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Author Topic: Are you local?
Fatbastard, Hugh Fatbastard
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Ironically the Lewes coat of arms appears to have a weloming handshake on it. Or have I got that wrong and it's actually part of a human chain barring outsiders from entering town ?
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fritz in a fez
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send your queries to superintendent Cliff Parrott of Sussex Police....what a fantastic name.
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twohundredpercent
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We're going to this, partly because of the council's intransigence over the Falmer stadium issue. I might take a placard saying, "This Is Brighton - We Own You Now". If I can find a pope costume in a fancy dress shop, the effect will be better still.

Last year, Southern Trains put on as many trains as they possibly could from Brighton to Lewes, so I can't see that getting there and back would be a problem. At the absolute worst, it's about 45 minutes walk from Lewes to Woodingdean, and then a bus back into town.

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My name is Mumpo
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'Bonco'? The cherry on the icing on the cake.
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evilC
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quote:
Ironically the Lewes coat of arms appears to have a weloming handshake on it. Or have I got that wrong and it's actually part of a human chain barring outsiders from entering town ?
Who said that both those hands were still attached to the rest of the body?
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Bored Of The Dance
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I never thought I would see somewhere more hostile to tourists or "trippers" than Porthcawl

It's because they are all secretly shagging each other, isn't it.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Porthcawl is hostile to tourists? I've never noticed.
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Bored Of The Dance
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It is effectively a tourist town that relies on tourist income and it needs to really fight for that income with the disappearance of the traditional "Miner's Fortnight" and the access to cheap flights to Europe.

Its attitude to tourists is very much "bloody trippers". I wouldn't mind this so much but a lot of this attitude comes from my mum when I see her on her pensioner's coach trip to Bath

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Weird, I've stayed there a few times, as it's a good base for matches in Cardiff (which is ludicrously short of hotel beds), and never had any sort of hostility at all.
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Bored Of The Dance
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That is good to hear as it is not going to get far depending on an aging population.

This is the town that concreted over its beach to attract sand

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Wyatt Earp
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Lewes isn't remotely hostile to visitors, you madmen. You're painting it as some sort of Deliverance-style rural backwater, when it's an hour out of Victoria and full of London-bound commuters, hippies, real ale bores and university lecturers who do the ten-minute drive into Falmer every day. The Bonfire festivities have been rendered almost entirely cuddly and whimsical these days, apart from Cliffe. People speak with Londom accents. Lewes' principal fault is actually middle-class complacency, not "Oi ates them Popish faaarrners vrum that Luhndun."

Sorry, Less dramatic, I know. But come on, we all know what the South-East of England's like.

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Alania Vladikavkaz Satie
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I was at last weeks Hastings bonfire and will possibly attending the Lewes one. Weather permitting of course.
The parades are great street theatre. All drums and costumes with burning torches....wonderful stuff. We could barely tear ourselves away from the rugby s/f to watch them walk by actually.

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Spearmint Rhino
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So, I went. And I have to say that it was one of the most overwhelming and affecting and intense tourism experiences of my life, on a par with Iceland in its own way.

The reality of getting there and back was far easier than the website I posted upthread suggested: trains to and from Brighton run every 10 or 15 minutes, and we only missed one getting there (due to being held back by crowd control barriers), and one getting home.

And the town is far more welcoming than I expected, too: the population of the place swells from 16,000 to almost 100,000 on the night, and the locals don't miss the opportunity to make money out of it (from the rather lovely pubs to the people selling sparklers, ciders and spring rolls on the street).

It seems like a lovely town anyway, the sort of place I'd like to visit on a quieter day, but on Bonfire Night it doesn't feel like Britain at all, more like something out of Michael Palin's New Europe series.

Obviously the tradition of the Lewes processions dates back to Jacobean times, but there's something inescapably pagan about it all. Some of the costumes were pure Wicker Man, and there was that same feel to it: the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker transformed into kings and queens and executioners and 'green men' for one night, marchers and spectators calling "Hey Woody!" and "Hello Uncle Stephen" back and forth with recognition as they walked past.

The sheer scale of this thing is mind-boggling: preparing these festivities, and creating the costumes, must be a year-round industry here. (By the way, we've vowed that we're gonna go in costume next year, to enhance our enjoyment of it.)

The smell of the gunpowder and burning tar was intoxicating (in a good way), and the noise of the firecrackers, deliberately left on the ground, was heart-stopping (not necessarily in a good way, but it adds to the atmosphere).

Dashing in and out of ancient narrow alleyways and up and down time-worn stone staircases around Lewes Castle in the dark, bumping into torch-carrying goat-men and suchlike, created a sensation of temporary anarchy. It would make a great backdrop for a murder-mystery movie (if it hasn't already been), nothing less than an English equivalent of the Venice Biennale or the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

The anti-Catholic vibe was... bizarre. Each bonfire society carries its own massive effigy, and the most famous is the one of the Pope (a particularly gruesome likeless of Ratzinger). The whole spirit seems to be a rabid expression of W.A.S.P.-ness: I heard people chanting "Burn the Fenian bastard!", and starting a song that went "Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the pikeys on the top..." I mean, I'm not sure how much of it is done with good-natured, self-aware irony or how much of it is rooted in genuine hatred, but as I say, it's just... bizarre.

Along with the Pope, and obviously Guy Fawkes, I saw effigies of Met Police chief Ian Blair (with a rocket up his arse), and The Beatles. Yes, they were going to burn The Beatles. I liked that.

Some banners had a clear agenda (attacking the smoking ban, for example), others were more cryptic. One flaming banner said 'FINNISH PRISONER', another said 'WEWUNT BEDRUV'. The first turns out to be the title of an opera that's playing locally, but the second one still baffles me.

And now, sorry to mess with the board like this (I can't be bothered to resize them all), I'm going to post a bunch of giant pictures of what I saw...

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Spearmint Rhino
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Spearmint Rhino
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