Margate sands are beautiful, and no longer- as in Eliot's day- covered by crowds of triste, post-coital Cockneys. The sky is huge. Turner- who lived in Margate- said the light was better than anywhere in the world. I wouldn't demur.
Anyway I now know where I want to spend my declining years.
It seems we could afford it. Move behind the seafront and Margate's a poor town- there are boarded-up shop fronts and a whole arcade that's no longer in use. The rent on a two bed-room flat is £500 per month. People have stopped wanting to retire to the English seaside; I can't think why; I've never seen an English seaside town I didn't love.
Margate has a kiss me quick shop- where you can buy phallic lollipops and postcards of fat ladies- and a new, prestigious Art Gallery (The Turner- what else?) The Gallery is currently exhibiting Mondrian, who- after Picasso and Warhol- is my favourite 20th century painter. Mondrian was a theosophist- and trying to paint whatever it is that lies behind appearance. At first he's trying to get at it through landscape, then through grids and rectangles. At every stage he's one of the great colourists. What you don't get from seeing him in reproduction is how hand-made even the grid paintings are; you can make out the individual brushstokes, the paint has cracked like cooling lava, and the roughness of the wood shows through.