Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Silver Slug

The Tyne, the Tyne, the coaly Tyne,
Queen of all the rivers.

That's what we like to think here in the north east. Of course I'm particularly keen on the Wear  because I live in Durham and I love the Tees too because I have friends there. I could go on, I'm hung up on rivers.
Last Saturday I ventured up to Newcastle to the Sage at Gateshead, to attend a session of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival. It was a perfect day, rather like today in fact, we don't get many, we have to make the best of them and I walked through the city to the riverside.
This is my second favourite building in the whole world, after the cathedral. It sits there on the Gateshead bank of the river and has such attitude. It's so up itself you can't help but admire and inside it has concert halls and meeting rooms and cafes and bars and one of the best views, looking out over the river to Newcastle. It was thronging with people at the various goings on, there were people from Durham Photographic Society ( to which I belong, but don't tell anybody, my photographs are obviously not so hot but we go to the pub afterwards which is incentive enough for me ), a trio of women singing like a barbershop quartet, just because they wanted to in front of the cafe on the ground floor and other people just there for fun or presumably as part of the many classes and and happenings which makes the Sage such a wonderuflly vibrant place.
This of course is the famous blinking eye bridge which won many awards when it was built. It's best seen at night when it changes colour every few seconds. I timed my getting there perfectly because it was the time for tilting.
A navy training vessel going underneath. I waved at the all the cadets and they waved back.
The old Baltic flour mill beside the Sage, now an art gallery and such. The best thing about it is the building itself and the cafe of course and the cake and coffee and the lift and the views.

And this of course is the Tyne Bridge. I was born in Newcastle and I'm so stuck on the area I couldn't go and live anywhere else. Some people might say it's sad to be so tied to one area but in order to write about a place you  have to love it fiercely. In fact to write about anything you have to feel so passionately about your subject that you can't not write and that's the point really, through all this. The writing is the thing and everything else follows as long as you are faithful to your loves.
Afterwards I went with friends to La Tasca across the river and had calamari and salad and then chocolate profiteroles and lots of red wine and coffee.  Perfect!!

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