Eastbourne: not just **** & wind

I had that Dora Bryan in the back of my car I did. I’m going back nearly ten years now and I was working for First Leisure (deceased) on a project to light up Eastbourne Pier. Dora and her dog did the business supported by Starlight Express cast members.

Dora was not happy about the tacky nightclub we’d opened at the end of the pier for the local chavs and was concerned that Eastbourne might go the same way as her hometown of Brighton. It was a sentiment echoed by the proprietors of the guest house I stayed in. Being on the end of the pier, the noise of the disco did travel. In this town holidaymakers and locals alike preferred to be in bed by nine o’clock. Another time I stayed in one of Eastbourne’s posher hotels (it was sh**) and Katharine came down as I was working the weekend. When she walked through the lobby an old dear loudly told her friend, ‘I do find women in jeans so very common’.

But the nightclub was the only thing the town’s few kiddies had. These clubbers got all their gear from New Look and spoke with fake cockney accents. Feeling sorry for them, we hired Eastender Nigel Bates for the opening night. At a distance the kiddies would taunt him over the death of his wife Debbie Bates. At close quarters they’d feign sympathy and congratulate him on his stoicism. None of them seemed to realise that we’d not really hired Nigel, but actor Paul Bradley and so the evening was a great success.

Anyway. It seems Eastbourne’s tired of the old folk. The problem is that while there are a great many of them, they simply don’t spend money like young people do. As this BBC film explains they want us to change our view. Instead of hair rollers, think roller blades, instead of cocoa, think a cocktail on the beach and instead of p*** and wind, think surf.

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