Sunday, August 04, 2013

In Herne Bay

View from Neptune, Herne Bay; photo by Val Phoenix
Gingerly applying cold tea to my rather red skin today after a gloriously sunny day yesterday in Herne Bay. Following on from last summer's expeditions to Margate and Whitstable combining sea and art, I turned up hoping to see some of the attractions from the Duchamp in Herne Bay festival (tagline: I am not dead. I am in Herne Bay), celebrating the artist's summer stay in the town 100 years ago. It didn't quite turn out as I expected.

The first surprise was the lack of signage at the train station. No indication as to which way to turn to find the seaside, let alone the festival. I eventually made my way to the museum to see what was advertised as a free exhibition, only to find there was an admission charge. Couldn't find the festival shop and the HQ showed no signs of any festival doings either. Most puzzling.

My first 99; photo by Val Phoenix
I did, however, catch the live music-live cartoonist combo at the very lively Bandstand. I thought the pedal-powered cinema was also meant to be there, when I saw a poster for it right next to the cartoonist one. Only later did I catch the tiny, tiny print listing another destination, one I'd passed some two hours earlier! Ach. So, no cinema for me. I did at least catch some of the artfully designed bicycles parked in various locations. I didn't get the sense that most visitors had any idea why they were there.

Still, I enjoyed my ramble through Herne Bay, from the mesmerising Neptune outcrop stretching out to meet the pier (with its giant Fountain a la Duchamp), to my unsteady attempts to wade on the edge of the sea. I eventually made my way to Kings Hall on the eastern stretch of shore to watch a couple throwing a ball for their dog to fetch from the sea. Quite tiring for the dog, I would have thought. As I returned to London, I thought how handsome the city looked, bathed in pre-twilight sunshine.

The Duchamp festival continues through the 17th. Catch it if you can.

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