This week I met up with my friend, Bella.
We've known each other since primary school and she's recently moved back to Brighton after graduating from Goldsmiths in South London. I figured what better way to spend a winter's day than venturing to her new pad for a cup of tea and a royal catch-up.
I arrive late, naturally, and after kicking off my shoes, Bella (red curly hair looking awesome) greets me with some Tom Yum soup - which I'll probs attempt to make and document at some point, because it's delicious and super easy!
It's crazy to think at 22 how different we are from when we were wee nippers. At age 14, Bella, myself, and our other cronies would wander to Pavilion Gardens, sometimes naughtily sipping ciders, or congregate at someone's house, discussing frivolities, boys and the like. Now, people have graduated, people have moved, and people are GROWING UP. Bella, in her homely flat that she shares with her boyfriend and her kitten, Boots, surrounded by a colourful kettle and photos hanging on the wall, strikes me instantly as just that, a Grown-Up. And it suits her.
Onto our second cup of tea and she begins to tell me about how her music's going. Bella's always been insanely musical, playing gigs all over Brighton and London. Her song "Say Yeah" was the soundtrack to the beginning of our teens, with angsty lyrics like "get outta my face" played at angsty nights called things like 'Teen Spirit.' We lapped that shit up. Moreover, when I left Brighton at the end of Year 9, it was to Bella singing "You've Got A Friend" for me in the school concert. But as she's grown up, so has her music. It's forever progressing, with her songs becoming more and more beautiful. Now, with her Dad managing her and her own all-female band, she looks set to conquer.
And it's not just Bella who's innately musical. Her boyfriend Mike has started an independent record label
called The Loft Sessions. Under this title, he organises bands to come and play in their loft. Yes, their flat's not only a homebody's paradise but a musician's haven, too. Heard of George Ezra? Up and coming singer/songwriter who recently was in the Radio 1 Live Lounge? He stayed at Bella's casa after playing at the Loft Sessions' resident night at Brighton's the Blind Tiger Club. Pretty cool. Last week, in fact, the band Peggy Sue (formerly Peggy Sue & the Pirates - another nod back to 2006 and being 14) graced the loft's minimalist stage.
After this gig, the band ran on over to Resident, a Brighton record shop, for an in-store. But not before a cup of tea from Bella's colourful kettle. I feel quite inadequate, watching these wonderful videos, in comparison to the talent that has sat in this kitchen before me.
Three hours after I arrived and after a lengthy gossip, I finally pack up my things and leave the happy couple (and the curious cat) with promises of returning soon. I love reunions and this one, particularly, was in tune with my New Year's Resolution to make the most of my final term in Brighton, seeing the sights and the locals before I depart into the I-don't-know-what come summer.
As I head out of the front door with a frantic wave of goodbye, I can see Brighton shining brightly in front of me. Man, I love this city.