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 & what we felt we represented to the City.
As it turned out, we did that just in the nick of time…
(Editor’s note: Obviously this wasn’t it, but this image nails it’s vibe smack on the money)
The idea was to float it to the Council, to see if they could be persuaded to sell us some of the land at the back of the Club, to expand the building.
We got a shock when they got back to us with the news, that not only could we not have any more land, but they needed the land our Club currently sat on, to become part of the City’s major transport system expansion.
We were 100% mortified.
Extinction loomed over us, we could lose the lot & it was not at all cool…
The book brings options
On the back of having read the book, we were invited to a load of meetings, with a couple of inspired guys (Mr Brian Ham & Mr Paul Rubenstein) from the City Council & quickly realised, that they were well switched on & were not about to compulsory purchase us, or force us out of business.
Instead they worked with us, to discuss alternative places we could move to.
They knew what World HQ meant to Newcastle & wanted to open doors, to help us relocate & expand on all the new ideas they could see the Club was bringing to the city.
A great many different ideas were kicked around, including housing the Club under what is now the new Dance City building (which at that time hadn’t been built yet)
& also the idea of us maybe occupying the building which was then the Gala Bingo Hall (& is now the O2 Academy).
We don’t take them
That would have meant us branching out though, to host big, live stuff & neither option was right for us, as they could only have been achieved by compromising our independence & would have taken too long to realise.
We weren’t up for any ‘Billy big bollocks’ business lark…
That’s never been the WHQ way.
We just wanted to play our records, retain our culture, keep moving forward & get a new Club.
The developers who wanted our building started lengthy negotiations to buy it off us.
We didn’t kid ourselves & knew that they only did so, because the Council had made them, by refusing to issue a compulsory purchase order.
Without that support, from two of the most visionary Council Officers we’ve ever met, it would have been curtains for WHQ for sure.