Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Our 'Night at the Museum' for the #lateshows

We had a really great evening on Sat 14th May in Newcastle for the The Late Shows.
It is an event when lots of arts galleries, museums and places of interest are open on the evening and host special events.  I had wanted to go last year but hadn't made it so was determined to go this year and to visit as many places as possible.  We (Me, Geoff, my friend Kate and Kate's son Tom) planned a circular route but with the idea that if we saw anything else of interest we would stop off.  Some of the more unusual events needed prior booking and we had not been able to do so although Kate had tried to book the Victoria tunnel but with no success.
We started off at the Hatton Gallery which is at the University
It was transformed into a beach with deckchairs and cocktails and a sand and sea scape to draw on and music.
Geoff, Kate and Tom being artistic

 Geoff getting into the spirit of it!

Next we went to Mordon Tower which is a tower in the city walls.  I must say it was slightly strange - we had to go down an alley at the back of Chinatown and then up some stairs into a room.  We just sat down and waited slightly apprehensively - and then there was a performance of experimental music.  It was 'interesting' but no time for a repeat performance as we had a busy schedule.

Close by to Mordon Tower and Chinatown is Blackfriars which is a 13th Century Friary. It is very nice and tranquil and we might go back there for a meal sometime.  There was a fiddler whom we could hear but couldn't find and a very strange toilet!.

Next we set off for the Arts Centre and the Black Swan.  At the Arts Centre there was a variety of exhibitions and things to do - we split up as Geoff and Kate like looking at 'art' and I like pottery and wandering aimlessly.  There was a pottery / ceramics workshop studio and in the courtyard.  You could make your own pots, although there was a queue for this so I just watched.  There  was a good atmosphere and a man in a fez helped me crack my glowstick :)

Next we went to the cabaret in the Black Swan which was really brilliant.  Hard to describe but great to watch.  They were called the 'Black Cab cabaret'

We then set off towards the station and our furthermost point to visit the Mining Institute.  This was nothing like the impression we had got from the blurb but no matter we thought it was great.  It was more nerdy than geeky which was fine - Geoff and Tom thought it was interesting and Kate & I were fascinated by the building and the furnishings and fixtures which we thought were such a strange mix of old and new.  There was a poetry booth where you could record your own poems but we were a bit late for this.

We then braced ourselves for walking across the city centre through loads of people out on the town for a Saturday night.  We looked slightly incongruous in our coats and glow sticks, and Tom not surprisingly walked slightly separately, but it was good and I think Newcastle is that sort of city which has a fantastic night life but you don't feel threatened walking past.  It also prompted Kate's quote of the night which was 'reclaiming the night life' - perhaps we were being nostalgic for our 20s.........
We got to the Laing Gallery for another weird and wonderful performance.
A comedy duo called 'Robin and Partridge' - no idea what they were saying or doing, far too alternative for me but great to watch in a slightly detached manner.  Geoff very much likes 'performance art' or whatever it is so he sat right among it and really enjoyed it, Kate watched from the gallery and I wandered round the edge.  The best part was looking round the gallery with no one else around - it was a really different feeling.

It was getting late now but we just though we could make one more venue so we dashed to the Hancock Museum.  We were just in time to see the last show in the Planetarium and it was fantastic.  It was one of the those times when you appreciate how wonderful technology is - it was only a short show but was definitely worth it.  We are going to revisit soon to see one of the regular shows.
There was also circus skills including juggling which rounded off the evening nicely.
We walked back to the car after a great evening - roll on next year.

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