Pier Pressure Day 6: Brighton (and the rest of Sussex) Rocks!

Following the seven performances of yesterday, just the five today, all on piers. And all in Sussex, moving from East to West. The day started with our hosts in Kent, Nick and Sue, who provided us with a hearty breakfast before Jeremy did a live interview on Radio Sussex. Not the last media operation of the day!

We were slightly late setting off, and were disappointed to encounter our first rain of the tour. By the time we got to our first pier, Hastings, a lot had passed by, but it was still rather wet in the air, and very windy indeed. Hastings is somewhere we’d performed a few weeks earlier, at the National Piers Society AGM, and therefore we knew what to expect of this newly (and tastefully) refurbished pier. A BBC crew from South East Today met us there, and began filming us – something they continued at the next two piers, resulting in a rather nice article on the news this evening (available here: starting at about 19 minutes 35 seconds). A few friends met us here as well, which was another theme for the day, and improved our mood despite the espieglerie of the weather.

As ever, we couldn’t hang around, and had to head off West to Eastbourne. There we were met by Jeremy’s sister Mary, as well as some other friends. A relatively short performance, this time in much wetter weather, but enjoyed by several passers-by, including quite a few who seemed to be out catching Pokemon…

Then onto Brighton, accompanied by Mary. This was always going to be one of the bigger events: we knew that some of our corporate sponsors from Allianz Musical Insurance were going to join us, as did Clare’s brother Paul, and several other friends and family. Given the footfall on Brighton pier, we also had a large number of passers-by. We were very well looked after by the pier staff too: one of the nicest welcomes we had (thanks Brighton!). But the performance, accompanied by dancing toddlers at times, went down very well!

We’d barely had a chance to catch our breath at this point – by now about 2.30pm – so we stopped for some fish and chips as we left the pier. The weather by this stage was starting to improve, so we had higher hopes as we set of for Worthing.

Ah, Worthing. We were about 15 minutes late arriving, so we had thought there might be one or two people waiting for us. It turned out there were lots – including the Mayor of Worthing, who had turned out to welcome us and support us! A few other friends and family came along too, including our old friend Damian, who is hosting us this evening. The performance here though was memorable – not only is it a fine pier, with many lovely Art Deco features and displays of current local artists, but the presence of so many children observing the performance gave us a real sense of satisfaction.

This was something that continued in the final performance of the day, at Bognor Regis. A smaller pier, with lots of people fishing at the end, there were still a variety of people who turned up to listen (either by accident or design). In particular, a pair of young children who sat cross-legged immediately in front of us for the whole 20 minutes we played were hugely inspiring – one of the purposes of Extreme Cello is to give exposure of cello music to kids, and we did that lots today. Bognor also had the largest gaps between boards on the boardwalk so far, resulting in a good view of the sea below but also two lost pegs (which we had been using to stop our music from blowing around…)

So overall, Sussex was a great success and we have enjoyed today immensely – despite the adverse weather in the early part of the day. Lots more donations for Alzheimer’s Society and CHICKS. Tomorrow we’re onto the Isle of Wight, playing at the four piers there: Ryde (10.00), Sandown Culver (12.00), Totland Bay (14.30) and Yarmouth (16.00).

Weather report: By far our wettest (and coldest) day so far, but the Jargar Strings still held up well and didn’t lose any tuning at all! Today’s temperatures varied between 16.7 and 21.6 celsius, with humidity between 75.3% and 95.6%.

Quote of the day: “Hi, I’m the Mayor of Worthing!” We’re welcomed onto Worthing pier by local dignitaries. We could get used to this…

Pier of the day: Worthing