After a series of mysterious fires and the unrelated launch of a mega-mall nearby, Margate turned from beloved tourist destination to ghost town - practically overnight. Despite the efforts of high-street hero Mary Portas and the valiant rejuvenation of the Old Town, Margate continues to reek of recession and disrepair.
The latest event to commemorate rock's best-known chameleon is Strange Fascination?, a three-day symposium taking place at Limerick University in a fortnight's time, where his many stage personae will undoubtedly be dissected many times over.
So the 'golden tickets' have been awarded to a dozen successful Portas Pilots to revitalise their high streets, with the promise of another 15 to come. Meanwhile more than 350 towns and suburbs who were hoping to win this mini-lottery will need to decide what to do with the energy and enthusiasm that went into their applications.
Recessions mean bankruptcies, and bankruptcies in the retail sector mean boarded up high streets. Between 2008 and 2010 the number of empty shops has gone up five fold. Only one shop in 40 was empty in 2008, but the rate is now one in seven. It is higher still in some places - one in five in the north west as a whole, one in four in Blackburn, Grimsby, and Walsall, and one in three in Margate.