Turnstone, by John Maiden, March 20, 2015

Barnacle bill column ANL-150320-172403001
Barnacle bill column ANL-150320-172403001
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At the Civic Society meeting last Wednesday evening several members wanted to know why the previous day’s Turnstone had ended in mid sentence.

One person even asked me if it had been censored. Perhaps he was comparing Turnstone with ‘Top Gear’. “Certainly not,” I replied, “it was merely a technical hitch at the printers.”

However, not wishing to disappoint regular Turnstone readers, this is how last week’s column was supposed to conclude:

“Just as ‘Barnacle Bill’ came close to predicting the future when the fictional pier was torn apart, perhaps a really positive outcome would result from a sequel describing how one of the ‘Coastal Teams’, envisaged by Penny Mordaunt, actually raises sufficient funds to build a new pier; just like the one promised in the Conservative manifesto for the local elections in 2007; but which, according to Nick Daubney, had to be put on hold the following year, because of the recession.

For some inexplicable reason, the adverse financial climate appears to have affected Hunstanton much more than King’s Lynn, where there seems to be no problem at all when it comes to funding one regeneration project after another.”

Please do not get me wrong. I derive no pleasure at all from hitting out at members or officers of West Norfolk Council, but one only had to glance at the Lynn News letters pages in recent weeks to see just how out of touch with local public opinion the council can be at times, especially when it comes to the importance of protecting vital areas of public open space and irreplaceable heritage assets.

This brings me back to the relevance of Barnacle Bill, not just because it is timeless when it comes to poking fun at corrupt and inept local government, but because it also provides a wonderful opportunity to see glimpses of Hunstanton and its elegant Victorian pier when they were on the verge of losing their unique character and appearance forever.

For this reason, if for no other, I sincerely hope the people of our town and the surrounding area will turn out in force at 7.30pm on Tuesday, April 7, when the Princess Theatre (formerly the Capitol cinema) launches its new Film Club with a screening of this remarkable film – also released by MGM as All at Sea.

For details of the Film Club, forthcoming films and admission prices, call the Princess Theatre on 01485 532252.

Website & online bookings: www.princesshunstanton.co.uk