9 stairwell

At the De la Warr Pavilion to watch live opera on film. An opera within an opera (and in this case, Jesse Norman would have made all the difference). Wandering around this building in its setting is always a pleasure . . .

3 window

4 window

. . the bandstand, known as the bus shelter,  without the usual skateboarders . . .

1 window

. .  I glimpse a figure pulling red shopping trolley. I have seen this lady before,  in St Leonards maybe . . .

6 bag

7 bag

11 bag

. .  and watch her inhabit the space, stare out to sea and eventually exit stage right.

14 bag

13 sea portrait


Some folks take the opera tradition seriously and sip their champagne looking out to sea . . . while other younger inhabitants stand with the correct paraphernalia and look out to sea too as the roof area is shut this evening.  Shaun Gladwell has provided installations to use and to view that conflict with cultural practices and traditions.

17 onlookers

16 scooter

This is ‘Triumph Daytona 675 Intersection’ and on the roof he’s provided ‘Ride + Skate – mini ramp intersections’. You must book a time slot for BMX riding and skating depending on weather.

2 gladwell

18 ride + skate on the roof

In the school room by the installation . . .

19 school room

. . useful and relevent tools are laid out for creativity.

20 school room detail

Scampering back down the staircase to catch the rest of the opera, I thought, goodness only why, of Betjeman. What would he have made of Ariadne? He’d have liked the saucy bits but would have missed the lack of poetry and sensitivity I feel. Oje, das ist traurig

21 stairwell


Hark, I hear the bells of Westgate,
I will tell you what they sigh,
Where those minarets and steeples
Prick the open Thanet sky.

Happy bells of eighteen-ninety,
Bursting from your freestone tower!
Recalling laurel, shrubs and privet,
Red geraniums in flower.

Feet that scamper on the asphalt
Through the Borough Council grass,
Till they hide inside the shelter
Bright with ironwork and glass,

Striving chains of ordered children
Purple by the sea-breeze made,
Striving on to prunes and suet
Past the shops on the Parade.

Some with wire around their glasses,
Some with wire across their teeth,
Writhing frames for running noses
And the drooping lip beneath.

Church of England bells of Westgate!
On this balcony I stand,
White the woodwork wriggles round me,
Clocktowers rise on either hand.

For me in my timber arbour
You have one more message yet,
“Plimsolls, plimsolls in the summer,
Oh galoshes in the wet!”  John Betjeman  Westgate-on- Sea

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