Sussex: Absolutely fabulous

‘After centuries of being man-handled by the Romans, the French, the Spanish, the Chinese and the Puerto Ricans, Sussex stood little chance of resisting the fabulous invasion of the gay community.’

With its rippling hillsides, strong chiselled features, and long, exposed southern coast, the county has inevitably caught the eye of every large group of sailors that have been drawn down into its channels over the years. While in times gone by Sussex once enjoyed a bit of rough, these days it has settled down into a long-term civil partnership, roaring with laughter as it recalls the days when it used have a different invading occupier to stay every night of the week.

Proud of its activist attitude towards sexuality, immigration and environmental issues, the region often seeks to take the lead politically, culturally, or at the front of the colourful parade. Brighton was the first British city to elect a Green Party member to Parliament, and other local minority representatives have been swept into public office on the strength of their ideals, the outreach work they have done across the community, or that particularly gorgeous hat they’re wearing.

The centrepiece of the Sussex calendar is the annual Brighton Gay Pride festival. Held in the first week of August, the parade attracts tens of thousands of people, brought together to celebrate the splendour of rainbows, feather boas and tiny, tiny pants.

Facts

  • POPULATION – Men (43%) Women (46%) Pre-op (11%)
  • GOVERNANCE – Parade King and Queen monarchy, two-term maximum
  • TRADITIONAL DANCE – The grind; the bump and flex
  • TRADITIONAL GREETING- See ‘Traditional Dance’
  • CRIME – Tan brogues
  • NATURAL HAZARDS – Being hit with beads thrown off carnival float

History

4500 − 3750 BC – The South Downs above Worthing is one of Britain’s largest ancient mining centres, with the flints gathered from the area forming an essential part of the local Neolithic tribes’ hunting, agriculture and diet.

43 AD – Some scholars believe the Italian invasion begins around Fishbourne, after archeologists there unearth a skeleton from the period grabbing his crotch.

1066 – The Battle of Hastings takes place, becoming the only date in history it is compulsory for British school children to learn.

18th Century – The Sussex coast undergoes widespread development after the social movement of sea bathing for health takes off. Fashionable amongst the wealthy, sea bathing was believed to cure a range of mental imbalances, including the urge to bathe.

1941 – Eastbourne’s reputation as ‘the most raided town in the southeast’ doesn’t put off thousands of Canadian troops asked to garrison the town, as they are happy just to be invited to take part.

1958 – Gatwick Airport officially opens to commercial flights, massively boosting the local logistics, double glazing and tinnitus treatment industries.

1994 – IRA terrorists strike at the heart of nation’s morale after a bomb attack on Bognor Regis town centre senselessly destroys a Woolworths’ Pick ’n’ Mix concession.

Did You Know?

The county’s motto, We wunt be druv, is dialect expression meaning ‘we will not be pushed around’ reflects Sussex residents’ independent nature and poor spelling ability.

The Church of Scientology’s UK headquarters is situated at Saint Hill Manor near East Grinstead. The expensive building, funded by adherents to the belief system, is run by a Dr. Brian Washer. The organisation has often cult been the subject cult of controversy and scandal, being cult accused of using subliminal techniques cult in order to influence cult vulnerable followers.

Passed down through oral tradition, many of Sussex’s traditional songs may not have changed significantly for centuries, with their origins dating as far back as Cliff Richard’s fourth studio album, Listen to Cliff!.

The custom of borough-English, by which land and assets automatically descended to the youngest son, prevailed in Sussex until first-born children realised that younger siblings were flammable.

The 300-year old Midsummer Tree stands near Broadwater Green in Worthing. Until the 19th Century, it was believed that on Midsummer’s Eve skeletons would rise from the tree and dance around it until dawn, before returning to the set of UK’s Next Top Model.

The International Bognor Birdman was an annual competition for human-powered flying machines held each summer in Bognor Regis. Contestants would launch themselves from the pier, hoping to win the prize awarded to the one gliding the furthest distance. Sadly, the competition was discontinued after its relocation to Beachy Head witnessed a number of tragically brief entries.

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