On the train, down to Margate aka Dreamland aka Traceyland aka Turnerland for a night of art at Turner Contemporary.
Margate is closed down. Walk out of the station in the drizzle and that’s the first and second and third impression. The sky is giant, and inspiring (ask Turner) but the town is a little less so (ask Emin). Unless you are into beautiful desolate, which I am, so it’s kind of run-down great, dirty brilliant, faded glory +. The plus is this bloody great gallery on the other side of the bay, kind of biting its thumb, (ask Shakespeare), at the poor of the town, splashing around in the sandy shallows, searching for some kind of living.
And thanks to Turner and Tracey, gentrification is on its way, come to save the town from total shut down, come to mock the meek, depending on your viewpoint. Like a mouth where somebody has suddenly, after years of neglect, started to clean the teeth. But not all of them, just the odd one or two, here and there.
So there is a closed down shop next to a closed down bar next to the closed (and burnt) Dreamland, next to a closed down shop next to an open bar called Electronic Elephant or Ancient Aubergine or some such absurdity, either way it’s definitely run by JD Weatherspoon (that’s a pub company not another not so famous artist).
Then, round the corner, in the old town, there’s an art shop next to an upmarket nic nac emporium next to a cup cake shop next to an art shop. The people from up London, where the house prices are crazy stupid, are selling up and opting for the quiet life, by the seaside, in a mansion, that they can afford to buy from the profits of the sale of their modest homes in Streatham Hill or Forest Gate.
So I, DJ from up London, photographing walls and piss alleys for arty kicks, eat a chilli and chorizo (pronounced chori-tho) pizza on the harbour wall and chat to a really nice middle class lady with a camper van and a really big dog and a wood fired pizza oven who has been here for 12 weeks, just, absolutely, really, loving it.
And the rain passes and the sun sets into the sea through the broken cloud. I play music from CDs Sunset 1-6 and Post Dubstep 1-4 from my up London DJ wallet. And it’s kind of calm and really beautiful (ask Turner), because, well, it’s the seaside and there’s a sunset and it can’t be all bad. And the evening’s great, despite the showers and the wind off the North Sea, and it is sort of inspiring because, well, it’s the seaside and there’s space and light and beauty between the cracks.
By this time I am a little drunk and a little floaty, so I buy haddock and chips and take a sobering walk to the station. And the truth is I have had a lovely time, but the truth is I am also really glad to be on the last train out of this one gallery town, back up London with its bustle and blast and its reassuring noise and fumes, digital images of despair etched on walls and natural beauty splashed across the sea and sky safely stored on the Leica.