Saturday, 9 November 2013

Margate in November

I guess walking around any seaside town at nine in the morning is going to be bleak, but Margate can be very bleak indeed. I put it down to the fact that Thanet is north facing, everybody with a view of the estuary is instantly reminded that the sunshine is, even at best, behind them. However I do like staring out at the estuary, one particularly fuck-off container ship slowly slipping across the horizon and my window pane right now, and if there is anything positive to be said about down in the mouth seaside towns like Margate, it is their sense of rather desperate theatre. It can make you more miserable than you could be almost anywhere else.
However this hotel, the Walpole Bay Hotel, is, or at least was, Tracey Emin's 'most romantic place in the world' and I can heartily recommend it. Down stairs last night there were two old guys talking in German accents about Hannibal Lecter and another dressed all in black going for a part as Merlin. It felt, amongst the joyously assorted victorian bric-a-brac, that you were suddenly participating in some Agatha Christie murder mystery weekend. I ate in an almost deserted and huge old style dining room, something I have not had the pleasure of doing for twenty years, and the food was satisfyingly period too. Afterwards, chatting to Merlin, I realised he was also a dead ringer for Mick Fleetwood, and this morning, as I spotted the gold Rolla parked outside, I wondered just who I'd been talking to really. 
Meanwhile all the attractions are super bleakly closed even if they look as if they might be even bleaker when open, and of all people Bill Wyman is playing the Winter Gardens this evening, just after Julie has finished her 'Nostalgias' conference as it happens. Now sitting here on a November morning as it starts to rain on that window pane is no finer spot to say 'Bill, just give it up..' because there surely cannot be anything worse than the ex-Rolling Stone, champion of Madison Square Gardens for a generation, doing THIS. Mind you, by the look of the above, Margate gets even worse by January.

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