I’ve been quietly confident over recent weeks that this column would catch the eye of a national newspaper editor, and I would take my rightful place among the elite Sunday columnists.
I don’t know why, there’s certainly no factual basis for it. I’m fairly sure my readership figures are in the low teens, and, judging by the comments, at least half of you can’t stand me.
But blind confidence and a stubborn refusal to listen to facts are very much in fashion these days, so I expect the call from John Witherow or Kath Viner in the near future.
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It was with some dismay, given this ambition, that I discovered a piece on the Guardian website entitled: “Let’s move to Whitstable, Kent: pockets of peace on the gentrified seaside.”
Not even a week after I extolled the virtues of a trip to Whitstable, here it is, advertised to the Guardian-reading liberal elite, patronised and commoditised, complete with house prices and a list of local schools.
That’s my job! I have to assume that when the Guardian felt the need for this sort of piece and didn’t call me, that I’m never going to get a shot at the big time.
But if they want a so-called professional journalist to do a well-researched piece that sticks to the point, whilst informing and educating its readers, well that’s their decision. I’m pleased to say you’ll never see that sort of thing in this column.
Professional jealousy aside. Although I wouldn’t call myself a professional, but nor am I a complete amateur, I’m perhaps “amateur-ish”. Despite my obvious disappointment, I’m not sure I want to be an agent of creeping gentrification.
In fact, this article pissed me off a bit. I think it’s typical of an attitude I’ve tried to avoid, although casually played on in these hallowed pages.
There is a certain metropolitan understanding that the rest of the country exists as a curious savage land, waiting to be either discovered or reviled by the vastly superior urban uber-class.
Here, Whitstable is discussed as though it is a charming gite in the Dordogne, or a delightful Edwardian warming pan that would be absolutely darling in the guest bedroom.
There’s no sense of what it’s like to live there, not an idea of what one might do for a living if the HS1 was to disappear, or indeed what there is to do on a wet Wednesday in November.
This is not a piece aimed at people who are looking to change their lifestyle, but at those who feel a charming fisherman’s cottage is much better occupied by a web developer from Stoke Newington, than an actual, useful, fisherman.
We moved to Canterbury because it’s the sort of place we want our daughter to grow up, where we can grow old. We want to make new friends and become involved in everything to do with our new home.
We decidedly did not want to live in an outer London borough by any other name, zone 10 on the tube map. I mean, if we did, we’d have moved to St Albans. Because you still need a cathedral, right?