History & Culture

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.

In the words of Paul Weller - 'What you give is what you get...'

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.

A useful & valuable thing - that costs them nothing at all.

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.

The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
The Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead is just one of the many museums TWAM take care of

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.

It takes loads of buildings, tonnes of exhibits, hundreds of staff & a big pot of money, to make all this look so calm & slick.

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...

A letter to Tom from The Discovery Museum

Museums are actually surprisingly cool. They give people, especially the young, a sense of place, time & identity...

Exhibits like 'Dippy the Diplodocus' @ Great North Museum, totally blew the minds of loads of kiddos, from all over the region.

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.

The Tyneside, way, way, back. It's been there for ever & evolved over the years

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.

There's Vicolo, The Bar/Cafe, The Tyneside Coffee Rooms & event catering too & they all have to work successfully.

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.

The Tyneside way back...

It's such a great & iconic Newcastle venue. So many people love it & everyone wants to see them survive & do well.


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')

NE1 logo
NE1 Quayside Seaside is such a cool initiative for the city in Summertime..!

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…

NE1 magazine from October 2015
NE1 Restaurant Week has been a game changing success for the city.

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.

Dawnie, Sunshine, Martin, Tommy & Buster on Doctorate day @ Newcastle University.

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 University in the warm sunshine.

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.

Nowt wrong with rich white people watching ballet - Nowt wrong with Reggae Soundsystems either.

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.

Art installation on the fourth floor
Globe City on our 4th 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…

1. A view of our Pressure Exhibition 2. Yes, it is someone's hand, with a sea creature growing out the back of it, as they appear to pick their bumhole... But, that's art..!

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.

1. Super spooky glow in the dark, Goblin-type thing... 2. Nice & big & colourful...

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.

1. Tres Matrix... 2. Little Guy & dead Rat thing...

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…

If it doesn't make you think, it probably isn't art...

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

Really cool shots from the gallery...

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.

Are you thinking yet..?!

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..?

Illustration of a small child pondering next to an otter
A little guy in his onesie, with some kinda otter dude...

Supporting the Arts is an important thing. You don’t have to give money. You can give time.

Painting with a pale background and a woman's face emerging through orange leaves
These pictures were really big...

If you get involved with artistic stuff on any level it’s a good thing to do.

Green soldiers on a faded Union Jack flag background
A little Gilbert & George number...

We reckon it makes you live longer & you are better able to connect with other people.

Film projected onto the walls
A mad movie installation...

Of course, we could be mistaken about that…

A film about climate change being projected onto the walls
A climate change movie exhibit...

But we don’t think we are & even if we were, we don’t really care. We’ll go with our instincts.

A sculpture with two torpedo-like shapes
From an exhibition called 'Long Distance.'

That’s what we’ve always done at WHQ.

Lit up sculptures of heads on a shelf on the wall and a sculpture of legs standing on the floor
This was called 'Overshoot & Collapse...'

Just do what feels right & totally ignore & all negativity. It’s our thing, so we just roll…

A face emerging from a dark floral background
We really liked this one, it was kinda fabric based & quite spooky...

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

A cardboard box with the label 'The way it has always been done'; text reading 'No need to think outside the box, simply realise there is no box.'
Art - It's not about open wallets... It's about open minds & a commitment of time.

Somewhat surprisingly...

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..!)

Tom getting lost in music at halloween
Apparently, we can multi-task... x

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