This past weekend saw a very long overdue trip 'up North to Newcastle to visit friends and partake in a bit of Pop Klubb action.
I've been going to Newcastle for a very long time now but not nearly enough. I'm happy to say that I would recommend a trip to the North East to anyone - it really isn't just all about lasses in inappropriate clothing and Paul Gascoigne you know! (Although to be honest, it wouldn't be the same without them!). I'm probably the only person who does but I love the Angel of the North. It's very welcoming after a journey from practically the other end of the company, and it means I'm nearly there.
Once upon a time, many moons ago, I started an indiepop night with some friends called Pop Klubb. We booked an old social club, with cheap drinks, sticky carpet and "Brian from the Committee". That first night could have gone either way. A very special friend's band played and people sat around listening to Belle & Sebastian, and Jens Lekman, not really knowing what to expect. Nearly 4 years on and Pop Klubb is still going strong......although I'm not involved in it, I'm very very proud of what we all achieved and how it gained such a great reputation for playing the best music and putting on great bands.
On the subject of Pop Klubb....long live Northern social clubs. If we have them down South, I'm not sure where but they really are an institution that need to be kept. I love the bad decor, the fact that it must have taken someone hours decorating the place with England flags, which are still up despite us losing weeks ago, the bubblegum vodka shots that have seen the downfall of many a twee kid, the entertainment that's advertised which looks like a bad joke but isn't. I love it all. I will never forget the look on a swedish friend's face that first time we walked in to one man and a whippet - it just about said it all.
We drove to the coast the next day. The coast at Tynemouth & Whitley Bay is absolutely stunning - all sandy beaches which I miss. As lovely as Brighton is, pebbles just don't do it for me. Broken parking meters, closed cafe's, lack of parking spaces, and pushchairs blowing away in a near tornado didn't dampen our spirits at all and I loved my fish & chip lunch, the old tearooms and Master Whip (spawn of Mister Whippy) who looked strangely like Raoul Moat and someone I wouldn't let my kids near in a million years (if I had kids).
Tynemouth flea market is lovely - a mish mash of old & new, cupcakes & things you wouldn't ever want. Slightly shocking was the fact that we firstly found nazi action man type dolls (the stall holder had a hitler at home you know!) and then a whole stall of nazi memorabilia. Strangely interesting but a bit worrying too. I was more worried by the dolls if I'm honest - as they're new and apparently there's a market for them.
To my friends in the North - I will be back soon - if only to say hi to Master Whip!