Monday, 17 December 2018


Michael Gove says he’d like to play Tyrion Lannister in the TV show “Game of Thrones”. What did he mean by that – being perpetually drunk and spending time with prostitutes like Tyrion? Perhaps not - perhaps instead he’s been seduced by Tyrion’s intelligence, wit and panache. 

For those unaware of Game of Thrones (are there any?) Tyrion is a smart dwarf who has great charm and a concealed lust for power. In what is a pigmy-brained conservative party Gove wants to be head pigmy but his colleagues all want to be the PM too. They must all be quite mad as it’s worse than a poisoned chalice. In a quote from series seven Peter Baelish describes something resembling today’s political world:
"Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb….. only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is."
Many of us are obsessed just with the sensation going up – to what end? Once up there’s only one law that has much relevance. Gravity. 

Which reminded me of freeclimbing – that’s rock climbing without ropes. It’s been in the news  because American Alex Honnold recently free-soloed the 3000 foot El Capitan at Yosemite in just 3 hours 56 minutes. It made me feel sick just thinking about it. In the same week a British climber out walking there was killed by a massive rock fall. I’m beginning to hate heights and rocks and falling and futile ascent.

So what possessed me to take two visitors up the i360 in Brighton when they paid a visit to cold and windy Brighton?  Only as we started the ascent did one of them say he suffered from vertigo. The whole event is bit of a damp squib – it’s like  a rather slow lift dressed up as a BA “Flight” (they keep on calling it a “flight” when it’s clearly not.) Much is made of the pre-flight check and the ritual of being body scanned and searched. All the waiting takes a long time. The ascent is a slow business (although the view over Brighton isn’t displeasing)  and then it comes down again. £16.50 for a yawning ½ hour.
Richard French – one of the guests – got it spot-on when he said it can’t work commercially. They play dreadful music instead of having a running commentary. There’s no energy, no drama and what little theatre there is, is performed poorly by bored and under-rehearsed 20 year olds. BA should be ashamed to lend their name to it. He said it needed to be a faster, more breathless experience. Four ascents an hour at less than £10 a pop. The visitor numbers so far are unsurprisingly disappointing.

I was frustrated. This is my town and its key feature was being justifiably traduced. Getting to the top has never been more boring. Brighton deserves much better than this.

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