While there is a familiar shared trajectory to the gentrification and regeneration process, there can be many missed opportunities to intervene and shape the (inevitable) process of change in positive and inclusive ways.
A Sussex lockdown queer wedding. Blending some old and well-known traditions with Celtic spirituality and a nod to church roots worked. And at no point did it ever feel like ‘Sheilaism’ (the term Robert Bellah famously used for describing the contemporary fall from traditional religion and rituals and into an utterly individualistic solipsistic pick-and-mix contemporary state of ‘spiritual but not religious’). The celebrant reminded us Boomers how far we’ve come since our teens, when ‘gay wedding’ was preposterous blasphemy. Keep an open mind. Allow the unexpected into your life.
On one of our weekend lockdowns, at a Worthing hotel (where we drive just 10 minutes up the road once every few weeks, to get away from domestic life and the over-familiarity of home) I asked. Shocked, she responded, “thank you”. We both laughed at the response and at the thrill of making something good happen in the middle of all the horror around us. The older you get, the more you understand the cosmic complex truth that, somehow, when the house is burning down, remembering to laugh and to dance is important.
Lindyhop is all about free expression and getting into the music. When you look at absolute beginners and very advanced dancers, they look very similar… Programmes like ‘Strictly’ don’t help. Amanda and I resist the temptation right there to do a ‘deplorable things about Strictly’ talk.
One man kept backtracking as he remembered things the family might need in case of shortages – “sorry, sorry”, he kept apologising, unaware in those days of magic hand-sanitiser that his outbreath and loud ‘sorry’ could itself be a vector for spread.
We came over to Worthing to look around for nice places, but really, we just needed an excuse – we’d chosen.
What’s missing from Worthing? I don’t think anything. It doesn’t need to be like anywhere else. It’s got everything that a place needs.
Weedkiller-spraying and care for the environment make the strangest of bedfellows, don’t they?