Sunday, May 10, 2009

More BS About Margate

I'm indebted to a comment from 'Turner Burner' for alerting me to the fact that the Arsonists' Playground was featured in yesterday's Times.

This latest coverage from a national newspaper follows the same, tired old format. And I have to say it makes my blood boil. For those of you unfamiliar with the grubby world of press and PR, here's the formula:

- Thanet Council's press office rings umpteen old hacks muttering mystical keywords like 'Turner', 'Emin', 'regeneration', 'Bilbao', 'St Ives' and now 'Sir Alan Sugar'.

- Eventually one of the old hacks, who can no longer sustain a career by recycling the three ideas they've ever had, thinks it might be nice to have a day at the seaside.

- Hack arrives at seaside and is, er, treated by the press office to lunch with Our Sandy at one of his mates' caf├ęs.

- Hack is then given the two-minute tour of the hole where the Turner Centre will eventually be, and introduced to Derek Harding from the Margate Renewal Partnership for a chat about 'regeneration' and the £60m being spent. (By the way, is it just me who thinks that figure's been plucked out of the air?)

- Hack heads back off to town on the rattler, mashing together 500 words on his laptop from Sandy and Derek's quotes and a load of other old tosh culled from the internet, and arrives home in time for G&T's at his local. Job's a good 'un.

Now, having said that, Fiona Hamilton who wrote yesterday's effort appears to have taken a few minutes from her hectic schedule to do some original research - by walking along the seafront and up the high street. During her tour she spotted 'rundown shops, fast food outlets and derelict arcades' and Dreamland which 'closed after an arson attack' (forgive me, Fiona, but Jimmy Godden had already closed it way before the, er, unfortunate fire). Later in her piece she spots 'fast-food outlets, deserted arcades and sex shops' again, along with 'gangs of youths wandering the streets'. 'Local newspapers often carry reports on knife crimes and assaults,' she adds. Yes, Fiona, they do. But probably not as often as they do in that London.

Eventually Fiona stumbles upon one Maureen Collington, who has lived in Margate for more than 20 years, and describes the approach by the council as a disgrace. 'They’re wasting all this money on art and it’s not what people want. Margate is proper seaside. But they’ve let it die.'

And a young mother shopping in the high street tells her: 'That Turner centre - it’s the biggest load of f***ing rubbish that I’ve ever heard of. What a waste of money. Most of our 15-year-olds are illiterate, they couldn’t give a stuff about going to an art gallery.'

Which only goes to prove, a little original research can go a long, long way!

The Times goes to the seaside
The Apprentice does Margate

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

An unerringly accurate description of how these national features are spawned. Add to that, local journalists cowed by their owners into never criticizing Thanet lest they upset the advertisers and you understand why the area's plight goes largely unreported. And why even monumental follies like the Turner fiasco are lamely applauded without investigation or debate.

Lucy Mail said...

It does make you wonder how Richard's own organ will suffer, now that he's on the 'local journo pay-roll', himself!

Eastcliff Richard said...

I'd thank you to leave my organ out of it Lucy! And as for being on the 'local journo payroll', I ain't. I do it all out of the goodness of my proverbial.

Re: the 'unerringly accurate description' 2:00pm, you should know that I am indeed that very same tired old hack who's only had three ideas in his entire career. So I should know.

Anonymous said...

Bit rich coming from Fiona. If she is so concerned about regen, why has it taken so long for the Harbour Arm to see some real regeneration? A trinket shop and glorified snack bar hardly hacks it. Where are the restaurants, bars, and galleries trumpeted at the opening?

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Got the wrong Fiona there. Apologies.
But where ARE the restaurants,bars...etc?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Er, you could be confusing Fiona Hamilton, who wrote the Times piece, with Fiona Sherriff, Saviour of the Margate Harbour Arm there 2:27pm.

Good point though, nonetheless!

Eastcliff Richard said...

Ah, yes... but... ah yes.

Fiona S's other half is a property developer and good chum of Our Sandy I hear. So perhaps all roads lead to the leader!

Anonymous said...

If we say that Margate is not a dump enough times the people will believe us! (or do I mean the blind people will believe us?)

Anonymous said...

If we paint the doors on Harbour Arm pretty bright colours we can rant and rave about how wonderful we are! Paint costs £1000000s you know, this is a credit crunch.

We are so lucky to have the credit crunch as an excuse for wasting money!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that a lack of vision by local politicans was cited as one of the reasons for Margate's decline, also the journalist was somewhat sceptical (like the rest of us!) of the words uttered from SE's mouth! Hope it wasnt bad language this time! What sort of ambassador is he for Thanet?
Tell us more of the link between Margate harbour arm's Fiona Sheriff's partner and SE didnt know that one!?

DrM. said...

Strangely enough ECR, Fiona called me, nobody from TDC ever called Fiona.

I was at the ecrime congress with my other "hat" on and she suggested doing a piece on Margate, having read Jamie Doward's earlier piece from last year. So I made a couple of quick calls and arranged to have her meet Sandy at Cafe G, one morning, where after the interview, she was taken for a tour of the town.

Simple as that really!

She's gone away and written-down her thoughts quite independently.

Anonymous said...

I think she must have made some of it up, as Sandy using a word like ,"socioeconomic" seems barely credible.
Also if there is £60million floating about, and the Turner is costing £17million where is the rest going?

Anonymous said...

Oh so that is how the doc is in the cabinet, made himself amenable to our Sandy has he - setting up interviews and then helping lobby opposition to his leadership on the other hand, sounds like he is a Peter Mandelson that SE cant do without?

Anonymous said...

The bit I don't wuite get is where democracy fits in. Hardly anybody thinks that the Turner Centre is a good idea for the sums of money that are involved. With very few exceptions, nobody wants to have to subsidise the running of this white elephant. Yet ALL, and I mean ALL of our political representatives are backing the lunacy.

It's not that different from the sheep-like mentality that surrounds the airport. Yet, the airport has demonstrated that our elected representatives haven't got a clue.

Why should we (the taxpayers) have to pay for and subsidise the running of something that none of us were asked about and which virtually none of us want? I say that the Councillors and officers who have dumped this scheme on us should pay the running costs out of their own pockets.

Anonymous said...

The vast sums of public money which have been sunk (literally) into the Turner Centre could have made a real difference to Thanet if they have been invested in sporting and leisure facilities to give our youngsters something to do. An art gallery is good for a visit once in a blue moon. A football pitch or swimming pool gets used every day.

Anonymous said...

God you lot, you don't get it do you...if we didn't have the turner, some other town would get the money for a gallery...it is not money to choose to do what we like with.

Anonymous said...

In real terms the Turner Contemporary project is peanuts, but its a pretty good start, the real future of Margate and which way it goes is the Dreamland site.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 8.06 for enlightening us. Now I get it. We are not having the Turner Centre because we want it, (and despite the fact it is we who will be stuck with an extravagant folly). We are getting it because if we didn't somebody else would. I'm glad you're not doing my housekeeping, love!

Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself, i want it!

Cattle_Prod said...

There's no way he said "socioeconomic", no way on earth.

A fairly balanced piece I think, some BS in there but all in all a fair depiction, in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

yes fiona,s other half BK that owns world bar. that use to be owned by SE son that one
nice to have a place to get wasted then abuse your tenants on the way home two weeks ago BK!!!!!

Anonymous said...

8.34 I want the turner too. Some of us like art.

Anonymous said...

Some of us like progress and investment, Margate is currently geared up to cater for the lowest common denominator, pit pulls, heroin, dysfunctional families (not from the area) cheap booze, wasted lives and low ambitions. The literacy rates of Margate teens has *uck all to do with Turner Contemporary.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if the Tate is actually going to oblige to lend some Turner's - does anyone know if we are actually having anything of taste i thought it was just going to be building blocks etc on the style of what has been on show at the M and S building can anyone elaborate on what exhibits we are to have filling the building?

Ann said...

4.56am obviously up too early to get the facts fight. World Bar nothing to do with SE's son, it was Cllr Sullivans son that once ran the World Bar.

Anonymous said...

Try door-knocking for the county elections (or any other for that matter) and believe you me you won't find anyone who wants the Turner Centre. People want a decent swimming pool, something for the kids to enjoy, sporting facilities etc. Art is a bit of a luxury for most people.

Anonymous said...

And judging by obese chav families that clog-up Margate, I'd say that exercise is regarded as an even bigger luxury.

Don't you realise, Sandy's great, great, great, great, great grand-father created the beach at Margate so that swimming pools would be unneccesary in the 21st century.

Ungrateful pie-munchers the lot of you

Anonymous said...

I disagree, it depends where you knock my friend, and i live on an estate. Stop peddling the myth that its either swimming pools or galleries, although i agree we should have a new pool, however the more wealthy go the new private gyms so the numbers are down at Margate and Ramsgate so the council can turn round and say there isn't a need which is a shame but thats the way society seems to be going, a bigger divide between those with a few quid and those without.

Anonymous said...

Your saddo hick bumpkin friends are out in force on this one ECR. If this lot had their way you'd be trading in the boxter for something a little more down market for sure.

Fiona S said...

To me, the ignorance of The Times journalist was summed up when she said that the gallery will show works of Turner and his contemporaries. Ha! ha!
As usual, lots of mixed-up facts here I'd like to comment on. Margate Civic Society seemed to appreciate the work we've done on the Harbour Arm when they gave us the Town Pride award last week. If you think it was just a coat of paint, 5.01, you've got your facts completely wrong. It was falling apart and the guys worked flat out for 4 months. And believe me, no money has been wasted - why would we waste our hard-earned?
As for 2.27, why do you think it has taken so long for the Harbour Arm to regenerate? In fact we didn't want a crap greasy spoon and down-market businesses there and have turned lots away. I've been so inundated with timewasters it's depressing. How anyone can call BeBeached a 'glorified snack bar' is totally beyond me. Clearly you've never eaten there, 2.27. Jean is one of the best chefs around and the cafe is beautiful.
The gallery is also open with shows over the summer - the reason it's not open all the time is that IOTA ran out of funds and we're selecting a new arts charity operator. As for the bar, we've opened it ourselves over the summer and will be having music on Sundays. Hopefully it will become a restaurant one day if someone has the vision/balls/money. If you really want to know what's going on on the Harbour Arm, I suggest you look at www.margateharbourarm.co.uk instead of talking out your arse. Oh, and come out and see us at the weekend and show your support for a local project.
7.53 - how many times do you need to be told - the Arts Council and KCC don't fund swimming pools. Dur! 8.06 is right - it was the Turner or nothing.
And finally, yes, my partner does own the property with the World Bar in it. Ann is right - it used to be run by the Mayor's son (but fortunately not any more). And yes, he probably has used a few choice words on some tenants but only when they take the piss by trashing his property and owing him vast amounts of rent arrears! Wouldn't you?!

Peter Checksfield said...

When are they going to rebuild the pier?

Anonymous said...

Fiona - don't let the peasants bother you. Not a single one of them has two brass farthings to rub together to show they have made a success of their lives or anything for that matter, nor have they ever lifted a finger to do anything to positively contribute. Margate will be successful in spite of them, not because of them.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

..and enjoy our 350 grand.

Fiona S said...

Sorry don't know anything about rebuilding a pier. Thanks 6.56. I wish I knew what 7.07 was on about. If I'm supposed to have made any money out of the Harbour Arm yet it's news to me!

Richard Card said...

Fiona

The Thanetian is addicted to the dopamine rush they derive from their hardy perennial activity of whinging.

You could have fibbed that you made a shed load of money. Thus give them more cause to whinge and make lots of Thanetians temporarily happy.

All in all attempting to introduce facts was pretty inconsiderate.

Hope this is helpful

Peter Checksfield said...

Actually Fiona my comment wasn't directed at you. I'm just stating that it would make more sense to rebuild the pier destroyed in the 1978 storm than to build an ugly art gallery.

Anonymous said...

I want the Turner too. The reason this area has a population on low wages is partly down to the monopolisation of Margate by seaside based industry, i.e. low paid and seasonal. Why shouldn't Art take a centre stage in Margate? Seaside industries have not bought wealth to the general population of Margate.At least with a decent art centre a more diverse visitor will come here, most likely creative and creative people often see potential where others do not, i.e. in a rundown town and from that you can expect some interesting results.

Anonymous said...

Peter,

You of all people must believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (accepted, exhibitionists tend to have a peculiarly warped view of their own aesthetic value)

Furthermore, since when did nudists/naturists judge anything or anyone by its/their exterior?

Calling the Turner 'Ugly' without knowing what's to be curated is like describing you and your scar-tissue covered models repulsive without having had the benefit of a conversation!

Try and focus properly next time.

Peter Checksfield said...

Whatever.....

All I know is that more people would use a real pier with shops & restaurants (rather than a harbour wall) than they will an art gallery. Would probably be cheaper too.

Anonymous said...

>>nobody from TDC ever called Fiona<<

And then a few lines down...

>>So I made a couple of quick calls and arranged to have her meet Sandy at Cafe G<<

Then in conclusion....

>>She's gone away and written-down her thoughts quite independently.<<

How Mooreish.

Lucy Mail said...

And chair-swings at the end of the pier, Peter?
Though I think, for the sake of the children and faint hearted on the beach, that nudists shouldn't be allowed to use those!

Anonymous said...

well said 11.53pm.
Fiona.It Is you who need to get the facts straight,If you talked to a member of staff of TC (like I did)you would know there are going to be paintings by Turner and his contempories,as well as modern art a cafe,workshops for local schools colleges old age pensioners etc.
Yes the harbour arm will take time and it is great that BeBeached cafe is open,just a shame It is a giant car park,and last time I went for a walk along there,there was a disabled couple who asked the attendent about a disabled bay as they wanted to go and have a coffee and were told there was not any and they would have to pay,they looked horrified and drove away(It costs £7 a day to park!)...

Anonymous said...

STEVE LADYMAN MP should donate some of his expenses to the Gurkas as a pay back for voting against them, it would be the least he could do as the local President of the Royal Britsh Legion!

TJ said...

Zero tolerance? (Read from Times article) I really cannot see that actually happening, the seafront is as bad as it has ever been. We should have an under 18 curfew every night at 9pm to stop the drunk kids smashing the place up, banning orders for the town and seafront put in place and enforced and make the town center alcohol prohibited! If I were in charge I'd slap this town into shape like it needs, not just throw in namby-pamby ideas of glorious (gloriously-expensive??) galleries, which, will end up being smashed up by the fore-mentioned locals.
First and foremost, make the place safe, there is NO WAY tourists are coming to a place they are likely to be beaten up in or worse, this troublesome area will only attract trouble!!!

Dick Rubin said...

I like Fiona S. She kicks ass. What you doing tonight ;)

Anonymous said...

I so agree with 11.21am. The Harbour Arm is a car park! The worst place I can think of to have one. Guaranteed to put people off going on there. It can't be safe surely!
And IOTA was a major plus, gone because of high rent.

Fiona said...

IOTA never paid a single penny in rent. They buggered off and ripped us off.

Anonymous said...

But they got people along the harbour and put on some great shows-think they should have been paid to stay!

Peter Checksfield said...

Perhaps I should clarify that I applaud everything Fiona & others are doing, it's good to know that some people really believe in Margate. But car parks / cafes / bars / concerts on the harbour arm is an accident waiting to happen.

Fiona S said...

Clearly the Arts Council didn't think IOTA were worth paying. I'm so pleased that 5.19 isn't running the Harbour Arm (or indeed any business in Thanet) as it would have gone out of business by now!

Anonymous said...

Hmm..you don't know what I do Fiona,and I run a sucessful business-IOTA was literally out on a limb..I also agree with 11.25am-an ugly car park no disabled bay??Brings In a nice little non arts earner tho ehh..

Anonymous said...

if you believe Fiona doesn't make a pretty penny from the harbour arm then you are very misguided! Let's not be coy Fifi, how many TDC in your pocket now???

Anonymous said...

"oh peter"... carry on camping.

Fiona S said...

The Harbour Arm has been used for car parking for as long there have been cars. There are many old photos of Margate with cars parked there exactly as they are today. The car park provides easy acess for people wishing to visit the cafe, gallery etc. I don't see anything wrong in that. And yes, it is revenue-generating.
One day I hope we'll get back the large 6-figure sum we invested in the Harbour Arm but at the moment I am not making a pretty penny. Maybe conspiracy theories make life entertaining but there's no story here, just a long-term investment which we hope people will enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I am sure your investment will come good once your chums have built the Turner Centre, Fiona.

As far as I can make out, the TC will only have parking for two vehicles - probably disabled bays.

So the nearest place to park will be your car park, er, sorry, harbour arm.

Ker-ching!

Anonymous said...

People having parked there before in the "olden" days does not justify doing it now.
We are all supposed to be more enlightened. There seems to be a developing attitude in Thanet of park anywhere. The Harbour Arm is totally unsuitable if you envisage people with kids, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc strolling along there. Most of the people who park there are working somewhere in Margate not visiting the plethora of entertainment available on the Arm.
It's only a matter of time until someone goes in the drink.It will be interesting to see what their insurance company says about the safety precautions taken. It looks horrible anyway.

Anonymous said...

Well what can i say i was recomended to reed this blog as it had some interesting coments, but to be honest there are very few, regarding the "Harbour Arm" i am a season'd builder and had the joy of seeing the inside of the Arm before the works and i recon they must have spent a good 400k just to get the thing habitable and as for the coment of "Paint costs £1000000s you know" get a grip! From an outside perspective these people just seem to be trying to make the area better, and everyone has to make money so if they need to run a carpark or collect rent to improve the area then good for them least there putting the money back in to margate and not sitting in a London flat Counting it! Come on people lets work together and stop witch hunting people?!

Anonymous said...

before any silly comments about my spelling above, i may be dyslexic but least im not narrow minded and pesimistic like some people seem to be......

Anonymous said...

well said 11.45am

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the above, i'm sure everyone involved on the Margate Harbour Arm project, has put their heart and sole into trying to make a difference, in a somewhat downtrodden place... all you miserable lot talking about it, instead of being so negative, try to put your efforts into changing the area too. (what excactly are u doing to help??)The harbour has more to offer than the seafront arcades, so go put your daggers there instead of putting people down, who really want to make a change. surely if we all supported one another we would turn Margate around quicker. the people who are so pesimistic are the people who bring margate down, they give the message to all the young people out there, "to not give a s#@t about the area" seriously guys, do you not see the knock on effect.... be positive about others and give that message instead.

Fiona S said...

Thank you Mr/Ms Dyslexic!!!

Anonymous said...

There are some good things going on and I for one think the Harbour arm is great.

But I reserve the right to whinge about other things if I want. After all in the past people who whinged about Dreamland closing or leisure facilities being turned into car parks were called whingers and told to shut up but I bet most people would have preferred what we had then to what we have now.

Anonymous said...

Another prevalent attitude...we must be positive about things even if we know them to be crap.
8.00pm, you don't know anything about any of us or what we may be doing for Margate.
I know the Market Square, Fort Hill and the Harbour Arm have all become car parks and this is exactly the opposite of the direction we need to move in if we want to attract people back to the area.
What year do you think this is?

Anonymous said...

Well said.
And by the way FS do you think by being sarky ie the TC wont have any Turner paintings etc you are being satirical and clever?anyone that has the misfortune to be a bed partner to the lump that is GN ,has nil points

Anonymous said...

come on-let's draw a line on this issue now and move forward and see how the harbour develops,and for all our sakes let us hope it it is a sucess,tho old town is picking up with the galleries pie and mash shop etc and the turner gallery is progressing so we have hope at last and if sarah gets funding for dreamland that will be the Icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

7.48pm

Hahahaha!

Anonymous said...

I know parking was previously allowed on the stone pier (before the rebrand), but I agree that it seems to fly in the face of progress to allow it in it's current use as a place of culture and entertainment and a major view in the town. It's unsightly and seems a bit too narrow for pedestrians and cars to easily navigate.

I hope that the arm develops to be a success with the addition of more quality businesses on there.

Anonymous said...

The 7 quid charge, if anything, contributes to the negative image of the area. I have personally heard people visiting say what a rip off it is.

Fiona S said...

If people want to park in the charming environment of College Square for less money they are totally welcome to! Car parking funds the bar refurb, the gallery and artists' studios, and music events over the summer. Oh sorry I forgot, we don't want any progress in Margate do we?

David Bryant said...

I am amazed at the in-depth soubriquets [sic] and naval gazing on this blog.
My name is David Bryant, I own and operate The World Bar, and yes, GK [NOT BK, he is a world renowned DJ (Ben Keen) who is also famous for singing the 'Finger of fudge' adverts' tune] owns the property of 4-5 Market Place that I lease and operate from.
I find it indicative that 'SE' is now my father, the closest two realities to that is the previous owner is the outgoing mayor's son, or that my actual (as opposed to imagined or misinformed) father went to Thanet Tech with Cyril Hosier's brother half a century ago.
I love Mr Card's comment about giving Thanetions/Margatians issues to carp about, but at the end of the day, the primary issues are, have you been to The World Bar and understand my UNIQUE service offering? Music, sarcasm, good beer and a mission to overcome the perception that I am hugely expensive - which is not all bad as at least it keeps most of the chavs out.
The second is, go into BeBeached, as Jean is a riot, brilliant chef and reasonably priced.
If you think I am some lap dog poodle by virtue of these comments then come and chat with me in my bar and you will find my family has a 200 year heritage on this island(even though I only spent secondary education here, no more or less), and have owned a number of business between them over that (short?) time. I am no poodle, just a sarcastic, erudite business man who is not supported by local councillors, mayors, property developers or the like, just me, the other half, more music than you can shake a stick it and a veritable silver toungued charm.
Come in and make sure the facts are right next time.
Finally, why be anonymous? I don't understand that, just put your name to your words and be published or be damned, and I suppose that even applies to our host on this blog...

Anonymous said...

I thought you liked chavs?

Anonymous said...

Came down from Hertfordshire to ride the Viking Trail with the wife. The weather last Saturday, 26 September, as we all know, was fantastic. We stopped on the Harbour arm and decided to have lunch at BeBeached. Most excellent - the food was really great and reasonably priced, and sitting outside - blimey what a great sun-trap.
From an outsider it seems a terrible shame that cars are allowed to park on the arm and despoil the feel of the place, but if enough of you Margate dwellers shout loud enough (like we did for our old market square - no cars there now!)you might get the powers that be to think again.