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Monday, September 24, 2007

Police line-ups in Brighton are getting more extreme every day...

Bombay Baja
I think I'd go for the one third from the left. He looks shifty in those glasses. It's clearly only his saxophone which is going straight.

Anyhoo, yesterday was Car Free Day in Brighton, which is probably why Hilda Braid was doing the Nana Moonwalk along the seafront. Tragically, however, Lisa and I failed to spot her. We did see a young boy illegally playing Maroon 5 on an electronic keyboard by the pier, and liked him enough to give him 60p, but sadly that was the only cash we parted with all afternoon. Hilda Braid and the coffers of the Alzheimer's Society remained empty.

Village GreenFortunately the 'Streets For People' event in the town centre was a bit easier to spot. It's hard to miss a road covered in AstroTurf and a group of Romanian tuba players dressed as ducks. Especially when they're introduced by Dave Mounfield, whose "natural speaking voice is informative, friendly and warm", at least according to his agent.

As for the saxophonists in turbans, they went by the name of Bombay Baja, and were described in the programme as "one of Europe's leading Indian brass bands". There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I don't know where to begin. And let's face it, there's no such place as Bombay either, so they really do have problems. But despite that, the music was quite good. What we heard of it anyway. Unfortunately after less than a minute, Lisa claimed they were giving her a headache, so we left.

Car Free SculptureI have to say, some of the events taking place seemed more relevant than others. I can see the point of replacing a road with a village green, doing free bike safety checks, and letting people play snooker in the street (I think), but offering to style people's hair and calling it a 'Car Free Sculpture' was pushing it a bit. Surely all hairstyles are car free? Apart from the VW Beatle cut.

In the end I decided not to let them tint my moustache, and we moved on past the Giant Jenga, Hula-Hooping children, drum-making workshop, and remote-controlled wheelie bins to the Giant Paint By Numbers, which was overseen by a man called Hugh Jart. I'm sensing that's not his given name. Lisa professed a life-long love of painting by numbers, and was keen to get involved, but I wasn't sure her maths was strong enough, so I led her on quickly to the Giant Comic Strip.

Giant Comic StripI'm not sure why everything has to be 'giant' on Car Free Day, but it does. It's probably something to do with big oil. The Giant Comic Strip turned out to be a long roll of paper sellotaped to the road, which had been started quite artistically (possibly by Hugh) with a sign saying "Let's Go!" and a dragon on a skateboard. It went downhill after that. And then round the corner. Personally I was praying for rain, just to see what would happen. They'd probably have to turn it into a papier-mâché workshop.

But some of the live music was very good. We missed the City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, and the Samba band for pensioners, but we did get to see The Ukes of Hazzard, who were described by Dave Mounfield as "the second best ukulele-based band I've ever seen. The first being them about an hour ago".

I do have a photo of Lisa standing on the village green, enjoying the lilting sounds of Romanian tubas, but unfortunately her first words upon viewing it were "get rid of that immediately", so I don't think I'm allowed to publish it. But all in all, Car Free Day was a good afternoon out. It was quite tiring though, so we had to get a taxi home.