History & Culture

The unexpected quest for a new Club

A book - in the nick of time

So it was, that in around Spring 1999 to move things forward we decided to write a book. Just a small book, but one that outlined what we did at World Headquarters & what we felt we represented to the City.

Was convinced we'd banged them all out, so was overjoyed to randomly turn up the sole remaining one of these, when having a post-lockdown office sort out.

It took ages wording it all & we included scans of all our dope flyers. We made about 20 of them in total, bound them all up real nice & banged it out. We even kissed every single one, as we popped them into their envelopes.

We believed in ourselves, had total game & were 100% hustling to reach the next level. As destiny would have it, we'd done that just in the nick of time…

It made us smile & reminded us that game & hustle, are what open the doors to the places you wanna go.

It went out to everyone we thought might be relevant at the Council, the Regional Authourity, the UK Culture Secretary & we even sent one to the Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair. 

The idea was mainly 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.

'Float it you say..? My oh my, have these boys have got some quality shapes..!'

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 original Marlborough Crescent Club currently sat on, to become part of the City’s major transport system expansion. We were 100% mortified.

Le pantalon papa.

Extinction loomed over us & we suddenly realised, that we could easily be about to lose everything we had worked so hard all those years to establish. It was a proper shocker & 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, Brian Ham & Paul Rubenstein, who took care of culture at the City Council at the time.

The letter from the Council we received in response to the book.

We quickly realised, that they were well switched on & were not about to compulsory purchase WHQ, or force us out of business.

Brian Ham - a real visionary cat & true friend of our inclusive WHQ culture. We couldn't nab a photo of Paul, but we will dig one out & get him up here too.

Instead they worked with us, to discuss options for alternative places we could maybe move to. They both got exactly what World HQ meant to Newcastle & wanted to open doors, to help us relocate & expand. They were up for our new ideas & appreciated what the Club was bringing to the city.

Sign reading 'The Human Race available in a wide variety of colours & styles'
Cool sign on the landing or Club stairs - the Council got what we were about.

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.

Exterior of Dance City building
Mmm... Don't fancy yours much - could well be hip, but deffo seems a bit of a square.

The idea was also floated of us maybe occupying the building which was then the Gala Bingo Hall & is now the O2 Academy.

Exterior of O2 Academy, Newcastle
Don't fancy yours much either.

We Don’t Take Them

That would have meant us branching out to host big live stuff, which though we've evolved to do now in 2020/1, we weren't yet ready to do back then. So neither option was quite right for us, as they could only have been achieved by compromising WHQ's independence & would have taken too long to become a reality.

We weren’t up for getting instantly massive, diversifying our groove too quickly & possibly losing our precious Club vibe.

Too much, too soon, was way too risky.

That’s never been the WHQ way. We evolve slowly, so we can always retain full control & just wanted to play our records, protect our existing vibe, expand on it, keep moving forward & get a new Club.

The (hungry, but we'll come to that...) developers who wanted our Marlborough Crescent building, now started lengthy negotiations to buy it off us.

We didn’t kid ourselves for a minute though & knew they only did so, because the Council had made them, by refusing to issue a compulsory purchase order to squash WHQ & simply take us out.

Errr... Not today thank you.

So without that crucial support, from Brian & Paul, two of the most visionary Council Officers we’ve ever met, it would have been curtains for WHQ for sure.


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