Travelling to every pier is not a particularly uncommon activity. People do it for various reasons, such as writing a book, or preparing for a wedding. Writing about piers can be historical, sentimental, political… For The Heritage Trail, ‘Our piers are a unique legacy, quintessentially British, and oozing with nostalgia’. While for Revolutionary Boredom, ‘[Brighton Pier] thrashes in its death throes, throwing lights, sounds and colours at visitors with the tense jollity and uncomfortable grin of an old man who knows death is imminent but makes jokes to distract it.’
So, apart from the 360-degree gimmick, what’s my approach going to be? I could describe my planned journey as
– an exercise in psychogeography or mythogeography; taking piers as arbitrary points to construct a lengthy drift/dérive;
– a magical working, establishing piers as points on a giant symbol around the circumference of the coast;
– a spiritual midlife quest or pilgrimage;
– an outdoor walking travelogue.
Why would I describe it thus? Because I know there will be people reading this who like those kind of things. Because (in my seasonal pier booth, shilling for trade) I aim to please. The fortune-telling cards are true in themselves, but I feel obliged – by culling, stacking, and centre-dealing – to show you what you want to see. In the endless hope of being loved. Kiss Me Quick.
And if as the afternoon fades you notice a nasty face in the funhouse mirror, well, never mind. Let’s walk to the end. I’ll buy you an ice cream. We came to have fun, didn’t we?