Thursday, May 31, 2007

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between the late, great comedian Dick Emery and celebrity chatter Vanessa Feltz? Are they by any chance related?



Profitta Rolls

What a dreary week. The weather's been dreadful, That Bloody Awful Noel has got a new show on Sky, it's enough to make you want to stick your head in your Smeg oven.

So I thought I'd cheer myself up by ordering a pizza. Clearly the chap who put this menu together had high margins and expensive motors in mind so they were just thing. And, of course, I rounded the meal off with coffee and Bentley Continental chocolates!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Son Of Turnip?

Northsiders appear to be getting more than a little hot under the collar about the sale of one of the jewels in Margate's regeneration crown, the Outfitters Gallery in the Increasingly Less Creative Quarter.

Since I broke the news that it's up for sale for £415,000, there have been calls for an investigation into whether the £100,000+ funding from GOSE (the Government of the South East - who they???) and the Arts Council (via Kent Creative Partnerships) has been well spent. Oh yes, well and truly, I would say - the solid oak worktop in the kitchen is to die for! Lovetts' details certainly appear to put more emphasis on the place as a charming pied-a-mer than a thriving art gallery and place for the kiddies to come and make papier mache walruses.

Personally I can't see what all the fuss is about. After all, we're not talking about anything like the £8m that was wasted on the 'offshore' Turnip Centre, and anyway GOSE would surely have ensured the money could be clawed back from any profit from a sale within a certain time after the funding was handed out. They surely would have. Surely. They would. No, they would have, surely.

Outfitters Gallery on the GOSE website

Outfitters Gallery on the Lovetts website

Fly Con

I see yet another seedy and shabby part of Kent is to get an 'iconic building' in the hope that it will do for the area what the Ted Turner Centre has so far done for Margate (i.e create a lot of jobs for architects, consultants, estate agents and property speculators).

According to a report on the BBC's website, this time it's the Isle of Sheppey that's going to benefit from funding to the tune of £37m. It's all based on the island's, um, famous connections to the birth of the aircraft industry, so maybe it stands half a chance of taking off. Although given the track record of iconic buildings in Kent, I wouldn't be surprised if it's still taxiing down the runway 20 years from now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Ramsgreat Ideas

A reader calling herself Dame Janet has emailed yet another entry in my Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate competition, and pretty comprehensive it is too. She writes:

Restoration of Ramsgate Seafront

1. Royal Victoria Pavilion
To be restored as an entertainment venue with restaurant, and roof garden with café. Small lock-up seaside shops round base as originally

2. Maritime Museum
To be modernised and rearranged to include Tourist Information Centre and two rooms upstairs for a Ramsgate Museum

3. Former Pleasurama site
Exterior of building to be same shape and in the spirit of the original Harbour Station . To be redeveloped as a leisure centre and swimming pool for all residents and visitors to enjoy with full length glass walls on seaward side

4. Marina Restaurant
To be refurbished as holiday apartments with cafe underneath

5. Marina Road
Cliff face arches and road arches to be all restored and re-faced in red brick to match Royal parade on other side of harbour

6. Site of old Marina swimming pool
To become a supervised skateboard park and roller rink

Sounds splendid, Dame Janet, and if put into practice would furnish Ramsgate with more front than Dolly Parton.

Send your Grand Design for Ramsgate by midnight on Thursday 31st May to:

Pain In The Grass

Cripes! That's the last time I try starting the old Lawnflite 909 under the influence of a couple of G&Ts, I can tell you. The QEQM were marvellous, though, and didn't seem to mind at all when I gave them the finger.

My thanks to Mr Ceaucescu (no relation) for holding the proverbial in my absence.

Monday, May 28, 2007

All The Types Of Work Of The Plumbing Undertaken

When I to look at after this place for Mr. Eastcliff, I thought that I would apprehend the chance to have a glad chat with you regarding the work that terrific I make in the field of the plumbing.

If it is a suite that full of the bathroom you are looking at to install, or only some washers in the taps to blink that they need to move, the plumbing of Mr. Ceaucescu (no relation) is its reply. We work to the better standards placed by the Institute Romanian of the Plumbing and also do work to the BRITISH standards such as CORGI (even so I we thought always that this age the dog of The Queen! Ha-ha I makes little joke).

They go thus on, give them one clinked. We are 24 hours here the one day, 7 days one week. We do not load a tax of call-out, and will always give a honest estimate to it before profollowing with the work. It is forgotten rest - the plumbing it Mr. Ceaucescu (no relation) is better!

Mr Richard Easctliff To Be Unwell

To have itself wounded in an accident lawnmowing bizarre however non-lifethreatening, Mr. Richard Eastcliff is incapable contributes its today blog. Sincerest offers to its apologies more.

The better desires,

Mr. Ceaucescu (no relation).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ramsgate 1, Margate 0

The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to the UK describes Ramsgate as 'picturesque', according to a report in the Kent on Sunday newspaper.

Margate also gets a guernsey, but is rapped for exhibiting 'the melancholy air of a town past its prime'. Meanwhile Boredstares 'plays the Victorian nostalgia card' to attract the tourists. No surprises there, then.

Whelkome News

As if to prove that Ramsgate isn't being completely left behind in the culture stakes, I see we now have a whelk stall to rival Mannings on Margate Pier, promising to sell all sorts of seafood and fresh fish seven days a week.

It's run by the ubiquitous Cannons, who've been boat and fisher folk here since before the Vikings invaded. They've just been given their licence by TDC, so yesterday was their first day. And already they're becoming a bit tired of people shouting: 'Have yer got any crabs on yer, cock?'

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Puff The Margate Dragon

Reader Rachel from Ramsgate writes:

I was aghast to see the awful puff piece for Margate on BBC South East News last night. I presume one of the producers has just bought a little investment number there, or TDC press office finally managed to take somebody out to lunch, or both! The town's putative renaissance appeared to be based on three interviews - one with Eli who runs the Sugar Lounge, who seemed rather non-committal if you ask me, the property developer who renovated the Sea Bathing Hospital (they would say that wouldn't they) and someone from SEEDA (they would say that wouldn't they). Ken Wills' Westwood Chinese business park had also suddenly become part of Margate to give it the 'tiger economy' feel. No mention was made of any setbacks such as the recent closure of the Outfitters Gallery, or the Turner Contemporary fiasco, or the fact that Ramsgate, not Margate, has received all the positive property press in the past year or two.

The BBC played straight into the hands of TDC, whose draft plan places Margate at the top of the list for any creative or arts funding, and Ramsgate as a dormitory for a port and airport. Ramsgate used to have a vibrant arts scene, and still does to some extent, but this is being gradually and deliberately eroded as the plan from Margate takes effect. Latest rumour is that the Gallery IOTA people, who were forced to move out of their building in Ramsgate, have now been tempted over to Margate to regenerate the pier.

I'm not saying that Margate doesn't need some help, of course it does. Paigle did a magnificent job on the Sea Bathing Hospital, it should have been the Turner Centre, but that's in the past. And Eli deserves all the luck he can get. But none of this should be at the expense of Ramsgate. Our town is undergoing cultural cleansing in this mad dash to do something, anything, for Margate. I think a lot of people here are beginning to get extremely fed up with all the initiatives and funding that come out of North Thanet for North Thanet, and are beginning to wonder why they should bother paying their council tax if they're not going to see any benefit for it.

Update: You can watch the report again on the BBC South East website for a limited period here, click on the story entitled 'A New Vision For Thanet'. That's if you've got the right plug-in for the awful BBC player.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cooking The Books

Reader Izzy writes:

I've just been down to have a look at the library, as I heard the contractors were to start the rebuild today following the arson attack in 2004. The gates were open, but there was nobody at home! Not a sign of any work or workmen. With the kids off for the long weekend, what a great opportunity for some little tyke to get his My Little Arsonist Kit out all over again!

And she's emailed me the pictures to prove it:
Ramsgate Library: open door policy

Please pay your overdue fines as you go in

Bandstand Bash

The Eastcliff Residents Association are holding a bit of a do tomorrow afternoon at our brand new, super-duper, out-of-this-world bandstand. Let's hope the weather holds out for it.

Turps and terpsichory are promised, although dancing will presumably be limited to tripping only the very lightest of fantastics, given the state of our crumbling cliff.

News Snooze

Once again the Gazunder has followed up two of my stories. Drugs raids (from two weeks ago) is today's front page lead, and caulis (from a week ago, and which the BBC followed up on Monday) lead page two.

Perhaps I should be charging a licence fee and taking advertising!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hazy Days

The beautiful weather continues here in the Cannes of Kent. Looking out from the East Cliff towards Big Deal and Getting Walmer, a sea haze accentuates the coast all the way round to Dover. Across the Channel, a dark brown strip hovers above the Frenchies.

What better way to while away the afternoon than watching the world go by, licking an ice cream outside Ronnie Corbett's teeny-tiny kiosk, and chewing the cud with Ramsgate Firster Gerry O'Donnell? Which is precisely what I did.

Italianate My Greenhouse

It's such a beezer day here in the tip of Kent that I've spent the morning strolling in the sun through the King George VI Memorial Park. Let's face it, I've got B-all else to do.

The Italianate greenhouse looked like a giant insect baking in the sun. I've always wondered what happened to the rest of the estate that it belonged to. So I was grateful for the following history lesson in the helpful leaflet 'Glasshouse Glory', published by the Uranians:

East Cliff Lodge remained in the Montefiore family until 1935, when Mrs Arthur Sebag-Montefiore finally put the estate on the market, after the untimely death of her husband in a flying accident at nearby Manston. At this point the house was bought by a private company, for use as a country club. During the Second World War soldiers were billeted there, and later on Thanet District Council acquired the property. The Lodge, sadly, was demolished in 1954...

So, nine years at most in the hands of TDC and the place had to be trashed. I think I'll place that in the plus ca change file.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Art Monitor

I haven't been firing on all one cylinder recently, must be the shock and desolation of not getting the speaking clock gig. And Bev, my agent, promised I'd be a shoo-in. Shows what she knows.

Consequently I omitted to mention that I bumped into one of the Ile's most influential wrinkly rockers during my sojourn in the Arsonists' Playground on Monday night. Genial Margatonian Mark Hewins, who plays with Saint Gob of Beldof, was instrumental in the guerilla music protest at the Turnip Centre's M&S wing last year, which was at the time exhibiting a huge black rubber ball and some other things.

You can read all about Mark's search for a pair of authentic, artistic, grass root Reg Grundies on his website.

Speaking of grass roots art, yet another new blog sprang up here in the Monte Carlo of Kent yesterday. Zumi means 'buzz' in Esperanto and 'that's the only explanation you get for now...'. The blog also links to ThanetCAN (Creative Arts Network), which sports a jolly nice photograph of the Grand Turk leaving the Royal Harbour yesterday. And that's about it so far.

Blimey, we can't grow caulis anymore here on the Ile de Thanet, but boy, can we grow blogs!

Sign Wave

There's no stopping Terracotta Glenn, the reader who sent in his plan for larger-than-lifesize Vikings along the seafront in my Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate competition. He's sent me two more signs with the missive:

I attach some further suggestions for signage along the crumbling cliff face. Not just to protect visitors and bumbling locals from their own folly, but as tourist attractions in themselves.

With Manston about to become a Chinese business park, the sooner we get these signs erected the better!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Turk Off

What a magnificent sight the Grand Turk made as she sailed out over a milky sea past the old cliff top mansion just now. Accompanied by the roar of cannons, and repeatedly dive-bombed by a couple of howling veteran planes, it was enough to bring a tear to my glass eye.

If the rumours are true that she's up for sale, we may never see her like in the Millionaires' Playground again. Sniff.

You Heard It Here First

Being a modest, retiring, bashful sort of fellow I wouldn't normally crow about beating the BBC to an important bit of local news. So I won't mention that they've only just caught up with my cauliflower story of last week.

Kuh! I don't know. Perhaps I should be charging you lot a licence fee!

BBC cauliflowers 'ere

Open And Shut Case

Here's a bit of an admission. I actually enjoyed a night out in Margate yesterday!

On the way to meet my chums for a gargle or two (yes, it's true, I do have friends on the north of the Ile), I noticed that something called The Flower Lab is due to open in what the Uranians insist on calling the 'creative quarter':

Nothing too creative about experimenting on poor, defenceless nasturtiums, but good luck to them anyway. Then I noticed one of the creative flagships of the creative quarter has creatively closed:

This is the place that those nice people at GOSE (Government of the South East) spent a substantial amount of money (or European Objective 2 Funding as they prefer to call it) on not so long ago. Now it's up for sale for a cool £415,000.

GOSE, you'll recall, is also the body that recently tipped the nod to 1300 new houses at Westworld Cross. I don't recall voting for them, but it's nevertheless reassuring to know that all the tax I give them is being put to such, um, profitable use.

Outfitters Gallery on the GOSE website

Outfitters Gallery on the Lovetts website
And if you fancy running an Italian restaurant, Soprano in Cliftonville is up for sale too!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ted Dead?

Well I must say the Baftas weren't quite what I expected last night. Much of the razzmatazz seems to have gone now that they've moved them to the Granville CineTheatre here on our East Cliff, and there were more pensioners sporting Dannimacs than I recall from previous awards nights. Come to think of it, there didn't seem to be any awards either.

And what's happened to my erstwhile commentator Dane Valley Ted? His blog appears to have been overrun by some gambling nonsense. And as a consequence the Thanet Blog List Recent Feeds page is turning into one humungous great bookie's ad.

I wonder if this is some money-making scheme DVT's come up with? Or perhaps he's cashed in his chips? If you're out there, Ted, give us a sign.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Must dash - just off to the Baftas. And so handy to get to this year!

East Cliff Chopper Strikes Again!

It started with Pugin's nose. Then it was his concrete lion. Not long after, our car crushing, caff crushing, graffiti removing local Councillor Dave Green's bollards were hacked off.

Now someone's gone and hopped off with our all new, turret-mounted, M61 Vulcan 20mm rapid firing machine gun with infrared night vision, which was protecting one of our marvellous monuments from the daubists. Is nothing sacred?
28 March - ICCCTV

19 May - INoCCCTV

Saturday, May 19, 2007

MP Plea

Just in case anyone thought I was less than even-handed banging on about the Blue Rinsers during the local elections, here's a little treat you may have missed. It's our local Labour MP, Dr Steve Ladychap, putting in a last minute plea on 2 May, the day before the election, for everyone to vote Tony.

Unfortunately for Dr Ladychap, when I spotted this earlier today, more than two weeks after the votes were counted, only 14 people had viewed it. That's substantially less than half the number of candidates that Labour actually put up in Thanet.

He's also clearly in need of some media training, and where better to get it than from yours truly? After all, look what I did for Bignews Tony.

Watch Ladyboy video.

Manston Pickle

Yikes! Pootling around the interwhatsit just now, I noticed a recent and rather gloomy discussion about the future of RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport on something called the Professional Pilots Rumour Network. Here's a taster:

And I keep hearing about investment in the airfield. Personally, I would draw a distinction between investment and spending money on repairs and maintenance. The radar was stuffed. It had to be fixed. That's not investment. It's just running costs. Real money will have to be spent on sorting out the airfield's drainage and fuel tanks. Again. this is money down the drain (pardon the pun). These things don't increase your revenue stream (like a new terminal). They just allow you to keep going.

I think Infratil have some tough decisions to make. The airfield needs investment, millions of pounds. If they're as hard-headed as everyone says, I think they'll, want to see concrete evidence that they will get a return on their investment. The odd flight, now and then, doesn't really constitute hard evidence.

The fly boys then go on to discuss the proposed new airport at Lydd as being a more viable option than our facility. So, what's the betting that my investment banking chum's windfarm-cum-housing estate plan comes to fruitation (as Kevin Keegan once put it) after all?

Typical, isn't it? You spend millions on a cliff top mansion close to an airport where you can park your Lear jet, only to find the wings have come off a couple of years later!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sign Of The Times

Terracotta Glenn, who sent in his plan for larger-than-lifesize Vikings along the seafront in my Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate competition, has sent me another photograph from his China trip. He writes:

If Ramsgate is to be taken seriously as an attraction for the rich and geriatric, this picture shows what you really need. A man of your, er, standing in the community must surely have noticed.

I have noticed, Glenn, and more and more frequently as I head towards my, er, 30th year.

Cauli Poor Show

Time for a quick round up of the trade papers.

Fresh produce news, and Kent's biggest cauliflower farmer, Robert Montgomery, is to cease production of the crop as it's no longer financially viable. Mr Montgomery, who farms at Upper Hale, Birchington, near Margate, said that the cauliflower acreage had dropped 35 per cent in the Thanet area over the past six years, and nationally it was nearer 50 per cent. 700 acres of caulis, and 30 staff, will now go from the Montgomery farm.

What odds am I offered that Mr Montgomery will be growing a bumper crop of 'executive homes' in the not too distant future? Although, given climate change, it would be terrific to see peppers, or even olives, replace the fart bushes.

Oh, and the BBC has lost Neighbours, almost certainly to ITV1.

There. Where else would you get brassicas and broadcasting on the same blog? Quality!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cannes Do

I see from today's Sadscene that a chap from Cliftonville is planning to put Thanet on the movie map by holding an international film festival on the Ile.

Carl Tooney, known to his chums at Warner Bros as 'Looney' Tooney (er, not really, I just made that up) is organising the first, week long festival for June next year. And what better place to hold it than Ramsgate, the Cannes of Kent? (Note to self: must bring forward opening of my new theme restaurant Planet Thanetwood.)

Speaking of which, the Millionaires' Playground is due to feature in a Waitrose ad airing from Monday. The 40 second commercial shows organic Kentish apple juice being delivered to our local store, where you can also buy deliciously appropriate Millionaire Shortbread. Ha! That'll teach the Dickensians to get all hoity-toity over a fleeting glimpse of Boredstares jetty behind that irritating nodding dog flogging car insurance!

And finally, Margate is set to feature on a new set of Royal Snail 'British seaside' stamps. Well, two of the donkeys that wander up and down the beach, that is. Such a shame that no-one from the Arsonists' Playground will ever see the stamps in real life. I mean, who in Margate is ever going to spend 78p on postage?

Cliff Bottom Mansion

Crumbling cliff tops! Our crusading local biblio-bloke, Michael Child, has unearthed the April 2005 engineers' report into the state of our East Cliff, and it doesn't make for reassuring reading. Lowlights listed under 'Summary of Defects' include:

Displacement and failed concrete in concrete barrier
Various cracks
Exposed, rusting reinforcement
Large void behind one of the arches
Horizontal displacement of wall face

The report continues:

There is evidence that the facade's original purpose is to minimise the weathering effect on the chalk cliff face (and this) has not been entirely successful due to lack of maintenance and due to penetration of rainwater giving rise to particle migration.

If my cliff top mansion plummets beachwards I'll have to change the old moniker by deed poll. Somehow, though, Beach Bungalow Bill doesn't quite have the same ring.

More pics of 1947 West Cliff collapse.
Engineers' report on the crumbling East Cliff.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Roll Up! Roll Up!

The Chipperfield circus is back in town next month. Although I'm afraid this is one circus where the clowns could well end up making the taxpayers, rather than the children, cry.

Yes, I'm talking about the Turnip Centre! The Anthea Turner Centre! The Ike and Tina Turner Contemporary! The latest mail-out from the Mysterons informs me that the architects 'will present the latest progress on the design for the new gallery on Monday 18 June, 18.00-20.00' (6pm to 8pm in old money) 'at the Winter Gardens, Margate'.

The presentation 'is open to the public and places will be allocated on the night on a first come, first served basis'. What's the betting that everyone with a vested interest miraculously manages to come first and be served first?

And what are they going to present to us? Well, we've already seen stages A and B, viz:

Now we're going to be treated to stage C, which, we're told, will 'provide a more detailed internal layout and a clear direction of the building form and range of construction materials under consideration'.

Presumably the architects will then diligently proceed through stages D to Y, culminating in stage Z:

Trebles all round!

Ramsgreat Ideas Flooding In

A big 'Mwah!' to everyone who's been sending in their plans for the snappily titled Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate. Here's a couple of the best so far.

Reader Glenn writes: 'I recently went on holiday to China, and was very impressed with the visitor centre for the famous Terracotta Army. Outside the centre you can have your photo taken as one of the terracotta soldiers. Given our area's connection to the Vikings, wouldn't it be great if people could pose on the seafront as a Viking!"

And a reader who goes by the name of 'Krystal' writes: 'I read that the Motor Museum (West Cliff Hall) was once a venue for a Rolling Stones gig. What better tribute than to turn it into a Museum of Rock?' He's even sent me a photo of himself in his, er, curator's uniform.
Terracotta Glenn

'Curator' Krystal

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Regeneration Game

I happened upon this 'Regeneration Map' on Kent County Council's website whilst researching the Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate yesterday.

Designed by the same people who brought you Snakes and Ladders, this is what those chaps in Maidstone are planning for us here 'at the edge of teh known world'. As you can see, Margate's still down to get an 'offshore' Turnip Centre, which, according to the blurb, 'will make the town internationally renowned for culture by 2010'. They'd better get their skates on then. And Dreamland is, according to the KCC mandarins, due to become a 'major mixed-use development'. So forget any debate about preserving it as an amusement park.

As you'd expect, they make no mention of the Millionaires' Playground, apart from an oblique reference to 'new road schemes' and 'the introduction of flights to 27 European destinations from Kent International Airport'. Hmm.

You can download the full map as a PFD (Pretty Funny Document) here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ramsgreat Idea!

The Independent on Sunday ran an article yesterday about the regeneration of the British seaside. Among the grand designs mentioned were Margate's Turnip Centre, and my old showbiz chum Roger de Courcey's plans for Folkestone.

But no mention of Ramsgate. Probably because our friends on Uranus and their pals at KCC have neglected to draw up any grand designs for the Millionaires' Playground. Apart from flogging the best off to developers, and allowing the rest to rot.

So to redress the balance, today I'm launching The Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate. It's a catchy title, I'm sure you'll agree, and is bound to attract a great deal of media attention. Just email your ideas to:

The best of them will be published here, and the winner will receive a valuable signed photograph of yours truly. Plus my personal architect Mr Ceaucescu (no relation), who spent many years at the Janitorial Studies Department of the world renowned Ion Mincu Institute of Architecture in Bucharest, will turn your design into a working scale model (subject to completion of the guttering here at the old cliff top mansion).

So what are you waiting for? Let's put Ramsgate on the regeneration map!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Virtually Pointless Exercise

Ahem. You know me, I'm not normally one to crow, but I would just like to remind you of what I said back in March following the competition to find the UK's entry for last night's Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki:

Once again, I fear, the Great British Public have squeezed the pimple of success only to find that they will, alas, be reaping the pus of failure.

As it happened, only Ireland's twiddly-diddly dirge saved Scooch and their dreadful song from being crowned the embarrassing boil on the bottom of Eurovision.

So for next year I propose we invite Professor Stephen Hawking to perform a cover of The Floaters' 1977 hit Float On live from NASA's Vomit Comet. Well, it's got to be worth a try, surely?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

...Tall Ships Grow

Don't forget to pop over to our Monte Carlo-style marina this weekend for a gander at the Grand Turk. Although she's of more recent construction than most of the vehicles you'll see in Margate, she cuts a much more graceful and majestic figure.

Unlike the little Acolers mentioned in the previous post, though, this is one of the many attractions that we subsidise through our council tax. And we still have to pay the ferryman if we want to take a butcher's inside.

Still, I for one will not gripe, as she adds a welcome touch of old style class sitting there among the Sunseekers and Bentley Continentals.

Friday, May 11, 2007

From Little Acols...

Philip Page, aka Artyblartfast, has just reminded me that the Acol (long A, hard C) Art Group's 2007 Exhibition is on this weekend, with the opening this evening.

They bill themselves as 'quiet, yet industrious', and don't cost us taxpayers a single penny. Hurrah! So, if you get a chance, do tool along to the Acol Village Hall, or 'Turnip Centre' as they like to call it, and grab yourself something gorgeous for that empty wall in the drawing room.

Full details.

Tories Gain An Extra Seat

As if I didn't open enough veins last week, now I find the blue rinsers with an even larger majority, according to today's Gazunder.

In the paper's double page spread headlined: 'Meet the people who are representing you' there are 34 Conservative councillors, one more than the official tally of 33. Who is the mysterious extra Tory? Step forward Dennis Payne, who polled 432 votes to take the, er, non-existent third seat in Westbrook, according to the crack team at the Gazunder Building.

Meanwhile the paper also credits Grey Party candidate Jane Burgess with another mysterious non-existent third seat in Bradstowe ward. And poor old Ramsgate Firster Mike Taylor's seat in Central Harbour has disappeared altogether.

Oh well, not for nothing does the Gazunder sport a true blue masthead!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Down And Out In Ramsgate Or London?

As regular readers will have no doubt surmised, I've not had much work lately, apart from an offer from P&O to support Jimmy Cricket on a Baltic cruise. And now that our monocular visioned, Prime-Minister-in-waiting's pals at the Bank of England have pumped up interest rates again, well, something's got to give.

So what shall it be? Sell the pied-a-terre in Chelsea and settle here in Ramsgate? Or flog the cliff top mansion and trundle off back to the village? It was this dilemma that was fevering the old Eastcliff brow as I tottered home from knocking back a couple of pints of the Gaddfather's finest at my favourite watering hole last night. Then a sign appeared.

They say that all life is in London, but I beg to differ. After all, where else, in the space of little more than 24 hours, and in the same street, can you witness a drugs raid, an open-air display of male micturation, and two chaps inflating rubber mattresses in the middle of the road at midnight?

Nope, there's no two ways about it - it's Ramsgate for me!

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between the photograph that newly elected Tory Councillor Simon Moores has put on his Thanet Life blog today to illustrate a post about our recently resigned Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the photograph of himself that sits in the top right hand corner of the very same blog? Are they by any chance related?


Yellow River

Cripes! I'm going to have to change my route to the blasted newsagents. After almost being mown down by half a dozen burly rozzers on their way to a drug raid yesterday, this morning I came across a fellow urinating up against a building in precisely the same spot.

It's bad enough having to dodge the barker's nests, let alone tip-toeing through human waste as well. Needless to say all I got was a grunt and the finger when I asked him if he had a wee problem.

Sandy's Election Diary

Top politician Sandy Beach gives the Isle of Thanet Gazunder his exclusive insight into last week's election tussle.

Some tossers said we couldn't get elected for another four years. Yeah right. F*cking tossers. Tossers the lot of them. In yer face. In yer face. Do you wantsum? Do you wantsum? Geddit?!!?! F*cking tossers.

That's enough insight - Ed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Weather Presenter Sprouts Rain Forest

Our lovely local weather presenter, Kaddy Tea-Pot, was sporting something a bit extra this evening. Unfortunately we're not oop north, otherwise I could have made some awful pun about her 'Wyre Valley'.

Still, shrubly weather for ducks at the moment, eh?


You go for weeks without seeing a bobby, and then six come along all at once!

Toddling down to the newsagents for my copy of Gra*ia just now, my glass eye nearly popped out of its socket as round the corner of Augusta Road marched half a dozen of our blue uniformed finest in stab vests. One was carrying a battering ram. My initial reaction was to rummage through the old grey matter in pursuit of any unpaid parking fines I may have neglected, but to my relief they brushed right past.

Naturally curiosity got the better of me, and I watched as they proceeded to make a forcible entry into one of those grimy residences on Truro Road. Much shouting and screaming from a top floor window, including the words: GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH NOW!, ensued.

One can only assume that they were on the trail of another of our talented local, er, horticulturalists. And they say nothing happens around here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ascension To The East Cliff

I must say I've rather taken to heart all this criticism that I don't give those hard working chaps at the council their due.

So to redress the balance here's a bit of good news. They've finally found the spare part for the East Cliff lift, and its now going up and down like a good 'un. And to celebrate my recently elevated (geddit?!!?) opinion of the Uranians, I've even dug out some archive footage from the last time it was working!

Private Functions Catered For

My very old chum Angina took a tumble from his Davros undercarriage on Sunday, and was admitted to the QEQM for observation.

He'd been to the 80s night at the Boredstares Pav, as is his wont, and had been careering home up the High Street in, er, very high spirits when the wheels came off. That's what he says anyway.

He's just phoned to ask if I can come and pick him up from the Discharge Lounge. Just like the old bugger to have headed straight for a club in Margate!

Monday, May 07, 2007


Over to Margate yesterday for a butchers at the old scooters and even older scooterists that had braved the bank holiday weather to attend the National Scooter Rally.

Scores of them had parked up in the 'piazza', and were tucking into plates of cockles and whelks from Mannings seafood stall, washed down with beers and frothy coffees from various establishments in the Old Town. A splendid sight, and many a nostalgic tear was shed by wizened old men reliving their youth as they stared dewy-eyed at Lambrettas and Vespas like the one above.

Indeed, far from resembling the kind of mad skinheads hellbent on trashing the joint that many Westgate residents, and our own Nervous of Clacton, were in trepidation of, most of the 'mods' looked well into their granddad years.

So as a celebration of all things scootery, I've ferreted out this marvellous piece of Italian kitsch from YouTube. It's a promotional film for Lambretta, extolling the virtues of a dance called the 'Lambretwist', and incontrovertible proof that mind altering drugs were pretty much mandatory back in the 60s. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tory Story

Now that Lord Simes of Westgate has been elected a councillor 'at the edge of teh known world' (his words), I see he's wasted no time in blowing his own trumpet.

He's promoted his blog from a hitchhiker's guide to Thanet to one councillor's guide to Thanet, and instead of claiming to be Thanet's alternative newspaper it's now Thanet stories, humour (yeah right), ideas (er...), photos, politics, opinions, links and news (what, no recipes?), from Westgate Councillor Simon Moores.

No mention of affiliation to the Tories, though. Perhaps he's keeping his options open.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thanet Goes Down The Gurgler

That's that, then. It's Blue Rinsers 33 seats, Labour 19, Independents 3, and Ramsgate First 1. If I were to clutch at straws, I suppose at least it gives us a bit of continuity. Continuity of incompetence and foul mouthed abuse, that is.

I see my arch nemesis, Dr Biggles, has polled the highest number of votes in Westgate-on-Sea. Congratulations Councillor Dr Biggles. Or would that be Dr Councillor Biggles? Protocol was never my forté.

I wonder if it's too late to have the stitches removed from that vein?

Car Crushing Councillor Rides Again!

I see our local car crushing, caff crushing, graffiti removing Councillor Dave Green has got back in. Congratulations DG!

Not only that, but my good chum (he waved at me from a carnival float once) Steve Ward the Mayor of Ramsgate is past the post!

Maybe I'll see about getting one of those veins stitched back up.

Not A Turnout For The Books

Woe, woe and thrice woe! According to the Uranians the turnout here on Ramsgate's East Cliff was a mere 28.9%, although this was not quite as baleful as on Ted's patch over in Dane Valley, where barely a quarter of the electorate could muster the energy to drag their Nikeed plates over to a polling station.

You can follow all the, er, excitement as the results come in here. I'm off to open the other vein.

Out For The Count

It's quiet. Too quiet. I suppose anyone who's anyone has pootled along to the jolly old Winter Gardens to watch the ballot papers being counted.

Judging by the rest of the country, it looks like we're in for another four years of Sandy and Co. I'm off to open a vein.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Poll Dance

Call me old fashioned, but I do like a good vote once in a while.

This is how I see it. I give the state squillions every year in tax. Four or five years pass. No annual general meetings, no shareholders' reports, no consultations, nothing. That's it. Then a bit of paper with some names on arrives, and I get to put an 'X' next to one of them.

If I walked into Harvey Nics once a year and wrote them a cheque for £100,000, and they said: 'That's great. We'll send you some stuff. And in a few years we'll hold a vote for the bloke who chooses it for you.' Well, I wouldn't be too impressed, would I?

But hey, that's democracy! So here I am, about to toddle down to the East Cliff's luxury, 12 star Comfort Inn, and perform my democratic duty. What are the choices?

Conservatives: The current incumbents here on the Ile de Thanet, but not for me I'm afraid, as I lived through the mad cow years. Yes, they've had a makeover, but can a cow really change its spots? And they've hardly been on a smarm offensive locally over the past few weeks. I'll admit some things have improved, but they've made a hash of the Pleasurama site, Dreamland, West Cliff Hall, the Theatre Royal, Ramsgate Library, our crumbling East Cliff, the list goes on.

Labour: I also lived through the lying Prime Minister years, so again not my favourites. Although locally they've done a pretty good job, with Councillor Green crushing cars and eyesore caffs, removing graffiti, erecting new lamp posts and improving road safety like some kind of crusading superhero.

Ramsgate First: I find myself mysteriously attracted to our chief teeny-tiny councillor, Gerry O'Donnell. Why? Well so much of the council tax we pay here in the Millionaires' Playground seems to end up subsidising the Tory heartlands in the north of the island. We're not, as Mr O'Donnell puts it, getting our 'fair share'. But then is an organisation with no obvious links to any of the mainstream parties ever going to get its voice heard? And then there's the ever-so-faint whiff of UKIP to consider.

Of course, as regular readers will know, I'm a self-confessed Minger and would ordinarily vote for the Invisiberals. But they're not standing here on the East Cliff, and they've only put up three candidates on the entire island. Still, they're known to have a yellow streak, perhaps they're running scared of the rather combative style of local politics around here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Nothing In The Air Tonight

Holy smoke! According to the BBC, a Ramsgate chap has been jailed for nearly five years for running what is thought to have been the largest cannabis factory in the UK.

If you recall, the rozzers raided an industrial unit on the outskirts of town almost exactly a year ago in an effort to stop the entire town going to pot.

Full story

West Cliff 'All Use To Us

The future of West Cliff Hall, Ramsgate's former Motor Museum, is still in doubt.

Adscene trumpeted that the listed building had been given a 'new lease of life' on its front page last Thursday, complete with a photo of Our Sandy handing over the keys to representatives of the Global Generation Church, who propose running it as a community centre.

But according to a statement from the council's chief executive yesterday, a lease has yet to be signed, and the church group is only being considered as a 'short term', 'temporary' lessee. The statement adds: 'It appears that Global Generation Church invited Cllr Ezekiel to meet them at the property this week when the photograph was taken. Global were not authorised to have taken this action.'

You can read the full text of the statement on Councillor Green's Eastcliff Matters blog.

According to Global Generation's website the group was reformed in 2001 after some soul searching:

Global Generation took a more detailed look at why God would want a church in Ramsgate, out of this came the realisation that we wanted to be known as a Gift To The Town.

I'm sure their hearts are in the right place, but a much better gift to the town would be a long term solution to restore this wonderful building and bring it back to life for the benefit of all Ramsgatonians.

If you want to see just how neglected the exterior is, here's Philip Page's report on the state of the arts in Ramsgate from ECR TV a few weeks back:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Notting Hill On Sea v The New Millionaires' Playground

I'm playing host this week to one of the country's greatest living writers who's doing a bit of research for his column in The Sunday Telegraph.

He's been told that Hastings has been dubbed 'Notting Hill on Sea', and that Ramsgate is, of course, the 'New Millionaires' Playground'. Judging by the number of people who reach this blog by putting 'Ramsgate property' and 'Hastings property' into their google-iser, word has clearly got around.

So he's decided to spend a couple of days in both towns to determine the winner. He's already been to Hastings, which he describes as 'scuzzy' and 'terrifying in parts'. His initial thoughts on Ramsgate? 'Much nicer, and seems to have much more of a sense of purpose, with the harbour and everything.'

Of course, I'll be wining and dining him to the max over the next couple of days. This is one competition I'm determined Ramsgate is going to win!
Ramsgate: nicer than Hastings