It was a particularly good one, actually. First of all, a post about Saturday morning. This was the day of the Brighton Open, which you might remember I put in a couple of pictures for. Each image was made into two small magnets, one for the artist and one to be placed in the wild.
Well, I'd read and understood the concept, but hadn't fully foreseen all its implications until Item and I actually went down to the seafront at 10.00 to see a small band of volunteers putting all the magnets on the esplanade bollards (I think the original plan was to have them on the seaward fence, but it seems not to be made of magnetic material, so bollards and parking ticket machines it was).
We were told that we could take up to three magnets each, and should feel at liberty to move them around as well. The fact that they were so small turned the whole event into a kind of hunt. And then, that we were allowed a maximum of three meant that we were constantly changing our minds and trading one in hand for one on a post, so they really did get shuffled around. Item was on her scooter and absolutely loved scooting through puddles to find the next one, two, or several.
Another good touch was that we were given a postcard to write why we had chosen our final magnets to take home. Feedback would go to the artist, and it is nicely set up so that you are really only going to hear pleasant opinions. I see that the feedback is also collated here - nothing for mine, yet, but you can see Item's comments and mine about the ones I chose. So, hats off to Alban for organising it. It seems he does similar events in different towns, so could be yours next.
It was lucky we were on the seafront, because it was also the day of the Children's Parade, which opens Brighton Festival. My history with this parade might be summed up as a big 'meh' - before Item was born, I paid it no attention at all. When Item was very young, I took her down to watch it for a few years on the trot, and always found that she didn't have the patience to watch for more than a few minutes. Last year, she was in it, and our experience was of waiting for 45 minutes to set off, then walking very slowly through town.
Well, finally, six years later, I understand why people call it a 'must see', a 'unique start to the festival' and all the rest of it. This year, the council had cut down severely on the number of children allowed to participate, and rightly so, because with over 70 schools taking part, it had become ridiculously unwieldy. Our own school has implemented a 'one year in, next year out' rule and also cut back on how many parents are allowed to walk. The result? A much tighter parade, even though it still took a good hour to watch in total.
But it was a real treat to see how much effort all the schools had put in. The theme was, I had thought, before seeing it, an odd one: the rights of the child. All became clear when we saw that schools were representing themes such as the right to safe childbirth, the right to clean water, the right to play, and so on. Nonetheless, some of the schools were still plain baffling, as though they'd chosen a theme months ago and decided to shoehorn it in however they may. Giant Campbell's soup tins, anyone? I think that was part of the right to Art and Science, but you could only really figure it out of you had the programme in front of you.
I must have had too much coffee, because the "right to love" exhibit, with staff and kids singing "All you need is love" had me close to tears...
The right to safe childbirth (and an NHS?)
This woman was giving high fives in a very jolly way to all the kids who were watching
I don't know what the letters spell out, but I like them.
Little Red Riding Hood
Mr Potato Head
Our headmaster, Mr Cooper: you really can't fault him for getting into the spirit of these things.
The right to clean water. The silver tinsel looked excellent; you can't really see here just how excellent.
Ok, the rest of the weekend in another post, because it's all Item-based.