Pier to Eternity fancy dress bicycle party is back!
First ride of the year is themed Sea Monsters vs Hell Lizards. After terrorising the pier, the group descended upon Hastings Old Town and ending up in Bottle Alley for ice cream courtesy of William the Conequeror. The new crowdfunded sound system is booming. You can bring your own bike radio and tune in for your own handlebar tunes too.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
–John Masefield c.1902
My understanding is that this poem is in copyright, but provided free of charge for educational purposes.
“Can you do any tricks?” I asked.
“I’m learning the Superman, the Starfish and the Kangaroo”, she said.
“What’s this one called?”
“Sticking one’s legs out”.
Today I learned to ride this beast in Bottle Alley.
“It’s OK!”, she said, “There’s a hand’s span of headroom, we worked it out!”, waving a dainty little left hand.
“Yes, but I’m a head and a half taller than you!”
The riding height is exhilarating, although proximity of one’s head to the roof of Bottle Alley a little disconcerting.
Took to the high wheeler like a fish to water. I always wanted to ride one when I was little and imagined doing so, and what it’d be like. I think that imagination of the event meant it felt fairly natural once in the saddle.
The hard part is stopping. But then, who wants to?
The calm after Storm Angus is startling. From dramatic clouds, roaring winds and the loud soundtrack of water smashing the pebbles, all has slowed into a much smoother looking state.
The sky has become cloudless and sharply cold. The sky is an ever shifting wall of colour gradients, especially as the sun begins to sink, the sky intensifies. Everyone is on the West side of the pier staring into the sun.
Fade away, and radiate
The silhouettes of chatting ladies in the café sipping tea. They look up for a moment, tea cup held midway to the mouth, and say. “That was fast”, as the sun slips below the horizon–too engrossed in Christmas shopping lists and gossip to observe the spectacle beside them. It is fast, yes. The tangential speed (in Hastings) is about 500 miles per hour or something, isn’t it?
The beams become my dream
As the sun drops further, all the colours fade into black. The sea and sky begin to merge at the horizon into a vast dark infinity. For a few moments, the orange glow filters into the safety barrier on the pier. Like an electric bar fire. Like a flaming harp. Until they flicker and die. Until tomorrow.
Battle Bonfire: Anarchic and very LOUD. It is a suitably parky night and one of our group has brought aromatic mulled cider in a flask.
A procession of pirates with flaming torches descend into the town square. There is the rumbling of marching drums and the stomach shaking thump thump of thunder flashes being set off in beer barrels.
The rear of the procession is brought up by rattling metal wheeled fire carts.
I want to get closer to the square to see the bonfire. I get lucky by getting behind the fire carts as the crowd fills the vacuum space made by the procession, and follow it up to the square.
The bonfire is two storeys high and once lit by the many torches, burnings viciously in huge rolling vortexes of flame, cinder and smoke. The backdrop of Battle Abbey against the fire and fireworks was dramatic.
The celebrations ended with the burning of the effigy, which was a Saxon soldier fighting Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. The slogan said: Brexit 960 years, in out, in out shake it all about. Another smaller authorative sign seems to say Keep of the Crass.
The Saxon soldiers sword burned up in a huge fizz of white showering sparks. His eyes pulsed with retina searing white magnesium, then Donald Tump’s bum caught fire. At the end, there where two enormous thumping explosions–possibly the most powerful I’ve ever witnessed, and the whole effigy was blown apart, leaving nothing but twisted metal.
Chris Levine’s laser show on Hastings Pier is an immersive experience. This is notwithstanding the immersion in rain, which is torrential for part of the evening.
There is a slightly annoying air of mystery about the event. It was actually quite difficult to find out much about it. It’s called the iy_project. This seems to be because all the good names were taken. It was near impossible to even find out what time the event was suppose to start. Luckily the Hastings Pier website had this pertinent information. There is supposed to be an app to go with the event and despite fiddling around trying to find the underscore on an iPhone to search for it, it’s definitely not there. Several sources mention this non-existent app. Quite frankly, it sounded a bit ludicrous anyway, a real time interactive app – when you are standing on a pier in the rain. It also made the event sound a little dated. Does anyone use apps any more?
Anyway, I’d expected throngs along the beach and packed pier. The weather has been ‘Miami style’ in Hastings for many weeks, but there’s been a hint of autumn the past week or so and tonight the sky cried. There is still a very generous turnout. The atmosphere was subdued and contemplative. It did have the feel of an art show, especially at the end of the pier, which was the immersive hub of the light show.
Without wishing to sound ungenerous, myself and I think a fair proportion of the crowd have grown up through the acid house era. We love lasers. We want lasers. Arty lasers are always a bit underwhelming after the kind of laser show that accompanies 808 State to 2,000 tripping and/or stoned fans. Quite frankly, whilst the ambient electronic sounds tonight were OK, I had a yearning for The Orb’s Towers of Dub and a bit more laser action. They were nice, but they didn’t really do anything. The spectacle was perhaps more static than people expected. It was still very beautiful and very impressive, The technical work put into the design and especially the challenging build across an Art Deco building, a Norman Castle, a renovated Victorian pier, and a boat 400m out to sea really is an achievement.
I absolutely love Hastings Pier. This show really showed off how it’s expansive space (and dramatic backdrop of the English Channel one way and Hastings shoreline and beaches the other) can be used for cultural heavy hitters, rather than tacky penny arcades. It is mainly this angle that made my night, and shows how uniquely positioned the pier is for major location specific artworks and events.
This is an unusual post as it is not a photo, but about someone I have photographed.
HASTINGS AND ST LEONARDS FRIENDS!
William the Cone-queror, the well-known ice cream man in his straw boater hat is going to HEROICALLY SWIM from the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse back to shore. This is a distance of TEN MILES, which he is doing for the SEA VIEW PROJECT.