York to Brighton. Sunny skies, highs in the low sixties, and the sun went down around eight o’clock. I fell hard for this seaside city of faded glamour that felt like the original signal for Atlantic City, Santa Monica, and Coney Island. Why is elegant decay more appealing than the gleaming new thing? Perhaps because it inspires sympathy, even a sense of recognition. Because we’re all falling apart.

From the few hours spent there, Brighton seemed like a genuinely functional city intertwined with a hallucinatory palace built by a dissolute prince, an old pier rotting in the English Channel, and the smell of funnel cake mingling with the broken tune of an old merry-go-round. “The people here are very indiscreet and troublesome,” said Queen Victoria in 1845. And the food is fantastic.

And a massive thank you to the very kind people who run the National Rail. They reunited me with my camera after I foolishly left it on the train. I’d spent the evening glumly kicking at the stones on the beach, thinking I’d never see it again, but the next day at the train station, a man guided me into a cluttered office and handed it to me with a smile. I nearly wept. He simply nodded and said, “It’s what we do, mate.” Later I discovered dozens of their portraits on my camera roll, and they’ve restored my faith in humanity in all kinds of ways.

One of the snapshots I found on my camera