Monday, 31 January 2011
No sleep till..........Bexhill
Fancy rocking out on the Sussex coast? Bexhill-on-Sea may not be your first port of call, but think again. Because Bexhill has the De La Warr Pavilion and the De La Warr Pavilion played host to An Evening of Words and Music with.........Patti Smith. Yes, I got to see the the godmother of rock, punk, poetry whatever twice in one week. Lucky me. She was, if not necessarily word perfect .... oh how we love it when Patti has a senior moment mid song..... certainly pitch perfect. Honestly, the energy at a Patti gig is above and beyond the average twentysomething band, I kid you not. And last Friday night was a particularly blinding performance, accompanied by her daughter, Jesse Smith, on the piano, a young bloke with a beard whose name I never caught and the extraordinary Patrick Wolf, a musical youth with unbelievable talent who flitted between the violin and harp with breath taking brilliance. I first saw Patrick Wolf a few years ago, doing Twisted Christmas, and he's a sort of musical genius, if you get the chance I urge you, go see him.
It was a remarkably good evening and much needed after a remarkably tricky week running through the good, the bad and the ugly of emotions. So, after a long train journey and fuelled only by red wine and some of the most expensive crisps known to man.......all be it Stilton & grape flavoured crisps........and yes there is good reason why salt & vinegar has endured so long but they had to be tried....... it was a delightful relief to throw caution to the wind and my arms aloft, and do a spot of dancing, while Patti rocked the once glorious seaside town with Gloria, Ghost Dance and a spine-tingling, goose-bumping, heroic rendition of Bird Land.
And then there was the De La Warr Pavilion. What a delight, all curves and kinks and windows, perched on the edge of the beach. It was commissioned by the 9th Earl De La Warr in 1935. Designed by the architects, Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, and was the first public building built in the modernist style designed to provide the good denizens of Bexhill and it's environs with culture and leisure. And now, after an 8 million quid refurb, it's back on the map. Home to one of the largest art galleries in the South East, it has amongst other things, an award winning bandstand and a magnificent roof terrace commanding panoramic views of land and sea. Quite the jewel of the East Sussex coast.
Top tip: Don't wait for the summer, head for the beach and check out the De La Warr Pavilion at sunny Bexhill-on-Sea.