Brighton is a fine town and it¬ís the middle of the Brighton Festival so the streets were filled with people on stilts with fireworks exploding off their heads and men rowing up the road in a boat and massive inflatable spiders. At least I presume that was because of the festival. Maybe it¬ís always like this.
I bought some over-priced chips and soaked them in vinegar and took a walk on the pier (obviously the one that hasn¬ít burnt down and fallen into the sea). It was reminiscent of childhood days spent on the pier in Weston-Super-Mare as I watched the sea crashing beneath me and wondered whether I would be hurt if I attempted to dive in (as the signs warned me).
As I finished the chips a gust of wind caught the polystyrene tray and the pool of excess vinegar spilt all over my T-shirt. That was annoying. I like vinegar a lot, but not enough to wear it as a cologne.
I wandered back through the amusement hall, remembering how much I loved these places as a child. I was hoping to find a pinball machine, though I don¬ít know why as they never work properly in such arcades, but clearly pinball has lost out in the video games revolution. Instead I had a go on a few decade old fruit machines.
I was delighted to win ¬£5 on a Monopoly based fruit machine for landing on Park Lane, until I pressed collect and was greeted with 25 twenty pence tokens. All wins of ¬£3 and over were paid in tokens. I had forgotten all about tokens. What a total con. If I had stuck at Leicester Square I would have had ¬£2.80 in cash.
No matter, that was 25 free goes on the fruit machines, so I played on. But the tokens didn¬ít even really work properly. I was left with about 7 of them that wouldn¬ít work in any of the machines and just clattered out into the pay out tray,.
I went to one of the booths to complain, but the woman said they would not exchange tokens. I said I didn¬ít want to have money, I would he happy with 7 tokens that actually worked in the machines they were designed to go in. She said that if I went to the office they would exchange them for vouchers which I could use to buy snacks in the caf√©.
I had seen the caf√©.
I didn¬ít want to eat there.
Perhaps it was partly because I¬íve run into the brick wall of bureaucracy already this week, but I was really annoyed by this whole turn of events. I thought I¬íd won ¬£5, only to find I¬íd won some silver metal discs, ¬£1.40 of which were useless, unless I wanted to buy some more unpleasant chips, which would probably only result in me being covered in even more acetic acid.
I decided to take revenge on this cheating arcade that knowingly filled its machines with tokens that didn¬ít work, aware that its patrons would just lose heart and give up their hard earned winnings.
I thought that if I could jam these tokens into the coin slots of seven machines, the resulting loss of earnings and maintenance costs would more than outweigh the ¬£1.40 that had been swizzled out of me.
Unfortunately the tokens were too small to get jammed in any machine I tried. Instead they just clattered out into the pay out tray.
Then I stopped and thought about it. What would this look like if I was caught? I was a 35 year old man, with a well-paid job and vinegar all over his clothes, failing to sabotage some out-of-date gaming machines in a children¬ís arcade.
I don¬ít think I would have gone down in the annals of legendary avengers against evil.
I decided to go back to the hotel and change my shirt and threw the tokens into a bin.