Issuu on Google+

E FRE

The Weekender Issue Eight Winter 2013

The Motoring Issue

www.weekenderonline.net

‘EAST KENT LIFE AT ITS BEST’ ISSUE EIGHT/ WINTER 2013

THE MOTORING ISSUE

My Car’s A Star

Alan Davies: “It started in Whitstable” Best Drives in East Kent Viva Espana! Tapas Revolution PLUS: Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay John Cooper Clarke Q&A How to Set a Festive Table / Great Gift Ideas www.weekenderonline.net


23-27 HARBOUR STREET, BROADSTAIRS, KENT CT10 1EU T. 01843 865126 WYATTANDJONES.CO.UK


Contributors

This issue’s contributors discuss their motoring experiences.

‘EAST KENT LIFE AT ITS BEST’ ISSUE EIGHT / WINTER 2013 / FREE

Horst Friedrichs is an internationallyrenowned photographer based in London. His books include Cycle Style and Or Glory: 21st Century Rockers. His latest, Drive Style, is out now (Prestel). What car do you own? A very boring 10-year-old Mercedes A-Class. What’s your favourite journey in it? Going with the family to Dungeness in Kent. What would be your dream car? DeLorean DMC-12 or a Citroën DS19 Cabriolet.

Sue Austen is an independent film and television producer living in Herne Bay. She co-organised the Marcel Duchamp Festival in August. Her credits include Donovan Quick (starring Colin Firth) and Vicious Circle. She has been nominated for two BAFTAs and sits on the Kent Film Board. What car do you own? I drive a 10-year-old, slightly battered Volvo estate. What’s your favourite journey in it? France is always a favourite. Or anywhere where I can take my dog Maisie for a long walk. What would be your dream car? I don’t dream about cars, but have always loved the idea of owning a VW camper van.

Soren Hawkes is a British artist living in Belgium. His studio, where he painted our Local Hero Walter Tull, is just yards from the Menin Gate Memorial which commemorates over 50,000 war dead. What car do you own? An old Vauxhall Astra which is ideal for my tours around the World War One battlefield sites in leper (Ypres). What’s your favourite journey in it? To all the sites nearby where our ancestors fought so bravely. What would be your dream car? I'd really like a World War One ‘Old Bill’ type bus, failing that a Citroen 2CV, but in camouflage.

Editor’s Letter Welcome to the winter issue.

As you may have noticed from our front cover, we are all about easing into buffed leather seating and taking the motor for a spin around the block. Not in a Top Gear kind of way you understand (we don’t care much for bhp, torque and other technical details) but as a genuine appreciation of vehicles that turn our heads and make the heart beat that little bit faster. The car knockers may argue that the automobile is a Grade A pollutant and a drain on both our finances and the world’s natural resources. They’re right. They are also a curse on our town centres and a menace to pedestrians and cyclists, yet we still love them. Perhaps this paradox is explained by the fact that the motor car is one object that perfectly expresses our aspirations, our tastes and our identity; witness the muddy old Land Rover transform a suburbanite into the country squire, or the cute Fiat 500 lending a touch of la dolce vita to the shopping mall car park. Here in East Kent, we meet a selection of drivers whose individuality goes hand-in-hand with the vehicle they drive (page 24), and— strap yourselves up in the back!—we guide you along the area’s most breath-taking roads (page 50). We can’t promise Route 66 or the Grande Corniche, but we hope to inspire you and your chosen vehicle with a mix of coastal, country and off road experiences. Elsewhere in the magazine we profile How To Look Good Naked photographer

Mike Owen (page 7) and the affable Jonathan Creek and QI star Alan Davies (page 58). The actor/comedian regales us with stories of Canterbury student life in the 1980s and of getting his big break in Whitstable’s Labour Club. On a rather more surreal note we learn about the unusual association between Herne Bay and the influential French artist Marcel Duchamp (page 28). This partly explains why a giant upturned urinal was spotted roaming the beach in August! We also meet punk poetry legend John Cooper Clarke (page 13) who, it transpires, is required reading on the GCSE syllabus—just ask the Arctic Monkeys or Plan B. And if, by the time you read this, you are pining for much brighter and warmer climes, then why not take a trip with us to sunny Spain for some sherry served up with tapas (page 46)? Small, spicy Mediterranean dishes are fast becoming the norm here too, and we sample some local versions (page 39) while serving up an authentic Spanish recipe for you to try at home (page 37). Alongside some super-stylish and totally unique property conversions (page 40) and our regular interiors and beauty experts to help you through the festive period (pages 54–55), we hope that The Weekender adds a little chink of brightness to your midwinter. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the Porsche Carrera (page 15) on my Christmas list. Here’s hoping!

Editor

on the cover: Becky and Scott, 1966 Jaguar S1 4.2 Roadster, 2013 © Horst A. Friedrichs. From the book Drive Style by Prestel www.horstfriedrichs.com

The Weekender 3


19

54 INTERIORS Ross Duttson on how to make your table settings more festive

07

7–19 OUT & ABOUT

24–27 PEOPLE

News, views and must-do events

Let three local car enthusiasts show you their beloved motors

Photo story: Mike Owen on fashion, glamour and style by the seaside British Wildlife Photography Award Exhibition Q&A John Cooper Clarke If you are only going to do 3 things this winter… Drive Style It’s a Numbers Game: Driving in Britain Independent jewellers East Kent Original Christmas gift ideas

28–30 TALE How Herne Bay celebrated the long-forgotten visit of Marcel Duchamp 32–39 FOOD & DRINK The Spanish tapas revolution hits East Kent Let’s Make: Clams with sherry and Serrano ham The Perfect Weekend…Tapas

21 OPINION

40–45 SPACE

Jane Wenham-Jones on why she loves her car and what annoys her when she’s in it

From worship halls to windmills: fabulous homes that once served altogether different functions New homes feature: The Lanes, Ash The Curio

23 LOCAL HERO First World War hero Walter Tull, the army’s first black British officer

55 BEAUTY Our beauty experts on what she really wants this Christmas 56 JUST THE JOB Richard Barber, garage owner and racing driver 58 MY EAST KENT LIFE Alan Davies on his student days in Canterbury and what makes being middleaged funny photo: tony briggs

58

46–49 TRAVEL Taking a tour of the sherry, brandy and wine bodegas in Jerez, Spain

37

50–53 ACTIVITY Five roaring great drives The List:Motoring in East Kent

Publisher and editor Dan Synge dan@the-weekender.net Graphic Design dan@danadamsdesign.com Features Writer Bess Browning Contributing Editor (Food & Drink) Tom Moggach

4 The Weekender

Contributors: Jane Wenham-Jones, Jo Willis, Sean Preston, Lily Guy-Vogel, Natalie Shirlaw, Lynn Taylor, Frances Prescott, Ross Duttson, Peter Cocks, Horst Friedrichs, Andrew Lycett, Soren Hawkes, Sue Austen, David Cross, Matteo Sedazzari

The Weekender is a free independent magazine distributed to over 300 select outlets in and around East Kent. Copies are available quarterly in Canterbury, Faversham, Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Sandwich, Deal, Folkestone and beyond. Subscribe to The Weekender for just £16 a year* (4 issues) *includes postage Details: info@the-weekender.net


Contents Issue Eight / Winter 2013 “Give me a PC and the internet, and six years later you would find me buried underneath a pile of pizza boxes!�

49 13

56

See the issue online at: www.weekenderonline.net Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ theweekendermag Or follow us on Twitter @kentweekender For advertising enquires please contact: advertising@the-weekender.net For editorial enquires please contact: info@the-weekender.net

The Weekender 5


NEWS, VIEWS AND MUST-DO EVENTS / OUT & ABOUT

How To Look Good: Naked or Not Photographer Mike Owen is equally at home by the sea as he is on the fevered atmosphere of a fashion shoot By Peter Cocks

T

he light by the seaside has been a constant inspiration to Mike Owen. But while he has lived by the coast for many years, much of his career has been conducted under the controlled glare of studio lighting in the pursuit of beauty. Working alongside the legendary British surrealist photographer, Angus McBean (he shot The Beatles first album cover) Owen picked up the tricks of the trade from a master. “Some of Angus’s controlled studio setups and dark room tricks could be days in the making, with glass plates, multiple exposures and airbrushing—effects that can now be achieved in minutes in Photoshop, or in seconds with an iPhone app,” he points out. Learning his craft the hard way and using clever lighting to flatter and create drama and glamour, Owen then found himself in the right place at the right time during the burgeoning 1980s music scene. �D


OUT & ABOUT

Opening page: Joan Collins steps out in style This page (from left): Singer Annie Lennox still calls on Owen for a perfect portrait; Keira Knightley shows exactly why she is one of the most sought-after cover stars; supermodel Iman brightens up the studio; Brit actress Anna Friel gazes out

H

is first break was an album cover for the Boomtown Rats, and from there on, he was court photographer to the New Romantics, working from his chic riverside studio in London. Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Annie Lennox and others came calling and his work appeared in the hippest magazines of the time. The glitz and flamboyance that rubbed off his subjects made his step into the fashion world a natural one. He soaked up the glamour while learning one of the other important aspects of his business; that of making celebrity clients feel at ease, and dealing with the occasional diva-ish demands of a well-fluffed ego. When probed for gossip on who his most difficult sitters might have been, Owen just smiles sagely and moves on. By the mid-1990s, Owen was working from a converted church he had bought in Kings Cross; limos brought a daily A-list to his Gothic front door: Kylie, The Spice Girls, Sienna Miller, Anna Friel, Kate Moss and Heidi Klum. Such eye-watering weekday work clearly demanded rest and recuperation, and Owen would spend his weekends at Beachway, the house on the seafront in Kingsdown which he had bought with his wife Patty. It was not his first time on the coast. His parents had returned from abroad to Walmer in the 1970s and Owen, returning from school in Geneva, spent his formative years on the Deal coastline. His father, a keen amateur snapper, had a darkroom and buying his first Nikkormat SLR aged 17, Owen’s early photographs were inspired by seaside scenes. Now that he lives full-time on the Kent coast, he continues to take near-daily photographs of the ever-changing light over sea and sky that is the panorama outside his front door. He travels to London only for studio shoots and, a few years ago—given his discreet and flattering eye—he was chosen as house photographer on Gok Wan’s TV show, How to Look Good Naked. Having already worked with some of the world’s top models, it is easy to see the challenge that the show presented him. The results, however, were stunning. “We used no retouching,” he recalls. “Just good lighting, an experienced eye, 8 The Weekender


OUT & ABOUT

and the confidence the sitters were given to believe in themselves.” The hit show also spawned a new angle to his work: taking pictures of ‘ordinary people’, making them look their very best, treating them to the same lighting and the experienced eye that had been cast on some of the world’s most beautiful people. “Everyone has a ‘good side’,” he adds. “It’s really a question of being able to see it and bring it out.” On a more local level he created the infamous Raw Deal calendar in association with the Private Widdle Social Club. He photographed various personalities in the buff in a quirky reference to the Calendar Girls model. It featured everyone from nubile musicians to those well past their first flush of youth. “No-one pulled out,” he says, slightly surprised. “The calendar found its way into London advertising agencies, one even ending up on Adam Ant’s kitchen wall. I visit houses where they still have it hanging up!” As he continues to take portraits of his celebrity clients (Annie Lennox and Marc Almond still insist on Owen, 30 years on) he is much in demand as a ‘new society’ photographer, taking portraits—clothed and unclothed— of those who choose to be immortalised by an expert. www.mikeowenphotography.com

“Everyone has a ‘good side’. It’s a question of being able to see it and bring it out”

The Weekender 9


WEDDINGS OCCASIONS PICNICS Take a magical, chauffeur driven ride in our classic 1950’s saloon.

O

O

F

The romance of vintage travel will make your wedding day or celebration all the more special.

PR

WWW.SHOOFFEUR.COM 07885 998 058 01227 771991

O F RO

T}P RO AN AR CH

AN T}P

RO

O F

AR

CH A

N

O F

T}P

AR CH

RO

O

AN

F

T}P

RO

O

F

GLORIOUS VINTAGE TRANSPORT


OUT & ABOUT

Where The Wild Things Are

S

ee flawless natural shots— from marine life to creepy crawlies—at the annual British Wildlife Photography Award Exhibition in Whitstable. George Karbus is the £5,000 prize winner this year with his stunning image of a ‘surfing’ dolphin. Equally as impressive, is Liam Constantine, aged eight, who bagged the junior prize with his brown hare. Chris Packham, the naturalist and TV presenter, says: “These stunning images by so many talented photographers highlight the diversity, breadth and beauty of our precious wildlife.” All 100 images are displayed at Whitstable Museum and Gallery until 5 January 2014. canterbury.co.uk/Canterbury-Museums

illustration: ralph steadman

DRAWING ROOM W

© donald mcgill archive and museum

ith the power to amuse, confront or polarise public opinion, political cartoonists have been integral to the media and, arguably, free speech for hundreds of years. Names like Gillray, Low, Giles and Jon conjure up a golden age of newspaper cartoons, many of which are stored for the nation’s benefit at the University of Canterbury. The collection is open to anyone and researchers can browse an online archive of more than 150,000 cartoons dating back over 200 years. We enjoyed rediscovering the work of Donald McGill, originator of the saucy seaside postcard and Ralph Steadman, the Maidstone-based satirist and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas survivor. The British Cartoon Archive, Templeman Library at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Open weekdays between 9am and 5pm. www.cartoons.ac.uk

the history of colourful researchers , h is to students erial whic fic.’ full of mat ent is terri – the cont s, University

ance Studie

of Sussex

half of the g the first ly twice night , ural life durin d audiences cians ists, magi entertaine rs, ventriloqu birthplace of ics, dance the Variety was rtant influence ude acts. was an impo ’s Theatre show, and wood Joan Little ement to Dury. r Ian unk singe the examining ty theatre, aled to story of varie in which they appe iews with the key ways unpublished interv Hudd. eries of new, Sisters and Roy ley nn, the Bever

 dian r Double -up come Once a stand al media

Kent. nation niversity of and has received Comedy med Stand-Up ghly acclai Inner Workings of the Joke: The Comedian (1997). a Up! On Being

BOOK NEWS I WRITE, I WRITE, I WRITE…

Lecturer and Whitstable-based writer Oliver Double takes you on a journey through time—to The Palladium, The Met, The Chatham Empire and other legendary music halls, detailing every stage technique and interviewing the veterans who conquered the entertainment industry. Does variety have a place in the 21st century? Definitely, he says: “Once you adjust to its unfamiliar conventions, you become more and more excited by it.” Britain Had Talent by Oliver Double (Palgrave Macmillan)

RUM COLLINS

W

riter, yachtsman, philanderer, opium addict…Wilkie Collins was one Victorian author whose life more than matched that of his sensational novels. A friend of Dickens, he wrote about Ramsgate and developed much of his novel The Woman in White while in Broadstairs. Though not married to either woman involved, he established two families in Ramsgate; one with a mistress in Nelson Terrace and another with a lady on the other side of the harbour. Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett (Hutchinson) The Weekender 11


TRADITIONAL PANTOMIME MAKES A WELCOME RETURN TO THE THEATRE ROYAL MARGATE This Christmas sees the arrival of professional production company Polka Dot Pantomimes to the Theatre Royal, as they present the Nation’s favourite pantomime full of magic, laughter, audience participation and spectacular surprises! Starring Scott Wright from Coronation Street as Prince Charming and featuring Lynnette McMorrough from Crossroads as Fairy Superior. BOOK NOW FOR MARGATE’S FINEST FESTIVE TREAT - YOU’RE SURE TO HAVE A BALL! Day/Date

Matinee

Evening

Notes

Sat 14th Dec

Morning

2.00pm

6.30pm

Meet Cast / Gala Night

Sun 15th Dec

2.00pm

Mon 16th Dec

10.15am

Tues 17th Dec

10.15am

1.15pm 1.15pm

Wed 18th Dec

10.15am*

1.15pm*

Thurs 19th Dec

10.15am

1.15pm

Fri 20th Dec

10.15am

5.30pm*

Sat 21st Dec

2.00pm

Sun 22nd Dec

2.00pm

Mon 23rd Dec

2.00pm

Tues 24th Dec

2.00pm

Wed 25th Dec

*BSL Signed Performance SOLD OUT *BSL Signed Performance

6.30pm

6.30pm Visit from Santa

Merry Christmas! No Performances

Thurs 26th Dec

2.00pm

Fri 27th Dec

2.00pm

5.30pm

Sat 28th Dec

2.00pm

6.30pm

Sun 29th Dec

SOLD OUT

5.30pm

Tickets*: Adults: £15, Concessions £13 Family of 4: £48, Groups of 10+ £12, Schools £7.50

BOX OFFICE 01843 292795 Book online www.theatreroyalmargate.com *booking fee 50p per ticket in person/phone, £1.50 per ticket online.


OUT & ABOUT

If you are only going to do 3 things this winter…

John Cooper Clarke With fans such as the Arctic Monkeys and Plan B, the former ‘punk poet’ from Salford is putting performance poetry back in the cultural map Wasn’t one of your influences the great Bob Hope? One of the first gigs I ever went to was Bob Hope and I was already a big fan of his Road movies. It was in 1958, in Manchester and I was nine years old. Apart from me, there was nobody there under the age of 30. I went with my dad’s friend Will, who was a massive fan. My dad was as well, but he could never sit still in the theatre. Bob Hope was telling all these jokes about golf and alimony; I just got swept along with it, but then what does a nineyear-old kid know about golf and alimony? I still thought he was the funniest guy alive. He had a lot to do with me becoming a performer later. I loved the way he never smiled whilst he was telling a joke. And another influence was a teacher who put you onto the poet Charles Baudelaire… I was dead interested in Baudelaire, and I got into him because of Edgar Allan Poe. And that was because the first X-rated film I sneaked into was Roger Corman’s The Fall of the House of Usher starring Vincent Price. I found all of Corman’s films based on Poe’s stories, terrifying. Then I got into reading his books and found the language wonderful. I then discovered that Baudelaire was Poe’s biggest champion in Europe and had translated all his work into French. So I checked him out as well. It’s funny how one thing leads to another! Is it true that The Buzzcocks introduced you to punk?

It was Howard Devoto’s idea that I did some punk gigs because I was doing Mr Smith’s in Manchester, a working man’s club. They had artists such as Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey and Tony Christie as the main acts. If you remember The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club (Granada’s fictional club from the 1970s), well I was like their compere Colin Crompton. I would do a few poems, say a couple of gags and introduce the main act. It was good money at the time; I was getting £20 for 20 minutes work whilst my dad was getting £30 for a week’s work. Even then, I was wondering when the bottom would fall out. Do you often get mistaken for Ronnie Wood? All the time! It’s a massive compliment which I play along with at times. I was in Ireland last year and was sitting in a restaurant—I can understand being mistaken for him in Ireland, because he’s got a gaff out there. I went outside for a cigarette and a Norwegian guy followed me. “Hey, I saw your gig at Oslo,” he said to me. Sometimes it’s less trouble to go along with it, so I replied “Yeah, I‘ll never forget Oslo, what a gig that was!” As he left he said: “Keep on rocking.” He can go back to his mates in Norway and say he had a chinwag with Ronnie Wood, so it’s a win-win situation. You are a bit of a technophobe aren’t you? You don’t have an email address or a mobile phone.

Meet best-selling authors at the annual Folkestone Book Festival. Speakers include Lionel Shriver, Kate Adie, Anthony Beevor and Doug Scott. Folkestone Book Festival 15–24 November www.folkestonebookfest.com

The reason I haven’t got a computer is because you would never see me again. I know how great the internet is, and that’s why I won’t go anywhere near it. I had my daughter sitting down with me once with her laptop, and I said “Get me Dion and The Belmonts now”, and within three seconds, she got Runaround Sue, and that is everything I could possibly want out of life. Give me a PC and the internet, and six years later you would find me buried underneath a pile of Domino’s pizza boxes! I understand that some of your poems are now on the GCSE syllabus. Yeah, that’s what you get when you put hippies in charge of education! Interview by Matteo Sedazzari. A longer version is available to view at www.zani.co.uk

Treat yourself to a proper coffee at the Micro Roastery in Canterbury’s burgeoning ‘coffee quarter’ around St Margaret’s Street. Taste aromatic blends from Tanzania, Brazil, Colombia and beyond. Micro Roastery 4 St Margaret’s Street, Canterbury www.microroastery.co.uk Remember the life and work of children’s book illustrator Edward Ardizzone with a talk by his grandson Dominic Clemence. The Astor Community Theatre in Deal is exhibiting paintings by Ardizzone throughout December. Astor Community Theatre, Deal. 13 December www.theastor.org

John Cooper Clarke plays the Theatre Royal, Margate on Saturday 30 November theatreroyalmargate.com The Weekender 13


OUT & ABOUT

Top: Becky and Scott get to work on an Eagle E-Type Middle: Richard leans against his 1954 Austin at the Goodwood Revival Bottom: Tim takes his 1919 Grafton Cyclecar out for a spin

ALL REVVED UP AND SOMEWHERE TO GO THE ENGLISH AND THEIR LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE MOTOR CAR is the subject of a new book by German-born photographer Horst Friedrichs. Finding his well-dressed enthusiasts at vintage car festivals, heritage days and race meetings, his photos are an aesthetically pleasing tribute to an on-going obsession with the combustion engine. There are lovingly-restored old bangers, elegant period pieces, cool custom hot rods and some seriously fast motors on show —you can almost smell the waxed leatherette and Simonized chrome. For anyone who doubts that cars—and their owners! — can be objects of beauty. Drive Style by Horst A. Friedrichs is published by Prestel (£19.99)

14 The Weekender


OUT & ABOUT

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE 911…

It’s A Numbers Game: Driving in Britain RESEARCH BY LILY GUY-VOGEL

245,000 Miles of road 34.6m Licensed vehicles 109,265 Ford Fiestas sold in a year (the UK’s most popular car)

130,000 Electric and hybrid 1.

It was going to be called the 901 but Peugeot owned the rights to all threedigit model numbers with 0 in the middle. Porsche simply changed the 0 to a 1

2.

In Germany the car is known as the Neunelfer

3.

After five decades in production, its design has hardly altered. No other car on the road today retains its basic 1960s shape

4.

To the annoyance of Jeremy Clarkson, the 911’s six-cylinder engine is located to the rear of the car. An idea which was lifted from its precursor, the VW Beetle

5.

Famous 911 owners include Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lindsay Lohan. David Beckham recently took delivery of a 1969 ‘Steve McQueen’ replica

6.

Over 820,000 have been sold worldwide since its launch in 1963

7.

Only 1,580 models of the Carrera RS were made, making it one of the most collectable sports cars around

8.

The 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 (pictured above) got its name from a famous Mexican road race. Its top speed is 150mph and it goes from 0–60mph in less than six seconds

9.

Used Porsche 911s can be picked up for as little as £15,000 but watch out for hidden costs such as worn out engines (£10,000 to replace) or new suspension forks— nearly £600 a pair!

10.

For investment purposes, the experts recommend the GT3 (from 1999 onwards). What they say: “Future classic”, “Buy of the decade” and “Cult status of a living legend” The Porsche 911 Book, 50th Anniversary Edition, Photographs by René Staud, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com

cars registered

8m Parking tickets

issued annually

551 Speed cameras on UK roads

27% Percentage fall in fatal collisions because of them

£3,900 Average insurance quote to drive a Lamborghini Murcielago

The Weekender 15


Bring a Party to Our Party Why not celebrate the festive season in style and join us at the Prince’s Clubhouse and party the night away. The Prince’s Suite is the ideal venue to host a company Christmas Party; with a large drinks reception area, dining from our Carvery Menu and dancing to our resident disco until midnight. Christmas Party Nights available at Prince’s:

6th, 7th 13th, 14th, 20th & 21st December

£26.50 per person

New Year’s Eve at The Lodge Celebrate the New Year in with style at the Lodge at Prince’s, your group will have a night to remember. Our Brasserie on the Bay Chef, Michael Fowler, has created a delightful five course menu. Includes complimentary glass of champagne and resident DJ. New Year’s Eve prices:

5 Courses £80.00 per person Prices start from £110 per person for an overnight package based on 2 sharing a standard twin to include 5 course dinner

For all enquiries please contact us on:

T: +44 (0) 1304 611118 E: office@princesgolfclub.co.uk Or visit our website for further details

www.princesgolfclub.co.uk Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9QB


OUT & ABOUT

SHINING SYMBOLS

Far left: Bangle from the Dusk collection, inspired by natural erosion on the beach Left: Dusk pendant with ruby

Firmly established at the heart of Whitstable’s creative scene, Rob Morris’s shop is the perfect place to find an iconic piece of jewellery By Bess Browning

I

t is hard to miss this electric purple building near Harbour Street in Whitstable. But should you fail to spot the bright exterior of the iS2 Gallery, the glare of an exquisite array of jewels and gems inside might just draw you in. Rob Morris and his partner Michaela settled in the seaside town they now call home nearly three years ago and their shop has since become a key part of the Whitstable art scene, showcasing bespoke pieces that are made entirely by British jewellers, most in the Kent region. Fighting the tough economic climate and witnessing the closure of two other jewellers in Whitstable, the couple’s commitment to iS2 has earned them a loyal fan base both in the town and further afield. Morris, who began working with precious metals at the age of 16, is now a recognised name in his profession. His Whitstable shop, however, is the only place where customers can pick up his exclusive work. “One of my regulars came in the other day and said she was ‘weak at the knees’ for my new collection,” he explains. His latest creation is the Dusk collection, an intricate and highly sculptural range of pieces developed in his studio immediately behind the shop. His inspiration is natural erosion, as seen on the many wooden groynes along the beach, just a few yards from the

shop. By hammering the metal, he achieves beautiful unique patterns and by adding a simple gemstone to some of the items, he creates a striking visual effect. One of their principles is that there should be something for everyone; the range of materials and styles seems to cater to everyone’s taste. Morris believes that modern jewellery shouldn’t be designed for men or for women, and for many pieces he has steered away from particularly feminine or masculine designs, creating unisex jewellery that can be worn by anyone. Despite the diversity on show, there are always occasions when people want something exceptionally individual; something that is personal and meaningful to them alone. And of course, iS2 can do that too. Michaela, who deals with the day-to-day running of the shop, describes how they are committed to giving customers exactly what they want, often spending hours chatting with their clients to get a real feel for their jewellery needs. The couple are globe trotters at heart, living in Brittany for years and venturing to Cornwall on their return to England. So why Whitstable? Morris looks puzzled at this particular question. “It’s the one place left that we could do what we wanted to do. It has the right vibe—alternative and arty. We have a great social life here too, it’s just great.” Although much of the jewellery in iS2 is his own, Morris offers a variety of craft within the shop. These items are unique and handmade by elite craftspeople from the area, using a wide range of materials. Morris’s speciality is silver but there are aluminium products from John Moore, glasswork from Charlotte Verity and hand-painted acrylic by Gail Kevan. The glasswork by Max Jacquard, another Kent man, is one of only three pieces with the others only available in Hong Kong. Morris’s craftsmanship is distinguishable with the iS2 engraving but what exactly does it mean? “iS2 is what is obvious,” he explains, “it’s what is right in front of your face.”

Lords of the Rings Independent jewellers in East Kent

JUSTIN RICHARDSON, CANTERBURY Just around the corner from the cathedral, Richardson’s craftsmen work on the premises so they can always offer a bespoke service. justinrichardson.co.uk SAMSON & COLES, WHITSTABLE Run by two talented female jewellers, the shop showcases their own jewellery plus a splendid selection of other work from the area. Working out of a studio at the back of the building, they create unusual designs that are sure to catch the eye. 13 Oxford Street, Whitstable RAY WALTON, CREEK CREATIVE, FAVERSHAM Award-winning silversmith Walton creates beautiful jewellery and works with archaeologists at museums to restore silverware. raywaltonsilversmith.co.uk

www.robmorrisjewellerydesign.com The Weekender 17


112 High Street Deal Kent CT14 6EE

dunlin & diver contemporary art and craft

Online shop now open at www.dunlindiver.co.uk info@dunlindiver.co.uk Telephone: 01304 373121 dunlindiver @dunlindiver

EAST KENT ORIGINAL Name: Emma Davies (aka Dolly Doowop) Age: 34 Profession: Dance Teacher Home: Folkestone

I

used to be in The Circus of Horrors; quite different from teaching dance and drama to teenagers with learning difficulties, which is what I do now. After working in the circus, I started dancing with The Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers, and then launched my own dance night The Hell’s Belles Club, now in its fourth year, reviving dances from the 1920s to the 1940s with my partner Casey. We perform old comic routines together and play our favourite records. I was invited to China last year to perform my Josephine Bakerinspired Banana Dance. The Chinese women were intrigued by my look, touched me, and handed me their babies for photos. My tattoos? They just came along the way, and are a haphazard kind of life story. As Cinque Ports MC, Gypsy John always announces: “Ladies and gentlemen, she endured a lot of pain for your viewing pleasure!” Some of them hurt more than others. Are you an East Kent Original? Email a photo and a brief description of what makes you stand out from the crowd to info@the-weekender.net

18 The Weekender


OUT & ABOUT

SMALL SHOPS, BIG GIFTS

Look to local shops for inspiration this Christmas. Here’s what we found on our travels…

I

deal for the home, office or any larger workplace, this fun and portable toolbox ensures that your everyday ephemera finds a proper storage place. £24, Papillon Interiors, Margate www.papilloninteriors.co.uk

A

rtist Kerry Eggleton creates vibrant and characterful anthropomorphs (part man, part beast). These dapper men/ beasts-about-town are available in a five colour acrylic screen print. £120 each (framed), Taylor-Jones & Son, Deal 07956 503478

Beat the chill in style with this Margo Selby Auckland scarf. It is created in Whitstable from luxurious silk and Lycra fibres. £85, Margo Selby, Whitstable www.margoselby.com

White ceramic jugs serve a highly practical purpose and will freshen up any festive table. £5–£10, The Shop, Margate www.thecupcake.biz

Warm up with these cosy wool cushions from Melin Tregwynt, a family-run company in Wales who have been weaving blankets and throws since 1912. £55 each, Dunlin & Diver, Deal 01304 373121

S

omeone has to clear up after all the Christmas mess, so it might as well be with this traditional-style brush and pan combo. £15, The Shop, Margate www.thecupcake.biz

The Weekender 19


New England Dream The Bay Restaurant

at The White Cliffs Hotel

Arrive at The Bay Restaurant in the heart of the delightful seaside village of St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe and discover somewhere quite special. The handsome weather-boarded buildings of The White Cliffs Hotel in which The Bay Restaurant nestles may remind you of those found in coastal New England and on stepping through into the beautiful interior with it’s refreshing and quite unique décor you'll find this is indeed a place with a soul. The Bay Restaurant sits in the hub of the buzzing hotel, the fresh coastal feel extending throughout the fantastically quirky bar into the cool restaurant and out back into the gorgeous sun-trap “beach garden” complete with pebble beach, wooden groynes and stripy deck chairs. Experience the enjoyable dilemma of being challenged in terms of choice - what to order when you want it all? A starter of home-made salt cod fish fingers in saffron batter with sorrel mayonnaise, sublime goat’s cheese fritters with a fig jampote to die for , pigeon breast with broad beans and black pig pancetta, or mussels steamed in Weston’s cider, thyme and cream. Mains of sea-bass with fennel, garlic and herb chips or Romney Marsh lamb with aubergine and red onion, minted yoghurt and grilled flatbread or free-range chicken breast with clams and chorizo in a tarragon sauce with new potatoes, Alkham Valley beef with summer truffle butter, woodland mushrooms and ‘real proper chips’. Then for dessert how about blackcurrant mousse with (heavenly) liquorice ice cream or double chocolate brownie with Kentish cherry ripple ice cream or a lemon crème brulée with a fabulous raspberry sorbet, dressed with mint ? In this simply yet elegantly styled space, with its wooden floors, stone walls, cheery staff and happy vibes. It’s easy to see why the place is buzzing, The Bay Restaurant is on to a winning formula!

The Bay Restaurant

at The White Cliffs Hotel Find on the High Street in St Margaret’s-At-Cliffe near Dover, Kent, CT15 6AT Featured in The Which Good Food Guide and AA Best Restaurants 2012 Open every day from 7am until 11pm for Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner

Call reservations on 01304 852229

o r e m a i l m a i l @ t h e w h i t e c l i f f s . c o m www.thewhitecliffs.com

STILL LOOKING FOR THAT PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT? Why not treat your loved one to an annual subscription to The Weekender? Get four issues of East Kent’s most exciting independent magazine delivered to your home or business address for just £16 (includes postage) Simply write to info@the-weekender.net and we’ll ensure it arrives at your door


OPINION

Jane Wenham Jones Road Rage

Some people are born for the bus. And they often work for the Highways Agency

I

photo: jo willis

’m sure it’s very commendable to go everywhere by bike, bus, or selfcomposting ox-drawn wagon of suitably green credentials, but take away my car and I feel my legs have been chopped off. Yes, I do walk and cycle and use public transport but there is nothing quite like being alone behind the wheel, music up, stretch of road ahead and foot down. I like the feeling of suspension from the everyday grind. One has left A, there is little one can do about B till one gets there (the advent of the hands-free phone has slightly dented this theory) and one is imbued with a sense of liberty and freedom. I am, of course, being hopelessly romantic. In reality the ‘stretch’ of the M25 resembles a car park, the towns are clogged with other annoying drivers and I cannot tell you how many times I have been reduced almost to tears of rage and frustration because another diversion has popped up and I have no

sense of direction. (Others may cite the discovery of penicillin, broadband or the MRI scan, but it is the arrival of the Sat Nav that has most profoundly changed my life.) My driving licence, however, is still a prized possession, perhaps because it took so long to get it. I lost count of the times I visited the test centre, but suffice to say that when it came to motoring I was not an overnight success. The first test never even got started, after, in my highly nervous state, I had put the wrong key in the ignition and got it stuck. Nor did the second when there was too much frost. There was a failure for driving for three miles with the handbrake on and another for screeching to an impressive emergency stop—for a pigeon! I would proceed with perfect competence for my instructor but the minute the examiner appeared, would disintegrate into a gibbering imbecile who stalled the engine, kangaroo-jerked

across the car park, crunched the gears and rolled backwards from her hill start. The poor chap who finally signed the pass certificate (on, with delightful symbolism, Independence Day) probably still has nightmares recalling how I crushed him to my chest in gratitude, while bestowing a passionate kiss. But fear not if you meet me at a junction now. I consider myself an excellent driver, and if reverseparking were an Olympic sport, would trial for the British team. It’s a skill I found especially useful on the school run, which teemed with mums unable to manoeuvre their 4x4s, where I could squeeze into the tiny spaces other parents approached with dread. The Poor Parker is one of the more irritating of other motorists. She is the one (it is often a woman I am sad to say) who brings traffic to a standstill all along the High Street as she weaves in and out of the bay, displaying a marked lack of grasp of the principles of angles and holding the world up instead of conceding defeat. Then there are the Boy Racer, the Old-Man-in-Cap (spotted by his slow progress along the very middle of the road), The Ditherer (particularly dangerous when failing to decide which lane they want to be in at roundabouts) or The Downright Ignorant, who has no understanding of speed hump priority and tries to shoot through the gap, before hurling abuse from the window if others exercise their legitimate right of way. You could probably halve road rage incidents overnight if you removed such traffic ‘calming’ schemes. There was a rumour circulating that the person who designed one at the bottom of Broadstairs (it had to be taken out because of the endless jams) didn’t even drive. It seems entirely likely. Some people are born for the bus. And they often work for the Highways Agency. 100 Ways to Fight the Flab (and still have wine and chocolate) by Jane Wenham-Jones is published in paperback by Accent Press (£7.99)

The Weekender 21


Christmas Fairs at Pilgrims Hospices All fairs are ASHFORD 10am-4pm free to ente Saturday 16 November r Norton Knatchbull School, Hythe Road, Ashford TN24 0QJ

CANTERBURY 11am-3pm Saturday 30 November Ann Robertson Centre, 55 London Rd, Canterbury CT2 8JA THANET 11am-3pm Saturday 7 December Pilgrims Hospice, Ramsgate Rd, Margate CT9 4AD

www.pilgrimshospices.org 56 London Road, Canterbury CT2 8JA t 01227 812621

Visit Santa ! in his grotto

www.facebook.com/pilgrimshospices Hythe Road, Willesborough, Ashford TN24 0NE t 01233 504111

www.twitter.com/pilgrimshospice

Ramsgate Road, Margate CT9 4AD t 01843 233934

Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent is a company limited by guarantee. Registered office 56 London Road, Canterbury CT2 8JA. Registered charity no 293968 and as a company in England no 2000560.


LOCAL HERO

#8

O

Walter Tull PORTRAIT BY SØREN HAWKES

ver a million British servicemen lost their lives in the bloody conflict of 1914–18. But were you to choose just one soldier’s story as an example of bravery, skill, sacrifice and success against all the odds, this heroic tale would fit the bill perfectly this Remembrance Day. Let us therefore salute Second Lieutenant Walter Tull— Britain’s first black army officer and also the first black outfield footballer to play in England’s top flight. Walter Daniel John Tull was born in 16 Allendale Street, Folkestone in 1888, later moving to 51 Walton Road. His father was a carpenter from Barbados and worked as a ship’s joiner when he settled here in the 1870s. Walter’s mother, Alice came from a family of farm workers near Dover. The couple were Methodists and met at Grace Hill Methodist Church. When Tull was only seven, his mother died. His father remarried but he died two years later leaving his stepmother unable to cope with the six Tull siblings. Along with his brother Edward, the young Walter was packed off to an orphanage in the East End of London, miles from the fresh sea air and rolling cliff tops of Folkestone. Growing up in the tough environment of an inner city orphanage, he excelled at football, playing for the school football team and later winning a trial with nearby Clapton FC. His attacking style of play quickly caught the attention of the bigger clubs and in 1909 he signed for Tottenham Hotspur, becoming the first black outfield player in First Division. According to a reporter at the time Tull had “much to contend against on account of his colour”. Yet despite this, he was deemed to be “so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men who play football”. He later signed for Northampton Town under the legendary manager Herbert Chapman and made 111 first team appearances. He would have signed for the mighty Glasgow Rangers had it not been for the build-up of hostilities which was fast drawing on Britain’s reserves of manpower. Like many young conscripts, Tull saw enlisting as his duty at a time when his country needed him. He signed up with the Footballers’ Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment which included players from Manchester United and Aston Villa plus the entire Clapton Orient side. Serving on the Western Front in 1914, Tull suffered shell shock, returning for a second time in 1916 where his bravery during the first Battle of the Somme convinced senior officers that, despite his colour and background, he was officer material. In February 1917, Tull began his rigorous officer training in

Scotland. Despite military regulations stating that commissions were reserved purely for ‘British subjects of pure European descent’, he became an officer in May that year (the military’s colour bar wasn’t lifted until the Second World War). This meant that he had become first ever black officer to serve in the British Army, and the first to lead white men into battle. Tull was quickly back in action, only this time in Italy. He was mentioned in dispatches for his ‘gallantry and coolness’ while leading his company on a raiding party. For this, he was recommended for a Military Cross. Then he was sent to the trenches of the Somme, where British casualties were running into the hundreds and thousands. Now the 29-year-old Second Lieutenant found himself facing the advancing German army in their final bid for victory. Having miraculously survived thus far (the life expectancy of an officer on the Western Front was a mere six weeks) Tull was killed by enemy machine gun fire as he helped his men retreat. Several of his company tried to retrieve his body while under heavy fire but were unsuccessful. His body was never found, making him just one of thousands of servicemen from World War One who have no known grave. Just another tragic war tale perhaps. But what is Walter Tull’s legacy and what makes him a true hero both here and beyond Kent’s borders? There is no doubt that through his drive and ability he overcame both the casual and institutional racism that existed in his day. He broke the mould in the armed forces too; mentioned repeatedly by his superiors for gallantry, he disproved the notion that non-whites were unfit for command. And as a role model for antiracism today, Tull certainly fits the bill. Not only popular but brave, he died shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, giving his life to his country. Tributes to our hero can still be found locally. In Folkestone and Dover there are a number of plaques and memorials. In Northampton, scene of his pre-war football career, he even has a road named after him—Walter Tull Way. As his story becomes more widespread there have been calls also for a statue and to posthumously award him the Military Cross, 95 years after his death. Whatever your view on the matter, we should be proud of this local warrior who overcame poverty and prejudice to show, all those years ago, that skin colour should be no bar to reaching the top. Søren’s World War One prints are available online at: www.passchendaeleprints.com The Weekender 23


photo: sean preston

PEOPLE

VROOM WITH A VIEW More than 100 years after the invention of the automobile, our obsession with cars continues unabated. We meet a selection of auto enthusiasts from around the county to find out if there’s more to their beloved vehicles than meets the eye

24 The Weekender


PEOPLE

photo: jo willis

photo: bess browning

This page (from left): Roy Chambers’s Aston Martin gets all the attention at local classic car meets; Alison Baxter with her pride and joy—  a 1962 Bedford Minibus; Paul Breuer inspects his vintage Mercedes coupé (foreground) and estate (rear)

The Weekender 25


PEOPLE

“There’s no petrol gauge, but it drives beautifully”

R photo: sean preston

oy Chambers, a retired lecturer from Temple Ewell near Dover, first fell in love with his Aston Martin over 40 years ago. “I had a thousand pounds to spend on a car, so I thought I’d better get something a bit decent,” he recalls. “I saw this second-hand Aston Martin DB5 for sale just outside Maidstone. I tried it and bought it and it became my everyday car.” The muscular four-litre engine which lurked under the front bonnet was no doubt a key selling point for the 85-yearold, but he admits that it was the car’s looks that sealed the deal. “There’s something about Astons; they’re lovely-looking cars and this one has a lovely shape; it’s a beautiful piece of English craftsmanship and design.” He adds: “I’m an artist, and I’m keen on aesthetics. I would never drive an ugly car.” But when it comes to keeping classic cars like this on the road, perfection can come at a price. “It’s not so much about the cost of buying them, but the cost of maintaining them because spares are very expensive,” he warns. He advises any classic car owner to first ensure their vehicle is in “good order” before taking it on the road. This may entail the regular services of a specialist mechanic as parts and bodywork need constant updating. He also recommends joining a specialist owners’ car club, especially for information on where to buy cheap spares.

Above: Breuer admires the low-slung, sleek looks of his Mercedes 280 CE Below: Aston Martin enthusiast Roy Chambers with his preferred passenger, wife Shirley

“The body work on mine is fine, but I’ve recently had treatment on the floorpan,” he says. “By the time they finished with it, I’d spent £10,000 on the chassis.” Are his wife and grown-up children happy with his on-going obsession with Aston Martins? “They are very supportive,” he replies, “but they still think I’m an old maniac.” When driving his car around the Kent countryside or to other parts of England, the car’s stand out looks still manages to turn heads. Perhaps it’s something to do with the DB5’s association with the James Bond film franchise—it made it first movie appearance in Goldfinger in 1964, complete with revolving number plates, bullet-proof rear screen and an ejector seat. Says Chambers: “I remember a boy was looking wide-eyed at the car and I joked that I was James Bond. He then rushed off and told his friends: ‘I’ve just spoken to James Bond!’ Another time some builders shouted out, ‘Are you James Bond?’ Then my wife got out of the passenger seat and I said: ‘Yes I am, and this is Pussy Galore!’” According to Chambers, a golden rule of driving an Aston Martin is that you must always acknowledge other Aston Martin drivers when meeting them on the road. “If you see another, you always wave,” he says. “I was once driving to Canterbury to give a lecture at the University and saw a 1.5 litre Aston coming the other way. Naturally we both stopped and started talking about Astons. My lecture must have started an hour and a half late.” Dan Synge Favourite journey: Driving around locally because the car handles very well on country lanes. Ideal passenger: My wife Shirley. Fantasy car: If I had the money and the space I would have an example of every modern Aston I could lay my hands on, but a 4.5 litre Bentley would suit me fine.

26 The Weekender


PEOPLE

photo: jo willis

American car. It’s also very low and I like the fact that you don’t see anyone else driving around in them.” The car is now worth a lot more than what he paid for it, and if looked after, will hold its value far better than any modern car. Despite the fact that he has owned up to eight Mercedes cars over the years, he struggles to put his finger on exactly what it is about them that he loves so much. “You can drive them every day; they are built to last,” he replies. “I can just get in it, do the school run, go to France, do a 1,000-mile camping trip… they just go, they work.” That said, Breuer once broke down in Ramsgate; an event which ended up with him doing an unusual weekend job. “I had the bonnet up when a guy in a football shirt and covered in tattoos came out of his house and said: ‘Like yer car. What are you doing Saturday?’ I ended up driving him and his new wife to their wedding in Margate—they paid me £100!” Jo Willis Favourite journey: Camping trip to France with the family. Ideal passenger: The writer Charles Bukowski and a case of Sailor Jerry. Fantasy car: 1970s Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

A “Buy one that someone else has wasted all their money on!”

F

or Paul Breuer of Breuer and Dawson, the vintage clothing retailers, it all started with his first car—a 1972 Mercedes saloon. “I made the classic mistake of buying it for £400,” he says, “spending about £6,000 on it and selling it for £200 and giving the guy a pile of receipts.” A mistake made just the once as Breuer learnt his lesson. “It’s worth paying a little more to start off with rather than thinking you can buy a wreck and do it up. The secret is to buy one that someone else has wasted all their money on!” His current car and long-time love is a yellow 1974 Mercedes coupé, a “big yellow banana” found in a Mercedes owners’ magazine and bought from a guy in Shoreditch for the princely sum of £1,800. He just about managed to get it back to Thanet before things started going wrong, but 15 years later it’s still going strong. “It’s been amazing! It’s a big solid lump of a car, pretty stylish and I love it.” Technically, the car is a pillar-less coupé, which means that there is no pillar between the glass of the passenger and driver’s window. “It just looks so cool, it’s like a big old

lison Baxter, an eccentric self-proclaimed ‘creative maker’ (definitely not artist), loathes modern cars for their “plastic exteriors and flashing lights” and is the proud owner of two long-forgotten models—a 1976 Morris Marina and a 1962 Bedford CA Utilabrake Minibus. Baxter learnt to drive in a Morris Minor when she was just 14 and has previously owned a Morris Traveller and an Austin 1300 Estate. She explains: “I have always lived in idyllic rural locations with massive houses where there were always loads of old bangers around.” After years on the move, travelling through Norfolk, Wales and different parts of Kent, she settled in Faversham in 1998. “A classic car is usually used a few times a year; they’ll dust it down to show off to friends and family. For me, my vehicles are part of my everyday life; the Bedford is my works vehicle and my Marina takes me from A to B—at the end of the day, they’re just cars.” Eight years ago, she spotted a small ad for the Bedford. She travelled up to Ross-on-Wye where she met Mr Cunningham, a sign writer. After a teary farewell and promise to keep the van spick and span, she drove it back to Faversham. “I’d never driven such an old vehicle,” she recalls. “It does occasionally break down because there’s no petrol gauge, but it drives beautifully.” Her eye-catching minibus can seat up to ten people and still has Mr Cunningham’s details on the side. Despite the fact that it came from Herefordshire, the van was actually built at the former Martin-Walter coachworks in Folkestone. Baxter is the fifth owner and at one time it belonged to the editor of Practical Classics magazine. Then there’s the Morris Marina: “I bought the Marina from a 12-year-old boy in Herne Bay about four years ago. His granddad owned a garage and he’d let the boy try and sell a banger.” She bought both vehicles for £800 but says: “You can’t put a price on a classic car. People are always asking me how much I want for my van but, to be honest, it doesn’t matter how much they offer, IT’S NOT FOR SALE.” Bess Browning Favourite journey: I took the Marina up to Scotland and on the Oban ferry to the Isle of Lismore. It took about 12 hours, but what a journey! Ideal passenger: Someone who doesn’t slam the bloody doors. Fantasy Car: Fantasy car? I own both of them. The Weekender 27


TALE

I AM NOT DEAD, I AM IN HERNE BAY Why was a giant-sized urinal paraded through sunny Herne Bay and what influence does a quiet Kentish resort have on modern art? Sue Austen explains 28 The Weekender


collage: david cross

TALE

K

ent has produced and inspired its fair share of artists over the years; JMW Turner, Peter Blake and Tracey Emin to name a few. But it is not widely known that the French surrealist and father of conceptual art Marcel Duchamp spent the summer of 1913 in Herne Bay. This, hopefully, has changed since we celebrated the hundredth anniversary of his visit this August, unveiling a blue plaque at the house where he stayed. Today, Duchamp is best known for submitting a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed with the pseudonym R. Mutt to the Society of Independent Artists in 1917. Fountain’s rejection by the committee caused a furore amongst Dadaists and its reputation was assured. It may be the only example of an unexhibited piece inspiring a major art movement and is regarded as the starting point for conceptual art. By removing art from the ‘retinal’ world (as Duchamp called it), Fountain enabled almost every significant art movement of the last century, including Minimalism and Pop Art as well as Conceptualism. Duchamp

has been an acknowledged influence not only on his contemporaries such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage, but equally on later artists including Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton and Ai Weiwei. Indeed in 2004, a survey of 500 artists, curators, critics and dealers, commissioned by the sponsors of the Turner Prize, selected Duchamp’s Fountain as the world’s most influential piece of modern art— beating Picasso’s Guernica and Matisse’s The Red Studio.

AN ARTIST AT THE CROSSROADS

All this was still to come when the 26-year-old artist arrived in Herne Bay. He was here to chaperone his younger sister Yvonne who was enrolled to study English at Lynton College, Downs Park. At the time, Duchamp was known as a painter more associated with the Cubist movement than with Dada but he had already begun to question his own means of expression. The previous year his last major painting, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2, had been rejected by the Cubists themselves and in March

it had caused a stir in the Armory Show in New York. His rejection by the Cubists confirmed to him that he was finished with painting; he was anyway becoming bored with the practice, declaring in later life that ‘all the filling in was tiresome’. It was drawing that interested Duchamp more, and the debacle with the Cubists resulted in his resolve to avoid groups and be liberated from his past associations. When he returned to Paris after his summer on the Kent coast, he produced Bicycle Wheel, often described as the first kinetic sculpture and also the first of his readymades. He went on to publish his ideas on objets trouvés and years after was recorded as saying, “I’m not at all sure that the concept of the readymade isn’t the most important single idea to come out of my work.” In 1913 he had already begun working and thinking his way into what was to become one of his major works, known as The Large Glass, or The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. Two of his notes from the Herne Bay stay were considered important enough to be included in The Green Box of 1934. �D The Weekender 29


TALE photo: david good

Photos from far left: Duchamp scholars gather around a giant replica of the artist’s famous 1917 Fountain; Duchamp’s hand-written holiday postcard to friend Max Bergmann in which he pronounced: ‘I am not dead, I am in Herne Bay.’; a young Marcel Duchamp; the blue plaque mounted in honour of the influential artist at 14 Downs Park, Herne Bay

The festival line-up also included I am not dead… a series of exhibitions inspired by Duchamp. The title comes from a postcard sent soon after he arrived in the town to his friend Max Bergmann, on which he wrote: ‘I am not dead, I am in Herne Bay.’

SUBVERSIVE NEW ARTWORKS

Duchamp published this collection of documents to explain his thinking and to show some of his preliminary ideas. These were left loose so that their relationships for the reader would be determined by chance. A third note was attached to a photograph of Herne Bay’s Pier Pavilion, photographed on its opening night in 1910 by Fred C. Palmer. The postcard was widely available in Herne Bay at the time and Duchamp attached it to a line describing a possible background for his new work with the comment: ‘An electric fête recalling the decorative lighting of Magic city or Luna Park, or the Pier Pavilion at Herne Bay…The picture will be executed on two large sheets of glass about 1m 30 x 1,40 / one above the other.’

STRICTLY COME DADA-ISM

Our Duchamp in Herne Bay celebrations began with an international symposium examining the influence his stay here may have had on the artist’s future work. The moderator was New York scholar and curator, Francis M. Naumann, author of numerous publications and articles including New York Dada 1915–25, considered to be the definitive history of the movement. Naumann invited six distinguished Duchamp scholars to present entirely new research papers focusing on the summer of 1913. In her paper, Figuratively a Fireworks, Linda Henderson, Professor of Art History at the University of Texas discussed the scientific sources Duchamp would have encountered for the first time in Herne Bay including the new electric 30 The Weekender

lights on the pier and the dramatic firework display over the water. She considered these spectacles to have contributed in some part to the artist’s decision to execute his new work on glass instead of canvas. Michael R.Taylor, Curator of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, presented a paper closely examining the drawings and notes Duchamp composed in Herne Bay and demonstrating strong connections between these drawings and Duchamp’s 1913 piece, Bicycle Wheel. Meanwhile Paul B. Franklin, editor of the journal Étant donné—Marcel Duchamp, discussed the effects of Duchamp’s first exposure to the English language. Although he lived much of his later life in New York and became fluent, the young artist did not speak a word of English in 1913. There were more than enough French speakers in Herne Bay for him to survive without it and he had Yvonne as an interpreter. But, Franklin speculated, the encounter with a language which contained no masculine and feminine articles may have provoked him to think about gender and what it means or inspired the creation of his female pseudonym, Rose Selavy.

Ralph Steadman produced an original drawing for the festival poster and inspired twenty Fleet Street cartoonists to join him at the bandstand for Cartooning Live! A giant replica of Fountain was created by Philip Long of Nagual Creations and towed through the streets during the town’s annual carnival procession. And that evening there was a dramatic Duchamp-inspired display of colour and fireworks when Robert Bradford’s giant chess pieces, constructed over 10 days on the beach, were set alight. All Herne Bay’s primary schoolchildren took part in Defaceables and their work was displayed in two popup galleries. In the spirit of Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q, when he drew a moustache and beard on a postcard of the Mona Lisa, the children were invited to embellish postcard prints of old masters and they created some brilliantly original and subtly subversive new artworks. Introducing Mr D, at the Herne Bay Museum and Gallery, placed Duchamp’s career in context and showed a forgotten interview which Duchamp gave to the BBC in 1966—two years before his death. So for three weeks this summer, Herne Bay threw off its staid seaside town image and embraced the surreal. Duchamp’s presence was hard to miss or ignore. I knew the event was a success when I overheard a local couple and their children arguing about modern art as they walked down the seafront. Art bikes appeared in front gardens, beach huts were turned inside out, there were Dada film screenings, a pedal cinema showing old films, poetry open mic nights and artwork everywhere. The sun shone down, just as it did when Duchamp and Yvonne stayed here, and we are already missing it and discussing what to celebrate next year. Additional research by David Cross


WE USE SPORT AND PLAY TO EDUCATE AND EMPOWER CHILDREN FACING ADVERSITY IN OVER 20 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD

FIND OUT MORE AT: RIGHTTOPLAY.ORG.UK

RIGHTTOPLAY.ORG.UK REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER: 1112404


FOOD & DRINK

This photo: Spanish bar staples like jamon serrano are an increasingly popular choice in British markets and eateries

32 The Weekender


FOOD & DRINK

REVOLUTION ON A PLATE

Good quality tapas can only be eaten in Spain, right? Wrong. A new generation of chefs and producers are helping to bring real Iberian flavour to our dining tables. By Tom Moggach

I

t started as a holiday romance. The Brits adored Spain for its cheap package deals and sunbaked beaches. But now the relationship has turned serious—Spanish food culture has won our hearts and has moved in to stay. In British kitchens, chorizo has become a spicy staple. On our televisions, celebrity chefs liberally sprinkle the smoked paprika. Many restaurants now offer small plates on their menus, the classic ‘tapas’ style of eating. And even sherry is no longer a tipple reserved for fusty old dears. “Spanish food has overtaken French and Italian,” says Lee Murray, who, for the last eight years, has observed the public’s changing tastes from behind his counter at Murray’s General Stores at The Goods Shed in Canterbury. He has increased his range of Spanish foods ten-fold, he adds, taking in saffron, figs, tinned fish,

crisps, nuts, pulses and much more: “The quality of the products is just amazing—they sell themselves.” So why do we have such an appetite for Spanish ingredients? And how successfully are we integrating Iberian food culture into our own? To some extent, the British have long been the most open-minded of eaters, in part because of our colonial past, long history of immigration and the disintegration of our own food culture in the post-war years. “We’ve always been magpies, happy to accept influences from outside,” says James Robinson of Brindisa, the country’s foremost importer of premium Spanish ingredients. His bestsellers include chorizo, of course, alongside olive oil, cheeses, acorn-fed jamon, anchovies and various styles of paprika. “There’s something about the British liking a bit of spice and smokeyness,” he reflects.

The Weekender 33


FOOD & DRINK

F

oodie fashion is another driving factor, following in the wake of a new wave of innovative Spanish chefs such as Ferran Adrià of the now-closed three Michelin-starred El Bulli in Catalonia. “Spain has transformed itself into one of the world’s effervescent centres of gastronomic creativity,” explains Claudia Roden in her majestic cookbook The Food of Spain. Here in Kent, a pack of leading chefs and small producers are incorporating the best of Spanish cuisine in their creations. In Canterbury, Andalusian chef Raphael Lopez often adds a Spanish influence to his local and seasonal menu at The Goods Shed. Hake, for example, is wildly popular in Spain. He sources the fish from the West Country to pair with Kentish razor clams and an aioli garlic sauce. His famously moist apple cake substitutes butter for the same weight of a mild Arbequina olive oil. Over in Whitstable, chef George Foster also makes the most of the Spanish produce stocked at David Brown’s Delicatessen, where he now cooks dishes such as slices of pan-fried Iberico pork shoulder with grilled aubergine, chilli and mint, or a slow-cooked stew of locally caught cuttlefish and chorizo. And on a smallholding on the picturesque Isle of Oxney, near Tenterden, small producer John Doig of Moons Green Charcuterie even cures his own chorizo sausage to a top secret recipe, mainly wholesaling to pubs and restaurants, including The Swan in Chapel Down, The Woolpack in Tenterden and Rocksalt in Folkestone. He says: “I use amontillado sherry from Spain—99% of commercial chorizos from Spain never see so much as a sherry cork but I think it’s a key ingredient.” But while these characters fly the flag for the best of Spanish food, the quality of some British tapas bars still leaves much to be desired according to Omar Allibhoy, a Spanish chef working in Britain who remembers his first tapas meal in this country. “The food was appalling—really bad. The Spanish omelette was so greasy, completely overcooked and stale, cooked to death. God, I thought, if this is what people 34 The Weekender

Photos from left: John Doig's smallholding near Tenterden produces chorizo sausage to a top secret recipe; Spanish pigs are fed on acorns to make jamon iberico; chef Omar Allibhoy is on a mission to bring quality tapas to the nation


FOOD & DRINK

WHERE TO EAT TAPAS IN KENT ALBARINO

Serving small plates of flavoursome Spanish food just a short step from the harbour at Broadstairs. 29 Albion Street, Broadstairs www.albarinorestaurant.co.uk

TAPAS AT ENGLISH’S OF WHITSTABLE

Popular tapas bar in fashionable Harbour Street. 48 Harbour St, Whitstable www.thetapas.co.uk

“Spanish food has overtaken French and Italian” think of Spanish food then we’re in trouble!” As a result, he is on a mission to bring quality tapas to the nation with his book Tapas Revolution and restaurants in Bluewater and Westfield shopping centres. Our attitude to tapas is another cause for concern. In Spain, these are simple dishes, often served at the bar, which accompany conversation between friends. “The idea is that you graze, have a beer and then move on,” explains Murray. You certainly don’t drink too much, suggests Roden, and a ‘tapas crawl’ is not something a couple would do together. Until the last few decades, in fact, she says you would rarely see a woman eating tapas at all. “The whole concept of tapas doesn’t seem to travel,” Murray concludes. “The climate is massively different here. We’re always in a rush. Or perhaps it’s just our eating style —we eat a big plateful of food until we can’t move.” Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. In Spain, after all, it’s much easier to slide between the many tapas bars, sampling the speciality of each: a perfect anchovy or perhaps a chargrilled Padron pepper. Or maybe we should embrace another path, one that suits our magpie appetites. As Robinson says, it’s hard to dogmatically translate one culture to another. By far the most significant Spanish export is their concept of eating small plates of food which you can share. This is the deep footprint of Spanish food culture on the British landscape. “This thing of the little dishes has become the fashionable way of eating out, whether it’s Yottam Ottolenghi or Polpo or a tapas restaurant,” explains Roden. In Canterbury, a new restaurant called Salt is the perfect example. It offers small dishes such as venison meatballs with redcurrant sauce, or a chilli-glazed smoked mackerel remoulade. So while the Spanish spend their dusky evenings flitting from bar to bar, maybe the British tapas crawl will feel somewhat different: a quarter slice of chorizo Scotch egg, perhaps, then a few tandoori king prawns down the road—all washed down with a few foaming pints of real ale.

ALIMO

Restaurant/lounge bar specialising in Moroccan and Mediterranean flavours. Railway Arches, Oxford Street, Whitstable www.alimowhitstable.com

THE CUBAN

Lively venue with Spanish-style tapas and fusion dishes. 41b–43 High Street, Canterbury www.thecubancanterbury.com

TAPAS REVOLUTION

Exciting new venture from chef Omar Allibhoy. Upper Mall, Bluewater, Greenhithe www.tapasrevolution.com

SUPPLIERS MURRAY'S GENERAL STORES

Home-grown treats plus a good selction of virgin olive oil and Spanish figs dipped in chocolate. The Goods Shed, Station Road West, Canterbury www.thegoodsshed.co.uk

BRINDISA

For the definitive range of quality Spanish ingredients. www.brindisa.com

CANNON & CANNON

Specialists in British artisan charcuterie. www.cannonandcannon.com

The Weekender 35


“Freshly prepared, fully-flavoured tapas dishes” Michelin guide 2014 “Making waves by the sea” Good food guide 2014 “Albariño Tapas is a hidden gem” Olive magazine

"An uncompromising devotion to local ingredients"

Square Meal

Enjoy freshly made seasonal tapas, olivewood boards of Spanish cheeses & cured meats . The finest Spanish wines & sherries with the best view over Viking bay!

tel: 01843 600 991

www.albarinorestaurant.co.uk

Go on, you know you Wantsum !!

www.wantsumbrewery.co.uk wantsumbrewery@googlemail.com

0845 0405980


FOOD & DRINK

Let’s Make: Clams with Sherry and Serrano Ham

Serves 4–5 as a tapa Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus soaking Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients 1 kg clams 100 ml olive oil 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 shallot or 1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped 6 slices jamón Serrano (cured ham), roughly chopped 1 teaspoon plain flour 1 teaspoon hot pimentón, although the sweet variety will do as well 150 ml fino sherry (see Omar’s Note below) 2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1. Start by soaking the clams in cold water for about 20

minutes to allow them to release any sand trapped in their shells. Rinse thoroughly under cold water and discard any that are open, broken or don’t close when tapped firmly. 2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (wide enough to hold all the clams) over a medium heat and add the garlic, onion and jamón. Cook until the onion is translucent, but not coloured. 3. Add the flour and pimentón and stir-fry for 20 seconds to cook the flour. Add the sherry, stirring all the time and then quickly flambé by setting light to the pan using a lighter or long matches. If you don’t want to flambé the sherry don’t worry, just cook for one minute so that the alcohol evaporates. Add the cleaned

clams to the pan, turn up the heat and shake the pan vigorously, tossing the clams a couple of times. Season to taste and stir in the parsley, cover with a lid and cook for 2–3 minutes until the clams are fully opened (throw away any that remain closed). Stir again before serving with lots of fresh bread to soak up the sauce. Omar’s Note: Fino (which translates as refined) is the driest of all sherry varieties and should be drunk cold. This delicate sherry doesn’t keep well after the bottle is opened, so make the best use of it. Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy (Ebury Press, £20)

The Weekender 37


T.01227 788595

13 Palace St, Canterbury CT1 2DZ @saltcanterbury facebook.com/saltcanterbury


FOOD & DRINK

The Perfect Weekend… Tapas Bar

words and photos by tom moggach

IT WAS A ONCE-IN-ALIFETIME MEAL, a fancy 12

courses, that inspired chef Steven Dray to open his dream restaurant in Broadstairs. On a recent holiday, he splashed out on dinner in a three Michelin-starred restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, which turned out to be a 400 Euro flop. “I was bored. It was so pompous, with staff dressed like undertakers,” he says. The fêted Basque chef toured the tables to sign customers’ menus. “That was the end of fine dining for me.” Two years ago, Steven opened Albariño, a Spanish restaurant in his hometown, as the perfect antidote to fine dining snobbery—a short menu of creative tapas, served with a friendly lack of fuss. His establishment on Albion Street looks out to sea. It’s an attractive, simple space decorated with strings of dried peppers, vases of flowers and recycled olive tins. With tapas, it’s tempting to get carried away and order all your dishes at once. So we paced ourselves, kicking off with a glass of crisp albariño white wine and chunky chips with aioli, the garlic mayonnaise. Here, the chips are made with chickpea flour spiked with aromatic fennel seeds—a signal of intent. Broadstairs boasts the finest fishmonger for miles, Fruits de Mer, so the dishes here often showcase the day’s local catch. A fillet of grilled gurnard, a firmfleshed fish, arrived with spinach, golden sultanas and crisp almonds for a bounce of textures. The sweetness of the fruit cleverly balanced the salted nuts. Local octopus, however, has proven a trickier beast to tame. Much loved in Spain, Steven says the specimens caught nearby have larger heads and smaller

Photos clockwise from left: rabbit with morcilla sausage and a trace of sage; Steven Dray’s tapas bar is the antidote to fine dining snobbery; grilled gurnard with almonds and sultanas; chickpeas and chorizo — a humble dish but spot-on

tentacles. Try as he might, he’s not managed to cook them until tender. So we ate imported tentacles which had been given the classic Galician treatment, with slices of waxy local potato and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. The chickpeas and chorizo was a humble but spot-on dish—nuggets of high grade sausage exploding with salty spice amongst the blander pulses. Our rabbit too was a dish inspired by the countryside. We ate it with our fingers, squabbling over the prized piece of loin wrapped around the kidney, with morcilla sausage and trace of sage. Our sensational pudding was clearly designed to show off the chef’s considerable skills: set custard deep fried in panko breadcrumbs, skewered with slivers of Conference pear and matched with a spiced pear purée. Steven is an accomplished chef who has chosen not to play it safe at Albariño. “Every idiot who has had a weekend in Benidorm thinks they know about Spanish food,” he explains. So the menu

avoids the tired tapas clichés. Local produce is much in evidence and Kentish fruit is given centre stage. The dishes are priced from £5.50 to £7.50, but are larger than the tapas you might find in Spain. A full meal would cost from around £30 per head; a light meal at the bar less than half that price. For this quality, it’s a steal. The chef also offers a special deal of £19 for seven dishes of his choice. This style of eating is inspired by some of the best tapas bars in Spain, such as Cal Pep in Barcelona, where there’s no menu at all. Yet crowds often queue six deep for a flurry of seasonal dishes. Steven’s last job was in a hotel in the Turks and Caicos Islands, so it must have been quite a jolt to move to the Kent coast. All thanks to the preening chefs of San Sebastian. Albariño Restaurant 29 Albion Street, Broadstairs t: 01843 600991 www.albarinorestaurant.co.uk The Weekender 39


SPACE

CHANGING SPACES

A standard two-up, two-down may suit most of us, but some buyers prefer something a little bit different. Luckily for them, there are properties out there that may not look like traditional homes yet offer high quality living with added charm thrown into the deal. From outbuildings to oasts and worship halls to windmills, here are five of our favourite conversions. By Bess Browning


SPACE

GET HIM TO THE CREEK

MID-CENTURY MARVEL

The Lime Works near Faversham (left, top and middle) offers everything you could possibly desire from a luxury, contemporary living space. At first glance, you would never imagine that this five-storey building hidden in the heart of idyllic Kent countryside was a functioning water softening plant from 1930 to 1942. The current owners bought this Grade II-listed property in 2003 and have since converted it into a home with all the amenities for someone who leads a lavish lifestyle—roof top heated swimming pool, fully equipped gym with sauna and a cinema room. The impressive industrial structures have undergone thorough and intricate planning to ensure they meet the demands of domestic usage. Spiral staircases, hand crafted concrete beds and baths and a master bedroom covering the entire fourth floor are just some of the exquisite features on offer. £2,000,000 / www.savills.co.uk

Oyster Bay House in Chambers Wharf (below) harks back to Faversham’s historic hop trade. The property was originally used as a warehouse to store local hops which were then shipped off to London in the kind of barge that you can still see in the quay today. After a superb renovation, this Grade II-listed building is now an attractive loft-style house which would suit an avid sailor or boat enthusiast—the property even has its own private mooring space. Every part of this property screams ‘nautical’ including the timber floorboards, steel beams, the blue colour scheme and its location sitting right on Faversham Creek. It is also just seconds away from the newly-refurbished Standard Quay—now a trendy hangout with wine bar, beauty salon and tea room. With four floors and four bedrooms, the property is incredibly spacious and the open plan layout of most of the rooms adds to the sweeping design. £1,500,000 / www.christopherhodgson.co.uk

The Weekender 41


SPACE

CHAPEL OF LOVE

A renovated chapel may seem like a strange place to relocate, but this property (left) is as cosy and charming as you will find. Situated in the beautiful village of Stelling Minnis near Canterbury, this is an exceptional building that makes you wonder why the owners have decided to sell up. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Old Methodist Chapel dates back to 1862 and despite the contemporary elements of the new extension, the building’s historic features are still visible; the knapped flint and mellow brick under a slate roof with pierced ridge tiles are just part of its character. All three bedrooms are en-suite and the drawing room boasts a wood-burning stove and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto a pretty garden. One of the best features of this house has got to be the bathroom. It is a wet room with mosaic walls, body jet showers and attractive stone bath and sinks. A package that answers all your prayers. £635,000 / www.struttandparker.com

A REGAL CHOICE

Ever dreamt of being king or queen of the castle? Now that dream can become reality with this unique new property near Broadstairs (below, left). Perched on the cliffs with dramatic sea views and minutes away from the beach, this Grade II-listed property is ideal for a coastal keeno. It was built in 1760 for Lord Holland and throughout its colourful history has been a home for nobility and was once a fancy hotel. The two bedroom apartment (part of a 31-flat development) has a cosy lounge, luxury bathroom and a modern kitchen, all contributing to the charm of this enviable home. There is an attractive private garden overlooking the sea with a terrace perfect for alfresco dining. There is also a large communal garden and ample parking spaces for all the castle’s occupants. £425,000 / www.haart.co.uk

DOWN BY LAW

The penthouse flat in the Ladywell building in Dover (left) is arguably the most desirable of all the apartments in this hip urban development. It sits on the two top floors of an eyecatching period building, formally The Old Courthouse. There are loft-style features throughout with panoramic views to be had of the coast and the famous White Cliffs. But despite the modern makeover, the stone exterior with chapellike windows and arched stone staircases inside are a reminder that this is a truly historic property. With two large bedrooms (one with en-suite bathroom) and an open plan family room, this property would suit a small family. It’s also slap bang in the middle of town; perfect for shopping and eating out or for nearby transport links to London. £200,000 / www.your-move.co.uk


SPACE ADVERTORIAL

Photos from left: How the development will look when it opens for occupation in 2014; the parish church at Ash boasts a spire that can be seen for miles around; each property comes with a wood burning stove — perfect for those cosy nights indoors

TRADITION WITH A TWIST Tired of city living but not quite ready to give up your busy social life? A brand new development in Ash may provide the answer

P

oliticians are always banging on about how our towns and villages could do with bit more community spirit. Perhaps they should take a detour off the A257 east of Canterbury past apple orchards, oast houses and vineyards for a whistle stop tour of Ash. Because right here awaits a microcosm of Kentish country living with all the benefits of a rural location which lies within easy reach of neighbouring Canterbury (9 miles) and Sandwich (3 miles). The village hall/library on Queens Road is the hub of this family-friendly settlement and its public notice board offers just a glimpse of the kind of communal activities that can be enjoyed here – scout groups, amateur dramatics, yoga sessions, choir meetings, upholstery classes…oh yes, and there is a recreation ground opposite and a bowls club just around the corner, not to mention the 12th century church of St Nicholas with its magnificent copper spire. In the high street there are at least two convenience stores and Boots the chemist. Having been given an opportunity to build in in the heart of Ash, niche

housing developer Rogate have taken a radical step back from their criticallyacclaimed modern apartment buildings in Tankerton and Westgate-on-Sea, returning fairly and squarely to their Kentish roots. The Lanes, Queens Road, are 14 contemporary homes (available in both three and four bed units) with all the benefits and features you would expect from a quality modern build but with signature external details that hark back to a more traditional and solid era; reddish brick walls fuse with white weather boarding and clay tiles, a look that is designed to blend seamlessly with the already strong visual identity of the neighbourhood. Explains Rogate’s Planning Director John Showler: “Our reference point always starts from the place where we are building. Each home will therefore look very traditional on the outside, but on the inside they are designed in a highly individual way. All of them have been purposefully designed to have open, bright and fluid spaces.” The fusion of trad-meets-modern continues with each home’s permanent fixtures; timber doors, window frames,

stairways and luxury Amtico flooring are complemented by high spec double glazing and chrome door handles. And with our long, dark winters in mind, the homes are energy efficient and are equipped with top-of-the-range gas boilers, under floor heating and a high level of insulation throughout (each home has achieved the Code 3 of the Code of Sustainable Homes, therefore delivering a lower carbon footprint per unit). A contemporary-style Chesney wood burning stove for each home completes the cosy rural effect. Outside meanwhile, every home has its own front and back garden with shed space and secure cycle storage—perfect for young families or active retirees. Michael Cooper of estate agents Michael Cooper and Partners is quick to praise the virtues of living in this unique village underlining the excellent choice of local schools, regular bus services and the opportunities for enjoying the beautiful local countryside—there are up to 100 miles of footpaths immediately around it. But, he says, these factors pale in comparison to what is an essentially a more fundamental quality: “When I show clients around, they always say how friendly the village is. This has been the clincher on a sale several times over!” When it opens for occupation in spring 2014, The Lanes will bring an influx of around 30 new inhabitants to Ash—that can only be good news for the church choir, the reading group, the yoga teacher, the am dram club, not to mention the shop keepers in the high street. Prices from £275,000 to £365,000 Enquires: 01227 762996 www.rogate.co.uk/thelanes The Weekender 43


SPACE

“An object that continues to give pleasure on a daily basis is a thing of worth to me�

44 The Weekender


SPACE

THE CURIO BY JO WILLIS

Graham Ward’s Grade II-listed house in Margate comes with the worry expected of a period property, but the other side of the coin is his home’s character, history and charm. Graham has created the most beautiful and dramatic of environments in which to live. The dark and rich interiors complement the building; a drama unfolds as you wind your way around the house provoking intrigue at every turn How do you define style? Style is often unquantifiable; put simply, it may be an innate ability to put objects together and create interiors with ease and instinct. One thing is clear; style is not concerned or connected with wealth or social status, it cannot be bought or bargained for and you either have it or you don’t. What were the best and worst things about your renovation experience? The house was a repossession and fairly hard-won. The best thing was that those parts I have been able to renovate required only a cosmetic makeover. The worst

aspect is the contemplation of just how much in need of serious attention the roof might require, and how much it is likely to cost me! That and an antiquated heating system that feels as though it were put together by Heath Robinson and which functions on a proverbial wing and prayer. Do you have an object of desire for your home? An original painting by William Nicholson, a classic footed bowl by Lucie Rie or some more decorative pieces by Oriel Harwood. Failing any of the above, the Isenheim Altarpiece or, more prosaically, a new boiler! What do you collect? My interests have been books, toys, natural objects such as fossils and skulls, ceramics and cabinets. An object that continues to give pleasure on a daily basis is a thing of worth to me. I do often worry about how possessions have the ability to anchor one to the earth. I wish I had a greater ability to move things on without sentiment or regret, but it is incredibly hard when one’s life has been spent effectively ‘set-dressing’ or ‘altar-building’ with objects that please the eye and gladden the heart for more than just a moment in time. If you could change one thing about your house what would it be? Only one thing? Primarily I would tear down the existing excuse for a kitchen with my bare hands and replace it with the one in The Weekender magazine from a year or so back, and which I keep stuck to the walls as a reminder of my intentions. That, and getting shut of the awful Artex on the stairwell ceilings: I loathe it with a pathology bordering on hatred!

www.thecurioinmargate.com

The Weekender 45


TRAVEL

Sun, Sea, Sand and Sherry There’s more to your auntie’s favourite tipple than meets the eye. Dan Synge discovers a town where food, drink and tradition make a heady mix

S

herry may be struggling to keep up with the hipper vodka, gin and whisky, but travel to its place of origin, and you will discover that there is so much more to this age-old drink which the conquering Moors called sherrish. We British have traditionally enjoyed our sherry on the sweeter side, hence the halfdrunk bottle of Bristol Cream at Christmas, but slowly we are beginning to appreciate the more subtle and exotic attractions of bone dry finos, nutty amontillados and other sherry hybrids. The town of Jerez de la Frontera, located just over 30 miles from Cadiz on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is the spiritual and cultural epicentre of the global sherry business, and no-one should be allowed to pass through without a trip to one of the many cellars or

bodegas (there are said to be around 30 in total) that are found inside its old city walls. Arguably the best starting point is the town’s newly-restored Alcazar which, over time, has been used both as a fortress and a palace. It retains its tiny mosque, its formal gardens with tall palms and orange trees and the remains of an Arab bath house. Take a camera oscura tour here and you can observe the town’s main landmarks with the helpful chit chat of a guide. I won’t bore you with the science of the various lenses and pulleys operated by our host, but by entering a dark room to stare at a big upturned dish showing clear moving images of the world outside, you have a far quirkier take on the normal sightseeing experience. Right under our noses, just a few yards from the town’s spectacular cathedral stands the Gonzalez Byass bodega, home of the


TRAVEL

“If a cool, dark warehouse sounds like your idea of hell, think again”

famous Tio Pepe sherry brand. There are of course other similar tours in the town, notably at nearby Harvey and Domecq plus at several smaller sherry dynasties, but the scale, setting and pedigree of this particular operation give it a slight edge over its rivals. Leading us through the sun-drenched courtyards to the first ‘cellar’, actually a ground-level store room, our guide explained that the sherry produced by the current fifth generation Gonzalez family comes from the Palamino grape which thrives on the area’s chalky white soil, dry climate and fresh sea breezes. Sherry’s distinctive taste comes from mixing newish wine with more mature varieties in a range of oak casks, some dating back to the 1800s, which are stored all over the site. As well as sherry, the company produce vast quantities of wine and brandy. During the hour-long tour we rode a relaxing miniature train and walked through a series of old cellars, one with casks signed personally by visiting celebrities such as Winston Churchill and Picasso. Another room had its own resident mice, who for years have been made to feel at home with their very own glass reached by a tiny step ladder. If a morning spent in a cool, dark warehouse piled with dusty barrels sounds like your idea of hell, think again. Our knowledge and appreciation of this fine Spanish aperitif was enhanced no end and at the end of the tour you get to taste the stuff with an optional selection of tapas. Having tried all the varieties on offer, I quickly developed a taste for chilled fino which, incidentally, goes down a treat with almond nuts and some local dry cheese. By now, it was getting well on the way to lunch time and our taxi driver, also a fount of local knowledge, had recommended a tapas bar, Bar Juanito, which we quickly found in an alleyway just of the town’s main square, the Plaza del Arenal. It was a charming and totally authentic setting in which to sample dishes such as octopus, chorizo, clams and squid—many cooked in the local sherry—and watch the bustle of a Saturday afternoon in downtown Jerez. As luck would have it, we were in for a treat later that afternoon as our visit

Photos from left: the cathedral at Jerez alongside the worldfamous Gonzalez Byass bodega; a tour guide reveals the processes that make the perfect glass of sherry; many artists (including Picasso) have left their mark on the company’s barrels


TRAVEL

had coincided with the annual Virgen del Rosario processions. It seemed as if the whole town has come together to watch the gilded effigies emerge from the town’s churches hoisted on floats by teams of local lads while dressed-up worshippers trooped solemnly in front bearing candles and incense. As darkness fell, the atmosphere grew more boisterous and trumpets and drums echoed incessantly around the ancient alleyways of the town’s Barrio de Santiago, home to a handful of tiny churches and a few Flamenco music bars. Old traditions die hard in this highly conservative part of Spain and the town’s Horse Fair in May draws crowds from all over the world. Should you miss it, the über-groomed white Cartujano stallions perform every Tuesday and Thursday at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art which is just a short walk from the centre. Jerez, of course, is just one of the many places worth visiting while on a tour of south western Andalucia. Should you hire a car, Cadiz and the coast is just a 40 minute drive on modern EU-funded roads or, going further inland, the hilltop town of Arcos de la Frontera is highly recommended. The area has dozens of these white hilltop towns, but Arcos is arguably the most spectacular; it seems to cling desperately to the cliff edge which supports a lofty collection of fortress walls, churches and cobbled streets with neat whitewashed homes. We headed immediately for the Parador Nacional and its sun terrace where we ordered

mid-morning sherry and snacks and took in the epic views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a habit that you could quickly get used to! www.bodegastiopepe.com www.turismojerez.com

Above: Time for refreshing glass of cerveza at Bar Juanito Below: Some local cheese, walnuts and olives go down well with a glass of chilled fino sherry

Dan Synge travelled to Jerez de la Frontera with Ryanair www.ryanair.com

Bottle It Up: Top Sherry Facts + The real Tio Pepe was the uncle of Gonzalez Byass founder Manuel Maria Gonzalez + British ex-pats such as Robert Byass and John Harvey helped establish many of the bodegas which survive today + Once in the barrel, the flor (yeast) gives sherry its distinctive flavour + Sherry is distilled in oak barrels for up to 30 years + The UK is a leading importer, consuming around 70% of all exports

48 The Weekender


MORE RELAXING

MORE STYLISH MORE FREQUENT

The Spirit of France and Spirit of Britain are the newest and biggest ships on the Dover-Calais route, so there’s more to enjoy. On board you’ll find fine cuisine in The Brasserie, plus more luxury and even complimentary champagne when you upgrade to our Club Lounge. There’s also a chic onboard shop, areas for kids and of course, great views. And with up to 23 crossings a day it’s convenient too. Book your ticket with us now.

POferries.com 08712 22 01 22

dover calais • hull zeebrugge / rotterdam • cairnryan / troon larne • liverpool dublin


ACTIVITY

Five

Roaring Great Drives

So you’ve got the right car and, hopefully, the right driving companion. But where will you really let the engine loose, ideally with a backdrop of rolling fields, traffic-free tarmac and maybe a cute castle, windmill or lighthouse to frame the horizon? 50 The Weekender

photo: horst friedrichs


ACTIVITY

“The road stretches as far as you can see and there are plenty of hills to keep the adrenaline going”

(RHDR) and the army shooting ranges towards Dymchurch. A self-styled ‘Children’s Paradise’ this unpretentious Romney Marsh resort has a good, family-friendly beach, a permanent funfair and a Martello Tower which survives from the Napoleonic era. The road follows the open track of the RHDR railway up to New Romney where you take the B2071 towards Dungeness hugging the coastline with its rows of suburban-style houses facing the sea, all of which are slightly different in their own way. Pull over for fish and chips or have a stretch on the shingle beach at The Pilot Inn. From here, either take the road inland towards Lydd, Camber Sands and Rye or get lost in the weirdness of Dungeness with its austere Victorian lighthouse and odd collection of dwellings dotted around the landscape. Distance: 20 miles approx Must see: The 200 foot curved ‘sound mirror’ on Greatstone Lakes, Dungeness Pit stop: The Pilot Inn

3. FOLKESTONE TO TENTERDEN (B2067)

Introducing just a few of the many great drives that can be found on East Kent’s roads, from urban coastal cruising to bucolic country lanes and everything in between. Why not hop in the front seat and enjoy the ride?

1. CANTERBURY TO HYTHE (STONE STREET)

2. FOLKESTONE TO RYE (A259)

This coastal excursion begins outside Folkestone taking you though the genteel Victorian resorts of Sandgate and Hythe. Follow the road beyond the Hythe railway terminal for the miniature Romney Hythe and District Railway

Another great driving experience around Folkestone is via West Hythe, Lympne Castle and the nearby Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. The lovely B2067 takes you over the Wealden ridge overlooking Romney Marsh and the Royal Military Canal. Every village along the way has its own particular charm. Stop and enjoy a walk in at Hamstreet Woods or see the windmill in Woodchurch. Tenterden and around is a fantastic area to explore by

Viewing it on a road map, the B2068, also known as Stone Street, appears to be the perfect driver’s road. Join it off the A2 to the south of Canterbury and it’s pretty much straight ahead until the coast where it joins the A20 and Hythe. Unless you’re unlucky enough to get stuck behind a farmer’s tractor or horse box, it’s foot down all the way passing open fields, farmyards (check out the well-stocked farm shop at Lower Hardres) and clusters of woodland which spread out across the Elham Valley. There are sections where the road ahead stretches almost as far as you can see and there are plenty of hills to keep the adrenaline going. One for your inner ‘boy/girl racer’. Distance: 15 miles approx Must see: Westenhanger Castle and Folkestone Racecourse Pit stop: The Hop Pocket, Bossingham The Weekender 51


ACTIVITY

car. Don’t miss Smallhythe Place, a historic 16th century cottage and gardens (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) or wine tastings at nearby vineyards Chapel Down and Biddenden, both of which are signposted. Motoring lovers should head for nearby Rolvenden with its collection of historic vehicles (www.morganmuseum.org.uk). Distance: 20 miles approx Must see: The Kent and East Sussex Railway station at Tenterden Pit stop: The Bull, Benenden

4. CANTERBURY TO MARGATE (A28)

The A28 is the old Roman Road that links the Thanet coast to Canterbury. Leaving the historic cathedral city with its ancient walls and gates, the road takes you past car dealerships and out-of-town retail parks until Sturry and Fordwich, which in the middle ages, served as Canterbury’s port. Finally opening up around the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve (bring a pair

of binoculars to see marsh harriers and bittern), the near razor-straight road continues to the village of Upstreet, where The Grove Ferry Inn (signposted off the road) offers a welcome pit stop for food as well as an opportunity to relax by the river Stour and watch the boats go by. Or drive further down the road to Sarre to The Crown Inn, also known as the Cherry Brandy House and a popular haunt of Charles Dickens. Beyond here, Thanet’s epic fields really start to unravel. Follow the signposts to Margate and the famous Sarre windmill, which dates back to 1820, on your right. After a quick detour to St Nicholas-at-Wade (the ancient tradition of ‘hoodening’ survives here) it’s all the way to the Margate’s sea front via Birchington and Westgate, which was eulogised in a John Betjeman poem. Park up on the Harbour Arm and pop in to see some art at the Turner Contemporary or lose yourself among the old town’s backstreets with its vintage shops, ace cafés and small independent galleries.

Distance: 17 miles approx Must see: Minnis Bay, Birchington Pit stop: The Crown Inn, Sarre

5. THE THANET TRIANGLE

Not so much a route but a series of interconnected B roads which make a short but thrilling loop for the more experienced motorist. Start from the Art Deco-style Holiday Inn at the A299 Minster roundabout and take the B2190 (also known as Spitfire Way) towards Manston—the airport runway is on your right. After passing the airport terminal, take a left onto Manston Road (B2050), a lovely straight country route which passes through open fields to the village of Acol. After the village, turn right towards the Monkton roundabout (Plumstone Road) then finally back to where you started via the A299. Distance: 2 miles approx Must see: RAF Manston History Museum Pit stop: The New Inn, Minster


THE LIST

Motoring in East Kent

A guide for discerning drivers Racing Circuits Brands Hatch One of world’s best-loved racing circuits just off the M20, Brands offer track days and driving experiences. www.brandshatch.co.uk Lydden Hill Only a mile long, this is the UK’s shortest road racing circuit. Regular track days, including rallycross, saloon and sports car racing. www.lyddenhill.co.uk Driving Experiences & Off Road Courses

Car Shows and Meets Griffin’s Head, Chillenden Regular meet for pre-war and post-war car fanatics (first Sunday of every month). A barbecue lunch is served outside for owners and other visitors. Enquiries: 01304 840325 The Faversham Charity Car and Bike Show This annual August festival is a must for lovers of classic cars or vintage bikes. www.faversham charitycarshow.org

Red Letter Days A mouth-watering range of experiences from taking the wheel of a Ferrari to Endurance Karting. www.redletterdays.co.uk

Car Clubs Thanet Classics Car Club Local car enthusiasts meeting regularly in Ramsgate. www.thanetclassics.co.uk Kent Car Club Run by fans of performance cars and motorsport, they offer regular events and useful advice on all things motoring. www.kentcarclub.co.uk

Kent Car Collection Broadstairs-based classic car specialists with models ranging from Porsche, Maserati, Ferrari and Bentley. www.kentcarcollection.com Chilham Sports Cars Porsche specialist and other used cars at affordable prices. www.chilhamsportscars.co.uk Pierremonts Large range of used vehicles from sports cars to camper vans. www.pierremonts.co.uk Go Karts Buckmore Park The circuit where, as youngsters, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton honed their driving skills. www.buckmore.co.uk Lydd Kart Circuit Equipped with a 1,000-metrelong track and hire karts (for drivers aged four years or older), Lydd makes a great day out for the kids. www.lyddkartcircuit.com Bayford Meadows Floodlit circuit near Sittingbourne, offering both junior and adult karting. www.bayfordkarting.co.uk

True Grip Off Road Ashford-based venue with a range of 4x4 adventures. www.truegripoffroad.co.uk Into The Blue Challenging off road course near Maidstone. Over 200 acres of woods, fields and orchards to test your skills. www.intotheblue.co.uk

Specialist Dealers

Darling Buds Farm Car Show Once the set for the long running television series, the farm hosts a regular car show in July. Features Pop Larkin’s Rolls Royce and 900 or more other vehicles. www.darlingbudsfarm.co.uk Heritage Events A local company specialising in shows that have the ‘wow factor’. From models, militaria, air shows and beyond. www.heritage-events.co.uk

Did You Know? The world-famous car featured in the Ian Fleming story and 1960s film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was named after a series of aero-engined racing cars built in the 1920s by Count Louis Zborowski of Higham Park, near Canterbury. The original car from the Dick Van Dyke musical (designed by James Bond set designer Ken Adam) was recently sold to DJ Chris Evans for £500,000. Museums and Collections Dover Transport Museum Rare collection of vintage transport. Includes a 1930s Delage and one of the first American lorries supplied to the British Army in World War One. www.dovertransport museum.org.uk Hornby Visitor Centre Not just for loco lovers, this former Hornby factory houses exhibits and collectables from Scalextric, Corgi and Airfix. www.hornby.com/hornbyvisitor-centre The CM Booth Collection Features a unique collection of Morgan sports cars plus some rare automobilia. www.morganmuseum.org.uk

The Weekender 53


INTERIORS

GET SET FOR A FESTIVE FEAST BY ROSS DUTTSON

W

hen Christmas comes, it’s time for joy and colour. This doesn’t necessarily mean bright novelty jumpers, drinking too much and secret kisses under the mistletoe; I’m talking about a heartening seasonal lunch table. The latest design trends lean towards pops of colour, adding flashes of gold or brass with deep textural fabrics including tartan and tweed. So, if you’re looking for an ‘on trend’ table to get your friends and family talking, I’ve got a couple of ideas for you.  Neon decorations, especially lime green and orange baubles (www.christmastimeuk.com) will help brighten any room during the long, wintery days. These bright pieces will sit comfortably on the table and on the mantelpiece, amongst foliage of eucalyptus, ivy and fir (soaked in floral foam to last longer) while

ROSS RECOMMENDS… Alessi ‘Merry Boy’ corkscrew (£45) Hand decorated, chrome-plated Santa corkscrew—a colourful addition to any Christmas party. Sagaform Heart bowl (£35) Scandinavian simplicity adds some love to your Christmas table. Comes with eco-friendly bamboo serving spoon.

any greenery is grouped together and tied with pieces of fabric. You choose whether to go more neon or more traditional and any decorations can be moved aside when the large dishes of turkey, roasted potatoes and brightly coloured vegetables arrive at the table. Find some gold braid or ribbon to wrap around the base of church candles and put amongst the decorations to add light and warmth to the proceedings. Alternatively, search for vintage cups and saucers that are painted in bright hues and simply pop in a tea light and watch them glow. Now, if the idea of wrapping presents, peeling the potatoes and putting together a creative and eye-catching table is too much, call Flowers by SP in Broadstairs and they can help you make a ‘table centre’ fit for a feast! @rossduttson / www.rossduttson.com

Stockists: Papillon Interiors 40 Fort Hill, Margate www.papilloninteriors.co.uk Urbanista 24 Harbour Street, Whitstable 01227 282852 Flowers by SP 5 The Broadway, Broadstairs www.flowersbysp.co.uk


BEAUTY

STOCKING FILLERS BY NATALIE SHIRLAW, LYNN TAYLOR AND FRANCES PRESCOTT

So what’s on your beauty wish list this year? Our experts give you the lowdown on the products that make this winter even more fabulous GLITTER GIRL

T

hese Sleep-In Rollers are such a great idea for the modern woman who is always in a rush and with no time to style. They are designed to flatten like a sponge when you lie on them so you sleep in comfort and wake up to big bouncy hair. We love the fact also that you can have great hair with no heat damage! This pink and glitter set has been designed especially for Christmas and would make a perfect gift for anyone who loves styling and dressing her hair. Check out my blog post on how to use them: shirlawsanctuary.com/ blog. £27.99

MAGIC BOX

H

ere’s a fabulous gift idea for make-up junkies and an essential item for models and make-up artists. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are the only eyelash curlers in my 20 years of experience that work. They come in a little gift box so wraps up nicely and there is a spare curler refill, although you wouldn’t need to change it for ages. A lovely little gift that will make all the difference without breaking the bank!  £20

SIMPLY DIVINE

Divine Cream is a ‘wow’ product which truly lives up to its name. The glorious soufflé like texture is a treat for the skin and it really plumps out those fine lines and gives you an instant radiance. A must for any skincare routine as it increases collagen and elastin— two key components in keeping you looking your youthful best. £100 (200ml)

Ask Natalie Q

Why should I use a natural shampoo instead of my leading brand shampoo?

Just as we are becoming more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, more of us are more demanding about what cosmetics we use too. Leading brands of shampoos contain many ingredients in that are clearly not good for us; Cocomide DEA is known to be linked to cancer, Parabens harm our health and the environment and artificial fragrance is one of the top five allergens and can trigger asthma or eczema attacks. And that’s just the top of the list! Sulfates strip natural oils form the hair and can leave the scalp irritated while silicone can leave the hair unable to breathe, eventually causing build up that causes dryness, lifelessness and, even worse, breakage. My advice is to give your hair a well-earned rest and go for a natural choice such as Weleda’s new Oat hair range. They are 100% natural and so good for you and the world around you. £8.95 (shampoo only) Stockists: Room 92, Whitstable, 01227 772884 The Inner Goddess, Faversham, 01795 539583 www.weleda.co.uk / www.shuuemura.co.uk www.sleepinrollers.com

The Weekender 55


JUST THE JOB

Richard Barber, Garage Owner and Racing Driver

R

ichard has run Rose’s Garage in his home town of Sandwich since 1976. As well as operating a busy premises with four mechanics working under him, he manages to find time to compete in the annual Grand Prix Masters picking up an amazing 19 Historic Formula One trophies in his 1978 Fittipaldi F5A. i left school at 16 and served a three year apprenticeship. When I first opened the garage, I was working on my own and everything was very run down. There was a leak in the roof and the water would come in when it rained. The floor boards upstairs were completely rotten! my day is full of problems. I arrive at 7.30am and get the workshop ready before my mechanics arrive. During this time I get a lot of phone calls, mostly to do with booking in services or MOTs. I then give my mechanics the jobs to get on with and they’ll come to me throughout the day with problems. I haven’t 56 The Weekender

actually done a big mechanical job myself for a few years as there are so many interruptions. I normally finish at around 6pm, sometimes 7pm. repairing classic cars is 30–40% of my business and we are doing more classic cars than we did 20 years ago. A lot of mechanics don’t understand a car like an E-Type Jaguar—we’re working on two here at the moment. a good car mechanic should be versatile. They may be working on a modern car or a car that is pre-war. They need a good brain that can retain information and, above all, they must have a feel for what they’re doing. i’m planning to work until i’m 70. I like to be fit for my job but also for my motor sport. I keep fit by running, going to the gym and riding my bicycle. Fitness helps in business and you certainly can’t drive a racing car if you’re out of shape! i get to drive on formula one circuits such as Donington, Monza and Brands Hatch. My racing car is a fantastic thing to drive. It’s a 500 bhp Grand Prix car that weighs just 585kg—that’s less than a Mini! i must be the poorest man competing in Historic Formula One. For instance, I race against an Italian who is the heir to the Martini drinks empire. To save costs I don’t employ a team; I simply bring a van and a covered trailer. The rest of the guys turn up with a team of mechanics and an articulated lorry. running a garage is stressful. I thought it would be less stressful as I got older but unfortunately it isn’t. There could be easier ways of making a living but it’s my life. I care passionately about what I’m doing and all I’ve ever done is cars—I don’t know any other way. www.themastersseries.com

PROS Getting to work on and drive fantastic cars

{ Dealing with all sorts of customers

{ Being able to drive on international Formula One circuits

CONS It’s hard to find good mechanics

{ I’m not keen on repairing Citroen 2CVs. The way they’re put together is silly

{ The costs of motor racing. When I competed in Monza, Italy, it set me back £10,000!


MY EAST KENT LIFE

Alan Davies

Actor and comedian Alan Davies is famous for television roles such as Jonathan Creek and his double act with Stephen Fry on QI. But did you know his first ever stand-up gig was the Labour Club in Whitstable? This year he returns to Kent for his Life is Pain tour. He reveals his fondest memories and tells us how he turns them into amusing anecdotes for his sell out show

photo: tony briggs

STUDENT DAZE My best memories of student life are in Whitstable. With just 4,000 students, the University of Kent was much smaller than many of the big city universities; 25 years ago you made your own entertainment! Once you were in Whitstable on a Friday night, you were pretty much there for the weekend. There was only one bus out of town 58 The Weekender

every hour and not many people had cars. There were no cash machines then either —you’d see people in the pub paying for an 80p drink with a cheque! If you were on campus in Canterbury, you might go to the Marlowe Theatre but mostly it was down the Neptune Pub or to someone’s house in Whitstable. That was life then and I had so much fun.

COMIC TURN During my time at university, I was particularly inspired by a comedian called Simon Bligh, who is someone I got to know quite well. He was the headline act of a group of comedians that came onto campus and I just thought he was absolutely hilarious. I also loved Rory Bremner who I saw at Edinburgh in 1986 and of course Billy Connolly who is hysterically funny. I saw these people doing standup and suddenly there was a growing circuit in London— I realised it was a possibility for me and ultimately, that’s what I went for. My first stand-up gig was in the Labour Club in Whitstable in March 1988. My friends were playing a fundraiser gig there and they just put my name on the poster. I did a sketch based on a Flake commercial, which somehow involved me putting a condom on a bar of chocolate. By the end of 1988 I was doing open spots and soon after I was doing paid gigs. I was giving some pretty atrocious performances, but that’s when it all started. PAIN KILLLER Life is Pain will be funny—I absolutely guarantee laughs. I’m looking forward to the Folkestone show because I know the area and the people. Naming Life is Pain was all a bit tongue in cheek. My friend told me this anecdote about a six-year-old girl, who in the middle of being told off by her mother shouted ‘Life is pain!’ Something about that struck me as really funny. I also now know that there are painful things in life. Now I’m a bit older I can appreciate that there are things I would never have talked about at 22. But now at 47 I can talk about different things. I can touch on the death of my mother or on my grandfather having

Photos (from left): Sweet-toothed Alan prepares to embark on his nationwide stand-up tour; the Kent uni student with his grandmother; the embryonic comedian messing about in a photo booth

Parkinson’s. I talk about things that happened to me growing up and that everyone can relate to. If you’re a middle-aged comedian and you’re not talking about these things, then that strikes me as a bit ridiculous—you’ve got to have a reason to be there. Of course, my shows also include a lot of fairly raucous stories about sex toys and Facebook. CHILD’S PLAY These days, all I think about is my kids. I had three hours off this weekend and spent it all in the soft play gym, but it’s lovely to be with them and to see them so happy. For the next few years, I want to do another couple of shows, and then I’ll be about 50-odd and will have a think about what to do next. I may come to the Marlowe in about a year’s time, so I’ll be sure to talk The Weekender then! Interview by Bess Browning Alan Davies: Life is Pain, Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, Saturday 16 November 0844 871 3015 or atgtickets.com/Folkestone


Computer generated illustration

THE LANES QUEENS RD ASH FOURTEEN HOMES OFFERING MODERN COUNTRY LIVING IN THE BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE OF ASH To learn more about these exclusive 3-4 bedroom country homes with contemporary high specification interiors call 01304 813666, email ash@michaelcooperandpartners.co.uk or visit www.rogate.co.uk/thelanes


The Weekender, Issue Eight