A Cycle Round Brighton With ME REX

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Brighton: it’s a helluva town. Coming out the train station, you’re able to look downhill, the streets fanning out towards the sea. It’s little wonder, then, that the area has traditionally housed artists, musicians, and other ne’er-do-wells who want to escape city life. It’s a bit chilled out, it’s a bit relaxed, it’s a bit… well, it’s bloody Brighton, isn’t it?

ME REX hail from the city, the latest musical proposition to spring forth from the countless DIY communities that criss-cross Brighton. They’re productive, too – a golden run of EPs led to breathlessly ambitious 52-track project ‘Megabear’.

New album ‘Giant Elk’ is terrific. For those who found ‘Megabear’ too unwieldy, it trims their indie rock tapestry down to a slim 11 tracks while retaining the trio’s central ambitions. Often compared to Los Campesinos! – both are fond of a thesaurus or two, we bet – the snappy, scuzzed out songwriting is worth aligning up against the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Sebadoh, or even J Mascis.

Currently on tour, ME REX hit Brighton tonight – November 17th – before finishing the dates in Leeds. To toast their triumphant return to the south coast citadel, the band’s Myles McCabe penned this cycle-bound guide to the city that provides him with a home.

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It is dark when I leave work now, my underpants have usually mostly dried from body heat and movement throughout the day but quickly become soggy again from riding through cold dirty puddles. My friend Mark has given me some mudguards but I don’t know how to attach them so for now I keep them in an orange plastic carrier bag in the shed.

I work near a shop named Local Legend, the origins of the name remain mysterious but I believe the legend refers to a man named Aydan who drinks large oat milk cappuccinos and has a kind face.

This is my bicycle. It is a Cannondale Synapse. I recently bought it from a lady on Facebook marketplace who works at a local General Practitioners surgery and lives at the top of a large hill near the hospital. Until recently I rode a Trek 1200 but I witnessed that bike get destroyed by a van that that said ‘Elite Fine Foods’ on the side. I was eating lunch outside my work and I recognised the comedian Sam Campbell standing next to me, we chatted briefly and he was very nice. A few moments after he left the driver backed into the bike racks, shouted “sorry” out the window and then drove away.
The frame and back wheel were bent beyond saving but I transferred the handlebars and seat onto my new bike. This involved severing the gear lines as I know very little about bicycle repair and maintainance and do not have time to learn. I now stay in middle gear and walk up hills.

Barber King is an art installation at the Old Steine, it’s aim is to invert the use of brand recognition to eatablish an unconscious association between Burger King and loose human hair in the mind of the consumer.

I moved to Brighton in November 2020, my dad had died in the August. That Christmas my mum came to visit and we watched the evening Starling murmurations. Each evening around sunset, hundreds of birds come together to form one body and then disperse again.

The donut groyne cannot be approached by night. The name is thought to be Saxon in origin like many local sites though its true meaning is lost.

This grotesque creature stands outside Belgian Chips. I believe he exists to ward off the enormous gulls that stake out the shop and swoop viciously down on unwatched chips.
The collapse of ocean ecosystems due to overfishing forces the gulls inland in search of food that can be scavenged from humans or taken by force and cunning.
He exists to fight in a war against the natural world, he continues to live in smirking defiance of god. Last winter Avian flu decimated Brighton’s gull population. Belgian Chips is my favourite chip shop in Brighton.

Turning back towards home I pass Brighton Pavillion (from the French ‘papillon’, meaning butterfly) lit in purple, I haven’t been inside.

Heading back towards my house I pass the beautiful Woodvale creamatorium, notable inhabitants include John Frederick Ginnet, Rev Sir C Irving Benson, Eric Clapton and much of the Tamplins Brewing family.
I attended a funeral here last year, the service was pleasant but shyed away from mention of the pain and chaos that shaped the man I had known.
I live at the deep bend of a road I have heard my neighbour claim is the second longest cul de sac in Europe. My way home from here is slow and steep and the roads are poorly maintained. 

‘Giant Elk’ is out now.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Whitley