Sunday, 29 May 2011


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You might be aware that comedian Jim Davidson – and I'm using the word 'comedian' very loosely here – slammed Margate and slated the Turner Contemporary last month on his blog. Quite what the washed up former TV host of BBC's Generation Game knows about art is beyond me. It's worth reminding ourselves that Jim Davidson is a man whose stage play was scrapped due to poor ticket sales, so I'm willing to bet that his lashing out at Margate is merely a case of sour grapes because the belligerent old fart's career appears to be on the wane.

It may even run deeper than that. Could it be possible that Jim Davidson is envious that the Turner Contemporary can pull in more punters than Davidson probably does during the whole Christmas panto season? This view is shared somewhat by Tony Flaig at Big News Margate who did a post on this story last weekend. Now, I'm not a fan of this 'lowest common denominator' comedy of the sort Jim Davidson and Roy Chubby Brown are eager to peddle, so I can't really help myself from being repulsed by anything that comes out of Jim Davidson's mouth.

But if Jim Davidson could see beyond the dummy he spits out of his pram, he'd understand that not everybody can afford to swan off to Dubai whenever the going feels like it's getting tough, so anything which might actually improve the area of Thanet is none of his bloody business. Then again, there are reports that Davidson was declared bankrupt soon after he returned to the UK, so he's hardly in a position to get on his soapbox. This is what he said:

"What the f**k is an arty-farty art gallery doing in Margate? Build a theatre or some shops, anything that the people of Margate want. This is the most stupid thing I have seen for ever…someone must have thought, “Hmm, no jobs, no shops, a theatre that needs condemning – I know we’ll build an art gallery the no-one wants,”...f**king idiots!"

It's funny how he reckons building a new theatre would be a good idea – it's not like he'd be able to sell it out! What worries me most about what Jim Davidson said is whether some people agree with him. I've already met a plumber who slagged off the Turner on the basis that “it's a load of old shit innit” so it's difficult to know what local people really think of the gallery yet.

However, the statistics on the Turner Contemporary's success don't lie, so I think we should let the numbers do the talking for now and tell Jim Davidson to stick his opinion where the sun don't shine. We should also remember that Jim Davidson also came 20th on Channel 4's list of Worst Britons, so I'm sure he sleeps like a baby at night, don't you?


  1. His career has lasted far longer than the TC will.

  2. Jim Davidson is an insignifcant relic of the "good old days" before PC-gorn-mad and them lefty, liberal, sandal wearing, commie-hippie-fascists took over and all that and it is the similar thinking demographic of tabloid reading thickos that he appeals too. The same people as your plumber who probably thinks art is for girls and poofs and that Margate needs some lap dancing clubs to get it going.

    It just shows the level of Davidson's thinking that he reckons a theatre and shops should've been built instead?!? It's not in a council's remit to build shops and that is happening off the back of TC anyway. As for a theatre, well he might find Margate already has on or two of those, if he pulled his head out of his crap material recepticle that is.

    Turner Contemporary is obviously not for everyone, has only just opened and needs to be given time before people assess it's performance. But you aren't going to get that sort of rationale from the likes of Jim Davidson and you plumber friend.

  3. 1534 Your first paragraph is almost incomprehensible!

  4. Love him or hate him, he's still very popular. Certainly last time he came to Margate he sold out the place, & I doubt if local tastes have changed that much in the 2 years or so since then.

    Good to see him praising the staff of The Winter Gardens on his blog, quite rightly too (despite the fact I no longer work there myself).

  5. FedUpWithPoliticians

    Do you want me to come down to your level and repeat what I said?

    Here goes: that jim davison hates art and pooftas and lefties and stuff just like them wot read the sun.

    How's that? Better?

    Your username is pathetic by the way.

  6. Now now, keep it civil please, people.

  7. Sorry Luke but I can't understand why anyone would post such a trite comment complaining that something is "incomprhensible" (is it? really?), unless they are just trolling of course.

    I'll keep it civil from now on and apologise to FedUpWithPoliticians. I still think his/her username is daft though.

  8. What baffles me is his differentiation between a theatre and an art gallery. Surely if (to paraphrase) someone believes art is for 'girls and poofs' they're probably going to have the same view of a theatre. They're wrong to think that, of course, but some people are just incredibly stubborn. More common alternatives that locals have suggested are an ice rink, new pier or shopping centre, which would possibly have wider appeal, but would not have received funding (it was money spent on the arts or nothing), and certainly wouldn't have received such critical acclaim and publicity as far afield as the New York Times. It's an international standard gallery with international standard artists. Last week it had it's 100,000th visitor; the target for the whole year was 150,000. The last figure I heard was that 30 new businesses have opened in the area since January, which wouldn't have happened without the TC. Another figure I heard was that the Tudor House, which is free entry but has a donations box, took £1000 on the weekend the Turner opened. You can't stay at the Turner for a whole day, it's nowhere near the size of any of the Tates, and that means after going round people are heading into town and spending their money in the local businesses. With new exhibitions every four months people will come back time and time again. Anyone who still believes Margate isn't benefiting from this is a moron.