Thursday, January 17, 2008

Boomtown Bob on Margate

I'm possibly the last of the local Bloggers to comment on Sir Bob Geldof's impressions of Margate. The BBC South-east News carries a report, asking local people what they think. You can watch it here.

Sir Bob, who lives near Faversham, was musing over the different contrasts that can be found across the county. He said: “It’s a mad mystery, the battle of the ugliness of Margate against the charm of the beaches.”

The BBC discovered that local people's view of Margate was, on the whole, positive. Have a look at the video - sorry I can't embed it - and see what you think!

You can also find videos of Thanet in "The Good Old Days" here. I'll embed the link in the sidebar as well


Mr Friday said...

Sir Bob also thinks Kent TV is a great idea so I'm not sure I would trust his judgment.

Michael Child said...

What irritates me is that his comments are in the KCC publication Around Kent paid for by us. Yes architecturally hideous buildings: Arlington House; Margate’s central car parks and modern shops; Ramsgate’s tower blocks; multi-storey car park; the huge new buildings in the pipeline will probably look as ugly after a fey years in the salt sprayed costal air: Pleasurama; The Turner K9.inexcusable, but so is the article.

Well all of us who pay council tax or business rates paid for the article I have copied it from the KCC website and put it below my comment, good use of public money?

The former frontman of
the Boomtown Rats moved
to Faversham 23 years ago
on a whim and fell in love
with the place so much, he’s
still there.
Bob loves Kent and is
particularly proud to have
played a part in the launch
of Kent TV with KCC.
He says:“What I love
about Kent is that it has no
airs and graces. It’s a very
honest type of county.
“I know it’s a bit scruffy and
worn at the edges and some
of its ugliness is inexcusable
but some of it is cute and
some of it is so sublimely
beautiful it’s ridiculous.
Complete beauty
“If you drive off piste for
five minutes you can find
complete beauty. It’s a mad
mystery, the battle of the
ugliness of Margate against
the charm of the beaches.”
He continues: “I love Deal
which is a little jewel.
Smarden and Pluckley are
cute but I love the Downs.
Kent is so different; it’s
bonkers and normal,and not.”
Davington Priory, Geldof’s
Kent home, is in Faversham,
just a stone’s throw from
the town centre. It was Bob’s
family home when he was
married to Paula Yates, their
children were raised there,
and it’s a place where there
are many happy memories.
Passionate about Kent
While he is passionate
about Kent, Bob’s heart also
lies in doing his bit to help
others around the world.
His passion was evident
when he launched Live Aid
back in 1985. He has
continued to work with
other high profile crusaders
such as Bono, and only last
year organised Live 8 to put
pressure on the G8 summit
to consider world poverty.
He has also owned media
companies such as Planet 24
and Ten Alps, and continued
his music career. He has a
knighthood and holds the
position of Freeman of the
Borough of Swale amongst
other titles!
“I do politics for my head,
business for my stomach,
music for my soul and family
for my heart,” he told
Around Kent.
Bob is no stranger to
putting his money where his
mouth is and his passion
about Kent was evident at
the launch of Kent TV – an
internet based TV station
set up by KCC and run by
Bob’s company Ten Alps.
Cutting edge
The TV station is at the
cutting edge as KCC is the
first authority in the world
to launch its own internet
based TV channel and
others are already looking
to follow suit.
Geldof said: “It’s great that
I come from here and that
these people (KCC)
engaged me to do
something profoundly new.
“Local papers have a
specific role to play as does
Meridian but this is
something over arching, this
is where we begin to
differentiate, where
regionalism does
take control.
“I see it as a Kentish You
Tube or Kentish My Space.”
Geldof has unarguably
made his mark on the
world. Now he’s making a
difference to Kent too.

anon again! said...

anon again!
Well, I've been saying the same as Sir Bob for around a thousand years!
TDC keep promising to do something..... but never do! Look at the ugliness of the High Street! Soon there only will be Primark, Woolworths, and KFC.....the other Traders are packing up , leeaving more and more empty useless shops. Thanks Westwood Cross designers, you sure knew how to RUIN a Town. Margate has been ugly since Arlington House was built, but the present situation makes the makes the ugly sisters look like Kylie Minogue (comparison only). The Town has become soul-less, empty, UGLY!
Still, we didn't need Sir Bob to tell us.... we all secretly knew!
(with perhaps the exception of the TDC).

Ken Gregory said...

Anon 7.02

Westwood cross designers do not know how to ruin a town centre, but they do know haow to attract customers.
Its the customers who decide where to shop, should the council try to force them to shop in the old town centre's or give them a choice?

If the public were so keen on the old style of shopping surely they would not be going to Westwood?

I am not sure that either place is a good place to part with ones hard earned cash, but the foot fall at westwood is quite convincing

Michael Child said...

thanks ken
we try to make a living andconserve the environment

Anonymous said...

Bob Geldof was right as Margate has become a total dump because the fools that run our council have sucked the soul out of it by creating Westwood Cross.

David Gunn

Anonymous said...

Bob Geldof must be a Labour supporter because the Conservatives have made Margate look lovely. My hat comes off to the caring conservatives of TDC who always put others before themselves.

Mrs C Latchford

Anonymous said...

Michael Child | 2:08 PM


Anonymous said...


please don't be political as politics is not about being political. Local government is not about government and you should only have views if you are conservative and agree with Lieutenant Colonel Angry.OLD.B.E


anon again! said...

anon again!
Well Mr Gregory 7:47, what, in your expert mind, shall we do with the High Street's in Margate & Ramsgate? Knock 'em down? Build Luxury Hotels and restaurants.... there is now a wonderful chance to start building a New Town Centre.

I didn't mention anything Political.

Anonymous said...

Is is evil to be political. How many more times do I have to tell you that politics is not about being political unless you are an angry colonel that went into politics too late in life to know anything about the subject.

Lt Colonel Angry OLD.B.E

Anonymous said...

whatever your political hue margate is a dump

Michael Child said...

Gentlemen god forbid Ken for all his Faults is a bloke with ideas who I can relate to but lay off the oldies, think yore probably ugly but in the morning He Ha

DrMoores said...

We all appreciate humour and satire but having seen the traffic steadily rising over the last few weeks I'm reluctant to see new vistors put-off by bad taste and unsubtle comments.

I want to see people enjoying the debate that occurs here from time to time but at a level of conversation closer to The Times or the Guardian rather than the Daily Star otherwise there's absolutely no point in my taking the time to run this weblog.

Now, as regards Margate, like Ramsgate and even Westwood Cross, there are strong opinions and a broad cross section of views.

Let's share them and do it in a way that is thoughtful, sometimes funny and above all, polite please!

Anonymous said...

No matter how you try to portray margate in 2008, it needs more than a lick of paint to appear attractive.

That statement isnt political, just an observation from a nearby resident over the last 30 years.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Ken, yours comments have got me searching through my archives. I know public hanging stopped around 1860, and burning whitches at the stake in 1735. But I am trying to work out when the stocks in Monkton were removed. Mind you there is a set in your ward so if I was you steer clear of the area of St Peters church for a while.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I think Sir Bob has a point they is something unique having beauty and ugliness together and in a way can be appealing.
In the 1800's the rich in Paris would take a guided tour of the sewers, Why?
The Victorians had fascination for death and cemeteries.
In Venice there is unique archtecture and some run down ugliness and people visit it.
Havanna has run down post colonial areas and tourist visit it.
All around the world there is this blend of beauty and uglyness somewhere and people have a fascination for it. Perhaps because it is the real world and is not representative of the boring consumer domestic society we are expected to conform to. There is more to life than 9 to 5.

Anonymous said...


I had'nt finished my comment before you had posted but completely agree with what you have said.

I just fear that in 20 years time , Westwood X (or cross) will be a vacuous memory of what margate and ramsgate used to represent.


anon again! said...

anon again!
20 years! Have a look now. In a couple more years it will be all over. (or TDC Flats)(don't forget the Offstreet Parking).Even the old tram Garage has gone ;)

Anonymous said...

If you allow national chains, ugly out of town wharehouse space and parking and create an ugly 'mall', they will come and fill it. On the other hand if you spend time on improving access ( good car parks)and pedestrianise and pretty-up a town centre, you retain the chains already there and attract the 'foot-fall'to the town centre. Other chains will then move in and you end up with a vibrant successful town. Quite simple really. What the collective efforts of Labour and Tory TDC Councillors over the years have allowed as a result of Westwood Cross is a derelict Margate. The rot and blight will not go away but will worsen as cinemas, bingo, eateries, Casino and Clubs get established at Westwood Cross. The locals go to Westwood Cross Cllr Ken because they now have no real choice as you and others have blighted the town that many of your were meant to represent. It seems to me that we have a serious problem when those who represent their local electorate would rather serve the interests of big business and now like children who believe in the tooth fairy, fervently hope that the Turner project will save Margate. To quote some-one before they became a Tory Cllr, says it all:

"Why the fiscally challenged planners at Kent County Council in conjunction with Thanet Council, believe that opening a gallery in a famous artist’s name, with none of his paintings on display, will suddenly transform Margate into a cultural Mecca and attract hordes of cultural day-trippers is anyone’s guess. It’s all rather like the fiasco of positioning the Royal Armouries in Leeds and not London with the net result that it’s losing money hand over fist because nobody wishes to visit Leeds when it’s cheaper and easier to visit sites such as the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao."

Chairman Mo April 2004

DrMoores said...

With the benefit of hindsight, Westwood Cross was more succesful and achieved such success more quickly than anyone anticipated. Try parking there today.

This raises questions about the pre-existing level of services and shopping - being moribund in the towns - and why the appearance of Westwood kick-started an important part of the lcoal economy.

I would much rather see a healthy town centre in every part of Thanet but times have changed and out of town shopping malls are a fact of life everywhere which suit the local population. The big challenge is how to live with it, scale it and keep the micro-economy alive and attractive in towns like Margate.

Anonymous said...

When Sir Bob Geldof discovers how to open a shampoo bottle and how to operate a comb, I will consider his comments valid. Until then he is just another washed up musician who has too much time and money on his hands. Who listens to him these days ? Who can bear to even look at him ? No, Faversham can have him.

YesMissNo Miss said...

Yes, it's a mad mystery, the ugliness of Geldof against the charm of the Irish! Why should Ezekial attempt to rope Bob in to help Margate? A washed-up pop singer? Get someone with a vocabulary of at least 8 and a bit of common sense - please!