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 facilities so unbelievably limited that you knew for sure, that the only reasons the people came, were purely & simply for the music & that warm, friendly, World Headquarters vibe.
It was just like some mad person’s little house & people genuinely loved it to bits.
The Sound system would overheat all the time & we would be flapping 12′ record sleeves, like mad people, trying to fly, as we fought to & hold it’s temperature down.
We’d cool it all back down again & just as the bass dropped back in the crowd would go bananas, as the floor would jump & spring & bounce, as another big tune went off..!!
Why it worked
Look here at the view from the DJ box at just how tiny & ‘rustic’ it was, just like a totally nuts, little front room..!
One of the best things about it was that it was a great Club to meet new people.
It was so small that you simply couldn’t avoid brushing past every single person in there at some point in the night.
That’s why we always kept the door so tight, as even if only one single radge had got in there (which they never did) everyone would have known about it & they would have affected the vibe.
Hiding wasn’t an option, absolutely everyone was at the party.
Sometimes, in the Summertime we would finish playing records there & realise that every single bit of clothing we were wearing was totally soaking…
That place was humidity central, like some kinda magical musical Rainforest.
Why it still works
Same as the Club is today – Same principles, same door policy, same party – just in WHQ @ Curtis Mayfield House in 2017, we now have a way superior, modern, air conditioned fully accessible venue & one of the dopest Sound Systems on the Planet…
That’s real growth & progress for you right there kids.
Looking back on it all now, the penny kinda drops a bit with the old place & we realise…
No way would the authorities licence a venue as ramshackle as that, in these modern, risk assessment filled days. It simply couldn’t ever happen again.
the Old Club Must be destroyed
A coupla pages ago, back when we sold it to the Crocodiles, we’d insisted on inserting a clause in the sale document, making them promise to knock it down.
They were only ever buying it to knock down, but we had to be certain…
We knew that developments sometimes go wrong & the landscape can change for builders at any time…
We couldn’t face the idea of maybe being a few years down the line, having moved ourselves, that it could still be standing.
What if we’d had to watch from across town, as fools might buy it & move in try to run a Club there again..? Unthinkable.
So we went belt & braces on that aspect & totally over specced the wording of the sale document, so it absolutely had to be flattened.
That level of paranoia might sound a bit mad… We get that.
But we loved that little Club so much! A whole generation of us…
We all did & giving it the Paul Weller & the Jam treatment, was far better than letting it just roll on & morph into one of those many, many, ten a penny Newcastle places, that’s had a thousand different owners, a million different names & thus represents nothing whatsoever to anyone…
Culturally bereft, simply messing with your fond memories of an amazing place you used to go.
Whether you used to come to the old Club, or you are too young to remember it & only know the fab thing it’s grown into today in Curtis Mayfield House. Never forget – Your memories are our memories, we are in this together & we will never sell you out.
We had a truly magical 10 years down there from 1993 to 2003.
It had been an absolutely fantastic home & power base, for all that World Headquarters stands for & has built & evolved into in Newcastle today.
On the final night, we went to the woods & got a load of trees & bushes off the forestry commission.
We decorated the whole club like a woodland & partied it back into the Earth. A fitting end to a great venue.
It was demolished within days…
It was a very, very special place where we learned a lot. We still regularly, dream, really vividly, many times when we sleep at night, that we are back there again.
In the Old Club, just as it was & it’s always a warm, amazing & fantastic, dreamy feeling…
One that honestly, does feel like flying.
The last record played on the final night at the original WHQ site on Marborough Crescent, was the Rare Groove classic & WHQ anthem ‘Bra’ by Cymande, with the somewhat topical line in it ‘But it’s alright, ‘cos we can still go on…’