The derelict pier is probably my favourite part of Brighton. Haunting and skeletal, it manages to be so unreal and loaded with brooding symbolism. Yet if you sit under it the old stallions buried firm into the beach, like I am now, you can see its crumbling frame isn’t black or even brown, but an incredibly deep rust red. You get to see the real tangible qualities that make it seem like the most solid thing in this reality of cop killing snipers being killed by robots with C4 gaffer taped to their heads.

#realityisbleeding folks, smell the wind, check the sky because weirder shit is coming.

People move differently here, it normally takes a day or two to get totally used to the rhythm of any cities crowds around the world, but Brighton is harder than most. The pace is mostly city bustle but without the attendant agreements of standard dense crowd behaviour that city people learn and act unconsciously. But there is a dawdling and clumps of families on holiday.

But I don’t get too annoyed if you watch those families, I look for the weird teenager, the awkward one normally head stuck into their phone. Not ashamed of their family but also desperately trying to make the distance between them as large as possible. But now, here, their head is up, they’re reading every poster, peeking through every door. You can practically feel them fall in love with the place. Just like I did.

It’s odd to be in a city that makes you smile instead of steadily break your heart.

I’m sitting on the beach but I’m not alone despite a grey sky and a not quite biting wind. But the other people don’t feel like an intrusion. Everyone is quiet and reverential. Maybe enjoying the unreality of it, easing pain by being a brooding character in some gothic story, or taking the edge of their more extreme dramatic thoughts by grounding themselves in the reality of cold and rust. All of us genuflecting on the oceans altar. The burnt out structure both cathedral and requilary of entropy and perspective.

Danny Smith
Molly Coast, Albion

A bit Newslettery this, tbh I’m experimenting with it because I’m thinking of starting a Patreon account and a newsletter would be one of the rewards. You’d all chuck us some pennies right?

The more things change the more they stay the same. That is to say I’m in a dirty pub with loud guitars squeals poking through the hub-bub and the downpour earlier makes the crowd smell like wet dog. A sign on the door in front of me reads


Home but never home, but I’m trying to change that. I live in Brighton now, welcome to my happy ending.


A Brighton Kind Of Day

Brighton, or “B – Right – on” as the local graffiti has it, has its own quirks and today I’ve had a day that could only really happen here. This morning was shades weather, some errands and a congratulatory pint with my giant Irish friend. Between pubs we cut through the Laines, a warren of independent, hip shops selling not only mere things but the idea of cool, a chance to be part of a younger more colourful world. It has a tension between the local freaks that make it cool and the tourists that fund their freak lifestyle. Minutes later my celtic companion’s wallet has gone, if it was lifted, it was done well. Nothing lost that couldn’t be replaced, but a warning none less.

Later I find myself at a “Stand Together” rally, but at this point the sky is pissing rain. The sort of bright sky rain that would have you looking for the rainbows if lifting your head didn’t mean drowning. It’s hard to tell how many were there, it was a tightly packed hedgehog, the top umbrella spikes and brightly colored canvas covering the crowd entirely, the side guarded by bicycles jutting out every metre or so. In the middle of this phalanx of hippies the speakers delivered impassioned speeches with the usual rhetoric that has been boiled down to soundbites with such efficiency it was easy to tune out and take in the throng. A diverse crowd (not racially of course this *is* the South East), middle aged men in cycling shorts and cagoules with rain dripping from their noses, young hippies covered in scarves, dads with pushchairs, some people overly prepared for the rain, vegan moms wrapped in layers of plastic, some not like the man in the t-shirt sheltering under a neighbor’s umbrella. All clapping and cheering at the greatest hits, hope not hate, solidarity, calls to action, and even a poem.

Personally in a week I found out my views we’re in a minority, and the country in which I live a lot nastier and sharper than I ever hoped, it was good to be amongst people, however twee and lame, that not only wasn’t, but prepared to stand in the pouring rain and declare it.


People have asked why I haven’t written about politics or our current situation, and I honestly haven’t wanted to. Mainly for three key reasons

  1. The situation is moving so quickly that anything written becomes wrong and dated as soon as the publish trigger is pulled. And there’s nothing worse for an egotard like me than appearing wrong and dated.

  2. There’s already a lot of insightful and sensible voices out there, I’d rather signal boost them then add another to the cacophony.

  3. I really don’t know what to think, I’m as sad, and confused, and defiant as the next person.

I will say this though, if Corbyn is ousted that’s another generation scratched from the political discussion, I was around the last time that happened, when over a million people marched through central london to protest a war that happened anyway. People went from politically engaged to venomously disinterested overnight. Which might be the point in the pantomime, turn people’s heads away, apathys a greater sedative than television.

Danny Smith

Molly Coast. Albion

After its first week of serious rain to show us that it wasn’t fucking about, September turned out to be a confusion month. In parts it was a parody of the ‘heatwave’ touted by the papers, bright with a steady wind turning the stone green sea into a child’s drawing of what a sea looks like in their heads. The rest of the time oppressively overcast with a rolling mist coming from the sea making you feel like you’re sweating on the edge of reality.

The city has began the process of adding its winter layers. Locals know the season is done when the grand carousel on the beach packs itself into an impossibly small weatherproof ball bound by sailors rope. But not yet, the bunting is still out, the rock shops still trading, and for a while the horses are still turning.

I have no job so am spending most of my time curbing my mind from obsessing about the news or rewatching the Sons Of Anarchy. I honestly don’t know what’s more dangerous, believing im an outlaw biker or I’m a citizen of the world with agency and power that could solve any of the tsunami of shit covering the world if only i can read a bit more, understand what’s going on a bit better, just read a few more damn articles. We’ll see what happens first I guess, a room covered in newspaper clippings with red wool connecting them and crudely drawn eyes daubed occasionally, or me getting my ribs kicked out by a stag do that may or may not have been ‘ looking at my old lady’.

Brighton, like any city, can feel terribly full, especially when the new batch of students come in, with no idea of the swells and rhythms of the city. But if you want to get away, relief is normally on a few steps away. Walking down the front with that mist coming in from the sea it can be just you, a gay middle aged couple holding hands and with eyes only for each other, and the sustained notes from an alto sax as a man with an improbable afro practises to an audience of calm sea on a warm close day.

I have no idea what I want, a lot of the time I’m lost. A lot of us are. A whole generation stepped of the 2.4 perfect life, career, and vacuum packed kids conveyor belt from school to death. The burden of freedom is choice. When we came of age the Boomers called us ‘slackers’ and we turned indecision into a movement.

Lost is the price you pay from straying from the path and lost we are. Happening on careers by accident, a lot of my peers inventing the jobs that the next generation swap as easily as a snapchat filter. The rest filling our heads with distractions, drugs, buttons to push and things to grab, anything so we don’t hear the nagging voice telling us we should be somewhere else, nowhere specific, just not here. I’ll have to address that at some point, but not yet, not while the horses are still turning.

Danny Smith
Molly Coast, Albion

Winter on the Molly Coast and I’m sitting on the pebbles watching the funfair lights of the pier play over a sea that is radiating a cool blue light as if we drowned the sun some time ago.

Winter is a mean time and not everyone makes it through, but its a proving time too, triumph against the black. If you can keep your diet when your body is screaming for the solid layers of fat against the cold, or if you can wake in pitch black to tear your body on the ice pavement jogging, or even keep your last nerve when you brain is near dead dry of vitamin D, then you’ve cracked it, the rest of the year a cakewalk. But if you can’t, then give yourself a break. Don’t give up giving up. Celebrate the small victories and let yourself up from the rack about the small stuff. and, of course, remember its all small stuff.

The stones here are more comfortable than you think but the the earth will suck the warmth from your body.

Goddamn I love this city. Still managing to sprout weird through fifteen layers of coats. In less than five minute walk I passed a rollerskating busker, a fancy dress dog, and a woman selling art in plastic shopping bags.

I’ve moved to a favorite bar a seagulls fart away from the beach. It’s styled after CBGB’s but the toilets are usable and contain only a fraction of the diseases. But its relative cleanliness means any smooth surface is covered with a fine layer of whatever go-go powder is cheap this season. What little self respect i have and the fear of a surprise random drug test at work keep me from dragging my gums over the tilework.

Its early evening but you wouldn’t know it from the curtain of night. There’s only one couple here. And they’re occupied. Necking so hard her afro keeps pushing his flat cap off his head. Must be the slap funk soul theremin and red neon lighting giving the bar an atmosphere of a high budget porn VHS. Fuck it, more power to them. A candle of pleasure in the season of dark.


It’s my birthday tomorrow or ‘Drinkmas Eve’ as I’d like it to be known, how old am I? Old enough not to care.

Old enough for my bones to ache, but young enough to dance.
Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway.
Old enough to remember when ‘apps’ were called ‘programs’, young enough to google ‘google’ if Google isn’t set to the default search engine.
Thankfully I’m comfortable in my skin and, daresay, proud of the mutant I’ve become. And I’m old enough to know that ain’t nothing.

So be weird, but know that weirdness is not only the heraldry we paint on our shields to find the others in this upcoming battle. Its is the shield. The shield, the lance and the drums we bang to honour our dead, tremble our enemies, and let the others know were still fucking kicking.

So be kind, to yourself, and others. Be kind, but be ready, because sitting on my beach I can see the tide is turning.

Danny Smith
Molly Coast, Albion.

While the rest of the country melts Brighton sheds its clothes and drinks cider on the pebbles by the sea. Not so much fiddling while the world burns as paddling. Sometimes I try to imagine the pebbles are actually grains of sand and all the people are just incredibly small. But I’ve been drinking in the sun for a while and my brain is probably the size and texture of a baked potato by now. Welcome to Summer in England, the first person to complain is given a meat hamper and crowned Prince Dickhead.


Of course I’m playing Pokemon, when it first came out, back when “apps” were still called “programs” so don’t fuck with me, I played it for two straight days , the only reason I know I paused for food is because I don’t specifically remember passing out.

Let’s be clear it’s buggy as fuck, and feels unfinished with no clear tutorials, almost random GPS, no in game interaction outside the baffling gym systems and servers that fall over whenever school finishes or somebody puts the kettle on.

But it is compelling. The drive to collect and level up the creatures inside the game is absentmindedly addictive. And its penetration into the current zeitgeist is staggering, although not that surprising, #realityisbleeding folks. I do suspect it may all go away if there isn’t more elements of gameplay added soon, the jump between catching pokemon and being able to compete at any of the gyms is getting wider and while novel I can see the casual user walking away after a month or so.

Im not throwing my hat in with the scores of detractors by the way, people positively scrabbling over themselves to be the first to decry it. Breathlessly panting about how childish it is. I mean it is childish, but so is football. I personally don’t think collecting fictional cartoon monsters is any more childish than collecting sports statistics, or photos of landmarks visited for a slideshow nobody wants to see “have you done New York yet?” yuck, or concerts lived entirely through the screen?

We created a culture that fetishizes information, built machines that function as portals to the entire sum of the world’s data, then wring our hands when our kids won’t put their phones down. We basically want the next generation to have the childhood we had, not realising that the childhood we thought we had has been polished by nostalgia and straight up fucked together with idealised tv sitcoms and shadows of Enid Blyton stories.

Sidenote – I bet the Google Glass guys are all giving the stink eye to whoever in the office decided to release it a couple of years before the killer app that would have saved it.

The surprising thing is how social it is. This is a small park just in front of my house.

As you can see it has been blessed with several pokestops (a place that drops useful in game items) close together. Its popularity means these stops nearly always have lures attached (power ups that attract Pokemon to catch) and therefore attracts more players.

Here’s what that space looked like in “real” life yesterday on my way down. And I assure you, yes they are all looking at their screens but they’re all chatting. And later on drinking, and singing the pokemon theme tune together.

The Situationists were a collective of artists, writers, and the sort of high strange thinkers that would have got them stoned to death in the Dark Ages. they were mainly a reaction to “the Spectacle” the machinery of Capitalism designed to distract us from what was actually happening and being present in our own lives. Cities were the home to the Spectacle especially, Situationists wanted to subvert the Spectacle and encouraged recontextualizing the city by exploring it using maps from other cities, using spaces out of context, and playing games that confused the cities normal users.

Situationists described culture as a “rigged game” explaining that the Spectacle will always re-appropriate any outside art or ideas and sell it back. I think what they did not account for is how quick this process would accelerate, yes Pokemon Go can be seen as the appropriation of Situationist ideas by capitalism, but I choose to see a whole new generation being introduced to the idea that the spaces and rules we encounter everyday are just a consensus reality. A fountain is just a fountain until enough people decide it’s a pokestop, or a swimming pool, or portal.

The mortar holding the bricks of reality together just got looser.


I saw a life saved today. On the beach right in front of me.

We, that is me and Pete, were celebrating putting up shelves and we found ourselves on the beach. Pete, a large Irish country boy, and me using cheap lager as suntan lotion and enjoying one of those long hot afternoons that you pray for while hiding under February’s duvet.
“I can swim to Africa” says Pete who can’t. To be fair to him he doesn’t say this out of the blue, and he did later go on to prove he is at least a competent swimmer. But he did say it and it’s quite a mad thing to say. We decide he should suspend his Atlantic trip to swim to the buoys out in the sea and back and see how he feels.

I watch as a nearly two metre tall pasty irish fella steps over the family picnics and smooching couples, and wades into the blue green sea like a celtic godzilla and go back to catching the Pollywags that crowd the Brighton coast.

After a while out of the the corner of my eye I see the lifeguards run to the shore, kneel on their boards and head straight for Pete. Pete seems to be okay, he’s heading for the buoy and the boat moored near there and will, knowing Pete, within minutes be aboard with a drink introducing himself to the captain, like, well, an Irish guy at a on a party boat.

But, I realise, he has waved at me a couple of times. What if the lifeguards saw that and thought he was in trouble? Fuck it, they’re the ones with binoculars, what if he wasn’t waving and was actually in trouble?

The lifeguards catch up and then pass Pete and disappear around the boat. A minute later a speed dinghy bounces over the water and also disappears around the boat. Soon later it skips from behind the boat and heads for the shore in front of me. Visible on the boat is someone administering chest compressions with the rib breaking velocity and Nelly the Elephant rhythm you’re taught on courses you hope you never get to test.

Once its landed they carry the bundle of pale twigs I presume ia a person onto the beach, lay them down, and continue the compressions. Nearby somebody turns off the music they had been playing at obnoxious levels.

A woman in a sundress clearly not designed for this sort of thing jogs over, a lifeguard clearly ready to shoo her away exchanges a few words and lets her past. She immediately takes charge, ripping open pouches and doing things with tubes.

More lifeguards come. The chest compressions stop but people still buzz around. Soon enough an ambulance crew come, more sterile packaging is ripped open. Everybody on the beach nearby is watching.

Another ambulance crew crew arrive with a board, the guy is strapped onto it and carried away, he raises his head a little and the beach break out into applause, not cheers or woos I note, British snooker applause.

The music is put back on.

What struck me was not how precious or fragile life is, but how banal death is. How ordinary it could have been. Had something gone wrong, how long before the music was turned on again? How big of a radius would have the grief of the crowd spread? I suppose death is banal, but life, if you try, has the potential to be weird, extraordinary, sweeping, and fabulous, but that is entirely up to you.


Okay this one got away from me a little, next time will be shorter, i’ll probably do some book recommendations or something. Until then, stay weird.

Danny Smith
Molly Coast, Albion

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