- Newcastle upon Tyne
- 2006-01-23: We went back to Newcastle Upon Tyne at the weekend to pick up my free participant's picture from the Spencer Tunick event last summer. The exhibition's on at the Baltic till the 26 March 2006. This isn't my free picture, it's a snap of me standing in front of one of the exhibits. I'm only in the shot once, so you can put away your magnifying glass.
- If you buy one of these notebooks, you have a product with a photograph of my penis on it. How bloody weird is that? Maybe if I'm vague and mysterious enough in conversation I can have people thinking I'm a dildo model.
- The press has written about the exhibition The Guardian, The Sun, Sunderland Echo, Saga magazine.
- Newcastle is a really fantastic city. We were there for two nights wandering around. We never felt unsafe, that's the first thing. It's an incredibly friendly party place, and it's not just for young people, those out on the town were of all ages. We came away with a very positive view on life.
- I'm theorising here, but, it's not that big a city. I'm wondering whether it got a great historical sense of solidarity because everyone will have depended on Tyne-based industries. In Scarborough you get glimpses of the sea between shops as you walk around, but in Newcastle it's the football stadium. You can see it from all over, and on Saturday we could hear the roar of the crowd from outside the Sage, across the river in Gateshead. That sound meant we felt involved, we knew the city was playing football today, and we knew how the game was going. I'm no follower of football, but that was an incredible feeling. The photograph shows the view from the Sage. The stadium is just to the right of the church steeple on the horizon, the horizontal strip of white light.
- Architecturally, it's breathtaking. The way the old and the new mix .. I've never seen any city do it better. Almost everywhere you can just spin around and get completely inspired, I kept thinking of Fritz Lang's Metropolis:
- The views from the Tyne Bridge are quite something, very continental I thought:
- The Sage is very special, it reminded us of Corbusier's Villa Roche in Paris in that it's completely satisfying whichever way you view it.
- The council seems to have paid out on some sculpture
- .. this time a David Wynne
- Is this Georgian? Probably. Is it sandstone? No idea, but if I ask someone will pop up and answer. I think it's Grey Street. It's blurred. That's because I was about to be run over by a bus. The architecture's very impressive when it's in all directions. Weird, it must not have been bombed in the war, yet Newcastle, being a big industrial city with lots of shipyards and docks, would surely have been a worthwhile target.
- Bob Trollops is a very much recommended (by us) vegetarian pub (with Ruddles on draught) on the Quayside, and is in a 17th century timber framed building.
- Just for the record, we stayed in the Holiday Inn Express, Waterloo Square which was very nice indeed. Normally we'd look for something a little more individual, but the service here was incredibly friendly and fast .. booking in was "I have a reservation", "Thank you sir what name is it?" "Allsopp, John Allsopp", "OK, would you sign here please, and here's your keycard". "Is that it?" "Unless there's anything else I can help you with". We asked for a quiet room and got one. Breakfast was self serve and great, we even sat in the lounge on Saturday night when we got back and relaxed on the sofas and the bar lady explained new fangled young people's drinks to us. Parking's a faff tho, it's basically elsewhere at additional cost, but I think they're building a new car park.
- What more can I say, we feel like we've had a week's holiday. Must do some work now. (Tunick: next - previous)
By John Allsopp
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