A Family 50th Birthday: Mystifying Table Magic and an Unexpected Dance.
There’s about 40 of us hiding, crammed into the dancefloor area at Rustington Manor Hotel Hotel (yes – stretching the ‘Greater Worthing’ concept to its limit, but the family are Worthing folks). We’re trying to hush the over-excited and primped up children but not setting much of an example ourselves. The DJ (dandyish – red trousers, pink waistcoat) is not helping. “She’s left the house! She’s just 2 minutes away now! Shhhhhh everyone”, he stage-whispers through his mike, relayed to us via huge speakers. The kids are beside themselves and the adults are eyeing the buffet, the bar, each other’s party outfits, while hanging on to party poppers at correct tension for a co-ordinated ping at the DJ’s command. The oldest person here looks in their 90s, aided by walking frame and a hardly much younger relative; the youngest is a fresh baby. We’re all (apparently) white. 50th B’day Surprise Sprung, I sit down with a bunch of kids and teens who are hawk-eyed over George’s eye-defying and extraordinary magic show, and slide my question in. Pow! Immediate, decisive, reaction: No! Worthing is, like, no way, never, the New Brighton.
“It’s not gay enough! I mean, there’s not enough diversity: diversity generally, not just gay.”
“Yeah, Brighton is full of all different kinds of people”.
“When you walk around Brighton, there’s amazing graffiti and writing on the walls”.
“Brighton, there’s so many different people and things to see. Here, it’s just …..”.
The young adults here seem hungry for some Brighton-style variety, more than ready for change. As we get up to leave for our next party, the DJ puts Punjabi MC’s Mundian to Bach Ke on. No, I hadn’t expected that. As I bhangra my way to the door, enjoying a long moment en route with the crush of middle-aged women on the dancefloor, I start wondering if some of the apparent / assumed whiteness around here is actually ‘off-white’ or whether this is the Jay-Z effect. Whatever – for now, I’m glad to be dancing bhangra in (greater) Worthing.