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| November 19, 2018

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Humans of Brighton – Ian the Londoner

Humans of Brighton – Ian the Londoner
Matt Cowdock

We met Ian when we were taking a stroll by Brighton Train Station. Sitting on a wall, hands resting on his bicycle, we decided to stop for a chat and see how his day was going.

Hi there – first off, what’s your name? Ian.

Nice to meet you, Ian! So what are you doing out and about in Brighton today? I just got back from London actually. I’m on my way to my dad’s to have a cup of tea and catch up.

What were you doing in London? I sort of have work up there. My girlfriend lives there and I was living there up until fairly recently and I still have a lot of ties to London so I kinda go up to socialise, work and spend time with my girlfriend.

Have the strikes been getting in the way? Do you know what? Actually they really worked in my favour today because I was meant to get a train at 1:30 and it was one of those that aren’t transferable and I rocked up at 3 o’clock or whenever and I just boarded a train! No-one seemed to care so it was really good for me!

So you mentioned earlier that you’re originally a Brightonian – whereabouts did you live? I was born and grew up in Hanover – proper Muesli Belt, middle-class boy – but my dad lives just a little bit further along at the top of Elm Grove.

Ian spoke to us outside Brighton Station

Ian spoke to us outside Brighton Station

Ah okay – that’s where we’re stationed at Brighton Journal! Oh nice! Yeah, it’s a good place but it’s kind of rare, almost like an old joke, that you find someone that is born and bred.

Yeah, that’s so true! So what keeps you in Brighton, other than your family? To be fair, I’ve spent the last 3 and a half years living in London mostly but there’s this saying; “You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve gone” and I think Brighton is one of those places. I think, even when you’re from Brighton and everyone you’ve ever met has come and lived here or just visited, it’s a very special place. It’s very open and alternative but it’s not smug or boastful about it, it’s just very genuine. It’s such a party city, it’s in a really wonderful location and it’s very cool. I would say that maybe, over the last decade or so, I’ve seen it become more self-aware. It used to be a bit of a secret and now it’s maybe got an over-inflated sense of ego about how cool it is.

Is that a bad thing? No, not really. Not for Brighton, I suppose, in terms of tourism and economically speaking. One genuine, concrete effect that I think it’s had which is a bit of a shame is where there used to be (and don’t ask me to give any examples!) genuine, alternative shops and so much of it has been replaced by bars or coffee shops. There’s just too many now. I think back to when I was about 12 or 14; walking around, there were cool comic stores and all these awesome little shops.

Ian expressed concerns over the future of Brighton's unique retail culture

Ian expressed concerns over the future of Brighton’s unique retail culture

Yeah, that’s true. A lot of what has happened has gone under the radar, hasn’t it?  Yeah it has.

What do you do for a living, by the way, back in London? It’s a bit hard to explain, but I do a few things actually. When I’m not in London, I spend some time as a support worker and it’s all sort of part-time and kind of ‘as and when’. And I also work for an agency that sort of do surveying and collect data and they present it. It’s all about audience reach. So they would get contracted by whoever, some company, and they want to know who is their audience and how they appeal to them. And so I’m kind of helping out with research.

That’s cool! Yeah, I’ve not been doing it that long actually, I used to work at the Apple Store in Regents Street.

That must’ve been fun? Hmm, kind of! It was a funny place, but that’s another story.

Another time maybe! Well that was fantastic, really interesting — thank you so much, Ian! You’re welcome, any time!


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