IAN HART: Voting turnout, the Tiroler and expensive theatre drinks

FOR all their many faults, perhaps we have to look at the reasons why the French can have an election with a turnout in excess of 80 per cent.

Granted, they apparently face some kind of sanction if they don’t cast their vote, but could that be the way forward given the very poor turnout in some of our elections.

Worthing goes to the polls today, Thursday, and having spoken to representatives of both major parties, a very low turnout, possibly in some wards around 25 per cent, is predicted.

Which almost begs the question, by not voting, do the majority get the council they deserve?

And if you don’t vote, do you have any right to complain?

On Friday, a young man with Worthing connections was killed while defending democracy. Part of that democracy is free speech and the concept of free and fair elections. If you can’t be bothered to vote, what does that say for the ultimate sacrifice that young man, and millions before him, made?

l Many thanks to local advocate Margaret Woolacott who dropped me line to answer a question from last week’s edition about the Starlight Rooms, where Leo Sayer had played gigs with his group in the late 1960s.

The club was actually in Montpelier Road, Brighton, and Margaret recalls that in the 60s it was the place to be for teenagers, as opposed to my formative years where, at least one of the places to be was the Tiroler Bar in the Guildbourne Centre on account of the fact it was one of the few pubs that adopted the late General Franco’s concept if they’ve got the money to pay for something, let them have it.

People will actually find it hard to believe that, once upon a time, the Guildbourne had shops on both floors and a lot more footfall. When reminiscing about the Tiroler the other evening, I was trying to think of the shops in the upper floor. I recall the Jean Store, there was a shoe shop at the end, a hairdressers and a lighting shop, can any Herald readers fill in the gaps?

l And finally, I attended the opening night at the Connaught on Tuesday of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, another excellent production by Worthing Musical Comedy Society, which runs until Saturday.

For the record, as much of the mess that was made over the theatre tendering process, I think Peter Bailey and his team are doing a good job. However, I would like them to retake control of the pricing at the Dick Turpin Bar. On Tuesday night, I took the commander-in-chief up for a pre-show glass of her favourite tipple, pinot, and as I was driving, I was drinking water. It came to £5.60. When I finished my coughing fit, I was informed by the barmaid that Sue’s medium glass of wine was £3.90 and my bottle of water was £1.70. I wish I was back in the Tiroler...