Posted by: maisiegrace | March 22, 2009

Up, down and up in Margate

Wow what a beautiful sunny day! Finally I can remember what summer is like. Predictions are that we’ll have a great summer in Margate – good weather forecast and an appalling Euro exchange rate. Hurrah! Margate seems to be finally getting its act together. At last we’re getting a few more decent places to eat, drink and chill. Looking forward to the Pie ‘n’ Mash shop opening and also the new cafe on the harbour arm. Apparently there is a deli opening soon in the Old Town as well. I hope the first part of the Turner Contemporary structure will come out of the ground soon – it will be shocking and every new bit will change the whole look of the place. Some people will hate it, some will love it. I just want to see the spectacle.

On the flip side, I’m still totally frustrated by how horrible it is along the Marine Parade strip and I’m struggling to be impressed by the heritage theme park plan for Dreamland (although I don’t have any better ideas to be honest). A glimmer of hope is the ‘for sale’ sign on the Tivoli/DV8 building. I do hope someone buys it and does something tasteful with it. That frontage really is gross! Full marks to the folk who own the arcade with the tanning salon along there – a simple new banner has actually made it look OK.

With the exception of Ingoldsby, the arts community seems to have hibernated this winter but it looks like there are going to be lots of exhibitions over the summer. Everything kicks off on April 3rd with events at Turner, the Harbour Arm Gallery and Limbo. I hope the influx of artists into the studios in Margate brings more galleries soon, but we desperately need to attract the higher value tourists to make them viable. It will happen, I’m confident of that. Give it a couple of years.

Posted by: maisiegrace | February 22, 2009

What is Margate thinking….?

What is Margate thinking...?

What is Margate thinking...?

Posted by: maisiegrace | January 20, 2009

One significant step for man; one giant leap required for mankind

Today was a memorable day. The inauguration of Barack Obama is truly a significant step forward for the world. Given the segregation which still existed in the US even 50 years ago, it is truly remarkable to see a black US President. He may have won a lot of support simply because he is black, but fortunately he seems like a decent and intelligent bloke as well.

I’ve always found racism totally ridiculous. I guess it’s understandable for some people to have difficulty understanding other cultures and to be xenophobic if they don’t know any better, but to judge someone because they are a different shade of brown is SO laughable. I would apply this statement anywhere in the world, actually. Please don’t think I am trivialising anything or disregarding the struggle for black recognition. I’m white and Western, and have never been on the receiving end of generations of racist stupidity and evil, and I simply can’t imagine how that makes someone feel. But I think racism is just so last year.

I actually think Obama’s blackness is potentially more significant to the rest of the world than to the US. The ramifications of having a non-white man with the middle name of Hussein in that position is fascinating. It’s a shame he can’t tick the foreign policy box on his CV but hopefully he’ll learn. If he doesn’t, he’s going to look like a white plonker in a black skin.  Anyway, he has done his job. He was voted in. He made history. Top bloke.

And finally I get to my point. The election of Obama is highly significant, but when, oh when, are we going to address the huge elephant in the room? Today’s ceremony encapsulated it all – popularity, intelligence, style, Aretha Franklin (respect!!), great policies, uplifting speeches, ceremony, solemnity, 21st-century technology, ambitions of world peace, and…. religion. What?!

I am so saddened that politicians have to pretend to have religious belief to be successful. I guess they have to because it gives them credibility by making them appear honest (and gets them the ‘religious’ vote) but essentially it’s because senior positions in establishments still demand it. Why are we in the Dark Ages over this? I know my history enought to know how religion has shaped the establishment over centuries, but this is the 21st century! We have science, we have education, we have free-thinking. Much of the world lives in a secular way and most educated people are skeptical or agnostic at the very least. We are hanging to to a part of history which has no place in the real world.

To me, this pretence at religion completely undermines any trust I may have for a person from all the other evidence. (Of course, they could (like Tony Blair?) actually believe it, which is even more worrying.) I am simply at a loss to know how an educated, intelligent person can seriously expect real respect if, in the middle of doing their job admirably, they scuttle off to mass to mutter mumbo jumbo to their imaginary friend or try to pretend what they’re saying is driven by something akin to fairies at the bottom of the garden (not my phrase – Richard Dawkins’). Credibility? Honesty? Don’t be ridiculous.

The giant leap I refer to? The vitally necessary secularisation of major Western governments which would allow the appointment of an atheist to a senior position in world politics. The colour, race or gender of that person is unimportant they would get my vote for their honesty every day of the week. I can’t see this happening in the US for a very long time but then who thought there would be a black President 50 years ago?

Posted by: maisiegrace | January 2, 2009

What’s on?

Hello again and a Happy New Year to all. I was far too involved with my own stuff at the end of last year to even think about blogging. I admire all the prolific bloggers who managed to carry on churning it out!

I also found myself being quite out of touch with what’s going on. I’ve found it takes some serious effort to discover what’s happening in Thanet in terms of entertainment, arts, music, and interesting things in general. The Isle mag is great but published too far ahead to be complete. I suppose we have the local papers and other publications like the WWW leaflet but I know a lot of events and cool things don’t appear, especially if they’re not highly commercial. TDC have listings but they’re a bit patchy too. Incidentally, I wonder what happened to the Thanet Leisure blog? I’ve also seen AdVenture, Margate Handbook and various free ad things for goods and services but they’re hardly inspiring. 

It’s all a bit disjointed. Is it because Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs are too busy competing with each other rather than pulling together? In Oxford there’s a fantastic flyer called Daily Info (also online www.dailyinfo.co.uk). It’s obviously current, and targets a reasonably intelligent readership despite being cheap and cheerful. Daily Info has always been centred around students which is hardly the Thanet demographic, but I wonder whether something similar could succeed here? There certainly seems to be a need, and I’d like think there are enough interested/interesting people in Thanet to make it work. Not being a media mogul, though, I may be dreaming again.

Posted by: maisiegrace | December 6, 2008

Pucka Rokka!

I’d like to congratulate Rokka for opening their new bar on Margate seafront. From the smell of paint their boys had clearly been working around the clock to get the doors open last night, but well done. They have a great product in Ramsgate and have been one of the few businesses with the foresight to grab a key position in Margate. I hope other people will follow their example. Restauranteurs, licencees, retailers – stop sitting on your hands and be part of it! Good luck and all credit to Rokka.

Posted by: maisiegrace | December 6, 2008

Fairport Convention in Margate

fairport1 

News for all you old hippies out there. I have just heard that, for the first time ever, Fairport Convention are playing in Thanet. Not Broadstairs, not Ramsgate, Margate! They are starting their tour on 2nd May 2009 at the West Coast Venue on King Street in Margate. Tickets via www.westcoastlive.co.uk.

Posted by: maisiegrace | November 25, 2008

The truth about Sir Bob

I’d like to dispel all the myths and rumours about why Sir Bob has done a U-turn on his visit to Margate this weekend. It’s actually because he heard that both the Ingoldsby Gallery on Lombard Street AND Jofi on the Harbour Arm are opening that weekend, and he just couldn’t ignore the fact that Margate is where it’s really happening! He called me and said he was looking forward to buying some great pressies for his nearest and dearest and, as a man with his finger on the pulse, he realised that Faversham/Qatar really weren’t where it’s at any more.

Posted by: maisiegrace | November 23, 2008

Well done, Tony

It’s great that Tony Flaig of BigNewsMargate fame was invited to appear on the BBC Politics Show today. It gives credibility to the blogging community who care and give so much, it illustrates the importance of the voice that bloggers have, and it acknowledges their contribution.  I’m delighted it wasn’t ECR, who can’t see beyond his enormous ego on the subject, and would never appear on camera despite all his ‘media chums’.

Tony, you did really well. Live TV is very scary and you made your points superbly. I did think you went on too much about Northdown House etc (a bit too local for the viewership maybe?) but I understand why you did it, as the Turner Contemporary is part of a bigger picture which needs to be addressed. I thought that your piece was very well aligned with Derek Harding’s message who also talked about the importance of Dreamland and the town in general. Well done, and keep up the good blog!

Posted by: maisiegrace | November 10, 2008

29th November 2008

…is the day Sir Bob comes to town. He’s switching on the Christmas lights at 5pm. I think it takes some balls to come back to Margate after his unpopular summary of the place earlier in the year, and I hope he gets a good reception.  I gather there are various things going on that evening, hopefully fireworks. One definite event is a pre-Christmas market (in the Market Place, surprisingly enough) so I hope the cynics amongst you will take the time to come, with an open mind, and see what the Old Town looks like now.

It’s not exactly a complete destination yet but the Old Town/Harbour Arm area should be a place to visit if you are looking for interesting Christmas gifts. Here’s what you’ll find:

Qing (pronounced Ching) – a great range of gifts from China and Japan (open Thurs – Sun).
Jofi (opening on the Harbour Arm in the next couple of weeks) – ‘Gorgeous Gifts for Girls’, and it really is!
Sci Fi and Comic World – great gift ideas for small and big kids.
Flower Lab – dramatically different floristry.
Old Town Gallery – fabulous diverse selection of handmade jewellery, ceramics and interesting things.
Cutting’s Jewellers – beautiful collection of new and quality second-hand jewellery.
gallery IOTA on the Harbour Arm – free to wander around and some original art to buy.
Another new gallery in the Pie Factory building I think – sorry no details yet but opening soon and apparently nice stuff.

For those ladies (or gentlemen) who lunch, try The Harbour Cafe, Cafe G, Rokka (opening soon), No 6 Market Place, The Indian Princess (yummy dosas), or You Smoothie on the High Street. Revitalize on the Market Place also does lovely treatments and massages.

Please note: Margate Old Town/Harbour Arm area is the first in Thanet to be designated a SSCI (Site of Special Chav-free Interest). Chavs are a declining species in this area and are usually shot on sight on the assumption that they have either just committed a crime or are just about to. It’s good for the environment.

Posted by: maisiegrace | November 10, 2008

Thanet Quality Foods

I thought I would join the ‘favourite places’ bandwagon and tell you about a favourite shop of mine. Thanet Quality Foods is opposite Nat West on Northdown Road and has a red and white-striped canopy. For a regular-sized shop it sells the most amazing array of goodies. It reminds me of shops in various parts of London and it’s great to have it in Thanet. If you are thinking of cooking Indian, Caribbean, Thai, or any other interesting food, this place is a must.

They sell pretty much everything you need to inspire you to cook – randomly: paneer, okra, egusi, rose water, gram flour, local halal meat, nuts, noodles, ready-made tarka dal, loads of spices and maybe some things you have never heard of. The large bottles of fish sauce and handfuls of fresh coriander are far cheaper than the microlitres/sprigs you get in a supermarket. If you can’t find something the guy who runs it is really knowledgeable and helpful. The only problem is you might leave having bought far more than you went in there for, but I’m sure you will be pleased with yourself when you unload your booty at home.

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