I went to check out Margate, the up & coming artist quarter of the UK. This is where people are moving out to, now Hoxton and Shoreditch and Hackney Wick have been oversaturated and property developers have cottoned on, and now Whitstable is too expensive if you're looking to move out of the city for some bracing sea air. Give it a few more years and it will be Whitstable, all chichi and gentrified.
Maybe not for a while though. There are pretty vintage shops and the flash newTurner Contemporary on the seafront, but it is derelict and undeniably poor - between the shops and the new little galleries are buildings just rotting where they stand. (There's also an interesting undercurrent of violence and what can only be described as nutterdom, a kind of seedy Brighton Rock ambience exemplified by the old amusement arcades, that no amount of new cafes serving flat whites and polenta cake can disguise.) There are 2 bed flats available for £210,000 - I'm a bit obsessed with flat prices at the moment - which wouldn't buy you a shed in most of London - but what would you do for work?
It makes you realise that no matter how run down areas of London get, being in the capital insulates us from this kind of dereliction. You always know there's money sloshing around the city, even if it doesn't slosh around you and your area.
Anyway,all this was highlighted for me the moment I stepped out the station, and saw the Ugliest Building Ever Built. I can't believe that human beings would ever be expected to live in this. It doesn't look so bad in the photo as the sun was out, but can you imagine in the winter with that English grey lead sky and sea mists and wind and cold? Suicide towers. Here you can see Dreamland peeping out behind, like it's posing for a Martin Parr photo.