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  • On the up: a vertical pier for Brighton

    The designers of the London Eye, architects Marks & Barfield, are confident that their upwardly mobile replacement for the wrecked West Pier will be open by 2011. Work has already begun on the i360 project which has already been dubbed an 'iSore' by its critics. It will consist of a 100-person fibreglass pod which will gently rise up a 144 yard tall steel cylinder, giving unmatched views of the city, sea and downs.

    Marks & Barfield place their design in the tradition of other south coast examples of pioneering architecture (presumably such as the modernist De La Warr Pavilion). The seaside attraction will be topped by wind turbines which will provide some of the power needed to operate it. The West Pier Trust still hopes it will eventually rebuild the elegant pier which was the star of Ken Russell's 'Oh what a lovely war!' as well as featuring in several of the 'Carry On' films.


  • In Brighton and on a train

    Just outside Brighton, on Devil's Dyke, the freckled fellow who spontaneously offered me the chance to try out his vast two-handed kite.

    In the Lanes, at English's restaurant, the post-stag party that bought us all champagne and an Italian waiter called Tino who made me tea just like he did in Italy, from a teabag and mint leaves. He was all friendliness and spontaneous unprofessionalism and said he'd never made tea like that for a customer before.

    On a train back from London, delayed and en route to a replacement bus, a fellow dressed as St George who offered around chocolate cookies. And a slight young Albanian with faltering English and coal-black eyes, who three times offered me his coat as I shivered on the cold bus and on the station platform.

    Gratefully I took it, then put it back on his shoulders when I remembered that after all I had my cagoule. He had to be up in five hours for building work. He seemed not at all surprised that I'd thought of travelling to the land of the eagles, and said I should marry an Albanian, because they were very good. I waved and wished him all good luck and wondered if I should have done more in the cause of international relations...