Grayson Perry at the Turner Contemporary...and a nice day out in Margate

Perry Pot Part

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, I do like to be beside the sea! ................A couple of weeks ago now on a Friday evening Robin said, "I really fancy going somewhere tomorrow for the day, it's going to be hot". So we thought of Margate. A few things helped us decide this: the relatively new Turner Contemporary, the newly opened Dreamland and the fast train which now goes from St Pancras (which is handily close to where we live) plus remembering that it has a very big sandy beach.

The train takes you right to the seafront so you're straight in there, strolling along saying things like "I can't believe how hot it is" and "the beach is huge" and "smell that briny smell". Then passing the newly refurbished Dreamland and the amazing old amusement arcade fa├ž's a feast for the eyes!

After a refreshing cuppa we took a walk along the harbour then back to the beach where I was sent in to test the temperature of the water: the verdict? "It's coolish but tolerable," I said. Anyway, there were loads of people in the sea so that made it more reassuring. So, after a bit of delicate manoeuvring of towels we had changed on the beach into our bathing gear and in we went to the murky Margate waters. What a joy...I've swam abroad many times but there's nothing like the achievement of getting a swim in our own waters especially if it's NOT torturous. We weren't even cold when we came out because it was so hot on the beach...amazing!

All that swimming brought on a good appetite so we were ready for brunch which we had at the Turner Contemporary cafe, sitting on the outdoor terrace where you get a great view of the bay. Afterwards, a quick exploration of the retro clothes shops and then off to Dreamland. It was a shame that some of the big rides weren't working (especially the Scenic Railway) so we decided to save this adventure for when we visit again but we did buy some tokens to play on the vintage amusements. Firstly, on the classic old juke box, we selected Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran, followed by a go on an Elton John themed Pinball Machine, then the Sharpshooter and Speedway plus various types of bar football...oh and the unique experience of the Laughing brilliant! I want to go back when it is fully operational and I definitely want to ride the 'Counter Culture Caterpillar' just because I like the sound of it.

Later we went back to the Turner Contemporary for a proper look. It's free to get in and lovely and cool if you're there on a hot day. There's a sound installation by the Mexican artist Carlos Amorales in the Sunley gallery with a superb North Sea view as a backdrop. You can have a bash on the cymbals at various times throughout the day if you feel so inclined.

We Will See How Everything Reverberates 2012

We didn't know what was going to be on at the gallery so we were pleased to see there was a Grayson Perry show called Provincial Punk. It was great to see such a big collection of his pots, which are very captivating. We got quite dizzy going around so many and you DO have to go all the way around them to observe the detail and jokes. They are covered in text and embedded with photography revealing Perry's personal take on social history which is both comical and dark. The pots themselves are nothing to write home about but this is all right as they are, quite literally, vessels to transport his ideas. I felt the same with the huge tapestries. Personally they do little for me aesthetically but Perry uses them in a somewhat traditional way, which is to tell a tale or record modern day life. This is something that he (being so good at communication) does extremely well; you experience him working this storytelling and commentary through various different mediums in this substantial show.

Sadly we couldn't give as much attention to the show as we would have liked as time was getting on and the lure to go back outside for more sun, sea and cream teas was too great. Overall, it's the clash of culture that makes Margate great. It's still very rough around the edges though, make no mistake. I felt a need to get away from there as the evening wore on, seeing how packed the drinking places were getting I could sense a rowdy and chaotic vibe. Luckily we had arrived early so we left early and that suited us just fine.

I really hope we get some more hot days this summer as I want to go back again for another dip into the treasures of Margate.

Photograph by John Hinde


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