by Robert Nemeth
When Audio, at 10 Marine Parade on the Kemp Town seafront, closed earlier this year, it reminded me of my first time clubbing in Brighton. I was sixteen at the time, and Audio was the Escape back then. It was mid-week and there were about ten people there but it was a seminal moment nevertheless.
An earlier building on the site was a bow-fronted Regency affair. It was certainly a hotel before it was demolished (Field’s Pier Hotel) but may well have started as a house. The current building, dating from the 1930s consists of a music venue on the ground and first floors. A side entrance on Charles Street leads to Pier Court above – seven flats within three storeys and a rather makeshift penthouse-style level with roof terrace on top. The terrace has quite magical views of the Palace Pier and sea.
The venue has had a number of names over the years including the Pier, the Buccaneer and the Royal Escape. It’s interesting to see what is currently being exposed in the ongoing refurbishment of the premises as layer upon layer of old schemes are being stripped away. All sorts of wacky tile arrangements have come to light during the works – some dating from the 1930s – of which several will be incorporated into the new venue.
The first job of the new owners of the building is to remodel the ground and first floors to a tight deadline. The flats and exterior will be attended to afterwards. I was shown around by Hove-based architect Steve Seary whom I originally met whilst making candy-floss at a fete in Stoneham Park. The building contractors are a new Hove-based company called Detail Building Contractors Ltd. They certainly have their work cut out.
The venue will reopen as Patterns on 13th May.