Angelica Campion

If you’ve recently moved to Hastings or St Leonards for a nice sedate life by the sea, by now you will have realised your mistake. The Bonjour Café on St Leonards seafront has turned into the Lisboa in Ladbroke Grove (they even sell custard tarts), and Norman Road is fast becoming Portobello Road on Sea. However, here’s an example of how you can have a quiet weekend in Hastings.

On Saturday night we went to the Electric Palace Cinema in the Old Town to see a documentary about Dame Vivienne Westwood, Westwood. Punk, Icon, Activist by Lorna Tucker. Despite being somewhat chronologically confused this film is a good gallop through Viv’s career and presents her as a morally decent person. Vivienne has called it ‘mediocre’, distancing herself from it and complains it doesn’t feature enough of her activism. This is true, but the access Lorna’s had as a close friend is compelling stuff and I doubt they’ll ever be friends again.

Afterwards there was a Q & A by the lovely Jordan Mooney from the film, an old friend of Vivienne’s and the original punkstress from Derek Jarman’s Jubilee. Jordan is a vet now, and I really wanted to ask her about our cat Bob’s overeating but instead enquired if she thought punk was a mindset as much as a ‘look’. She thinks it is, and I wonder how this impacts on budgies and pit bulls.

Jordan Mooney

Sunday morning and it’s Icklesham’s Elm Tree car boot sale, a 15 mins drive from Hastings. Walking through a field of sheep droppings with a hangover at 8am is bad enough but for God’s sakes don’t need the toilet, because if you use the portaloo you may as well just throw a bucket of excrement over yourself. 

There’s always at least one stall in every row with a giant pile of squashed and greying stuffed toys which will never sell and should have been washed and donated to charity or burned on a bonfire. In fact 90% of stuff at boot sales should probably be incinerated but then I guess there would be nothing to hide the gems. An original 1970s Stylophone with a photo of Rolf Harris for £1.50! A pair of decorative unicorn heads! Pictures of hideous cats! Joy oh joy.

PICTURE: Angelica Campion

We go to Goat Ledge for lunch to meet friends. This is a new fish café on the beach in front of Warrior Square, (you can’t miss it there’s a giant plaice on the roof). A friend has her niece with her, Emma Haines, who holds the English Open Universal Trench Ladies High Gun (shotgun) title at 21 years old and will be at the next Olympics in Tokyo. I feel safe.

Goat Ledge is so popular we wait half an hour for our fish but sitting under pink straw parasols right by the water, glugging wine and listening to Emma’s worries about Brexit, the customs union and her guns was not unpleasant.

It was Pirate Day in Hastings and as I have a severe allergy to pirates and fancy dress in general we gave that a swerve, but I’m told it’s great and holds the title of the most pirates (14,231) in one place in the whole frickin’ world.

Electric Palace Cinema 39A High St, Hastings TN34 3ER
Elm Tree Car Boot sale Icklesham for info.

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