Thursday, January 31, 2008

Historical Reaction

I see the petition to stop the closure of our splendid Maritime Museum has reached almost 1000 signatures.

The campaign has been spearheaded by the Ramsgate Labour Party, including local councillors and our MP, Dr Steve Ladychap. You can see more on that over on caff-crushing, car-crushing councillor Dave Green's blog.

Meanwhile there's a vicious rumour spreading around the north of the Ile that Margate Museum, which is also threatened with closure, has already been earmarked as a future 'function room'. Well call me old-fashioned, but I thought it already had a pretty useful function - as a flipping museum!

Dish Of The Day

With high winds buffeting the Millionaire's Playground again this morning, it looks like another great day for raising the roof, or popping out with your camera and snapping a few aerial photos!

Speaking of which I'm indebted to Mary, who describes herself as a 'fan' (Ooh! spare my blushes!), for the photo of this, er, dishy collection. Mary writes:

My dear Graham went home to visit his parents over the holiday. To avoid becoming house-bound, avoid parent overload, and generally do his body good, he walked your beloved Ile de Thanet, putting in about 5 miles each of the seven days he was home. He also made a photo journal of his travels. One of the sights that he noticed and found a need to document was the appearance of and proliferation of these pieces of (somewhat) necessary evil. The beautiful old architecture surely would benefit from a ban on these eyesores, but I wonder what new technology would be capable of invisibly replacing the necessity of the hardware? When that happens, I wish your council God-speed in passing a ban on them.

I couldn't agree more Mary!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beadle's No Longer About

Sad to hear that my old showbiz chum Jeremy Beadle has gone to that great TV studio in the sky. Still, the 80s prankster will no doubt soon be convincing St Peter that his gates have to come down to make way for a new bypass.

Click here for BBC obituary

From Little Acorns Luxury Apartments Grow

Holy breeze blocks! These people want to convert my cliff top mansion into a 'development'!

A missive from a Manston based outfit calling itself ASL Land & Strategic Sales plopped through the letterbox here at the CTM this morning. Here's what is says:

Please forgive this direct approach; we are a land and development finding company who are constantly searching for properties which may have the potential to be part of a redevelopment scheme.

Hmmm. Interesting. Go on.

We have looked at ordnance survey maps of yours and surrounding properties and feel you may have the potential to be part of a development. We are in no way inferring you wish to move but we have been asked by our clients to enquire from yourself and other properties wether (sic) you would be interested in discussing the potential of a future development. The significant premiums we have achieved over and above the market value for similar property purchases for our clients are substantial and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further.

Well, I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment.

We would also like to point out we do not charge you for this service and often we could get your legal fees paid for included in the sale. We have access to many developers and national house builders who, subject to investigating the potential of a development may be willing to offer these higher premiums

Hallelujah! So I can get top dollar for my Victorian 6 bedder by selling it to some builders, who will presumably convert it into 17 x 2 bed boxes!

Of course, regular readers will know that I'm a curious soul, so I set about looking for more info on ASL Land & Strategic Sales on the interwhatsit. Not a sausage. Only when I dusted off my electron microscope and peered at the very small print on the bottom of the letter did I discover that 'ASL is a trading name of Acorn Property Finders Limited'. Which led me to their website, complete with vistas of Ramsgate Harbour, here.

Strangely, though, their internet presence, which is aimed at developers rather than sellers, tells a slightly different story. They say:

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements we proactively source property being openly and quietly marketed through estate agents, developers, private and corporate owners.

Yep, got the letter thanks.

We will provide comparable evidence of similar properties recently sold to ensure we get the best price negotiated for you. We will handle the whole process between seller and buyer and our ultimate aim is to negotiate the lowest possible price, which will save you money and help us to try to provide you with a self funding service.

Hang on, 'lowest possible price'? What about my 'significant premium' and 'above market value'? Kuh! Maybe I'll stay put!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'No Sex' In Ramsgate

Our luxury Granville Theatre & Cinem is reviving that 70s hit No Sex Please, We're British. Performances run from 6-9 February, tickets £8.

At the time the farce became a byword for the Brits' stiff (if that's the right word) approach to all matters pertaining to the bedroom, but of course things have changed in the intervening 30 odd years. I suggested they update the title to the much more contemporary Dogging, Binge Drinking and Vast Quantities of Class A Drugs Please, We're British, but my idea seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Click here for the Granville website

Illuminating Stuff

I see the workmen repairing our crumbling East Cliff here in Ramsgate have had it away with the fascia from one of our last remaining, albeit defunct, illuminations. The arch of lights over this cheeky chappy used to light up in sequence to give the impression that he was juggling his balls. These days the only ball juggling you're likely to witness is at the offices of our beloved local council.

Thanks to regular contributor Millicent, however, there may be a solution. She's pointed out that Blackpool's go-ahead council is auctioning off a whole heap of its illuminations to make way for super-duper new lighting. Items being flogged off include genies with lamps, seahorses and seashells, and a 60 foot, illuminated replica of Thunderbird 3. Estimates range from a measly £50-£350.

Blackpool Illuminations still attract 3.5m visitors a year. With a bit of a whip round, we could put Ramsgate back on the seaside map!

Click here for full story on BBC website

Monday, January 28, 2008

Plane Training Pain

Not a week goes by these days without some DFL millionaire emailing me with virtual steam coming out of his or her ears because of the Manston training flights.

Clearly Ramsgate is attracting my kind of people, but the mad policy of allowing knackered old jets to circle a few feet above our Grade II listed roofs for hours on end is sending them straight back to London again. One city slicker who like the rest of us Ramsgatonians put up with five hours of oozalum flights on Saturday morning (amounting to 28 circuits - he counted them), emailed me to say he was 'severely f*cked off with the old duffers at the council'. He continues:

Morons - it will turn this place into f*cking Hounslow or Crawley. Ramsgate's only hope is for a developer to buy the airport and turn it into the new Kings Hill... No-one is going to come here for a peaceful day at the beach, having a coffee by the harbour while this is going on at the weekends... The future is the train. Thanet, particularly Ramsgate will be commuter central at the end 2009. Large salaries, high expendable income as they are buying down here with little or no mortgage left, will drive up the retail/leisure business. Sh*tty old properties will get developed at a high rate keeping the building trade in cash jobs for decades. Council will reap these benefits... What the f*ck does the area get for landing a few Chinese goods and 50 test landings at the weekend apart from alienating the people it should be welcoming with open arms?

I couldn't agree more. Although to be fair I wouldn't expect Ken Wills' 3m sq ft Manston Chinatown to be flying in too much tut, it would make the finished 'Made in England' products too expensive. No, my bet is the bulk of the, er, quality components will come in large containers via Harwich or Tilbury. I suppose they might use our port here in Ramsgate, but I hear the Chinese are quite a go-ahead bunch, not stick-in-the-muds.

Anyway, to save a bit of time I've popped a DIY training flights complaints kit in the old sidebar on the right. Just the ticket for those who want to kick up a stink!

Nice Chopper

I see our flying doctor/councillor has been getting all gooey-eyed over local squillionaire Ken Wills' super-duper helicopter. The Doc drools:

A big Augusta 109, the airborne equivalent of a Bentley, owned and flown by Thanet businessman, Ken Wills. When the Chinese delegation arrive in a month or so to look at the site of the proposed China Gateway at the Manston business park I'm sure they will get a very comfortable 'birds-eye' view of Thanet in the process.

So much more newsworthy than the council-sponsored uglification of Broadstairs, eh Doc?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Writing On The Road For Pleasurama Development

Peering over our crumbling East Cliff earlier I spied these mysterious yellow and red hieroglyphs on the car park below.

I can only assume that the Maidstone Martians have landed, and that these are preparations for the re-working of the road and car park for the benefit of the Pleasurama development, aka Royal Sands, aka Titanic. And I see they've cultivated an entire new crop of hideous Heras fencing in the process. Just what the Doctor ordered!

In The Doc For Censorship

Yikes! Thanet's most famous Tory blogger has accused me of censorship! Talk about pots and kettles!

Here's the story so far. Dr Biggles refused to publish our local Tree Huggers' concerns over the hideous new fencing that our Tory council has put up in Broadstairs, and instead buried the issue on an existing strand. So in the interests of maintaining a free press, I published the news here. Now he has the temerity to say:

I did make one of my rare forays over to the ECR site yesterday and left a comment of explanation against his story, where it was suggested that I didn't print photos of fences for sinister "political" reasons. That comment was not published.

Now as regular readers of my blog will know, I have never censored comments that do not fit in with my view of the world. Not even when one of those, er, well-rounded Thanet Lifers added the Wildean bon mot: I'm f*cked off with left wing c*nts like you. I made this point on the Doc's blog, to which his response has been:

Grow-up ECR! What others choose to write on your website is not my concern.

Grow up? Who does he think he is? The headmaster of Thanet or something? He's now backtracking and claims that his comment on my blog may have 'disappeared into hyperspace' rather than being censored, as he previously implied. But that's not the point. The argument on his blog was originally about him censoring a story because it was 'not interesting enough'. The fence debacle in fact attracted more comments than anything he's ever printed there, so either he was being disingenuous, or he's got a very poor nose for news.

Pursuing his usual policy of drowning out any criticism by 'swiftly moving on', he's subsequently buried the entire story under an avalanche of the usual Tory twaddle and, sure enough, it's now been relegated to the archives. But as the Doc should know, there's no hiding in cyberspace, and you can see the whole sorry saga yourself by clicking here.

Photo: Paul Wells

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Just back from the Croisette here in the Cannes of Kent, and there was a vicious rumour circulating among the millionaires down there that our local rag has been 'got at' by the ruling Blue Rinsers.

Nothing as laughable as the suggestion that the paper's blue masthead is subliminally inducing us to vote Conservative, or that now it's part of the Daily Mail's Northcliffe Media it'll be campaigning to re-animate that mad bat from the 80s. No, the word is that one of the Tories' Captain Mainwarings has threatened to cut down on TDC advertising if the paper doesn't cut back on the anti-council stories.

Of course I dismissed this theory as idle gossip and tittle-tattle, but then, after a few pints of the Gaddfather's finest, I got to thinking. There was no follow-up to the Stalag Broadstairs story this week. And the ongoing saga of our undredged harbour was relegated to page 16. What's more, the recent advent of competition in the shape of YawnThanet would make a threat to take council advertising elsewhere plausible.

So to test the theory I've instigated a new feature in the old sidebar on the right which I'm calling GazunderWatch. The idea is to keep a running tally each week of pro- and anti- council stories in our island's leading newspaper. Anodyne announcements, letters and opinion pieces don't count, it's purely the nitty-gritty news I'm interested in. I'm sure that after a few weeks scrutiny I can scotch this nonsense once and for all!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Plane, Trees

Oops, wrong photo.

There that's better. Some lovely trees, and not a plane in sight! Which is my way of saying I've buried the hatchet with those Thanet Tree Huggers and put a link to them in my sidebar on the right. After all, they seem to have the Ile's environmental welfare at heart despite their indiscretion in accepting £3,000 from Oasis Oozalum Airlines and airport bosses Infartil. What's more, they're more than happy to have a pop at our true blue Tory councillor and kerosene-head Dr Biggles over Stalag Broadstairs, so they can't be all bad!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Paint The Town Red. And Blue. And Green.

Cripes! The Ile de Thanet is well and truly in the news today, with eight graffiti artists arrested in dawn raids this morning by 40 0f our local boys in blue! The daubists, aged between 14 and 19, were woken up at dawn (presumably several hours before their normal rising hour) as police executed warrants at homes in Margate, Broadstairs and Birchington.

Perhaps the rozzers had just got around to reading the headline on the front page of their own PR organ Policing Kent, which trumpeted 'Getting Tough On Graffiti' way back in December.

Meanwhile our newly transformed Prospect Inn got an almighty puff on the BBC at lunchtime. If you recall, it's been converted into a super-duper, 12 star, luxury Express by Holiday Inn, and a very nice job they seem to have done too. The manager was interviewed, saying he was expecting a lot of trade courtesy of its proximity to RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport. Oh dear. I do hope the poor chap's not fallen for this load of arse on the Locate in Kent website, which talks about the airport attracting six million passengers a year!

Click here for BBC graffiti story
Click here for BBC Prospect Inn story

Bob Beats Margate In Ugly Dispute

The results of my latest 7 day poll are in, and it seems Sir Bob Geldof has beaten Margate in the ugly stakes by a slightly greasy hair's breadth. Here's the final tally:

Question: Which one's uglier - Margate or Sir Bob Geldof?

Sir Bob: 51% (24 votes)
Margate: 48% (23 votes)

The brouhaha over the Boomtown Rat's recent comment that Margate was 'ugly', in a council tax funded newspaper, now seems to have died down. Some commentators have even suggested inviting him to become an ambassador for the place. Who knows, despite the fact that we already fund his Ten Alps production company to the tune of £1.6m to produce the ludicrously wasteful Kent TV, perhaps he'll set up Margate Aid and demand that we all give him some more f*cking money!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Walk On The North Side

As you know, I've been feeling a bit down in the dumps fiscally, so what better way to cheer myself up than a wander through Margate? It always makes me feel like a millionaire!

First off, the Rendezvous car park, site of the putative Anthea Turner Centre. Shame the council are booting the yachties and divers out of their yard, but that's progress!

Next up, the bottom of the high street, where they're widening the pavements so the cafe owners can get more tables and chairs out. Apparently this is going to take 14 weeks. Not surprising if they loll around like that, chatting all day! They'd better get a move on before the last few remaining businesses on the blocked off lower high street turn out the lights for good.

Ah, the visitor centre! Except it's being converted into a cafe according to the planning notice I clocked out the front. All the staff were sacked not so long ago for not having the appropriate skills (cooking, waiting, beer pouring).

Yep, I felt thoroughly cheered up. And who should I bump into at the end of it? None other than my old showbiz chum Michael Aspel and a couple of lovely friends. The perfect end to a perfect day!

Art Attack

Boiling the kettle in, um, quivering anticipation of a yummy lunch of Aldi Hot Noodles earlier, I was interrupted by the front door bell. Thinking it might be that Red Cross food parcel I ordered, or one of my old showbiz chums come to whisk me off to lunch at the Ivy, I dashed to the door, only to be greeted by the sight of a young gentleman holding up a card which said:




Given the current state of my other investments, I'm afraid the poor chap's request fell on blind eyes.

Update: According to a story running on Meridian local news the rozzers say this is some kind of scam to palm off photocopies of drawings, rather than original artwork. Apparently there have been reports of these chaps in 'rural parts of East kent'. Like, er, Ramsgate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rock Bottom

As you can probably tell from my previous post, this stock market palaver is giving me a right kick in my rather over exposed assets. So much so that, faced with the prospect of being reduced to buying Shampagne, Boxo Cubes and Ranston Pickle from our local Aldi, I came to the conclusion earlier today that I really ought to close this blog to save money on electricity.

But they say one man's misfortune is another man's gain, and as I was meandering along the cliff top this morning, half contemplating a swan dive onto the Pleasurama eyesore as a final gesture, something caught my eye that cheered me up no end. One of those swanky yachts from the marina appeared to be stuck in our silted up Royal Harbour, and was being dragged off by the Ramsgate Lifeboat!

Of course, the council will blame poor seamanship, the tide, the wrong colour socks, anything in fact other than admitting the fact that they have allowed our harbour to become little more than a sand pit through lack of dredging. But hey-ho, I've suddenly regained the will to live! Pass the Don Perrynon!

Undie Statement

Flaming Bonds! If this stock market turmoil keeps up, the wheels will be coming off all my investment vehicles. I'm going to need a sturdy pair of Paxman approved undercrackers to get through this!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Railing Against The Council

Last year I had a bit of a run-in with those Thanet Tree Huggers, who I accused of playing right into the hands of Ramsgate-polluting Oozalum Airlines and Manston owners Infartil by accepting £3,000 worth of 'environmental' funding from them. But Amy, one of their leading lights, has sent me a copy of a recent email written by Chief Tree Hugger Paul Wells concerning the offensive fencing that has gone up around the allotments in Broadstairs, and I have to admit they've got a point.

Presumably Amy is familiar with my soft spot for rubbish railings, given my incessant, er, railings against the temporary fencing along our East Cliff here in the Millionaires' Playground. Of course, I couldn't ordinarily give a monkey's about Boredstares, but the same email was sent to true blue councillor/doctor Biggles for publication on his Thanet Life blog, only to be promptly buried on page 98. The same page where all criticism of the ruling Tories ends up.

I therefore make no apologies for reprinting Mr Wells' email, and a couple of his photos, in full:

As a result of reading a letter in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on Friday, I went down to Culmers Land in Broadstairs to see what has been going on there over the Christmas period. I think what has happened is quite awful and I attach a composite picture of the footpath entrance into Culmers Land from Alexandra Road as it was in October 2007 and as it now is.

In 1998 Broadstairs & St Peters Town Council asked Trees for Thanet if it would plant 250 hedgerow trees to help screen the allotments fence and make the walk through Culmers Land from the car and coach park to the harbour more attractive for locals and visitors. 21 young volunteers carried out the task one Saturday morning in February and the young hedge was hand weeded by volunteers for the next two summers until the plants became established . As the picture shows, a rather nice wildlife hedgerow was produced.

This work has now been ruined by the most insensitive, ill-conceived and poorly placed security fencing you are ever likely to have the misfortune to come across. Whilst I fully support the requirement to install secure fencing to prevent the scandalous attacks of vandalism that are the scourge of all allotment holders in Thanet, what has happened at Culmers Land is a disgrace and shames those responsible. Those responsible have created a barrier that has turned Culmers Land into a prison-camp with the only thing missing being ‘goon towers’.

The new fence has not been built on the boundary fence of the allotments but up to 5m into the small park area and as a result cannot be screened by fresh planting in front of it as it borders the tarmac footpath. Why was it not constructed on the original fence line or was the work involved in clearing the old one away and lopping some insignificant trees too much bother? If it had been sited properly, the hedgerow planted in 1998 would have automatically have screened it and further planting would have been possible where necessary. I am sure this type of security fencing can come in a range of colours; was green not an option? This fence is on the main pedestrian route to Viking Bay beach for coach visitors and is utterly out of character for a Victorian picture postcard resort and greets visitors to the town! What regard has been paid to Thanet District Council’s motto ‘Thanet is beautiful, let's keep it that way’?

My enquiries with TDC Planning Dept have revealed that no Planning Consent was applied for this monstrosity as it was meant to be 2m high (and thus avoids the need for consent). I measured the fence at 15 points yesterday and all heights exceeded 2m 35cm and so this fence is in breach of planning regulations. I have already lodged a complaint with the planning Dept at TDC and urge your readers to do likewise.

One final point. As our local biblio-bloke Michael Child has discovered, the new railings destined to eventually grace our cliff top will not be of the heritage variety. Let's hope we don't end up with a similar abomination to the one they've erected in Broadstairs.
Thanet is beautiful, let's keep it that way!

Flie In The Ointment

My thanks to local brewer and all round Ramsgate legend the Gaddfather of Ale for sending in this piccie, which demonstrates that standards continue to remain, er, skie high at the Isle of Thanet Gazunder.

Budget? Fudge It!

Noshing down the old blinis and caviar at lunchtime, I happened to catch Paul Carter, the rosy-cheeked leader of Tory Kent County Council, being interviewed on BBC local news about a looming £30m budget shortfall at County Hall. He was blaming central government, of course, but when pressed by the presenter about such profligacies as the £1.6m he's spent on Sir Bob's Kent TV he answered the question in true political fashion. That is by ignoring the question completely. I presume he would have taken the same tack if he'd been asked about the £6m wasted on 'vital' PR.

Meanwhile I see Sir Bob was lambasted in the Independent over the weekend following his ugly comments about Margate (don't forget to vote in my poll on the right). The report contained this interesting sentence:

Yet he has also contributed much to the community. Last September Geldof's television production company, Ten Alps, launched the UK's first council-funded broadband television channel.

And there was me thinking it was our 1.6 million smackers that we had contributed to him!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Crappy Landings

Splish splash, I was taking a bath! Well, a relaxing soak in the ensuite Jacuzzi spa here at the old cliff top mansion yesterday afternoon in fact.

And bugger me if I didn't almost sit on my rubber ducky when the droning tones of some feeble-minded old duffer came over the B&O, which was tuned to Jonathan Dimplebum's Any Answers prog on Radio 4 . This air-headed buffoon, a retired pilot (natch), was actually suggesting that the solution to planes dropping out of the sky at Heathrow was to transform RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport into the fourth London airport!

'It's got a long runway and it's disused apart from a bit of freight,' he twittered, betraying an utter lack of knowledge of the area since WWII. The buttock clencher, though, was his argument that there was 'nothing under the flight path (except Ramsgate), and therefore it would be a better answer than demolishing a village near Heathrow to make way for a third runway.'

So let me get this straight. Despoiling a beautiful Victorian seaside town of 40,000 souls, with more listed buildings than you can shake a stick at, by flying passenger jets a few feet over it every 45 seconds, is a preferable option to demolishing a handful of hovels near Hounslow? B*ll*cks to that! Besides, the way these 'modern and reliable aircraft' (©2008 Dr S Moores) are dropping out of the skies these days, how long would it be before Ramsgate ended up being unintentionally demolished as well?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fence Of A Thousand Days

As you can see from my counter-uppy thingo opposite, the 'temporary' Heras fencing along our crumbling East Cliff has now been in place for 1000 days. But did you know that when it was first erected:

- Shoes were a novelty, having just been introduced to England by Sir Walter Raleigh
- Only three years earlier the first steam engine was invented by George IV
- Tea was the principle currency of Belgium

Work has now started on repairing the cliff, although rumour has it that this might take nine months to complete. Meanwhile there has been a suggestion from regular contributor Millicent that we all go down there and hold a candlelight vigil. Picture that - a thousand candles perched on the cliff edge! No, on second thoughts perhaps not. Their weight might just tip the balance

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's The Deal?

So did anyone see Mark Ezekiel, son of our beloved council leader, on Deal or No Deal last night? According to my diary, he was due to appear on Channel 4's hit (Surely sh*t? - Ed.) show, but unfortunately it clashed with a pressing engagement to wash my hair. Besides, exposing myself to an hour of That Bloody Awful Noel would have almost certainly brought me out in hives.

Thongs Of Praise

I see a local vicar's been nicked for snapping knickers by pointing his camera up ladies' skirts! Peter Torrence was sentenced to four months in prison in suspenders, er, suspended for a year, after pleading guilty to the offence and asking for six identical misdemeanours to be taken into account.

The pervy pastor was caught when one of his victims noticed his, um, flash going off as she bent over to pick up a greetings card in a shop. In court he blamed stress for his actions, after having only previously indulged in his obsession with his wife. He's now been dismissed from administering to his flock at Oasis Pentecostal Church in Broadstairs.

Only last August another naughty vicar, from St Peters, ran off with his Sunday school teacher. There must be something in the air around here. Presumably drifting over from that Pfizer factory in Sandwich!

Click here for full story in The Sun

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Water Performance

As regular readers of this never-ending stream of drivel will recall, I'm a bit of a fan of the old Ramsgate Powerboat Weekend. So it was with some trepidation that I learnt this week that it's been supplanted by a Water Skiing Week, which the Uranians trumpeted at the London Boat Show recently.

Well, five days of watersports as opposed to two could be two and a half times more fun, I hear you say. And yes, you could indeed be right, although I suspect it will also cost us council taxpayers at least two and a half times as much. But hey-ho, fiddle dee dee, if they have to close the odd museum or public convenience to pay for that, who am I to gripe?

On the other hand, however, what happens in 2009? This water skiing mullarkey is a one-off. So will the Powerboat Weekend return next year? Or will I be standing on my ownsome down the harbour, plastic pint of the Gaddfather's finest in hand, listening to Tom Jones on my iPod? I think we should be told!

Click here to read the full Thanet Council press release

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Margate 'Uglier Than Sir Bob' - Official

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Architecture Editor Ian Forced-Concrete

Margate is officially uglier than Sir Bob Geldof. That's the claim of an expert group of architects and plastic surgeons who we found in the Yellow Pages earlier today.

Sir Bob, who lives near Faversham, was panned in this week's local press for talking about 'the ugliness of Margate' in a recent edition of Kent County Council's free newspaper Around Kent. But now the 78 year old pop star's opinion has been confirmed by a panel of experts.

'It's true,' said one plastic surgeon who didn't want to be named. 'All Bob needs is a nip and tuck. With Margate we would have to take the entire front off and start again from scratch.' And one leading architect, who has designed several conservatories, added: 'He's no oil painting himself, but I have to agree with him - Margate's minging!'

The former Boomtown Rats frontman, whose company Ten Alps won the contract to produce the county council's Kent TV last year, was unavailable for comment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Landings

Remember Mr Coldfeet, the chap who emailed me recently wanting advice on some of the Ile de Thanet's good points? Well, thanks to all you lovely readers who came up with an exhaustive list of your fave Fannit fings, he's rather rashly decided to cross the Wantsum! He writes:

Dear ECR,

We were glad to see that we were quoted in your Blog (Mr Coldfeet indeed!) - and have decided to invest in some thick socks to enable us to take the plunge and brave life on the East Cliff (starting in Feb/March). As for the Fave Fings which have enticed us, We are amazed by the amount of beautiful buildings that have survived despite a hundred years of neglect and houses at half the price of Brighton ............and a sandy beach! Before we can move we have to sort out a little woodworm and rot first but look forward to a welcoming drink, meanwhile we'll keep as up-to-speed as possible by regularly tuning in.

A Big Thanet Cheers

I'll put the Krug on ice, dear boy!

Ramsgate Roof Blows Off

Holy hurricanes! With winds gusting at 70mph here in the Millionaires' Playground, it's not surprising there's been some damage. Well, I say some damage, but it looks as if the entire roof of Gateway Court, here on the trendy East Cliff, has blown off!

Snooze At Ten

Good to see my old newsreading chum Sir Trev back in the saddle on the new look, new/old time News at Ten last night. And he seems to have acquired a lovely blonde friend.

I couldn't help feeling, though, that with ITV going head to head with the BBC a certain news desperation was creeping in. The Beeb had John Simpson reporting under cover (a baseball hat) from Harare. Ah, but ITV had an interview with that very dull man Diana wanted to marry. Yes, but the Beeb had a satellite phone two-way from a secret location somewhere in Zimbabwe. Ah, but ITV had Bill Neely live from an ice cave in the Antarctic!

Still, this revived rivalry is only good news for the viewers. Insiders tell me that ITV will have an exclusive with Elvis later in the week, and the BBC are hot on the trail of a Hitler clone in Paraguay. Meanwhile Sir Trev is bound to become even more confused about which camera he's on, while Huw Edwards' snarly upper lip is becoming snarlier by the minute. Watch this space!

Monday, January 14, 2008

End Of An Earful

In Memoriam
Mr Filthy Talk Talk
Popular, If Somewhat Outspoken, Postmaster

So, Farewell
Then Mr Filthy Talk

'Effing bloody
Talk Talk',
That was
Your catchphrase,
Which echoed
Round your
Teeny-tiny Post Office™

Only the six
Investment properties
And £70,000
Redundancy to
Fall back on now.

Maybe you should have gone for their free broadband deal after all.

E.C. Richard (29)

Concrete Progress

Strolling along the front this afternoon, I was stopped in my tracks by the startling sight of actual real work being carried out to repair our long-crumbling East Cliff. The 'temporary' Heras fencing (995 days and counting) has been repositioned to block off the entire cliff top:

And scaffolding now graces the cliff face:

Three cheers (Surely 'three years'? - Ed.) for Thanet District Council!

Ramsgate In Shock Move To Essex

The old cellar's running a bit dry here at the cliff top mansion, so I thought I'd pop over to Belgium and pick up some bargain booze. Looking at the latest guide from, however, it seems I would face quite a drive to get the ferry from Ramsgate to Ostend, as our port now appears to have been relocated to somewhere between Southend and Harwich:

On the other hand, the good news is that the brand new, super-duper Eurostar station at Ebbsfleet has now opened in Ramsgate, so maybe I'll go shopping in France instead:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hatchet Job

It's not often one has the opportunity to witness a youth in a tracksuit, wielding an enormous rusty meat cleaver, running down the street shouting 'I'm not gonna f*cking put up with this any f*cking longer', but that was the delightful vision that confronted the Eastcliff mincers today as I toddled down the road for my afternoon snifter.

Yes, I did think of ringing the rozzers, but on balance I decided they probably had more important things on their plates. Such as a vital pensions meeting, or a presentation on health and safety most like.

Straw Pole

Blustering Beauforts! If anyone doubted there was enough wind in these parts to power the world's largest offshore fart farm, they should have tried walking along the East Cliff this morning! It had caused a bit of damage, too. I snapped this particular aerial stunt in one of those grubby back streets on my way into town.

If you recall, I had a moan about the widespread proliferation of these Jodrell Bank sized receivers back in April 2006, when I suggested that they were a health and safety requirement to accommodate the portliness of our local seagulls. Other theories have surfaced subsequently, such as the imminent hijacking of our digital TV services by our close neighbours the French. And in an unusual display of consideration for our splendid architecture, our beloved local council have even considered banning them.

If you ask me, when the occasional strong blast is causing them to blow off like this, I'd ban them not just on grounds of being unsightly, but of being potential death traps too. Blimey, if one of those bashed you on the bonce you'd be brown bread before you could babble 'Barrymore'!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

BBC Declares Australia A Republic

Her Majesty The Queen Gawd Bless 'Er must have choked on her All-Bran as she surfed the BBC News website over breakfast this morning. In their background article on our Gordon Master's go-ahead today for another 456 nuclear power plants, the Beeb compared the UK's nuclear stance to other countries such as the US, France and Australia. Here's what they wrote about Oz:

Australia produces no nuclear power. Plans to review whether the country should develop nuclear power were abandoned after Kevin Rudd, who opposed the move, was elected president in 2007.

Holy revolutions, they kept that quiet! No, no, it's a mistake of course, Kevin Rudd was elected Prime Minister not President, and Her Madge is still technically the head of state down under. They've rectified the error now, but I took the precaution of snapping the goof earlier in the day ha ha! It just goes to demonstrate that the cracks are beginning to show after the recent cutbacks at the BBC, where the news website is now rumoured to be down to just the 14 monkeys with typewriters.

And speaking of monkeys, EDF (or Electricité de France to give them their full title) have announced that they are keen to build four of Gordon's new glow-in-the-dark power plants. I don't know about you, but their inability to keep the lights burning around here for longer than a few days at a stretch hardly inspires confidence!

Favourite Fings

I've received an email from one of my regular, off-island readers. He writes:

We are about to move to your millionaires' playground - but before signing on the dotted line, we wondered if you could advise us of any good things about life on the Eastcliff as your blog tends to be a little on the negative side and we are starting to get cold feet.

Well this is by no means the first time I've been accused of negativity, which mystifies me since I was labouring under the illusion that I was bigging the area up! Hopefully I've redressed the balance with Mr Coldfeet by sending him an exhaustive list of all my favourite things about the Ile de Thanet, which are all far too mawkish and sentimental to publish here without donning a Julie Andrews wig first.

However, it's got me wondering. Do any of you lot have a fave Fannit fing?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thorley Point

According to my counterstaterisometer, somebody from Rupert Murdoch's News International organisation (Times Supplements department to be precise) has been taking a sticky beak at this blog, having landed here by means of entering the search terms 'Frank Thorley Crime' into Google.

They must be researching another of those glowing testimonials to our local pub and grub millionaire's splendid work on various crime-busting committees. I suspect curiosity will get the better of me and I might end up breaking the habit of a lifetime by buying a copy of the Sunday Times this weekend!

Biggles Makes A Splash

As you know, I don't normally sully my hands with the red tops, but turning to page 19 of yesterday's Thanet Times I almost choked on my G&T. There was our local blue rinse, blue sky doctor/councillor staring back at me, becapped and beshaded, small as life, hand on hip, standing in front of his teeny-tiny plane looking for all the world like the ghost of the lovely, dearly-departed John Inman!

For some reason the Times had devoted an entire page to the Doc's banner tugging business. I couldn't imagine that it merited that much newsprint in its own right, but the words 'advertising feature' were C by their A. Could it be that, in a small fit of pique at receiving very little attention for his Christmas charity tug, the flying doctor pestered the Times hacks into granting him wall-to-wall, no questions asked coverage? I think we should be told!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Our Trace Ahead In Battle Of Trafalgar

I see Margate's very own Lady of the Soiled Bedsheet, Tracey Eminem, is odds on favourite to win the competition to design a sculpture for Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth.

And rather than knitting a lifesize model of President de Gaulle out of her own underarm hair, which is the kind of thing one might expect given her past form, she's actually come up with a charming group of meerkats to fill the empty plinth. Good on yer, Trace!

Click here to see all six shortlisted designs

Update: Vote for Tracey by emailing

Work Starts On Cliff's Long-Overdue Facelift

Well, if you can call two blokes with hi-vis vests and a can of DayGlo spray paint 'work'. They appeared to be marking out a dotted line a few feet back from the current crumbling cliff face, presumably with a view to chopping along it at a later date with an enormous pair of pneumatic scissors.

To be fair there was also a JCB scraping off a layer of crud from the surface of the Pleasurama eyesore below, but I shan't be removing the counteriserometer from my sidebar in a hurry. It's already clocked up nearly 1000 days since the temporary, Heras fencing was erected. What's the betting it'll clock up 1000 more?

Curtains Up On Beer Bash

I've been asked by those lovely people at the Planet Thanet Easter Beer Festival Blog to reinstate their link higher up my sidebar, as they're now, er, beering up for this year's glugathon. Only too happy to oblige.

The 2008 GuzzleFest will once again be held at Margate's Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens, on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of March, following a successful try out there last year. This will be the third festival, and I've attended all three, which makes me feel rather sad and washed up to be frank. Oh well, never mind, there really is no better way of celebrating Easter than getting crucified on Nadger's Old Wobbly!
(Photograph courtesy of Mr X)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Downing Street Petition A Success!

Lumme! I almost forgot to tell you that all 55 Ramsgate millionaires eventually signed my 10 Downing Street e-petition asking Our Gordon Master to instruct Thanet District Council to impose proper regulation on RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport. What a stunning achievement!

My thanks to all of you leading Ramsgatonians who voted with your green fingers to put an end to the polluting oozalum flights by those knackered old 747s, along with other abuses such as night flights and a total lack of noise monitoring. I'll be treating you all to a champagne supernova (obviously not in the sky) just as soon as that cheque from presenting The Amazing World of Offroad Unicycling arrives.

Click here for more on offroad unicycling

Island Mentality

Now that the world has stopped dropping out of my bottom, and with one or two jobs firming up for later in the week, this morning seemed an opportune time to whip out my old throbber and give it a bit of a thrash.

Parked up in the sun, on the West Pier of our magnificent Royal Harbour, a couple of gentlemen of a certain age out for a stroll paused to admire my glistening pride and joy. The conversation turned to the state of the Thanet nation and one of the chaps, who had moved down from London recently, suggested that the Millionaires' Playground was looking a trifle run down. 'Where I live over on the West Cliff there are some lovely Georgian properties that would be worth a million if they were in England,' he opined.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Trucking Hell

Apologies for the hiatus but I had to pop into A&E a couple of days ago. It was only a stubbed toe, but during the wait in reception I was exposed to an entire episode of Deal or No Deal, and consequently succumbed to that bloody awful Noelovirus. I haven't been able to stray more than a few yards from a lavatory for the last 48 hours.

So there's a fair amount of correspondence to catch up with. Let's start with this email from reader Samantha:

I photographed these tractor units (see above) parked on the East Cliff yesterday. There used to be one, but now there are regularly two parked there. I always thought it was illegal to park these things on residential roads. Of course nothing will ever be done about it as parking and vehicles are never policed around here apart from the occasional blitz on tax dodgers. What's the point of the area having conservation status when people can get away with this sort of thing?

Is there no room for these things to be parked down at the port where they belong? Or are the owners just too cheapskate to pay for that? By the way, the units purport to belong to a Belgian company called Eurolines, based in Zeebrugge.

I agree Samantha, these things are a blot on our architecturally stunning Ramsgate landscape. Maybe it's time for our caff-crushing, car-crushing councillor Dave Green to diversify into a spot of, um, cab-crushing!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Wobbly Grannys

A regular viewer of ECR TV has emailed me to point out a bizarre daub in Winterstoke Gardens - you know, where the council scrubbed off the graffiti, installed CCTV, then took the CCTV away, and where (surprise surprise) it's now covered in graffiti again. 'Blujah 2000' writes:

I found, by accident, a startling piece of graffiti on the Eastcliff. A folly lies naked and unattended en-route to the doggy park - daubed riotously upon the layers of other layers was the tag: Wobbly Grannys.

Yes, wobbly granny's what? I wish they'd bloody finish these messages. It's not Banksy, or is it? I think we should keep an eye on that area, Richard. They start off innocent, draw you in with their beguiling imagery, and bang! You've got a crop circle on your hands, or worse, a five storey apartment block in the middle of the sea.

Well quite. Even more bizarre is the slogan: 'Jesus is alive - come to church and get a life' which somebody has gone to all the trouble of engraving in the cement next to 'Wobbly Grannys'. What next, 'Romanes eunt domus'?

Ezekiel Or No Ezekiel?

I'm indebted to Councillor Green (the D-type as opposed to the E-type) for confirming a story which has been doing the rounds for some time now. Namely that our glorious council leader's son will soon be appearing on Deal or Noel Deal. Councillor Green has appended the following comment to my previous story, which looks as if it's culled from one of our local rags, although I can't personally find the reference:


The son of Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel will be appearing in top telly show Deal or No Deal. Mark, owner of the Dalby Cafe in Cliftonville, has already recorded the shows but is keeping quiet about how he got on, to avoid spoiling it for family and friends, until it is broadcast.

Mark, 36, has never been in a quiz show before but watched Noel Edmonds' show with his grandparents Norman and Anne. He said: 'Being on the show was one of the best times of my life. The filming brought everyone together and we will all stay in touch. Contestants forget about work and focus on their aspirations. It was nerve-racking at first being in front of the cameras but after a while you relax. Noel asked if I watched the show all the time and I made the mistake of saying: 'Why would I watch a has-been?' I'm sure they will edit that out.'

'I don't want to say how I got on until my final show goes out on January 17. My grandparents love the show and I don't want to spoil it. It would be like knowing the football score before a match. Contestants stayed in a hotel in Bristol for the 10 days of filming. We filmed three shows a day from early morning until evening. We would drink in the hotel together afterwards and the people who won would chip in money to help out people who didn't do so well.'

Good on yer, Mark, for calling That Bloody Awful Noel a has-been. Although if it had been me I might have been tempted to go for the 'never-was'!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Coal Hole

Flaming slag heaps! I see the Tories at Medway Council have given permission for a new, coal-fired power station to be built near Rochester. I presume the irony of their website promising a £200 fine for anyone smoking in a public place has been lost on them, and that us poor so-and-sos down here in the tip of Kent will just have to put up with their secondhand emissions wafting over us on the prevailing westerlies.

Quite why they have to build these dinosaur power plants when we live on a peninsula, surrounded by wind and waves, is beyond me. Still, at least it gives the lie to the Conservatives' cuddly new green sweaters!

Click here for BBC story
Click here for Medway Council

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Exciting New Prospect For 2008

Seriously, thanks to all you lovely readers for the Christmas and New Year's emails. And thanks for all the tip-offs (as the Rabbi said at his retirement do). I'll be getting round to those in due course.

First up, though, our new, luxury, 12 star Express by Holiday Inn is due to open this month. Boasting 105 bedrooms and handily situated for the Somerfield service station and, er, some fields, many older Thanetians will remember it as The Prospect Inn. Hats off to Geminex, the small chain running the new hotel, for keeping the art deco look and feel of the original building.

The Prospect, and Margate, featured in this 1970s TV sketch by that late, great, dearly departed, bog-eyed comedian Marty Feldman and the sadly missed, lovely John Junkin. Ah, they don't make 'em like that any more!

Happy New Year!

What do you mean, I'm a day late?