Who’s Beach is it Anyway?

Oh dear.  More controversy about ‘who owns the beach’ in Whitstable.  This story has been rumbling on for DECADES and I find it perpetually amusing.  The locals just can’t accept that their beach is privately owned – yet it’s true.   Like a simplified fairytale, the locals would have Barry Green and the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company cast in the role of the evil overlords of their feifdom.  They have taken posession of the town, held the humble, defenseless villagers to ransom, stripped them of their right to use metal detectors  on the beach and forced the town to become – economically vibrant and successful!

Oh.  That’s not how it goes…Lol.

No.  And that’s becuase Barry Green is a GOD.

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There you have it.  And I’m not the only one who thinks that.  Read what Duncan Roy has to say about it from his blog in 2011:

“If Barry had not bought the Whitstable Oyster Company and preserved it and the surrounding buildings the Oyster Stores would have been demolished.  They were slated for demolition.  Barry saved the building and by doing so saved the town.

Barry is not a philanthopist..he is a businessman. …. People need jobs.  Especially now.”

Here, here.  But don’t those locals go on.  Honestly!  I’ve read people on Facebook paranoid that the Greens will put a toll booth at the end of the Street!  The issue blew up again last year when a campaign group tried to register the beach as a village ‘green’ (how stupid are these people – when did you last see a green pebble??).  It got rejected – read the article here.

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See how normal Green junior is – he’s wearing rigger boots! Oh look – Bretts. GRRRRRR!

I got to know Barry and his bonkers wife quite well in the 90s when me and Pip were just weekenders.  I was always very impressed with his commitment to business development and how personable he was.  I only saw him pinch a waitress’s bottom once, but y’know, if you’re the governor, you get the perks right?  All of that, surely can be forgiven if  you can single-handedly turn the fortunes of a drab, lifeless, jobless, dull seaside town around and turn it into something – Whitstabubbly.

So here’s a little adaptation to the sign they have on ‘THEIR’ beach – one of the several signs the locals are getting all het up about:

Unicorns

Because actually, what Barry Green has done is like sprinkling Unicorn doo doo on the town – it’s made it all…magical.    Thank you Barry.  I still think £35 is too much for some grilled fish but I’m tight these days.  Lol!  But on a more serious note, what do people think might have become of Whitstable if the Oyster Stores had never opened?  I’ll tell you…it would have become like HERNE BAY.

Just don’t go there.  Unless you want to buy a carpet or you only have a pound.

Laters!

 

Assimilation Part Two: Women

Well my rules of assimilation seem to have, indeed, ruffled a couple of local feathers.  I’m not making anyone read this and it is meant to just be a bit of fun.  Lighten up!  God.

On that note, I now move on to my next topic, reluctant as I am to dwell on this.  My wife thinks my opinion on this one is bang on and she even agrees with the archetypes I created of DFL women (she’s a Fierce DFL – see previous post).  I had a bit of help with this one from some Twitter friends.  Big thanks to @NotSureJustYet for bringing the genius and wicked humour of Phil Lucas to my attention.  Big thanks to @PhilLucas for letting me plunder his colour charts.

I haven’t written this as a guide for women, becuase they don’t need it.  This is more of an explanation if anything.  A way for DFL men to pigeon hole thier own wives and for locals to  recognise the forces at work here.

Here are Phil’s brilliant charts I have utilised to define my DFL ladies style and character:

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So, in by book, there are two ways DFL women assimilate.

1.  Barren women and women who have chosen not to have chilren

Time it takes in order to assimilate?  None – they don’t.  They work in London and have only moved down to make themselves look better in front of their friends and have great parties here for their friends and gloat.  They think it’s a provincial backwater and a cultural wasteland.  They don’t bother coming down in the winter unless there is an event or party, rarely patronise local establishments and never EVER buy clothes here.

Now, to make this a bit more visual and so you can easily identify these types if you should see them, I’m going to use this year’s A/W 14/15 fashion colour palette that best encapsulates this first type.  No word of a lie – some fashion person has actually based a collection of clothes on the colour palette for the film Frozen – no shit!  It seems wholly appropriate for this DFL type – frozen eggs (she’ll never use), frozen heart and frozen forehead.  Lol!

frozen Palette

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Designer bathroom. The shaving mirror is for her – Lol!
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A fondness for whimsical, pointless ‘fashioin pieces’.
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Work work work!
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The power nail. It screams ‘I’M THE ONE WITH THE TESTICALS ROUND HERE!’
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Vile clothes in vile colours. No concept of ‘dressing for her age’.
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The ‘nude’ lip. Think Theresa May. Looks vaguely like a woman, but could rip your head off at any moment.
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Have you noticed that EVERY DFL house in Whitstable has it’s front door painted this colour. Boring!
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She does business best over a boozy lunch.
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To match the ‘nude’ lip, a ‘nude’ Laboutin. This shoe has teeth.

2. The Cut-throat ‘Yummy’ Mummies

Time it takes to assimilate?  Approx a year.

This group can comprise of all three archetypes of DFL women (Fierce, Mumsy and Slutty) who all have slightly different assimilation approaches.  Broadly speaking, all three USE THEIR CHILDREN to fit in and make friends.  Often, it just ends up being with other DFLs, but if they get lucky, they meet a BFL ( Back From London – a local who was educated enough to move to London and work, but has since come back to breed) or some nice middle class, educated friends they can lord it over.  Slutty DFL has the added advantage of being able to flirt with the other women’s husbands so her assimilation is hugely accelerated.  They have another thing in common though – they are all horribly competitive.  Fierce DFLs take over local child-rearing institutions with the same single minded ‘lunch is for wimps’ gumption they had in the boardroom (my wife).  They are commodifying thier children and using them as a kind of cultural capital to leverage some local gravitas, and it works.  Mumsy DFLs are the ones who are always so fucking cheerful.  And nice.  They grin all the time and everything is fine and nothing is too much trouble.  Beneath this sunshiny exterior beats a dark, bitter heart, full of resentment, regret for their old life and a genuine hatred of women that actually quite like their children.  These are the ones that decorate the bloody beach, make bloody cupcakes at any opportunity whatsoever.  They’re all on Mumsnet (hello Mumsnet!) and they LOVE Boden (apart from Slutty DFLs who wear their daughter’s clothes from Top Shop to prove they’ve ‘still got it’).

These women didn’t just move down here for the sea and to have a ‘slower pace of life’.  They moved here for the grammar schools.  FACT.

So, what colour palette for the Cupcakes?  Well seeing as group no.1 was inspired by the cinema, I thought I’d stick to that theme and come up with a palette inspired by ‘Gone Girl’.  Apt, becuase as soon as these ladies (with the exception of Slutty DFLs who remember to throw up their cupcakes and yoga it off), they all grow huge and develop massive SQUARE bottoms (see previous post).  It’s extraordinary!  So, yeah, the Girl you married, has most certainly GONE.  And she ain’t coming back!  Lol.

The Gone Girl 14/15 Colour Palette – you’ll recognise these colours on and around this group of DFL assimilators.

Gone Girl Palette

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Slutty DFLs will try wearing ‘young’ make up like this.
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They save inappropriate/expensive boot wear just for the shool run
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The ‘bag’ or cloak/rug/throw – whatever! This covers a multitude of sins. It’s HORRIBLE.
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These types run everywhere. In pairs. Talking. I see them when I’m kite surfing. They wear expensive bright ‘look at me’ clothes and are just as chubby 6 months after they take it up – because they don’t even break into a sweat!
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Just. So. Wrong. But they’d wear these and love them
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Sometimes they dress like they’re going hiking on a mountain. I checked. The nearest mountain is in Wales.
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Inappropriate necklaces. You seem them in coffee houses practically strangling their infants with these neck weapons.
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AAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG!
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This is the colour they will wear when their position as ‘Whit Lit Children’s Poetry Corner Club’ project manager is challenged. Like a Eurofighter on the offensive. Boom!
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What they’d like us to wear. Same colour as a newborn’s poop poop.
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The school gate is the most cut throat environment on the planet. Forget boarder control between Syria and Turkey. Try being a man dropping kids off at school with this lot. Grow a beard, wear shades, be stealthy.
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Sssssssss. Boooo. Remember what I said about the fake rictus grin. The masters at work. Ssssssss.
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They would love to look like Nicole but apart from Slutty, they don’t have the discipline.
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A-Line skirts. Again, look sort of passable on a skeleton, but on my wife you could have held the local cubs jamboree in there. Lol!
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Gastro food. Locals are just honest and tuck into a burger puff – these chicks have biltong in their picnics.
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Look at those lovely Gone Girl berry shades! That’ll turn into a hideous jumper she’ll expect you to wear that she made in her knitting group.
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More stuff she’ll expect you to wear. At least if you got in your time machine back to the nineties you’d fit in with the locals in their shell suits. The Belgian lorry driver look.
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A sensible top. She’d match it with an A-line denim skirt off of the 70s.
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I have actually seen my wife in this ‘colourway’ on the weekends. She says it’s ‘playful’. I say bollocks.
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Match your entire kitchen to your wardrobe. My wife did.
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And if the DFL husband isn’t as spineless as me, just make cupcakes that will match your Gone Girl wardrobe.
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Unflattering bag top.
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Ugly. I actually might be sick. I mean really, if you met a woman wearing shoes like this – would you?
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I approve of the hat – on me. Again, the bomber jacket. Not so slimming as you might think.
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Even the beach huts get a colour make over once a year. Don’t get me started.
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On nights out, these ladies often overdo the eyemake up to compensate for the breastfeeding/school run bags. Discourage.
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Just because she’s fit.
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A faux fur. If these DFL’s didn’t look like the honeymonster already, this’ll clinch it.
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Sexy see-through clothes. But these days they’ll be a sensible bra from the old ladies underwear shop in the high street. Apparently Victoria is keeping it Secret.
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They LOVE to go berry hunting then cook mountains of muffins for a month, just in case they hadn’t made engough cup cakes.
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What all DFL dad’s would REALLY like to own (it fits the colour scheme!). No. We have to have a RangeRover Vogue instead.
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Remeber this? Bit hazy? That’s because these ladies strip most DFL men of wallet privilages from the moment they begin their assimilation. Keep a separate account.
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The ugly bulky jumper.
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No one escapes the colour coding. The children are just an opportunity for this group to express their innate creativity.
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There is a propensity for these women to ‘go vintage’. Like wearing something vaguely 50s and slapping on bright matt lippy is going to make them stylish. They will tell you they like the look because it ‘celebrates the curves’.
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Please be on alert. This look goes hand in hand with TATTOOS. Most DFL women wouldn’t – not anywhere you can see, but some might be swayed when the hormones kick in.

So, I think I’ve covered that.  Some of these ladies throw the towel in and go back to work in town, leaving us DFL creatives to do the menial stuff.  It’s a fairly good arrangement but the power balance is a tricky obstacle course beset with paranoia and confrontation.  I’ve made quite a few friends who have their little space to work and hide a away once the kids have been dispatched.  It’s a compromise but one I’m happy to make to persue my art.

Please alert me if you spot any of these types using my handy colour palettes!  And as for you lovely locals hoping I’ll ‘fuck off back to London’ – sorry!  Here’s a virtual *chestbump* to show I care.

Next blog – London Film Festival review.  Yay!

Keep it real home boys.

Ruffling Feathers

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A very close, local friend just sent this to me – apparently I’ve made the gossip column of the LOCAL RAG!  Well if you’re visiting me for the first time because you saw mention of my blog in their column, hello!  You might not always agree with what I have to say or my world view, but it is only MY view.  I don’t have a problem if I’ve ruffled feathers either – I think debate is a force of good.  Let’s face it, this whole DFL bashing malarky has been going on (in my memory) since at least 1990 when we first visited.  There is room for more than just a black and white view of it.

If you agree or disagree with anything I’ve written or you just want to say hello, or if you want to talk, I don’t know, fashion, kite surfing or beards, leave me a message!  And if you’re really offended, I’ll just delete it!

Ok – enough of this small town back street gossip – it’s the London Film Festival – starting TOMORROW!  Very excited to be going to the opening gala to see the The Imitation Game.

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I’m all over historical drama at the moment as I’ve been working on a screenplay loosely based on the 1953 flood in Whitstable.  I’ve not mentioned it before, but it’s coming together now and my agent is getting lots of interest/talks with broadcasters etc etc.  All good.  The truth is, the LFF isn’t like Venice or Cannes because it’s usually dismal weather, cold and dark.  The venues are all over the place and there’s no one central shmooze-venue.  But  – BUT – I would say the parties and the buzz is off the scale more cool than any other festival maybe apart from Berlin.  Which is why people like me LOVE IT.

As for the for the closing night gala.  Gonna give that one a big fat swerve.  Fury – set at the end of WW2, gritty, human suffering, blah blah.  Set in a tank that reeks of testosterone, sweat and fear.  Violent etc.  Well, I hate to admit it, but I saw Saving Private Ryan on the opening night in Venice and I nearly threw up on the Italian veteran sitting in front of me – that’s church, I swear it’s the truth.  When it comes to war flicks, Private Benjamin or Kelly’s Heros is more my cup of tea.  I get nightmares.  But, you know, if you want to put yourself through that for two hours – don’t let me stop you!

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So, if you’re new to my blog, welcome, if you’re a member of the Whitty Times team – how about you make me a Whitstable Pearl?  Or might that lose you a few hundred readers?  Lol.

Next blog – I’ll do a little review of the LFF and I suppose I’ll have to get round to my Assimilation Guide for DFL women.  Best not put it on Mumsnet though.  Hello Mumsnet!  Lol.

Laters!

C.K.Blaine’s Difinitive Rules of Assimilation

Now all that summer madness is over, time to get serious about what it takes to be accepted as a newcomer in a small, seaside town.  Those, like myself, who have made a succesful transition to happily be part of the community will tell you that as a newcomer, you have to make some changes.  This can be a painful process, so I’ve come up with a guide of how to make those changes in an incremental way, that won’t be too uncomfortable.

You’ll notice that this guide is specifically for men.  I will address the female issues of assimilation in another blog, if I can be bothered.  This one’s for the guys.

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First, a little pre-amble.  Unlike The Borg (pictured), Whitstable locals don’t necessarily want to assimilate you.  There is and will always be a stale crust of villagers that want to keep the ‘them and us’ divide alive and hateful.  Ignore them.  They probably aren’t even from Whitstable themselves.  However, there needs to be a serious period of pre-relocation mental preparation.

Pre-Relocatioin Mental Preparation

So you’ve ‘fallen in love’ with Whitstable because you came to the Oyster Festival have you?  Great.  The next year, remembering what a marvellous buzz it was, you come down, this time for Harbour Day.  Grand.  The next year, you think, ‘Ooh, I could live here’ and start to seriously fantasise about how much better your life will be if you could waft about drinking coffee in Harbour Street in your beard – full time.  So, on the strength of maybe half a dozen spring/summer/autumn visits  you make preparations to move.

HALT!

I urge you to visit on a Tuesday in February.  No!  Better still.  On a Wednesday.  A lot of the shops shut on a Wednesday afternoon.  You know, like in France.  Can you believe it?  Now you try and find something to do in February on a Wednesday afternoon in Whitstable that doesn’t involve:

a) Going to a cafe/deli

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Excellent bagals. Noice.

b) Going to the Horsebridge to wander around pretending to look at some god-awful local artist’s ‘work’.

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*Sigh*

c) Dragging yourself around the local museum

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Oh look. It’s raining.

c) Getting drunk.

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Bloody good pub. This will become the gateway to your transition.

THERE IS NOTHING TO DO.

‘Hang on!’ you say, ‘we could catch a matinee!’

NOPE – NO CINEMA

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Oh look. It’s a Weatherspoons.

‘Ok, we could have a fun, ironic time in the amusement arcade!’

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Due to be a mediocre supermarket – not even M&S!

NOPE – TURNING IT INTO ANOTHER SUPERMARKET

Here are some things you might want to do though – crown green bowls (outside) or Indoor Bowls, aqua aerobics, yoga/pilates in a church hall, Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous in another church hall, visit a church, confess in a church, walk along the beach in the bitter, howling wind and rain, go to a knitting group, attend a mindfulness workshop, take up kite surfing/windsurfing, commit Hara Kiri or GO HOME.

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Vast space that could be usef for much needed parking.
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Slumming it.
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Genteel hobby, but in February. No thanks!
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Knitting: leave it to HER.

Let’s rule out kite surfing, because that is actually cool, but it requires kit and planning.  The paucity of choice on that list is likely to make you opt for c) Getting drunk.  Now this isn’t a bad idea but you must proceed with caution.  There are a few tasty boozers that you simply shouldn’t attempt to go in.  You’ll get served, but whether you’ll be welcomed by the other punters is a moot point.  I don’t need to tell you which ones to avoid.  Your expertly honed ‘cool radar’ will identify the ones that you won’t feel comfortable in, just from the outside and the state of the smokers huddled around the doorway.  Lucky for you/us there are some very good ‘assimilation transition pubs’, where locals and DFLs can co-exist like Ebony and Ivory.  Go for it, but don’t act like a cock.

If you survive a Wednesday in February and you still want to move here, passionately – proceed to my guide below.

Ok, onto the guide.  This takes FIVE YEARS.  You can’t rush it – it’s a process.  Like pregnancy, but obvs, much more manly than that.

Year 1

1. Go out as much as possible, avoiding the above mentioned boozers.  Try not to act like a nob, but if you do, you can be safe in the knowledge that the locals actually quite enjoy DFL nob-watching.  The get competitive about it.  If you are firmly in nob mode, your ideal is to get quoted in the  ‘overheard in Whitstable’ group on Facebook.  This is a hub for locals to discriminate against DFLs and propogate the fallacy that they are unobservant, arrogant, crass and dim-witted.  Play along!  Let them have their sport!  You’re the one driving a Porche!

TOP TIP – Much mirth is had when DFLs can’t properly identify the Isle of Sheppey.  I recommend you go to the Black Dog/stand outside Harbour Books/Sundae Sundae or the Health Food Shop and ask loudly where the ferry for Denmark disembarks from.  It’ll make their day.  They have so little to do in the winter months, they need this.  They need YOU. Look upon this as a contribution to the cultural fabric of the town.  Be generous.

2.  Re-think your wardrobe.  You’re a resident now.  You need to realise not everyone who lives here is a sailor – by trade or recreation.  You can stop wearing your Breton top.  I know this is hard, but you need to give it up.  I’m thinking of starting a support group at the Horsebridge – on a Wednesday afternoon in February.  Lol!

3. Take up a hobby.  Yes, this is the kind of advice elderly bereaved people get to encourage them out of their lonliness, but it’s a good one.  Obvs, you’ve had to give up all that free culture in London and there is, quite frankly, sweet FA to do in Whitstable.  Don’t bother getting excited about the Canterbury Festival either, unless you’re over 60.  A sporting hobby is great.  Weight training, squash, tennis, windsurfing and kite surfing are all good male bonding options.  Well, maybe not tennis.

4.  Even if you have primary school age children, don’t expect to make friends with other parents.  If and when I can be bothered, I’ll cover this under the Women’s Assimilation blog.  My instruction to you is cultivate separate friends – in the pub and through your chosen hobby.  Leave the chummy couples dinner to the wife to organise.  You might not like her choices but the chances are the other husband won’t either.  You are merely a pawn.  Accept it.

5. If you are single/don’t have children, don’t expect to make friends with locals in the first year.  This is about expectation management.  It takes time.  You might think you’ve de-nobbed your behaviour and dress, but to them, you are still a glaringly annoying London twat.  Don’t even expect any meaningful exchanges with locals until year 3.  Fact.

6. When greeting other (DFL) males, give up the street style bro-clasp and either opt for a back slap or a trad handshake (eugh, yeah, I know.)  Again, it’s all part of letting go.  Deep breaths.

In the meantime, enjoy the view and start going to pilates on a Wednesday afternoon.  You never know, you might meet hot women there.  Bonza!

Year 2

A crucial year in the transition.  This is potentially the most painful as you have to start being pro-active in order to fit in.  It’s not just about a nob cessation anymore,  it’s about contributing something to the town.  Much easier if you’re a parent.

Year 2 advice for DFL Dads

1. Volunteer for every event on the calendar so you can stand about in a branded tee-shirt looking smugly at the tourists knowing it is plain to see you are not one of them.  Another thing to volunteer to do is reading at your kids’ school.  All the mums and teachers will LOVE you and word will get round that a male has given up their spare time to help little kids.

2. Run a face-painting stall for children at the castle over the May Day bank holiday.  People will think you are kind, nice, funny, generous and community minded.

3. Supervise the grotter building for Oyster festival, or organise a street party.

4. Go to a carol service at a local church.  You need to get in with the local vicar, in the unimaginable event your kids’ don’t pass the Kent Test.  Believe me, you do not want them going to the local school.  Only other option if grammer is out,  is a church school in Canterbury.  Do not be embaressed about going to church for this reason; 99% of the other parents are only there because of the Kent Test.  You might even make friends! Or find God!

Year 2 advice for childless DFLs

1. Go to the pub.  A lot.

2. Attempt to shag a local woman, but be careful.  Check her teeth.

3. Start a micro brewery

4. Make artisan cheese and sell to the local restaurants.  Have a stall at the Farmer’s Market.  Women love cheese.  They’ll think you are earthy.

Year 3

This is the year you can relax a bit and try and make a few local friends.

1.  Start aggressively patronising local shops.  Yes, it will mean it takes three times as long to get your weekly shop done and it will be twice as expensive, but it gives you an excuse to have a bit of chitchat, bit of banter.  They love all that.

2.  Consider your language and use of the consonant T.  A tough one but, if done subtly, it speaks volumes.  It says, ‘I’m one of you now’  but they won’t even know why.  Try this exercise:  Say ‘what’, now say ‘whogh’.  The ‘what’ has a voiced T, the ‘whogh’ has an unvoiced T.  It really is that simple!  Similar words you can apply this technique to are ‘Awigh?’ (as a greeting), havn’gh (haven’t), gogh igh? Well, have you got it?  Lol.

3.  Don’t start using the local patois.  That’s trying too hard.  Don’t double negative or they’ll be onto you.  Don’t say ‘in-nigh’ (see T sound instruction above) instead of ‘isn’t it’.  Do not EVER say ‘ain’t’ even ironically.  They’ll think you’re still a nob.  Just drop the odd T, that’s all.

4. Try and find out where these local traders (yes the very same ones that put you in ‘Overheard in Whitstable’) drink and be there when they are.  Buy them a drink.  They won’t refuse in case you say bollocks to their £47 per week meat/veg/bread/fish bill.  Soon, you’ll be japeing along with them, dropping T’s all over the place.

5.  Offer to put a workshop on as part of one the festivals that uses your expertise in what ever (probably) media area you work in.  Offer it for free.  It’ll give them a certain cultural cache to have your name in their brochure.

Year 4

You can’t relax yet.  You may be on first name terms with every parent in your child’s class, half the traders, a dozen bar staff and everyone at the gym, but you’re still an outsider.  So, what to do.

1.  Open an actual shop.  You don’t need to actually work in it.  You could give a local person an employment opportunity!  Sell stuff from London they could never get here.  Or, sell stuff from London to other people from London.  It doesn’t matter!

2. Start a pop up shop or event.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  Kebabs, pancakes, striptease, Cuban cigars, Curried insects – whatever!  Do it in an igloo or a yurt on the beach.  You’ll make a bomb.

3. Get a normal job.  The kids are older, they don’t need you to walk them to school.  Get a job with a builders, or as a painter and decorator.  Think what it’ll do for your creativity!  Think what Franz Kafka would do….

4. Go one step further and learn an oldy-worldy trade.  Like, er, blacksmithery.  Make swords and women’s belt buckles and other stuff and sell it in your shop.  You’ll have that dishevelled dirty hand look of a tradesman, but with the intellectual sensibilities of a Londoner.  If you are single, this will really help you pull a local woman.

5.  Wangle your way into the local paper as a Whitstable Oyster.  Yeah, cringey right?  But it has a strange kudos beyond it’s denotative vileness.  It has connotations that you have been accepted.  Eveybody in town reads this rag.  Probably for the obituaries, but they all know who the ‘Oyster’ is that week.  It’ll give you a twisted accreditation beyond any actual cool ever could.  As far as they are concerned, if you’re a Whitstable Oyster – you’ve arrived.

6. Be on some sort of panel, or join a protest group (you know like ‘Make Whitstable One Way!’) or start turning up at Council Meetings with your arms crossed and ask political questions.

7.  If  you’re single, marry a local (continue to check her teeth), but make sure you do a proper audit of her family history.  It won’t make you a local, nothing ever will, even marrying in, but your kids will be.  That’s the ultimate ‘fuck you’.

Year 5

You’re in.  Everyone knows your name.  Poeple chat to you in the street.  No one points and laughs anymore.  You can start to relax – but only a bit.

This is the period when you can start integrating London cultural hipster behaviour into their culture.  This is true integration and how communities grow and develop.  It’s how Britain got great – a melting pot of creed and culture that grew strong and proud by taking the best and evolving into something bigger and better.

1. Re-introduced the hipster bro-clasp when greeting any male local who is under the age of 50.  They’ll love it!  It’ll make them feel ‘street’.  Your cool will rub off and compensate for their lack thereof.

2. Kiss women on BOTH cheeks.  Locals only kiss on one cheek.  It’s v provincial.  In year 5 you can introduce the doubler.  You have to be quite assertive or there could be all manner of awkward body language.  Grab her firmly by the shoulders and theatrically ‘mwah’ one cheek then the other, pulling her side to side so she is in no doubt what to do.  You’ll only need to do it once to each female.  They’ll like it.  They get to kiss you twice as much.  ps.  Make sure your beard is silky smooth or you might get a slap.

3. Have a garden party and invite a mixture of DFLs and locals.  Warning – don’t invite people who have been here less than 3 years.  Too risky.

4. If you’re feeling really brave, reintrode a quaint old tradition that even the locals have abandoned – get your own pewter tankard hung up in the micro brewery/transition pub of your choice.  That way, you get ‘Oh, here’s CK,  get his special tankard!’  You’ll get respected.  And get it engraved too, in case someone tries to nick it.

5. Start slagging off other DFLs.  Let’s face it, they are bloody annoying.  Once you’ve been here that long, even you will become incandescent with rage at the Regatta (none came this year – see images from my previous post to see why), Oyster Festival and Harbour Day, just like I do.

One word of warning:  Don’t bombard the group ‘Remembered in Whitstable and Tankerton’ on Facebook with half memories and anecdotes.  You’ll get a life ban.  It happened to a good, very close friend of mine and REALLY upset him.  They are worse than Mumsnet.

Hello Mumsnet!

Right, what I’d really like now, is some other advice for people on how to assimilate – from YOU.  Maybe you did it and there was something that worked for you (please  – no women – you  have your own gender biased strategies – this is just for the guys.)  Maybe you’re a local and you have a different view to me about what is the correct way for a newcomer to fit in.  Whatever it is, I want to hear it.

Right, off to the pub for a pint of artisan ale in my pewter tankard.

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Mine’s a pint!

Ciao!

I Said Feminism – Good God y’all, What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again Yeah!

Hmm.  I admit, I’ve said some challenging things over the last few months but this one has been building.  Building for thirty bloody years!

Feminism.

Now, it sort of was easier for a bloke back then.  The Fems either looked like or were lesbians – in my era (80s/90s) big boots, cropped, punky died hair, tats, attitute.  A bit holier than thou with their morals more than the boys, but liked the boys A LOT.  In London, anyway.   So much so, I even married one.  Then it all got so much more confusing.

Now – and the point of this is trying to understand my daughters – it seems girls want to deliberately provoke the sexual passion of every predatory male around.  I don’t want to let them out!  They wear these ‘skirts’ that barely cover their arses over bare legs and these platform shoes.

‘Do you know how platform shoes were invented??’  I say to them.  ‘By evil Pharoahs trying to stop their wives running away!’.

‘Daaaaaaad.  It’s fashion, innit?’  they say, with the affected local twang.

So much for Grammar school.

So feminism.  For me, and I’m sure for countless other men my generation, it meant a slap round the face when you put a hand out, or when  you said the wrong thing, literally or metaphorically.  Or later, in a relationship, constant put downs about how shit men are.  In a long term relationship, that drip, drip of rhetoric that the Fems have of driving a man down, making him seem – diminished.

Here’s my best and worst.  Not including the gays.  That’s a different issue altogether (I quite like a lesbian) …

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Here she is.  In a ‘feminist’ bikini.  Lol. She’s all, ‘Ooh, I’ll show my body off and say it’s alright to do it while I’m young because I’m a feminist and say – “Ooh, fuck you!  If I want to show off my body, that’s my CHOICE, because I’m a girl…I’m not subjectifying myself….blah, blah.  I’ll just do it with REALLY bad photography, encroaching plants, unflattering lighting and The Bible in my hand. (But I’m only going to do it loads while I’m young when I look almost hot)’.

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Bet you’d wished you’d worn a bra now eh, sweetheart?   Here, in fact, is a shot of her saying to the Professor of Breast Sag ‘Struth!  I wish I’d worn a bloody bra!.’  There. Proof! Lol.

But that’s my point – this woman is STILL BANGING ON about how shite men are.  WE. ARE. NOT. SHITE.  At least Kathy Lette said, with passion, ‘I LOVE men.’

Now, here’s a FEMINIST who’s a bit diff.  Just look at her…

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Naomi Wolf, apparently.  Naomi WOOF.  I have no freeking idea what she has written.  I know she’s American, but she hasn’t been IN MY FACE like the other one has.  Although, if she did want to, I wouldn’t complain.

Ok, got to stop or I’ll get sensored.  I’ve realised The Wife only reads my really long rants. If I keep em below, Christ, I don’t know, 1000 words, she can’t be bothered.

Tip:  Don’t. Get. Married.

Give your Feminist Girls a Big Squeeze from me. Not literally, coz they’re probably ugly, but figuratively.  Ta.

Whitstable is fuck boring after hours isn’t it….

TTFN.

Kathy Lette @thehorsebridge

Yo!

As you know, I think the Horsebridge is a bit, provincial artsy.  But even I had to admit they pulled the bunny out of the hat tonight.  The wife dragged me along for Kathy Lette’s book plugging ‘interview’.  I was vaguely aware who she was and only when I saw how many silver haired culture vultures there were there did I fully realise that I’d be spending AN HOUR AND A HALF  in a boiling room with menopausal women having hot flushes.

Sounds bad right?  Well looky here at this –

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She. Is. Hot.

She did bang on a bit about how crap men can be but she said she loved us too.  Take it from me – this woman is a SALATIOUS HUSSY.  I love my wife, but, you know, we boys have fantasies too…

Kathy, if you ever fancy a snog, let me know.

 

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This is her new book.  I won’t be reading it because I have a penis, but my wife will.  She got it signed.  I just liked how she thought I was a great bloke because I’d come along with Pippa.  Question – are Australian women good in bed?  Just wondering.

 

C.K.

Whitstable Exhibition and the Venice Film Festival

Wappen dup!  Busy busy!  Hung out at a private view at my best budddy Chris Conway and Nick ‘Sandman’ Stroud’s’ exhibition.  So, sososososo cool.  Choons could have been a bit louder, but then, you know….was the Horsebridge.  Yawn.  To quote an 8 year old I overheard – ‘they should break out some dub step’.  I don’t actually know what that is, but this kid looked like he knew.

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Then – hard as it is to do it, I had to go to the Venice Film Festival.  Aw, I know….so I’m going to treat you know to some photos of Venice.  Some gossip from the festival and a link to the best films ever shot in the city, in case you ignornant oiks didn’t know….:)  First. a warning about Venice – there is A LOT of water there.  So, you know, if you don’t like water…

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The usual red carpet spectacle at the Casino on the Lido.  We didn’t stay there this time.  Prefer to stay on Venice proper these days.  We managed to blag our way into one of the bigger hotels along the beach front and use their pool for a couple of hours.  It’s amazing who you get to meet if you do that…

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This is where all the press meet – in the basement at the Excelsior.  Possibly the most vulgar and overly opulant hotel in the world.  Vile.

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Crazy Lido living.  The sea was pretty warm this year.  Got a tan.  Wife burned.  Just resent paying 12 Euros to sit on a beach.  Whitstable is free!  Mind you, the skirt is a lot easier on the eye in Venice.  On reflection, I’d willingly pay 12 euros to lie on a beach and NOT have to look at burning, white British blubber handing over the top of an ugly pair of cargo pants.  You get told to leave if you’re fat in Rimini.  Hmm, maybe we could have a section of beach in Whitstable like that…

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You also don’t see this chap in the Bubble…He’s getting married here in a couple of weeks.  She’s stunning, just in case you haven’t seen pics of her.  But a bit too, you know, intellectual for my liking.

Birdman
The opening film of the festival, the highest-profile title and one of our most anticipated of the year, expectations could not have been higher for Alejandro González Iñárritu ’s “Birdman.” But it didn’t just meet those expectations, it surpassed them, delivering a dizzyingly successful about-turn from the director, and a career-comeback-making performance from Michael Keaton, as well as scene-stealing roles for its supporting cast, especially Edward Norton. (from Indiewire).

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This was great.

Photocalls: 71st Venice Film Festival - Jaeger-LeCoultre Collection

Pacino at the Excelsior.  He starred in festival entries “Manglehorn” and “The Humbling”.  He did bang on about Salome a lot though.  God, didn’t he.

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Francis McDormand got a well deserved prize

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As did Scorcese’s long time editor Thelma Schoonmaker-Powell.

Here are some pics I took in between watching films

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Onto the first of the greatest films shot in Venice – ‘Death in Venice’.  Beautiful, poignant, wistful.

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The second of the best films shot in Venice – ‘Don’t Look Now’.  One of the greatest films of the 1970s.  Really eerie, chilling.  Uses Venice’s echoey alleyways and misty winters to great spooky effect.  And it’s got the most brilliant, but odd sex scene ever – but who cares?  Julie Christie is in it!

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Some red carpet moments at Venice –

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Some vintage Venice.  Who wouldn’t have a bromance with this dude.  My wife wanted me to shave my whole beard off for the festival, but instead, she allowed me to trim it so it looks just like this.  I miss it, but hey, it’ll grow back.

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We had a bit of a shock when we came back.  Turns out our eldest has been fraternising with a local lad.  He was a fair bit older (but looks about 12).  I won’t go into details, but let’s just say Marie Stopes were very supportive as were the staff at the clinic.  I’m all for integration, as  you all know, but that’s not the kind of integration I was planning my daughter doing with the local indigenous population.  All over now, she’s learnt a hard life lesson.  She’s just started seeing a very charming lad from Kings School.  Phew!  What a relief!

Now, I haven’t really mentioned it before, but I’m actually a great fashion fan and this is the season to get excited about.  I’ve been to a few shows in the past – what a buzz!  There’s some very funky stuff out there this year.  Some of my tips for this year.

Bold patterns and statement jumpers – yes please!

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Tailoring with a hipster twist.  Don’t mind if I do.

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Oversize, colourful, fluffy coats and jackets!  I’m almost looking forward to January.

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One for Pippa.  She needs it, quite frankly.  Way too much pasta and ice cream in Italy.  It’ll take her three months to shift it.  Best just sling on a blanket.

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This is a great look that I could rock.

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Hats.  Big fan of a hat.  I would wear any of these.  Maybe even more than one at once.

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Not so sure about this look though.  But hey – that’s fashion!

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TTFN pop pickers!