Matthew Munson: The capital is great but Thanet is home

Thanet has a variety of brilliant cinemas

I’ve spent a couple of days in London recently, enjoying some time with friends and experiencing the sights from different angles; through the eyes of people who aren’t there as frequently as me, or shown round by natives who know about the secrets of our capital that I love learning about.

But then I get home and wonder why I’ve ever left. I can immediately smell a difference in the air coming off the sea, and I get a spring in my step because I respect the fact that Thanet’s my home; I’m not visiting, I’m not passing through, I’m rooted here by family, friends, work, memories, and experiences.

I’ve been asked before, “But surely London is better, because of the wider variety of things? Isn’t it better to be where there’s 24-hour superstores everywhere, and you can get a coffee at 3am if you know where to go.”


Well, for some, maybe, but I have to correct people whenever I hear that you can shop at any time, day or night; we’re rather proud of our venture into the doom-coloured clouds blocking the clear blue skies of the 21st century. And if I particularly want a coffee, I could make one myself in my kitchen.

I am always reminded of the choices we do have in Thanet; the fact that we have four cinemas in the area, for example.

That’s not as random an example as you might think it is. I went on Sunday night just gone with a couple of friends to watch Dunkirk at the Carlton Cinema in Westgate. The fact that it has three screens, in an era when only the multi-plexes – as they are a part of a nationwide chain – can usually afford more than one or two is remarkable. I admire the staff for the range of films and I’m so glad it’s right there.

Blair Witch Project

I remember going there once when I was in my late teens. I was 18 and my friend, her boyfriend, and I decided to go there to watch the Blair Witch Project. To this day, I don’t know what we were thinking, as neither my friend or I like horror films. Throughout the entire movie, I don’t think we were able to keep quiet for more than about ten minutes, screaming at every camera wobble, twist and turn, and dark corner that had to clearly be explored with only a minimal flashlight for company.

In any case, when we left, I was terrified. In fact, I had to have a light on in my room for a couple of weeks afterwards, if I remember. In any case, I can distinctly remember my friend Lynda and I being so genuinely frightened that we absolutely refused to move out of the cinema, even down the light-filled walk-way, until her boyfriend pulled the car up right to the kerb outside and opened the doors for us. The things that frighten us …


Oh, and in case you were wondering, Dunkirk was perfectly serviceable, but merely that. I struggled to remain fascinated by the entire story, especially when the little ships arrived and it looked like there were about three dozen to bring back the couple of hundred men. A degree of underemphasis, I suspect. A shame that I can only call it “okay” – but it’s helped me appreciate Westgate again in all its glory, so things aren’t all bad.