Archive for Events

Monumental Movies

Tyneside Cinema and Newcastle City are again showing free films, open air, at Grey’s Monument in the run up to christmas.

It’s a big outdoor screen with a bunch of deck chairs on the monument’s south facing (down Grey Street) steps, so if you think it’s gonna rain, bring your own protection. PGs and Us, only. No 15s or 18s of course – it’s in a public place.

If you have a google calendar, feel free to take advantage of my ical connection to get the event times into your own calendar by copying the (ical) link address.

Yore Gala


Here’s a picture – and we know the date it was taken because it helpfully says so in the album whence it was scanned – of a swimming gala held at Tynemouth Pool on the 4th of August 1928. It was probably taken by one of my great aunts or uncles. Maybe Ethel, maybe Lily. or maybe even by their brother Henry my grandfather. We just don’t know.

We’re all goin’ …


On the back of this photo is noted Saltwell Park, Bank Holiday 1956 – when the subject was four months old. From this scrap of information (assuming it’s correct) we discover – with a little help from google (date of aug bank holiday 1956) and a handy website, that it was August 6, 1956. If anything untoward happened on that day at least this kid has an alibi for part of it.

Here’s what the day was like (and I quote):

Notably cold, with severe thunderstorms for some.

The weather pattern was very disturbed. Bank Holiday Monday was a notably poor day – regarded at the time as ‘one of the worst on record’! The day was dominated by a cool northerly airflow (though it’s strength had eased from the previous days). There were some spectacular (& slow-moving) thunderstorms, with large hail and some 4ft (over 1m) of water causing flooding in Tunbridge Wells (Kent). The storm started mid-morning, with heavy rain and the hail started just before midday. At one point, the centre of the town was buried under a foot (~30cm) of hail-ice, with drifts of hailstones up to 4ft (~1m) deep. In other areas, 62mm of rain fell in one hour at Swanage (Dorset) & Arundel (Sussex); 80mm of rain at Faversham (Kent). The midday temperature in central London was just 13degC (c.f. the average day maximum of 22degC). On this measure, it was regarded as the coldest Bank Holiday Monday in the capital since 1880. [ This August was one of the coldest and wettest of the 20th century. ]

But meanwhile, up in the north, maybe the weather wasn’t quite so bad?

It’s also (moderately) interesting that the August Bank Holidays back then were at the beginning of the month rather than, as now, at the end.

Falling Colours

Do you remember photographic paper? I mean the old fashioned light-sensitive monochrome or chromogenic silver-halide coated paper upon which you develop images with various liquid chemicals. I don’t mean what they call photo-paper these days (e.g. for inkjet printers).

Mariah Robertson is at Baltic until the end of October.

Not for her the ten by eight print. She uses industrial sized rolls of the stuff. A meter or so wide and hundreds of meters long. The so-called ‘law’ of supply and demand would suggest that this stuff is now incredibly cheap because nobody’s buying it. Who’s doing chemical photography any more? The truth is the reverse of this (strange how often the laws of economics fail you) because of the ever rising price of silver halides. People are still doing analog, film-based photography, but they’re developing only the negatives and digitally scanning them. Use of enlargers and paper has pretty much gone.

Be that as it may, that it must cost a small (or even moderately substantial) fortune to produce these works, are you thinking of this cost when you look at the results? Clearly I cannot know what’s in your mind but I’d say not. They’re more fascinating than they have any right to be. They look mostly like accidents involving much chemical spillage, but the colours are fabulously glassy (the paper is glossy, not matte or that ‘orrible ‘satin’ finish) and radiate, emanate, in a way which my poor digital photographic record ironically fails to capture.

Mind the Gap


So, it’s still here then. Seven months after the couple of dozen metres or so of riverside path collapsed into the river Tyne, the pile of dis-integrated bankside remains visible on your left as you cross the river by tram from Newcastle to Gateshead over the Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge. There doesn’t appear to be any online information about this either at the Gateshead Council, or Newcastle Council, or the River Tyne Authority (although this last bunch might have little interest in it since it’s so far upstream from the actual port).

Here’s an interesting comment, by one ‘mikeymo’, on the Chronicle’s article:

I was with a friend when walking along the river a couple of weeks ago and noticed the ground had split opened! I even stated to my pal that it could fall into the river!! 2 days later walked along the same path and the council had patched the gap witht tarmac!! I still thought that that there could be internal damage! The council are trying to cover up by blaming vandals when thy actually sent workmen to patch it!!! Thank God I had not been out that night!!

It rather looks as if the collapse was hastened by the ‘patch’, doesn’t it? I wonder how much the repair will cost and indeed – in this economy – if it’s just too difficult to do anything about. Rebuilding a riverbank has got to be quite a tricky and expensive piece of engineering.

Here’s an idea though – they could build a flat mini-bridge to span the gap. I suggest of a thick glass, or at least a transparent polymer. Kids could have a bit of a thrill walking along it and cyclists along the Sculpture Trail might encounter an unexpected surprise. Cats (scaredy or real) – well – they could just mosey nonchalantly up the bank a bit and walk around it. Like it’s what they meant to do all along, like whistling insouciantly as you avoid walking under a ladder.

It might be quite cheap and also a tourist attraction. Just sweep the muddy rubble into the river, by the way – it could do with a bit of a re-dredge.

Arm yourselves


with knowledge.

People can be shot down. Cities can be burned or gassed. Entire ethnic groups can be destroyed. But an idea, when spread far and wide, can set fire and spread without caring who or what is in its way.

Ideas, when supported by enough people, and spoken loud enough, can change the world.

Speak out, violently if need be.

Never stop the spread of ideas.

It may be the only thing we’ll have left.

Which may take us to the close of Brecht’s ‘To Those Born Later’:

“… Oh, we
Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendliness
Could not ourselves be friendly.

But you, when the time comes at last
And man is a helper to man,
Think of us
With forbearance”