Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I get got by coffee then James Patterson’s Cross trial, Pinch and a punch and some blogging and a bookselling rant.

Sorry about the lack of blog posts for the last couple of days, the aftermath of too much coffee on Sunday that lead to a bad nights sleep and pretty much wiped out any chance of writing something even vaguely coherent, was followed by one of those star books yesterday.

This was Alex Cross’s Trial, I don’t know what it is about the story within the story, particularly when it happens in the middle of what is a very good story anyway, perhaps it is the radical change of subject, perhaps the unexpected. 
 Frankly the stories have to both be very good and so does the storyteller, I think the first time I was really aware that this particular trick had been played on me, to my own benefit was in John Irving’s Garp, so that takes things back to the late 70s.

Anyway I was lifted out of modern American serial killers, something that I have had to ration anyway as I wouldn’t get anything much done if I didn’t, to the Klu Klux Clan and the American deep south of the early nineteen hundreds. That is where yesterday went, so no blog post
 Being in the middle of trying to work out what I think is one of the most serious problems of our time now, the demise of the physical book and the bookshop, I do wonder whether any of our great story tellers would be able to put this problem into a story.         

Very powerful things, good stories and very hard to tell just what affect they have had on the social problems through history.
 The printed books first got going around five hundred years ago, but it wasn’t until around 50 or 60 years ago that the quality books really got into the hands of ordinary people in a big way. I am thinking here of the paperback with a bit more to it than ripping off the bodice or shooting the injuns.

A big mover in this was Allen Lane the bloke who started Penguin Books, but just when or how ordinary people got first hand helds into their pockets is a bit of a mixed thing. Here in the UK it was very class related, my family has had bookshops all my life and I guess I really became aware of the bookshop in around 1960 and it wasn’t until quite a long time after this that I realised that the whole thing was very class related. To be honest there weren’t many good contemporary storytellers whose books you could buy back in the 60s. Home, school libraries, public libraries came up with Christie, McLean, Shute, Wheatley and a few more and I guess the only one of these authors I go back and back to is Neville Shute. Of course it is very different with what are loosely referred to as the classics, I don’t mean the greek and roman stuff here, but mostly English and American literature, we all have this, but there is surprisingly little of it that will keep you turning, good story tellers that is. 
 My own take is that most of this, the story telling book business didn’t really get going until well into the eighteen hundreds, only shaped itself into something really great well into the nineteen hundreds. 

Of course now the choice is massive, the pictures in the post are of the general fiction where the authors surnames start with A and B in my bookshop, so not the crime fiction, children’s fiction, science fiction, horror fiction… well I guess you get the picture.
 Anyway my take is and has been for a long time is that all towns need something like my bookshop, where you get a big range of books that you can actually buy for cheaper than you can buy them on the internet or download them to your kindle.

I think this is particularly to do with getting our children reading and keeping them reading, a great part of this is children living in households where there are books, where the adults read and where families go out an buy books together. 

Sorry a bit of a rant there. 
 The old pinch and a punch blog statistics aren’t really worth bothering about recently, there is very little in terms of consistent regular blogging about Thanet issues at the moment. The big local issues are all there, but mostly it’s all been said.

Save Manston Airport seem to have lost any touch with reality now that the TDC cpo looks like a dead duck. The bottom line being that with two fairly similar proposals, one from River Oak involving Aviation related industry and one from the owners involving non aviation related industry so there really are no grounds for a cpo which would have needed something radically different to tip the public interest business. Perhaps they will wake up and look for a viable route, but at the moment they seem far too busy looking for people to blame. My take is that only something involving historic aviation, grant funding and KCC had any chance of succeeding and now I think this approach, which should have started with a petition to KCC for a public consultation is too late.
 Pleasurama, I have mixed felling about as Cardy Construction are one of the best local firms, so on the one hand I would prefer their involvement than most others, on the other hand I don’t think the approved plans that they apparently wish to build to are viable. This wasn’t I hasten add down to some plot, just a very inexperienced developer drawing up plans for a very demanding site without even being aware that it is a very demanding site. At the moment it is on par with The Turner Gallery, the thing where the prototype got washed away, and in that case experienced engineers and architects were involved.

Dreamland seems to be going to happen although where the council are going to find the money from to buy the site is a bit of an unknown.
 It looks like Ramsgate Pavillion is going to turn into the biggest pub in Europe, once this is certain to happen then I will of course change track and support it as we could have a lot worse. But in the meantime I would like to get a large publicly funded leisure venue like the ones in Margate for Ramsgate.               
The council are steam cleaning the pavements in the town centre Whether this will get as far as King Street and the bookshop seems unlikely although one can but hope.
Oh and Conservative Chris Wells has defected to UKIP which does rather take a lot of the stuffing out of both what he has said here in the past and the position of the so called new Conservatives at TDC.


  1. You're right about the pro-Manstoners Michael. They're lashing out at everyone now and judging by some of their Facebook content, you'd think that their campaign was being 'organised' by David Icke and Rambo.

    On a more serious note, surely with all the video evidence available concerning the way in which they were claiming all sorts in town centres in order to garner signatures, this latest 'petition' should be rejected in advance by TDC in general and Iris in particular. Why should they be allowed another PR stunt with another dodgy petition. Who should be contacted at TDC to make sure that Iris and the councillors aren't yet again played as they were a few months ago? It might be politically expedient for Iris to play along with the charade but if she does, she'll have to answer why to those of us who actually fund TDC, not those from Littlebourne, Maidstone and Delaware.


  2. Weren't the public asked to sign a petition to 'Save the airport' (No mention of the 24/7 cargo-hub and there being NO holiday type flights ) thereby making people think they were 'saving' what was there before?

    Weren't the public asked to sign the petition to prevent a huge housing estate to be filled with 'Londoners' from being built?

    Weren't the public asked to sign a petition to get 6,500 jobs from the American company?

    Whatever it is they've been planning to hand in, it almost certainly won't be what people thought they were signing up for. Are TDC going to take the people of Ramsgate for mugs on Thursday?


  3. So Iris has apparently left the SMA group now? Can anyone verify?


  4. Time for River Oak to start talking to the new owners and just maybe we could still have a smaller air port and with a little hope a new ferry service is not to far away in the new year.

    1. Did River Oak miss a trick when they first offered Ann Gloag the full asking price? Perhaps they should have offered a partnership???????

  5. The Save Manston lot really are digging their own grave.... the current owners have done nothing at all illegal and everything appears totally above board. SMA on the other hand are spouting abuse, crying of corruption, giving misinformation to get people to sign petitions, and seem to be condoning vandalising someone's car when it was spotted locally. Doesn't really help their cause and I wish I could recall my earlier signing of the first petition of support !

  6. Ah well the SMA facebook group 8,500 members of whom I would guess there are only really a handful whose primary objective is a viable airport that ordinary people can fly from in Thanet. Rather like the anonymous commentators here most of them, learning to play the game of contributing to the internet is about the best one can expect, trying to genuinely improve Thanet would be a very big step.

    1. You can't really blame people wanting to comment anonymously about the airport given the vindictiveness of the SMA leaders, even if someone wants to give constructive comments they are struck down...

    2. I guess that once the SMA group lost their objective of saving the airport, which to my mind would and should have included rejecting any aviation use of Manston that looked either economically or environmentally unviable and switched towards both generating anti airport feeling and then criticising what they had generated, that was the end of saving the airport.

      I genuinely feel that there was potential for putting KCC in the position where they subsidised a historic aviation led use for Manston that would have been acceptable all round.

      I have great reservations about large amounts of commercial activity at Manston being environmentally viable, both airfreight hub and industry as Chine Gateway found it is just to expensive to drain the area to the minimum standards required by the EA. Perhaps a new main sewage system there but that would probably lead to another processing plant.

    3. I am pro Manston. I have signed petitions in good faith. I don't follow facebook pages. I have never seen/heard a megaphone man. All I hear is condemnation of SMA supporters. Try as I might I cannot find the invective referred to here. There may well be sites purporting to represent SMA but as far as I can see it is a closed group and comments are not available to non members. So if you are seeing comments you must have joined?

    4. SEMBOB I guess it really depends on what you mean by saving Manston Airport, if you mean saving an airport that you can fly to destinations from the yes I am broadly supportive of that so I did indeed join the facebook group. However if you mean supporting an American property hedge fund in building a an airfreight hub that would be unlikely to get around the environmental constraints to achieve profitability, then this is something else altogether and may not actually be directed at an eventual aviation use for the airport. But I would say that it is fairly usual for people to join facebook groups so they can read the posts there and the fact that people have joined doesn’t necessarily mean that they support the groups objectives. You for instance read the posts here but I don’t assume this means that you agree with all of them. if you do decide to enter the dubious world of facebook I recommend getting some advice and or setting up a practice account where you can make your mistakes without making an idiot of yourself.

      With petitions the basic rule of thumb is to make sure you know which organisation is being petitioned and what the petition prayer is, this should be on the top of the petition page you are signing.

    5. SEMBOB where do you hear condemnation if you do not go on FB where their actions are occurring? Do you perhaps only read this blog. I see screen prints of their moronic behaviour and have friends email me conversations. I have watched a video of megaphone man lying about petitions so I tend to listen when I hear.
      There is a saying if it has 4 legs and barks it isn't a horse. or summat like that anyway.

    6. Barry, When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.

      I have looked on Facebook, perhaps not in the right places. As is usual on this blog and blogs in general, when I ask for proof I get told it's on such and such a page/website, without any link, when a link is the best way of steering people to the right place. You once referred me to ITWT and a video you saw. Firstly I didn't have a clue what ITWT was. Secondly, once I did find out I still could not find the video. A time and date would have been useful.

      I believe Manston should retain some form of aviation business, otherwise there will be several hundred tons of hardcore coming on the market when the runway is demolished.

      Michael, I do have some eggs in the fridge.

    7. Megaphone man was in Deal the other day telling people that signing the petition would mean that 6,500 jobs would be created, "and that it just for starters", and that it would stop Manston becoming an overspill housing estate for thousands of people from London...

    8. SEMBOB today a petition calling on TDC to ban housing at Manston will be handed to Iris before the council meeting. This is an e-petition. Current rules a paper petition can only trigger a debate if 1000 or more bona fide signatures are recieved. Bona fide rules are a recognised Name, address, and postcode from a Thanet ratepayer.
      An e-petition on the other hand can only be verified by a valid email address. So Save Manston shared the link to the e-petition to the rest of the world.
      As a Thanet Ratepayer yourself do you believe any officer time or Council time should be taken up by Mr M, Mouse and his associates when Housing anywhere in Thanet is purely a matter for Thanet Ratepayers?

    9. Barry, some weeks ago I demonstrated on these pages that it was possible to register to vote on an e petition anywhere in the world. I registered on a Derbyshire town council site and on somewhere in Australia. In order to sign an e-petition on the Australian site I had to have authorisation in terms of a unique reference number issued against my address. Here I have managed to sign e-petitions twice, not Manston, using two different email addresses, so the UK/Thanet system is unsafe. And Save Manston didn't share it with the rest of the world because I for one never saw the link.

      I am not a Thanet ratepayer, I am a Thanet council tax payer. I presume that you wish to see houses built on Manston? My preferment is to see Manston fly again, but what will be will be. I only wish that A. Gloag had been open and above board from the start instead of stating that she was going to make Manston work, then closing it a few months later. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, and in many others too.

    10. It's not "purely a matter for Thanet Ratepayers", not when there's the possibility of both jobs and flights for people outside the area.

    11. SEMBOB your stab in the back view of Gloag is of your own making. She bought the site for £1 and brought in staff to run it and found after 6 months it was unlikely to be a success (as everyone else at Manston have found out over the years) and closed it after 6 months. Like everyone else she saw no credibility in Riveroak. She then auctioned off the assets for c.£30k. And is probably having secret talks with KCC again. Canny businesswoman that's all. And dealing with idiots like Gale or Iris who think that a CPO is viable.

    12. Anon @ October 02, 2014 7:57 pm

      Remember Thanet Bus and how Stagecoach allegedly drove the company off the road by using underhand tactics as alleged by a Panorama programme. As for stabbing in the back, A.Gloag lied to a member of parliament about her intentions.

      And what a preposterous thing to say. That my view is a stab in the back of my own making. I don't even know what you mean by it. I'm sure that there are many ex Manston employees, I'm not one, who might hold a different view to yours.

    13. SEMBOB why do you dissemble. As a COUNCIL TAX payer do you not feel that only those that pay can ask THANET COUNCIL to accept a petition that causes expense for THANET COUNCIL?

    14. What's with the shouting Barry? There's no need.

    15. No need to shout Barry. The TDC has an E-petition service. This is open to all, worldwide. If you don't agree, get a petition up to stop it. And I think your use of the word "dissemble" is inappropriate. I was not aware that I was giving a false or misleading representation.

    16. Sembob you do dissemble. Tell us about Thanet Bus from yesteryear although we never heard you complain when gloag bought Manston a year ago.

      Like SMA you're trying to fluff up outrage over Gloag closing a bust Manston. Gale wasn't lied to Gloag said she was trying to make the airport work but it wasn't. Gale is hardly squeaky clean over say the pollution...

    17. Regarding Thanet Bus anon @ 11:23 pm. It was alleged, in the panorama programme, that Stagecoach, owned by A. Gloag and her brother, operated buses on the same route, in similar livery to Thanet Bus. Customers were unaware that they were not on a Thanet bus. The end result was that Thanet bus was driven off the road. The clip from Panorama was available on YouTube but has been withdrawn for copyright reasons. It was known as bus wars. This is the link to the YouTube page,

      And why should I complain when somebody buys a business that appears to be struggling and promises to put it back on its feet in two years? And ask Sir Roger Gale if he was lied to.

    18. Why then did you not complain about Gloag buying Manston?

      Gale says lots of foolish things repeatedly. There is not one shred of evidence that Gloag bought Manston to close it. I agree the £1 purchase with Infratil is suspect but you want to gloss over that and the pollution.

      The reality Sembob is your an elderly Manston or plane fanatic with no credible view on Manston. At least SMA were employed by it.

    19. One day Anon @ 9:09 pm you will be elderly too but I was probably flying into Manston before you were a twinkle in your father's eye, and visiting air shows there when Pontius was a pilot, and your forbears were still in short trousers.

      If your attitude to the elderly is based on what I say here then I hope you will not have to put up with the likes of yourself when you reach maturity.

      I have to go now because matron wants to use the computer. Tempers Fugit.

  7. Perhaps a new STOL airport MF Littlebourne would tick all of Beau and SMA's boxes!

  8. They could entice the former Manston C.E.O. Back. After all, he made a great success of City Airport...


  9. When Is it going to stop?

    On Saturday, Iris had a meeting with the Manston Picklers and told them that Riveroak had, via a holding company or some such financial babble nonsense, a 40% stake in Gatwick.

    All presented as fact by Iris Johnston. The Picklers went off, contacted the relevant people, confronted Iris with the truth and she admitted/realised/ that she was wrong.

    This is now getting beyond a joke bearing in mind the fact that we appear to have a council leader who would appear incapable of knowing whatnshe's saying or doing from one day to the next.

    The CPO is dead in the water and more than one political career is drowning.

    Please, everyone, contact Iris and the relevant Thanet District Council officers tomorrow if you haven't already and stop the 'petition', this madness from infecting our lives anymore.

    No CPO.

  10. Michael, can I ask why you're publishing comments calling cllrs plump windbags?

  11. Windbags they may be but that is nothing on the description that can be given to the two named in the attack on Chris Wells in the South Thanet Cons Cllr Wells statement. What gives them the right to expose his situation that was probably discussed in private with his then colleges. I hope he takes them to task.a

  12. I agree 11:34 unpleasant attacks from Bob's crew of cronies. With Chris now in UKIP there is no/smaller Tory majority at TDC. The Indpedents and UKIP must hold the balance of power now? Let's hope they reject the Pleasurama, CPO and Pavilion plans sharpish.