Let’s move to radical left-wing as-expensive-as-London by the sea! This week: Brighton

What’s it about?

Nestled away on the south coast and ready to form its own separatist state the moment the revolution comes, Brighton is a progressive utopia that couldn’t be more embarrassed by its parent country.

With a long and rich history of open-minded hedonism, it’s a place to whoever you want, whether you’re an independently wealthy crystal healer, a pansexual would-be influencer with an inheritance, or a quirky craftsperson who did very well out of her divorce from a financier.

It’s a town that will enable you to release your mind and let your worries go, man. The lapping of the waves and the fug of skunk will wash away your woes. Trying to ignore the feral cries of trainloads of hen and stag dos is a perfect meditation practice.

Any good points?

The beach. Yes, it’s covered in massive stones, twats down for the day from London and seagulls the size of fucking dogs who’d break your nose for half a chip, but taking in a sunset while gazing at the sea with a beer in hand never palls.

The Pavilion Gardens, next to a big old pleasure palace built by a fat German prince, is a city-centre haven of white boys with dreadlocks playing Bob Marley on acoustic guitars and kalimbas.

The famous Lanes offer bold new explorations of how much you can pay for a coffee and/or a vintage dress that your nan wouldn’t have been seen dead in during the 1970s. Later in the day you’ll see some 18-year-old trust fund bitch looking gorgeous in it.

Or head west to Hove – technically the same city, but fuck that – for a middle-aged middle-class experience, where you can enjoy a vegan cake and oat milk chai latte in a bougie cafe and getting your ankle clipped by a baby buggy that cost more than your car.

Beautiful landscape?

The aforementioned beach, if you can squint away the litter, ignore the fact it’s full of people even at 4am on a Tuesday, and don’t find the contrast between the thriving Palace Pier and the skeletal memento mori of the former West Pier too heavy-handed a reminder that we’ll all die someday.

There’s an undercliff walk from the Marina to Saltdean, which offers a chance to contemplate the vastness of the sea and the omnipresence of cyclists who really do not give a shit about your personal space, though it’s sadly closed at the moment due to chalkfall.

Out of town you can take in the majesty of the stunning south downs, and the majestic hordes of other pricks doing the same thing in their £950 Canada Goose coats. Be careful not to stray into neighbouring Worthing or Eastbourne, which will make Brighton seem like the sole fortress of the living surrounded by the shambling dead.

Hang out at…

Unsurprisingly, a town dedicated to partying has whatever you’re into whether food, fisting or falafel burgers. Vegetarian pub The Prince George has the latter, and youthful radicals arguing about whether smashing windows is really smashing capitalism.

All drinking needs are catered for, whether you want to spend more than an hour’s wage on a pint of craft beer in Bison, indulge in twee prohibition-era fuckery with a cocktail in a teapot at L’Atelier Du Vin or simply have the evening of your nightmares on Cunt Street, aka West Street, with its terrifying Wetherspoons, Popworld and endless parade of al fresco arseholes.

Where to buy?

Muesli Mountain, or Hanover, is the home of the groovy Brighton grown-ups, with CND posters in their windows and fuckloads in their bank accounts. We’re talking London prices here, paid by London people who commute to London regularly, so get ready for a RightMove search with a lot of zeroes.

If you’re feeling brave, there’s Whitehawk, where dreary social housing, low-level sadness and irritating street layout will make you forget you’re anywhere near the glamour of Brighton.

From the streets:

Eleanor Shaw, aged 62: “I came here in 1991 for fucking and fun times and I haven’t stopped since. Pass the poppers and don’t be a dickhead.”

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The Matrix: cyberpunk masterpiece or edgelord twat Bible?

THE Matrix: literate, postmodern action movie or portentous load of shit that spawned an incomprehensible franchise? Was it shite the whole time? 

Keanu Reeves’s acting

Anyone who lived through the early 90s will remember it as a terrible, blighted time when Keanu Reeves thought he could act. This film largely put paid to that, but he’s still shit. If you found out your whole world was a simulation run by machines, you’d at least say ‘what the f**k?’ Not Keanu. A gormless ‘woah’ and an expressionless ‘no way’ push the limits of his acting capabilities.

It’s not as original everyone thought it was

The Matrix was a wholly original and groundbreaking film if you have never experienced any other sci-fi or read Greek mythology. Back in 1999 this demographic included everyone, so critics were dumbfounded by ideas and visuals already explored in Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Metropolis, which had been out for 72 years so there was no excuse.

You couldn’t move for floor-length leather coats

You used to have a leather coat. You looked cool in it. Then The Matrix came out, every fucker in Forbidden Planet was wearing one and you didn’t want to be lumped in with those neckbeard losers. You had nothing in common with them except for your fashion sense, buying comics, taste in film and burning desire for Carrie-Anne Moss.

It gave internet edgelords ‘red-pilling’

The red pill was a neat realisation of Neo’s dilemma: does he take it and learn the truth about the Matrix, or carry on as usual? A plot device hijacked by the biggest twats on the internet who want to turn people on to their misogynistic worldview. If The Matrix caused Andrew Tate, perhaps it should never have been made.

Bullet time wore off fucking fast

Bullet time was cool in The Matrix. An innovative special effect, it was used sparingly to tell the story. Then Scary Movie and Shrek started using it and the novelty wore off fucking fast. By the time the sequels came out, bullet time had become as repetitive and empty as the franchise itself.

Those bloody sequels

Two of them in a year? Wow, 2003 is going to be the best year for cinema ever, we erroneously thought. The third Matrix movie made $300m less than the second. That’s how let down we were. MTV’s spoof of The Matrix Reloaded was vastly preferable to the source material. The less said about 2021’s fourth instalment, the fucking better.