Sorry Julian, but our Pier is still 'off the hook' - Argus Friday 15th April 2016

Posted Monday 18th April 2016   By Ericka Waller

SO Julian Caddy, MD of the Brighton Fringe Festival, has launched a scathing attack on Brighton Pier, calling it 'a blot on the landscape' and claiming there are no end of people willing to 'spend their money in a cheap amusement arcade, before heading back to their coaches via Sports Direct and Primark'. If they are so willing, why not leave them be? The Pier is an institution. People go on it because they want candyfloss so sweet it makes your teeth tingle, gobbled in greedy gulps after fish and chips drowned in vinegar. The briny, sugary sludge is essential stomach swilling fodder for the (rickety) Crazy Mouse and Turbo Coaster rides. No Pier trip is complete without going on the Ghost train, or through the arcades. Who can walk past the penny machines without thinking that their ten pence might be the one to tip a tower of coppers and penny sweets over the edge? Who can resist the smell of fried donuts? or Rock in the shape of a giant dummy? A fortune teller's tripe and a 'kiss me quick' hat? People come from all over the county to experience the pier. I was stood next to two lads in the queue at the Science Museum in London last week, who were green with envy at us being so close to its gaudy glamour ''Its sick there man. Off the hook'.

I love the Fringe Festival, with all its kooky acts and plays (which I am either not quite cool, or intelligent enough to understand), but there is no place for it, or its ilk on the Pier.

The Pier target market is utterly different. Piers are a place for children and sunburned mums, tourists, hen do's sticky fingers and karaoke. At night there is a certain romance in the air (partially due to the bitter wind. People cling to one-another for warmth). They snog on cold beaches by the souvenir stand while the wind whistles though wooden slats beneath their feet. It's poetry.

Julian seems to be suggesting that a certain 'class' of people frequent the pier and, worse still, that this 'class' should be replaced with a different one. (I'm thinking bearded hipsters, craft beers and vegan options). He raves about Brighton's inclusiveness, but seems to resent the City for it at the same time.

As it is, the Pier attracts over 4.5 million visitors a year (with no supporting evidence that they all go to Primark and Sports Direct after) who spend £13.3 million. (That's a lot of goes on the Dolphin Derby). It's the biggest UK attraction outside London. Not bad for a 'cheap amusement arcade'.

Without the Pier, as it is, Brighton would not be Brighton. It would not be a popular enough tourist attraction to be able to hold a festival, let alone a 'Fringe' Festival. Would Caddy complain if  'Pier class' people turned up to Fringe events in Primark clothing, drinking cheap beer in giant Sports Direct Mugs? I doubt it, so long as they paid the entry fee. (The Pier does not have one, by the way).

In fact he would not have complained at all if he’d realised he was emailing an Argus reporter. Apparently at the time of the interview, Caddy, who lives in London, thought he was talking to someone else. I am not sure if it was the threats of violence that made him decide that he ‘could have been more diplomatic’. Apparently the aftermath of his outburst has been ‘the worst 24 hours of his life’. Poor posh poppet.

Oh, and apparently, the Primark/Sports Direct comments were only aimed at the teenage Foreign Exchange students, so that’s okay then.

And finally

THERE has been a spate of robberies recently. Mostly low value, but high impact. It's a shame with summer coming that we have to be even more vigilant about locking doors and windows.

I thought London was scary and dangerous when I spent two days up there over Easter, so was dismayed to come home and read that a 73-old-man was robbed of his mobile phone in an abhorrent attack, and a masked-man robbed a victim of £70 after punching him in the face. Even after the first punch knocked him to the ground, the attacker continued to kick and punch the victim's face and upper body.

It looks like we will have to get curtains so people can't see in through our living room window. We've been putting it off as the quote for material was sky-high, but since my friends Laura and Ness (named and shamed) came home from the pub, just in time to walk past my husband drinking his 11.30pm glass of water, in the lounge, in the nude, and took photos of his bottom, which they sent to me, we will have to find the money. I don't want him getting stolen.