22 July 2012

Whitstable Oyster Festival burns bright.

Great start to the fabulous Whitstable Oyster Week. Once I got into town that is. It was cracking right back up Borstal Hill to the Long Reach roundabout; rumoured  haunt of local celeb Gregg Wallace. “What’s he doing here?” says little girl to her mum. “Shh! He’s having his lunch just like everyone else”.

The GF - girl friend - had a Gregg Wallace encounter as she was coming out of that road on top of Borstal Hill – the one the locals use during WOW to avoid aforementioned snarl ups into town – Grimthorpe Avenue.  By the way, if you want to miss that queue drive past the Long Reach roundabout turn off and carry on down the A2999; take the next left. No problem; no traffic right in to the centre.

Around 10 cars didn’t let the GF out of the junction but one very courteous gentleman, in a sports car in a beautiful shade of red, slowed down and waved her out. That man was the "cooking woman's crumpet" Gregg Wallace now henceforth known as Courteous Gregg. 

Let me know if you spot him around town. Being courteous.

I thought I’d let the crowds and the heat die down a bit and head into The Bub around 5pm. The town centre was a tad rammed from 10am but by 5pm the snarl up was on the out of town road. Locals used the back streets as is our wont.

Keam’s Yard is a fluffy, loveable, wooden gallery right on the sea front and is getting some great artists in there. Head right to the back to look at some of Sadie Hennessey’s work. She does controversial art that is political and challenging; clever, almost offensive, close to the mark. Her small show at Keam’s is about dead icons such as Jimmy Hendrix and she does, now I’m no art critic OK, limited lino prints on water colour paper in blue ink; limited in the fact that if Kurt Cobain died when he was 27 there are only 27 prints. Anyway, they’re cool.

Clare Tindall is an extraordinary artist of exceptional talent - can I have that £10 you promised me now, please? – and I do have to confess, here and now, that I live with her and she is my GF and she would absolutely kill me if she read this sentence and thought I was taking the mickey out of her. But I’m not and she is. 

Bruce Williams, the magnanimous owner of the gallery, kindly invited me down to play a few tunes for the sunset. It’s always a privilege to play on Whitstable beach and what a great excuse to get a few more people down to the opening of her show.

We bathed in the sunshine, looked at art, ate crab sandwiches, shucked oysters from Wheelers and washed it all down with a few bottles of fizz whilst watching a great sunset.

After the sun sank it was up to Deco 5 to catch the ZedHeads who were satisfactorily funking it right up to up a grooving full house of fans; all on the dance floor. Social moth that I am it was only a quick jaunt up to the Labour Club for a quick listen to band called Centurion Sect play some "garage punk" fun whilst waiting for our takeaway curry to cook. 

According to their own publicity The Centurion Sect was created by Jimmy Saville shortly before his death. Sir Jimmy spent many years helping at Broadmoor, but some of the inmates were even beyond his reach. Lead singer, Centurion Brendan, AKA Lurcio, fondly recalls the famous meeting.

“Yeah, well Jimmy came to see me in solitary. I had been on a bit of a flesh frenzy 
bender with my chainsaw. He tried reasoning with me, then let me have it in both eyes with his cigar. As my retinas fizzed Jimmy said "Man, that's one mean scream you got there, almost soulful in a dangerously psychotic way". After that it was pretty much a numbers game, checking through criminal records and mug shots to find the rest of the band.

Next arty outing in the calendar for now will be Sam Cox, a brilliant young artist, who, nepotism alert again, went to the school where Clare works at and you simply must support his talent by going to the show. It is from the 1st August to the 7th August at The Show Off Gallery, on Harbour Street, CT5 1AQ.

music from A Drop in the Ocean gallary view;