History & Culture

Back to nature for the final goodbye

The Once in a Lifetime Vibe

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.

Obvs all the tickets flew straight out.

It was just like some mad person’s little house & people genuinely loved it to bits. It was the kind of place where your inhibitions just went out the window, almost like because it was so little, there just wasn't room for them to fit in there.

All you had time for was getting down with your chums.

Jill & Andrea giving it ooh la la on the pool table. Last night, early doors.

At times, the Sound system would overheat & we would be flapping 12′ record sleeves, like mad people, trying to fly, as we fought to & hold it’s temperature down.

Used Technics mixers all ten years we were there - pretty much antiques now.

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..!

Interior of the old WHQ Club
Hard to believe that WHQ once looked like this... How small..?!!

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.

Laura & Sinead grafting in a packed out downstairs around 2001/2. Spot the fag..? Seems crazy now, that you could smoke in Clubs back then.

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.

Great view of the cool records behind the upstairs Bar in 1998, they're a WHQ tradition.

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.

WHQ @ Marlborough Crescent 1993-2003 You had to be there the believe it...
Hot hot hot..!

Why WHQ Still Works Today

Same principles, same door policy, same party.

Just in WHQ @ Curtis Mayfield House today in 2020/1, we now have a way superior, modern, air conditioned fully accessible venue & one of the dopest Sound Systems on the Planet.

Hunee blowing everyone away on our WHQ 'Soundsystem of Dreams' @ Curtis Mayfield House in 2019.

That’s real evolution, growth & progress for you right there kids.

Togetherness

Looking back on it all now, the penny kinda drops a bit with the old place & we realise…

That building & Club only held together, because the word 'together' is what it actually held.

Treehouse with the text 'that building Club, only held together... because the word, 'together' was what it actually held...'
Hello, is that building control...?

No way would the authorities ever license a venue as ramshackle as that, in these modern, risk assessment filled days. 

Champ.

It simply couldn’t ever happen again.

Ticket for the final New Year's Eve @ Marlborough Crescent.

The Old Club Must Be Destroyed

A coupla pages ago, back when we sold it to Adam's & the Crocs, we insisted on inserting a clause in the sale document, making them promise to knock it down.

The Muhammad Ali Cafe downstairs in the Old Club was really cool.

They were only ever buying it to knock down, but we had to make absolutely 100% certain that it would be flattened - totally destroyed.

Crocodile half submerged in water
You gotta see this one from all angles.

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.

Does either of us look as though we're ever gonna let that happen..?

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. Never to be a Club again - dust.

Ann Peebles I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down record
Last night vibes.

That level of paranoia might sound a bit mad… We get that. But we loved that little Club so much!

We all did, a whole generation of us & 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...

Hiding away, last night.

Ones that have had a thousand different owners, a million different names & thus represent nothing whatsoever to anyone…

Chopping & changing to chase the dollar, instead of honestly evolving. 100% culturally bereft, simply messing with your fond memories of an amazing place you used to go.

Last night goes off.

Memories Intact

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 always protect them, evolving with care & respect to those shared memories.


Partying on the last night
Last night in the old WHQ

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.

Woodland Bar - pre doors.

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.

The grotto inside old WHQ
Nature's little grotto on the last night at Marlborough Crescent.

It was demolished within days…

Tom as DJ
Anth & Fiona - last night.

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 right back there again.

Tom DJ-ing
Always there.

In the Old Club, just as it was & it’s always a warm, amazing & fantastic, dreamy feeling…

One that honestly, does feel like flying.

Site of the demolished WHQ
The ghostly gap which used to be WHQ & the jumper shop next door, now both flattened.

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.

It's the one with the somewhat topical line in it...

‘But it’s alright, ‘cos we can still go on…’

We hope we dream about it again, tonight x


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