Sunday, May 31, 2009

Restaurant News

Hurrah! It looks as if the Millionaires' Playground is to get yet another fine dining experience! Not only is the Cannes of Kent home to one of the best eateries in the south east, Age & Sons (dubbed 'the finest restaurant in Thanet' in today's Observer), but now top chef John Burton Race is re-opening Harveys, on Ramsgate's rip-roaring royal harbour, as a fantastic fish restaurant.

According to the excellent yourfannitinnit, JBR has coughed up 250 big ones to transform this formerly hideous boozer, which has been boarded up for the last year, into the dogfish's bollocks of piscine cuisine. The celebrity chef already has Michelin-rated nosheries under his belt. Shame, though, that Thanet College alumnus Gary Rhodes, who was once rumoured to have been in the frame to open up here, seems to have got cold feet. His puddings are yum! Of course, we already have one fish restaurant on the Croisette - Atlantis. But being a Thorley establishment I have to say from experience that that's more like Captain Digby Deluxe.

So, Ramsgate now has two top restaurants to Margate's one (the superb Indian Princess). And as reported exclusively by yours truly, Eddie Gilbert the fishmonger on Ramsgate's 'King Street will soon be serving fish and chips fit for a, er, king. But what about the poor old Dickensians? Surely the betweeded grannies, second homers and perma-tanned builders' wives in Boredstares deserve something a bit better than scampi in a basket? The deliciously delightful Oscar Road Cafe is all well and good for the best crab sandwiches in Kent during the day, but what about sophisticated dining once the sun's gone down? Well, step forward this joint:

Restaurant 54, the new gaff at the top of Harbour Street, opposite the Dolphin meat market. It's had umpteen different guises in the past few years, prompting the double glazing and conservatory millionaires who were leaving as I passed by last night to ponder whether the name referred to the number of owners it's had since the turn of the century.

Still, from what I overheard they appeared to have enjoyed their meal, and of course it was only a short waddle for them down the hill to Harpers wine bar, where they no doubt rounded off the evening by larging it with the WAGS (of other double glazing and conservatory millionaires) before belling the missus to come and chauffeur them back to Kingsgate in the old V8 Range Rover.

Harveys in yourfannitinnit
The Observer raves about Thanet - and Age & Sons
Er, John Burton Race declares himself bankrupt

Friday, May 29, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

For those of you too mean, or poor, to cough up 60p for your Isle of Thanet Gazunder, here's this week's East of the Wantsum (click on image to enlarge). And if you want to see your idea turned into newsprint next week, just drop me a line at:

Not that, um, I'm getting desperate for ideas or anything.

The paper currently appears obsessed with spooky goings on. The front page was devoted to Councillor Mark Nottingham's house being struck by lightning, and I see they're running a story on their website about a huge, triangular object spotted a mile off Ramsgate on Google Earth, thus cementing the island's place as the UFO capital of Britain. Not to mention the Stella capital, spliff capital, methodone capital and generally silly-as-a-bum-full-of-Smarties capital.

All this talk of UFOs gives me the perfect excuse to publish a hitherto unpublished snap which one of my lovely Thanet readers sent me back in February. Is it a star? Is it the International Space Station? And, more importantly, why is it tugging a banner with all those numbers on???

Bad Sign

Apologies for the bluriness of this snap, but it's rather hard to focus as you're hurtling down the Thanet Way at a breakneck 40mph in the brand new G-Wiz that you've just picked up from the London dealer, desperately looking for a power point to plug into in the next three miles.

Anyhow, have you spotted the deliberate error in this new tourist sign yet? No? Well I'll tell you then. According to my copy of the Highway Code, that 'M' next to Margate denotes 'Museum'. And as we all know, the council closed Margate's museum a while ago. So now we have a new, out-of-date sign which replaces the old, out-of-date sign which directed everyone to the closed/burnt out Dreamland. Kushti!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Apprentice - Ramsgate Was Robbed!

The persistent word among the local millionaires is that the BBC initially wanted to bring Sralan and his apprentices to Ramsgate rather than Margate for this series of the popular business cock- (or increasingly hen-) fights.

The Beeb's researcher apparently rang one of the council's Ramsgate offices, but was referred under standing orders to the Cecil Square propaganda unit who presumably rubbed their hands with glee and said: 'Nah - you don't wanna go there. Come and see how we're spending £60m (allegedly) regenerating Margate instead!' The rest, as we now know, is history.

While we're on the topic of the Margate episode, I must extend my sincere apologies to Mr Dickens of Broadstairs whose Apprentice-related email has been languishing in my inbox for the past couple of weeks, awaiting a suitable peg to hang it on. Mr D of B had some very sound ideas about promoting Margate, including a large poster of our beloved leader in his Cecil Square office with the caption: 'Margate welcomes tourists - you f*cking tossers!' and a traditional view of the Margate skyline in flames with the tagline: 'Experience the excitement of the Blitz from your guest house window.' Nice one, Mr D of B!

My Other Plane's A Herc

Holy earplugs! Is it open day at Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport or something? What with an unmarked military Hercules going round and round in incessant circles, the Pfizer exec jet, a helicopter and a knackered old 737 doing the rounds, anyone would think they were trying to persuade a potential buyer that it was a going concern. I've had to turn the old Bang and Olufsen up to 11 just to hear myself think!

As one reader who's just emailed me put it: 'Perhaps it's like the last days of Saigon and that nice Kiwi chap who's in charge will be the last one to leave from the roof of the terminal building at sunset.' Or are San Dee Zeek-il and his North Thanet junta preparing their last minute escape? One can only hope, I suppose.

Will the last person to leave please turn out the landing lights?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swarm Weather

Regular contributor Walter has sent me this splendid snap, adding that he had 50-80 of these Painted Ladies in his Ramsgate garden yesterday.

According to that font of all lepidopteral knowledge, The Sun, millions of these huge African butterflies are invading Britain because they love our weather. Hmm. Haven't seen that on the BNP's election leaflets. The paper adds:

More and more Painted Ladies are expected to make the 1,000-mile flight from their native North Africa if climate change continues to bring milder winters and warmer summers. Richard Fox, of the Butterfly Conservation charity, said: 'If we have a good year there will be one in every garden in Britain.'

Did you know? The term 'painted lady' can also refer to gaily decorated Victorian and Edwardian houses, and to the majority of builders' wives in Broadstairs.

Butterflies in The Sun

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

San Dee Zeek-Il Spotted In Margate

Margatonians were treated to a rare glimpse of their normally reclusive leader San Dee Zeek-il at the North Thanet Party Rally and People's Motorcycle Festival yesterday. Reader Adem managed to whip out his Box Brownie in time to snap off a piccie. As you can see, Chairman Zeek-il was accompanied by his lovely wife Cher-il Zeek-il, Deputy Chairman Roh Char Lach-for, and Party Administrator Ree Char Samoo-el:

Monday, May 25, 2009

May's Bank Holiday

Good to see my old Top Gear chum James May meandering around the Arsonists' Playground this afternoon. Unlike last year's washout, today's sunshine made Margate Meltdown, and the Ace Cafe's throbfest was rocking with rockers. And one or two mods.

What with the harbour arm packed with stalls and visitors too, it actually looked as if some thought had been put into it. Shame that stallholders were given free parking, though, while ratepayers were made to pay. But hey-ho, you can't have it all.

If only our beloved council would make an effort to put on these sorts of events here in the south. However, as previously reported, they managed to balls up our only annual shindig, the Powerboat Weekend. Seems like all we pay our council tax for here in Ramsgate is the privilege of having knackered old jumbos fly over us. Still, there's a grand old thunderstorm rumbling around the Millionaires' Playground right now. At least they can't take that away from us!

Outrage Over North Thanet S-Bomb Test

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder World Affairs Editor Hugh Jorgan

North Thanet has made good on its threat to carry out a second test of its biological 'stink bomb', provoking a strong reaction from South Thanet leaders.

The device was let off in the Margate harbour area this weekend, creating a stench that scientists say may well outlast religion. Previously it was thought that North Thanet lacked the technology to deliver the dirty bomb, but experts now believe the mad boffins in Cecil Square have made a breakthrough and could soon be targeting other towns on the Thanet peninsula, including the South Thanet capital Ramsgate.

South Thanet spokesman Richard Eastcliff told the Gazunder: 'Our highly sensitive pong detectors registered an event at around low tide with its epicentre somewhere north of Margate old town. This is the same area where the last test was conducted in 2006'. North Thanet is currently constructing a 'Turner Centre' on the site which some think may be a cover for processing the large amounts of rotting seaweed and raw sewage needed for the S-bomb.

World leaders have rushed to condemn North Thanet's volatile Chairman San Dee Zeek-il following the news. At a hastily arranged press conference, prime minister Gordon Brown said he would be keeping an eye on the situation as soon as he'd fished it out of its case on the bedside cabinet.

Sand Dee Zeek-il is 59.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Going Through The Motions

Confirmation (if it was needed) today from the Marine Conservation Society that you're better off in Ramsgate if you want to avoid E. Coli this bank holiday weekend.

The MCS's 2009 Good Beach Guide describes Ramsgate Main Sands as 'an excellent family beach' which 'receives regular awards', and gives it the five star seal of approval borriewise. Hurrah! Contrast that with Margate, which failed to get a recommendation and could only manage a 'basic pass' for water quality, adjacent to the ominous words 'combined sewer overflow, tertiary discharge'. Yurgh! The MCS also had a downer on Viking Bay in Broadstairs, which the many people who have returned from a swim there only to find themselves fetching up with a touch of the old bubonic plague will no doubt testify to.

What with that and Ramsgate being the only Blue Flag beach of the three this year, plus today's forecast predicting a scorching weekend for the tip of Kent, you'd better get down to the Millionaires' Playground and grab your champagne sorbets before they're all gone!

Good Beach Guide 2009
Borries bring down the tone of Britain's beaches
Ramsgate gets the Blue Flag
Phew! It's going to be a scorcher!

Ripper! It's Ramsgate!

Merde! It's Margate!

Sign Wave

Crumbs! Tooling back from a cheese and wine evening in Whitstable last night, I noticed the Dreamland signs at the end of the Thanet Way had finally disappeared. And only three years after the pleasure park itself became defunct!

A new brown sign (how appropriate) now directs drivers to the varying delights of 'Thanet'. Ramsgate's there, although I'm wondering how long it'll take the local wags to scrawl a 'W' next to the anchor underneath. Other posts were awaiting signage, presumably to the Ike and Tina Turner Centre, and Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport. Or perhaps we'll be getting the long awaited 'Thanet - Home of Chinese Globalisation'!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Election Fever

So far only the LibDems, UKIP and the British Nazi Party have poked their election literature through the letterbox here at the old CTM.

The similarity between what UKIP are flogging and the BNP's strident shite is striking. Whilst Nigel Farage's lot have gone for well-known former UKIP leader Winston Churchill on the front cover (whatever happened to that mahogany-stained ex-TV presenter who used to be in charge?), the white supremacists feature a cuddly, Anglo-Saxon family alongside a suitably sepia-ed Spitfire and the slogan 'The NEW Battle for Britain'. I have to say, in purely literal terms, the BNP's message is the more positive: 'YES to putting British People First', contrasted with UKIP's 'SAY NO to European Union'.

Meanwhile, the LibDems showcase a totally faceless gimp in a suit cosying up to a couple of unknown, middle-aged harridans dressed in what I like to refer to as 'Human Resources mufti'. All three are grinning like loons. Presumably this is the LibDems' idea of what the average British family looks like these days, viz one gay guy and his bull dyke flatmates. Typically, they have a less than catchy slogan: 'Britain and our neighbours - stronger together, poorer apart'.

So far nought from the Blue, Red or Green Rinsers. No doubt it's on its way. Of course, these guys are after our Eurovotes on 4 June, but here in the Cannes of Kent we have two other elections occurring simultaneously, namely county council and teeny-tiny council. I look forward to seeing what the Ramsgate First And Only candidate, Gerry O'Ramsgate, has to say. My only recollection of his policies is that he favours marked out parking spaces over residents' permits as a solution to the East Cliff's congested streets, on the basis that it would prevent confused and hormonal lady drivers from taking up too much room. Clearly going for the female vote there, eh Gerry!

Dry And Windy

Just back from a druid meet at one of the local caves, and toddling along our trendy East Cliff I was struck by the amount of traffic going in and out of our splendid port here in the Millionaires' Playground. A veritable armada of specialist barges, tugs and lord knows what, much of which seems connected to the two offshore fart farms that will soon be blighting the sea views off Margate and Boredstares. No sign of those fast cats from Euroferries yet, though.

Whilst Ramsgate cements its environmental credentials as the Windy City, further along we appear to be suffering a drought:

Our Mediterranean style Madeira Falls have been dry for weeks now. The council sign appended to the railings explains:

Albion Gardens Waterfall Refurbishment - Thanet District Council apologises for any inconvenience during the cleaning and repairs to the waterfall. Following the cleaning of the silt and cutting back of vegetation, work is being undertaken to infill any cracks in the pulhamite rocks with specialist sands and material to match the original render provided in the 19th Century. This work required warmer weather and could not be carried out in the winter. It is hoped to have the works complete and the waterfall in operation at the start of June.

So now you know. No sign on the Festival of Britain fountain next to the luxury Granville Theatre and Cinem, though. That's also been dry for weeks. And this area:

where the council overturned a preservation order so they could grub out the trees and shrubs doesn't look as if it'll be replanted any time soon. As we know from recent events in Cliftonville, the Cecil Square duffers don't seem to rate flowers beds at the moment. Or are they just reluctant to spend any money in Ramsgate in the hope that the Town Council, when it's elected on 4 June, will have to pick up the tab?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thanet Gets UN Aid

Leafing through the latest edition of Property Week, I came across an item headed: 'Commercial Group Properties plans 'China Gateway' conference centre in Kent'. Here's the first par:

Commercial Group Properties has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to set up a joint venture to construct, fund and let an exhibition and conference centre at Manston Business Park in Manston, Kent.

The article goes on to explain that 'the exhibition centre, which will also include an ‘industrial hub’ building, that is designed to encompass a very wide range of activities, businesses, organizations, and ‘cultural and visionary entrepreneurial concepts’. Yes, not very well written, I know, but presumably the thumb-texting sprog who wrote this is barely familiar with vowels, let alone grammar. Anyway, there's more:

The centre will, in particular through representation of various Chinese organizations, promote ‘Chinese business in all its myriad guises’ to a UK and EU clientele. It will also promote Chinese arts and culture, Chinese tourism and natural beauty; and the benefits of investment into China. The centre will be managed, promoted, developed and maintained by Commercial Group Properties or a subsidiary or nominated company. It said that Chinese organizations will have the benefit of the exhibition, conference, meeting and office facilities within the centre.

Commercial Group Properties said it is anticipated that Chinese provinces and cities will be able to secure seats in the centre and which will entitle them to use of those seats for specific periods each year.

All sounds pretty UN-inspired to me!

Property Week
UNIDO in Wikipedia
UNIDO website

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Night Flight Blight Fight Tonight

I'll be popping along to the Airport Working Party meeting at 7pm tonight, over at Chas 'n' Dave International. Needless to say I'll be the one in the full druid outfit.

The crucial point on this evening's agenda is night flying. Following the ludicrous shenanigans over British Airways World Cargo's 'will they? won't they? move from Stansted to Manston, when our supine council bent over forwards to accommodate Infratil's nightmare/wet dream of freight 747s landing and taking off during the small wee hours, the topic is again up for discussion. Now, instead of just convening a quick meeting at the drop of a hat to OK limited night flights (try getting them to do that if you wanted planning permission to, say, open a fine dining restaurant in a listed building), our beloved council wants to hand the joystick jockies a willy-nilly permit to fly all through the night whenever they feel like it.

That nice Kiwi (another Thanet job for Thanet people!) Matt Clarke, who runs Chas 'n' Dave International, has already made a presentation to the Cecil Square duffers to the effect that the airport is losing money hand over fist, along with an unveiled threat that, 'without an increase in traffic', the airport will close and the 85 direct jobs created over the past ten years will go, and please sir can we have crappy old Jumbos spewing out noise and fumes at 4am? Now that position is being endorsed by the council's Head of Regeneration and Generally Buggering Things Up, Brian White.

Word on the street is that members of Her Majesty's Press will be attending tonight's bunfight, and that some very irate members of Her Majesty's Public will also be there. Should be a hoot!

Chas 'n' Dave International's plea for unrestricted night flights
Up shit creek in a barbed wire KIACC without a paddle

Monday, May 18, 2009

All Quiet On The Western Front

Just back from watching my old chum and our 5th Greatest Living Thanetian Tom Hanks in Angels and Demons at the Westwood Vue and phooey! I'm not sure which stunk most - the movie or the bloke's feet behind me.

I went with my new druid chums, of course. They really are a great craic, what with their jokes about metempsychosis and witty banter on the topic of human sacrifice. Whilst most of my weekend was taken up messing about with oak and mistletoe, I did find time to stroll down to the Western Undercliff here in the M's P, and wow what a difference! Here's what it looked like in March:

And here's what it looked like yesterday:

A clear view across Pegwell Bay, all the way to the majestic cooling towers of Richborough power station. All thanks to the new, super-duper yellow signs our beloved council has erected:

Although there was one miscreant who'd clearly realised the signs aren't on the other side of the road:

Still, hats off to the Gazunder for campaigning against the illegal parkers, and, er, two and a half cheers for Thanet Council for erecting the signage, albeit after three years of saying they'd do something.

I recall one foreign driver telling the paper that he had to pull up there 'because his taco had run out'. Well, he can now fill up on delicious bacon sarnies in the port cafe instead, eh! Geddit!!??!? Blimey, maybe it was my feet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blazing Margate

Nope, nothing to do with the weekend weather. While I've been off cavorting with my new druid chums, it appears half of Cliftonville has gone up in smoke. For those of you who are still unaware of the major fire in Northdown Road, you can catch up here, here, here, here, and here.

Inspector Knacker is said to be investigating. Not for nothing is it called the Arsonists' Playground!

Updates here and here. Anyone with any information should contact Margate police station on 01843 231055 or talk to one of the Cliftonville plastic bobbies as soon as possible.

Friday, May 15, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

I dunno! For the second time in five weeks, East of the Wantsum has gone west. So apologies if you shelled out 60p on the Gazunder today. Your money was wasted. Here's what you would have seen (click on image to enlarge) if the paper's lovely editrix, Rebecca, hadn't forgotten to put it in again. Kuh! You slave all day over a hot computer, type your knuckles to the bone...

At least Rebecca was kind enough to ask: 'How can I make it up to you?' However, my response that she could make it up by running a campaign to stop mad councillors fixing it for Infratil to fly knackered old 747s over my cliff top mansion all night long met with the kind of one word response Douglas Hogg has been palming journos off with recently when questioned about moat-related activities.

Ne'er mind. I've got a whole evening of nothing to look forward to. Here I am, over 18, bored, willing to help others... if only... but wait... what's this on page 19? It could be just the ticket...

Another Burn-Up In Margate

Given that the only things to have melted down in Margate over past year or so have been half a million quid's worth of fruit machines and the bolts on the listed Scenic Railway, it's good to see those hairy bikers at London's famous Ace Cafe putting their faith in a burn-up to the Arsonists' Playground this coming bank holiday Monday.

This'll be the second time they've made the run. Last year the Meltdown was a washout due to the traditional bank holiday blow, accompanied by horizontal rain, so let's hope Kaddy Tea-Pot and her cohorts can conjure up something a bit better this time.

The event was previewed in yesterday's Sadscene. Clearly the paper had its top motoring correspondent on the case, as we were treated to lines such as: 'Mark plans to ride a modern streetfighter-style Triumph Speed Triple with, unusually, three cylinders on the day.' Er, well, it's not that unusual for a triple to have three cylinders Eileen. The clue is in the word 'triple'. Unless Mark has converted it into a twin, but, very unusually, will be popping another pot on it for the day. Oh, and the photo, captioned: 'In 1964 bikers parked up in The Parade in Margate' features a Triumph Trident predominantly in the foreground. And as we all know, they didn't start making those until 1968.

Oh well, that's the motorcycle pedantry over with. I'll be there to welcome the visitors with a cheery smile and a can of chain lube. I'd advise our local biker-baiter blogger, Nervous of Margate, to make other arrangements for his bank holiday though. Perhaps a day out in Ramsgate would be the thing, eh Nervous?

Margate Meltdown on Ace Cafe website

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pubic Enemy Number One

Lunching with a member of Her Majesty's Press earlier, I was, er, treated to the following information concerning convicted Kentish kiddie-fiddler and former SlimFast advertiser Barry Bethel.

In search of some juicy local goss on the 66 year old, who was done last week for sexually assaulting a girl after promising to make her a star, the aforementioned hackette called a mate who had worked with Bethel at the now defunct Thanet Local Radio. 'Oh yes, I remember him,' reminisced the mate. 'He used to wear white trousers.'

'Were they tight?' inquired the newshound, scribbling on her jotter.

'Tight? You could see his pubes!' came the response.

Needless to say the state of Bethel's broccoli was subsequently deemed unfit for publication by the editor.

Beauty And The Beach... quote the best line last night! In case you missed the Margate edition of The Apprentice, it's available on BBC iPlayer until 13 June. Just click on the link below.

Mr Eastcliff senior rang me after the show to add his two penn 'orth about rebranding the Arsonists' Playground. Despite being in his dotage (63), his chuckle balls are still pretty much intact. After all, we are talking about the man who compered Miss Blackpool 1974. Taking a broader approach he sagely opined: 'Rebranding Thanet's easy. All they need to do is rename Margate Ramsgate, Ramsgate Whitstable, and, er, leave Broadstairs as Broadstairs.' Wise words indeed, although I'm not sure what Canterbury City Council would have to say about that.

Meanwhile Blackpool has really been thinking outside the box, and has rebranded itself as French! (See link below.) Watch out for the lovely French lovely's line: 'Oui. 'Otpot'!

The Apprentice does Margate on BBC iPlayer
Torygraph plots Margate's tourism plot
Blackpool goes all garlicky

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ramsgate Restaurant Robbed

News just in! A substantial amount of cash was taken from a till at top Ramsgate restaurant Age & Sons yesterday - while the mayor and other civic dignitaries were handing over a cheque for the 2010 Ramsgate Arts Festival. The rotter or rotters took advantage of the ceremony in the upstairs restaurant to empty the till in the downstairs café.

It's not the first time thieves have struck at Age & Sons, which is on course to become the island's first Michelin star restaurant. Lovely co-owner Harriet tells me several tables and chairs have also legged it recently from outside the eatery. She adds: 'I went outside on one occasion and saw an elderly woman sitting at one of our tables. She wasn't a customer, so I assumed she was just having a rest. She was at least 70. Next thing I knew, she was scuttling off with a couple of our chairs.' Needless to say the dauntless Harriet dashed after the wizened old crone and, er, repossessed her property.

It makes you wonder whether the local pit bull tuggers really deserve to have their town improved by the influx of incomers who have fallen in love with the place, and are putting their hard-earned cash to work at making it all lovely. And, of course, most times Kent's finest are about as much use as tits on a bull when it comes to tracking down the offenders.

Still, word has it that the excellent Eddie Gilberts fishmongers on King Street are about to open a restaurant upstairs. EG, whose vehicles carry the hilarious warning: 'No scallops kept in van overnight', will be offering the finest fish and chips, along with more adventurous stuff like mussels and crabs. Yum!

Update: The police now have a man in custody and will hopefully be feeding him to his own dogs in the very near future.

Rave review in the Independent on Sunday: This Sunday's IoS (17 May) gave Age & Sons 17 out 20. Hurrah! The paper said: 'With the help of local fishmonger Eddie Gilbert's, (Toby) Leigh is putting on some of the best fish I have seen in years. A moist, fleshy tranche of wild turbot (£15), gently braised on the bone with brown shrimps, lemon and white wine – like potted shrimps as a sauce – is as thrilling as British fish gets.' Another triumph for Ramsgate! Click here to read full review.

Age & Sons
Ramsgate Arts Festival

Just A Spoonful Of Sugar

Back from my fishing trip, but to be honest all I caught was crabs. Still, I'm in time for the Margit episode of The Apprentice (9pm, BBC1). Hurrah!

Tonight the Sugar Babes are given the task of rebranding the Arsonists' Playground, as if you hadn't heard already. Here's what the blurb says:

They must use all of their creative and marketing skills to rebrand one of Britain's most enduring tourist attractions [Shurely shome mishtake? - Ed] - the seaside resort of Margate. Once a jewel of the Kent coast, Margate still has a faded [i.e. carbonised] grandeur, but it is up to the teams to bring a much-needed sparkle[r] for the 21st century.

The teams have just two days to produce an eye-catching series of posters and an information-packed leaflet that will attract new tourists to the town. They must then pitch their campaigns to tourism industry experts
[None of them local, one assumes, as there aren't any] and to the residents and dignitaries of Margate.

Hmmm. It'll be interesting to see if the much-previewed idea of attracting the pink pound wins the day with Sralan and the 'dignitaries'. Or will they go for burning the place down and building a car park, like so many before them?

Sralan and the Sugar Babes on BBC1

Daily Mail goes for the 'gay hole' angle, natch

Update: Our local red-top, the Thanet Times, appears to have bust all embargoes and run the full story ahead of tonight's show, even revealing the identity of who's fired. Hmm, not sure the Beeb will be too happy about that. If you don't mind having your surprises spoilt, click here to read on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gone Fishing

Gone fishing. Back soon. Feel free to argue amongst yourselves for a bit.

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' cafés.

- 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

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ask Sister Assumpta

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our holy mother of all agony aunts, Sister Assumpta, tackles your personal problems!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am a politician who has recently been challenged for the leadership of my party. Wank. I give as good as I get, but this has happened on a number of occasions now and I'm flippin' cheesed off with it. Fuck tosser. Should I resign and retire to my yacht on the Med? S. (PS: The St Johns Wort you recommended for the Tourettes does not fuck seem to be working wank toss knackers. Pies.)

Sister Assumpta writes: Feck me ol boots yer gob's looser than a feckin towel rack! I've got a scrotum of a feckin headache on me after all that shite. For feck's sake say some Hail Marys before I gnaw me own feckin leg off.

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am a politician who has just been involved in a challenge to my party's leadership. Surprisingly, however, despite being defeated I now find myself in an elevated position. I suspect this may be due to my undoubted intellectual ability, along with my native wit and charm. Whilst I have no desire to sound immodest, I do chair several international conferences and am no stranger to No. 10. I presume my political cohorts have spotted these innate qualities in me and am therefore, on reflection, not at all surprised that I now find myself in an elevated position. S (Dr).

Sister Assumpta writes: Jaysus feckin Christ will yer not be botherin me with yer feckin shite? God I'm surprised the way yer carryin yer head's not like a feckin melted wheelie bin

Dear Sister Assumpta, I have just been elected the leader of my party. Should I celebrate with a new hair do? C.

Sister Assumpta writes: Sure you're a feckin eejit. Why would yer just be standin around with yer hand down yer kecks preenin yer clackers when you could be havin a good old pray? Now feck off before I get a pain in the flange!

That's enough Sister Assumpta - Ed.

Friday, May 08, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

If you're too mean to splash out 60p for today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder, or are concerned it could just be chock full of drivel, here's my weekly two penn'orth. As ever, click on the image to enlarge.

Next week - ugly councillor competition!

The Jewel In The Turd

Reader Dennis writes:

Last Tuesday lunchtime my wife, daughter and myself donned the old fire proof vests and with much trepidation left the Birchington bunker bound for the Indian Princess in Chargate. But for your recommendation we would not have been so brave.

What a gem this turned out to be. But in many ways surreal.

Inside the food was magnificent, the service impeccable and the décor wonderful. Outside a constant parade of knuckledraggers in regulation baseball caps with slavering pit bulls straining at the leash passed before our eyes. Across the road a dumped mattress propped up against a wall jostled for position with a pile of rubbish. I wondered if I should contact former denizen Tracy Emin to see if she might like to claim it for her own in the 'unmade bed' style of modern art.

But back to the restaurant though. It's streets ahead of most of the opposition – a bit like your blog – I'm sure this won't give you a big head as you probably already have one. But there, you have a lot to be big headed about. Bugger – I've done it again.

Kind words indeed, Dennis, kind words indeed. It just so happens I'm off to the IP myself ce soir, so I'll keep an eye out for the mattress. According to their latest mail-out, they've been visited by the Michelin people, so I guess it's a race between them and Ramsgate's own Age & Sons as to who gets the island's first coveted Michelin star.

Would the revelation that the IP is Our Sandy's favourite restaurant help swing it in favour of A&S? I do hope so!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ramsgate Flies The Flag (Again)

Hurrah! Ramsgate Main Sands has once again hoisted a Blue Flag in this year's prestigious and eponymous awards!

However, poor old Margate has lost it's blue duster, as has Westbrook and Stone Bay. This is almost certainly due to the number of superannuated, incontinent crones weeing in the water in those parts. And, of course, the water in Viking Bay in Boredstares, which has only ever managed one Blue Flag (in 2006), is barely better than toxic waste.

Here on the more sophisticated south side, we have the UK's only south facing sandy beach, the finest restaurants and bars outside of London, and a marina that makes Cannes look shabby. What with that, the Blue Flag, and the Met Office predicting a long hot summer, I fully expect the cash registers to be tinkling with tourist tenners for the next four months!

Overall drop in UK Blue Flag beaches
ENCAMS the Blue Flag people

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Night Of The Tory Plastic Knives

Yikes! That's scary!

I see from the What's On In Thanet section in my sidebar on the right that the local Blue Rinsers are due to meet later. The rumour is that there'll be a leadership bid to oust the current f*cking tossers, but then we've had these false dawns before.

Why they can't choose someone who, in the words of the old ad adage, is legal, decent, honest and truthful is beyond me. Maybe the Torysaurus gene pool round here is depleted. Even the 'young Turks' are in their 50s. So even if it does happen, don't expect a trendy toff like Dave to be taking over. More likely the beards will have it. Or we'll all be on Bayford Watch for the next two years!

Update: As predicted, the cutlery last night was the cheap plastic kind you get in BA Economy, and as a result our Sandy remains council leader. That said, there do appear to be plenty of Tories who are less than delighted with having a foul-mouthed petition-botherer, whose foreign trips come courtesy of local businessmen, at the helm. Maybe we should be taking a leaf out of Canvey Island's book, where 15 of the 17 councillors belong to the Canvey Island Independent Party? Anyone for IOTIP?

Challenger sacked, Ezekiel 'onwards and upwards' in yourfannitinnit

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Vantastic News!

Ker-ching! I see a new book has concluded that Van Gogh's ear was wrapped in cloth and given to a prostitute called Rachel after it was chopped off!

According to In Van Gogh's Ear: Paul Gauguin and the Pact of Silence, it was actually Gauguin who removed the lughole in question with a sword during a spot of argy-bargy. Of course, it's a bit of a grey area as to whether this happened during Vince's stint as an English teacher in Ramsgate. But it shouldn't be too hard to establish that there was a prostitute called Rachel hanging around the Cannes of Kent at the time, which would add even more substance to my discovery of the above artifact in the loft here at the old cliff top mansion.

So, if you've got a spare mill burning a hole in your pocket, Gogh up and you could own a piece of the master!

PS: I've been feeling a bit under the weather today due to, er, having overdone it over the BH weekend. So apologies for not responding to or publishing your very interesting emails... I should be back up to speed tomorrow so watch this space!

Ear piece on BBC News website

Friday, May 01, 2009

Ruffelling Feathers

Cripes! I see Bertie Biggles over on Thanet Strife has been forced to scotch a rumour that the next Mayor of Margate was involved in a contretemps at the opening night of the new Rokka bar in the town last December.

Tory but ex-Labour councillor (where have I heard that before?) Ted Watt-Ruffell was rumoured to have been involved in an argument at the door on the night, and to have threatened to make life difficult for Rokka after he was refused entry. Rokka subsequently had their licence called in, and were forced to shut for two weeks while they re-applied.

That a man 'claiming to be a councillor' turned up 'drunk and disorderly' and 'extremely abusive' is not in doubt, as the redoubtable Bertie has published a letter from the owner of Rokka, Nick Panteli, to Cllr W-R confirming the fact. Nor is the fact that this mysterious 'councillor' departed 'muttering there would be repercussions'. However, Mr Panteli goes on to explain:

After looking at our CCTV there did appear to be some resemblance however I was still not convinced. Having never met you, I decided to discuss the issue with Sandy Ezekiel, he assured me you were not in the area at the time, do not drink and that you are a strict Methodist. Sandy is a family friend held in high regard and his comments were enough to convince us that maybe we were indeed pointing the finger at the wrong man.

However it does appear your name has been tarnished by association and for this I offer our wholehearted apologies. It was never our intention to bring this into the public domain in this manner.

I can categorically state that I am satisfied that Councillor Watt-Ruffell had nothing to do with the sequence of events that transpired following the opening weekend of Rokka Margate and that he was not the gentleman who was refused entry.

So that clears that up then, thanks to a quick chat with Our Glorious Council Leader, who has himself been up before the Standards wallahs twice for, er, less than moderate behaviour!

For some reason, Bertie has disallowed comments on his item. But that doesn't mean you can't comment here (as long as you keep it clean and legal). For example, can anyone confirm that Cllr W-R is a teetotaller and a strict Methodist? Were you at Rokka on the opening night, and if so, what did you see? And if the mystery 'councillor' wasn't W-R, then who was it?

If this chap's going to be Mayor of Margate, I think we should be told!

Derek Hartorah's Spirit World Of Politics

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week Thanet's new Labour leader Derek Hartorah sees what's coming in his crystal ball, politically speaking!

When our faithful poodle Richard passed over into the spirit world this week we were devastated. These wonderful creatures give so much comfort and love but are only with us here in the physical realm for a short time. Ten years seemed to go so quickly.

But I am here to assure you that, like us, they live on. Recently I felt Richard's presence during a book signing in Cliftonville. It seemed he was jealous of the Irish Wolfhound, Iris, that I acquired after he passed over. Iris is a very different kind of animal. She's more of an affectionate show-off than Richard and seems inclined to learn all manner of tricks. Her rather chirpy disposition has not endeared her to the other dogs in the area though, and only the other day I had to chase away a stout little Jack Russell who seemed intent on shafting poor old Iris up the poo-chute.

Richard came to me again the other week, over lunch at the Beano caff, and informed me that, sadly, Iris would soon be joining him in the after life, and that my next dog would be a Pomeranian called David.

That's enough Derek Hartorah - Ed.