Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Give Me Tomorrow Today, a ramble about life, art and politics in Thanet.


After my last post about the Alex Kats exhibition Give Me Tomorrow at the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery in Margate, where I tried and failed to write some sort of art criticism, I once again find myself sitting in front of the keyboard in my bookshop, with it just too busy to get on with anything serious.

I am coming to the conclusion that Alex Kats is just this guy who paints, and if you are just a person who likes looking at pictures then I recommend you go and look at his paintings.

With the size and bright colours you may at first think that his work ought to be displayed on the great wall of Ramsgate, but he has nailed some expressions, people types if you like, so well that I find some of the images are still vivid in my mind a couple of days later.

A funny thing happened on Google just now. I was looking for some images of paintings related to The Turner Contemporary art gallery, that I could use to illustrate part of this post without infringing anyone’s copyright.

So I Googled “Turner Contemporary painting” and clicked on the image tab, it seems I am the artist most commonly associated with the gallery, further down the page is work by both me and Alex Katz painted on a beach.

Here is the screen shot, my work circled in red and Alex’s circled in blue.
I was very nearly expelled from school for painting and drawing when I was about fifteen, so I stopped doing any until about a year ago and only started again as I thought I was now far to old for this activity to have significant consequences.  

On to the world of local politics, yesterday I bunged the latest video of the thoughts of the leader of Thanet Independent Group up on the Thanet Press Release Blog, here is the link to the post http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/new-john-worrow-leader-of-thanet.html

Looking at the comment there I do wonder about our local Conservatives, perhaps they think they are going to get elected next time round with a good working majority, they don’t seem to be looking for common ground with the independents, just in case they need their cooperation to stay in power.

For me the biggest worry here is that if the Conservatives ever do get back into power locally, what they will mostly be seeking is retribution.

I will ramble on here later as something has just come up and it seems a good moment to click the publish button.

On to Ramsgate Maritime Museum and The Great Wave at Container, possibly the 37th view of Mount Fugi (the third wave crest from the left)



Anyway I wandered around the back to sit on the bench and eat my sandwich only to confronted by a new fence, this fence seemed to offer no impediment to progress of a healthy youngster, but stopped me in my tracks.  


I then carried on to the end of everything, where the banking of empty properties produces a noticeable vacuum to be confronted by two dimensional beach huts.   


I looked around the back and these really are, what they signify in the great developers void is anyone’s guess, are they for instance the completed part of The Royal Sands? 


Looking through the rest of the pictures on my mobile phone, I am reminded that on Sunday while considering if Alex Katz’s pictures had travelled well and ruminating on the differences between the English and the Americans, where probably the most significant is linguistic, I stopped off at the Boating pool Café in Ramsgate. 

Now when an America says for instance: “I’m mad about my flat” he or she doesn’t mean that he is pleased with his Royal Sands apartment, he or she means they are angry about their puncture.

The snack I obtained at The Boating Pool Café is perhaps best described visually.  

Back to art and of course the absence of The Thanet Times today and page three yesterday, I have drawn extensively on the works of Picasso and Renoir here to create an alternative page three illustration in pen and chalk.
You may need to expand it to by clicking on it to fully appreciate how a child who could draw a reasonable likeness, of say a teacher, could come close to being expelled for the contents of their art folder.

Seriously though the thing that interests me and David Hockney (with Van Gough’s ear) illustrated, is how artists do the original drawing. By this I mean how do they make something look like it is.

37 comments:

  1. Michael
    Just in case you hadn't noticed there is no "common ground" with what I assume you mean is TIG, outside of Clive Hart clinging on to power and very little politics. There's is demonstrably and evidentially a personal agenda which is served by cynical self interest and advancement rather than the public benefit.

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    1. Simon are you familiar with the riddle of the two paths one that leads to eternal tignation and the other to local Conservative administration, with the two identical Conservative candidates one who always lies and the other who always tell the truth?

      Assuming that one gatekeeper is secretly a member of TIG and therefore always lies and the other is a member of The Conservative Group and therefore always tells the truth, are you perhaps suggesting that come the next election when deciding to vote, we should ask the Conservative candidates which party the other Conservative candidate really stands for in order not to vote for them.

      I am not sure political policy based on, everyone in all of the other political parties being universally wrong in everything they say, is necessarily the best policy for political advancement in Thanet.

      Delete
  2. Of course the Tories should seek retribution. It is richly deserved.

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    1. Who decided Broadstairs should suffer retribution, £3 for 2 hours parking at 7 PM. It will be Ask or Frankie & Bennies with free parking next time.

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  3. Unfortunately Michael I can't see local politics in Thanet ever getting out of the petty tit-for-tat cycle, which is probably at least part of the reason why the place is in such a mess. Ironically the most radical of the lot Ian Driver set a good example recently by working for a common cause with Laura Sandys (I'm talking about animal exports of course). Why can't (say) Simon and John work together for the good of Minnis Bay day centre or Westgate High Street?

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  4. For the very simple reason, Peter, that nobody could work with John and any notion he really gives a stuff about the Minnis Bay Day centre should be quickly cast aside. He is simply an opportunist, loves the limelight and so he has now sold his soul to the extreme left wing mob at Red Hall, Broadstairs so they will make videos of him. Ian Driver, for all his shouting, does appear to have deep seated political beliefs and genuine concerns on a number of issues whether one agrees with him or not.

    Take another look at the latest JW video. Not so long ago he was claiming that Tories outside of North Thanet had very different views to those inside and that David Cameron had an enlightened view on Equal Marriage. Now, as his anti-Tory bitterness eats into him, suddenly it is not just North Thanet Tories, but David Cameron and Paul Carter are now in his firing arc. Why the change? Simple, his publicity was in decline, people were tiring of attacking him and so he kicks of with the deliberate aim of raising the issue again and inviting kick back from the Conservatives in general.

    As for Simon Moores, well he works hard for his own constituency, is always campaigning on Westgate law and order issues and, in his latest posting, is seeking to save the Westgate Community Centre. Minnis Bay is not in his patch and the poor public over there have got JW. Which reminds me, whatever happened to his Minnis Bay Gay Day or was that just another wind up.

    As to, Michael, please do not worry yourself about the Conservatives. They have common ground with the true independents, but not these others who have formed a party and traded their support for Labour in return for lucrative appointments. You should be more worried about how many of the Thanet Independent Group will be left after the next election.

    By the way, my daughter is mortified you found that first edition of The Professor before her.

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    1. Allan, as to me, I am hoping that the local Conservative group will complete the metamorphosis from pride in being seen as the Thanet mafia into a credible and united opposition.

      I would say that their common ground with the independents who. What? Tell the truth all the time? Is as much of a problem, due to old ill feeling between individuals as their lack of common ground with the untrue independents.

      I guess also the assumption that TIG is universally supportive of the Labour group, or that their motives are primarily pecuniary may be a bit wide of the mark.

      What realistically do you see as the outcome of the next election?

      As for The Professor, I would guess it will ultimately sell on the internet for about £350, although I tend to wait until my walk in customers have had the pick of the better books that come my way, like all collector dealers I am always more interested in exchanging books, for books; than mere money.

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  5. Serious question (for those in the know): Do other local councils in East Kent (Canterbury, Dover, Ashford, Shepway, Swale) have the same problems with squabbling councillors as Thanet? Certainly when I lived in Herne Bay throughout most of the 90s I can't recall there being much in the local press.

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    1. Peter before I traded in Thanet we had a chain of bookshops in Hertfordshire, Stevenage Bookshop, Welwyn Bookshop, Hitchin Bookshop and Peyton Books in St Albans. Councillors were always much in evidence in the various town centres, trying to get theirs the most prosperous in the area, here the first time I have ever encountered a group of councillors visiting the shops in the town centre and introducing themselves was when the new Labour cabinet in the company of ward councillors, did so recently here in King Street. Obviously I see individual councillors as book customers and the rest only at election time.

      I recall Hertfordshire councillors asking me about many things like rubbish, parking, supermarkets, bus routes, I recall them telling me about their plans to improve things but I never never recall them telling me what was wrong with the other councillors.

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  6. How interesting - and inevitable - Michael is your focus once again. I wonder if a Conservative adminstration had proposed cutting the wages of the lowest paid 25% of staff at TDC you would have maintained your stoic silence on the matter, as you have for your favoured labour and TIGS? I doubt it!

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    1. Ah Chris, as David Lodge, biographer of another Wells would say in fictional jest “one decoding is another encoding”

      I appear to be your focus?

      Didn’t know I was maintaining a stoic silence, just though I was avoiding things well covered in other places.

      Personally I don’t think any council officer should earn more than about £1,000 per week, as for the fall in income, come and have a look at the part of Ramsgate I am trying to trade in and ponder the effect on my income.

      Broken road, narrow broken pavements, blocked drains, failed pedestrianisation scheme, well the list goes on.

      You tell me how much you think council officers should be paid, perhaps it should be related to results, I really don’t know.

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    2. Michael, I am with you on a £1,000 salary being more than enough, especially in an area like Thanet where the average wage is way below the national level. Having said that, it is not those higher earners TDC are attacking, but the unfortunates on the lower deck. So we have cuts of up to 25% for the low paid, no cuts for the high paid and a rise for the councillors. What kind of socialism is that and I reckon we would have heard lots from certain people, you included, if a Conservative led TDC had proposed it.

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    3. Tom I don’t think we actually do have cuts of up to 25% for the low paid I think the maximum pay cut suggested was about 8%, I think it was 25% of council staff could see a pay cut of up to about 8%.

      Without knowing who gets paid how much for doing what and which workers would be likely to get a pay cut it is difficult to comment in any meaningful way. I do know that there is a limit to which those producing something tangible can support those who are producing bureaucracy, both in the private and public sector.

      I think when politicians talk about cutting the public sector, it is the officers producing paperwork and not those sweeping the streets or removing the rubbish that they imply they are going to cut. In practice the bureaucracy continues to grow and no political party seems to be able to deal with this at any level of government.

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    4. i find it interesting that tdc paid the hay group a great deal of money about 6 or 7 years ago to regrade the whole of the council, the same company are now carrying out the same exercise for probably another great deal of money. Did they get it wrong last time ? if so are tdc getting a refund of all the money they paid last time, or have they had specific instructions this time just to reduce the salary bill of the majority of the council workers.
      Another case of the chief exec and senior managers thinking that they work so hard cutting everyone elses wages they deserve their over inflated salary.

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    5. As to pay cuts you have to remember who is starving TDC of funds. Thanet have sufferred more than most councils in the country with the scale of the cuts here. Yes there was the transitional payment this year but thats what it was. So what is the council to do? Lay off 10% of the total work force as they have done in prosperous Sevenoaks? And there the number of sick days has risen mainly due to the stress the work force are now under.
      But Michael its only a few months before you will hear from prospective KCC councillors who will put their heads up and you can tell them about your pavements and other problems that are KCC's remit rather than TDC.

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  7. I have just heard that the Italian government has dismissed the entire local council in a southern town owing to its alleged corruption and infiltration by the mafia.
    I am certainly not suggesting that TDC is festering either of these unpleasant activities. Just wondering how much more councillor codswallop and nonsense can prevail before someone who has the power to dismiss our present bunch on incompetents takes similar action?
    Vote in May? Not this baby! I would not waste my time and energy on any of 'em!
    Chuck Collins

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    1. As long as everyone follows your example and refuses to vote, Chuck, we are likely to be stuck with those you describe as the present bunch of incompetents. It is only by voting for alternatives that we can bring about change. Why not give UKIP or some decent independent (you know a proper one rather than one who has flipped over from a main stream party like Worrow or Driver) a chance.

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  8. There needs to either be a significant reduction in the number of councillors, or TDC needs to be abolished and amalgamated with another area such as Canterbury or Dover. What do all the councillors actually do? As Michael pointed out, most have no visible presence in their community, though to give them their due both Simon and John are exceptions.

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  9. I have lived in three south london boroughs and also Dover and do not recall such a low opinion of their councils as there seems to be in Thanet. Regardless of the local councillors party there appears to be a large consenus amongst the public here, that the council is generally useless andunable to provide a decent service. Maybe it is small-town thinking or an incorrect perception but I note that I have had more council-related problems here than I ever had at other boroughs.

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    1. anonymous @ 8:28,

      This too is my perception. But it is not the fault of the Councillors. Rather it is our fault for letting them get away with it.

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    2. So what do you suggest we do? Storm TDC headquarters?

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  10. Peter,

    Yours is a tempting thought. However, I suggest that it is best done through the ballot box. We should also hold them to account by bombarding them with requests -demands- for explanations for their actions and inaction. The best method is to drag them out of hiding by way of publicity. For this we require an aggressive and impartial local press. Which we do not have. It would benefit the electorate if some of our councillors were interviewed on TV or Radio by a John Humphries or an Andrew Neil. I suggest that there are rich pickings here. But no one really cares that much. So, Peter, perhaps a peaceful demo outside TDC offices?

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  11. I wish that Thanet had an inquisitive and impartial local press. We have a Radio Station but they merely play music. All politicians must be held to account. But this is extremely difficult at local government level.

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  12. A few years ago I attended a series of protest meetings. At which Councillors and even a TDC Official were asked for help, and to explain themselves. The questioning from the floor was robust. At times the hapless Councillors and Official were savaged by anger and also by forceful intellect (not mine). I learned a lesson here. In the immortal words of Corporal Jones. "they don't like it up 'em".

    In fairness I must add that in the event the Councillors lent their weight to the protest and did a very good job indeed.

    But first they needed to be shown that we the public cared. And this is the way it should be. All of us, Councillors, Officials and the public must always remember that that in our country power comes from the bottom up - and never from the top down. Local Government in particular tends to ignore this vital freedom. It is our task to show them that they do so at their peril.

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    1. The only problem with that is if we get councillors to protest with us then we also get many other councillors just accusing them of jumping on bandwagons are being radical... and then the arguments and sniping worsens.

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    2. Peter,

      So what. Is it not better to reveal the snipers and their intentions. The less that is hidded the better it must be. Besides Peter, since when have you been adverse to a bit of argufying.

      In the example I gave the Councillors were not asked to join the protest, but simply to use their influence within the existing regulations, which they did.

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    3. The difference is I'm not being paid by OUR money to run the place. If I did then hopefully I'd at least try to get along with my colleagues whatever their political (or sexual) persuasion.

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    4. Peter,

      Politicians rarely get along with each other; ego and ambition preclude it.

      Delete
  13. They always agree about how much expenses they can screw out of the tax payer

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    1. No they didn't. Labour introduced the rises almost as soon as they took over. The Conversatives had held them at the same level before.

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  14. Anonymous @ 5:11 PM,

    True but when it all comes on top they will rat on each other and condemn each, providing they think they can get away with it.

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  15. Well said, John, and even within the same party and, in extreme cases, the same family like Ed Milliband on his big brother.

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  16. Thanks Tom,

    Politics is a rough knock about occupation and politicians have a thick skin. They can look after themselves. They do not want our sympathy, or indeed anything else from us, with the exception of our vote. At times I cannot help admiring their resilience. Maybe some just enjoy a good punch up.

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  17. Actually John, some of us do have some principle..we follow through requests from constituents we may disagree with; we take stands on issues which make us unpopular and subject to villification from others; and we do try and stand by those things we said we were going to achieve at election time. After all, most of us only signed up to try and make others lives better as and where we can. Locally, right now, the impact of a hung council sees many reacting to any small group who are vocal in the belief that reacting to vocal voters may help in a tight spot. This is a bit sad, because Thanet right now cries out for some strategic thinking, and there seems to be little of it going on.

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    1. Chris,

      Yes, of course, I know that you are right in what you say. I am guilty of generalising. After all, Laura Sandys is the best constituency MP that Thanet has ever had. She is a decent person. I know that she is principled, that she cares and that she has a sense of duty. But I think you may agree with me that politics is a rough knock about profession, and that rightly or wrongly politicians are not generally held in high regard.

      I agree with your final two sentences. Most of my acidic comments are born out of a similar frustration. Thanet needs rescuing - who can we rely on to do it?

      Note to self: perhaps I should reduce my listening to John Humphries and my watching of Paxman and Andrew Neil.


      Delete
  18. So glad we have some unbiased altruistic councillors prepared to respond to their constituents and attempt to improve people's live. And putting their own popularity on the line and prepared to suffer vilificaton in a cause they believe in. Aren't we lucky?

    But how many are as saintly as Chris Wells?

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