Are we just pleasuring ourselves..?
Spread the joy
At Curtis Mayfield House & WHQ we proactively support Arts, Culture & the Toon. We have game & hustle to spare, so when invited, are happy to share them with other local organisations, as part of our desire to see Newcastle shine.
Game & hustle, are tools that most other bods are not as familiar with as we are on a daily basis. Being so independent & motivated, our passion & experience, can add genuine value & offer a wide variety of places a fresh perspective.
So we get asked to be involved in all kinds of positive projects you might not expect. Many of them we have to decline, as we're usually so busy, booking mad shows & making people dance.
We always make time to do what we can though & at the same time, we pick up experience & new skills from other places, to bring back to the Club.
Further below, are some of the local arts & other organisations that we give our time to, (hopefully) adding value to them in the process.
Not much gets past us, we're pretty direct, calling things as we see them & we give our time at no cost to whichever organisation it may be. We also don’t take any expenses, or use any staff discount schemes they may operate.
That’s how we roll, so our positive input always comes with cast iron guarantee of independence & integrity.
WHQ & Regional Museums
For years we Chaired & helped establish Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Audit Committee. It looks after the governance, finance & risk management for all our regions public museums - Laing Art Gallery, Discovery Museum & Great North Museum & many more.
All sounds a wee bit boring to you..?
Yup, that's because it's complex, so at times it can be. But it's important though.
Public money that funds museums comes via the taxes we all pay, so needs careful accounting & there's way more work goes into running a big public organisation like TWAM than we ever imagined.
Iain, Jackie & the Team from TWAM worked miracles & the addition of WHQ's totally different business culture & outlook, added new perspectives & meant we all found hooking up & working together really positive & worthwhile.
In 2015, due to our commitments with the Unity Festival & the Club’s rocketing popularity, we stepped down & they sent us this lovely thank you letter...
Museums are actually surprisingly cool. They give people, especially the young, a sense of place, time & identity...
The same sense of place, time & identity, that we hope hanging out @ WHQ Club will give your life, when you are older & look back on all the fun nights we spent together.
WHQ & Independent Cinema
The Tyneside Cinema is a real little gem.
A while back they launched an independent Trading Company, separate from the Cinema's Charity.
The Trading Co. runs their bars & cafes & pays all it's profits directly back to the Cinema, to help support it.
They reached out & asked us to Chair the Trading Co. Board for them, which we did for 5 years until early 2019.
Seems to always be hard for charities to get their noggins around business, they're two completely different worlds.
We did our very best to help them, meeting regularly, listening lots & then offering positive input on all aspects of establishing the new businesses, to help them get up & running.
It's such a great & iconic Newcastle venue. So many people love it & everyone wants to see them survive & do well.
WHQ & NE1
We've been on the Board of NE1 Business Improvement District Company since it's inception, well over a decade ago.
Much of what we do for NE1 revolves around working with Ben, their crack Marketing dude & his team, in the production of the NE1 Magazine.
We mentioned our involvement with our chums there, way back in the bit where we’d just nearly lost everything & almost got thrown out of the Old Club.
(See - 'It's a City Centre & it's 19 years later')
If you missed that, as you were not paying proper attention, then you have been very naughty.
Now you'll have to go & re-read it, then go & stand & face the wall...
Like the cheeky little bad that you are.
If you continue to be a little cheeky bad & don’t pay proper attention to the story, then we shall have to smack your patties, with a stick…
WHQ & Newcastle University
Newcastle University are the biggest & most prestigious, educational institution in the city & are great chums of WHQ.
During the 'Freedom City' celebrations in 2017 they acknowledged the lifetime work of WHQ Club, in promoting anti-racism & multiculturalism to young people, by giving Tommy an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law.
There's a little section on that, earlier in the yarn titled 'Dr Who..?' & some cool footage of his mad acceptance speech.
Not long after that, they invited him to sit on the University Council, which is the body that oversees ethics & all other aspects of the Uni's extensive operations. He accepted & is now a Uni Council member & also represents them on the University's Health & Safety Committee.
Newcastle Culture Compact
In 2020 we were invited to contribute the newly formed, Newcastle Culture Compact, which is an advocacy & lobbying group, set up to position culture at the top of the agenda for the city going forward. We accepted, joined the Compact & initially established & coordinated their Accessibility & Diversity Working Group.
It's important that the arts sector serves everyone, especially the publicly funded bits. In our opinion, for too long arts & culture funding has been accessed by & available mainly to, white, middle class institutions, run by & for, mainly white middle class people.
Well, people like us pay taxes too & we reckon all diverse communities & classes deserve to have their cultures & contribution to this society recognised & celebrated.
So we remain on the Compact, contributing positively in everyway we can. 100% committed to challenging & changing the 'old order' & moving it's established culture forward, so it does a better job of embracing & serving everyone in future.
Musings on the value of Art...
Now let’s take a look at an Art Gallery we worked with for years in Curtis Mayfield House & we’ll use snaps of their exhibitions to break up a little, insightful ramble…
WHQ & Globe City Art Gallery
Before Mayfield Studios, Bridge & Tunnel & Inspired Support came to join us, for many years we provided a cool home in CM House for our chums, Globe City Art Gallery, on our 4th, 3rd & at times 5th floor.
From Spring 2003 until Spring 2010 on our upper floors, Globe City was open 11.30am – 5pm Wednesday to Saturday. It was in a massive space, so as an Art Gallery, it really worked well.
Here cutting edge visuals were the order of every day. We happily provided gallery space for Globe & they were able to successfully establish, fund, develop & run their own show here because of that.
All the work displayed was fab, odd bits were even near the knuckle…
With a property so large, it was important to us that the whole building worked towards our original vision, representing not just music, but all kinds of mad & original artistic ideas.
During the time of our 7 year hook up with Globe City, Rashida (Globe Queen) & her mad chums certainly helped us to achieve that.
Exhibitions changed regularly & the standard of them was always kept really high. For more information on what the Globe bananas are up to these days, click here to go to their website.
You can also check out a load of past exhibitions there & get a really good feel for what got shown.
Pictured here, are some more far out examples of the genre defying, diverse (& at times insane) art that was displayed in Curtis Mayfield House, during Globe City’s time hooking up with us.
Art in Bars & Clubs
The whole Art / Bar / Cafe thing has been around in Newcastle on one level or another since way back in the day. Anyone remember Cafe Procope..?
That all seems like a million years ago...
(Editor's voice : Errr -that’s probably ‘cos it was…)
But now Clubs & everywhere else seems to be at it too. New places springing up all connect themselves with art now & it’s great to see. It’s also got a funny side, as everywhere that does it, carries on like they are the first place to have ever thought of the idea.
Funny bunch your artists, they are often tunnel visioners…
But so are we, so it’s not a pot / kettle job. As you can probably deduce from both our Club & website, we take tunnel vision to it’s extreme, so we’re just glad to see all this art, spring up all over the place, in Bars, Clubs, empty shops etc. Irrespective of the credibility of any daft spin.
Anyway, we all know which place established murals in Newcastle as a must have, now don't we..?
(Editor's voice : Errr... What did you only just say about places carrying on like they were first off the mark..?!)
Only saying it because with WHQ, it's true... Ha! x
To add some context...
We first got into the whole mural caper in the early 80’s, in Amsterdam. Murals were everywhere in the Dam back then & we just 'sampled' the idea from the Dutch.
When we worked with the amazing Arena Club & the Cornerhouse Bar in Middlesbrough in the mid 90s, they were doing all kinds of other art in them too.
We have art all over our Club & are constantly adding more murals every year. They look fab & there's a big section on them, elsewhere in this extensive yarn.
Time we break this 'Art' thing down...
Shall we scroll down a few more pictures from Globe Gallery & chat a little more..?
Supporting the Arts is an important thing. You don’t have to give money. You can give time.
If you get involved with artistic stuff on any level it’s a good thing to do.
We reckon it makes you live longer & you are better able to connect with other people.
Of course, we could be mistaken about that…
But we don’t think we are & even if we were, we don’t really care. We’ll go with our instincts.
That’s what we’ve always done at WHQ.
Just do what feels right & totally ignore & all negativity. It’s our thing, so we just roll…
For us, working to promote the Arts, always for free, in partnership with other motivated folk, is a good & worthwhile thing.
We're trying to make this city & the world a better, more interesting place. Whether it’s one meeting, one sculpture, one painting, one performance, or just one record - at a time… x
So it appears that we don’t just spin tunes, sip Red Stripe, dance about all night, then head home...
To jack off over our record collection all the next day.
(Reader's voice - You sure about that..? I really am surprised..!)