34. Rotterdam – The Wise old Man & the wind

The wind makes time fly…

In all aspects of what we have done since day one, there has always been a clear, unifying, multiracial message.

(Reader’s voice:

Does that include when you were sat on that chair – with a big, fat, dishpan heed..?)

Having started out (at the start of this story, actually) as total outsiders, with World HQ we now represented an ever growing section of society, who shared our ideals around music, entertainment & inclusivity.

Many people who wouldn’t have even dreamed of going out in Newcastle at night time, in the early 90s, had now finally found a place where they really felt safe & at home.

(Editor’s note: Cute baby – what happened..?)

Everyone was friendly, the music wasn’t boring mainstream tosh & it was affordable & consistent. We had started a tiny little subculture…

Developing from within, yet totally outside of the accepted image of Newcastle night life & the people loved us for it.

By 1997, plugging away year after year, we had created a scene where all nationalities really were welcome & diversity was celebrated.

We always want to reflect those principles & provide a strong model as a Club, company & team of people, who do actually care & are willing to stand up for what’s right & to make a difference.

We often wondered if people beyond our extended Club gang even knew we existed or what we did.?

All of a sudden – it started to appear that they did…

The Rotterdam vibe

Representatives of the City Council approached us & invited us to attend a conference in Rotterdam, Holland, on the subject of promoting multiculturalism at mass events, like festivals & such like.

We were flattered & we went along on this trip to represent Newcastle. It wasn’t just us, we went with some other delegates & met some truly inspirational characters on the way.

People like the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ team & other folks from cool organisations we greatly respect today.

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Riding with the Homies

(Reader’s voice: as in Senior Home Office Employees..?)

We also got to travel & hang out with high ranking Police officers on this trip…

(Editor’s note: Gulp..!)

Ha! Nah, it was actually alright & we got along fine…

We had a bit of a grumble at them about that opening night nonsense, just to ensure they knew the score with us…

But they were actually a lot, lot cooler than we had expected & we kind of got the impression that the feeling was mutual.

Funny lot your cops – There’s the two opposing varieties…

Wheat, words & a hard head

This trip was a major eye opener for us. We met some cool people from all over the world out there & top of the cool list was a really old guy from Surinam, called Harald.

We spoke with Harald at length & he got a good feel for us & where we were coming from. He gave us some advice to take away.

He said..

‘Make like the wheat of the field & when the breeze picks up & the wind howls & blows, allow yourself to bend a little – go with it.

Don’t try to stand up straight in those circumstances, or your stem may snap.

The most important thing is to stay standing, so give a little when you have to & you will always be there, standing tall in your field…’

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As he was telling us this he was making like waving gestures, with his hands from side to side & we got the message.

We had always been really hard headed…

If we were to progress to the next level, Harald reckoned we were going to have to learn to go with the flow a little more.

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Our Dear Friend

He’s a wise guy, Harald, we still exchange Xmas cards every year. He must be like a million years old now & he still sways..!

Here is recent Xmas card we got from him, a full 18 years after we first hooked up, all that time ago in Rotterdam…

Meeting dudes like Harald, made us realise that we could maybe do even more to promote this multiracial thing, raise our business game & push the Club further.

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Our other dear friend

Upon returning, we decided WHQ on Marlborough Crescent was no longer big enough to house the ever expanding ideas & inspiration we were feeling.

Once again, it was time for us to step it up a gear…