The Madness of Bom-Banes

There is something undeniably satisfying about being ‘in the know’. Almost everyone loves the feeling of being in possession of secret information, and whether its office gossip, pop trivia or breaking shocking news. There is a journalist within all of us that wants to keep ahead of our friends.

With boutique events guides popping up all over the internet, I followed a lead on a recent trip to East Sussex and attended a new café in Brighton. Situated in an unremarkable side street in Kemp Town, this marvellous Belgian coffee bar is unlikely to be bought out by Zizzi anytime soon. Even by Brighton’s famously bohemian standards, the madness of Bom-Banes is an offbeat delight.

Bom-Banes is run by Jane Bom-Bane and her partner Nick Pynn and their eccentric vision follows in the British music hall tradition. The upstairs dining area is liberally sprinkled with children’s drawings, spring flowers and Aesop’s tables playing 1920’s cartoons.

One of the charms of the venue is how young children turn up to do their homework and are treated with the same respect as the musicians rehearsing in the Moroccan parlour downstairs. Indeed the café possesses so many surrealist twists you would be forgiven for thinking the venue had originally been conceived in a dreamy child’s mind.

With its crazy mechanical tables, Belgian dishes and beautiful white beers, Bom-Banes is certainly not the place to go for egg and chips. In this mad bohemian café one of their most endearing qualities is how the owners and staff actually talk to you.

On living in a transaction based society that revolves around chip and pin relationships it can come as quite a shock to receive a genuinely friendly service from Jane Bom-Banes and friends.

Anyone expecting a quiet romantic dinner is advised to avoid Bom-Banes because it requires a certain kind to attend. Shy and reserved types might find Bon-Banes a bit too much when the eccentricities are in full flow. This is the price you pay for wanting to be different though. Otherwise their home made food is absolutely lovely with ostrich, salads and Mediterranean tapas available at very reasonable prices.

Even if you love the gorgeous cuisine, some people may well find Bom-Banes too garish for their tastes. However, anyone walking along the fabled road less travelled should be prepared for the unexpected.

With my untapped niche firmly in my pocket, I now possess a secret unknown to the vulgar masses. Self-satisfaction is never far away in this respect. If it’s off the beaten track, then I want to be on it.

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5 thoughts on “The Madness of Bom-Banes

  1. Nice piece. Good to be able to see your writing again since the days you were experiencing a melancholy death. Hope to see your work in print soon.

    1. Hey I can’t believe you found me! How did you come across this place? The melancholy journal has been put behind a self-imposed paywall to preserve my employment prospects. Do you still have a website?

      1. Twitter. When I signed up for that it directed me to your twitter account as your email address was in my contacts. I haven’t got a blog anymore. I moved my energies in Creative writing courses which are frankly fascinating for the people alone.

  2. Oh that’s interesting. Feel free to follow me if you feel that way inclined. If you have any of your creative work available to read then I’d love to read it. How do you find writing dialogue?

  3. Consider yourself followed. I found writing dialogue difficult in terms of getting to a point where a wide enough group of people could follow it. I prefer a more naturalistic style where the dialogue flows and you can trust the reader to follow who is saying what by virtue of the fact that you have given the characters individual voices ( assuming of course that you are as talented as you think you are). Its a style that I probably ripped directly from David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System. Reading that I was comfortable with the way the dialogue was set out and just felt that it should always be that way. However… when your on a creative writing course you are essentially working a mixed ability room in terms of not only how people write, but also how they experience your work. You then get feedback from people saying they were confused. You have to hold back from telling them either they were confused when they came in or that this is a creative writing class and we are all confused or we wouldn’t be here.

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