Catch Me In The Rye

Rye Bay is a fabulous, relaxed sweep of British coastline that's a hop, skip and a jump from the pressures of the smoke and is the closest thing we've got to Long Island...
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
97
Rye Bay is a fabulous, relaxed sweep of British coastline that's a hop, skip and a jump from the pressures of the smoke and is the closest thing we've got to Long Island...

404

Every Friday's the same. Mass exodus from Manhattan. New Yorkers escape the madness of one island for the supposed tranquility of another. Long Island is their destination.

To get to Long Isand they take the Long Island Expressway or a Helicopter. By car they allow around 4 hours. By chopper around 40 minutes. Long Island isn't a single island. It's an area made up of North Fork, South Fork and Shelter Island. Two long slender prongs of a "fork" and the bit that joins them together.

It's where New Yorkers go to get away from it all. By hanging out with New Yorkers. There's different areas that attract different types. Clean-cut Investment Bwankers hang out in Southampton where they turn up the collars of their crisp, pastel coloured Polo shirts and watch their Blackberrys and iPhones. They never relax and switch off cos they never turn their technology off. Even at play they're at work.

Move on to Montauk and it's a very different story. This is where the Artists go. When he wanted to take it easy Andy Warhol made for Montauk. That says it all.

What Long Island is to Manhattan, Rye Bay is to London. That's why it's fast becoming known as London's Long Island. Rye Bay is a fabulous, relaxed sweep of British coastline that's a hop, skip and a jump from the pressures of The Smoke. Allow two hours by road or rail.

From Dungeness, a never ending expanse of shingle at one end, to Fairlight with it's rocks and cliffs (and Swingers' Country Park) at the other, this area is like nowhere else. And those in the know are catching on...fast.

Dungeness has always been a photographer's favorite. It's bleak but beautiful with a quality of light that's hard to beat. Officially classed as a desert (of shingle) spend some time here and after a while you'll feel like you're in another country. The late Derek Jarman lived here for years. BTW for the sake of privacy that's the only name I'm gonna drop.

For me, the best thing about Dungeness is that there's fuck all to do. It's a place to close your eyes and quietly be. Dramatic and daring.

That said, trust me, anyone who's (media/art/interesting/creative) anyone is getting a bolt-hole around Rye Bay or upping sticks and moving in full-time. Now architects, painters, photographers and designers are taking over at Dungeness. They're supposedly "gentrifying" this gorgeoous place one building at a time.

Most of the single storey properties started life as abandoned railway carriages. The houses kind of "grew" around them. Now they're being knocked down and replaced with Modernist masterpieces. Some call it progress.

For me, the best thing about Dungeness is that there's fuck all to do. It's a place to close your eyes and quietly be. Dramatic and daring. Oh and there's a decommissioned, brutalist Power Station. What more do you want?

It's hardly surprising Camber Sands is always on those lists of "Britain's best beaches". Long and wide, often empty and oh so sandy, Camber's got dozens of dunes. When the tide's out the sea's a mile away. There's very few places in the UK where people can live right on the beach. Camber's one of them.

The properties started small but they're getting bigger. As I write someone is spending £2M on a gigantic glass and steel temple of a dream home at Camber, on the beach. About the same it'd cost to buy a nice-ish 2 bed flat in Mayfair.

Who cares about Pontin's and the chavvy caravan site up the road? Think Hamptons not Hampton Wick.

At Winchelsea Beach you'll find ancient ridges of funky, wooden shacks. There they sit, set back on unmade roads. This is no place for a Porsche. Like Dungeness some of the familes at Winchelsea Beach go back generations. Houses are passed from father to son to daughter.

Few places are so easy going. It's like time stood still and the world's grief got forgot. Media luvvies savour every second. Things are happening at Pett Level. The money is moving in. Pubs are being snapped up, pulled down and replaced. We are witnessing large scale re-invention.

Essex? Shuuut Uuuuup. The only way is...to laugh at it on TV. It's become a human cartoon inhabited by Tango orange Supermen and Wonderwomen. Uuurrgh.

The first series of Grand Designs featured the now famous Big White House. This three storey "sugar cube" of a house pays homage to Modernist Bauhaus and sets the standard for newcomers. Unassuming, sleepy old Rye sits watching what's going on.

The centre of the eye of the storm of change. Ancient and cobbled. Twisting and turning. This is a Cinque port. The perfect place for a seaside weekend, Rye is littered with award winning hotels, restaurants and fish and chip shops. It's even got it's own nightclub. Some call it Ryanappa. Others call it Rybiza. I call it Bloodyhella.

Half close your eyes and you'll think Rye High St has started to rival Redchurch St! Funky little boutiques and specialist stores are being opened by people who've escaped the city but hung on to their sense of style. Moving back from the beaches around Rye Bay are myriad charming, cute villages. Places you've never heard of but love when you get there. Sleepy little discoveries.

Fairlight is famous for three things. Catching Bass off the rocks as the tide turns, a hard to find nudist beach and its (in)famous Country Park. Swingers' delight.

Think about it. You love London but you don't want to get stabbed or shot. You want to getaway but not get depressed. Where do you move to full time or slip off to at weekends that's not too far? More than two hours travelling is too much. Norfolk is a nightmare. There's no fast roads and lots of locals still have big foreheads. The Cotswolds have been claimed by pretentious people who watch Polo and talk absolute shit. Brighton is London-on-Sea. Suffolk is like Norfolk but closer to Essex.

Essex? Shuuut Uuuuup. The only way is...to laugh at it on TV. It's become a human cartoon inhabited by Tango orange Supermen and Wonderwomen. Uuurrgh.

West Sussex is all Jags and G&T's.

Stylish and Sexy. Quirky. Green and Gorgeous. Funky. Laid back and action packed. There's no room for snobbery in this neck of the woods. Eclectic and idiosyncratic. It's the mix of backgrounds and breeding,incomes and attitudes that make the people as magic as the place.

Sand. Pebbles. A touch of Shoreditch. Seriously cool with a microclimate. London's Long Island was a well kept secret.

Click here for more stories about Life

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook