedy
the 'Gigsters' were united
once again all six together
as each had been invited
'Divine' was most appropriate
as superlative this evening
the 'Gigsters' doing what we do
for friendship's steadfast meaning

©Jemverse

Photo of ‘The Gigsters’ – Mike Dillamore. Divine Comedy gig at Brighton Dome 29.4.22 (That’s me – Jem – in the hat on the end)

The February cast

Brighton Pavilion lit up at night
in the glow this February cast
provides for an image to capture and hold
for a memory I know will last
And though long we've lived here
and many times have before
seen this view by day and by night
it's always a pleasure never to fade
to again see this wonderful sight

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Days gone

In Regency Square
where once stood the Pier
Victorian splendour
still evident here
but time has moved on
and the 360 high
is now the feature
high up in the sky

Yet standing here now
the future I hold
is recalling the heyday
('cos yes, I'm that old)
when the West Pier still stood
as a visual feast
besting the new one
a mile to the east

And none of the brash
we see here today
was even a thought
to get in our way
Slower those days
I think then than now
and I can't help but feel
we've lost something somehow

But though those days are gone
mind's eyes' not prevented
from memories clear
and with that I'm contented
For in Regency Square
I still stand and can here
see those halcyon days
when still stood the West Pier

©Jemverse

Photo – Brighton’s i-360 tower from Regency Square – Jempics

Veteran

So this morning, leaving Brighton
after breakfast in the sun
we saw two old cars passing
on the annual 'old crocks' run

Both brought a smile, they always do
these cars of yesteryear
with drivers dressed up to the nines
quite cold but full of cheer

And not alone our spirits raised
as people stopped to wave
the veterans as they chugged past
a memory to save

For with this annual privilege
the past's a living thing
revitalising history
as Brightonians they sing

And I felt a kindred spirit
though much older than me far
one old crock to another
looking quite spectacular

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Public Service Broadcasting

Brighton's Dome, a place I've missed
whilst Covid's kept us in
for live music's long hiatus
which has bordered on a sin

But though the virus is still with us
freedom has now found a way
to open up the doors again
'Thank Goodness' hear me say!

As last week with good friends I'd not seen
for two long years returned
to Brighton's Dome for a live gig
a treat we all have earned

And Public Service Broadcasting
delivered with aplomb
the music we have missed so much
and waited for so long

A tonic for the soul and more
the music in our veins
Live gigs for entertainment
which I hope now long remains

©Jemverse

Photo – Public Service Broadcasting, Brighton Dome, October 2021 – Jempics

Mangolicious

Had a Mangolicious Laines
a lovely IPA
fruity and refreshing
at the end of a long day
Eating at the Open House
all my girls and me
and a lovely Wolfgang
for a delicious tea

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Definitions: ‘Mangolicious’ is a fruity IPA from the Brighton brewery ‘Laines’. The ‘Open House’ is a Brighton gastro-pub where one of the main brews on tap is ‘Laines’. ‘Wolfgang’ is my middle daughter’s Patterdale terrier.

Last brunch

Last brunch today so IPA
featured as it should
along with a veggie breakfast
from the menu which looked good
Shared with jocund company
conversation for a smile
here at our Al Campo
where we come once in a while

©Jemverse

Photo – Al Campo, Brighton (a gastro bar/cafe/restaurant) – Jempics

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