It’s Different for Girls – Live Theatre

Back at Live yesterday, as this is a culture heavy week for me. I had really high hopes for the play – an all-woman production – but it ended up being pretty frustrating on a number of levels (see my review here). That said, I’ve had a pretty good run at Live so the occasional disappointment is to be expected, I suppose… and it’s always worth a visit. I did get to see the Christmas lights in town, though…

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New Art Social

Last night was my first trip to Newcastle literary salon, New Art Social, at Ernest in Ouseburn. A low key, friendly night (£3.50 a ticket if you aren’t reading) in the back room of the super-chilled Ernest (though there was a loud party in the front bar, which meant some of the readers were competing with booze-fuelled revelling), it was a really interesting night. I was there to support a friend who was reading a short story she just had published in the magazine Lungs, but the standard throughout was pretty high and I was very taken with some of the work, a mix of novel extracts, short stories and poems.

Everyone was very chatty and nice although, swathed in leopard-print and shiny boots (let’s face it, just my standard Monday outfit), and guzzling prosecco while everyone else seemed to have gone low-key dark knitwear and pints, I did feel slightly like I’d gate-crashed from Ab Fab and turned up at the wrong event…

Under Milk Wood at Northern Stage

Back to Northern Stage! This time for a production of Under Milk Wood (and a sneaky portion of chips and garlic bread beforehand). I didn’t love the show as much as some critics seemed to – the video projection seemed gimmicky to me, and

reminded me of those ‘arty’ videos you used to get back in the 80s when bands couldn’t make it to Top of the Pops and video was so new that we would be excited about anything, even if it was just a close up of a boiling kettle – but the performances were a thing of loveliness.

Fenwick’s Christmas Window

Ask any Geordie what Christmas means to them, and one phrase is likely to reoccur: Fenwick’s window. The annual unveiling of this festive decor is a huge deal in the city, and it meant so much to me when I was away that my friends would be dispatched to take photos. Each year has a theme – though none has ever, for my mind, matched its much-vilified Santa goes to Mars, from my childhood, which everyone hated, but appealed to mini-Geek me.

This year’s was uncontroversial – the Snowman – and is a delight. (My photos are slightly shonky, as I was dodging crowds and racing to the theatre). Best bit though is a marketing genius at the Greggs opposite realising if they reversed their sign they are reflected in the window for a nice bit of free advertising…

Cocktails and Cote Brasserie

After a week of being felled by the lurgy I wasn’t much in the mood to go out, but since my two oldest friends and I had had dinner in the diary for months (and it was my friend C’s birthday), I felt I couldn’t cancel, so Saturday saw me and my new shiny boots hitting the town.

First up was cocktails at Motel One, the hotel I stayed in when I first moved, then we went to dinner at Cote Brasserie. Situated in the old Barclays, looking into Central Arcade, this is a nicely executed branch of the chain and gets extra points for having a separate Gluten-free menu (for C) and a separate vegetarian menu, so both C and I had far more choices than we are normally faced with. (Which we took full advantage of – I could barely move at the end of it!)

C stayed at mine afterwards – my first house guest! – and it was very nice to be able to offer someone a spare bed rather than the sofa!