I went to Margate last week. Margate by the sea, near to London and super quick to get to on the high-speed train. I didn’t know Margate was near Canterbury, my geography was wobbly, but I knew I wanted to get to Margate. I knew my destination. Home of hippies and Hipsters and Dreamland and Turner – who is quite dream-like himself, in his art – and the Turner contemporary. Margate felt contemporary and I like contemporary and it was time to go.
The arcade in Dreamland was full of quirky, broken machines and we won two icestake keyrings, my son and I, feeding in 2p after 2p into the penny waterfall. We knocked the glass a few times too – that helped. And we looked longingly at the unbuilt rides and decided to come back in late May and ride them and scream and flush red and feel sick, all in the name of theme park fun.
Chips at Peter’s Chip shop. In the pouring rain. So we sheltered in a grotty doorway and ate hot chips and good fish and looked at the platinum grey sea.
And then we went to Georgie’s vintage shop. How could we not? Powder pink frontage and colourful, colourful dresses all Seventies-swirly, all nylony-sticky, all beautiful labels. I wanted to try on this and this and this, but my son was embarrassed and bored and so I tried on the most beautiful skirt. Jaeger. Jaeger always means style to me, elegant evenings with ladies in high heels and the plush, plasticy abundance of the Seventies where innocence rained, along with fun.
What a shop. What a town, what a platinum sea. No wonder Turner wanted to paint it. No wonder we want to dress up when we get there.