Thursday, 10 October 2013

Ciao for now

As you may have noticed, my blog posts on Thanet Waves have become more and more infrequent over the last year. Primarily, this is because I've grown to dislike Blogger intensely and find it far too clunky to use. I much prefer Wordpress. However, the second reason for my lack of enthusiasm for blogging is a general sense of ennui about the local blogosphere.

It's been a long time coming, but I've lost the motivation to join the cut-and-thrust of local political debate, especially given the barrage of spam comments I get hit by whenever I do a post. Not only that, but I no longer have the time at my disposal to churn out 800+ words on topics which, if I'm honest, I no longer have much interest in discussing. 

I have therefore decided to make some changes. First of all, I don't intend to quit blogging completely - I have recently set up a Wordpress blog where I am hoping to concentrate my efforts more on creative writing rather than commenting on local issues. If you want to see more substantial written articles by me, I'd keep your eye on that new website in future. 

As for Thanet Waves, I have taken the decision to transfer the '' URL to a blog on Tumblr. Very soon, Thanet Waves will be a 'tumblog' on which I will share lots of things I have found in my daily life or surfing the web - videos, links, quotes, photos and (occasionally) text about the local area. This activity on Tumblr will also be synced to the Thanet Waves Twitter account.

However, as with Twitter, the emphasis on this 'Tumblog' will be keeping things brief and succinct. Gone are the days when I had the time to write long rambling essays about local issues. In future, things shared on Thanet Waves will be kept short and sweet - more of an online scrapbook, really. I think it's finally time for things to change. 

In short, watch this space. Thank you to everyone who got a small amount of pleasure from reading my blog posts on here. You certainly haven't seen the last of Thanet Waves yet, but things will probably be a little different next time you visit this site. Ciao for now.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

HMS Thanet Revisited

Do you remember when I wrote about the sinking of the HMS Thanet last year? Ever since I speculated about the fate of her crew in that article, I have been grateful to receive many emails from military history buffs and relatives of crewmembers offering to throw more light on the topic. In fact, I think it's about time I did another post about it, don't you agree?!

To start with, I received this message from John Williams, Chairman of the Margate Historical Society and Archivist for Friends of Margate Museum, which proved very enlightening:

"We have now a broader picture of the ships fate listing all the Japanese vessels involved in the sinking of HMS Thanet.

We also published details of the fate of the crew-members. The battle in which HMS Thanet engaged the following Imperial Japanese naval vessels(FUBUKI,AMAGIRI and YUGURI) off the coast of Malya(mouth of the Endau River) has been covered by Arthur Lane and other noted historians..

The Japanese list 31 men as being picked up from the sea by the Japanese SHIRAYUKI on the 27th January as comprising one torpedo officer(Sub Lieutenant R.H.Danger),five Petty Officers and twenty-five ratings,and also state that with the exception of Sub Lieutenant Danger,who remained on board the SHIRAYUKI to later become a prisoner-of-war in Indo China,the whole group was handed over early on the 28th to the Japanese Army Group Invasion Forc which had landed at Endau and taken to a holding camp.Tragically,their stay there would have been brief as local residents there reported hearing machine-gun fire from the camp that morning,and a further report from a Japanese resident stated emphatically that all prisoners had been executed as retaliation for the hundreds of Japanese soldiers who had been killed in the ambush of the 25th.To confuse the picture even more,the British memorial Register states that just 41 men survived,which contradicts the information given above.With the passage of time it will never be possible to be 100% certain of all the facts as to just who was lost in the sinking or subsequently,but probably the best indication is the crew list we hold that covers those missing in action and those that survived the sinking of HMS Thanet plus crewmembers held as prisoners of war.

Arthur Lane and others have been aware of the fate of those who fell into the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army(Arthur was a POW on the notorious Burma Railway).Also the meeting up of downed RAF aircrew and those survivors trying to make their way to Singapore has been documented and related to historians and authors in various publications(See "The Remorsless Road Singapore to Nagasaki" by James McEwan.Published by Airlife. ISBN 1 85310-886-3 Page 19). "Survivors from HMS Thanet contacted Charles MacDonald,an RAF navigator whilst in the Malayan jungle.The survivors reached the coast in the vicinity of Mersing.They came across a junk and were later picked up by a British patrol vessel and landed at Pulau Ubin".

As the Japanese Imperial Army made their way down through the jungle of the Malayan Peninsula,the Imperial Japanese Navy took-over and occupied the port of Endau made up of a task-force of one aircraft-carrier,one heavy cruiser,five light cruisers and five destroyers.

RAF attacks on the port were ineffectual and the aircraft were beaten off by the Japanese.On the night of the 27th December 1942 the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire and the British destroyer HMS Thanet made their way to the mouth of the Endau River at night.They were engaged by the Japanese destroyers AMAGIRI,HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI. HMAS Vampire managed to escape under the cover of a smoke-screen by HMS Thanet was overwhelmed by the superior gunfire of the Japaneses vessels.

We have a full crew-listing for HMS Thanet plus comprehensive details relating to the history of the ship(including photographs etc)"

So there we go, folks - John Williams is clearly the authority on this subject so feel free to contact him if you have any questions and please make sure you have a read of his blog too. I do have some more information to share - including some scans featuring newspaper clippings relating to HMS Thanet - but I think I will post those on another day. Until then, bon voyage!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Claire Gill's exhibition in Margate ends this weekend!

Seascape 39  © Claire Gill, as part of the new series (Large size £25 unframed, £360 framed)

This weekend is your last opportunity to see Claire Gill's fantastic exhibition 'Scene Unseen' at Margate Gallery. It's well worth a visit if you're in town so please do go and have a look, particularly if you're keen on photographic art with a distinctively local twist - you're bound to see something which catches your eye!

With her extraordinary skills at photomontage, Dartford-based textile designer Claire Gill took a reccy to Thanet and took some photographs which she has cut-up and blended together into wholly original images for this exhibition. Put together just like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, Claire has created some visually striking juxtapositions of familiar Thanet landmarks in seemingly incongruous places.

Want to see the Turner Contemporary interspliced with the swings on Margate seafront, with the Scenic Railway looming large in the background? How about seeing the Scenic Railway appear on top of a dilapidated Bulls Head pub on the beach, with Dreamland Cinema in the distance?

This all sounds positively surreal to us residents, of course, but it's all incredibly captivating. As a local, Claire's work resonates due to her brilliantly abstract depictions of the local area, but I'm sure non-locals will also find something to appreciate. I hope you get the chance to see it this weekend!

If you'd like to find out more about this exhibition or plan a visit, please visit the Margate Gallery website. (The above picture is called 'Seascape 39' and is available to buy for £25 unframed or £360 framed).

Friday, 19 July 2013

Stewy the Graffiti Artist

If you like a bit of street art, you'll love Stewy the graffiti artist. Seemingly fashioning himself as Margate's answer to Banksy, you've probably noticed Stewy's stencil work appearing on the walls of the Old Town shops. Some may love it, some may hate it, but that's what art's all about, is it not?!

You've probably seen this graffiti a thousand times by now, since Stewy was the subject of a KM News article last year, but I sought Stewy's permission to share a lot of his Flickr photos on this blog. Thankfully, he kindly agreed, as I think his work is really quite impressive. Take a look:

It's no secret that Margate has rapidly become a cultural hub for local artists, illustrators, designers and creative types ever since the Turner Contemporary opened, so it's hardly surprising that a street artist of Banksy's ilk started to leave his mark on our seaside town.

You can have a debate until the cows come home about whether graffiti is vandalism or artistically merited, but I see no harm in Stewy's intentions as he doesn't appear to be defacing anything. In fact, I think Stewy's stencils bring some magic to the Old Town centre and really help to define Margate as a fashionable place which welcomes urban artforms. What do you think?

If you want to find out more about Stewy the graffiti artist, do visit his website, or see more examples of his work by visiting his Flickr channel.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Russell Howard brings 'Wonderbox' to Margate

Stand-up comedian Russell Howard is playing at the Margate Winter Gardens next year on Saturday 15th February 2014. After a three-year hiatus from the stand-up circuit, the star of BBC Three’s Russell Howard’s Good News is bringing his new show ‘Wonderbox’ to the seaside in a warm-up show before he embarks on a lengthy arena tour.

Considering Russell Howard has his eye on bigger arenas such as Wembley Stadium and the O2, the chance to see him perform in an intimate Margate venue by the coast is one that can’t be missed. You’d have to be mad to deny the chance to see him on our doorstep – it certainly beats watching Russell Howard ranting on a TV repeat of Mock the Week on Dave, doesn’t it?!

Regardless of what you think of Russell Howard’s style of comedy, he is undoubtedly popular amongst younger audiences with his occasionally juvenile mix of toilet humour and satirical whimsy, so I’m sure tickets will sell like hotcakes.

Needless to say, enticing Russell Howard to the seaside is yet another stellar booking by the team at the Winter Gardens, which only goes to prove that Margate is well on its way to being regarded as a real hotspot for top drawer entertainment. Hurrah to that, eh?!

Tickets are £15 and go on sale tomorrow (19 July) at 9am. What a bargain! If you want to grab yourself a seat, get yourself up in the morning and call the box office on 01843 292795 or 296111!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Ambrette wins Best Grub Award for 'Best Indian'

The Ambrette in Margate has won a national award for 'Best Indian' in Morrison Magazine's Great Grub Awards 2013. Winning the lion's share of nominations from the magazine's readers, the accolade marks out Dev Biswal's restaurant as one of Britain's best local eateries and is a big sign to foodies that Margate is at the cutting edge of modern cuisine.

"We're delighted to have won. But it's our customers who fuel our success" says Dev Biswal, with just a hint of modesty. "We're the people's restaurant. We hold cookery demos at schools and support our local catering college. It's important to give something back." Even the editor of the magazine, Katy Griffiths, admitted Dev's "efforts to give back to the community" were duly noted.

Since founding The Ambrette six years ago, Dev Biswal has brought an entrepreneurial verve to his role as head chef, from launching his own range of curry sauces for supermarkets to ensuring that much of his food is sourced locally:

"We specialise in foraged, wild mushrooms and Kentish lamb," explains Dev. "We offer a unique marriage between exotic produce and spices and the things that grow around you."

Sounds yummy, don't you agree?! It's wonderful to see that all Dev's efforts have paid off - we're very lucky to have a local restaurant that's so well-acclaimed. Well done, Dev - Margate salutes you!

Love Indian food? Not been to The Ambrette yet? Book yourself a table by calling 01843 231504 or visiting

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Don't You Forget About Them

Eighties rock band Simple Minds are coming to Thanet to play the Margate Winter Gardens on Tuesday 16 April. Still going strong after years on the road, frontman Jim Kerr and his band are swapping the glittering stage of their Wembley-headlining heyday with a performance in a long-forgotten seaside town. Finally, he's big enough to play Margate. 

I guess that's why it's reflected in the £37.50 ticket prices. He wants to make it worth our while, bless him. I'm sure there are many local people who've waited a long time for a band of their stature to show us how they're 'Alive and Kicking' despite being well into their fifties. What’s a few grey hairs between friends, eh? 

If you've seen the film The Breakfast Club by director John Hughes, I'm sure you'll fondly remember hearing Simple Minds' biggest hit "Don't You (Forget About Me)" which is still something of a playlist staple on Absolute Radio, my favourite radio station. Admittedly, I'm not averse to enjoying a bit of dadrock, despite not having a dad to introduce me to bands like Simple Minds.

Unlike most people of my generation, however, I'm willing to give Simple Minds time of day, bored as I am of having dross like One Direction and The Wanted shoved down my lugholes. I'm not sure if this gig has sold out, but it does look set to be a very memorable night.

Have you bought tickets? Let us know what you think of Simple Minds...

Photo credit: Oyvind Solstad via Flickr under this Creative Commons License