The Brighton Port Authority

The Brighton Port Authority were an outfit who built a huge word-of-mouth reputation on England's south coast from the early 1970s onwards before petering out in the mid-'90s. From what can be easily pieced together, they were a loose-limbed jamming unit, originally known as the Brighton Phonographic Association. At its core were local musicians Norman Cook and Simon Thornton who gathered various singers and session men around them, built the rather ramshackle BPA studio, and would occasionally hold multi-day warehouse parties from which their semi-legendary reputation stems.

Norman Cook, meanwhile, was certainly the driving force behind the BPA but when confronted on the subject he usually becomes extremely cagey.

"This is just a load of bollocks," he notoriously once replied when asked about it by Sir Melvyn Bragg who was researching a potential South Bank Show Special. However, approached more recently by a local newspaper he took a very different tack, stating, "There was so much potential then. From what little I can remember it was such an interesting time. Simon played me some of the tapes and I'm amazed at the quality."

"The BPA was a great lost era for Norman and numerous other musicians," explains Dr Seal, "They were experimenting with all kinds of concepts. Iggy Pop was over in the mid-'70s, he was really out there. The BPA were having some kind of warehouse party, testing synthesizers, shooting fireworks across the bay, Iggy just had to get involved. He recorded a version of The Monochrome Set's debut single 'He's Frank' four years before The Monochrome Set wrote it. It was an incredible time."

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