Hastings Old Town up-date – Battleaxe on the political war-path

Have been Global Battleaxe rather than Hastings Battleaxe recently, so thought I’d better check out what is happening locally.  I’m starting with the Old Town, will do the town centre and St Leonard’s shortly.
     This week we went to the Electric Palace cinema, to the Silver Screen session. You get admission and a free coffee for £5, and they have invested in more cushions to put on the seats.  We saw Mr Turner. Battleaxe found the film too long and overblown, without anything particularly revelatory emerging from it. They could have cut at least an hour, and some of the sequences, although lovely to look at, just seemed downright wasteful.

Fantasy creation of the end of the Temeraire from Mr Turner  – presumably using CGI but very attractive

     It was so long that we had to leave before the end as I had a WI Committee meeting, and given I’m supposed to chair the meetings, I could hardly be late.  We’ve got a Jumble Sale coming up on Saturday 11 April – much organising to be done.
     Good Friday was a wet day. Philosopher wanted to watch the Good Friday procession, (see last year’s post for more about what is quite a moving event), and I was quite happy to accompany him but didn’t fancy standing in the rain. I went for a prowl about and noticed several new initiatives.
     What was the Harris tapas place in the High Street is shortly to open as an up-market menswear shop. We used to go to Harris a lot. The service was very variable. The staff had big shouty fallings-out in the kitchen, and once, the chef actually stormed off before we got our food.

Nearly ready – new menswear shop in the High Street

     Ages ago, we bought a painting that used to hang in the restaurant, of  Marine Court in a Hokusai wave, by a local artist called M Byrne. Unfortunately the sheet of paper that Harris attached to the back of the painting has fallen off and vanished. Here is the painting. Any readers know anything about this artist?

Marine Court by M Byrne, 2006

      Back to the present. How much call is there for up-market menswear in Hastings? 
      Now, don’t get me wrong, I love antique and junk hunting very much, but some of the new shops opening in the Old Town do seem, to my eye, to be a little – dare I say it – poncey? A new shop has just opened in George Street. Apparently it is a collaboration between existing Old Town traders, but is another ‘lifestyle’ place full of ‘curiosities’. Such places are generally tastefully festooned with antlers, skeletons and skulls (why the current fashion for old bones?), battered crucifixes, and moth-eaten taxidermy (and who buys this?). Stock usually includes old galvanised garden things, rusty advertising signs, tattered vintage lace, chunks of weathered driftwood, handmade soap, old toys and games, French enamel door numbers, reproduction brass telescopes and other eclectic and expensive bibelows.
     This new shop is nicely done-out, and has pieces by one of our local stars, Leigh Dyer. (We haven’t visited the flypress for ages!) I do hope there is enough of a market for its wares. 

New shop in George Street


Leigh Dyer monkey

     On the High Street, Little Treasures has re-opened after a refit – seems more house and home rather than vintage now, and there are beautiful chairs in the window at TheKula, which stocks very upmarket mid-century furniture etc. 
     Anyway, after a cursory mangy fox and skeleton inspection I tried on frocks in the Lilac Room. They have an excellent range of new season clothes in stock at the moment, including some new labels.
     Went to Hanuska’s where I was presently joined by Philosopher. Was just saying hello to Anthony Mair who co-ordinates the Stanza Poetry group, when who should deposit himself outside the cafe but our local UKIP candidate, with his wife. Can’t remember his name but he was on Gogglebox on the telly.
     I fancied letting off a bit of steam so breezed out and told him how much I didn’t want to have to see him outside my favourite cafe, wouldn’t vote for UKIP if stretched on the rack, he must be out of his mind to support a bad joke like UKIP etc etc. He more or less just laughed nervously at the appearance of this madwoman but his wife changed from pleasant into an even bigger Battleaxe than me in 30 seconds flat. She shrieked that I was despicable and who did I think I was and so on. We traded insults merrily for a few moments and then I returned to my coffee, much cheered and fired up.
     In fact, so fired up that I returned to the Lilac Room with Philosopher and ended up buying two frocks and a little crop cardigan thing. 
     It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds because one frock and the cardi will be my outfit for the Albert Hall in June. What’s that about, you may ask? Well, more next week. I think I’ll do a post about poetry and my efforts to write it.

STOP PRESS! Just saw Sarah Beeny in the Butler George shop in the Old Town. She said she loved it and what a cool shop it was. Battleaxe is so totes out of touch with the zeitgeist.

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