Monday, 16 June 2014

British Flowers Week: Brighton Rock

I'm off to New Covent Garden Market for the launch of British Flowers Week. In the meantime, here's a bouquet of scented South London flowers rocking the beach in Brighton.

It's as subtle as the luminous pink bucket and spade, but who cares? It's Brighton Pier - the new one is so busy and bright, it was overlooked for the location of the 2010 film in favour of Eastbourne! The lifeguard seemed bemused as I took the photos.

I read Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock during a phase fifteen years ago when I tried to work my way through must-read modern classics. It's been a while, so I need to read it again! I saw the 2010 film at the London Film Festival. It was the 'surprise' film that year and I was pleased - not only was there Sam Riley playing the gang leader Pinkie as if he were a firework about to go off, there was also Helen Mirren and my absolute film idol, John Hurt. I don't remember when I first saw the 1947 film, but it's brilliant. It's more tense than the 1960s-set recent film, and Richard Attenborough's Pinkie is haughty and chilling. It sticks to the book's 1930s setting.

I'm not sure what Pinkie Brown would make of my cheerful, floral ode to his story, but I'm sure Rose would like it - the pink bucket and spade for Pinkie, and the red and pink roses for her. And Ida might appreciate the brightly-coloured rock: "I've never changed. It's like those sticks of rock: bite it all the way down, you'll still read Brighton. That's human nature."

You can see the old West Pier, which I think is charming and melancholic (or "atrabilious", as my old publishing manager calls it), all the more so for being wrecked by fires.

You can just about make out the new pier, with its fairground rides, and the deckchairs stretching along the pebble beach.

The other flowers in the bouquet are "Harlequin"and "Dot Com" sweet peas, Verbena bonariensis, Scabious "Pink Mist" (which has survived from last year), and Escallonia "Apple Blossom". There is also some apple and lavender mint, and lemon balm, hence the strong scent, made stronger by the warm weather.

I hope this is a good introduction to British Flowers Week - our gorgeous flowers are as much a part of the landscape as beautiful beaches and classic books and films!

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