Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Going Local, a midweek ramble

Kent is a big county and frankly what happens at the other end of Kent effects me very little and interests me no more than what is going on in other parts of the UK.

I don’t think the government really understands local and yeas there are services that have to managed at a county level, mainly for reasons of economy, but when it comes decisions even between what goes on in Margate versus Ramsgate, including them in one district just isn’t local enough.

Publishing local history books I am all to well aware of this, most people don’t want a book about the history of the county, they don’t want a book about The Isle of Thanet, what they want is a book about their own town.

At the moment the public enquiry is taking place about Arlington House and whether a huge Tesco should be built there, ‘fraid to say I see this as being outside my remit, it isn’t a Ramsgate issue and I don’t really understand it.

Nearest I can get, is we had what was by the standards of the times a very large Tesco here in Ramsgate, its presence contributed to the closure of small local independent shops and once they had done their damage to the town Tesco pulled out.

Arlington House as far as I am concerned is an iconic piece of Architecture, one of the most significant remaining examples to come out of the “brutal school of architecture” and as such should have been made a listed building.

Painting it magnolia, installing double glazing and filling it dhss claimants from the London boroughs doesn’t seem a sensible option to me.

Easy to say you don’t like it, I don’t like it either in terms of design, but then I don’t like the outside look of The Turner Contemporary, however it is undoubtedly iconic. The shape that meant shed before it opened, now means art gallery and I have used it to illustrate aspects of what it does and doesn’t do here on this blog.

I have done this effectively and to the point that googling “turner contemporary margate” and clicking on the image tab was a quicker way to find the pictures below than searching through my own computer.         

You may not like the pictures design of The Turner Contemporary, but you probably recognise what the pictures are of and only a relatively short time ago you wouldn't have done. 

Just as you recognise Arlington House in this one.

Well actually I suppose you don’t really, but I guess I will have another go at it.

Ramsgate hasn’t fared anything like as well as Margate with post war iconic buildings, I took a few photos on my lunch break just now, and as my mobile phone now loads them straight onto the internet when I go near to wifi, here they all are.

In the same way I don’t think I could draw any buildings in photos above and produce pictures that would say Ramsgate to anyone, so I think iconic does in fact mean something, apart and different to whether or no you like or dislike the building.

Something indifferent that doesn’t identify with anywhere in particular has its advantages, isn’t going to cause too many ripples, but is a bit insipid.   

 Anyway now I have my postal voting form for the Kent Police Chief election and realise I have to vote not once but twice for a bunch of people who I have never heard of and have probably never visited Ramsgate or been up King Street here in the evening and noticed the evident lack of policing.

Yes I would like to do something about it, but am not sure this is the right way, my own thoughts are for having a group officers who live and work in the town, giving them an imperative to make as pleasant as they possibly can.   

here are the various candidates election statements on the web in the same order as they apper on the ballot paper.

Considering the response to the recent Manston airport consultation, you may consider the viewing figures of even more interest than the actual videos. 


  1. Quote:"I have done this effectively and to the point that googling “turner contemporary margate” and clicking on the image tab was a quicker way to find the pictures below than searching through my own computer". Don't be so sure Michael. In case you hadn't noticed, Google will show you what it thinks you want to see based on your viewing history. Try the same search from another IP or another search engine and you won't even get a mention.

    1. Ah I think I see where you are coming from, if you have been having a bit of a, browse tout nous vetements and everything is coming up a bit pink on the old image search page, you will find a thing that looks like a child’s picture of a flower in the right hand top corner of the page. Clicking on this will enable you to turn orf search preferences.

    2. I think your nonsensical comment may be alluding to porn, possibly to deflect attention from my reference to your pomposity regarding the importance of your site. As for porn, nothing was further from my mind, but it appears this was not the case with you.

    3. Apologies ‘twas you nom de plume, in the book world usually associated with a writer of erotic fiction, possibly better said than read. I thought you wished to discuss an itc issue you had, and hadn’t realised it was allusion to my pomposity and am duly humbled.

      But seriously search engines don’t quite work in the way you appear to think they do with the stuff they store about your previous search history, personalised results are an option that you can select, but would be unlikely to have much effect on image searches for an art gallery.

    4. Ah, yes of course, you're also an expert on search engines. How do you explain the fact that you found your pictures on a Google search and I didn't when using the identical search string? I suspect even with your superior knowledge, Google perhaps knows something you don't. It's easy to inflate one's own importance because you really do know everything you know. What separates the men from the boys is understanding the importance of what you don't know.

    5. Still learning “Anonymous 1” but you could say “I am Curious” I have had a vague interest in computers since working on the Minerva Project in 1969, it comes and goes but incongruities interest me more than other aspects.

      I have tried the search on various computers, operating systems, browsers, via VPN and so on and come up with the same results. The only difference I could find was when remotely using a computer in America, I signed on to google as a member and four of the images I had uploaded were tagged as mine, which they don’t do in the UK.

      Essentially if you are not getting a large amount of photos and paintings of mine coming up for Turner contemporary related searches, then you must have some sort of unusual setting on your computer that the rest of us don’t have.

      I do admittedly have a strong linkage with Google, for instance the photos and videos I take with my phone automatically upload to them when I am in a wifi hot spot, this is fairly new stuff all round. Allthatsaid I seem to have a reasonable presence on other search engines too.

      Underlying this though is the fact that I have probably put up more pictures of the Turner Contemporary on the web than most people, which would account for it.

    6. Sorry Michael, no matter which browser I use, logged in or out of my Google Profile, I only get one image of yours about four screens down. I suspect Google is humouring you with technology that you don't understand, despite expertise gained from the Minerva Project. I've no idea what the Minerva Project is/was but in 1969 there was no internet as such. Perhaps that's why Google have the edge on you.

    7. Ah well A1 that would explain it, if they are using technology I don’t understand, then as you rightly say I don’t understand it.

    8. On both and I get at least 9 images that are Michaels'. gives me 45 pages of images and .com 39 pages.
      What am I doing wrong Annon 1?

    9. Not really sure about A1’s problem but I learnt a lot about Google going down the road of believing a person, albeit an anonymous one, above a machine.

      Where there truly the ghost in the machine that A1 would have us believe, then it would have raised considerable ethical and commercial issues relating to search engines.

      In reality I have put up very few images with Turner Contemporary in the file name.

      I have also done very few paintings showing the gallery, less than 10, in practice they all come up high on the google image search, much higher then the photos I have taken, I would guess that is because image ranking relates to the number of times an image is clicked on and the photos, mine and everyone else’s are a bit samey.

      One thing that does really concern me here is that The Turner Contemporary’s web presence doesn’t seem to as strong as it ought to be, unlike this blog they don’t have a web counter on their site, but they do use third party websites like youtube which do have counters.

      As an example of this a couple of weeks ago I put up a silent, very long about 20 minutes video of me painting a picture on youtube, at around the same time the gallery put up a much shorter and better made video with sound about the exhibition in the gallery’s foyer, viewing of both videos are running neck and neck.

    10. Michael and Anonymous, it's neither a problem or a Ghost . . . just fact. I think Michael may have gone some way to understanding the issue when he mentioned ethical problems. Didn't Google have some legal issues with this recently? Hasn't Michael got a strong relationship with Google by using Blogger? Isn't Blogger owned owned by Google?

    11. A1 what I think you fail to understand is that were, for instance, Google able to recognise me when I am not signed on, let alone be able to recognise me using secure settings on a non Google owned browser, all hell would break out on the internet security front.

      As for Google being able to recognise me when using someone else’s computer, well then you move into a “Matrix” type science fiction scenario.

      The thought that a multinational company would compromise its reputation just to pander to my ego, while flattering, is really rather unlikely.

      My recommendation to you is to clear your browser cache and check your computer for other issues, because if you genuinely are getting different Google results from everyone else in the world, then you have serious problems.

  2. Thank you Michael, but you can keep your advice. It may have escaped your attention, but you're not the only person in the world who is familiar with computers. If I needed advice I certainly wouldn't ask the world's greatest expert on everything who masquerades as a second hand book seller.

    Obviously you will defend Google as without them this blog wouldn't exist and your ego would take quite a knock. Do you really believe Google hasn't already explored "Matrix type science" as you call it? More and more information is passed with search strings and algorithmic analysis of this information can produce surprising results. Google will exploit every aspect in their quest for supremacy. As mentioned previously, they have already been in trouble for this.

    1. You probably wouldn't know about this blog without google's help A1.

    2. I would Anon 8:33 AM. But without Google possibly not so many people would be put off the area by Michael's incessant degrading of everything TDC related with his unqualified and often uninformed comments. Michael's main talent is his use of words, possibly brought about by reading his books. Unfortunately this enables him to convince himself and many others that his analysis of virtually anything you care to talk about is indisputable. Michael is a shrewd mover. He knows people like council bashing and he feeds on this to promote his business.

    3. And you on the other hand are just an anonymous nobody, just like me!

    4. Anonymity doesn't come into it. It's what people believe that's important, not who they know.

    5. Michael is the 2nd most important person in Thanet.

    6. How dare you relegate him, you obviously haven't been paying attention over the years!

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