Disappears @ 100 Club

Monday 23 November 2015 – Disappears gig @ 100 Club, London.

Another week and another concert, this is getting a bit habitual, and in a good way too. I have a ticket to one more gig this year, but suspect I won’t be taking photos at that one, I will have to see. A UK Subs gig may be more of an opportunity to jump up and down than take photos.

I have been looking forward to this gig. I have been a fan of Chicago band Disappears for a while and have a few of their albums, Era and Pre Language being particular favourites.

A year ago they were invited to perform at a David Bowie exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. They chose to play the entire Low album from start to finish. It is an interesting album to play for a band comprised of guitar, bass and drums as the second half of the album is pretty much entirely instrumental and most of that instrumentation is synthesiser based.

That concert was recorded and it has just been released on vinyl. Disappears were going to be playing the album live at the 100 Club in London, one of only a handful of release shows. Low is one of El and my favourite Bowie albums so I grabbed us both tickets as soon as they came out and here we are.

Low was recorded in France in 1977 and was the first of three albums loosely referred to as the Berlin Trilogy, recorded with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti. The second album Heroes, is one of my favourite Bowie releases and the third was Lodger. With its use of synthesisers and innovative recording techniques, Low is considered to be a highly influential album.

Monday night is not really gig night for me, fortunately the 100 Club is easy walking distance from work, so El and I met nearby, had dinner and a drink and then turned up not long after opening. I have never been to the 100 Club before, it is a true music institution and must be one of a very small number of venues that still exists in its original location. It has hosted so many famous bands and events from the Rolling Stones up to the most current. For me its claim to fame is the 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976 which hosted all the big names in punk rock and pretty much spawned an entire movement of copyist bands and wannabes after. It was one of those classic ‘everyone who was at the gig went off to form their own band’ moments.

IMG_2681

The venue is as cool as I thought it would be, just a lot bigger, not being a sell out show it was not too crowded and unpleasant either. The walls are all covered in framed images of performances and performers who have played the club and it is a veritable feast of amazing artists from all musical genres. Oh to have been a house photographer !

Disappears were supported by Demian Castellanos, who played a set of ambient, droney post rock. Normally a genre I am a massive fan of, but I wasn’t in the mood for it tonight. I wanted to hear a band play!

IMG_2682

IMG_2684

I am trying to recall if Disappears played the album in the right order, I am pretty sure they did, but it was five days ago and it has been a busy week. The lighting was the friendliest of all the shows I have been to recently, but the G16 isn’t really up to it. I think I will be saving for a second hand Canon 5d Mk2 or mk3 now…

IMG_2685

They definitely started in the right order, with great versions of Speed of Life and Breaking Glass. I need to go back and listen to Bowie’s original Breaking Glass as I have started to think that Disappears version is better. Sacrilege in some quarters I suspect!

IMG_2693 IMG_2688

I am guessing a number of the crowd were just there for Sound and Vision, the big track of the album, it was never one of my favourite Bowie tracks, but Disappears guitar led interpretation was very cool and the track that has been in my head ever since.

IMG_2701

IMG_2695

IMG_2697

It was the side two instrumental tracks where it got really interesting, hearing the synth track Warszawa played by a band with no synths was amazing. All the technology that has gone in to effects pedals over the last few years has allowed the guitar to make sounds that would not have been even imagined as possible back in 77. I wander what Brian Eno thinks ?

IMG_2689

My favourite track of the night was Weeping Wall, this seemed like a totally different beast played live and on guitars. The drums don’t feature that much on the Bowie track, but tonight the drums, and the drummer were simply amazing. An almost perfect end to the gig. There was one more song – Subterraneans, to be played. The last song on the album and a mellow come down to end the show.

IMG_2707

IMG_2709

We both thought the show was magnificent. A wonderful interpretation of a genuinely seminal, inventive and classic album. Bringing guitars to a synth party was a brave, interesting and fabulous move. I particularly liked the bass players faux London Bowie accent !

The album was released digitally a few days ago and I had listened to it a couple of times prior to the show. I had decided to not buy it, it is a live cover album, with no original, must own material. However after seeing the performance and having such a good time (on a Monday as well !) I have decided to buy it after all. Partly to support the band, partly to support the small indie label, Sonic Cathedral, who brought the band over, but mainly as a memento of a great night out!

Spectres gig @ Power Lunches.

Wednesday 18 November 2015 – Spectres Gig @ Power Lunches, Dalston, London.

Bristol four piece Spectres, are definitely the band I have listened to most in the last year, especially since their debut LP ‘Dying’ arrived on my doorstep in February. Their music is pretty uncompromising, it is dense, it is dark and it is noisy, but if you dig deep enough you will find some lightness and pop touches – you would need a long handled spade though! To me they sound like the bastard off spring of two great bands – A place to bury strangers and early Swervedriver – with a little bit of Sonic Youth thrown in.

Spectres – Rattle the cage

As well as liking their music I like their attitude to the music business as well. In protest of the corporate take-over of Record Store Day, along with a great article from their record label, Sonic Cathedral, instead of releasing a new single on the day they are releasing one copy of that single a day, every day, for a year. It took me a long time to land a copy of the split single with Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, with each band covering the other. Spectres played ‘Stealed Scene’.

In a very amusing piece of publicity they also released their last single ‘Spectre’ the same day as the abomination from Sam Smith that is the theme song to the new James Bond movie, Spectre. Somehow, ‘by accident’ a version of this ended up on YouTube under Sam Smith’s name and their version was reviewed by numerous leading newspapers, as well as by numerous, bemused and unhappy Sam Smith fans on Youtube. Coup !! It is not a typical Spectres song though…

Though they are currently touring the UK I was not expecting them to be playing London any time soon, however, I discovered yesterday that they are playing tonight as support to ‘The Naturals’ under the pseudonym of ‘Buckfast Crimewave’. Though I have a bit of head cold I could not miss the opportunity so decided to go along.

The gig was at Power Lunches, a small bar in Dalston, not too far from home fortunately, given I was not feeling 100%. I liked Power Lunches, it was small, a bit dingy and dark, but they were playing what sounded like some really old school US punk rock on the PA, and sitting in the bar waiting for the first band to come on was quite enjoyable.

The bands play in a small basement, it was very dark, photography was going to suck… I didn’t stay for the opening act, not really my thing. As the music was so good up in the bar I went back there and waited for Spectres to go on.

Earlier today Rough Trade Records announced their top 100 albums of the year, it did not have Spectres on it. The band announced via Twitter that as no-one liked their old songs, they would only play new material at the show. Which they mostly did. The light was complete rubbish, there was someone shooting with a flash which I should have done, but didn’t. Next time I see them I will take a flash with me.

IMG_2664

IMG_2669

From memory they played four new songs, with the last one definitely pushing a Sonic Youth vibe and was my favourite of the new tracks.

IMG_2670

This was not a tune up… This was using tuning as a sound effect !

IMG_2674

They played two old songs, I think Sink and Where Time Sleeps… It was a short but gloriously noisy set and I am looking forward to seeing them again, but as the headliner. I was very tempted to go and see them in Manchester on the following night as I have Fridays off of work, but it was too expensive to get there and working less days means getting paid less money!

A line from the song ‘In a box’ from their earlier Hunger EP seems an apt description about how I feel on occasion. “I want to catch a train to any where, I want to go on my own, come back on my own’.

I watched a couple of songs of the headliner “The Naturals’ but like the opening act, musically they were not my thing. If I was feeling better I would have stayed and watched their whole set, but I felt rubbish so I didn’t. Sorry The Naturals.

A noise fest – The Fuzz Club Festival

Friday 13 November 2015 – Fuzz Club Festival at the London Fields Brewery, Hackney.

After a fairly long spell of not going to gigs, this is my second in a month, and I have a further show to go to next week.

I have long been a fan of droney, shoegazey, psychedelic rock so when the record label Fuzz Club announced the Fuzz Club Festival weekend at London Fields Brewhouse; just a bus ride away, I was interested enough to check out who was playing. Discovering that The Telescopes were on the bill for the Friday session, I bought a ticket for the night straight away. I have liked The Telescopes since the early nineties and had recently bought their great new album ‘Hidden fields’. I have tried to see them in London once before but they were delayed coming back from Europe and I couldn’t be bothered hanging around the venue to wait. Maybe not a really really dedicated fan…

With five other bands on the bill, across two stages it promised to be a good night. I had a couple of albums by The KVB who were also playing and after checking out some of the other bands I was really keen to see Portuguese three piece 10000 Russos as well. I was very excited !

Naturally the traffic was a bit crap and the bus seemingly stopped at every bus stop between Walthamstow and Hackney so I ended up arriving at the venue too late to see the first act, Throw Down Bones. Reviews say they were good too. I have not been to London Fields Brewhouse before and found it to be a great little venue built in two railway arches, allowing two stages, two bars and two sets of loos – important for someone in their 50s, which, like me, a number of the very mixed audience appeared to be.

I had not heard much (if anything) of Italian four piece New Candys and got fairly close to the front as they were warming up. I brought the Canon G16 camera tonight, I had thought about bringing the big Canon 5d, but was really glad I didn’t as the light was too low and the old 5d would not have coped at all. I was not using flash so was shooting manually at a higher ISO than the 5d was capable of (maybe I should buy that new one Smile ). I took a couple of photos of one side of the band before getting pushed out of the way and forced a bit further back. I really enjoyed New Candys, they reminded me a bit of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (when they were good), a bit poppier than some of the other bands tonight.

IMG_2615

IMG_2608

IMG_2613

I did not stay to the end of their set as I really wanted to get a good spot for The Telescopes, I have seen a number of photos of them and they play close to the crowd with singer Stephen Lawrie spending a lot of time crouched down or kneeling on the floor. The Telescopes have been around since the late 1980s, though the only original member left is Lawrie. They generally seem to be made up of Lawrie and the members of other bands, in the case of the last LP, Glaswegian band St Deluxe. I am not sure if St Deluxe were among the band tonight, but there was a whole load of them. Six guitarists, plus bass and a drummer. That was a lot of band to set up – there was a long delay…

IMG_2618

Their set was manic. With over half the band on the floor with the audience – I had a guitarist inches from me for most of the set, it was cramped and loud and apart from some technical difficulties with the bass, pretty awesome. The Telescopes are masters at the art of the droney, psychedelic tune and the first track they played was the first on the new LP – ‘You know the way’, a slow burning, dense track with a hint of menace in the vocals, with six guitars it was awesome !

IMG_2632

IMG_2624

IMG_2628

I tried to take photos when I could, it was even darker here than at the stage the New Candy’s were playing on, so photography was difficult to start with and got harder as the crowd started to push once the set was fully under way.

IMG_2626

IMG_2637

They were really good, I thoroughly enjoyed their set, and would like to see them again, somewhere less full possibly.

As they were so late I left before the end of their set to go and see some of The KVB playing next door, they must have started reasonably on time as I pretty much missed the entire thing, just catching a couple of songs at the end. I was also way down the back so didn’t get any opportunities to take a photo.

I pretty much completely missed Camera as well, only hearing half a song of theirs. But I did get back up to the front at the other stage for the final band of the night 10000 Russos. I was really keen to see them, reminding me a little bit of Loop with vocals from The Fall’s Mark E. Smith.  I really liked them and would definitely go to another gig, shame their last LP is sold out as it would fit nicely in my record collection!

IMG_2641

IMG_2652

IMG_2644

IMG_2656

Vocals were provided by the drummer, and I have never seen anyone stick a microphone between the cymbals of a high hat and sing into it before !

IMG_2661

Unfortunately I had moved to the back so missed what was a mad end to the show with cymbals being passed around and band members in the crowd.

It was tough to choose, but I think they were my favourite band of the night; but a very close call indeed as New Candys and The Telescopes were brilliant as well.

I enjoyed the gig, it was good to get to a small show again after being to a couple of larger gigs in bigger venues. The sound was good, the venue was good, and the bands I saw were awesome.  I wish I had bought a ticket to the Saturday session as well.

I highly recommend you check out all the bands on Bandcamp or something similar, you never know, you may like it !

A walk along Poole Bay

Saturday 07 November 2015 – Bournemouth, Dorset.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to a four day working week, or more importantly a three day weekend, was to be able to go away overnight on occasion yet still have time to do all the things that need to be done at home.

After a really good trip to Folkestone last Saturday I decided to go to the complete opposite end of my ‘where should I live on the UK south coast’ line and head to the Bournemouth area. I have long considered Bournemouth and Poole as an area to live in, not that I have done anything more than drive through. They are two hours from London, which is the furthest I want to be away, but more importantly they are a short ferry ride from the end of the South West Coast Path, an area I remain completely fascinated with.

There is quite a lot to look at, Bournemouth is a reasonable size town and Poole runs right  along one side. Bournemouth sits on Poole Bay with its long long strip of beach, so I planned on getting a train to Poole, walking down to the bay and then along the coast to Southbourne where I will stay the night. On Saturday I will go to Christchurch to have a look around and get the train back to London from there. There were a few flats to check out on the way, so it seemed like a good plan. It rained both days…

As it was a Friday I chose to leave after 10:00 as the non-rush hour fares are significantly cheaper than peak fares. The train left from Waterloo, I paid a little extra to get a first class seat, mainly as I wanted to get a seat with a table, and with free wifi in the carriage I could catch up with emails and other things on the way down. I did not pay much attention to what was going on out the window until we passed Southampton and got into the New Forest. Not that I could see too much through the rain anyway.

IMG_2548

I arrived in Poole a little late at 12:30. It was not really raining, just a fine drizzle, but it was being blown by a really strong westerly wind. There was no station at Poole, just an exposed platform, so I hurried off in the direction of the old town, but was faced with a massive roundabout and big wide roads, which took me a while to navigate across and around to get to some shelter and put a rain coat and my pack cover on.

For a change I had actually packed well for this trip, and even had appropriate clothing for the conditions – lessons finally being learned. I had also printed off some maps of the route I wanted to take, but paper maps were useless in these conditions, so maybe I had not planned that well…

I did find my way to the old centre of Poole easily enough, it is only a couple of streets with a scattering of old buildings. There was a flat opposite the church that I wanted to walk past, checking the area out. It was nice, but really only just one street nice.

IMG_2552

IMG_2553

I had read that Poole itself was not the most attractive of towns with a lot of the centre built during the dire architectural period of the 60s and 70s. It was fairly evident, especially around the harbour at the end of the road. I was also disturbed to see a few closed restaurants – never a good sign.

IMG_2556

IMG_2557

I started walking down the harbour side in the wind and drizzle, I was planning on walking through to Bournemouth a few miles away, but a bus happened to stop at a bus stop just as I was walking past, so I jumped on board and got a ride to the bus station and from there a bus towards Bournemouth. The traffic was pretty bad; as my tummy was telling me it was lunch time and we were not going anywhere fast I got off the bus in Westbourne to look for an open cafe. I am glad I did, it had a decent looking high street and a vegetarian cafe, where I had a very nice lunch.

There were a few flats to rent on West Cliff Rd, so I walked down it to Bournemouth central and the coast, passing the ubiquitous Conservative Club. They seem to be everywhere in small towns.

IMG_2560

I skipped Bournemouth town and headed straight down to the waterfront by the pier. I was surprised, pleasantly so, to see a few surfers out making use of the small break, I never considered Bournemouth as a surf town, so this is good news as surfers are generally laid back types, and I want that where I live.

IMG_2564

With the wind blowing the rain into my back I headed up the beach front towards Southbourne, three miles away. After pebbly Folkestone, it was nice to sea a long stretch of sand.

IMG_2563

It was an interesting walk, a bit damp, but I was wrapped up well and if I did not point the camera into the rain I managed to take a few photos without rain drops on the lens.

IMG_2565

The strong winds brought out a couple of para-surfers who were really making the most of the conditions, whistling up and down the beach.

IMG_2574

You can see from the, very New Zealand looking, grasses and trees just how strong the wind was.

IMG_2571

I loved how these beach huts followed the colours of the rainbow from beginning to end, nice to see some real thought put into planning and designing public space.

IMG_2568

Like Folkestone last weekend the sea front is a narrow band between the sea and the cliffs and for the most part it is free of buildings, in fact walking along it was rare to see anything at the top of the cliff as well, I really liked that. There were not that many places along the sea front to access the tops of the cliffs, though there was this cool funicular.

IMG_2570

And further along there was this zigzag to the top. I walked up so could I have a look at what the houses looked like on the cliff-top, but apart from the large building at the top of the zigzag there were no other buildings, there was a little more cliff to go.

IMG_2575

I walked along the road into Boscombe Spa, which looked quite nice from here, a winter time flat on the beach would be OK – not sure if I would want to live here in the summer when it is really busy.

IMG_2576

There was a nice little chine here, and the trees looked amazing with the autumn leaves still on, the photos I took was just washed out of colour sadly. I checked out Boscombe Pier, though there was nothing much to see, just a few stragglers braving the weather for some fresh air.

IMG_2580

There was another mile or so to go to Southbourne, and though it had mostly stopped raining my trousers were soaking, and my legs were getting cold in the wind. I picked up the pace a little bit, though still had to stop and take a couple of photos. It was nice down here, and I loved the weather as well! The Toi-tois – or pampas grass as they are called here, just reminded me of home – as did the acres of scrubby gorse all along the hill side. There are no beach huts in Auckland – so I remained rooted in southern England.

IMG_2581IMG_2582

I found another zigzag and headed up towards Southborne.

IMG_2584

I popped out not too far from where I was staying the night at the Cliff House Hotel, I had booked a single room online and it was tiny – but very comfortable and nicely appointed, though the shower was rubbish Smile

IMG_2591

The bar area was booked for a party in the evening, I was planning on not going out once I had arrived, but had to change that plan to find some food. After getting into some dry clothes and shoes – I am so pleased I bought a rain cover for my day bag yesterday, I went for a walk to the local pub. One pint and out, it wasn’t my sort of place, not bad, but not great either.

I looked for restaurants on my phone and found a place that looked OK, but took a wrong turn in the dark and found Southbourne’s high street instead. It was a nice high street, couple of bars, coffee shops, loads of other shops etc and only one bookie. Not bad. I found myself a bar, had a drink, felt comfortable enough to sit and read my book and eat my dinner so did. It was not a late night and I was back in my room well in time to watch The Returned on the TV. A great episode too, the best TV for a long time !!

I slept pretty well, and woke up to the expected very heavy rain. I lay about in the room for a while, eventually going down for breakfast just before last orders. I was trying to kill some time until the rain stopped, which it did pretty much on forecast mid-morning, though it was only a brief respite. I walked back up to the high street and had a look around in the day light, taking some time to visit a couple of real estate agents to talk about short term furnished rents – food for thought. It is very expensive !!

Christchurch is the next town along the coast , on the other side of the River Stour. Fortunately there is a good bus service running along the coast so I jumped on a bus rather than make the walk the in the newly started rain. Like the view of the New Forest from the train there was not a lot to see crossing the river from the bus.

IMG_2592

Leaving the bus at the top of the high street I took a leisurely stroll down towards a big old church I could see at the end of town. I was talking to a woman on the bus – I like a friendly town, and she was telling me about all the good things in Christchurch, including the volunteer run cinema.

IMG_2593

What I did not know prior to visiting, was that Christchurch had a small castle. I saw a sign at an intersection in town, so had to take a detour to check it out. It was a bit wet, so I did not get a good explore.

There has been a fort here since before Norman times, but the ruined keep on the hill was built in the mid 1100’s when the castle was extensively upgraded from wood into stone. The site was largely destroyed in 1652 after a short siege during the civil war. The castle was built near where the rivers Avon and Stour meet and guarded the entrance to the New Forest.

The first thing I found was the remains of the constable’s house, built inside the castle walls around the time the keep was built. It has one of only five remaining Norman era chimneys left in the UK – the fact there are any left amazes me! The rain was falling quite heavily now and the ground around the house was just one large puddle, so I took a couple of rain splattered snaps and left.

IMG_2595IMG_2597

There is not much left of the keep, only a couple of walls remain standing, I am sure there was a nice view to be had from the top of the low mound, but I did not linger up there after taking a quick picture of the priory from the shelter of the walls.

IMG_2599

IMG_2600

A path down the side of a small tributary of the River Avon took me to the back of the priory. The church is all that remains of priory which was (as usual) destroyed around 1539 in the dissolution of the monastries. I took a walk around the churchyard, but did not venture inside, which I now regret as reading about it on Wikipedia I have discovered it is more interesting than I thought. Next time.

IMG_2601

After stopping for lunch, and a respite from the drizzle, I headed back up the high street to the station and caught the train back to London.

IMG_2603

The view of the New Forest on the return was worse than the view on the way south !!

IMG_2605

Despite the weather I really enjoyed my two days out, walking along the sea front in the rain was not as dire as it sounded, or could have been. There were enough people around to make it not seem deserted, but few enough for me to enjoy the space and the scenery. I liked the area and will add it to my list of places to consider moving to.

Sun, sea and pebbles. A day trip to Folkestone

Saturday 31 October 2015 – Folkestone, Kent.

Another day, another blog post, and yep, another change in my employment situation.

Only 28 days ago I wrote that I had decided to not take a permanent role at my current employer, which created the opportunity for me to look for a job outside of London and I could start my move towards the sea. Since then I have signed a permanent contract and am now staying right where I am!

What changed my mind was a change in working conditions which pretty much allows me the lifestyle I want. I am now working four days a week, but can work one of those days at home. This means I can stay with El in London on work days and once I have found one, I can stay in my own flat on the coast for the other days, sharing weekends between London and where ever I end up.

I do not have a lot of money for rent, going to working four days a week means I have even less than I used to. This very definitely rules London out, so I am looking at reasonably priced coastal towns that are not too far from London by train. I also have a whole bunch of minor, yet critical criteria as well – access, to the countryside, decent coffee shops, a pub I will fit in, a record shop etc – all the essentials.. This does not leave too many options.

I have drawn a line on the map and today El and I decided to visit Folkestone in Kent. It has its issues, but it is ‘up and coming’, reasonably priced and just over one hour by fast train from both work and El’s. Sounds good!

We were blessed with one of those awesome autumn days as well, fresh to start, but clear skies, lots of sun and very little breeze. A perfect day for the coast.

We caught the train from St Pancras and decided to get off at Folkestone West, walk down to Sandgate and then up the beach to Folkestone centre. Checking out a few rental properties on the way,stop for some lunch, find the record shop for a look and then head back to London from Folkestone Central.

I have been to Folkestone as a child and visited recently for as long as it took to get a bus to Dover from outside the station, so had not remembered/realised that the town was on the top of a cliff. It was a surprise to walk down quite a steep path to the shore side village/suburb of Sandgate. I was also a bit surprised to find the Norfolk Hotel so far from home.

IMG_2519

Sandgate is small, pretty much a single street village backing on to the English Channel, and it was very nice on a sunny Saturday morning. A couple of nice cafes – even a real ale bar, and you really could not get too much closer to the sea than this.

IMG_2521

A nice place to fish, or doze in the sun…

IMG_2522

It even has a blue plaque!! The author H.G. Wells lived in this cottage briefly in 1896 but moved out due to the rough weather causing the waves to break over his house. He lived further inland in Sandgate until 1909. Sandgate and Kent featured in some of his books from that period.

IMG_2523

Sandgate has a small castle, not accessible unfortunately, but a castle nonetheless. Built under the rule of Henry VIII as an artillery castle, it is part of a chain of defensive positions along the Kent coast  in response to the potential threat from France.

IMG_2524

The walk along the waterfront from Sandgate to Folkestone proper is quite lovely, with cliffs looming over one side and a pebbly beach on the other you can almost believe you are not on the edge of a busy town. There were some quite nice, very brightly coloured beach huts along the stretch, it was nice seeing some old wooden huts that are obviously being cared for.

IMG_2525

IMG_2529

We walked up through a park and a surprisingly steep cliff side path to Folkestone West where there were a couple of flats I was interested in doing a walk past, just to see if the outside looked like the photo. The first was in the Metropole – and I was quite excited to see it. It actually looked better than the photo, the flat does not have direct sea views, but it can be seen from a window ! It is surprisingly cheap which does worry me a little…

IMG_2530

There was nothing but carpark and grass between it and the cliff edge – no other buildings to spoil a view!

IMG_2531

We walked along the cliff top towards the town centre, nice views, nice quite town, not too many bums, I was probably the only one. It all seems quite idyllic.

IMG_2533

By the time we got into town we were feeling a bit peckish and once we spotted the British Lion, the oldest pub in town we were pretty much sold on going in for lunch. It was good pub grub too.

IMG_2534

And the square it is located in is not too shabby either.

IMG_2535

So far all our impressions of Folkestone have been really good, it is clean and tidy, not run down like some coastal towns, the people seemed friendly. All jolly good really.

One of the things that attracted me to visit Folkestone was its creative quarter, an area between the town centre and the harbour that has been purchased to provide places for creative people to live, work and sell. It is a really cool area with some great little shops, cafes and galleries.

IMG_2536

We visited Vintage and Vinyl, which had, along with expensive records, some wine and cider, but only from English vineyards – we bought a really nice (but not cheap) Sussex Pinot Gris. Did anyone know they made pinot gris in Sussex ???? It was really nice too.

The Bolney

We took a detour down to the harbour, which seemed to be the main entertainment strip in town, with more pubs than I have seen elsewhere,. I suspect this would be a place I would not be going on a Saturday night in summer if I did move down here. On a sunny day it was very nice, and quite popular too.

IMG_2537

One of the things that is critical in my choice of a place to live is access to the countryside, I want to be able to ride my mountain bike or go for a run without having to get into the car. Pretty much like I have in Walthamstow, but maybe with the occasional sea view and a hill! Folkestone seemed to be quite proud of its access to the countryside – and it wasn’t shy about its cliffs either.

IMG_2539

Inspired (obviously) by Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid, but not crowded by morons,  this sculpture by Cornelia Parker was gifted to the town as part of the Folkestone Triennial in 2011, and is modelled on one of Folkestone’s residents. I really like some of the art around this town, and there is plenty of it to see.

IMG_2540

We wandered back up through some more of the Creative Quarter and what is probably  of the older, more historic part of town, and after a bit of searching found Hot Salvation Records. Wow. What a great record shop, not something I expected in a small coastal town. A really cool collection of punk/goth/metal/indie vinyl. I could easily have spent an awful lot of money. I did pick up an LP of a band I am going to see in a couple of weeks, I was not planning on spending any money today either. I suspect if I moved to Folkestone they would get to know me quite quickly. I was so excited I forgot to take a photo…

We walked back up through the high street and its market, the market was kinda OK, but the high street was a bit drab, probably more like I expected Folkestone to be, I guess. I  would not hang out there. Though the road up towards the station was quite nice with the autumn fall,. I imagine it would look a lot bleaker with winter trees, blowing in a high sea wind under a dull December late afternoon sky.

IMG_2543

I am going to have to say, that Folkestone was way cooler than I expected it to be, I am going to have to check out what the top four are !!

IMG_2544

We enjoyed our day out, I do forget how nice it can be to take a day out and just go walk by the sea.

I am tempted by Folkestone. It has its problems, it has a horrible UKIP controlled council which is a bit of a worry, but tempted still I am (to use a Yoda’ism).