Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Beverley Hills Flop

Looks like I've gone down like a cup of cold sick here in LA, but so what? All the houses in Beverley Hills resemble uberkhazis anyway, not unlike our very own Granville Theatre-ma. And Sunset Strip makes Westworld Cross look stylish!

So I've pointed the old Chevvy Malibu towards, er, Malibu. I've got a chum who lives in San Fran, so a pootle up the old Pacific Coast Highway is in order.

I must say, whenever I travel to the States, I'm always reminded of various third world countries I've visited. Beautiful scenery, but poorly maintained, badly lit roads. And don't bother looking for a sign to your next destination as you rattle along in your brand new car which sounds as if the hire company has gone for the bag of dessicated ferrets' knackers in the dashboard option, and goes round corners with about as much precision as an oil tanker.

And the money! It's all the same. Same size, same colour, just different beards and numbers! And their president's a nincompoop, but he's also in charge of their army!

Third world I tell you, third world.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three Simple Steps To Having The Most Successful Blog In The World Ever

1. Make sure you have a profile photo which shows off your bald spot and latest H Samuel gold chain to best effect.

Three Simple Steps To Having The Most Successful Blog In The World Ever

2. Make sure you link to everyone. Use plenty of tags and don't forget RSS. And don't bother writing anything original, just copy straight from your new friends, although the occasional item about filthy Arabs will go down a treat, of course.

Always publish little and often, that way you'll always be at the top of any aggregation sites, such as the Thanet Bloglist Recent Feeds area.

Three Simple Steps To Having The Most Successful Blog In The World Ever

3. Voila! Your blog should now look like this! Congratulations!

Blown It

Twelve hours later and, thanks to the International Date Line, I'm back where I started. Monday the 29th of January. Just in time for lunch with Marti in Santa Monica.

Marti: So, tell me Dickie, whereabouts in England are you living?
Me: In a beautiful English coastal town called Ramsgate, about 90 minutes from London. I tell you, Marti old chap...
Marti: Yeah, Margate, I heard of that. Hasn't Cher got a place there?
Me: Yes, yes, I think she has been spotted there, but I tell you, Ramsgate is...
Marti: And I worked with a guy called Ray Winstone recently, did you see The Departed? He just wouldn't stop going on about Margate, and something you guys eat called jellied eels?
Me: Yes, er, yes, Ray is a bit of a fan, but getting back to Ramsgate...
Marti: You know, Ray's one hell of an actor. The first time we met for lunch, he blew me right away.
Me: Well, um, Marti, er, I think I'd have to get to know you a bit better first, or at least go and brush my teeth.

Another one bites the dust, methinks.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dickie Goes To Hollywood

Bev, my agent, has managed to wangle me a meeting with Marti, who's remaking that marvellous 60s film How To Murder Your Wife. I'm up for the role played by the late, great, lovely Terry-Thomas, of course. So I'm off to California for lunch with the maestro.

Can't say I'm sad to leave Rotorua, really. There's a permanent stink here that's going to outlast religion!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pedigree Plumb

Skilled workers are apparently just as hard to come by here in NZ as they are in the UK.

Even Polish plumbers don’t want to travel 20,000 kilometres to work, so the resourceful Kiwis have started training hounds for the job. Here we see GB ‘Good Boy’ Teat arriving for his first assignment of the afternoon, a faulty air conditioning unit in downtown Rotoroa.

I’m told these plumbing pooches have been such a success, discussions are now underway about the possibility of introducing dogtors in NZ’s hospitals.

Oh dear, I think this foul air is getting to me.

Who Cut The Cheese?

I’ve given Wellington the boot, along with Kenny, my road manager, after he rather ostentatiously chucked his Glo-Mesh on the shag pile over the type of mineral water being served at our luxury hotel.

Hence I’ve washed up here in Rotorua (try getting Wossie to say that), aka Fartopolis, in the thermal springs region of NZ’s north island.

Situated in the crater of a volcano, surrounded by whiffy old geysers, polite excuses such as: ‘Oops, I’m sorry, that must have been the dog’ are rendered entirely unnecessary in Rotorua. A bit like Boredstares Harbour after they’ve scraped all the sand away and flogged it to builders for 50p a ton.

This is Rotorua’s splendid Thermal Bathing Hospital. Opened in 1908, the gaff fell into disrepair when NZ’s NHS pulled out in the late 60s. It’s been restored, however, in the last 15 years or so, and is now luxury apartments. No, er, sorry, getting a bit confused there, it’s actually a beautiful public museum, gallery, and cafe.

These magnificent gardens have been here since Edwardian times, as have the bowling greens. Bit like Ellington Park, eh? Er, no, still a bit disorientated there.

Ah, now, here’s a memorial to some brave chap who died in the Boer War. Note the nose chopped off, various graffiti, er... nope.

Public works of art abound, and this one proves it’s possible to make a joke in Maori. Commissioned for the Millennium, it’s called ‘Waitukei’ (Y2K – geddit!?!?!!).

Blimey, NZ’s having a bit of a reactionary effect on me. I’m beginning to sound like one of those Thanet Lifers over on Dr Biggles’s blog. How is it, though, that a country which ranks a mere 34th in the world economic league, can put so much effort and resources into keeping its towns, parks and public spaces in such tip top condition, and all we can manage are luxury apartments, knackered khazis, car parks instead of pools and a derelict M&S?

Answers on a post card please to:

Richard Eastcliff
The Old Buffers' Home

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Deluxe Accommodation

It was often said in the past that New Zealand was a rather old-fashioned country.

I hasten to emphasise 'in the past', lest I offend any of my Kiwi readers. Of course these days NZ is in the forefront of forward-thinking. Where else in the world could you jump from a great height with only a piece of elastic between you and oblivion, or roll down a mountainside encased in a transparent rubber ball?

One area where the country is still behind the times, though, is in the provision of toilet facilities. For some reason, the Kiwis have yet to replace the phrase 'spend a penny' with 'spend 99p in McDonald's'. Every small town, every picnic area is graced with clean, modern and free facilities.

I recently had occasion to visit one such 'super pooper'. The door closed at the touch of a button. Piped piano music played in case I fancied joining in with a trumpet concerto as I passed the banana. At the touch of another button, poo tickets were dispensed automatically. And when I went to wash my hands under the automatic tap, the dunny flushed in symphony.

There was even a bright yellow sharps bin in the corner, in case your diabetic Uncle Sid got caught short. And not a sign of that ubiquitous fellow Big Dick who appears to be perpetually 'seeking similar'.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Silly As A Bum Full Of Smarties

Phew! It's all go here in NZ! I've been busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad!

The act's going down well with the Kiwis. Maybe that's because it's so wet here you'd need an entire tanker load of fuel to set any kind of premises alight. Still, with petrol at 45p a litre, and diesel 35p, you wouldn't have to save up for very long.

Not so keen on the glitterati parties, though. Too many disco biscuits. It all gets madder than a clam's cock, as my road manager Kenny puts it. Not my cup of Earl Grey, really.

So for relaxation I've been doing a spot of souvenir shopping for some of the other bloggers on the Ile de Thanet. Here's my selection so far:

For our lamp-post-and-flagpole-erecting councillor Dave Green, I've picked up this natty, 45 metre wind wand from New Plymouth. Being constructed of fibre glass, it bends in the wind, giving an indication of strength and direction. A practical piece of coastal art which will look jolly splendid on the East Cliff, once that hideous temporary fencing is dispensed with. I'm sure Arts and Elbows will appreciate it too, as it was knocked up by world renowned Kiwi kineticist Len Lye.

The pies have it! Both the Aussies and Kiwis are obsessed with pies, so what better to bring back for Bignews Tony (Man Eating Sausage In Wenceslas Square) than a selection of NZ's finest? If I can get them through biosecurity, that is.

I wouldn't want Ramsgate Tourettes' Lucy Mail feeling right out in the cold, so I've purchased a pair of purple possum nipple warmers for the foamy one. I suspect she'll only be needing the one, but she can always keep the other in case she fancies getting a left out as well.

And finally, I thought this might tickle Justin Brown's fancy. Now, unlike a drug addict, he can wash his crack and enjoy it all over again!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hare Balls In The Puke

Dining on Bug's Bunny's oven-roasted crown jewels in the Puke Ariki restaurant yesterday, it struck me that my current location, New Plymouth in Auckland, is not unlike Margate. Population 49,000. Right on the sea.

There the similarity ends, however. From my luxury suite on the waterfront, I can see joggers running along the new, 8km promenade they've just built. Boutique hotels, restaurants and B&Bs are springing up everywhere, with enough cafés to delight even the most hardened caffiend. Shops, galleries and public amenities abound.

According to the waitress who served up the knackers last night, this transformation from a rather dowdy port, 200 miles along an A road from anywhere else worth mentioning, to a thriving, bustling city has taken less than a decade.

I bet the Kiwis didn't spend £8m just thinking about it, either.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A to NZ

Well, the historic power station wasn't much to write home about. Here in Kiwiland, though, they appear to have similar obsessions.

Driving down from Auckland to my next gig in Wellington, I passed through Huntly, a coal mining town which is dominated by an enormous concrete construction which turns the coal into electricity. Right on the city limits, they've placed a giant sign which says: 'HUNTLY POWER STATION - OUR TAJ MAHAL!'

Hmm, that gives me an idea. Anyone for: 'RICHBOROUGH - OUR GREAT WALL OF CHINA'? It's got to help the tourist trade, surely?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Map Of Tassie

Best draw a line under that Margate gig. How was I to know that most Australian homes burst into flames entirely spontaneously on a regular basis?

I did meet one dedicated fan, though, who told me she only had two bookmarks on her browser – Google and Eastcliff Richard. She added that she once made the unfortunate mistake of clicking on Margate’s Very Own Alan Partridge’s blog, and had formed the opinion it was so dreadful, it must have been dreamt up by yours truly. I had to reassure the poor deluded woman that, despite being a confirmed fantasist, not even I could have envisioned a comic character as authentic as Mr Crackers.

So, time for a spot of sightseeing. Studying my map of Tassie, several tourist hotspots catch my eye, viz:

- Golf Museum. Hmm, perhaps a trifle dull.
- Sauce Factory. Maybe not enough time to catch up with that.
- Dismal Swamp. Er...
- Historic Power Station. Yep, that’s the one for me!

Then it’s off to wow the Kiwis. See you in Auckland!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Margate Effect

Margate, Tasmania. Population 958.

The venue doesn’t look very promising for a post-modern, post-alternative comedy gig, but I’m going to jolly well give it my best shot. I expect I'll require more than one Cascade Draught just to get on stage.

Scouting around the town’s amenities earlier, I came across this:

A train that hasn’t pulled out of the station for many a year, now converted into shops. Unfortunately, not all of them appear to be thriving:

It’s enough to make a chap homesick!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Down Under To Margate

Smouldering bush fires! Bev, my agent, must have a kangaroo loose in the top paddock, as they say in these parts. She's only gone and booked me a gig in Margate. Margate, Tasmania that is.

I don't know, you travel 12,000 miles to the other side of the world, only to find you're in a seaside town called Margate, on an island off an even bigger island. Not only that, but they seem to have as many fires here as they do in the other Margate.

Oh well, at least the tucker's good. I'm beginning to develop quite a roof over my toolshed!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Juicy Bits

10 March 2006

Krakatoa, East Of Ramsgate

Glancing through one of Thanet's more upmarket publications, an advertisement caught my eye.

"Add sophistication to your function," it said.

Sophistication, eh? That could be right up my street. I'm always on the lookout for ways to pep up my garden parties. What could it be? A troupe of performing Indian elephants? A Buckingham Palace-sized marquee, perhaps? Or maybe a new home performance service from the English National Opera?

"Add sophistication to your function. The Chocolate Volcano. Indulge in all of your desires. Details to hire the Chocolate Fountain etc etc"

You can imagine my disappointment.

Queen Of Australia

Well I seem to be going down a storm here in Oz! Already my first show (Kyneton RSL) is sold out, and I've been featured in the Herald Sun (today's headline: Tax On Rain!)

Tomorrow I'm viewing a $3m cliff top mansion in Sorrento, where I'll apparently be able to rub shoulders with such well-known names as, er, Anthony Baillieu and, um, Ken Roche AO (not sure what the AO stands for). Just a little bolt-hole for me when I'm in the southern hemisphere.

Oh, and I've been presented with an official commemoration 50c piece, marking the 50th anniversary of Dame Edna Everage. It's got Dame Edna on the front, and the Queen on the back.

Ah, the Aussies, they've got their priorities sorted!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Vindaloo - BBC2!

Continuing our retrospective season of the best of Eastcliff Richard here on ECR1, we've another chance to see some of those posts you may have missed the first time round. And don't worry if you miss them this time round either, because you can catch them again tomorrow night on ECR2, ECR3 and ECR4.

26 February 2006

Dream Scheme

More wailing and teeth-gnashing precipitated this week by news that the local council is to allow developers to concrete over Dreamland, the moribund amusement park on Margate seafront, over on the deeply unfashionable north side of the Ile de Thanet.

Currently well past its torch-by date, a few stalwarts have nevertheless banded together to save Dreamland, in the hope that it can be revitalised, much as Frankenstien's monster was, by a huge injection of something-or-other.

Meanwhile ASBO-wielding youths, Bryant and Mays at the ready, encircle the site, along with its 1,000,000,000 year old, listed wooden rollercoaster, ready to do the bidding of the first track-suited local property magnate to tip them the nod.

This all seems terribly backward. Instead of erecting yet another hotel/motel development for superannuated poodle-tuggers, why not go the whole hog, and turn the place into something that would really capture the imagination of the locals?

My proposal would be 'Arsonworld'. This would be a theme park loosely based on the film Westworld, starring the late, departed and dearly missed lovely Yul Brynner as an android who runs amuck, shooting the paying public who have come to re-enact the old, wild west.

The idea is simple. People would pay a small fee of, let's say, £30 to park their cars at the Dreamland site. They could then walk along the turd-strewn beach, enjoy a shopping trip to the local Poundstretcher, or savour a lard butty at one of Margate's trendy eateries.

Then, upon returning to their vehicle, they could enjoy the frisson of finding it burnt out.

Simple, exciting, money-spinning.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Relocation Relocation

Blimey, you turn on the telly and all you see is Ramsgate's East Cliff!

Channel 4 aired the first in the new series of its popular property programme Relocation Relocation this evening, featuring some London types who wanted a house in Kent, and a pied à terre in town. After looking at wanner be hotspots such as Whitstable and Boredstares, they settled on a cliff top mansion right here on the East Cliff.

Hang on. London types. Pied à terre. Cliff top mansion. East Cliff... er, I think the game may be up. I'm off to Oz!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Great Incinerate Debate

I almost choked on my mint imperial on the way to my Chelsea pied-à-terre this morning, in preparation for my flight to Oz.

Thrashing the TT up the M2, I accidentally tuned in to BBC Radio London. Apparently there's a big stink about an incinerator they want to build in Bexley. All the old nappies from the well-to-do boroughs in West London are going to be shipped out to Kent, where the waft of burning Pampers will be less intrusive.

One chap phoned in to suggest an alternative location. "There's a disused power station between Sandwich and Ramsgate, why can't the bloody thing go there?" he blurted.

Yes. Jolly good idea. They're already building one incinerator at Richborough, they could just hide the other one behind it. In fact why not use them as cover for my nuclear power plant? Nobody will ever know. Perfect!

Blair Fare

I see Tony got himself in a pickle with the greens today, saying that he had no intention of giving up his SleasyJet holidays to Florida, Tuscany and Barbados. Even his environmental adviser, Lord Jonathon Porridge, was urging him to take more holidays at home for the sake of the planet.

Well, the answer was obvious, wasn't it? A quick call to Number 10, and my offer of a cliff top mansion in sunny Ramsgate for him and the missus was on the table.

If that doesn't get me a knighthood, lord knows what will.

Branson in a Pickle

7 February 2006

Our local BBC news deviates today from its usual diet of marrow growing competitions, mass stabbings, and mass stabbings at marrow competitions. Interviewed live from Florida is none other than Sir Richard Branson, the world famous entrepreneur and millionaire.

Apparently Sir Branston was due to fly over to Ramsgate International Airport with millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett (see below). He's probably booked himself a cut and blow dry at Sweeney Todd's, next to the pie shop. They specialise in the 'older man verging on a pony tail' look, which appears to be de rigeur around here.

Anyhow, Sir Pickle was bemoaning the fact that Steve's private jet couldn't take off after all, due to it having a bit of a leak and the wrong kind of wind. Sounds like one of his trains.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Many Happy Returns!

To me, of course, and to the Diamond Anniversary Dog himself, my old showbiz chum David Bowie.

There the similarity ends, though, as, unlike Bowie, I will not be turning down an MBE or a knighthood should one come my way.

Actually he's not much of a chum, either. The only time I met him, he grunted and told me to f*ck off.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ile de Thanet - The Idiot's Guide

22 January 2006

So many of my London friends seem to mistakenly believe I have moved to Margate that I am now obliged to publish a short guide to the Ile de Thanet.

Travelling in a clockwise direction around the coast of the Ile from north to south, one encounters, in order:

Birchington - small seaside village with many clifftop residences for the 80s and over.
Westgate - as above but with even more chemists selling incontinence pants.
Margate - home of Tracey and future home of Anthea Turner Centre. Was once a thriving seaside resort until the pier blew down and most of the amusement arcades were torched by teenagers in tracksuits. Dreamland amusement park currently a nightmare.
Cliftonville - mostly torched.
Kingsgate - Some very posh residences, mostly owned by people who have profited from paying teenagers in tracksuits to torch amusement arcades, then claiming on the insurance.
Broadstairs - Charles Dickens apparently wrote some books here. Every year they have a festival devoted to him, and another devoted to wizened old men in beards drinking real ale and singing 'All Around My Hat' through their noses.
Ramsgate - the new millionaires' playground with high speed train links to London, a harbour and marina, frequent ferry service to the continent, and an international airport.
Pegwell - bit of a dump.

In the middle of the Ile, surrounded by fields of fart bushes, sits the brand new, £100m Westwood Cross shopping centre (see previous posts).

Big Down Under

Well the first class ticket's arrived, I'm off to Australia to tour with my one man show 'An Evening With Eastcliff Richard'.

I expect I'll get a bit of heckling, given the recent cricket debacle, but on the whole the Aussies seem to appreciate my self-deprecating Pommie humour.

I'll be keeping you up to date with my adventures in the big brown land but in the meantime, to celebrate the first anniversary of this blog, there'll be an opportunity to re-live all those hilarious moments of the past year again. A bit like BBC 2, but without having to pay the licence fee.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nasty Comment

Oh dear. Judging by the rather vituperative comment appended to the post below, I appear to have upset one of my blue stockinged readers.

This is what happens when entertainers dabble in politics. I should have known better, I'm old enough to remember the outcry after poor, lovely, dearly-departed Kenny Everett screamed 'LET'S NUKE RUSSIA!' to rapturous applause at a Tory Party Conference.

Still, at least Kenny was a self-confessed Cupid Stunt.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Yellow Streak

As a liberal-minded entertainer (alcoholic, penchant for rent boys, that kind of thing), I'm getting pretty fed up with the way the blogosphere is being over-run by right wing twats.

It's almost as if that cheeky-chopped Mr Cameron has issued a directive from Central Office instructing his army of drooling underlings to get cracking and dominate cyberspace for the benefit of the blue stocking brigade.

Unfortunately I appear to attract these types, being a millionaire and well-known celebrity. If they bothered to read the lines, instead of taking me at face value, they would understand that not everyone with a bob or two is lining up behind them, dreaming of the 'good old days' when that mad bat was in charge.

Not that I'm a fan of our lying Prime Minister, either. Nope, I suppose if I was honest, I'd have to describe myself as a minger.

The House That Jack Russell Built

Staying with the topic of domestic animals, the canines round here must have had a good Christmas, if the size and number of barker's nests on the East Cliff pavements is anything to go by.

The one outside the old cliff top mansion recently would surely have required planning permission, although I suspect our local crap planning department were under the impression that it was only going to be single storey, rather than the full double decker.

So I'm going to get in touch with that nice Kevin McCloud from Channel 4's Grand Designs programme. He once featured a fellow who was determined to construct a house out of straw, so I'm sure he'll be interested in my proposal to for a poo house on the corner.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Claws For Concern

Yikes! After that horrific story about the poor girl who was mauled to death by a pit bull in Liverpool, I've been nervously scouring the internet to see if there's any advice about what to do when one attacks. Given the number of the beasts that are tugged around here on lengths of string, it seems only sensible.

So I was shocked to discover that Ramsgate has it's very own dangerous cat, which has so far savaged five postmen, one police officer, five paper boys, one takeaway driver and a construction worker. The one-and-a-half stone feline, called Blackie, belongs to security worker Ann Hogben.

"He really is a very loving cat - it just seems as though he has problems with people in uniform," she told the London Evening Standard.

Sounds like a fur ball excuse to me.

Mr Eastcliff was later arrested and charged with offences under the Dangerous Puns Act 1991

Full story

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sudden Rash

I say, that global warming mullarkey has brought out an early crop of spring blogs here on the Ile de Thanet, namely:

Bleak Mouse, a first effort for Boredstares, and
Thoughts From Thanet.

Admittedly just seedlings at the moment, but both show potential to blossom. Welcome, chaps, to the non-stop party that is Thanet blogging!

I should also mention the Planet Thanet Ale Festival blog, as I haven't done before, and anything to do with quaffing foaming jugs of The Gaddfather's finest, amongst others, has to be a good thing.

Now a confession. I removed a blog from my list recently, because it was getting on my proverbials, and wasn't even based on the Ile. The usual prize of a packet of Waitrose's finest Millionaire Shortbread to the first person to spot the missing link.

Down The Pan

With the skiing season almost upon us, I thought I'd pop over to Margate this morning and see those jolly chaps at Warreners in preparation for my annual trip to the Val d'Isere.

Trouble was, when I got there, they'd upped ski sticks and vamoosed. Next stop Woolworths, avoiding the door that's been stoved in after some nefarious doings last week. Great, they had plenty of copies of the DVD I wanted on the shelf. Er, no, actually all they had was empty DVD cases, the actual DVDs were out of stock.

Still, if I need to revamp the ensuite, the good news is that a new tile shop will soon be opening in the 'arty' old town. Presumably it will be called The Tile Gallery, to complement The Bathroom Gallery round the corner.

Now all they need is a Bog Gallery and a Bidet Gallery, and the transformation of Margate through arts regeneration will be complete!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

There's no show tonight, so I thought I'd toddle back down to the old cliff top mansion. What a beautiful sunny day!

I must say, Ramsgate looks splendid in this light. And the Ile de Thanet must be very popular with tourists at this time of year, because when I stopped at the M2 services, and perused the pod containing all the Kent tourism leaflets, the 'Thanet Is Beautiful' slot was the only one that was empty!