As regular readers will know I have occasionally allude to the fact that I live within the vicinity of Brighton. Actually when I first moved down to this part of the world in my earlyish twenties I spent the first few years in Brighton itself.
It was therefore with some interest that i read a couple of days ago that according to a survey commissioned by 'O2' Brighton was the 'happiest' place to live in the UK.
Obviously everyones view of a particular town is coloured by their own experiences. Which of course may or may not provide a fair reflection. But for me Brighton represents sub-standard rented accommodation, bad food, rubbish strewn streets, violence, homelessness, cracked facades and peeling paint, weekend drunkenness, used condoms and syringes discarded in alleyways. And lots of SWP / Support the IRA / PLO / Evil Brits or Tories type stickers on lamp posts.
Too many kids drinking too much at the weekend and turning nasty or leaving something nasty on the pavement.
Too many student bands for whom a model scale had something to do with an airfix product rather than musical theory. Three chords relied on and two of those consistently played wrong.
Although that said the last band I played in the drummer would doa 4 count in on his sticks at one tempo and then start the song at a completely different speed. Confusing, annoying and amusing in equal measures.
Oh and 'culture'. Art and poetry produced by 'Lesbian Wimmin with impairments' by the hectare.
Before you misinterpret this and I have to don a robust tin hat, I absolutely believe in gender equality, someone’s sexual predilections are entirely a matter for them and their consensual partners and any form of disablement just makes the individual different with varying needs but without question someone to be equally valued within our society.
But I remember going to an exhibition where I criticised a particular piece of poetry about 'female emancipation'. I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was some sort of misogynist fascist When I pointed out that if I were worthy of such an epithet it would be highly unlikely that I would be attending the 'Womens' View' exhibition (or whatever it was called) in the first place and had merely pointed out that the poem wasn't any good. However I still got rather short shrift and was pretty much frog marched off the premises by the dungarees, much to the amusement of the then (radically informed) girlfriend.
Anyway I moved to Hove. Much to my horror, shortly after Hove was then (Borg like) assimilated by Brighton to form a unitary authority. Luckily however I soon got the chance to move just over the boarder into West Sussex. It's kind of analogous to a low grade cold war thriller where the main protagonist gets over the 'Wall' just in time before they get captured and killed. Or more specifically before being obliged to pay an increase in local taxation to support another 'Arts' festival where honest criticisms would be unacceptable.
They can't get me here though. The worst I can expect is an imperious Worthing expanding eastwards but they are in the main 'festival' and lout free. And as I am probably closer to the average age of an individual in Worthing rather than one in Brighton any invasion from the West would hold few fears.
Brighton isn't a happy place for me though. And I haven't a clue how it could have topped this survey. Unless of course O2 have found that sales of mobile network access or broadband connection have been a little disappointing around here and have been attempting to be creative in drumming up some new trade.
If however Brighton is truly the happiest place to be in this Country then we may be in even more trouble than I had thought.