3 Go Wild in Worthing – Goodbye Brighton, Hello Sunny Worthing.
Moving to Worthing from Brighton
Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a Gangster.” The immortal opening lines to the film ‘GoodFellas’. But ever since I was a kid, (an 8-year-old Mini Mod in 1982, to be precise – the first time I saw Quadrophenia), I wanted to live in Brighton. Having spent my formative years in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton seemed a world away. I never considered moving to Worthing.
As a teenager, I realised that Brighton was in fact, only an hour-and-a-half away on the bus. Coming down to watch my first ‘big’ gig as a student – clubbing at the legendary Brighton Jazz Bop’s – I fell deeply in love with the special air and the vibe that the town has.
Brighton is magical. With the weird and wonderful people and their devil-may-care attitude to all things cool and music related, it is an incredibly accepting and tolerant environment. It was only a matter of time before I moved there. The actual time happened to be 15 or so years later when I met my ‘Er Indoors’. I remember I called EI (who was then living on a farm in Wales). I said “Let’s move to Brighton,” she said, “Yeah why not.” As simple as that. We did. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Moving to Worthing
Six dancing and three job-filled years later, being grown-up caught up with us. With the extortionate price of property in the area, shit parking, the Hove mummy mafia to contend with, and the ever-growing needs of Duke, we were reluctantly considering Worthing.
Now if you told me in the BC (before child) years, that I would not only like somewhere like Worthing (and it’s “Life on Mars” attitude), but embrace it, you would have been met with a scornful “WTF” look. No, not me I was a Brightonian, and I wanted to stay that way.
Then in Autumn 2013, I met a lovely fella through work, who I started hanging out with. He had moved over to Worthing a couple of years earlier and kept on at me, selling its benefits as the place to raise an active family. In fact, he did such a good job that he should be a poster boy for the Worthing Tourist Board (eh, Al)? He started by showing me this video he made.
Rather than the masses of decaying, miserable, elderly people that had I expected to encounter, there are happy young families and fellas wearing decent trainers. Worthing isn’t what I imagined; in fact, it’s perfect. Don’t get me wrong; Worthing does still have lots of older citizens, but why not? They are here for a reason; mainly because they tend to be much wiser. They know that there is something special in the sea-air down here that drives you a little wild.
And, if the amount of people I see down at the Waterwise adventure playground keeps growing, West Worthing is fast becoming the equivalent of Brighton’s “Poet’s Corner”. Though without the high level of precocious tw*ts – It just needs a few decent pubs that play good music that deters the nutters.**
Not Exactly What I Planned.
We’re moving, so it’s goodbye from me, and it’s and goodbye for him. The end of March marks a quite important anniversary for me. Not because I will end up despising myself for breaking another promise about not eating all my son’s Easter Eggs and blaming it on next doors cat.
No, it’s more important that than. It will have been exactly three years ago, that we upped sticks from the ‘big smoke’, otherwise know as Hove and moved the fifteen miles along the coast to the ‘1970’s’ otherwise known as Worthing.
I can still remember the looks on the faces of my friends, at the time when I told them. ‘Worthing? Really? What are you thinking?’ Came the chorus of disapproval like I had confessed to being Jimmy Saville’s wingman.
They were convinced that those fifteen miles away signalled waving goodbye to ‘Rock & Roll’ and the beautiful, Gluten-free people that haunt Hove Lawns and the acceptance of wardrobes filled with trousers with elasticated waistbands and trainers made for the allotment rather than the dancefloor. But hey what do they know?
Now, looking back I am so very glad I didn’t listen to them. Because for me, the last three years have been nothing short of life-changing and all for the right reasons.
Rather than selling out and getting to hang up my spurs, I am now surrounded by people that want to get together and make things happen. People that actually what to invest their time and energy in making the town a better version of itself. So to all the unsung heroes of our town that I met over the last three years, I salute you. It’s because of all your hard work and dedication that the ‘Sunny’ really does go into Worthing.
Local Roll Call.
To the staff who work throughout the year to keep our beaches and parks free from litter and stag-dos.
The bar owners who keep opening up lovely places to drop into for a swift half (shout out to the Green Man, Coast and the Corner House).
The brilliant staff at places like Worthing Theatres, St Paul’s and The Dome for continuing to put on great events that don’t cost the earth. They keep both me on the dancefloor and my four-year-old actively engaged with the wonders of cinema, live music and the theatre.
For the beautiful free spirits, like the lovely Cathy, who brightens up our days with her smile and voice by singing with her guitar outside M&S.
To all the TotRockinBeats Mums and Dads who have joined the tribe and chatted to me on the school run, in the various parks and streets. It is because of your lust for life and the need for a night out has allowed me to build a full-time business out of a mid-life crisis idea.
To all the artists that hang out near Splashpoint and open their homes as part of ‘Open House’ that allows us to trail around and be amazed at their talent.
To all the old people, I bump into that don’t seem to mind a young boy and cap-wearing dad, hurtling around on their scooters. And smile a friendly smile at our mischief.
Most importantly, it to our neighbours who have made us feel so welcome and have become close friends and surrogate family ( Gertrude! ) where our own are based miles away. It is to you I salute and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Is it’s because of you that I am in part happier now than I have been in years. Three years here and now we are moving – well only a street away as I really wouldn’t and could imagine wanting to raise my growing family anywhere else. Worthing Rocks!
If you are thinking of moving to Worthing, do feel free to drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily meet you for a cuppa and answer any questions, you might have.
If you already live here, let me know your favourites in the comment box below. I am sure there is lots more to explore.