Faversham was recently visited by writer Nick Lezard, whose work often chronicles his experiences as an impecunious middle-class drifter and under-employed freelance literary critic.
Much of his output reflects upon his semi-homeless existence following the breakdown of his marriage and decline in his earnings.
Invited to Faversham by a friend, Mr Lezard spent a few weeks here flat-sitting, budgie-feeding, plant-watering, sitting in pubs and generally mooching about on his tod.
Documenting his brief sojourn in his regular New Statesman column, the 56-year-old described the town as a place where ‘the old is everywhere and the young walk through it like ghosts’.
As a snapshot of Faversham, Mr Lezard’s piece was not entirely flattering. Consequently his insights drew much comment from local social media users of a certain age, including ex-Conservative councillor Mike Cosgrove.
Mr Cosgrove, who fancies himself a man of letters (describing himself as a ‘travel writer’ on Twitter) appeared to mistake the downbeat observational column for a travel feature.
‘Simply a journalist using his expenses’ he surmised... ....incorrectly since Mr Lezard receives no expenses for his New Statesman column and certainly didn’t arrive in Faversham aboard the gravy train.
But it must have been an easy mistake for Mr Cosgrove to make, as someone accustomed to availing himself of substantial expenses courtesy of us taxpayers. As a Swale councillor, he racked up the fourth biggest allowances claim out of 49 elected members in 2018/19. But at £17,157 even he was some way behind fellow ousted Tory Andrew ‘Free Speech for Tommy Robinson’ Bowles who helped himself to a whopping £25,852.
According to the Business section of the Evening Standard, brick seller Forterra is showing a downturn in profits due to– as other brickies also claim – Brexit.
We therefore strongly urge Forterra to hurry on down to Faversham where we just can’t get enough of the little clay buggers!
How ironic then that in our current Faversham house frenzy Bovis felt obliged to build on our town’s last remaining brickworks to throw up the latest crop of bijou pied-à-terres.
Our City Correspondent
A regular fixture at Faversham’s Guildhall, Findlay MacDonald loves a council meeting. In fact he has a better attendance record than some of our councillors.
But even they weren’t prepared for the startling sight of Findlay levitating outside the Guildhall during a 20’s Plenty committee meeting.
Interrupted by a tapping sound, they turned to see the ‘flying’ Scotsman’s familiar face peering in through a first floor window with no visible means of support.
There was a rational explanation, however. Arriving to find the Guildhall door locked from the inside, apparently accidentally, determined Findlay tried ringing the doorbell, knocking, whistling, and calling councillors’ mobile phones before finally fetching a ladder from his van parked nearby.
Also locked out was 20’s Plenty campaign founder Amanda Russell, who asked: “Is this what you need to do to hold the town council to account!?”
ONE FOR THE LAWYER
In other Cosgrove news, the ex-councillor asked our distributor for two copies of the Eye’s Election Special requesting ‘one for my lawyer’.
Whoever Mr Cosgrove’s laywer is, he must be the envy of every solicitor in town. Imagine being paid to read every issue of the Eye and send Mr Cosgrove a nice invoice every time the paper comes out – all without ever having to write us a single threatening letter. What a gig – hats off to you sir!
TONY’S TRUMPET BLOWS BACK
A gentleman named Tony Dennis recently took to social media to inform the world he’d had the ‘misfortune’ of reading the Faversham Eye Election Special. “A ghastly rag!” he trumpeted on Facebook. Not the most nuanced critique but each to their own. A handful of the usual, politically-motivated suspects soon weighed in with their own negative comments but then something rather wonderful happened: One after another, Faversham people wrote messages defending and praising the Eye. Within 24 hours there were more than 130 responses, the vast majority appreciative.
Tony quietly deleted his post – along with everyone’s comments – a few days later. Perhaps he was embarrassed that his bid to besmirch the good name of our publication had backfired. Or perhaps all that positivity was just too much for him. Either way, we would just like to say a big thank you to all our readers for their kind comments. A lot of effort goes into the Eye and it’s great to know you appreciate it.
In keeping with the new rainbow politics of Swale, this year’s panto will be a total mish mash of old ideas, ruthlessly pillaged from old favourites and re-packaged as new and exciting. After some sleuthing, the Faversham Eye has managed to see an early version of the script and the cast list.
Anthony Hook opens the panto with scenes from Peter Pan, playing his namesake, Captain James Hook. He will come on, followed by the Lost Boys of the Lib Dem party. His opening number will be Wonderful World: “I see trees of green, red poppies too, I do three jobs and Faversham too.” He will then set up a large number of working parties, get eaten by the crocodile and never be seen again. Throughout the panto, the audience will shout to the lost boys, “Look out he’s behind you!” and then laugh when they all turn to look and realise he isn’t there. In the great tradition, the Lost Boys will shout back “Oh no he isn’t!” The audience will shout back, “Oh yes he is!” The lost boys will look back again only to see an empty stage, much to the delight of the audience.
Helen Whately will play Tinkerbell. As Faversham’s own tiny fairy, it is either that or Cinderella, but she has already married her millionaire prince and moved to a palace so that just leaves Peter Pan. In the original story, Cinderella can only feel one emotion at a time. Whenever she comes on, she will only speak to those in the expensive boxes, castigating silly old Peter Pan for caring about the poor in the cheap seats. She will make a second appearance as Little Red Hood going into a cottage with a sign “Ardent feminist grandmother lives here” over the door. “Ooo, what big teeth you have!” she squeals. “All the better to eat you up, with a rich bodied Chianti and some Eton mess for pudding” shouts the wolf. She will not be seen again.
David Simmons, former Faversham Tory and local farmer plays Jack. His beanstalk thrives but sadly there are no foreign workers to pick the crop and the beans rot on the ground.
Mike Cosgrove, everyone’s favourite pantomime villain, is a natural for Widow Twanky and the director has written NAR next to his name, No Acting Required.
Andrew Bowles, Nigel Kay and Andrew Culham will play the three ugly sisters and spend most of the panto complaining that they don’t have Cinderella to bully around any more. Andrew Bowles will constantly lift his skirt to reveal an enormous pair of bloomers made out of the union jack. Embroidered on the front will be the words “No foreigners welcome here.” The bloomers will be made in China and embroidered in France. Nigel Kay will start a long and incoherent speech to explain why the audience have not actually paid for their tickets. He will be pulled off by a large hook. Andrew Culham will come in cowboy hat and wrap around shades singing “I’m too sexy for my skirts.”
They will end the panto singing, “this land was our land. This land was made for me, me and me.” The audience are expected to boo them off.
Sadly there were no takers for the pantomime horse after Andrew Bowles insisted on being the front end.