Brighton has a long history of losing piers...some of them really quite beautiful constructions. Take the Chain Pier for example. very beautiful. Very washed away.
More recently, The West Pier, which is possibly most famous as the location for the splendid musical satire 'Oh what a lovely war!' was first left to rot and then destroyed by fire in 2003. There is a mystery to the fire that revolves around it being in the middle of the sea with no electrical or other connections to the beach that would have allowed a spark or flame to reach it. Funds had just be raised to revive it, thank you National Lottery, and become an upmarket rival to the day trippers' favourite Palace Pier just down the beach. Some scurrilous wags had suggested there was a connection. I couldn't possible comment
This is a clip from the film, and we were lucky enough to have seen the stage production in the original theatre in Stratford earlier this year; it's coming back to the West End if you want to see it
Anyway, this week there was a ceremony on the seafront to mark the construction of what you might describe as a vertical pier...the i360. This is a tower that will rise high over Brighton on the landside of the site of the West Pier giving spectacular views over the seas, the city and the Sussex countryside beyond. It would have arrived earlier, but the financial crash caused by those bastard bankers meant the money was lost, just proving how greed impacts in all sorts of unexpected ways. It will be up by 2016, and we are very much looking forward to it.
Ironically, in the same week, this happened in Eastbourne, and we can only hope that it will be rebuilt as soon as possible
So sadly there are lots of 'lovely' wars going on around us at the moment. Civil war in the Ukraine fueled by Mr Putin and his cronies. The root cause of this is probably the failure to establish 'proper' government after the fall of the Soviet Union, but it is a tragedy that Moscow is exploiting it for its own ends. There is an argument that this is because of the way the West has outmaneuvered Moscow in international affairs over the last decade or so, but equally you cannot deny Putin's desire to create a Greater Russia. Among the victims are the families of the crew and passengers of the Malaysian aircraft shot out of the sky...it must be bad enough losing your a loved one like that, let alone having the knowledge that only two-thirds of the bodies have been recovered, with possibly some bodies removed to hide evidence of who actually shot them out of the sky. That's an unimaginable horror of its own.
And then there's Gaza. I am clear in my views, and have been for a long time. Hamas is a bit stupid to be sending ineffectual rockets into Israeli territory, but when you've been subject to a blockade for the last eight years that has kept the population in abject and worsening misery and poverty, you're bound to do stupid things. The US bares much responsibility for continuing to supply arms to Israel and unflinchingly supporting a country that is guilty of one war crime after another. I can't help but feel that this blind support is because of a continuing guilt over the holocaust, and that is in itself creating a new one. I can't help also thinking that if it hadn't been for Americans' money, the conflict in Northern Ireland would have ended decades before it did with many lives saved. I'm donating significant amounts to Medical Aid for Palestinians, and invite you too here. Its only humane.