Every now and then, it can be nice to get away from the madness of London- and before you start having a go at me- I know London is simply multi-million microcosms and if I wanted peace and quiet there would be a multitude of places I could escape to. However far away you manage to escape ‘Londonness’, however, there’s always a little reminder somewhere to let you know you’re in the big bad city. Whether that may be the faint warbles of a cockney accent floating out of a black cab window, a Japanese tourist snap-snap-snapping or a whoosh and bubble of the filter machine in one of the thousand Pret’s that litter the London high streets. London permeates into your skin, flows through your veins like a central line and the only way to truly escape is to leave.
For that, the Penguin Random House Annual Sales Conference last month provided the perfect remedy to my lull in my London l’amore. For two days, the entirety of the UK teams from Random House and Penguin descended onto the beaches of Brighton to showcase what was new in the book world for the next coming year. It gave me chance to sit back and be really proud to be working in the world of publishing- a dying business some have argued- but after some really encouraging words from Tom Weldon, an inspirational speech from the legend Jeannette Winterson and meeting my childhood idol, JACQUELINE WILSON, it was impossible to not see the importance to books in the modern world.
Aside from being wined and dined at the likes of The Breeze Brasserie where the sea bass was delightful, eating an icecream on the beach and enjoying our very own Ebury Publishing Brighton rock, I got to wander down the iconic Brighton Pier and marvel at the architectural beauty of The Brighton Pavillion. Unusually for February,the sun was beaming and the pebble peach and smell of salt in the air, the promenade and old couples strolling arm in arm in quiet love made me pang with home sickness for Morecambe which was minutes away from where I went to university in Lancaster.
Brighton was a true old school delight. It was all Victorian glamour, pebbles, Georgian front houses and of course the glittering gun grey sea. A few gulps of fresh sea air, a tonne of books to add to my reading list and having eaten enough to sink a boat, the two days in Brighton were just the ticket to lift my libido for London town again.