If you’re stuck at home, maybe missing a pint at the pub or getting a bit bored of baking banana bread, you might have noticed a lot of companies and venues have started doing live online versions of pub quizzes – and it’s a dead canny idea! 

The problem with this is that it can sometimes be a bit difficult joining in with one of these quizzes at the same time as your friends and family in other homes. So, I’ve put together 50 pub quiz worthy questions perfect for us Geordies to get involved with! This way, you can either challenge your family at home, or you can have one of your friends host as a quizmaster on a Skype, Zoom or Houseparty video call and have your very own pub quiz at home without leaving the house!

The rules are pretty simple, below are 50 questions about Geordie culture and Newcastle upon Tyne. Each question is multiple choice and gives you 3 options to choose from. Either print off the questions and multiple choice options, or keep note of which answer you choose from A, B or C. The correct answers are at the very bottom of this page – so it’s important that the quiz master doesn’t give these out to anyone and googling answers is not allowed. Little cheaters.

So, call ya mates, get ya snacks and the rosé wine out and let’s gan!

Questions;

1. What year did the Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Westgate Road open?

A. 1867

B. 1898

C. 1910

2. Which is thought to be the oldest pub in Newcastle city centre?

A. City Tavern

B. The Old George Inn

C. The Town Wall

3. Before it closed down in 2008, which street was Woolworths based on in Newcastle City Centre?

A. Clayton Street

B. Grainger Street

C. Pilgrim Street

4. Which popular orange drink was invented by a chemist in Newcastle?

A. Tango

B. IRN-BRU

C. Lucozade

5. What year did Barry Manilow perform at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena (previously Metro Radio Arena) for the first time?

A. 1995

B. 1996

C. 1999

6. How long did it take to build the Tyne Bridge?

A. 10 Years

B. 5 Years

C. 3 Years

7. How many goals did Alan Shearer score playing for Newcastle United?

A. 152

B. 193

C. 206

8. Newcastle Central Station was opened in 1850. Which members of the Royal family opened the station?

A. Prince George and Princess Marina

B. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

C. King George V and Queen Mary

9. Finish the lyrics to this number 1 single by PJ & Duncan, AKA Ant &Dec; “Lets get ready to…”

A. Rhumble

B. Fhumble

C. Thumble

10. In 2006 a French artist placed different Space Invader inspired mosaics all over Newcastle City Centre and Gateshead. What is the name of the artist?

A. Invader

B. Space Raider

C. French Invader

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Space Invader style mosaics are dotted across Newcastle

11. The longest direct flight that leaves Newcastle International Airport lasts around 10 hours 5 minutes and takes passengers 4,849 miles. Which city does it go to?

A. New York

B. Dubai

C. Cancún

12. In January 2019, Greggs the Bakers released a new product that offended TV presenter Piers Morgan (we were all very proud of them for it). Which product was it?

A. Vegan Steak Bake

B. Vegan Sausage Roll

C. Vegetarian Hot Dog

13. How many kilometres does the dene in Jesmond Dene stretch for?

A. 3

B. 7

C. 12

14. What was the name of Jill Halfpenny’s character in Byker Grove?

A. Nicola

B. Annie

C. Chelsea

15. On Dean Street you’ll find a bar named Colonel Porter’s Emporium, but which famous ale did Colonel Porter concoct?

A. Old Crafty Hen

B. Newcastle Brown Ale

C. Hobgoblin

16. The Baltic is an iconic arts centre on the Gateshead quays, but before it became a renowned art gallery, what was it?

A. A Cigarette Factory

B. A Brewery

C. A Flour Mill

17 . Which famous bread comes from Newcastle?

A. Stottie cake

B. Pita

C. Pumpernickel

18. Where in Newcastle is Newcastle Cricket Club based?

A. Heaton Park, Heaton

B. West Farm Avenue, Longbenton

C. Osborne Avenue, Jesmond

19. In Newcastle’s Bigg Market there is a bar called Filthy McNasty’s – but which venue stood there before it was converted?

A. Bar M

B. Balmbras

C. Blu Bambu

20. Which theatre in the city centre has the most seats?

A. The Tyne Theatre and Opera House

B. The Theatre Royal

C. Northern Stage

21. What type of food is The Redhouse on Newcastle’s Quayside famous for?

A. Fish and Chips

B. Pie and Mash

C. Jacket Potatoes

22. Which type of architecture is Newcastle’s Dean Street famous for?

A. Georgian

B. Modern

C. Medieval

23. Geordie lad Sam Fender has shot to fame in the music industry and recently announced a sold out gig at the Utilita Arena. But before he became known for his musical talent he tried his hand at acting. Which British TV series did he appear in the first episode of?

A. Peaky Blinders

B. Vera

C. Call the Midwife

24. For 20 years, Metroland was Europe’s largest indoor amusement park and featured a rollercoaster, a pirates ship and the infamous waltzers. But what year did it close?

A. 2005

B. 2008

C. 2010

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Metroland inside Gateshead’s Metro Centre

25. Which former Newcastle Falcons player kicked the winning drop goal for England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final?

A. Inga Tuigamala

B. Jonny Wilkinson

C. Carl Hayman

26. Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend stands at which point of Hadrian’s Wall?

A. Northernmost

B. Westernmost

C. Easternmost

27. In 2011, a well known North East radio station changed its name to Capital North East, but what did it used to be called?

A. Meteor

B. Star

C. Galaxy

28. What is the name of the girl band that famous Geordie singer Cheryl found fame in?

A. Girls Aloud

B. Sugababes

C. Little Mix

29. The Newcastle Eagles have had home arenas at Metro Radio Arena between 1995-2010, and then Sport Central at Northumbria Uni between 2010-2018, before building their own Eagles Community Arena. Which area of Newcastle is this purpose built facility based in?

A. Elswick

B. Ouseburn

C. West Denton

30. STACK Newcastle has been a really popular spot in Newcastle City Centre since it opened in 2018, and has lots of excellent food vendors to choose from. But what’s the name of the sushi restaurant there?

A. Ghetto Sushi Star

B. Sushi’s Delight

C. Sushi Me Rollin’

31. The Angel of the North was created by which sculptor?

A. Antony Gormley

B. Thomas Heatherwick

C. Sarah Lucas

32. Which famous band that released singles titled ‘Lifted’ and ‘Raincloud’ formed in Newcastle back in 1993?

A. Robson & Jerome

B. Lighthouse Family

C. Liberty X

33. What is the name of the retro sweet shop based on Heaton Road, Heaton, that has been open since 1934?

A. Trevor’s Sweet Shop

B. Smith’s Sweet Shop

C. Clough Sweet Shop

34. If you went to The Mushroom Bar on Grainger Street and ordered a Skittles Cocktail, what would the ingredients be?

A. Vodka, Blue Curacao, Taboo, Orange Juice & Lemonade

B. Vodka, Cherry Sourz, Pepsi Max

C. Absolut Mandarin, Triple Sec & Red Bull

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Skittles cocktails at The Mushroom

35. Central Arcade in Newcastle City Centre is home to which music shop?

A. TY Vinyls

B. JG Windows

C. VW Sounds

36. Before Tesco Extra in Gateshead town centre was built, it used to be a famous car park. But which film did it star in?

A. Get Carter

B. The Italian Job

C. Goldfinger

37. Newcastle’s Town Moor is home to which type of farm animal in the summer months?

A. Cows

B. Sheep

C. Horses

38. What is the nickname for The Millennium Bridge?

A. The Twinkling Eye

B. The Winking Eye

C. The Blinking Eye

39. Fenwicks department store originated in Newcastle in what year?

A. 1882

B. 1903

C. 1921

40. Which famous rock star used to busk on Heaton’s Chillingham Road?

A. David Bowie

B. Jimi Hendrix

C. Bob Dylan

41. Newcastle’s very own dog café opened in 2017, but what is it called?

A. Dog and Scone

B. Dog and Bone

C. Dog and Calzone

42. Which band was the first major rock band to perform live at Newcastle’s St James’ Park?

A. Status Quo

B. Queen

C. The Rolling Stones

43. Between 1941-1948, the statue of Earl Grey on top of Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument stood without a head – why was this?

A. A Construction Worker Accidentally Broke The Statue

B. The Statue Was Struck By Lightning

C. Hot Summer Weather Caused The Statue To Melt

44. Which well known Geordie folk song written in 1862 includes lyrics referring to ‘Scotswood Road’ and ‘Airmstrang’s Factory’?

A. Blaydon Races

B. Swalwell Marathon

C. Benwell Bounding

45. Which year did HMV move from Northumberland Street to Eldon Square?

A. 2010

B. 2014

C. 2017

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A busy Northumberland Street before HMV moved into Eldon Square

46. How many books does the Lit and Phil Library on Westgate Road have in it?

A. More than 90,000

B. More than 170,000

C. More than 200,000

47. Wylam Brewery in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park is now a popular venue for events, food and drinks. But what was the building previously?

A. A Garden Centre

B. A Tearoom

C. A Military Vehicle Museum

48. Famous rock star Sting was born in Wallsend and worked as a teacher in Cramlington before his music career took off. Where did his stage name ‘Sting’ come from?

A. He Was Stung By A Bee On Stage

B. He Worked In A Pub Called The Beehive

C. He Wore A Black And Yellow Jumper

49. Where was the first ever Greggs bakery opened in 1951?

A. Gosforth

B. Byker

C. Forest Hall

50. The Victoria Tunnel in Newcastle was built in the 1800’s, but where does it run to and from?

A. Sandyford to Walker

B. Leazes Park to Dunston Staiths

C. The Town Moor to Ouseburn

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The Victoria Tunnels in Newcastle

Answers;

(divvent show anyone these ‘til the end!)

  1. A – 1867
  2. B – The Old George Inn
  3. A – Clayton Street
  4. C – Lucozade
  5. B – 1996
  6. C – 3 years – construction started in August 1925 and finished in October 1928
  7. C – 206
  8. B – Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
  9. A – Rhumble
  10. A – Invader
  11. C – Cancún, Mexico
  12. B – Vegan Sausage Roll
  13. A – 3 (or just over 3)
  14. A – Nicola
  15. B – Newcastle Brown Ale
  16. C – A Flour Mill
  17. A – Stottie Cake
  18. C – Osborne Avenue, Jesmond
  19. C – Blu Bambu
  20. B – The Theatre Royal
  21. B – Pie and Mash
  22. A – Georgian
  23. B – Vera
  24. B – 2008
  25. B – Jonny Wilkinson
  26. C – Easternmost
  27. C – Galaxy (or Galaxy North East)
  28. A – Girls Aloud
  29. A – Elswick
  30. C – Sushi Me Rollin’
  31. A – Antony Gormley
  32. B – Lighthouse Family
  33. C – Clough Sweet Shop
  34. A – Vodka, blue curacao, taboo, orange juice & lemonade
  35. B – JG Windows
  36. A – Get Carter
  37. A – Cows
  38. C – The Blinking Eye
  39. A – 1882
  40. B – Jimi Hendrix
  41. A – Dog and Scone
  42. C – The Rolling Stones, June 23rd 1982
  43. B – The Statue was Struck by Lightning
  44. A – Blaydon Races
  45. B – 2014
  46. B – More than 170,000
  47. C – A Military Vehicle Museum
  48. C – He Wore A Black And Yellow Jumper
  49. A – Gosforth
  50. C – The Town Moor to Ouseburn

So there we go – I hope you enjoyed the quiz and maybe learned some new facts about the Toon. Please get in touch to let me know how you did!

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Fenwicks in Newcastle back in 1966

Local food vendor Parm-O-Rama have announced they’ll be doing a free live cookalong!

Parm-O-Rama have become renown in Newcastle for offering authentic and delicious parmos! Owner Jonny Hesketh, who originally hails from Middlesbrough, spent months perfecting his parmos and building his parmo wagon to offer the North East the best parmos around, and has been incredibly popular at venues and events like By the River Brew’s HWKRMKT and Wylam Breweries Battle of the Burger.

Jonny is passionate about the Middlesborough born delicacy and wanted to give Newcastle a taste of what an original parmo should taste like. If you’re not familiar with what a parmo is, they’re traditionally made out of chicken covered in breadcrumbs, bechamel sauce and cheese. As you can imagine, they’re not healthiest options, but they sure are yummy!

Jonny has stated on Parm-O-Rama’s Facebook page;

“We’re all living through difficult times at the moment, so we’ve decided to try bring some cheer and joy to everyone. The Parm-O-Rama Cookalong live! Wether you’re at home on your own, with a partner or the family everyone can get involved and make Teessides finest delicacy!”

The cookalong will be held on Instagram Live from Parm-O-Rama’s Instagram page @parmorama at 5pm on Tuesday 7th April.

Although they won’t be giving away their signature bechamel sauce recipe (believe me, it tastes amazing), they have posted a list of essential ingredients for the “Lockdown Parmo” which will be an easy to make from home recipe;

Plain Flour

Butter

Milk

Chicken Breasts

Eggs

Breadcrumbs (or alternative)

Salt & Pepper

Cooking Oil (vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower)

Grated Cheese (Jonny recommends Red Leicester and/ or grated mature cheddar)

To serve, the parmo tastes best with sides such as chips, wedges, coleslaw and salad, as well as some garlic sauce!

So, to give yourself a new cooking challenge and a delicious meal whoever you’re eating with either at home or through a Houseparty call, don’t forget to to follow Parm-O-Rama’s Instagram page and log in on Tuesday at 5pm for a truly unique experience.

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Parm-O-Rama’s traditional parmo

Little Mix are one of today’s best known all female pop groups. Their catchy bops and fun personalities have helped their music career to skyrocket, as well as becoming a household name.

Made up of Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, both hailing from South Shields, as well as Leigh-Anne Pinnock from High Wycombe and Jesy Nelson from Romford. It’s rare that you turn on mainstream radio or music channels without hearing something from the girls, and their popularity only grows stronger.

They’re expected to release a new album soon, and have already released their lead single from it, titled ‘Break Up Song’. Fans, like me, are definitely excited for their new work!

After being in the spotlight for nearly 9 years now, the girls have created a great discography and some amazing moments in pop history. So, let’s take a look at how Little Mix came to be one of the biggest pop bands of our time;

2011

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The girls met while all taking part in The X Factor, but were put together as a group after auditioning as soloists, and went on to be mentored in the series by Tulisa Contostavlos.

The band were originally called Rhythmix, but changed the name to Little Mix as there was a charity called the same name.

The girls won The X Factor in December 2011 and became the first group to ever win the competition!

2012

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Little Mix attended the Brit Awards for the first time as a group. The girls said in an interview with Kiss FM that they were star struck by all the different celebrities there.

They also performed their cover of En Vogue’s single Don’t Let Go live on the National Television Awards that year.

The foursome released their debut album titled DNA a few months later. The album charted in the top 10 in 10 different countries!

The video for the albums lead single, Wings, has now had over 200 million views on YouTube.

2013

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Little Mix released the last single from their first album, How Ya Doin’, featuring hip hop legend Missy Elliott.

They followed this by releasing their second album, which was heavily anticipated by the pop music industry. Salute, featuring it’s lead single, Move, reached the top 10 in the UK, Australia and the US.

Smash Hits interviewed the band and Perrie confessed that they had only had 12 days in the studio to record all of the vocals for the full Salute album.

The girls also performed a medley of their songs for Children in Need Rocks and won their first official award after being nominated for the Ultimate Export award at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman Awards.

2014

In 2014 Little Mix released a charity single, their cover of Word Up by Cameo, for Sport Relief. They also travelled to Liberia to raise awareness for malaria and visited communities there living in slums to highlight why Sport Relief’s fundraising efforts are so important.

They embarked on their second tour, The Salute Tour, across the UK and Ireland. Including a sold out show at London’s 02 Arena, which they have now performed at numerous times since.

It’s also the year that Jesy Nelson’s ‘Jamaican accent’ went viral on YouTube and the world fell in love with her for it – though she later confirmed that it wasn’t actually her Jamaican accent but the video had been edited to make it look like it was!

The girls also performed live at the Summertime Ball for Capital FM, where they have become popular regular performers each year.

2015

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Black Magic was released as the lead single for their third album. The single debuted at number 1 where it stayed for 3 weeks.

Their third album Get Weird was released later that year and featured their single Secret Love Song, which the band have often dedicated to their LGBTQ fan base.

The album has since been certified double platinum in the UK!

2016

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Little Mix received critical acclaim for their debut performance at The Brit Awards, singing their chart topping song Black Magic.

They also went on their third headline tour, doing over 60 dates in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.

After performing the lead single for their fourth album, Shout Out To My Ex, for the first time on The X Factor, the band announced their new album, named Glory Days. The lead single became their fourth UK number 1 in the charts.

Glory Days was also Little Mix’s first UK number 1 album!

2017

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The band won Best British Single at the Brit Awards for Shout Out To My Ex.

Little Mix then toured with Ariana Grande in the US as her support act for her Dangerous Woman Tour, before headlining their own Glory Days Tour in Europe.

Little Mix also performed at One Love Manchester, which raised money for the tragedy at Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017.

The girls also collaborated with CNCO for their single Reggaetón Lento, which has arguably become one of their most popular songs for radio airplay.

2018

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The girls held a Summer Hits Tour across stadiums, including the North East’s own Gateshead Stadium.

The band released their fifth studio album, LM5, which included the single Woman Like Me, featuring acclaimed rapper Nicki Minaj. They performed the single with Nicki at the MTV European Music Video Awards.

They also released the video for their song Strip, which had a strong feminist undertone and featured women from many different backgrounds. Including Sharaya J, Dina Torkia and Nimco Ali.

2019

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After success with their 5th album, Little Mix performed at The Brit Awards for the third time, where they also won the award for British Artist Video of the Year.

The band controversially performed in Dubai with a pride flag behind them while singing Secret Love Song, despite the country having strict anti homosexuality laws. They received praise from the LGBTQ community for their support.

Jesy worked with the BBC on a documentary titled Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, which focussed on her battle with self confidence and how being cyber bullied online has effected her. The documentary was widely praised by fans and the public.

Perrie was announced as a patron for the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, and has used her platform to spread awareness of the importance of checking yourself regularly for breast cancer symptoms.

Leigh-Anne and Jade took part in an epic trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, raising thousands of pounds for Comic Relief.

Jade also expanded her entrepreneurial skills last year and purchased a cocktail bar in her home town of South Shields.

Little Mix released their single Bounce Back, which samples Soul || Souls hit Back to Life, as well as their very first Christmas single One I’ve Been Missing.

The girls topped off their busy year by releasing a special collection fashion line with online retailer Pretty Little Thing.

2020

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Little Mix have just released their brand new single Break Up Song, and their sixth album is hotly anticipated.

They have also announced that they will be filming their own talent competition in 2020, titled The Search.

The girls do have an upcoming summer tour released too, however dates may need to be postponed due to the ongoing situation. For more details, check our Little Mix’s tour information on Ticketmaster.

There’s certainly much more to come from Little Mix, and I can’t wait to listen to their new album!

The girls have done so well, and have proven time and time again that they’re not only band mates but actually good friends with down to earth personalities as well. Well, with two Geordie girls in the band what else would you expect?

The Cluny is one of Newcastle’s most loved pubs and independent live music venues. It’s one of Ouseburn’s go to haunts and it’s a venue that I personally can’t wait to head to as soon as there’s the slightest hint of warm weather.

Sitting in the middle of Ouseburn amongst its hidden gems and Newcastle’s wonderful city centre farm, it’s a pub that champions local indie businesses and does a lot for the community and music scene. Basically, it’s a really, really cool place to be and somewhere to shout about.

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The Cluny, Ouseburn

Sadly, under the current circumstances, The Cluny is struggling, and, like many independent venues at the moment, is facing uncertainty about its future. With a building to maintain, rent and bills to pay, excellent staff that they don’t want to disappoint, as well as a list of gigs that have had to be postponed, times are hard.

However, all is not lost as The Cluny have come up with a fantastic Crowdfunder to help fund their business until things can return to normal.

Their new initiative is “not asking for something for nothing”, so they are planning to hold four weekend comeback gigs, with acts tbc. They promise that the events will be cross genre, multi-band, all day events, featuring lots of local artists as well as more established bands and friends of The Cluny. Dates cannot be confirmed yet, but each of the weekends are set to be amazing celebrations of grass roots music venues, The Cluny’s staff and loyal customers, and, of course, returning to some sort of normality as the country recovers from this unstable and abnormal time.

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A group of my friends celebrating my boyfriends birthday that the staff kindly helped to organise as a surprise in The Cluny last year

The Cluny have stated on their Facebook page;

“We’re asking those who are able and want to support us to buy advance tickets for gigs that we’ll be hosting when we relaunch – lineups at this stage obviously TBC but we think you can trust us that they’ll be something special and will also be cross-genre… a celebration of what the Cluny is and what it will continue to be with your support and love.

Whilst the government has announced various initiatives, none of these are currently accessible and we need to be able to still pay ongoing large costs such as rent and insurance, etc whilst we are closed… we can’t get relief on these as of yet, if ever, we also want to get money owed to local suppliers as soon as possible and need money to tide over wage bills whilst waiting for government help. So none of any funds raised will go to waste. It’ll take quite some time for business to get back to normal even when we do reopen, and if we can manage to do so with the smallest amount of increased debt possible it will make survival both more feasible and indeed likely.”

Artist Oddisee performing at The Cluny last year

If you’d like to purchase tickets, you can follow the link to their Crowdfunder page, here;

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/cluny-comeback-gigs-help-us-survive-covid-19

If you aren’t quite able to afford the full price of a ticket, but would like to make a smaller donation, then you can purchase Cluny merchandise and gift vouchers that can be spent at the bar once it reopens, here;

https://thecluny.com/shop/

Our local and independent venues are a great asset to the North East, and something that our region should be incredibly proud of. Let’s help all of our indie venues as much as we can. Whether that’s by donating financially, or for free by showing love to them on social media.

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The Cluny’s bar

Sitting in Starbucks opposite Central Station, I excitedly waited for one of Newcastle’s most vibrant creative’s to arrive. Lucky enough to work with him briefly during my time at Northern Stage, Max, known by his stage name MXYM, was always someone I loved to see on shift.

His positive energy and sense of humour give him an irresistible charm. He’s a character who’s even lovelier off stage than on. That’s not to downplay his talent, of course. MXYM is a unique and flamboyant performer that emanates a gorgeous stage presence.

He’s just released his latest single San Clemente Syndrome, to add to his already impressive collection of original songs. He also regularly performs with Newcastle’s very own House of Love, who are made up of an ensemble of Newcastle’s brightest up and coming queer artists.

When MXYM arrives, he’s wearing a bright orange jumper with a pumpkin face on it, completely undeterred that Halloween is a long way off. He has his signature cool hair styled and a cheeky smile that lit up the room.

Images by TJMov (see @tj.mov on Instagram)

Can You Tell Us A Bit About Your New Single, San Clemente Syndrome?

My new single, San Clemente Syndrome, wow, that’s a big question!

It’s based on a chapter in the book Call Me By Your Name called The San Clemente Syndrome, which is basically a long side track in the story which was totally ignored in the movie, but it’s one of the best parts of the book because it really helps you understand the point of the book and the narrative. So, San Clemente is a church in Rome that was built on top of a church, that was built on top of a church, so when historians were looking at it they just kept discovering more and more churches. In the book, there is a poet that writes a poem called The San Clemente Syndrome and the poem is basically about what it is to be human, in the sense of we’re just layers built on layers, built on layers of history. And that you might look at a picture of yourself in the past and not really recognise that person because it is a different person. You’re the same person in an obvious sense, but through time you’re a completely different person. You might look at someone who you were once in love with, but it was a different you that was in love with them, so those emotions are kind of fractured. So, it’s all about that. It’s a deep dive into a dissection of the human experience through relationships.

And then on a more base line level it’s told through a story of a man discovering the fact that he is in love with another man. He marries a woman but discovers he’s in love with another man, and then it also deals with the idea of he’s fallen in love, and that’s a gorgeous thing, he’s understood who he is, finally. If you look at it on that baseline, that’s really, really lovely and if this was a movie that would be the happy ending. But then you’ve got this woman who’s heartbroken and if love can be so gorgeous to bloom such happiness, how can love also be so hurtful? How can it be one and the same? It’s very deep!

Images by TJMov (see @tj.mov on Instagram)

Where Has Your Passion For Music And Performing Come From?

There has never been a moment in my life where I haven’t wanted to perform in some aspect. When I was a kid I used to think that I wanted to be a musical theatre actor, and then I did musical theatre at college and realised that I cannot bare to be with these people any longer! But it’s always been music based, like with musical theatre it wasn’t about the acting, it was about the music, and even before I was doing musical theatre it was a love for music that got me into it. But when I did musical theatre it was a case of I was pushed as ‘the punk one’. If we were doing acting through song lessons I would always be told to ‘do the American Idiot song’ or the, like, rock musical song. So I was always the punk rock guy in an MT college. So, it was always about the music not the musical theatre, and I just always have been performing and outlandish.

My Nanna Dot would always dress me up in costumes, well, I say she would always dress me up but I would dress up and she would happily oblige. And she showed me The Rocky Horror Show when I was 6, and I think that had a big inspiration, and my Mum always tells me the story of when she came to pick me up from my Nanna’s and I was there, at 6 years old, in fishnet tights and full makeup going “Mum I’m Frank N. Furter!” and she was like “… I can see that!”. So yeah, it was just instilled through all the creative people in my life to love music, to love art, to love performance and be performative.

How Would You Describe Yourself As An Artist?

A mess!

Too in-depth for my own good, see question one, haha! And desperate to have more fun. I think when I started writing it came from a dark place from me trying to understand things about myself and feel happier about it. But now I’m at a point where I wanna have fun, and so as an artist I wanna be a fun artist, I want to be an artist that people can listen to and still deal with the bad things but enjoy dealing with it a bit more.

I’m quite free, I’m a free artist. I just love art, I’m an arts artist. I’m like full art hoe, I just love all aspects of art, everything. Like, I’m a musician but I love photography, I love the imagery, the music videos, the colours, the way the song feels or the textures of the sounds, everything about the art I just eat up. I love it, that’s the artist I am.

Do You Have Plans For A Full Album Any Time Soon?

Not an album, but more of a gallery. If you look at my current releases, all the single covers are portraits of me, and so this year I’m planning to have five new singles out, towards the end of next year I would like to release an Arthouse collection. Which is more of a Wallace collection or something that you’d see at the London Gallery. So, a collection of songs rather than one cohesive album, it’s a gallery. Lots of individual pieces that come together to make up a nice enjoyable walk around.

Who Would Your Dream Artist Be To Collaborate With?

Well, that’s a big question, because, the go to for me would be Marilyn Manson, because he’s my number one. But I don’t think MXYM and Marilyn Manson would make a great pairing. I think we’d be good friends, but I don’t think we’d make good songs together. I think me and Troye Sivan would make a really, really cool song together. Allie X is one of my biggest inspirations, I think we would write something really cool together. I think me and Bjork? Why not? Why not? Erm… Motley Crue. I would love to do a song with Motley Crue. That would be fun!

As An Artist, Where Do You See Yourself In A Years Time?

Dead. Haha!

In years time, well I already know what single I’m releasing next January, but I won’t talk about that yet. In a years time I’d like to be a bit more known. Realistically I’m not going to be major label, in an arena tour, as nice as that would be. But, to be gigging more regularly, having more Spotify listeners, be on Spotify playlists. The nice stuff, that’s where I see myself. Just growing, gradually, like a frog in slowly boiling hot water.

Images by TJMov (see @tj.mov on Instagram)

How Has Living In The North East Inspired You As An Artist, And What Opportunities Do You Think That You’ve Found Here That Have Supported Your Growth As A Performer?

I think the creative scene, we obviously have more of a theatre based presence, so the theatre scene has so many cool and fun creative people in it, that are also sweet and kind and supportive and that’s a really, really nice atmosphere to be around. I’m also part of The House Of Love, which is made up of all people who I met from working at Northern Stage and meeting them through the theatre scene. So, through that I think that The House of Love is such a good part of Newcastle’s culture, I know that’s a bit big headed of me as part of it to say that, but last year we did a whole tour of the UK and that tour brings Newcastle’s art to places like London and gives it a stage. But also, when touring, at each show we do we have two guest spots to have local artists, so that builds connections between Newcastle queer art and, say, Derby queer art. This year we’ll be able to give them an opportunity to bring work up North and that’s a really cool thing that’s come out of the North East, just out of young, queer creatives that just want… more, and saw an empty space and took it. Newcastle creative’s are really good at seeing an empty space and going ‘well that doesn’t exist so I’ll make it’. As opposed to going ‘why is this not a thing?’, they’ll just make that thing and I think that’s really cool.

What Are The Biggest Goals That You’d Like To Achieve?

I’d like to win a Grammy. I’d like to have my Star Is Born moment and get a Grammy and pee myself on stage. That would be fun! And that would make a Twitter moment… MXYM in his 12ft gown pee’s himself, haha! I’d like to do that. I’d like to do a show that is in a warehouse, like a full artsy extravaganza with weird performance art happening in every corner and sculptures and visuals, and textures for people to feel just in this big warehouse with neon lights. I’d like that! And that’s achievable within a couple of years. Like, warehouse, Grammy. Solid five year plan there. I’d like to release more music, and you know what, I’m gonna, I’m gonna.

MXYM’s latest single San Clemente Sydrome is available on streaming services now

Images by TJMov (see @tj.mov on Instagram)

After the Government’s calls to close all restaurants, pubs, gyms and shops for the foreseeable future, it comes as no surprise that this leaves smaller and local businesses worried about how they will cope.

In the North East, shy bairns get nowt. So a lot of local food vendors and restaurants are venturing into new takeaway and collection ventures in bid to adapt, overcome and power on.

Loo In supporting our local businesses we can help our friends, neighbours and community here in Tyne and Wear to weather the storm of this strange situation. And, of course, fill our bellies with some of the best scran going!

To help make it easy for you to find some of the best restaurants and artisan food vendors in the North East now that we’re on lockdown, I’ve put together this list of excellent foodies, as well as how you can order from them. Fill your boots; 

Goodtimes Tacos

Goodtimes Tacos specialise in delicious Mexican inspired food, including their full to the brim burritos.

They are currently able to deliver in NE3 and Great Park, but may expand if there’s enough demand for it – so get those orders in!

Deliveries are available 5.00pm – 9.00pm Thursday’s – Sunday’s and can be ordered by calling; 07788465003

Note; This vendor is currently contactless so can only accept card payments. Their driver will have a card reader, or if you are self-isolating they can send you a link to make payment from your phone. 

You can find their website, here; www.goodtimestacos.yolasite.com

Redhead’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Comfort food doesn’t get more comforting than mac n cheese, and these guys have nailed it.

They are normally open for business at Newcastle’s Grainger Market, but are now offering a contact free delivery service within a 10 mile radius of Newcastle city centre for ‘pop it in the oven’ orders. Which just means that you can heat up Redhead’s yummy mac n cheese dishes from the comfort of your own home. 

Deliveries are every Friday, and orders must be placed by 8.00am on Fridays mornings.

You can order for delivery on their website, here;www.redheadsmacncheese.co.uk

Gingerinos

Gingerinos is a hidden gem kept in Ouseburn, and an absolute must try for pizza lovers! 

They are operating with a takeaway service for collection and delivery. They have different specials each week so keep an eye on their menu and social media. Gingerinos are currently available between 11.30am – 9.00pm Monday – Saturday. 

You can order for collection by calling; 01912602010

And can also order for delivery via Just Eat, here; https://www.just-eat.co.uk/restaurants-gingerinos-kitchen-new-newcastle-upon-tyne

You can visit their website, here;www.gingerinoskitchen.co.uk

Parm-O-Rama

If you thought you could only get a decent parmo in Middlesbrough, think again. Parm-O-Rama has been serving up authentic Northern parmos in Newcastle for just over a year now, and are too good not to try.

While their parmos are top notch, Parm-o-Rama’s owner, Jonny, is still working his magic on his parmo wagan to offer deliveries around Newcastle. As soon as this is sorted, we’ll keep you posted!

You can visit their Facebook page, here; https://www.facebook.com/parmorama/

Pet Lamb Patisserie

For anyone with a sweet tooth, Pet Lamb Patisserie are your girls! Their gorgeous little patisserie in the Grainger Market is a haven for brownies, blondies, cupcakes and occasion cakes, but while things are a little bit different at the moment, the girls are working hard to offer a delivery service.

They currently have brownie delivery and gift vouchers available on their website, here; www.petlambpatisserie.com

If you want to be REALLY nice, you can also donate to the business during this crisis on their website too. 

But they will be announcing more options shortly. Updates to come!

Aveika

Aveika is known for its decadent cocktails on the Quayside, but did you know they also have an amazing sushi restaurant?  It’s true! And the katsu curry is tremendous! 

Not only that, but they’ve joined forces with LA Taxis to provide a delivery service within a 5 mile radius on their restaurant, based on Newcastle’s Quayside right under the Tyne Bridge. 

You can order directly from Aveika’s website, here; www.aveika.co.uk/takeaway

Or by calling them to place and order on; 01912333732

Zucchini Pasta Bar

Delicious and fresh authentic Italian pasta is Zucchini’s speciality, and is available to be delivered or collected from their restaurant in Newcastle city centre or their kitchen in Great Park. 

They offer collection, takeaway and bakeaway services for their heartwarming menu. Which means you can order to eat it straight away, or take it home to cook whenever you’d like it. Perfect for a family meal at home.

Zucchini pasta bar are offering free delivery Tuesday – Saturday between 12.00pm – 3.00pm and 5.00pm – 9.00pm.

If you’d like to order from their Newcastle city centre restaurant, you can call or text; 07376545373. Or if you’d like to order from their Great Park premise, you can call or text; 07809234570

You can also order online on their website, here; www.zucchinipastabar.co.uk

The Redhouse

Are you even from Newcastle if you haven’t had pie and mash at The Redhouse before? This staple pub restaurant is one of the North East’s foodie gems for a wholesome meal, so why not have one at home?

Redhouse take orders for delivery on Deliveroo, and are available from 11.00am until 9.00pm daily.

You can order on Deliveroo’s website, here; https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/newcastle/newcastle-city-centre/the-red-house?day=today&geohash=gcybee6sr3px&time=ASAP

Scream for Pizza

Scream for Pizza recently opened their own restaurant in Sandyford and are a huge hit in the North East for their speciality pizzas.

They’re receiving a lot of takeaway orders right now as they’re in high demand, so they are now operating with 10 minute slots for people’s to book in to collect pizzas. For everyone’s safety, as they are only a small restaurant, they politely ask that everyone wait outside of the restaurant for them to bring your collection to you.

They also have their own pizza truck, so hopefully they will be able to deliver more pizzas in different areas shortly. 

You can place an order at their restaurant by calling;01912617974

You can also visit their website at; www.screamforpizza.com

The Brownie Bar

You may have noticed the Brownie Bar on Chillingham Road or inside Eldon Square before, and their brownies are to die for! 

The Brownie Bar are still offering delicious brownie boxes for delivery, with over 16 flavours to choose from. Brownies are usually delivered within 48 hours of ordering and if ordered before 10.00am Monday – Friday they will be sent same day.

Order from their website, here; www.thebrowniebar.co.uk/order-online

St Sushi

St Sushi are experts in classic Japanese cuisine, and are the perfect local restaurant to get your sushi and bento box fix from. 

Based in Newcastle city centre on Westgate Road, they are currently offering both delivery and collection options for orders. Deliveries must be within a 5 mile radius of the city centre and are available from 12.00pm (days and times tbc).

You can order by calling; 01912210222

You can also visit their website for their menu, here; www.st-sushi.com

L’Ulivo

For gorgeous Italian food, L’Ulivo has Newcastle covered! Based on Chillingham Road, their restaurant is now offering takeaway’s and deliveries in the local area. 

Available from 12.00pm (days and times tbc), you can order from L’Ulivo by calling; 01912765419

You can also find them on Facebook, here; 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/LUlivoChillinghamRoad

Cake Stories

One of Jesmond’s loveliest coffee and cake spots, Cake Stories is remaining open at this time to offer a takeaway coffee shop!

They are open all day from 9.00am – 9.30pm to serve sweet and savoury treats, as well as drinks, and are currently working on a delivery service and online ordering. Watch this space. 

They have politely asked all of their customers to practise social distancing while ordering takeaways from their shop, and ask that you don’t come in if you’ve been feeling unwell. 

You can find their website, here; www.cakestoriesjesmond.com

Crab and Waltzer

Crab and Waltzer is a quirky bistro café with stunning views of Whitley Bay’s seafront. Offering a wide range of homely menu options made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. 

They are now offering meals by collection or delivery. Orders for delivery must be paid over the phone, and orders for collection must be paid contactlessly. 

To pre-order collection or place an order for delivery, you can call; 01912519555

You can find their full menu on their Facebook page, here; https://www.facebook.com/crabandwaltzer/

Fat Hippo

Serving some of the best and most decadent burgers this side of the Tyne, Fat Hippo is still open for business.

Operating with a collection and delivery service from each of their restaurants in Newcastle, Jesmond and Durham, Fat Hippo orders are available from 11.30am – 11.00pm! They have even just extended their delivery radius to help to serve even more customers with their burgery goodness.

You can order with them on Deliveroo, via; www.fathippo.co.uk to find your nearest branch. Or order for collection by giving your nearest restaurant a call.

Prima

Prima is one of the Quayside’s most homely restaurants and always offers a great choice of Italian based food at great prices. 

They are now providing their A La Carte Menu and Sunday lunches as a delivery service, as well as buy vouchers from their website. 

For a limited time they are currently also offering free delivery and 25% off all orders over £15.  

To order, you can give the restaurant a call on; 01912331011

You can also visit their website, here; www.primarestarant.co.uk

Acropolis

For authentic Greek gyros, look no further than Acropolis! A huge hit at markets with their food van and now a popular favourite in the Grainger Market, Acropolis is one of the North Easts best for a Greek experience.

Their Grainger Market restaurant is offering takeaway and they are also now providing delivery between 11.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Saturday. 

They have kindly asked that customers be patient if there is any delay, as this is their first time in offering a delivery service. To order a delivery, you can text or call; 07761464917

You can also find them on Facebook, here; https://www.facebook.com/AcropolisGraingerMarket

The Wild Trapeze

Look This unique coffee shop is a favourite hangout on Heaton Road, but is now offering a takeaway collection service from their café.

They are currently open from 9.00am – 5.00pm Tuesday – Saturday and 10.00am – 5.00pm on Sundays for a mixtures of breakfasts, teas, coffees, cakes and savouries.

If you’d like to place an order in advance, you can call them on; 07788809718 and can accept cash or contactless payment on your arrival. 

You can also find them on Facebook, here; https://www.facebook.com/thewildtrapezeuk/

Dabbawal

Offering original and delectable Indian cuisine, Dabbawal is extremely popular in Newcastle city centre and Jesmond. 

They are currently offering collection takeaways at both branches and are also starting their new delivery service. 

Orders can be delivered within a 3 mile radius to Newcastle city centre, and they have a minimum order amount of £25. Pre-orders can be taken from 3.00pm daily.

To order you can call or WhatsApp; 07903494334

You can also visit their website, here; www.dabbawal.com

Caspian

Fantastic Turkish food is hard to find in the North East, but Caspian is one of Newcastle’s few restaurants offering traditional Turkish cuisine. 

Based in Jesmond, they are currently offering delivery within a 5 mile radius across Newcastle and have a contactless delivery system. Their opening hours are currently 12.00pm – 10.00pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 12.00pm – 10.30pm Saturday and 12.00pm – 9.30pm Sunday (delivery times tbc).

To order, you can give them a call on; 01919082744

You can also visit their website, here; www.thecaspianrestaurant.co.uk

Hinnies

Hinnies has become a North East hit for offering ‘Geordie comfort food’ by the sea in Whitley Bay. 

The popular restaurant has now launched ‘Hinnies at Home’ to help you get your fix of their wholesome menu. 

Payment is contactless on ordering, and deliveries can be made within a 4 mile radius of their restaurant. Collections and deliveries are available 5.00pm – 9.00pm Monday – Saturday and 12.00pm – 5.00pm on Sundays.

Pensioners and NHS workers (with an NHS card) are also eligible for a 20% discount. 

You can order by calling them on; 01914470500

And visit their website, here; www.hinnies.co.uk

The Naked Deli

The Naked Deli is a must if you fancy a healthy style takeaway. Offering a unique range of healthy and natural options, this deli’s food will have you feeling fabulous.

Keeping their Heaton and Newcastle city centre stores open for takeaway and delivery, The Naked Deli’s menu is available between 9.00am – 4.00pm daily.

For takeaway, you can visit their stores on Grey Street and Chillingham Road, and for delivery you can order via Deliveroo, here; https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/newcastle/newcastle-city-centre/the-naked-deli-grey-st?day=today&geohash=gcybee6sr3px&time=ASAP

You can also visit their website, here; www.thenakeddeli.co.uk

Chucho’s

Bringing vibrant and authentic Mexican food to the North East, Chucho’s has two popular restaurants and is also a regular at the Quayside Market. 

Now offering takeaway for collection from both their Jesmond and Byker premises, they are currently open between 12.00pm – 3.00pm and 6.00pm – 9.00pm. Preorder’s can be taken by calling; 07460710410.

They are also offering delivery from their Jesmond store via Just Eat, here; https://www.just-eat.co.uk/restaurants-chuchostacos-newcastleupontynene2/menu

Lola Jeans

Lola Jeans is well known in Newcastle for serving some of the tastiest and award winning burgers around. Winning Battle of the Burgers for the last 5 or so years in row, they’re certainly a foodie’s dream.

While Lola Jeans have promised me that they are currently working very hard on a new takeaway service, it hasn’t launched quite yet. More information to follow. 

You can visit their website, here; www.lolajeans.co.uk

My Delhi

A fairly recent addition to Newcastle’s Clayton Street, New Delhi is a gorgeous Indian restaurant offering ‘delhi-cous’ tasting streetfood, inspired by the street hawkers of Delhi.

They are now offering an express takeaway service and have orders for collection and delivery available within a 3 mile radius of the city centre. They also have a contact free delivery and collection option on request. 

Their opening hours are currently 5.00pm – 10.30pm daily.

Online ordering is coming soon, but for you can phone in your order on; 01912302302 or WhatsApp your order to; 07588896045

You can also visit their website, here; www.mydelhistreetfood.com/takeaway

San Lorenzo

Gosforth High Street has been home to San Lorenzo for many years now and it’s a firm favourite with locals. Offering a wide variety of Italian food and (arguably) the best potato skins in the North East as well as delicious pizza and pasta. 

You can order for takeaway collection by calling; 01912130399

Orders are available to order and collect between 4.00pm – 9.00pm daily (days tbc).

You can also visit their website, here; www.sanlorenzorestaurant.com/gosforth


1901 Bistro Caffè

Based in West Jesmond, this gorgeous bistro offer a large range of mains and lighter lunches.

Now offering a collection and delivery service, 1901 are providing afternoon teas, takeaway meals and drinks and milkshakes.

They are available between 9.30am – 5.30pm daily from their Jesmond Caffè.

You can order and pay over the phone for free next day delivery on; 07590545220

You can also visit their website, here; http://www.1901caffe.co.uk

SOHO

Well known for their delicious Korean and Japanese style street food, SOHO are perfect for Asian cuisine.

They are now offering a takeaway delivery service and are available for orders from 5.00pm every day within a 3 mile radius of their city centre restaurant.

You can order by calling them on; 01912312882

You can also order via Deliveroo, here; https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/newcastle/newcastle-city-centre/soho-korean-and-japanese-street-food-newcastle?day=today&postcode=NE11PQ&time=1245

You can visit their website, here; http://www.sohoncl.co.uk


Blackfriars

One of Newcastle city centres most loved and unique restaurants, famed for their high quality dining, you can now order Blackfriars to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

You can order for collection or delivery between 5.00pm – 9.00pm Monday – Saturday and 12.00pm – 5.00pm on Sunday’s. Payment is contactless and they cannot accept cash. Delivery is available within a 4 mile radius of their restaurant.

To order, you can call them on; 01912615945

Pensioners and NHS workers (with NHS cards) are also eligible for 20% off.

You can visit their website, here; http://www.blackfriarsrestaurant.co.uk

Cafébar One

Cafébar One is a lovely café based in Jesmond with a great menu for breakfast, lunch and large or small meals.

They are currently offering a takeaway collection and delivery service, covering NE2, NE3, NE6 and NE7.

They’re also offering 10% discount for NHS staff.

To order, you can give them a call on; 01912819703

You can also visit their website, here; http://www.cafebarone.co.uk

Cookie Freaks

Cookie freaks are an amazing choice for anyone with a big sweet tooth. They usually trade at Tynemouth market, but have changed things up a bit to offer a delivery service further afield across Newcastle and Durham.

This particular vendor is a little bit harder to list as they deliver in different areas on different days. But they’re super friendly and awesome at what they do, so if you have a specific order you’d like to make, you can email them on; hello@cookiefreaks.co.uk

All payments must be prepaid by card payment.

To find out exactly when and where they are delivering on weekends as well as which yummy cookie selections they have, keep an eye on their Facebook page, here; https://m.facebook.com/cookiefreaks/

NU TU GO

NU TU GO have become the go to place in Gateshead centre for healthy eating and superfood smoothies.

They have just started providing ‘NU-Isolation Meals’ to help people who are self-isolating. They are offering fresh healthy meals on a collection or delivery takeaway service, with deliveries up to 5 miles radius of their café in Gateshead’s Trinity Square.

For collections, they can also offer to bring your order out to your car for you.

You can order by giving them a call on; 01914775732

You can also order online on their website at; http://www.nutugo.com

Hugo’s

Hugo’s has only just opened up in Jesmond in mid-March, so very sadly this little business hasn’t started at the perfect time. All the more reason to support them!

Hugo’s is offering a collection takeaway service only at the moment, and has a great choice of hot and cold savoury items as well sweet options and drinks.

You can visit their café for takeaway orders between 8.00am – 4.00pm Monday – Friday and 8.00am – 2.00pm on Saturdays.

You can also visit their Facebook page, here; https://www.facebook.com/hugosjesmond/

Greyjoy’s

Greyjoy’s is a lovely coffee room offering comforting breakfasts and yummy mains all day.

They are now offering their full menu from Thursday – Sunday between 9.00am – 3.00pm and are also doing a grocery menu which is available to order every day.

You can even get free delivery from with the code ‘easter’ for a limited time.

Delivery is available in Gosforth, Jesmond and Heaton, but may be able to deliver outside of these areas if contacted in advance.

You can order from their website, here; http://www.greyjoys.com/shop

Due to the current the current situation across the world, and most recently the UK’s government bringing further enforcements into place, all of the information on this page is subject to change.

If you own or work for a local restaurant or food vendor that is offering a takeaway service during this time and would like to be featured on this list, please get in touch.

Boris Johnson Just Gave A Deathwish To The Events Industry

Yesterday, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Boris encouraged the UK to ‘avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues’.

Surely, given the advice that medical and scientific professionals, or certainly those who claim to be on social media, have been giving – this doesn’t sound too daft? Social distancing is being explained as one of the most effective ways to slow down and hopefully stop the spread of COVID-19, as this will lessen the spread from those carrying the virus passing it on. Especially to more vulnerable people in the community. So, avoiding large groups of people certainly seems like the most sensible thing to do at the moment. 

However unfortunately this approach does and will lead to problems for many people, especially those working and making a living from the events industry. This includes theatres, arenas, sporting venues, social clubs, pubs, nightclubs, and other social and recreational venues.

Theatre Royal, Theatre, Theatre Royal Newcastle, Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
The Theatre Royal in Newcastle

Yes, closing these venues may well be the best foot forward in stopping the Coronavirus from growing. And, yes, most of the people working in the events and cultural sector recognise this. So what’s the problem here?

The issue sits with the Government’s current approach to the situation. Unlike other countries that have called for an entire lockdown, enforcing venues to close, Boris has just suggested it. Because the Government hasn’t yet made it a mandatory precaution, it means that these businesses aren’t able to claim compensation or financial support. The Government has offered no actual backing to the events industry in this case, so venues, artists, managers and staff have been left to fend for themselves. 

This puts each cultural venue in the country in an impossible situation of either closing and going with this vague advice and ‘do the right thing’, or remaining open for now and being made to look like money hungry villains. 

The arts and social industry in the UK is a fragile one. With many businesses still struggling after the 2008 recession, and a lack of funding through the Tory Government for the arts, many venues have to survive day by day, event by event or as charities fundraising to be able to stay open. This doesn’t even take into account the many freelancers working in events and culture, that don’t have the safety net of a guaranteed wage from an employer. Or the thousands of people relying on temporary and zero hour contracts for income. 

Across the course of today, and possibly over the next few weeks depending on any further lofty information offered by Johnson, I suspect we will see a significant increase of venues closing and both small and large scale events being cancelled and postponed. Theatres in the West End of London and the Sunderland Empire have already announced closures until further notice. The Ambassador Theatre Group (who manage Sunderland Empire Theatre) released a statement last night, citing; 

“Given the current ambiguity and lack of clarity as to how long our theatres may be closed for, we hope to provide you with an update within the next 48 hours regarding the exchange of tickets.”

Sunderland Empire, Sunderland, Theatre, Sunderland Theatre
Sunderland Empire

And the Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Westgate Road issued yesterday;

“In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement today for us all to avoid non-essential social contact, we are liaising with promoters and organisers of our forthcoming events. We will keep you informed of the status of all shows as soon as possible.”

It goes without saying that times are extremely difficult for our theatres and performance venues right now. So, please, if you have tickets for upcoming shows be mindful of this, and know that they are currently doing everything in their power to muddle through the situation as it stands, with limited guidance or information from the Government. 

Please, please, please be patient and show some kindness to the incredible staff who are being bombarded with questions from ticket holders and customers. They may be at risk of losing their jobs and likely know as much as you for now, but are still trying their hardest to find ways to keep their customers happy, as well as keeping the venue afloat. 

It’s heartbreaking to write about, but there are venues in the UK who are now in very real danger of closing for good, and staff who may lose their jobs indefinitely. While this is a scary and difficult time for everyone in the UK, if you can do anything small to help your local community theatre, or the historical venue in your city that relies on charity to stay open and keep the building running, then any small gesture would surely be greatly appreciated. Even if it’s just words of support, as our event industry is definitely not receiving anything like that from Boris Johnson or the Government at the moment.

Tyne Theatre, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, Westgate Road
Tyne Theatre and Opera House

The UK, along with the rest of the world, has been set to panic mode due to the national pandemic of COVID-19. Scaremongering from the media and an ill prepared Prime Minister have done their best to cause havoc and worry across Britain.

While other countries such as Italy and the United States have taken stronger measures to stop the spread of the Corona virus, England is still just in a bit of a purgatory over what happens next. This has left many people scared about what would happen if their jobs or businesses were to be affected, if the country were to go into lockdown or quarantined.

This, of course, could affect many different industries, not least of all the events and cultural sector.

It’s understandable that many people may be left confused or surprised that events, gigs, shows and concerts are still going ahead across England, given that citizens in other countries have been advised to self isolate and avoid busy places. Scotland has even put a ban on all mass gatherings of over 500 people.

So, why haven’t theatre performances, concerts or comedy shows just stopped altogether? Basically, because the government haven’t yet called for it, and it puts the entire industry, as well as workers finances in jeopardy.

Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne Theatre, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle theatre
The Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle

The nature of the live performance sector is complex as there are so many people involved in each and every show that’s created. From a headline tour across arenas or stadiums, to local community theatre productions, the labour and investments involved are huge.

You may scoff at the idea of someone like Ed Sheeran being left out of pocket if one of his tours got cancelled, but the fact is it isn’t just Ed’s tour. It’s his managers, his tour managers, his stage techs, his transport providers, his caterers. It’s the managers of each individual venue, the venues PR assistant, the zero hours contract cleaners, security staff, bar staff and box office workers. This can add up to hundreds, more likely thousands of staff for large tours, all losing hours and income. And of course, no one wants to disappoint fans that have paid a lot of money and waited a long time for these shows either.

For smaller shows at your cities comedy club, or am-dram group, the risk is often even bigger. Small and independent venues depend on shows going ahead to make each performance viable, pay the bills and hire a plumber to fix the leaky toilet.

A lot of theatres operate as charities without audiences even realising. Even here in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Theatre Royal, Northern Stage, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Live Theatre and People’s Theatre are all not for profit venues. That’s only to name a few in the North East. Charities like these often don’t have pots of money to fall back on as a safety net.

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne, Theatre, Newcastle theatre
Northern Stage in Newcastle

Cancelling performances, and especially clusters of performances is also no easy task. As there are multiple people to go between across the venue, and the shows production and management team.

If and when a show gets cancelled, each of these venues, their staff and the performers and crews of travelling tours all take a significant hit. If shows are cancelled for an undetermined length of time, the affects of this could be dreadful for the arts across the UK, if not further. That’s without mentioning the local bars and restaurants that all benefit from these events going ahead. The hairdressers not getting booked up for blow drys, or the taxi drivers unable to find jobs.

People’s theatre, Newcastle theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne
People’s Theatre in Newcastle

Lastly, finance isn’t all there is to it. As almost anyone who works in the arts will tell you, show business often isn’t well paid. Live performance and cultural events are a labour of love and passion. It’s people’s life’s work, it’s keeping choirs alive, it’s giving a spectacular hobby to OAP groups who wouldn’t be able to socialise otherwise. It’s skill building and workshops for people with disabilities, it’s children being able to see their hero singing live on stage. It’s feeling part of a community and getting lost in a performance while the world outside is in turmoil.

The show must go on, but please don’t take anger, fear or frustration out on our venues, staff or performers.

At the moment, they are doing everything they can do to ensure their audiences are safe, they are constantly keeping up with the news and any advice from the government, they are worrying how they are going to survive closing for the foreseeable future without causing damage to their historical building, or leaving their staff without pay.

At the moment, the only advice they can give you is that the show is going ahead as normal, until any further notice. It’s as frustrating for them as it is you, but sadly there’s nothing else they can say, apart from the obvious please wash your hands and turn your phones off during the production.

Live Theatre, Live Theatre Newcastle,  Newcastle upon Tyne
Live Theatre in Newcastle

First things first, I must start this review by saying how shocked at myself I am that this was my first ever visit to the People’s Theatre. As it sits on the corner between Heaton and Jesmond, there’s no excuse for it really as a live production lover. 

The upside to this was, of course, getting to go this lovely community theatre for the very first time and being completely taken in by its charms. Originally founded in 1911 and rebranded back in 2015, the theatre is a staple part of Newcastle’s culture and live performance scene.

People’s Theatre, Newcastle theatre,  People’s Theatre Newcastle, Bedroom Farce,  theatre review, Bedroom Farce Review, Newcastle upon Tyne
People’s Theatre in Newcastle

As I entered the venue, I was truly impressed with the smart looking foyer and bar area, lined with jazzy works of art and furnished with a jumble of mix matched tables and chairs. It has a real comfy meets modern feel. The auditorium itself was also much bigger inside than I had expected, seating up to 500.

People’s Theatre, People’s Theatre Newcastle, Bedroom Farce, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bedroom Farce review, theatre in Newcastle, theatre review
Bedroom Farce at People’s Theatre, Newcastle

The show Bedroom Farce was written in 1975 by Alan Ayckbourn, and this modern production directed by Steve Hewitt and Ellie North did a fantastic job of going back in time to that decade. The stage was set up brilliantly, using two different levels to encompass three separate bedrooms.

I noted throughout the show that even though this play was based in the 70s, the tones and themes that it explores, including relationships, communication, the link between physical and mental intimacy, even violent relationships and mental health, were still all very relevant today. 

Regardless of the more serious messages portrayed, the show was equally hilarious and gained many laugh out loud moments from the audience. The lovely lady sitting next to me enjoyed herself so much I found myself as entertained with her reactions as with what was going on on stage. 

I was extremely impressed with all of the cast, who all proved themselves to be very talented stage actors. Each gave their own performance of one of the eight different characters, all paired up in couples, with a loving energy for each ones unique personality and perspective. Developing highly believable scenarios it was hard not to be endeared by each one of them. Even Adam Owers, who did a grand job of portraying the shows egotistic narcissist, Trevor, and acts as the catalyst for the drama that unfolds at a house party and causes havoc for all of the four couples involved.

Bedroom Farce at Peoples Theatre, Newcastle

The cast were so involved and convincing, that I think during one particular scene staring Kate Lundy and Adam Thompson, they may have actually broken part of the set as they came crashing down on a bed in a hilarious physical struggle. I was also very impressed by Kate’s fearless removal of her hair rollers on stage, which I can’t do myself at home, never mind on stage in front of hundreds of people! 

It was lovely to watch a script come to life that looked into human relationships with a humorous but almost every day approach. Characters Ernest and Delia, played by Roger Liddle and Maggie Childs, manage to portray that, even with an age difference between the other married couples, the same struggles in communication and intimacy can still be apparent. Whereas Kate and Malcolm, played by Ellie Pullen and Ian Willis, show that even the most ‘ordinary’ of couples can still have their own trials. Ian’s devoted performance of building a set of drawers for his wife was also particularly heart-warming. 

As the show drew to a close, we were drawn to the character of Susannah, Trevor’s troubled wife, brilliantly played by Emily Jeffrey. Highlighting a fight with mental health and self-worth, it was a performance that I’m almost certain most women will, to a degree, be able to relate with at some level. It left the show with a note of ‘the show must go on’, even if misguided or in the strangest of circumstances. 

Bedroom Farce plays at the People’s Theatre until this Saturday 14th March, and you can purchase tickets from the theatre’s website, here;

http://www.peoplestheatre.co.uk

My tickets for this show were gifted by the lovely people at the People’s Theatre in return for a review on the show.

Bedroom Farce at People’s Theatre, Newcastle

The UK is home to numerous celebrated Chinatowns, and Newcastle’s very own Stowell Street is at the heart of the Chinese community within Newcastle.

Stowell Street in Newcastle’s city centre, just a stones throw away from Eldon Square, is laden with authentic Chinese restaurants. So if you’re in the mood for Chinese cuisine then it’s the perfect place in town to head! After doing some research online, my partner Andy and I decided to try Amaysia, who describe themselves as ‘The Uniquely Asian’.

Amaysia, Stowell Street, Chinese  restaurants in Newcastle
Amaysia, Stowell Street

Finding Amaysia is easy, as it’s right in the middle of Stowell Street. When entering the restaurant we were greeted by a friendly member of staff at the bar before being taken up some stairs to the main floor.

One of the first things we noticed was the decor, as it’s a mixture of neutral tones and furniture, with a few additions of more eclectic decorations (including a Pikachu and collection of other Chinese New Year inspired animals hanging above some of the tables!)

Amaysia, Amaysia Newcastle, Chinatown Newcastle,  Amaysia Review
Amaysia, Stowell Street

The restaurant has a very modern feel, while serving traditional Chinese and Malaysian food (or what we know as traditional in the UK at least). The menu is noticeably huge, and the size of a book rather than a standard menu. It was packed full of a lot of our favourite Chinese dishes, as well as some more alternative options. Their drinks menu is also really impressive, including lots of their speciality non-alcoholic cocktail style drinks. Iced Lychee and Grass Jelly in Syrup, or a Malt Cereal & Crushed Ice? No problem!

After eventually deciding what we were going to order, I chose Salt and Pepper King Prawns for starter and Beef in Black Bean Sauce on Crispy Noodles for my main. Andy went for Prawn Toast for his starter and Chicken Satay with Egg Fried Rice for mains. To say the least, we chose well!

As we waited a short time for our starters, we noticed a large party at a round table behind us enjoy an absolute feast of sharing plates! Our eyes were definitely growing bigger than our stomachs from nosying at their table!

Chinese restaurants NEWCASTLE, Amaysia, Amaysia Restaurant, Amaysia Review
Our starters were delicious

Our starters were incredibly tasty and I’m still thinking about the Salt and Pepper King Prawns, they were delicious! I’ve already planned to try out the Salt and Pepper Tofu next time we go! It’s worth pointing out that Amaysia had lots of veggie friendly options too.

We were served by three or four different waiting staff, and all of them extremely polite and friendly. There was no awkward waiting time and they were very attentive without being overbearing.

As our main courses arrived, it was clear that there was no chance I was ever going to finish it! The portion sizes were huge and there was no chance of either of us going home hungry. Just as with the starters, the mains were full-flavoured. Andy pointed out that his Chicken Satay was spicier than he’d expected, as it’s one of his favourite dishes. But he was chuffed with this as he can handle his spice! I, on the other hand, am not at all good with spice, so I was glad that the Black Bean Sauce wasn’t unexpectedly spicy.

Beef in Black Bean Sauce on Crispy Noodles

Just as I anticipated, I wasn’t even halfway through my main course before I was full. Being a liiittle bit hungover from the night before though, having too much food was a lot more appreciated than not enough!

We both very much enjoyed our meals, and have already planned to organise a get together with friends so that we can enjoy one of the amazing party tables that the people behind us had.

Amaysia, Stowell Street

As we left, we were kindly said goodbye to from a few of the waiting and bar staff, which always goes a long way in my book.

Amaysia, Stowell Street

To book a meal and view the full menu from Amaysia, visit http://www.amaysia.com

I love visiting any theatre for the first time, and for me my debut visit to the Quayside’s Live Theatre was a particularly lovely one! Albeit I’m shocked at myself for not going sooner.

Not only is the theatre foyer a wonderful mixture of modern build meets countryside pub, but the theatre itself is well set out with a corner shaped stage and adapted seating.

As I walked in I saw that the stage was set up with a noticeably interesting set. Simple but effective, a double bed took centre stage next to a clothes rail of ensembles, all in different shades of bright pink.

The intimate venue was the perfect setting for W*nk Buddies. Lasting only an hour, the show needs no more and no less time to tell the story of two friends bonding at a house party.

As the stars of the show, Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt, take to the stage to introduce themselves, they tell the audience about the typical student house party they find themselves at whilst studying drama at university. The audience quickly realises that they’re in for a treat.

Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt in W*nk Buddies

Cameron enjoys dancing the night away while Jake prefers to stand back and look for a potential lass to chat up. Showing from the onset that the pair have very differing personalities, the show tells a gorgeous story of a friendship growing out of misunderstandings through, what starts as, unwitting communication.

Swinging from hilarious one liners and hitting tones of political and emotional heartache, W*nk Buddies is the perfect show to establish and create conversation around the complex issues that young gay men face, and how barriers created by cultural stereotypes can be broken.

Themes of societal homophobia are tackled brilliantly in this two man performance, as well as class, relationships and, erm, Baywatch…

Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt in W*nk Buddies

Talking you through their night of sharing a room together, Cameron and Jake play off each other perfectly throughout. From arguing to play fighting to an all out incredible and side splittingly funny dance routine to Britney Spears. There was nothing not to fall in love with about this show.

As it drew to a heartwarming close, the audience was left with a beautiful sense of happiness and emancipation. W*nk Buddies is a gloriously feel good production that should be seen across the country.

W*nk Buddies is now touring the UK

As anyone who comes from Newcastle will be able to tell you, the city has become a bit of a foodie haven over the last few years. With new local eateries, trendy food trucks and chain restaurants popping up all over Newcastle upon Tyne in recent times, there’s no shortage of choice when deciding on where to eat out. The same goes for bars, pubs and, most recently, breweries within and close to the city centre.

Being a lover of good food and drink myself, this comes with no complaints from me. In fact, I feel like there’s so many good places to eat in town now that I’ve heard others rave about, that I wouldn’t know where to start first. Luckily for me, the decision of where to have Sunday lunch with a group of friends today wasn’t up to me, as myself and my boyfriend were invited to a friendly catch up meal with some of our couple friends.

It goes without saying, we didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation as soon as Sunday lunch at Wylam Brewery was mentioned. We’d heard great things about the meals there, and are already fans of the regular food stall competitions that are held there across the summer, so we couldn’t wait to give it a try!

Wylam Brewery in Exhibition Park

It gives me great pleasure to say that we were not disappointed. If you haven’t already visited Wylam Brewery, which opened in Exhibition Park in 2016 after taking over the historic Palace of Arts building, it’s a unique and gorgeous venue with a mix of modern and authentic features. Although equally casual and perfect for day drinking on a sunny weekend.

Inside Wylam Brewery
Inside Wylam Brewery

While the grand hall within the building is normally only open to private or promoted events, the restaurant and bar area, known as the tap kitchen, remain open for drinks and small plates Thursdays to Saturdays, and for traditional Sunday lunch each Sunday. Though the menu wasn’t huge, I was impressed with everything on it.

I opted for the belly pork option, but there was also a choice of lamb, beef and vegetarian terrine. Luckily all of my friends on the table chose at least one of each option collectively, and I have to say that each one looked as tasty as the other!

Sunday lunch at Wylam Brewery

When the meals arrived we were all very impressed with the portion sizes, and accordingly did the typical ‘oofft!’ reaction out loud as the plates were presented to us by the lovely waitress (absolute props to Wylam Brewery on your staff, they were all fantastic). The belly pork was absolutely delicious and came with a bonus of crackling on the big portion of meat, which I wasn’t expecting but was more than happy with. The vegetables were cooked to perfection, the Yorkshire puddings were giant and the light gravy accompanying the meal was perfect as it wasn’t either too rich or too watery. We were even offered extra gravy for the table, which obviously we didn’t turn down!

Another factor which adds to the loveliness of the venue is that it is dog friendly, so our friends brought along their pug, Olly, and border terrier, Freddie. The staff were more than accommodating of the little dudes and were happy to bring out water for them. They just chilled out under the table, or at least until the smell of our food got a little bit too exciting for Olly.

Wylam Bewery is a dog friendly venue

After our mains, which took us all a fair amount of time to polish off due to the sizes, we went for dessert. There were three choices including a cheese board, blood orange cake with rhubarb, pistachios and cream cheese, and my favourite on the menu, chocolate and cherry sundae. Guys, if you trust me on one thing throughout this review, please make sure you don’t skip dessert. It was a dream.

Of course Wylam Brewery also has an excellent selection of drinks, so is the perfect spot for any beer lover as they have over 30 on offer. I’m more of a cider girl myself though and opted for the guest cider, which honestly tasted like summer in a glass, why is it still only February?

So, to sum up; myself and my splendid group of friends all had a wonderful meal at Wylam Brewery, and it was a fantastic place to catch up with pals we hadn’t seen in a while. The staff were great, the menu was brilliantly put together and I will most definitely be bringing my Dad here the next time he suggests going for a Sunday dinner.