Friday, 11 November 2016
Newcastle Upon Tyne - Pictures From Market Street To The Quayside, 4th November 2016
I told in my last post of how I had not succeeded in my challenge to photograph a gorilla in a tutu. That's a sentence to confuse any chance readers who clicked on a link based on the title.
I had left an appointment at Broadacre House - a place where almost everything seems to happen - and needed to reach Tesco in Gateshead to buy a specific pizza. I'd decided to walk a route which would take me past the maximum number of Snowdogs. A Snowdog obsession was gradually developing. They've become like Pokemon for me. Gotta catch 'em all! Or at least see them all and take pictures.
I hadn't quite given up on the gorilla idea that day and hoped to see one somewhere. I decided that there might be one in an art gallery and since there was an exhibition on at the Abject Gallery I paid a visit. There was no gorilla. The paintings were good - and if the exhibition was still on I'd recommend seeing it. I like Abject. Both its galleries. Most people in the city probably don't know that these galleries exist. They are located in Bamburgh House, directly opposite Broadacre House on Market Street. Even if you don't like art then you should go, because Abject is situated on the ninth floor and the views across the city are excellent.
I'd also recommend going round the corner to the galleries in the New Bridge Project and in Commercial Union House and in the building next to that too. Newcastle has lots of little galleries that very often have interesting exhibitions that you'll love or hate. Explore them - most of them are free entry so there's nothing to lose and much to gain. I say that as a command to myself because I realise there are lots of galleries I've not visited yet - The Outsiders, System, Gallery North, and so on. And if you get a chance to visit the Side Photographic Gallery then do. That can be pretty awesome.
There wasn't a gorilla in abject. There were paintings such as this, painted by a contemporary Chinese artist. They were well painted but on this occasion weren't quite my kind of art. That didn't matter. I think it's good to see art and it's possible to find pleasure in it whether or not it matches your taste.
I left Abject and walked down the hill, in the general direction of Snowdogs. As I descended I passed a couple of examples of art. Some sticker art on a signpost. And a piece of stencilling on the wall by the entrance to World Headquarters.
Down the hill some more. I found this notice board containing all the useful news and information anyone would ever need in the city. I wonder when these boards last contained information about anything.
And then into the tunnel near those boards. It wasn't signposted. At all. I didn't have any idea what I would find at the other end but it seemed to be going in the right direction, seemingly under the city motorway that rips through our city.
I followed the tunnel. It led to stairs and more stairs. And then to a sign proclaiming that I was now in a multi-storey car park. That wasn't the plan! I thought about going back and finding a more normal route to the river. But perhaps there would be another way out of the car park. These steps couldn't be the only way. So I stepped out of the stairwell into the light. The view that greeted me was worth the stepping out.
I stood by the wall and looked down and for the first time in a long time I experienced a profound sense of vertigo accompanied by dizziness. Far below me, immediately below me, was the city motorway. And I had to step back.
I decided to climb to the top of the car park - or at least as close to the top as you can get. And the view improved. This is The Sage from a pleasing angle. I spotted that the big graffiti wall behind the sage had changed since I last passed it a few months ago when that particular panel had been painted in tribute to David Bowie.
The tower is that of Holy Jesus Hospital. I hadn't known there was a tower. It was built in the mid-17th century, sometime during the Interregnum and thus predates the building of the actual hospital.
To continue with the views from the car park - of The Sage, Tyne Bridge, All Saints Church, and in front of them the main east coast railway line.
This is Manors railway station - not to be confused with Manors Metro station. It's a quiet station. Newcastle station serves 22,000 people a day. Manors serves 6,500 people a year - that's 18 passengers a day. I should go and visit the station one day.
I couldn't stand in the car park all day. Marvin the Paranoid Android was once asked what he was doing in a car park. His response asked what else he would be doing in a car park except parking cars. Marvin, with a brain the size of a planet, was wrong. I had not parked a single car in that car park. But maybe the car park at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe didn't have quite the same views as a car park in central Newcastle.
I found a promising way out from the car park and passed under the railway to city road, close to the CastleGate which houses a big church that meets in what was the turbine hall for the generators that ran the electricity for Newcastle's tram system. Heading down the steps I found myself here.
I also found myself near my first Snowdog of the day - but this is a Snowdog free post. As you walk down towards the river a passageway on the right leads to this place. It's another place that most people probably don't know exists. Unless you're in the habit of looking up unknown parts of the city or you're in the habit of walking down passageways just to see what's at the other end it's unlikely you would know about this. Fortunately I have both of those habits.
This anchor came from one of the ships from the Spanish Armada.
This green space is connected to Live Theatre. Yes, theatre. Newcastle doesn't just have a thriving group of art galleries - and enough artists to fill them with an ever changing set of exhibitions. We have a thriving group of theatres too. And we have writers. Many writers. It's really great to live in a place where the various creative arts are evident. I'm only just beginning to discover them and I think the path of discovery is going to include some crazily exciting moments.
To close. My one moment of sadness for the day so far - because not finding a gorilla in a tutu hadn't saddened me particularly. At the back of the theatre was this skip. And in the skip there were these two boxes.
My sadness? That the boxes were too heavy for me to walk off with. Perhaps I should have gone into the theatre and asked about them and then pleaded for someone to deliver them to me. I'd have liked them. Never mind. Such sadness wasn't going to dampen the day. There was more journeying to be done as I reached the river and headed for my destination:
Tesco in Gateshead.
Sometimes the journey really is more interesting than the destination.