The History & Culture Of WHQ

When we were kids, we didn’t much fancy what other people aimed for. So we just shot our arrow up in the air & then just drew a target around where it landed… This is the true story of how WHQ became the city’s top Underground Club.

 

 

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1. What we’re gonna do right here is go back…

Underground #1 World Headquarters is the Underground #1 & that’s not a new thing. Our story in Newcastle spans across four separate decades & we have been at the forefront of the city’s underground scene for…

2. Either we will find a way, or we will make one

Let’s set the scene… In the 80s Newcastle was a very different kind of place to what it is today. We were young kids, already mad on record collecting, having been raised on a diet of…

3. Fynd & the Handyside Arcade

The Arcade hustle   Here’s a cool little vid of the Handyside Arcade, from the 60’s. However, we didn’t rock up there until the 80’s.. From around 1981 we worked in the beautiful…

4. The Delby & The Senate Bar

The Delby As has always been the case, in 1980s Newcastle, crap mainstream venues did really well & dominated the night life. We wouldn’t have got in them even of we had wanted to, so we went places…

5. Amsterdam – Home from Home

Dam Dam & more Dam From the very first time we ever went to Holland, we loved it. From that point on all our wages went funding trips to Amsterdam, where we just felt more at home.

6. The Trent House in the 80s

Life in a tube In 1984, over thirty three years ago, we started working in this little bar next to the football ground, collecting glasses, mainly because we were just bored & liked the variety of tunes on…

7. Holding The Line

Against racism So in the early days of our journey through Newcastle’s nightlife, threats & intimidation were a constant & we faced them as a team. One evening way back then, after a ruck in the…

8. The backdrop to the 80s Underground Party Scene

Looking at the reasons behind the evolution of the 80s underground party scene in the city...

9. The Underground Party Scene in the 80s

The Scene is Set… The combined recipe of the violent doormen & the racist cops, seasoned with the bitterness, that anyone with even half a brain felt towards Frau Thatcher’s government of the time, alienated a great many ordinary people.

10. Trent House Beach Party 1986

The Beach Hustle Probably the greatest underground party ever to come out of this City & certainly the peak of our DIY party activity was the 1986 Trent House Beach Party. (Editor’s note: The…

11. Rockshots & the Club Scene in the 80s

Intro In the early 1980’s a Club called Scamps on Waterloo Street, was bought out & renamed as Rockshots. This Club then went forward to become the city’s main & best ever Gay Nightclub.

12. Determination Inc

Let’s do this So began our life in Clubs & we called our Club promotions company Determination Inc. We were young, hungry & certain we could change Newcastle’s night life for the better. After all our Trent…

13. Walls & walls of Club Culture

In the front lobby of WHQ, up above your head you can see examples of our Club posters stretching back over 4 decades...

14. Ibiza 1989

The island of dreams Nationwide (apparently except Scotland, see tile 15), 1989 was known as the Summer of Love & the Easter before, we hit Ibiza. The influence of English Clubs…

15. Bigbird – Edinburgh 1989 & the Sister Sledge Moment

Super Cocky In 1989, things were going well, so we got cocky & thought we knew everything. However, we didn’t really know what we were doing & were therefore perfectly poised, to bite off a bit more than…

16. Club Afrika opens 1989

Somewhere new to play Club Afrika opened in the Autumn of 1989. The first record played here was played by us & it was Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’. We…

17. The Trent House Takes Off

Happy Days With the lease bought out the Trent was effectively ours now & properly established. We threw our whole lives into it & became totally & completely obsessed with that little Bar… It…

18. Citizens of the Planet

Lonely tonight We finally woke to media appreciation though, when the Lonely Planet mob gave us a stand-out write up in around 2003. They wrote… ‘The wall has a simple message: ‘Drink Beer. Be…

19. The Fuck Racism T-Shirt

Rebel Rebel We always made T-shirts for the Trent & people would take them on holiday with them & photo them at crazy landmarks, just for a laugh. About 1990, we made the Fuck Racism shirt.

20. Intermission

No prizes for a ‘Tortle’s heed’ (as we say in Newcastle) & let's face it, that cuppa isn't gonna make itself... So we'll have a little comfort break...

21. The Influence of Great Artists

Mike Franti & Spearhead, Public Enemy - a little insight into where some of our musical & political influences come from & the yarns attached...

22. Maximum Potential & the Scam of the Decade

Stories of some of the live acts we've promoted, including the amazing Nirvana show at the Mayfair in 1991 when we were scammed for thousands of pounds by colons...

23. Rockshots & the Club scene in the 90s

Danny & Jenny Rampling On the back of the House music explosion we decided to branch out a bit & mix things up a touch… We started to bring Djs like Danny Rampling up from the…

24. Classic Record Shops

The Independents Over the years we have spent a load of time in local record shops. Hitsville USA, Trax, Flying, Looney Tunes, Bass Generator, Rpm, Oldhitz, Listen Ear, Volume, Windows & Chill Bill’s little place on…

25. Club Afrika in the 90s

Pitbulls on the Bar After the joys of our enlightening little Scottish jaunt, we were no longer willing to risk our lives for nonsense. This meant that we now fell out with the management at Club Afrika, as…

26. Ear*ga*sm

Vomit vs Blood Fresh out of Afrika, we accepted an invitation, to play records on level 6 of the Students Union on Friday nights. We called the night ‘Ear*ga*sm,’ & we brought our cute multicultural vibe to…

27. The sudden rise & fall of Club Afrika

Afrika dies… Once we binned Afrika, it enjoyed a major, though short lived resurgence, as Shindig, Newcastle’s major House promoters of the last three decades, started out there & had great success. (Editor’s note:…

28. The Comic Deal for World Headquarters

The Hobos Hustle We were now totally convinced, from all our crazy experiences, that with total control of every aspect of a Club, including door security, we could make it work. It was time…

29. The World Headquarters Prepares to open 1993

We initially shut the premises for a few months while we plotted & schemed. Then we reopened it in Summer 1993 under a new name, The World Headquarters. We had…

30. World Headquarters takes off

Galaxy The first tune ever played in World HQ was Galaxy by War… ‘Take me to your crazy space – I’m sick & tired of the rat race’. It’s a…

31. The Telegraph

A fast turnaround In the mid-90s, we took over the Telegraph Bar on Orchard Street. This was a really run down, little dump of a bar, next to the Central Post Office. All the customers were sozzled…

32. The Middlesbrough Arena & Cornerhouse mid 90s

The Arena By the mid 90’s we had WHQ well on it’s feet & we accepted an invitation to play a regular Friday night at Middlesbrough’s Arena Nightclub. This was a massive place & a nice counterpoint to the…

33. Ice Fm – Mid 90s

Richard Pryor's Niece, Pirates & plenty of hilarity. The madness that was the insane 1990s Newcastle Rebel Radio Station Ice FM...

34. Rotterdam – The Wise old Man & the wind

Rolling with the cops (Gulp..!!) in Holland & the wise advice we got, that turned us from pushy little chimps, into proper, real life contenders...

35. The Unexpected Quest for a new Club

A book in the nick of time In around 1998, to move things forward we decided to write a book. Just a small book, but one that outlined what we did at WHQ &…

36. Could this be the answer?

The Hunt is On This positive stance from City Council officers back then, who having read our little book & met us, totally got what we were about – bought us precious time. Like us, they genuinely…

37. Hustle time

Equestrian blinkers So, we went to see our bank at the time & told them our ideas about moving. But they couldn’t see past their fat cat bonuses & wouldn’t front the money…

38. Grand designs up colon creek

Deep… Struggle is not the word… Up to our eyes in debt, totally sleep deprived & sick with worry, we stumbled through the next year. The weight of all the debt, as the clock…

39. It’s like a jungle, sometimes it makes us wonder…

As their relationship with the Apes soured, the Greedy Developer Crocodiles began circling & they prepared to pounce… The Apes went again to the Jungle Council, to ask them to intervene as a…

40. It’s Like a City Center & it’s 15 years later…

Good Karma So, the City’s new Bus Station was a month late & now in 2017, the new Haymarket Metro has been finished for ages. Thankfully, the City also got to retain & upgrade it’s best ever Club.

41. Back to Nature For the Final Goodbye

The beginning of the end WHQ at Marlborough Crescent was a mad Club. It was so, so little & was the very essence of a good house party. The toilets were tiny & the…

42. World HQ & Curtis Mayfield House open March 2003

Opening night Finally, after all the struggles, we opened WHQ in Curtis Mayfield House on March 11th 2003. (Readers’ voice: – Praise the Lord! I thought we were never gonna get there..!!)…

43. The Design of World Headquarters

One for the ladies Whilst all the old Club shenanigans were going on, we were also taking a long time to plan out how we wanted the new WHQ to look. We put design ideas from all the…

44. The Amazing WHQ Murals

‘Yeah, they are meant to be awe inspiring & they are… People are supposed to stop & wonder, why in the world, would anyone ever even bother to do that..?’…

45. The Records

Tunes to look at We display rare record sleeves behind our bars. This is to remind people that our history as a Club has been vinyl led, but also because 12″ record sleeves are very often great artworks…

46. Publicity

The way we roll We’ve always tried to do good quality publicity to represent what we’re into properly. That’s the whole point of this site. So people can see what we are about &…

47. Rats, Cops & Guns… The Trent Dream Ends in Jan 2009

Hey..!! You fancy getting eaten by rats or shot to death in broad daylight by over eager cops..? Yeah, neither did we...

48. Time at the Bar Please

Exit Strategy We had an amazing amount of time on our hands, once we got rid of the Trent & realised that we probably should have done it 2 years earlier.

49. Intermission

When you were little did you have a Teddy Bear..? Did it have a paw...? Well in that case - you can probably guess the rest...

50. The kind of people & Djs we like & support

Ever wonder who we like, support & are influenced by..? Are you Dj who likes a bit of 'me time..?' It's all here....

51. Vogue Checks us out

Totally out of the blue, in 2014, the most glamorous publication in the World decides it's time to run with WHQ...

52. The chimps that built the nest

Monkey Magic ‘Curtis Mayfield House & World Headquarters Club are the direct result of a motivated, constantly evolving team & it’s many supporters, bonding & working together, totally outside of mainstream culture, to promote art, musical diversity & racial…

53. The Amazing Mr Lynch

Mr Game Around 1990 a young guy called Anthony Lynch, who was a student chimpanzee at Newcastle University had come & started working with us. Anthony shared our obsession with WHQ & he went on to…

54. WHQ 1993 – 2163 The next 150 Years

Endless love At World Headquarters the hustle never sleeps & we have proper game. Over 2012 & 13 we locked ourselves in & began working hard behind the scenes, on mega stressful & super complex, background legal negotiations with Newcastle…

55. Putting something back…

Why Bother…? At WHQ & Curtis Mayfield House we support the Arts. Not as job or anything… We do it because in terms of hustle, we know what we are doing. So we share that hustle,…

56. Playing important shows for free

The Unity Festival, The Lindisfarne Festival, The Tyne Soul Food Yard Party, Weddings etc... Find out where & why WHQ plays music for free...

57. The WHQ Channel 4 documentary has landed…

The film Channel 4 made is now live to view from anywhere in the world, on demand at ALL 4…

58. The arrival of the Soundsystem of Dreams

Here at WHQ we now have one of the finest Soundsystems on the Planet. It is called The Soundsystem of Dreams...

59. World Headquarters in 2017

It’s now been 33 years since we started running multiracial Bars & Clubs in Newcastle. Where did the time go..? It's 24 years since we first opened WHQ & 14 years since we moved to Curtis Mayfield House.

60. World Headquarters Club Announces Massive Autumn Season of Events

Scroll down to the bottom & click for full Season schedule… The coming 2017 Autumn Season at WHQ is one of our biggest ever Our aim over the last four decades as the City’s top Underground Club, has always been…

61. Thank You

Thanks again, for visiting our site & taking the time to get to know us. We hope you found the backstory to the Club to be an entertaining & informative one. Apologies for…