Friday, 27 March 2015

Sarah Stokes & Josephine Harvatt at The York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current Exhibition  is by Sarah Stokes & Josephine Harvatt A collection of Stunning colourful abstract works. The exhibition runs -    25th Mar - 1st April Exhibitions change weekly on Wednesdays.








Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ramsgate Lifeboat up to 1874, The Tartar Frigate in Broadstairs a pen and ink sketch of Broadstairs, a seagull turns into a dog and a ramble.

Using the very narrow time slot between when it stopped raining at about 12.30 and when my children come out of school at 3.30 I ventured out to Broadstairs today lunch at the Tartar Friggate
 http://www.tartarfrigate.co.uk/

The sun came out shining straight into my eyes which rather stopped play, I may go back and try to finish it off.


Since I have started looking out for cold food at lunchtime that I can eat while sketching I am becoming a bit of a connoisseur of the ploughman and this was one the better ones I have encountered.  


For the discerning art critics here is a picture of the view, note the seagull has the shadow of a dog, leading me to believe that it may have been a dark angel projecting a hell hound.  


I bought a few books in Broadstairs, the star buy being Storm Warriors or lifeboat Work on the Goodwin Sands by John Gilmore, click on the link to read some sample pages http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/storm/ or click on this link to buy the reprint of this book that I publish http://michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id333.htm

This is one of the star reads among Ramsgate books and comes strongly recommended.
 Not really sure if this a first edition as I haven’t looked it up in Biblioteca Cantina yet, but I think 1874 is pretty early for this book.

Log of a Sky pilot is a Deal book, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/LogofaSkyPilot/ with a bit of Victorian religious sentimentality which doesn’t really detract from the invigorating read.

The rest of the books were a bit pedestrian in comparison.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Revolution Café opens in King Street Ramsgate


I did pop in here for a snack lunch today, which was very good, I don’t usually eat in cafés this close to my bookshop as I either get something at home or go for a walk while eating a filled roll.

I am curious about any politically motivated business, rather in the way I was curious about the politically motivated bookshops that sprung up in the UK, mostly in the 60s and 70s.

Anyway I tried to work out exactly what this cafe is about politically, but didn't get very far, I made a few politically incorrect statements and and so on, basically it is a very pleasant place with a good atmosphere.     
I only had an hour so the sketch was pretty awful, talking to people, sketching, drinking a large pot of tea and eating mushrooms on toast is difficult in this amount of time and it is the art that suffers.

What is noticeable is the substantial investment in the building and equipment, it seems to be funded by The Reality Party http://www.eastkentrealityparty.co.uk/ and https://www.facebook.com/EKRealityP?fref=ts   

Something that I am sort of getting my head around is that the political situation in Thanet related to the general election, seems to be based on problems related to Thanet District Council, that is either the reality of how bad the council has been over the last twenty years or so, or people’s perception of how bad the council has been.


I guess this peaked when the council’s leader went off to prison for fraud, but the perception of the council is still very bad, the departures of senior officers being the most recent symptom of this.

Various fringe parties seem to see a unitary authority as being the solution to this one and I guess that unless Thanet council taxpayers are going to fund all the roads here, Turner Contemporary and the QEQM hospital then this would mean making a unitary authority of several district councils, probably Dover, Canterbury and Thanet.

Broaching this with various councillors over the years, the Labour councillors seem to be saying that Dover is game but Canterbury not, while the Conservative councillors seem to be saying that Canterbury in game but Dover is not. This leaves me thinking that Canterbury may not be to keen to get into bed with Dover and vice versa.


I don’t quite see how the way we vote in terms of an MP is supposed to help create a unitary, in fact I don’t really think there is much the electorate can do towards creating a unitary. The only thing the electorate can realistically do it to change the leadership of TDC, from the situation we have now where councillors chose the leader to one where we the electorate choose the leader by voting.

What I am not getting in this election much is vote for me – him – her because they are a fantastic candidate and if they become MP – councillor – cabinet member, they will make these fantastic improvements to Thanet – Ramsgate – Thanet South.

I am getting a fair amount of vote for me – him – her to keep UKIP – Labour – The Tories out, because the are dreadful.

I am also getting a fair amount of, vote for vote for me – him – her, to get rid of TDC – KCC, which I don’t really understand. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

More retail doom and gloom as Morrisons announce closure of their Ramsgate supermarket and a bit of a ramble from the bookshop.

This picture of Ramsgate was drawn by Henry Moses in 1817, I publish a book of his pictures of Ramsgate, here is the link http://michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/1817_picturesque_views_of_ramsgate.htm  


I guess the main problem for Morrisons was that they opened opposite Iceland and are more expensive as I said in the blog post when the opened http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/julian-lovegrove-exhibition-at-york.html

I guess if you opened a smaller and more expensive bookshop in King Street opposite mine then you wouldn’t last very long. Allthatsaid I am sorry they are closing, with McDonalds closing almost next door this is going to be a bit of a retail black hole.  


Bookshop wise I got permission sometime last year from Rosemary Quested’s family to do a reprint of The Isle of Thanet Farming Community: An Agrarian History of Easternmost Kent…

At the moment I am in proof reading stage of the process of converting it from a 300 page paperback into a 100 page stapled booklet, altogether there is about a fortnights work in this process.

The issue is that it is a key Thanet history book and needs to be available for less than £10 in a way that is sustainable. Anyway it should be out in a few weeks time, but at the moment the work involved means I have little time for anything else. Here is an example of the text in the book:

“It is worthwhile looking at the politico-religious events of the 16th–17th centuries for the light they throw on the development of Thanet’s character. During Henry VIII’s Reformation, the return to Catholicism under Mary and the final shaping of the Church of England by Elizabeth I, most of the Thanet population apparently accepted the changes imposed upon them from above, and at first only a few took sides. ... more recently it has been found that the Lollard tradition survived in parts of East Kent into the middle of the 16th century. There was extreme Protestant, Lollard-type activity at Faversham in 1535, at Canterbury in the 1540s, at Faversham again in 1550-51, and some of the Canterbury martyrs burnt under Queen Mary in 1555 were accused of Lollard-type arguments. ... In 1556 John Alchorne of Birchington denied all the ceremonies of the Church and kept illicit books, though he gave in and agreed to conform.

The vicar of St Peter’s was accused of supporting the Pope in 1537. ... Serles (famous for having maintained that Mary gave birth to Jesus when she was fourteen because the moon comes to the full in fourteen days), was vicar of Monkton in 1552-1561. ...
Later in the century various sectarian tendencies definitely became established here. William Claybrooke, a former lawyer living at Nash Court, owned or had read “all contentious or schismatic books at any time printed” about 1588. The Vicar of St Nicholas, a non-conforming Puritan, preached against other sectaries in 1590. By the end of the 16th century separatist or semi-separatist groups were especially active in Thanet ... In 1617-18, under a moderate Puritan archbishop, St John’s was one of various parishes in East Kent given a new vicar with reforming duties — a “reformed pulpit” as it was called. The Puritan movement is not mentioned again until the 1640s.”

As you see it is pretty concentrated and assumes a fairly high academic ability in the reader. An interesting point about this bit of text is that the Dutch gables in Margate and Ramsgate are the result of the first big influx of immigrants, these were protestant religious refugees, (unless you count the romans, Normans, Hengist and Horsa et al) also responsible for lots of land drainage, including Sandwich.         

One wonders what the then equivalent of UKIP had to say about all those foreigners building houses and draining the land. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Earplugs @ Turner Contemporary Margate; a pen and watercolour sketch some photos and a possible ramble.

Here is the pen and watercolour sketch drawn in the Turner Contemporary Margate café


As you see they produce an artist’s lunch that you can eat while sketching



Having just viewed the main exhibition “Self” which is self portraits all I really wanted to do was sketch people and as two sides of the café there are glass the light is very good.


The newest of the exhibitions: “Year of Mexico in the UK” by Carlos Amorales is basically cymbals, or perhaps symbols – I don’t know enough about contemporary art to tell – on coat hangers. Children are randomly issued with drumsticks (cymbal mallets) and adults are randomly issued with earplugs, as the symbols become cymbals to the children. I kept my earplugs in which made me feel a bit like a fish in a fish tank. Something I took into the glass walled café.

You are not allowed to take photographs in the main exhibition for copyright reasons, but here photos I did take in Turner Contemporary Margate, click on them to expand.  






















And finally here are the books I bought for my bookshop in Ramsgate while in Margate, not many I know, but there is no such thing as a free lunch and the books will more than pay for mine.  


     

Friday, 20 March 2015

The idle foughts of an idle feller.

Frankly I have been a bit depressed since Jeremy Clarkson got the sack for the punch up because he asked for a UKIP receipt for his steak. On the local front I guess TDC selling off Staffordshire Street car park to developers and Transport Select Committee reviewing plans to turn The Isle of Thanet into one massive airport got me down a bit too.


Now I have to face the facts, there will probably never be any more Top Gear, all of Thanet will probably become one massive airport – due to popular local demand – and I am likely to get a UKIP MP who has no interest in Ramsgate.

On a brighter note today when I went into the new Labour shop and asked how much to buy a politician, after being told it was too expensive – I did discover that the intention over Staffordshire Street car park is for any development there not to reduce the number of parking places, something like the Sainsbury at WC.

I have been very busy of late, mostly buying book stock for my bookshop, which after a busier November, December and January (I haven’t added up Feb yet) is a bit depleted. So ‘pologies for the lack of blog posts here.

So what have I been up to? I will try to add to this going backwards in time – if I get time.

Yesterday, having spent most of the morning out doing book buying house calls I had a late snack lunch at The Minnis   


I did remember to get something I could eat easily while sketching



So here is the sketch.

Next comes the local shop closures, starting I suppose with No. 13 King Street, which was Tesco’s then Tesco Home and wear and then Macdonald’s, so are they closing or just cancelling the franchise and carrying on regardless. What will the closure of Primark do to Margate? I have to say I miss the BHS café there looking over the sea on a cold winter day. And of course with WC reaching its ten year anniversary, up come some of the leases there for renewal. With retail the rent has to reflect the profitability of the site and ultimately it doesn’t matter where the value of real estate climbs to, retail real estate is limited by this factor.  

You know thinking of the UKIP receipt and having spent most of yesterday lugging about boxes of books on the north side of the island, it would never occur to me to claim my lunch against expenses. Thinking back to the main MP expenses scandal locally, with Steve and the big dinners and Roger and the big TV, well it obviously isn’t over yet.    


On the Manston front the government have decided to spend their £1m on getting Price Waterhouse Coopers to investigate whether TDC should have engaged in the RiverOak cpo to turn Manston Airport in to an airfreight hub.  I wonder if any money will be spent on asking what the TDC voters want for Manston. 

Of course it was Price Waterhouse Coopers that Infratil used to dispose of the airport in the first place. 


It looks like The Royal Sands development on the Pleasurama site is back on again and I guess this is the key photo (taken last summer).

This is mostly about sand, the sand that will hold the Royal Sands in place, the problem being that it is fast washing away.

Flat Eric has found a new book to review, like so many books now 1p on Amazon – which means £2.81 including postage which means our price is £2.50. While on the subject of falling book prices, after an ex library copy of The Ramsgate Millennium Book sold on ebay for about £60 including postage, it looks like the price is going down on this title. Makes you wonder which of the libraries sold it off, or even if they did. 

On the Royal Victoria Pavillion front there is a rumour going around that now the council have agreed to Weatherspoons making it the largest pub in Europe, they are now dragging their feet over the terms of the lease so that it will remain derelict for several years.


Of course with the unanswered questions about our future MPs, the main one for me being what will they do for Ramsgate? With the council also election wise being in a state of Preparation H the question of Gold Member or Gold Members arises.

Once again the candidates seem a bit loathe to explain what they would do for Ramsgate, apart from the air freight hub and getting Thanet out of Europe, that is.    

What worries me here is the number of customers I have who work at Discovery Park or who have a job related to us being members of the EU.