A mix of dead ends and directionless beginnings
“I walk to Black Rock whenever I visit my sister in Hove. The walk takes me past the busy beaches and commerce, and once past Brighton Pier things get increasingly quiet until I reach a kind of ending at Black Rock.
Culture from bottom up
Here, the graffiti-smothered walls give me hope that culture continues to grow from the bottom-up and is not only imposed from the top-down. This thought is encouraged by the fact that the council have contributed a little skateboard park, as if in an endorsing response to a subculture’s intuitive claim on the site.
The Marina – that here blocks what might once have been the clear way on to the now almost obscured white cliffs beyond – is a huge carbuncle of absurd and tasteless 80’s entrepreneurial excess. It’s gross and grotesque and elitist, and yet even here, late at night, the multi-storey car-park has its charms as a piece of severe and brightly-lit and colourfully detailed concrete brutality.
It’s good to walk out on the breakwater too, and feel the extra breeze or see a yacht putting in from who knows where. Then I stroll back down another of Brighton’s amazingly over-wide avenues, past the Volks station, the closed-down ‘rotten-apple’ children’s roller-coaster and the fishing boats.
Wild and bare
All along this strip the beach is more wild and bare than anywhere else in Brighton and Hove, and that’s the main reason to like it. It’s a great shame that the Marina so thoughtlessly puts an end to this trajectory and in a way closes in this sense of wildness. But, as I say, everything has its charms and uses when looked at in the right way, or on the right day.
A kind of non-place
Black Rock is a strange mix of dead ends and directionless beginnings; it’s kind-of unofficial and unidentified, a kind-of non-place (to use a trendy phrase); and that’s just why it suits those who feel themselves to be nowhere, and who don’t mind that feeling one bit.”