News: Walk with the mods

Calais gets some high-speed rivalry

The "Battle of Brighton", in which mods fought pitched battles with rockers at the South Coast resort, took place on the Whitsun bank holiday in 1964. The events inspired The Who's album,
Quadrophenia, and the film of the same name. To mark the 40th anniversary, Brighton Walks (01273 888596;
www.brightonwalks. com) is organising a special
Quadrophenia walk around the city next Sunday, on 30 May. The comprehensively researched tour will leave from the Visitor Information Centre at 2pm, and will cost £8. It takes in many locations from the film, and reveals little-known nuggets of information, such as the appearance of the writer Pete McCarthy as an extra. The organisers hope that Sting's Vespa from the film will be taken to Brighton for the event.

The "Battle of Brighton", in which mods fought pitched battles with rockers at the South Coast resort, took place on the Whitsun bank holiday in 1964. The events inspired The Who's album, Quadrophenia, and the film of the same name. To mark the 40th anniversary, Brighton Walks (01273 888596; www.brightonwalks.com) is organising a special Quadrophenia walk around the city next Sunday, on 30 May. The comprehensively researched tour will leave from the Visitor Information Centre at 2pm, and will cost £8. It takes in many locations from the film, and reveals little-known nuggets of information, such as the appearance of the writer Pete McCarthy as an extra. The organisers hope that Sting's Vespa from the film will be taken to Brighton for the event.

Further Quadrophenia walks will take place on 5 June, 3 July, 7 August and 4 September - though without the Vespa.

Calais gets some high-speed rivalry

The once-flourishing cross-Channel link between Dover and Boulogne has been restored this week, with an innovative pricing structure copied from the low-cost airlines.

A new operator, SpeedFerries, is pioneering a new pricing structure, which pays no heed to the duration of trips. Instead, fares are purely demand-dependent, as with no-frills airlines. SpeedFerries is emulating the easyJet principles of rewarding early bookers with low fares, but raising prices at times of heavy demand. In addition, booking by phone rather than online incurs a £10 penalty.

Boulogne was last served from the UK by Hoverspeed from Folkestone in 2000, after which the company consolidated its operations around the Dover-Calais service because of intense competition across the Channel.

SpeedFerries tried unsuccessfully to launch services on the link last summer; sailings finally began on Wednesday using a "wave-piercing catamaran" named SpeedOne. She carries only cars and their passengers; other vehicles and foot passengers are not permitted. The five daily departures are scheduled to take 50 minutes - the fastest ferry crossing to France, though 15 minutes slower than Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais.

The fare structure will not be competitive in comparison with the day-trip offers from other operators, who offer return deals for as little as £25. But it should favour those who book early for longer-duration trips. For example, a family of four travelling next month would typically pay £95 return.

The new route will provide motorists with much easier access to Le Touquet, the Somme and Amiens; it is also a shorter distance from Paris. It will revive the tourist trade in Boulogne, too. Unlike Calais, the port's historic core was not badly damaged during the Second World War. And the town boasts arguably the best seafood in France.

SpeedFerries: 01304 203000; www.speedferries.com

Boulogne tourist office: 00 33 321 108 810; www.tourisme-boulognesurmer.com

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