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Four hours sleep the night before and the Lost Prom is teetering on a thong’s-quiver between hungover and still drunk. We get the train to Hastings where we meet our new Lost Prom friend and driver for the day, Richard, who is taking us to Folkestone. The car journey reverberates alternately with deep breaths to avoid throwing up, and imitations of Tamsin’s ex’s squeaky-voiced new girlfriend. There is nothing more I remember about that journey.

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Once in Folkestone, there’s no time to waste; it’s straight to Elinor Restaurant & Café for a fortifying fry-up. There is wood panelling, wrought iron mirrors and vege sausages, and that’s good enough for us. In our addled state we find it hard to make a brekkie choice, so the waitress says “Ip dip apple pip” to help us decide. OK, that’s better, now we can unscrew our eyes and make some sort of sense of the world. The English Channel air will course through our crannies and freshen us up. At least we hope so.

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So we head for the promenade by the harbour. It’s a wintry November and two young boys dressed only in trunks are capering in the froth with little surf boards. There is something innocent about it, yet also really fucking dumb. Just like the Lost Promenade I guess. That aside though, Nhung is bored. She’s not feeling any photo mojo; despite a jerkily strange ship-shaped hotel and a romantic and mysterious phoenix-carved house on a hill overlooking the harbour, there is a certain flatness to Folkestone so far, a place once known as the ‘infanticide capital of Kent’. But as we wander in the other direction, we hit Lost Prom pay dirt – an abandoned railway station, deserted after the Euro Tunnel caused the cross channel ferry terminal’s closure. Our essence is the wasteground so this is our manna.

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It is a wonderful feeling to step across overgrown train tracks and let the rust ginger the soles of our shoes. There is a strange quietness. A passenger walkway resembling a giant cubist caterpillar. Disembodied shadows on corrugated iron. Richard finds a broken watch and an Aerobie Frisbee thing which could have been flung from France. It’s odd that this place hasn’t been colonised by children. It’s completely accessible with no visible security (the Lost Prom were discussing plans to scale fences etc then walked 5 feet in the other direction to find an open doorway). It would make the best ever den – what’s wrong with the kids of Folkestone? Have they all frozen their nuts off in the icy sea?

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Flushed with success, we look for more wastegrounds, this time an abandoned fairground we’ve been told about, but here we’re beaten: it has been long torn down. So instead we head for the shops and surprisingly here, Folkestone is staging a mini revival, no boarded-up precincts and tumbleweedy high street, instead the old town has been cheesily renamed the Creative Quarter and thanks to a charity called The Creative Foundation, consists of over a hundred work spaces for artists and independent businesses, renovated and let at affordable rates. It’s not quite there yet, the shops open so far are mainly twee or overpriced – perhaps affected by the lack of youth. We don’t spot any record shops or vintage clothes boutiques, wares are mainly along the lines of pottery owls and tepid watercolours. And the charity shops were also fairly uninspiring. Although we did overhear a woman in one store say, “I can’t eat cheese because of my skin”. However, it’s a plucky effort in a time of financial tipsiness.

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The high street was awash with poppy sellers: in tanks, camouflage, Gurkhas and even a few fake Peruvians for some reason. We hit the seafront in search of the Grand Hotel (for another Agatha Christie reference – she was said to have written Murder on the Orient Express there), but all we see are solemn-faced teenagers sulking by the lovely old dancehall. What is it with Folkestone kids? They really do seem to have been sedated. Time to finish off in Pelosi’s Ice Cream Parlour where Nhung and Richard play Top Trumps and we talk about being old and alone. Our essence is the wasteground, but our hunger is for tea.

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Lost

Abandoned fairground

The Grand Hotel

Lift down to the beach

A good second hand bookshop

Hope momentarily

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Found

Abandoned railway

Broken watch

Aerobie

Book about crystal skulls

2 scarves (1 brown & white geometric, 1 orange & yellow rose-covered)

Horror Top Trumps

Poppy (in exchange for a photo of some cute girls in uniform)

A book called ‘Modernism On Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside’

Our own waste grounds

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