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Words: minatory, adj. and n.

JONATHAN MEADES has recently visited Brighton, and pronounced. It is not simply a case of dodging the chain-smoking, dog- toting panhandlers ("hair in the community"), as, for all that, the town is no longer truly, raffishly minatory - threatening, from the late Latin, and first used by Thomas More in 1532 ("these wordes be mynatory and threttes"). The OED has no instance this century, and it was only briefly a noun, in the 17th century.

As for Brighton's lack of racetrack gangs, worse, in Meades's eyes, are restaurants' deep-red Seventies walls - not retro-chic but an inertia reflected in the food. What happened to the real emblem of that grim decade, the Golden Egg chain? Its ovoid menus were cuisine's "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep".