May 14-20, 2022
SATURDAY 14 The best word I can think of to describe Margate is faded. We went to the Carl Freedman Gallery to experience Tracey Emin’s pain.
The Shell Grotto was likewise the product of a weird obsession. The Margate seafront is still attractive in a decrepit kind of way and nearby Palm Bay and Cliftonville are the perfect places to sit and check out the shipping lanes of the English Channel.
We had a sandwich in Sandwich and plotted a new crime drama set among the yachts and boats of Sandwich Marina.
📌 We searched for a pizza to partner the FA Cup final and the Eurovision Song Contest on TV. One of the places we looked at had the following online review…
“This is the worst of the worst pizza I have ever tasted. Couldn’t finish it. It was supposed to be a vegetarian pizza…. no cheese, no veg, one tiny half slice of mushroom and so thin crust, it was like a crisp… to charge £10 for this thing that cost the company 50p! Any good reviews probably came from drunk people… Unbelievable tasteless and most stingy dry pizza. Shame on them.”
📌 Liverpool beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on penalties. It is a poor way for a team to win a prestigious trophy and a bad way for any team to lose.
SUNDAY 15 Following Ukraine’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest President Zelenskiy has promised to hold next year’s final in Mariupol.
📌 Margate is still growing on us. Strangeness is attractive and we have a history of sniffing out weird museums. In Spain we found a museum of sausages. In Portugal we found a museum of sardines. In Yorkshire there is a museum of pencils. Margate has a crab museum, which triggered a recollection from our friend Jaq on her girlhood method of capturing a plump crab on the beach. But despite being a Margatonian she had never heard of the legend of the Margate Crab…
In 1862, local fisherman Thomas Gaskell caught a gigantic crab the likes of which had never been seen before. At 2.5m across, Gaskell knew that such a catch would fetch a handsome price at the market. But as he reeled the giant sea creature in, he took pity on it and decided to spare its life. Gaskell brought the crab back to his cottage at Palm Bay and fed it chopped eels. The crab ate greedily and showed a strange interest in the world of humans, grasping and ungrasping things in an attempt to learn. But word soon got out, and the people of Margate rallied against this friendship between man and beast.
📌 The Old Kent Market stands on the former site of a once-busy Margate cinema and has been restored and converted into a cosy home for a bunch of independent food and craft stalls, which include a red double-decker bus and a tiny room that styles itself as “the smallest pub in Britain”.
📌 The Turner Contemporary art gallery works better architecturally from the inside than the outside, from where it looks like a massive carpet warehouse. Inside it is spacious and welcoming.
MONDAY 16 BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner had a big moan on Twitter about Heathrow Airport. They left him stranded in an empty plane because no one could find his wheelchair.
📌 Also on Twitter is a reminder of the brilliance of TV’s Father Ted. It was even more brilliant because binge-viewing Father Ted is how my French nephew learned to speak perfect English.
📌 A report in the Guardian claims that business in Northern Ireland has adapted to the EU Protocol and is thriving. Business leaders are telling Boris to shut up and make it work instead of stoking up trouble with the EU. Manufacturing in NI outperforms the rest of the UK and inflation is lower. The Protocol was, remember, always meant to be a soft cushion to a hard Brexit. And after some teething pain, it has worked in that way. What hasn’t worked is the UK government negotiating a real trade agreement with the market it chose to exit.
📌 I love it when nouns transition into verbs…
It reminded me of a time long ago when in south London as I strolled home from the pub I was egged by laughing youths in a passing vehicle. My wife (then girlfriend) thought it was hilarious.
TUESDAY 17 A woman in London located her stolen car using GPS and stole it back.
📌 Sam put some very spooky clouds into her picture of those stony faces on Easter Island.
📌 Ed McBain’s Money, Money, Money has an irritatingly late plot deviation in which a bunch of Islamist terrorists appear as if by magic in a conventional story about who killed the drug-smuggler veteran pilot and fed them to the lions in the zoo – the result being that different body parts ended up in different police precincts.
WEDNESDAY 18 As inflation hits 9% money-saving expert Martin Lewis says he has run out of ideas on how to tackle rising prices.
📌 Deliveroo riders went on strike in Dubai, and won. One of them is quoted telling bosses “We are humans, not donkeys.”
📌 It’s hard to imagine what kind of relationship with Europe Russia wants. Or if it wants one at all.
📌 I sent a sick note to art class this morning but finished the project we started last week on the subject of numbers. It is a memory picture based on the number 15. bus, on which I travelled to my first job in London. The bus in the image is scrawled with the names of key people and places from that time.
THURSDAY 19 TV’s Derry Girls finished last night with what looked like a plea to Boris not to screw with the peace in Ireland. As the ‘Girls’ (one of them is a boy) all turned 18 they got the chance to vote on the Good Friday Agreement. The whole finale was charged with the emotion of history (personal and political) being a struggle made joyous by fellowship and togetherness. Fatboy Slim’s Praise You was the ever-present theme tune.
📌 At Headway we sat in the art studio talking about names when Oriel let slip: “Actually, my middle name is Monet.”
📌 The Headway kitchen team were doing a lunchtime takeover at Café Oto, so a small group of us bundled down there to frighten them with our orders.
FRIDAY 20 The Economist warns of an impending global food crisis as the war in Ukraine disrupts the supply of staples such as bread. There is the hint of a suggestion here that this in fact is Putin’s real war: fuel and food are his weapons of choice.
📌 In the Ruth Rendell short story A Dark Blue Perfume a bitter and lonely retiree obsesses about his ex-wife Catherine, who got pregnant by and ran off with another man 40 years earlier. Now, with nothing else to fill his days, he tracks her down, obsesses some more then resolves to kill her. You expect the moment their eyes meet to be revealing – and it is – but not quite in the way you thought.
📌 The police investigation into Partygate is coming under the cosh from critics claiming a lack of transparency and the scapegoating of the little people.
This was a major scandal at the heart of government, at the heart of the civil service, and we remain very much in the dark about who was involved, who organised the parties, and who was responsible.Lord Macdonald, former director of public prosecutions
📌 Positive News reports an upsurge in polination activity.
📌 A new stitchwork based on one of Cecil’s drawings is in the works.
📌 Absolute Radio 70s has a filler strand called Make Me A Winner. Listeners submit their phone numbers to the station and at some time during that day they “might” get a call. If they answer after fewer than 10 rings and say immediately “Make me a winner”, they get the jackpot. If they say “hello” or “yo”, or anything other than “Make me a winner”, they get nothing and the jackpot rolls over to the next call. The current jackpot stands at £100,000.
📌 Boris’s dad has become a French citizen.