Read Online - Viva Brighton

Notes from North Village
Lizzie Enfield
“I saw him in the North Village the other day,” I
Oh, yes. BN1.
say to a friend from Hove, or ‘Hove Actually’ or
“The North Village?” My friend rolls her eyes. “Is
‘Almost Aldrington Actually,’ depending on your
that what you call Fiveways?”
point of view or where you hail from.
“What? Er… no. It’s the name of a café,” I explain,
Everyone seems a bit cagey about exactly where
but the damage is done.
they live in the city. I know someone who, without
She thinks Fiveways residents see themselves as
failure, prefaces her address with a faux cough and
part of a village. She thinks we think we live in
continues with ‘the Slade.’
the equivalent of Greenwich Village, New York.
I find the pseudonym and the ‘ahem’ mildly
Maybe we do. There are certainly villagey aspects
infuriating. Why not just say ‘Portslade?’ But she’s
to the area. There are local shops, with signs
not alone. Another friend who lives in ‘Ahem, the
emphasizing just how local they are, selling local
Slade’ always refers to the place as ‘BN47.’
food labelled to emphasize its localness and local
Initially, I thought this was more likely to be
schools taking local kids. They don’t have visible
‘Ahem, the Mouth’ i.e. Portsmouth. BN47 seemed
labels but you can tell - they carry musical instru-
too far away from neighboring BN3 to be reached
ments and other downright giveaways.
in just one more stop on the train.
I recognize people, when I see them elsewhere in
What happened to 4-46, I wondered? And in the
the city, as living locally.
time I spent wondering, I conjured up an imagi-
“I think I’ve seen you wandering around Five-
nary land between ‘Almost Aldrington’ and ‘Ahem,
ways,” is a frequent method of introduction. I’m
the Slade’ full of magical creatures and mythical
a writer. I have to wander around a lot for work
beasts that only those with special
and have coffee in The North Village (it really is
powers could enter.
a café).
Then someone pointed out
And we have residents’ associations and
that Hassocks, Lewes etc.
Neighborhood Watch schemes and
all had BN postcodes
probably more than the average
and for some reason they
number of street parties. Our street
sprinkled the numbers
even has a rolling dinner party.
about a bit before heading
Within about two hours of having
on down the coast. (And,
moved into our house we’d agreed
yes, that got me to imagin-
to host the cheese course. Correc-
ing the anarchist in the Post
tion. I’d agreed to host the cheese
Office who came up with
course. Other half was prowling and
that little plan. I bet that
growling; “If I’d wanted to move to
livened up a dull day in the
a village, I’d have moved to a f***ing
But where was I?
Little did he know….