Prosecco on the Quayside

On the Quayside we stopped off for a quick drink at a place I think is called Signori – by this stage my feet were hurting and I needed a drink – a prosecco bar attached to an Italian restaurant. It wasn’t quite what I hoped – the decor was fancy but it felt slightly like a place that hadn’t established its identity yet – but as it was a match day and the town was heaving I was just relieved to find somewhere we could get a seat…


Ouseburn Farm

While we were in the neighbourhood, S and I decide to pop into Ouseburn Farm, a cute little urban farm near the Cluny. It’s free to enter – though they encourage donations – and boasts an array of animals small and large including very friendly sheep who kept standing on the fence to greet us, and some very cute piglets. It’s obviously designed to be family friendly – the kids who were there seemed to love it – and I would definitely go again.

Lunch at Kiln

So my friend S and I went to Ouseburn today. It was a gorgeous day so perfect for a walk along the Quayside and pottering about, and as is becoming a pattern with our outings, lunch stretched into drinks. We did manage some culture – a wander round the Biscuit Factory and a coffee – but the highlight of the day was a trip to Kiln.

It’s a lovely little New York style cafe that does a great line in vegetarian food and cocktails. You can even buy some cups and plates made in the attached pottery, should you wish. I’ll definitely be going back!

A Night at the Ballet

An unusual treat for me last night, as a friend had got us tickets to Northern Ballet’s production of The Three Muskateers at the Theatre Royal.

It was my first time back in this theatre for a good 20 odd years and it remains as opulent as ever. I’m no ballet expert so I struggled a little sometimes to follow the story (maybe there should be special nights with plot surtitles, the way they translate opera, for newbies like me), but the dancers were graceful and fluid, the set and costumes luscious and it was impossible not to be swept up in the magic. As a bonus we even got to hang out with some of the dancers afterwards – my friend knew one of them – though I nobly resisted trying to bond with them over my own Barre experiences. I figure they might have done a little more work on that front than me…

Future Bodies at Northern Stage

Why, yes, apparently I live here, now, because I was back at Northern Stage last night to see a show called Future Bodies, which was a fascinating look at the potential impact of technology on the human body.

I didn’t love all of it – it was too long (Dear theatre- and film-makers: everything can be shorter than you think it should be) and the slightly random approach to captioning annoyed my inner subtitler, who favours practicality over style every time when it comes to reading captions. (Subtitles shouldn’t be whack-a-mole: you shouldn’t have to guess where they will next pop up). But it was a bold, thought-provoking piece with a talented and charismatic cast from two companies whose work I haven’t seen before, so I am definitely pleased I saw it. I also got to meet and chat with a couple of female theatre makers beforehand, so all in all a very profitable evening…




Shearer, me and the FA Cup

It’s perhaps not surprising, coming from a one-club town like Newcastle, that I used to be a big football fan. My mum actually used to live up the road from St James’ Park, so I was often (quite literally) swept up in match day excitement, as crowds surged down the street towards the stadium. I gave up following the club a few years back, after a few morally questionable hiring decisions soured my affection, but they will always have a place in my heart.

A few years ago, for my mum’s birthday, we had a meal at St James’, which included in the price a tour of the club and grounds. I was at first not bothered by the prospect – I was there just to have lunch with my mum and her friends – but I decided since I would likely never get the chance again, I might as well. I’m glad I did. It was a fascinating experience seeing the grounds up close, and the facilities, and though they cheated slightly by having Shearer’s jersey in a changing room he’d likely never set foot in (they were modernised after his time), none of us complained, since we were all pretty thrilled to get a photo like this:


My FA Cup story is a similar tale of adopted apathy giving way to actual excitement. I used to work at the BBC, and one day discovered they were letting people have their pics taken with the FA Cup in return for a donation to whichever charity they were supporting at the time (I assume maybe Sport Aid? Or Red Nose Day?). My colleagues and I all played it too cool for school (“Nah, why would any of us want that?”), only for nearly every one of us to just ‘happen’ to stroll by it on our coffee breaks and after all it’d be a shame not to and it’s for a good cause…


A week at Northern Stage

It’s been a busy week of theatre for me. I’ve seen three shows, all a Northern Stage – it’s definitely becoming my local. The first up was The Lovely Bones, a visually stunning adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel. I liked it a lot, though it didn’t quite effect me as much as the book, and it was a little overlong – in my experience anything longer than 90 minutes without an interval makes the audience get twitchy, and it would have benefited from a bit of a trim.

The same applied to The Mountaintop – another compelling production grounded by strong performances (Rochelle Rose in particular blew me away), but that would have been stronger with a tighter edit.

Last night was a very different kettle of fish – and, at an hour long, certainly didn’t overstay its welcome. The Elvis Dead wasn’t the kind of thing I normally go see – to be honest, I only suggested it as my friends L & D are fans of The Evil Dead. It’s a musical romp through the movie, told via Elvis songs, and it actually works incredibly well: we were all in stitches throughout, and Rob Kemp is a performer of real charisma.

All three productions are touring, so worth seeing if they end up in your neighbourhood…