Saturday, April 26, 2008

Self Abuse

I'm indebted to one of my readers who's pointed me in the direction of today's Independent, where snobby Will Self has written a rather hoity-toity item about the Ile de Thanet. Self describes Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula as 'the very coccyx of Britain, with its seafowl and its foul maidens.' Writing about Boredstares, he continues:

Seldom has anywhere more gentrified become more chavvy. What, I wonder, would (Dickens) make of the town now, perfused as it is with tracksuited, gel-haired denizens of Margate and Ramsgate? Indeed, the whole of this coast feels like some suburb of outer East London, so full is it of the sights and noises of the busy world... The sandy bay that is the town's focus remains, girded by white cliffs of chalk and terraced houses, complete with micro-interwar pleasure gardens and a lift down to the beach that looks like an off-whitewashed crematorium chimney.

Hmm. Not a fan then, Will? Maybe you and Sir Bob should get together!

Click here to read Will Self's article in the Independent
Broadstairs: 'Perfused with tracksuits'

18 comments:

Ken Gregory said...

Perhaps Mr Self should keep himself to himself? I have to say, when I lived in Broadstairs it was a great town, It still is. (as the rest of Thanet is also, It's just that we do not appreciate what is on our doorstep)

Anonymous said...

The same comments apply to any town regarding chavs. Next time take a walk north out of town towards Kingsgate and then the next day south towards Ramsgate. You miss so much sticking to only the town.

Anonymous said...

I visited Ramsgate last year for 4 days last August and the weather was foul. Can I blame TDC? This was the first visit for 20 years, having visited Margate and Ramsgate on many occations when my children were young. And guess what - I am comming again this year for a week rather than go to Eastbourne or Bournemouth. Am I doing Right?

Nethercourt said...

Doing Right? Of course you are!
Nothing wrong with Thanet..... it's just that some of the inhabitants need culling!!

Anonymous said...

7:48 please come back. You will find Margate High Street quite awful but that aside consider the following:

Walk, cycle ride along the seawall from Birchington to Reculver and venture inland through some of the footpaths there.

Visit Quex Park Estate for Farmer's Market, Jungle Jims, Garden Centre. the Maize Maze and a nice cafeteria with outdoor play area.

Visit Westgate for quiet beaches and Promenade from Birchington to Margate to cycle/walk on. Nice clifftop grassy areas for picnic, lounge around on, interesting village centre. Walk from Dent de Lion to Quex park pleasant across open fields.

Margate: Crazy Golf, Shell Grotto, Hartsdown Park and Lesiure Centre. Old Town area with emerging art studios and the Turner (temporary) Centre. Studios and cafe(s) going in on the old jetty and a nice coffee bar at the bottom of the High Street. Large Beach! Various events on the seafront in the summer.

Cliftonville: Some independent shops along here and a large 'Junk' shop over 3 floors well worth visiting. Head East to Palm Bay - a large grassy area where various events are hosted, Kite Festival, Thanet Air Festival. Crazy Golf and cafes. Visit the Walpore bay Hotel for inter-war charm of the 1920-30s, the Smiths Court Hotel and Orangery. Margate Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal.

Kingsgate: Fairness Hotel above the popular Botany Bay, stroll round to the Digby above Kingsgate bay opposite Kingsgate Catle. Stop off and look at the remains of the Arx Ruochim. Various smuggler caves dug into cliffs around here.

Broadstairs: Nice to stroll around the town, 2nd hand book shop section of Albion Books stacked from floor to ceiling with all sorts of books, Harbour & Jetty with cafe on the end, Bandstand with various events on, Crazy Golf, Morellis coffee bar, Albion Hotel and Ballards with a nice Italian Restaurant next door and Phileas Fogg Restaurant. Various bars including the Balmoral and the Neptune with outdoor areas.

Walk along the clifftop to Dumpton and into Ramsgate via the George V Park. Very pleasant walk. Drop in and see ECR in his mansion. Ramsgate Marina and Harbour. Boat trips around the harbour area. Bars and restaurants - very pleasant. More beach. Napoleonic architecure up the west side of town via a walk through Addington Street. Lots of hidden gems up there. Great walk up along the Western Cliffs. On to Pegwell Bay Village, the Viking Ship, Pegwell Bay Country Park, inland to see where St. Austine landed and bought Chritianity to England at Ebbsfleet. Inland to Minster where there is a nice walk out on the marshes and around the village. Monkton, Acol, Sarre, St. Nicholas at Wade. Manston Airport and the RAF Museum.
There is still more to do than this. More suggestions people! lets be positive too eh!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention the St. Peters historical tour at St. peters, Broadstairs.

Anonymous said...

And there is also Margate's Library for a quiet read enjoy the great books on offer, and meet the locals.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Good heavens - looks like my blog's become the Tourist Info Board! But you're right, although I drone on ahem occasionally, there are some smashing things to do round here. My only quibble is it lacks a bit of 'oo-arr m'hearties' - you know, pirate ships of old, maritime history, that sort of thing. You get it down in Devon and Cornwall, and other seaside towns around the world, but it's almost as if we've become landlubbers in these 'ere parts, we don't seem to make enough of the sand and sea and all that goes with it, and it's one of our biggest selling points.

It's not as if there isn't a long tradition of piracy and smuggling in Thanet, a tradition which some present-day Thanetians seem only too happy to continue!

Anonymous said...

Sorry ECR that your blog has been hijacked for a bit of tourism, but TDC will be pleased that all is not so bad.
Thank all for the suggestions.
We will be staying in a flat overlooking the Marina. Last time we came we stayed at the Oak, Its not easy finding places to stay in the Marina area. The Oak was ok, recently refurb and they tested the fire alarm at 2 in the morning!

Anonymous said...

The royal harbour hotel is Fab..

Anonymous said...

A quiet read in the library???! Have they built a new one then? It can't be the circus in Cecil Square you are talking about!

Anonymous said...

Anyone living in Hampstead is bound to be jealous.

Mr Dickens of Broadstairs said...

I saw Will Self trudging like Fagin up the High str with a motley bunch of kids in tow a couple of weeks ago. I was worried he might be relocating so was delighted to see we had fallen short in his estimation. We need another third rate media type like a hole in the head, and is description of Pierremont Park was absurd. Most of the track suited youths are just hanging out ,and probably go to Dane Court. If there was an extreme reaction to him possibly they had been subjected to one of his ghastly novellas in their English set groups and were just getting their own back.
It is depressing how quickly yesterdays old junkie becomes todays crusty old fart

Eastcliff Richard said...

Hear hear, Mr Dickens!

Anonymous said...

I clocked the lanky smack-head at Margate Jazz Fest last year looking pretty sheepish as he had his power-ranger suited son in tow. If he doesn't like it round here, why does he visit so often?

Anonymous said...

Strange assumption from the "Self Righteous" Will Self that the track suited youths came from Margate and Ramsgate. They appear to be a mix of Broadstairs youths and out of Thanet visitors.
Perhaps he try visiting Margate or Ramsgate - or better still,just not bother.

Anonymous said...

Are there any Dicken's books or Turner art books in Margate Libary?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr.Dickens. Broadstairs is a great town we don't need the likes of Will Self visiting Broadstairs.