Video Of The Day: London To Brighton In 60 Years

In 1953, the BBC filmed a train trip from London to Brighton. They did it again in 1983, thirty years later. And now, they’ve filmed it a third time and spliced all three recordings together, side-by-side. It’s fascinating to see what’s changed in sixty years — and moreso, what hasn’t.

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Lesbian couple sues hotel after being denied double room

lesbianA lesbian couple is suing a hotel in England after being refused a double room.

Rebecca Nash and Hope Stubbings say they tried to check into the Brunswick Square Hotel in Brighton but were refused a room because the hotel only gives rooms to couples.

This is surprising for a number of reasons. First, it’s illegal in the UK for hotels to refuse rooms to gay and lesbian couples. Second, Brighton is England’s most popular gay and lesbian seaside town and surely the Brunswick Square Hotel has had to deal with gay guests before. And third, a court fined a bed and breakfast for refusing a room to a gay couple earlier this year.

In the earlier case, the hotel owners were defiant, saying homosexuality was against their Christian principles. In the Brighton case, it’s a matter of “he said, she said.” The manager says the couple hadn’t made a booking. The lesbian couple said the manager got angry and told them “no two boys, no two girls” in the rooms before kicking them out.

[Lesbian flag image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

British bear hits the beach

The British have given us so much in the way of comedy; from Monty Python to The Office to the newly ubiquitous Russell Brand, funny is their best export. What else would you expect from a country so often bereft of sunshine? Now comes a delightful series of short videos from the BBC starring the hard-drinking, hapless Misery Bear, an English (but Made in China) stuffed teddy bear who never seems to catch a break. In the latest installment, Misery Bear goes on a seaside holiday to Brighton, England. Sad but familiar hilarity ensues as dodges seagulls, gets sick after riding a roller coaster, and tries to free some of his fellow bears from a claw vending machine. All that’s missing is a rotund man chasing after some scantily-clad women.This isn’t M. Bear’s first trip out, previous episodes have sent him to London and South Africa for the World Cup.

Travel Bookshelf: Cheeky Guides

Let’s face it–most guidebooks are boring. Sure, they’re informative, but they either read like a postgraduate thesis (Blue Guides) or are filled with snotty, uninformed opinions (take your pick)

The Cheeky Guides come as a breath of fresh air, or rather a gust of lager-laden belches from some local lush leaning against the bar at a seedy pub. These guides to Oxford and Brighton, two of England’s most popular destinations, manage to cover all the basics such as hotels, restaurants, and major tourist sights before veering off into the strange, silly, and even sinister.

Take Brighton, for example. You can learn where to go to speak to the dead (page 62), buy nipple clamps (page 260), or bathe in the nude (page 247). The authors are even kind enough to give you cryptic but probably sound advice. In the case of Brighton’s nude gay beach, “look out for the Windmill Man.” I’ll remember that.

If you’re wondering what the authors look like, they have a remarkable resemblance to the finger puppet “author photos” in the Brighton guide. There’s a real photo of them holding hands on the first page of “The Gay Scene” of the Oxford guide. Apparently they couldn’t find any real gays to pose for this picture.

The books are illustrated with clear, hand-drawn maps and the rare photo of something historic, but mostly feature random images of drunken students and midget strippers with hats on their willies. After all, who needs photos of some old building you’re going to take a photo of anyway? I’ve traveled all over the world and never once had the opportunity to take a photo of a stripping midget. Perhaps I’m not going to the right places.

The company also has Cheeky Guides to Student Life and Love, in case university and long-term relationships aren’t cheeky enough for you already.

While the books contain a hefty dose of silliness, and the occasional tall tale you’d have to be an American tourist to swallow, they do offer a wealth local color and unusual destinations you won’t find in regular guides and make a good addition to any traveler’s bookshelf.

So for a breezy, fun read, spread open a Cheeky Guide.

Utah's Secret Snow

You wouldn’t figure that a big East Coast paper would
know much about the ski conditions in the West…that is would profess to know he "secret spots" in a place
like Utah. But the Washington Post yesterday made a pretty respectable
effort at it. Now, up front, I need to say that I am a big fan of skiing, and a big fan of Utah. Since living in new
York City, I can say I’ve been back to Utah much, but it has a place in my heart, especially since my wife went to
school and lived there for many years. I know most of the big areas in the state, and have a particular fondness for
Alta. You can keep Deer Valley as far as I’m concerned. I don’t need m slopes groomed to death, thank you. Deer valley
is a resort for old people with bad backs and a  Park City is fine.

The two areas that the piece here singles
to are both deserving of mention…and certainly deserving of a day or two if you happen to be in the state. The two
areas are Solitude and Brighton. I’ve skied both and found each to be
quiet, nicely managed, and impressive hills. The writer of the piece here comes to a similar conclusion. So give it a
read and at the very least the next time you’re making plans to ski in Utah, consider these two lesser-known
places.