Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Sure, it ain't perfect, but in my opinion, the NHS doesn't deserve all the criticism it's been getting lately. That's right, you heard me, I am a fan of the NHS. Come on, is it so beastly to believe that universal healthcare should guarantee every citizen the right to medical aid, regardless of their inability to pay? Unfortunately, some would argue that it is – particularly our FOX News-watching, hamburger-scoffing, Starbucks-swilling American cousins across the pond.

I know some may think this is hardly a local issue, but unfortunately, it is. After all, Daniel Hannan, MEP for South East England, was the man who appeared on U.S. TV to criticize the NHS as a “60-year-mistake,” sparking off a huge public backlash against him. It's also worth mentioning that Daniel Hannan is certainly no stranger to our political neck of the woods after he rubbed shoulders with Laura Sandys (prospective Tory candidate for South Thanet) to discuss their mutual opposition to an EU proposal to regulate recreational fishing. He has also given Laura Sandys a worrying vote of confidence by calling her “the liveliest, friendliest and hardest working candidate in England” and encouraging local people to vote for her.

Therefore, with all this criticism of the NHS by Daniel Hannan and FOX News being taken into account, I couldn't help be slightly amused by a short little N.I.B. for the Thanet Times (that's “news-in-brief” for those of you who aren't aware of journalistic lingo). According to the article, a 67-year-old American gentleman recently had a heart attack aboard a cruiser called the Seabourne Pride, prompting a Ramsgate lifeboat to swiftly come to his aid. He was then whisked away by ambulance to a nearby Thanet hospital for treatment.

Would I be the only one to find it funny if this old yank happened to be a staunch Republican who believed that a national health service is an inhumane affront to his individual right as a free human being? In other words, do you think this poor old gentleman would resent the fact that the NHS – a system founded upon the values of universal healthcare (which right-wing protestors in the U.S. are currently opposing) – actually saved his life? If this old chap fully recovers, it'd be nice to get this his thoughts on the big ol' media frenzy back in the U.S.A. which has placed our NHS under unfortunate scrutiny.

Obviously, the NHS does have its critics at home (Daniel Hannan being one), and not just abroad, but my main point with this blog entry was to highlight the fact that our healthcare system does not discriminate between those of poorer or richer backgrounds – it is a safety net for everyone. So, if MPs oppose that core ideal, then it'll be almost as bad as watching an old man die bleeding on the floor and demanding his pin number to steal his cash before calling 999. Is that what we want our healthcare system to be based upon? Smash 'n' grab job surgeries? Not for me, thanks.

Therefore, I do feel this issue is of local importance, largely because infamous NHS critic Daniel Hannan does hold some sway among the Tory political elite in our local area, judging solely by his association with Laura Sandys. In fact, it might alarm you to learn that Laura Sandys' website appears to neglect to mention her views on healthcare, but her connection to Daniel Hannan should raise some suspicion and may possibly discredit her candidacy. Unless, of course, she releases a public statement rebuking Hannan like Cameron has, although I certainly won't be holding my breath. Then again, one lives in hope.

Monday, 28 September 2009


I have officially been a victim of daylight robbery. You see, I made the big mistake of popping into the Venus Taverna in Margate (that's right, you are officially named and shamed). Basically, I ordered a pint of Fosters and a bottle of Becks. The barmaid stared at me blankly and said: “That'll be £6 please.”

“£6?,” I replied. “Are you sure? That can't be right – the Fosters was £3.”

“Yeah, that's right. The bottle of becks is £3. The pint of Fosters is £3. That's £6 in total.”

At which point, of course, I could hardly contain my disbelief. Are they having a sodding laugh? Trust me, I don't intend to get all Tony Hancock here (“A pint?! That's very nearly an armful!” etc.), but I do honestly think that £3 for a bottle of Becks is a bit steep, especially if you weigh up all of the facts under a fine tooth comb.

Allow me to explain: a pint of Fosters (5.0% alcohol) – if we're going solely by the UK metrication standards, of course – is 568 ml. A bottle of Becks (5.1% alcohol) – being smaller, you understand – is merely 330ml. Taken quantitatively, a bottle of Becks is 238ml less than a pint of Fosters, and since there is only 0.1% volume of alcohol which separates the two beers, it stands to reason that the bottle of Becks should by proxy be cheaper than a pint of Fosters.

I mean, come on, it's hardly rocket science, is it? To charge £3 for a bottle of Becks whilst charging an identical price for a pint of Fosters just doesn't make any financial (or metrical) sense whatsoever. If we consider my above estimations, the sensible retail price to charge for a bottle of Becks is approximately £1.74, largely because that takes into account the difference between how much fluid you consume from a bottle, and how much you can consume from a pint.

When I grilled the barmaid on how she (or her manager) could justify such a high price for a bottle of Becks in comparison to a pint of Fosters, she explained that Eli Thompson, owner of Margate's Westcoast Bar, charges the exact same prices in his venue (although admittedly I don't have any evidence for this other than the barmaid's word), so she dismissed my complaint on the grounds that every other pub charges the same price; so, in other words, "Cough up, you cheapskate!".

The sad fact is, people still buy it. Who, I wonder? Alcoholics, perhaps? But even then, they'd probably be hitting harder stuff than beer admittedly. But my point is that I have witnessed (and not for the first time either) how certain establishments in Margate basically try and rip you off, for no justifiable reason whatsoever. I mean, sure, everybody's got to make a profit, but be bloody sensible about it, because charging £3 for a bottle of Becks amounts to little more than daylight robbery, in my opinion.

In fact, one quick jaunt over to the Doggett Coat & Badge and the Wig & Pen revealed that a bottle of Becks is, indeed, cheaper than a pint of Fosters, so I don't see why the Venus Taverna can't follow suit and simply lower their prices. Perhaps they're trying to attract a better class of clientele. In which case, if this supposed 'better class' are stupid enough to pay £3 for a bottle of Becks then they're welcome to the bloody place. Does anybody else agree that this is completely extortionate? If so, I think it's about time we started a consumer backlash. Then again, every other punter I tried to tell about this scandal were too drunk to care, so I don't expect to be seeing it on Watchdog any time soon. Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


I've managed to find this YouTube music video by Ramsgate-based MC, Anthony Johnson, better known by his alter ego, MC Spooka. He currently tutors aspiring MCs for Pie Factory Music, but as you can see from the music video, there's no denying that the guy can certainly spit rhymes with the best of 'em. He's got regular play on BBC Radio Kent and even got some recognition on London's urban radio station, BBC 1Extra, so he's certainly one to watch, I'd wager. If this has whet your appetite, make sure you listen to more of his stuff on

Some of MC Spooka's freestyling can also be found on YouTube - like this video of his appearance on CSR FM – in which he busts some lyrics over a drum 'n' bass groove, while his mate annoyingly keeps trying to interject with the word 'brap!' in the background. If you're familiar with hip hop, R&B, drum 'n' bass or urban music, then it's not hard to acknowledge that the relatively lo-fi and homespun production values MC Spooka utilizes do have some commercial appeal, so I wish him the best. It'll be nice if a local MC can give Dizzee Rascal a run for his money.

He's also, from what I can gather, an aspiring actor. Do you remember that recent Exodus movie, filmed upon our very shores? Apparently, Anthony Johnson played one of the leading characters, so he's quite evidently a man of many talents. I mean, sure, seeing this music video does place you outside of your comfort zone, especially if, I imagine, you don't have much patience for hip hop. But seeing someone waxing lyrical about 'Planet Thanet' is quite inspiring on its own merits; sure, it'll be hard to swallow by those with perhaps more conservative listening habits, but anything to put our local area on the map can only be a good thing in my book. For that reason alone, MC Spooka deserves our wholehearted support. I tip my hat to him.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I've been sent some photos of the Big Sky International Kite Festival from the weekend, so being the wonderful kind of guy that I am, I thought I'd share 'em with you. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to witness the festival myself as I was out of town, but judging from the photos I've seen, it looked like it was a fantastic event. I really wish I could've made it and sincerely hope it'll make another appearance next year because I - for one - am quite hacked off I missed it.

From what I've been told, lots of weird and wacky kites were in abundance. I think there was even a giant penguin too. Then again, I wasn't there, so what do I know about it?! I'm only going by gossip and hearsay. But the photos do look amazing - truly, the Big Sky International Kite Festival looked an event to cheer up even the most miserable and dour of old souls. I mean, we all need a bit of silliness in our lives occasionally, so I applaud the organizers and would definitely like them to arrange a follow-up event at some point in the near future.

I should also mention that Tony Flaig of Big News Margate posted some excellent photos of this event this weekend, evidently much quicker off the mark than me, and his post is definitely worth a look. It's really nice to have events such as these gracing our shores, don't you think? Let's hope it's the first of many, eh? Fantastic stuff. Please feel welcome to post your own pictures of the event in my comments page, if you have any. I'd certainly love to see more.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


God, just when you thought Margate's fortunes couldn't get any worse, it bloody well does. Chas & Dave have split up. Never mind all that nonsense about founding member Keisha Buchanan leaving the Sugababes, or Noel Gallagher walking out of Oasis after a spat with Liam. Oh no, the biggest musical tragedy in my eyes is that Chas & Dave will no longer be performing as a duo after Dave has sadly decided to quit performing music altogether.

The BBC News have reported today that after Dave Peacock's wife's death from lung cancer recently, he has decided to give up gigging for good, and the poor old bloke is quite evidently heartbroken. “Understandably Dave has taken his loss very badly,” said Chas Hodges, on the Daily Telegraph website. “He hasn't the heart to continue gigging and with regret he has decided to retire from the music business.”

This obviously comes after Chas recently performed solo at the Winter Gardens for a gig originally earmarked for the duo. In this show, Chas respected the unfortunate loss of his friend's wife, as well as honouring the fans who had already bought tickets for the event by simply carrying on regardless. Now, in an age where some musicians would've just cancelled without any regard for their fans, this in itself is admirable.

Obviously, my heart goes out to Dave. It must be hard to be married to someone you love for so long and then have to cope with the grief of their absence, so I totally understand his reasons for quitting. But I'm also remarkably saddened by the news of Chas & Dave's split on another level. There is nobody else in the history of post-war popular culture who has put Margate on the map as much as Chas & Dave have, so this news should be regarded as an enormous loss to our little town.

I mean, come on, we lost Dreamland, we lost our blue flag, our high street's gone down the tubes, but at least Chas & Dave still made a space in their diary to play at the Margate Winter Gardens on a regular basis; performing all their hits, regaling us with their amusing anecdotes and professing their nostalgic appreciation for Margate's glory days.

Now, some will say I'm overreacting: Chas, after all, will still continue performing in some capacity, but it just won't be the same without Dave. Despite everything Margate's been through, I always felt that the odd performance by Chas & Dave somehow made things better; a solemn reminder to everyone that not all of the remnants of Margate's past had withered on the vine and died off, but now, it seems, the final nail in Margate's coffin has truly been hammered in. The last grape has dropped off, and now all that's left is a bunch of rotten twigs. Let's just hope we can make them blossom again, eh?

And yes, I'm aware that Chas & Dave's shelf-life as chart-toppers expired long ago, but that's besides the point really: my main point is that Margate has arguably lost our greatest ambassadors, and that deeply saddens me, that's all. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the YouTube video I've posted above, and feel free to share any memories of Chas & Dave you may or may not have.

Monday, 21 September 2009


I feel very sorry for people who have to be admitted into hospital in this day and age. Not only do they obviously have to contend with ill health, but there's also the much-publicised risk of MRSA and, as YourThanetNews claimed recently, the rising threat of swine flu. According to NHS West Kent and NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent, it turns out that the number of people diagnosed with swine flu across our county has increased sharply for the first time since July, ballooning from an estimated 3,000 people to 5,000 people.

This essentially means that swine flu infections in Kent are approaching their second wave, which is probably inevitable as the weather gets a little bit colder. I mean, crikey, that sea breeze has got a bit chilly lately, don't you think? Granted, the weather was a lot nicer for the Big Sky International Kite Festival this weekend, but if it had arrived a few days sooner when it was a lot windier, I think all those kites would've been blown across the English Channel like knickers on a washing line. Then again, it's a bit of a cliché to moan about the weather, so I'm not gonna dwell on it too much.

Anyway, I wouldn't start booking hospital beds at the QEQM just yet. I mean, let's not get ahead of ourselves. We should always remember that most cases of swine flu bear only mild flu-like symptoms; after all, the small number of people who've died from swine flu have had underlying health conditions anyway, so I'm guessing for most healthy people swine flu is probably comparable to having a very bad cold. Then again, I've heard some horror stories from some friends of mine, as I'm sure most of you have too. Somebody I knew from college got a brand new job recently, fell ill with swine flu, told his boss about it and promptly got given the sack. So, it looks like the media frenzy surrounding swine flu has scared some employers witless, wouldn't you say?

Thankfully, I think I've escaped swine flu, but it's early days yet. I do know people who may have had it. Even my girlfriend thinks she suffered from swine flu a few weeks ago – she was bedridden for a good few days, bless her, but despite us living in close proximity, I avoided being contaminated by her filthy germs. The Medieval plague suit I fashioned probably helped a bit. And the cloves of garlic I hung above our bed. No, on a serious note, I expect more swine flu cases will increase over the winter before it'll dissipate, just like every other bout of influenza historically tends to do. But we shouldn't be spooked by the news.

None of this does anything to resolve my concern for the frail or the elderly, of course, who may have to be hospitalized if they contract swine flu. I seem to remember that statistics were released last year indicating that deaths from C. Difficile have risen by 28% in England and Wales, not to mention all this needless hysteria about E.coli. Honestly, I really don't know why the media feels compelled to over-egg the pudding with regard to public health scares. Actually, they almost seem to enjoy portraying hospitals as being nothing but great big germ factories, don't they? It's almost like they expect us to avoid getting hospitalized like the plague, which seems like an odd little paradox, if you ask me.

Friday, 18 September 2009


Yonks ago, John B. Bogart, the New York Sun editor, famously said: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” Hmm, but what if a man kills a cat? Sure, it's not exactly biting, but the Isle of Thanet Gazette have opted to grant a front page spread to the RSPCA's announcement that it's launching a hunt for a suspected 'serial cat poisoner' in the local area, so I'm guessing 'man bites cat' stories must be equally newsworthy.

According to their report, six pets have died from anti-freeze poisoning, so it looks like our poor little kitties will have to be on their guard for a sadistic Dr. Crippen wannabe leering outside their cat flaps. Needless to say, I'm blowing this slightly out of proportion. There is scope for this being an unfortunate freak accident (i.e. a motorist carelessly spilling his anti-freeze in the road), but RPSCA Inspector Charlotte Eyde did add in the report that “if we have the evidence against anyone deliberately poisoning cats we will prosecute” and that the rise in dead cats in the area is, for want of a better word, “worrying.”

Hmm, worrying indeed, but who are the prime suspects? It's worth mentioning that our lovely town mayor Ted Watt-Ruffell was allegedly investigated by the RSPCA for causing unecessary harm to kittens. But somehow I can't quite imagine him prowling the streets with anti-freeze in the dead of night, all hooded and cloaked, like The Phantom Raspberry Blower from the famous Two Ronnies sketch. That sounds positively absurd, I know, but there's no escaping the fact that a handful of dead cats as front page news is ridiculous enough, let alone the RSPCA's suggestion that there's a lone psychotic prowling the streets trying to kill our cats. Let's just hope it's not the Chinese – after all, they could be abducting cats and eating them in the canteen at the China Gateway Business Park. Well, on that culturally ignorant note, I think I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


I subscribe to the Thanet District Council's RSS feeds, so imagine my surprise when the usually dull and yawn-inducing press release turned out to be, in fact, a vision for the future. Yes, that's right, Thanet Council's going all Mystic Meg on us, gazing into their crystal ball and choosing to publish its vision for Thanet's future, outlining in some detail what they believe this glorious Isle will be like in the year 2030.

The only trouble is: it won't please those who oppose current plans for the Manston flight path. In fact, Thanet District Council believes Kent International Airport in Manston will be “the commercial centre of Thanet” by 2030 and that it will have “established itself as a major cargo base for the UK, processing 500,000 tons of freight per year, particularly from nearby continental markets.” This doubtlessly won't please some critics – especially since it indicates that the Council regards the Manston fiasco to be a done deal, disregarding those who don't happen to agree with the whole 'night flight' debacle.

I personally don't even have an opinion on whether I'm for or against the idea of a local airport. The lazy part of me thinks it'll be more convenient – after all, I did travel to Naples via Manston last summer so I can't be too principled about it without appearing hypocritical – but the other part of me is slightly dubious about the whole thing. Generally, since Thanet is quite a deprived area at the moment, it's easy to assume that Manston Airport can only be a good thing, economically speaking. However, on the flip side of this we must also recognize that as a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the UK government should be attempting to reduce domestic CO2 emissions.

So, let's face it, the creation of a local airport isn't gonna prevent the world from getting any warmer, is it? Then again, it didn't exactly stop 'em from proposing to create an extra runway at Heathrow either, so it's possibly a case of monkey see monkey do, if you'll pardon the assumption that Westminster's being overrrun by damned dirty apes. That being said, I am at least partly sympathetic to green issues, so I guess I'm against Manston Airport on those counts, if nothing else. Then again, I'm sure that Thanet Council will probably argue that their decision to create offshore windfarms will offset the balance in CO2 emissions, but I don't buy that for a second.

Nonetheless, I can see why Thanet District Council claims that by the year 2030 a local airport is likely to have attracted “creative new businesses” to the area. Actually, Margate's future got quite a good write-up, focusing on the Turner Contemporary (obviously!) and emphasizing that the tourism trade is booming thanks largely to a high speed rail link to London and the creation of Dreamland Heritage Park. As for Ramsgate and Broadstairs; generally, aside from mentioning that there may be more boat owners in Ramsgate harbour and a potential ferry service, it looks like they'll remain relatively unchanged. I'm sure this will be a massive consolation to the local residents who'll have to suffocate themselves with their pillows every night to drown out the incessant noise of cargo planes flying above their houses.

Anyway, it's quite a lengthy yet concise piece, quite enjoyable to read, so feel free to check it out and see if you happen to approve of their musings. Despite trying to make their predictions sound like a utopia, I'm sure some will be divided on Thanet District Council's fanciful (and possibly unattainable) vision of Thanet's future, as even I'm a bit skeptical. After all, they are talking about 21 years from now, and even Nostradamus never got it exactly spot on. I'll be 44 years old in 2030, so it'll be interesting to see if these mystical forecasts bear fruit, rotten or otherwise. Let's just hope I'm not too old or too disillusioned to give a monkeys by then, shall we?

Monday, 7 September 2009


Did you miss me? Much to my annoyance, I haven't been able to write any blog entries for the past few days because my Orange Livebox is on the blink. Well, actually, the Livebox is 100% functional apparently, it's just getting an "intermittent signal". To top it off, Orange have also been doing a 'test' on our phone line which has left me without Internet access for the whole bloody weekend.

Don't ask me why. Our broadband's been working perfectly fine for the past month, but for some reason, it's just not good enough for Orange, so they've insisted upon doing whatever they bloody well like and giving me the middle finger salute. I shouldn't moan really, because this is the first major problem I've had with them as an ISP, but since moaning is my forté, I'm gonna do it anyway.

It wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't have acted so clueless about it. When I phoned them up, they tried to tell me that there was a problem with our ADSL filter, asking me to go out and buy a new one. When that didn't work, some young girl wiped all the Livebox settings in the hope that it could be reprogrammed to work. Then I spoke to somebody else who said: "Oh, actually, it says here your line's being updated... Computer says 'Doh!'"

Obviously, I wasn't told this was happening. But that didn't some stop some other Orange drone trying to tell me: "You were informed about this. We sent a letter." Hmm, well, if that's the case, where's the letter? Was it daubed in invisible ink, and printed on thin air? This whole debacle has forced me to scrounge somebody else's internet to post this little rant, in case you're confused. Anyway, as I'm sure you've all been missing me hugely, once the internet's fixed, I shall - in the words of Arnie Schwarzenegger - be back. Hasta la vista baby!

Thursday, 3 September 2009


I feel compelled to remind you that '70s rock 'n' roll band Eddie and the Hot Rods are playing in Margate tomorrow evening at The Westcoast bar. It's quite exciting, I'm sure you'll agree. Doors open at 7:30pm and you should be able to pay for entry on the door (£12 per person), but I think you can buy advance tickets for £10 online here. Well, I can only bloody hope it hasn't sold out, otherwise I'll have to beg them on my hands and knees to let me in.

Nevertheless, if you've got nothing better to do, I highly recommend you go and see Eddie and the Hot Rods play, especially if, like me, you haven't seen 'em play live before. Obviously, I've heard of them, as I'm a big fan of punk rock (the classic stuff, not that Sum 41/Blink-182 hooey), so I've read up on Eddie and the Hot Rods and heard their songs on Spotify and iTunes. Technically, they were pub rockers like Dr. Feelgood and Graham Parker, but the punk explosion brought them commercial appeal in 1977 with their Top 10 hit "Do Anything You Wanna Do", if you're old enough to remember it.

I personally think it's great that Margate keeps pulling in the old punks and mods by booking bands like these, especially for somebody my age who wasn't even born to catch 'em the first time around. I think The Specials are playing at the Margate Winter Gardens in November, and Paul Weller in December, but I think both of these gigs sold out pretty quickly (which is hardly surprising really). I saw From The Jam play last year, and that was pretty special, so I'm a bit hacked off that I can't see The Modfather himself, but I suppose it's a bit late for regrets now, isn't it?

As you can tell, my musical taste is a little bit old-fashioned (garage rock, rock 'n' roll, punk, reggae, ska, etc.), otherwise I wouldn't be so excited about a bunch of old duffers like Eddie and the Hot Rods doing a gig pretty much on my own doorstep. But judging by a lot of the YouTube videos I've seen of their recent gigs, I think it'll be pretty special. Duffers or not, they still cut the mustard. In fact, as you can gather from the above YouTube video of “Get Out of Denver," I think they'd rock your freakin' socks off.

Anyway, I'm gonna try and scrape together the cash to go tomorrow night (lots of scrounging is probably required), but if anyone who reads this blog happens to be influential and can wangle me free entry, then I'd happily write a gig review as a favour of goodwill. Failing that, I'll just press my ear against the windowpane, put a safety pin through my nose, spike my hair up and have my own little private pogo party outside. I mean, honestly, would you blame me if I did? Of course not!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Well, it's been a bloody long time, but after £17.4 million and a large degree of public cynicism, the Turner Contemporary Art Centre finally appears to be taking shape. Hardly miraculous, I know, but I'm pretty sure it won't be long before it'll be permanently perched at the foot of Margate harbour like a grounded UFO. Let's just hope they don't start abducting all the naysayers, immersing them in formaldehyde and putting them on display à la Damien Hirst, eh?

I'm not gonna lie, it's hard for me to not be a little bit excited about the prospect of an art gallery plopping on our pretty beach like a big white dog poo. Sure, it's architecturally vulgar in some respects, but I do hope it's a big success, I really do. But I am a bit dubious as to whether modern art will be widely appreciated by some of the Thanet locals, that's all. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not putting 'em down, and I'm as big a fan of art as the next bloke, but speaking personally, some modern art just leaves me completely cold.

I like some forms of abstract art, expressionism, figurative painting, etc. but conceptual art, if I'm honest, just annoys the bejeesus out of me. Obviously, that gobby Margate lass Tracey Emin's made quite a big name for herself as a conceputal artist under the ragtag label of the Young British Artists, and though it's probably very unpopular for me to say it, I really don't rate her stuff at all. If anything, I probably have more in common with Tracey Emin's former cohort, Billy Childish, who famously founded the Stuckist movement as a reaction to all that Charles Saatchi-approved conceptually pretentious hoo-ha.

I suppose it's the difference between artists who feel comfortable with postmodernism (like Emin, Hirst, etc.), and those who don't, and I personally think postmodernism, for the most part, is a load of tosh. That's probably why I don't really like some types of modern art. Am I alone in struggling to see the artistic value in exhibiting an unmade bed (Tracey Emin) or switching on a lightbulb in an empty gallery (Martin Creed)? So, if the Turner Contemporary Art Centre is filled with all that kind of postmodernist nonsense, would it really be surprising if it gets up people's noses? Especially if, like me, you don't happen to appreciate its artistic merit (or lack of).

So, there you go, my flag has been well and truly nailed to the mast. I'm aligning myself with the Stuckists on this issue, in particular their contentious claim that “artists who don't paint aren't artists.” Maybe that kind of validates my initial cynicism about the Turner Contemporary Art Centre. This is, perhaps, why I wonder whether the Thanet locals will appreciate the particular kind of art that the Turner Centre may seek to promote – mainly because I can't stomach it.

Sure, it's a bit selfish of me, but I guess all I can do is hope that when it's up and running the Turner Contemporary Art Centre takes me by surprise and challenges my prejudices about modern art. Although, to be fair, judging by recent plans to allow Tracey Emin to display a huge pink neon sign over Droit house that will read “I never stopped loving you,” then I'm not gonna hold out any hope. I'm a miserable sod like that.