Friday, April 30, 2010

East Of The Wantsum

Here's this week's East of the Wantsum (click it to big it). Good to see a mostly positive reception for Margate's favourite daughter in this week's Gazunder, despite her having a couple of knockers.

Right! I'm off to the Arsonists' Playground now to join in the Tracey Emin love-in, so don't expect to hear a Dickie dickie bird for a while, especially as I hear Barnacles now serves Gadds'!

Dreadful Dredging Drives Dosh To Dover

While the whole of Margate is so excited about Tracey Emin's visit that there's barely a dry gusset in the house, here in Ramsgate the news ain't so pant-wetting.

Riffling through my copy of Dredging Today this morning, I clocked an item about a former Shirley Temple Yacht Club commodore who's had to switch his allegiance to Dover because there's not enough water in our lovely Royal Harbour to float his boat:

Former RTYC commodore John Barrett says he's berthed his Beneteau First 35 race yacht Stiletto in Dover because Ramsgate’s harbour authority could not guarantee Stiletto’s keel would not get stuck in silt. Mr Barrett said: 'They are unable to accommodate Stiletto as they cannot guarantee the 2.5 metres of water that the boat safely needs.' Dover Harbour Marina has welcomed Stiletto with open arms, as they can guarantee the depth in their marina, and will undoubtedly use this problem in Ramsgate as a marketing aid.

Click on the pic to go to the full story. What with our marina losing one of its Yacht Harbour Association Gold Anchors recently, and the news last week that this year's tall ships race will be avoiding the harbour because of all the silt, it makes you wonder whether there's any reason why our beloved council's Director of Regeneration (and Acting Harbour Master) Brian White shouldn't be keelhauled!

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Did anyone else notice the similarity between Gordon Brown in last night's Prime Ministerial Debate on BBC1 and the late, great Benny Hill's Chinese character? Are they by any chance related?
Tax credits are the key

Ry you no rissen?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Break For The Border

Ramsgate reader Ron writes:

Given Mrs Duffy's perfectly reasonable inquiry of Gordon Brown yesterday about immigration for which she was called a bigot, I thought your readers would like to hear of an incident that happened down the port the other week.

Several illegals were running across the lorry park and even the east European and Turkish lorry drivers were blaring their horns in an attempt to attract the attention of the UK Border Agency. It seemed they either weren't there or were having a cup of tea or were off chasing VAT receipts or whatever they do these days. The illegals just ran away into the town.

How Gordon Brown can tell us that our borders are secure is beyond me having witnessed this.

Well, thanks Ron. I suspect that Ramsgate was always a bit of a 'soft option'. After all, Ian Fleming's supervillain Auric Goldfinger used Ramsgate for his comings and goings, leading James Bond to describe it as 'a quiet little port' with 'customs and police who were probably only on the look-out for brandy from France.' Plus ca change!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10,000 Bikers Party In Margate!

No, not our Margate, silly! Margate in South Africa! Click on the pic for more.

Nonetheless I will be getting the chance to squeeze into my leather gear and give my old throbber a right royal thrashing with the return of Margate (Kent) Meltdown next month. This will be the third year that a couple of hundred bikers have hogged out from the Ace Cafe on London's North Circular to spend a wet weekend on the Kent coast with the specific intention of making Tony Flaig and one or two Westgate nonagenarians nervous.

I'll admit that I look more Village Person than Hairy Biker in my outfit, but at least I fit in with the rest.

And staying with Margate (Kent) (as featured on the, er, Visit Japan website), twatter has been virtually full to bursting today with previews of all the fun planned for Our Lady of the Soiled Bedsheet's visit. Tomorrow she'll be dining with the twitterati at the Walpole Bay Hotel, and then on Friday she's unveling her 'I never stopped loving you' neon on Droit House in the harbour. There's a special late night shopping extravaganza laid on in the old town too, so be there or, um, be somewhere else.

Well I think that's all the Margate news for now, so I'm off to do my Babestation shift. Following Gordo's gaffe at Mrs Duffy's gaff today, I'll be prodding around the corridors of power with my live mic to see what I can pick up!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May The Sauce Be With You

Reader Amy from Margate writes:

I was walking past the Lido the other day when I noticed the hotel opposite had been renamed 'Siths Court' (see photo attached). A coach outside was disgorging a load of crumblies who made the evil Emperor Palpatine look positively baby-faced.

What with this, and what appears to be an imperial battlecruiser being constructed on the Rendezvous car park, I am beginning to be concerned that Planet Thanet is turning to the dark side! What next? A Death Star on the Dreamland site?

Keep up the good work,

Amy, these are not the signs of an imperial invasion you are looking for.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dream Scheme?

Word is leaking out over Twitter that our beloved council have called a press conference this morning to announce plans for Dreamland. According to yourfannitinnit newshound Tom Betts, the Duffers are thinking of ploughing £4m into the place, and invoking a compulsory purchase order to take control of the site. More news as it comes.

Update: The full story is now running on the Gazunder website. Apparently Thanet Council is committing £4m of our taxpayers sovs to compensate for the amount that the site's owners, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Partnership (aka Jimmy Godden), will not now be putting up due, one assumes, to straitened financial circumstances. It seems this would be for the purchase of the land from MTCRP, as TDC are threatening to compulsorily purchase it if they don't play ball. It's unclear whether this amount is for the entire site, or whether it's just for the half where the knackered old rides are going to be. In which case Our Jimmy will still be left with a sizeable block of land on which to plonk yet more 'luxury apartments'.

TDC's chief executive Richard Samuel says they hope to recoup the money once the heritage theme park is up and running, although the council's record of recouping anything is woeful (where's our £4m they spent on the M&S building in Margate high street?). And quite why they should be offering this dosh to Jimmy Godden, who did his worst to run what was still a viable attraction into the ground, and failed to comply with a notice to rebuild and reinstate the listed Scenic Railway after it burnt down in 2008, lord knows!

And how is it that the Jurassic Tory Junta can lecture us ad infinitum about the need to save money, close our museums and bogs, sell off tennis courts and run Ramsgate Harbour into the ground, when they can cough up what amounts to 3000 homes' council tax on a whim that nobody round here thinks has got a rollercoaster's chance in Margate of being a commercial success?

Click here for more on Gazunder website
Click here for more on Thanet Extra website

Bodrum Antics

Thanks to all of you who emailed me to fill in the gaps on my St George's Day bender. Apparently I was spotted in the small wee hours buying a kebab from Bodrum, the excellent eating emporium on Harbour Street which now has a late licence.

In fact Ramsgate is becoming something of a Mecca for those who fancy a night on the sauce, followed by the inevitable juicy doner filled with yummy chilli sauce. By my count we now have four of these establishments within a few minutes' stagger. Perhaps slightly longer if you stop for a pee in one of the alleyways, which seems obligatory for both the, er, gentlemen and the ladies!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

East Of The Wantsum

By George, I've got a dragon of a hangover! I'm not sure what I did or where I was after about 10pm last night, so if anyone can fill in the gaps I'd appreciate it!

Here's this week's EotW (click it to big it). It's also been pointed out to me that there have been one or two, er, off colour classist remarks made in the comments sections during my absence, so I've nixed them. This is Thanet not Stoke Newington, you know!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Electile Dysfunction

Warning: video contains some sweary words unsuitable for young 'uns or codgers

Yikes! It seems a whole heap of Tories have jumped on my election poll over the last 24 hours. Either Dave's trowelled-on make-up last night struck a chord with the Thanet voter, or Lord Cashcroft has spent a few bob on one of those SEO sweatshops in the Philippines. Whatever it is, there's now only two percentage points between them and the Labourites, who've been on top since the start.

Speaking of buying votes, am I the only one on the island who's mystified by those Tory campaign hoardings in every field I drive past? Are the isle's farmers suicidal? Surely the Tories would cut back on their euro-handouts? There's even one in the remaining strip of arable land between the old A299 and the new East Kent Access Road they're building. How much of the £81m shelled out on the scheme by the Labour government did he get for his cabbages? Kuh! Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas!

Still, most of the Tory hoardings have been defaced with BNP slogans, which just proves that you only need an IQ of around 76 to be a Nazi, seeing as they don't even have a candidate standing in the area. What a shame, though, that the only Labour poster I've spotted is in the window of the Mayor of Ramsgate, car-crushing, caff-crushing Councillor Dave Green's house.

Oh well, I'm off to get a skinful of the Gaddfather of Ale's finest. It's St George's Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Best Tory Poster Ever!

Thanet Election Question Time - Lib Dem

No, really, I didn't expect a tin pot party consisting of superannuated xenophobes like UKIP to bother responding to my election questions. And the BNP and Greens aren't standing, despite their followers rather optimistically voting in my election poll on the right.

But I had rather hoped the Lib Dems would get back to me. I've had nothing from their nameless, faceless candidate for Thanet North, but two days after the deadline I finally received answers from the Thanet South candidate Peter Buttkiss [Not sure if that's the correct spelling - Ed].

What with him turning up 90 minutes late to the hustings in Boredstares, and now 48 hours late for my Election Question Time, you've got to wonder whether, if he was elected, he'd turn up in time for the opening of Parliament!

I've always found the Lib Dem party machine to be more of a cranky old grid than a Ferrari, but to be fair the Lib Dems don't have Lord Cashcroft's or Unite's millions to buy one with. Anyway, here's Mr Buttlick's responses:

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?
Liberal Democrats have no plans to repeal this ban and the hunts seem in rude health despite their pre-act forecast of doom. I see no reason to change the status quo.

2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?
Liberal Democrats believe that there is a fine balance to be struck between improving the economic prosperity of the area and protecting people’s quality of life and the environment. That’s why we propose a review of this policy in consultation with a cross-section of the local people this decision would affect. As I have said, such decisions will not be popular with all, and must also be fair to those whose interests are at risk.

3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?
Education improvements. This comes back to my personal stance on education which is also fully compliant with the Liberal Democrats’ radical plans to invest extra money in schools. This will give every child a fair chance and break the cycle of deprivation.

We will invest an extra £2.5bn in schools through a Pupil Premium that will raise funding for the poorest pupils to private school levels. The money will be targeted at schools taking on children who need more help, but will benefit every child in every school. The cash can be used to cut class sizes and provide one-to-one tuition or catch-up classes, ensuring every child gets the individual attention they need.

Figures are available for the predicted amount of money each local authority will receive, and can be calculated for individual schools. However, an average primary school could cut class sizes to 20. An average secondary school could see classes of just 16.

The Pupil Premium would be available to the school which each disadvantaged pupil attended. It would be attached to the million children with the highest levels of disadvantage. The Pupil Premium would be set nationally and it would top up a national per pupil base funding figure. It will raise the poorest children’s school funding to private school levels, with the average school receiving around £2500 extra for every child entitled to free school meals on their roll. Head teachers would be free to spend the money as they see fit, to raise standards in their school.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Batter News For Tories

Speaking of the election, here's a clip of William Hague's visit to the Millionaires' Playground this afternoon. The Tories' follically-challenged foreign affairs spokesman teamed up with South Thanet candidate lovely Laura Sandys to glad hand the locals, popping into Ramsgate's top fishy eatery Eddie Gilbert's on the way.

Quite what they made of the local alcoholics outside the pub opposite is unrecorded.

Hague gets heckled on Ramsgate streets, click here for more

Thanet Election Question Time - Tory

Finally, Roger Gale. In case you've been in a coma for the past 27 years, he's the Tory candidate for Thanet North.

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?

2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?

3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?
The single most effective measure is to elect a Conservative government with the many and varied policies necessary to tackle each of these issues. In policy terms there is no one quick fix that will reduce crime, unemployment or deprivation anywhere.

Thanet Election Question Time - Tory

Next, Laura Sandys, the Tory candidate for Thanet South:

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?
NO I would not support the re-introduction of fox hunting.

2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?
No I do not support night flights from or to Manston

3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?
There is no one single measure that can reduce all these really pressing issues on the isle but employment and education is the key to success, with much more beat policing to prevent crime. I have as a candidate launched two specific projects that aim to increase jobs in the area – a tourism initiative to promote our out of season historical tourism and I also hosted a Marine Energy summit in Ramsgate bringing here a significant number of investors from the marine energy sector not least a major turbine manufacturer. I believe that we have to work extremely hard to secure more jobs in the area and having already started as a candidate I would really welcome the opportunity to take these and other initiatives forward if I was elected as the Member of Parliament.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thanet Election Question Time - Labour

Here are Dr Steve Ladyman's responses (in case you didn't know, he's the Labour candidate for Thanet South):

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?
No. I strongly support the ban.

2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?
No. I oppose night flights and changes to the operation of the airport that would damage the quality of local life. I strongly want the airport to succeed but don't believe night flights are required for this to happen.

3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?
Job creation. Reducing unemployment - and getting local people into those jobs by getting them the skills and training they need to do so - would begin a process of forcing up local income levels. This would impact not only on deprivation but crime and even health outcomes. That is why I have always prioritised job creation and attracting inward investment and will continue to do so if re-elected.

Tomorrow - the Tories!

Thanet Election Question Time - Labour

OK, let's start with the Labourites. First off, Michael Britton, the Labour candidate for Thanet North. There's no copyright-free photo of him on the web, and not even a dickie bird about him on the Labour Party website here.

Mike's answers were:

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?

2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?

3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?
Work with the community to assist them in reducing the problem

Next up, Steve Ladyman.

Thanet Election Question Time

Right. The deadline came and went yesterday, and I only have answers from the Tories and the Labour. Just to set the scene, below is the email I sent to all Thanet candidates a week ago. I'll give you their answers in the next item.

Dear ,

I am the proprietor of Eastcliff Richard, the widest read blog in Thanet, and now one of the most influential blogs in the UK.

I am writing to all the Thanet candidates in the forthcoming general election to put three simple questions on behalf of my thousands of readers. These questions cover, in the opinion of, er, me, the most pressing local issues. Your electorate and I would appreciate straight and honest answers. Your answers will be reproduced on my blog verbatim. However, any failure to provide an answer will also be noted. My deadline is midday on Monday 19 April 2010.

I urge you to take just a few minutes of your time and use this unique opportunity to communicate with and influence a large number of Thanet voters.

Here are my three questions:

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?
2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?
3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?

Kind regards,
Squeezing the news pimple on the arse of Thanet since January 2006

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't Waste Your Vote On The Lib Dems

Well, I never thought I'd hear myself saying that! Regular readers will know I've got a yellow streak a mile wide, but the quality of the local Cleggies has been shown to be woefully lacking.

I'm not just being petty and peevish (moi?) because neither the norf nor sarf candidates have bothered to respond to my Election Question Time. Or because I had a falling out with one of their local organisers. It's just I'm used to the London Lib Dems, who actually care about their local communities. The Thanet dynamic duo have just been parachuted in as far as I can see. Peter Buttlick [Not sure that's the correct spelling - Ed], the candidate here in the trendy south of the island, couldn't even be bothered to turn up less than 90 minutes late to the only hustings I've been aware of so far.

Perhaps they're basking in the national, widescreen glow of their glorious leader's forehead and don't feel the need to actually campaign here. But it's going to make it a difficult choice for me. Labour or Tory? Yikes!

Tomorrow I'll reveal the responses from those candidates who did get off their backsides and pen me a missive. Nighty-night!

Update: I've just received this email from top Thanet Lib Dem Bill Furness:

Dear Richard,

I have just read your blog regarding the Liberal Democrats, I and many of our members have been knocking on hundreds of doors for the past year, sorry we have not called on you yet, we have a few more thousands to go, we do not have the millions being poured into the area from a Millionaire who does not pay taxes to this country or the millions from Trade unions, we are genuinely the party of the people, I can assure you Richard that we are determined to win as many votes as we can in Thanet and the rest of the Country, it is up to the people to decide as to whom they trust to run the Country, we could win seats here in Thanet, we just do not have the resources like the other parties to buy votes and to flood the area with literature, election day will tell.

Kind regards
Bill Furness

Manston Cans Ash Ban

Thanks for all the emails and tweets about the jet that took off from Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport at around 3pm this afternoon, despite the Europewide ash ban.

It appears it was a Meridian Airways DC8 cargo flight, empty and bound for Belgium. As Belgium's not far away, it would have been flying well below the volcanic dust, you'd hope. One reader even called the CAA and got the response:

Air movements are not banned, but banned in restricted airspace. If a plane can fly without central air traffic control, ie NATS, and can see clouds coming, off you go, no probs. Areas such as Heathrow, Gatwick etc have restrictions down to the ground, therefore nothing can fly without authority. The CAA have also enforced this on British carriers from everywhere because they can.

He adds:

A foreign aircraft can therefore land/take off from a pit like Manston because it's effectively cheap, nasty and playing at being a proper airport without ever actually being one. Planes landing at Manston do not need certain type of instruments etc. Just makes you feel safe and cozy inside!

It all rather begs the question, does anyone actually care if one of these crates drops on top of Ramsgate? Or has everyone swallowed KCC leader Paul Carter's crap that 'planes from Manston fly straight out to sea'!?!??!

Kneebone Connected To Your... Neckbone

For weeks now I've been having intermittent problems with my broadband. The internet service provider says it's BT's fault. BT says it's the ISP's fault. Finally, after rewiring, rerouterising and remodeming my entire cliff top mansion several times over, BT decide to send out an engineer.

Half an hour and much head scratching later he beckons me over to look at a cable. 'That's the problem.' 'OK, how do we fix it?' 'Not my problem guv. But that's the problem.' 'Well hang on while I try a different cable.' I try a different cable. 'Nope, that's still the problem.' 'What do I do now then?' 'Nuffink to do with me. But that's the problem.'

With a cheery wave he then got back into his van and drove off, job done. And 40 minutes later I got a text from BT saying: 'We've fixed everything now.'

It left me wondering whether things were better before Thatch privatised everything. In those days I presume you had to wait 15 years just to get a telephone installed by the communist GPO. But at least you didn't have to deal with a multitude of private companies who could each blame the other while you, the consumer, sat in the middle like some kind of disconnected pudding.

Anyway, it seems to be working again for now. And while I've got your attention, please do visit the fake handbag pest here, and hit the 'Report Abuse' button at the top of his/her blog. It only takes a second to anonymously report it for spam, which will, fingers crossed, lead to Blogger deleting the see you next Tuesday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Least Of The Wantsum

With all the effort I'm putting into my nightly excursions on Babestation, I didn't have the energy to do a strip this week. So don't bother buying the Gazunder, I'm not in it. Not even a placeholder saying I'll be back next week. Yes, I am that pathetic that I bought it just to look for that.

As I don't get paid for my Gazundery artistic endeavours, I'm seriously wondering whether it's worth carrying on. Unless anyone out there fancies sponsoring it? A crisp 50er a week would do nicely!

Other election news, and I've now received three responses to my survey of Thanet candidates. Laura Sandys, Roger Gale and Mike Britton (Lab candidate for Fannit Norf) have all pitched in. So far, though, nothing from the UKIPs, Lib Dems or former Sarf Fannit incumbent Dr Ladychap. Perhaps he's too busy glad handing the Newington natives with Glenys Kinnock to be bothered.

Update: I've now received a response from Dr Ladyman. I've also been, er, fake handbagged by a *@%&ing comment spammer, so you'll have to put those silly words into the verification box for the time being if you want to leave your two penn'orth.

The below have until midday on Monday to respond:

Peter Bucklitsch (Lib Dem South Thanet)
Trevor Shonk (UKIP South Thanet)
Tim Garbutt (Ind Green South Thanet)
Laura Murphy (Lib Dem North Thanet)
Rosamund Parker (UKIP North Thanet)

Ferries cAsh In!

Just a quick reminder to anyone out there who may have been stranded by the ongoing ban on flights that there's still room on our lovely ferries if you need to get to the continent.

LD Lines say they have capacity for cars in both directions between Ramsgate and Ostend.

Click here for more

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Did anyone else notice the similarity between tonight's first ever TV leadership debate on ITV1 and the last ever concert by The Three Tenors? Are they by any chance related?
The Three Tenors

Lend us a tenner

Ash Thursday

After losing all our billions in their dodgy banks, those pesky Icelanders have now closed our airspace with their grotty volcano! The above was the picture a few moments ago on - click on the pic to go to the site and see for yourself.

Still, at least it meant my beauty sleep wasn't disturbed this morning by some old crate flying dodgy yams into Chas 'n' Dave Margate International. I need all the rest I can get these days, what with the night job an' all!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Turn Your Garage Into Three Bedsits!

Ramsgate reader Mick writes:

ECR - given your current interest in grubby little erections I wondered if you had noticed that a garage in Bellevue Road, Ramsgate has been demolished and a three storey wood frame building containing three bedsits is being put up in its place?

I have enclosed photos of the plans from UK Planning and a photo from Google street view which was clearly taken before the garage was demolished. The character of the new building is totally out of kilter with the nearby Regency buildings in this conservation area in my view.

What idiot at TDC granted this planning permission?
[My guess? Ken Gregory - Ed] Why do we need more crappy bedsits in this area? There are already enough run down converted houses attracting unsavoury types. What we really need are more decent families and family housing. Keep up the good work, Mick.

From this:

To this:

Is as easy as TDC!

Primrose Bows Out

Here's a sight we won't be seeing off Ramsgate's trendy East Cliff again. TransEuropa's Primrose is to be retired to sunnier climes in Italy. Reader Frank from the Ostend Ferry Crew writes:

The TEF ferry Primrose has been sold to a Italian company called Blu Navy for use between the ports of Piombino (Tuscany) and Portoferraio (Elba). The journey will take one hour.

She received bunkers
[What that? Ed] this morning and her TEF logo on her funnel has been painted out. She is expected to sail tonight for the last time from Oostende [Ostend in old money] to Livorno where she will be renamed and will receive a internal upgrade.

In 1991 she was withdrawn with the arrival of the Prins Filip (Ostend Spirit), now history repeats itself. From 1991 to 1997 she was laid up as a spare vessel to cover for refits. This time she will begin a new career.

As Frank points out, many ships of the Primrose's age are now part of a new ship or car, or holding up buildings as metal bars in reinforced concrete. As least she's been recycled as a, er, ferry. Good luck to all who sail in her!

Age Concern

Ramsgate reader Ashley writes:

I visited Ramsgate town on Easter Saturday to purchase two birthday cards, one for a female relative in the north of England, and the other for an elderly male neighbour of mine who has an interest in steam locomotives.

I thought a card with a locomotive or train picture on the front would be ideal. I went into Clinton cards in the old post office building in the high street, that was a mistake. I did find a card for the female that was just suitable and for my neighbour one that was not quite what I required but would be better than nothing.

I made my choice and took the cards to the counter to pay, and to enquire if per chance I had missed the steam card or maybe they had one that was not in any of the card displays. Oh dear. I was then told in no uncertain terms, and in front of a witness that 'we do not cater for people of your age' (I am 61). The lady assistant who told me this said that she thought it was wrong and that she had told head office so, but they stick by their guns.

It would appear that people of my age are not welcome in that card shop. Strange to say I was the only customer in there at that particular time. Maybe we will soon see the shutters going up on yet another shop in Ramsgate soon.

Well Ashley, they would certainly seem to be ignoring a large proportion of their potential Ramsgate customers there. I'm surprised, as Bill and Hillary are well into their 60s themselves. Perhaps someone should open a similar outlet and call it Cardiology? That should bring the elderly and confused flocking!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free Footie Tonight!

Fellow blogger Adem has emailed me to ask whether I could plug tonight's Ramsgate v Godalming Town match, KO 7.45pm. Delighted to oblige Adem!

The Rams smashed Godalming last time out, so tonight's re-run at the Bernabéu style Southwood Stadium here in the Millionaires' Playground should be a doozy. And the best thing is, tickets are free!

Click here for more details on Ramsgate FC website

You Never Started Inviting Us

It may be that the confusion is (as is so often the case) purely in my bonce, but there now seem to be two dates for the launch of Tracey Emin's 'I never stopped loving you' neon on the Droit House in Margate.

According to the Turner website, and Thanet Council's Visit Kent, the whole thing kicks off on 1 May. But according to the above flyer from the Margate old town people, it's happening on 30 April.

What we all want to know, of course, is when Her Eminence actually turns on the lights. I suspect it's some time on Friday 30th, but why the mystery? Surely, if she never stopped loving Margate, she'd want the whole town to be there? Or is it the case that only arty types and public sector worthies will get the nod, just in case the 'naysayers' turn up? I think we should be told!

Monday, April 12, 2010

MK Hits Turbulence Again

With my well-earned weekend break only interrupted by a knackered old jumbo skimming the roof at 11.30 last night, I'm f****ing fit and will be hitting the campaign snail trail again this week!

And speaking of Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport, the good news is that there'll be fewer cargo crates disturbing my beauty sleep in future. MK Airlines looks like it's thrown in the towel again, after weeks of rumours that it couldn't pay its staff and pilots. MK, famous for its Canadian and Nigerian crashes, first went into administration in 2008. Now Aircargo News reports that it has suspended all flights following its failure to secure sufficient funding to continue operations. Hurrah!

Click here to
Aircargo News website

Friday, April 09, 2010

East Of The Wantsum

The pace at Babestation is getting to me I'm afraid. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep it up until 6 May. I've barely got the strength left to put this week's EotW on the blog (click it to big it).

Thanks for all the suggestions for ECR's Candidate Question Time. After a few seconds deliberation, I'm going to go with my original questions. Not that there weren't some crackers from you lot, it's just that I really want to pin the buggers down to three clear points. And they also happen to be the points that interest me most.

Now, where did I put those blue pills?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Question Time

Before I start sticking my enormous microphone up a variety of cavities on tonight's Babestation, I thought I'd give you the chance to have your say in the round robin email I'm sending out to Thanet's wannabe MPs.

I'll be asking them to give straight answers to three questions, which I hope reflect the three most controversial issues facing the island today. Here are the three I've come up with:

1. Do you support repealing the ban on foxhunting?
2. Do you support night flights from Manston airport?
3. What is the single most effective measure you would support to reduce crime, unemployment and deprivation on the island?

Feel free to comment below over the next 24 hours with amends or alternative suggestions.

Moustache now. Got a small slot to fill at 0030!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Up For The D Cup

Now that I've been asked to dress up in the full hanfu garb and serve as the Generar Erection Collespondent on the Freeview Babestation channel, I'll be drivelling here less frequently.

However, while I'm up all night doing some in depth probing, you may like to have a go on my poll. So far Labour are ahead of the Tories by an inch, with a small piece of cheese coming up the rear.

Oh dear. I seem to be taking my new position far too much to heart.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Election Called - Nation Yawns

With all Nick Clegg's talk of a 'huge election' this morning, he must be hoping for a well hung parliament. Meanwhile Our Gordon Master's got on the fast train to go shopping with the missus in Kent.

As the proprietor of one of the most influential organs in the country, from now on I'm legally obliged to report the election in a fair and balanced way. So as I haven't yet mentioned the bum-faced Etonian, I'll leave you with this. Whatever you do, for f*ck sake don't vote Tory!*

*Although personally I will be voting for the lovely Laura Sandys as I didn't much care for Dr Steve Ladybloke calling me a liar during that Eurof*****s debacle last year!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Empty Promises

A reader has emailed me a link to the above video on YouTube. It was shot at one of those public sector renewal love-ins at the Margate Media Centre last week.

The subject under discussion is crap housing, and in particular the No Use Empty scheme. No Use Empty is, as you know, an East Kent initiative backed by KCC and Thanet Council. Its aim is to bring 6,000 empty and derelict properties (otherwise known as 'eyesores'), back into use by persuading landlords, and bribing them with grants, to do up their shitholes instead of leaving them and the surrounding area to go down the khazi, in the greedy expectation of profit tomorrow without spending a penny today.

A worthy cause you might say. But let me just save you nine minutes or so and summarise the video for you.

Audience member: What control do you have over the many asbentee private landlords in the area?

Speaker (Head of Community Planning KCC): I'm not making excuses, but the best person to ask isn't here.

Audience member: I run the new B&B in Hawley Square and in the last few weeks we've had five couples from out of the area, looking for family homes here, stay with us. The estate agents have told them there are no large houses to buy, it's mostly small units, the houses have been divided up.

Then we have the No Use Empty scheme... many of those projects are still standing empty and are touted as a success after they've only had a first wave renovation. These very small, one bed flats in these large historic buildings which would have been appealing to the people we actually want to attract to give a more balanced, settled community are then added to the other 880 empty properties that you've got. So you're actually losing some of the key buildings that would have been attractive to incomers... that would rebalance the social imbalance that's been created over the past 30 years.

Who's actually checking that these buildings... are now occupied and why are you turning beautiful buildings into more substandard bedsits and flats? When we renovated our listed building and took away ten bedsits we got nothing... and yet property developers are able to get money to renovate buildings and not occupy them, and they're still standing derelict. And that's KCC money.

Speaker (Head of Community Planning KCC): That is... is exactly the key issue here, but rather than give an answer blah 880 empty properties, that's a potential for investment blah.

Audience member: One of the problems is that we never know who to talk to... nobody knows who's in charge. Will you support a directorate that would bring everything together in one place in Thanet?

Chair: Colin is only a (council) officer, he doesn't need to answer that one.

It's enough to make you weep, isn't it?

Update: Arse! The video has been removed from YouTube by whoever uploaded it. Must have been embarrassed by the glaring spotlight of my publicity!

Update update: Er, it's back again now.

Click here to go to No Use Empty website
Click here to go to Margate Renewal Partnership website

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Funnies

Crikey! It's been quite a day for emails! Mr Dickens of Broadstairs writes:

I went to the Italian market in Broadstairs today in the area surrounding Pierremont Hall. This has been an annual event for years and is a cheerful diversion from the weather and closed shops that normally greet any visitors at this time of year.

I spoke to one trader who wondered what he was getting for his 100 sovs per day as the Duffers did not even manage to get the traditional street banner up across the high street to remind people it is on. They have managed to sanction a lot of demolition around the Hall however to build some more depressing crap flats though, as always if you can f*ck something up leave it to the Cecil Square Mafia.

I clicked on their website to see if they could be arsed to mention the market, and the pride of place is a private landlords association meeting at the Marlowe Centre. I guess you know where their priorities are as they try and remove any mention of tourism and things to do.

Moving to the north of the isle, an anonymous reader has sent me this:

John Coghlan, the original drummer of Status Quo, was supposed to be doing a gig at Westgate Pavillion last Friday with Kevin wotsisname who organised it. They cancelled the gig because Kevin hadn't organised a PA system, his website was still advertising events for last October, and he didn't bother turning up at the venue till 8.30pm.

The support bands had travelled from Manchester and Newcastle and quite understandably everyone was pretty upset. Oh dear. We do have talented business people here on the isle.

Indeed. Although I'd say the gene pool of talent could do with some fresh chromosomes if that's the best it can do!

Finally, moving back south, thanks to all the readers who have emailed me to point out that Ramsgate was yet again in the national press today. Another excellent review for Eddie Gilbert's, this time by Zoe Williams in the Sunday Torygraph. Zoe finishes with the immortal line: 'Everybody's saying it, and that's because it's true: as improbable as it sounds, with this and the brilliant Age & Sons I reviewed last year, Ramsgate is becoming a gourmet's destination. Thanet is the Amalfi coast of Kent'.

Funny, that's just what I think every time I walk down 'King Street, Zoe!

You Put Your Ferry In, Your Ferry Out, In, Out, In, Out, And Then Send It To Dover

Well I needn't have worried about all the roadworks on the Thanet Way holding up the hordes of happy Easter travellers heading for our lovely port to board the new superduperferry. It's currently operating out of Dover.

Apparently one of LD Lines' other vessels bust a bowsprit or something, so they've diverted the Ostend Spirit to the Dover Boulogne run. Just when you thought they might be making hay in Ramsgate, what with SeaFrance on strike and Operation Stack in place, they send it to Dover. Kuh!

It's unclear how long it'll be known as the Boulogne Spirit, but at least it demonstrates that, whatever the joint venture arrangements between LD and TransEuropa are, LD get first dibs. It's also left me wondering why more than half a mill of our taxpayers sovs were spent dredging the port for the Ostend Spirit when it's only managed a few trips out of Ramsgate. Rumour is that Thanet Council, who run the port, wanted some, er, financial reassurance from Eurof*****s before they lifted a finger (quite wisely in my opinion). But did they get any guarantees on the Ostend Spirit? Or have they reverted to their old bollock-dropping routine with this one?

Click here for Ostend Spirit's current position on
Click here for Dover movements on
Now you see it... Ostend Spirit in Ramsgate last week
(Photo: Ashley Baldry)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

News Nose Gets Picked By The Guardian

It seems I've been mentioned in the Guardian. Page 33 of The Guide to be exact, in the 'Internet Picks' section. At the top of 'Blog roll: Kent'. Just above the excellent Margate Architecture. Thanks to all the readers who emailed me with the news.

Of course, it's nothing less than the fame and recognition I deserve after years of slogging away to bring you this crap finely crafted prose every day. I think I'll celebrate by popping back to the Beer Festival and chucking down another 14 pints!

Click here to see my listing in the Grauniad

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter Of The Wantsum

Here's this week's East of the Wantsum (click it to big it). Don't expect anything coherent from me for the next few days as I'm off to get wellied all weekend. Toodle-pip!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dumb Show In Town

Quite why the BBC's pointless One Show is filming in Margate today is anyone's guess. Perhaps Christine Bleakley left a shoe there while she was training for her water skiing challenge on the isle recently.

As for Adrian Chiles, who was it who described him recently as looking like an animated Toby jug, and not a very interesting one at that? I prefer to think of him as a pale, Brummie imitation of Benny Hill. Without the laughs.

Click here for more on Gazunder website

Thanet Council - An Apology

Thanet District Council has apologised for the inconvenience and distress it has caused the island and its inhabitants over the past 36 years.

In a statement issued to mark the anniversary of its formation in 1974, the authority formally admitted that it had got just about everything wrong and would consequently be turning itself in to the European Court of Human Rights.

The announcement follows widespread national coverage of the council's ineptitude over the years. From 'dole-by-the-sea' in the 80s and 90s, to scandals involving senior council members, the authority has become a byword for incompetence and corruption. Planning disasters such as Westwood Cross, Dreamland and Pleasurama have blighted the isle for decades.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: 'This is fantastic news for Thanet. We are delighted that, by admitting our mistakes and handing ourselves in to the police, the island can now move forward into the green and pleasant uplands of social, economic and environmental progress.'

For further information contact:

April Fule
Press and Media Manager
Thanet District Council

Tel: 01843 577 034
Fax: 01843 295 343