Category: Culture

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Poetry Corner

Project Here

Harry Gallagher

We can’t afford the heating and petrol’s being rationed suddenly telling the truth seems terribly old fashioned. The food isles are half empty, we’re all going on a diet, now Project Fear is Project Here those baying voices are quiet. Their vivid sunlit uplands, so alluring years before, are now as distant as the stars […]

Waves: exciting new music festival in Sunderland

North East Bylines

Independent today announces Waves, Sunderland’s all new multi-venue music festival. Waves will see artists from across the region perform on Saturday 6 November across five different venues in the city, including The Peacock, Independent, The Ship Isis, The Bunker and Live Lounge. Ben Richardson says: “We’re super excited to finally be launching Sunderland’s very own […]

BBC makes biggest investment in the North East for decades

North East Bylines

The BBC is to make its biggest investment in the North East of England for decades as part of a new partnership with the region. The BBC will spend at least £25m over the next five years right across the North East to fund network TV production, talent development and support for the creative sector. […]

The bigger the lie: Houchen’s alternative facts about the Dorman Long Tower

Scott Hunter

The Dorman Long Tower was demolished on Sunday 19 September. The engineers’ report that occasioned its demise was published on Monday. Some will be unsurprised to learn that Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen’s, description of its contents bears little resemblance to reality. He has taken a few risks in the process. Will they pay off […]

Dance City premiere at Festival of Thrift

North East Bylines

Carlos Ara’s ‘Sea Saw’ has been announced as the first co-commissioned outdoor work for Dance City and the Festival of Thrift. The contemporary dance piece will premiere at the festival which is taking place this weekend on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September 2021, in the village of Kirkleatham, near Redcar. The Festival of Thrift […]

Poetry Corner

Cultural exchange

Judi Sutherland

Milo said it had to be a Pilsner dry as a saint’s bones, so we invited Tomasz, the Czech craft brewer, who brought yeast through Heathrow in a plastic bag. We used pale malt, a complicated mash, Saaz hops (minty, grassy, herbal); ran a slow fermentation, then we lagered it cool in the tank for […]

Audio articleBOX SET

Middle England: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear (8 parts AUDIO)

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]

Take a hike, BBC2: interview with Angus

Phil Coghill

BBC 2’s brand new series Take a Hike begins this month. The series consist of five episodes Monday to Friday each week, with five new participants every week walking across parts of England. Each hiker hosts their own episode where they choose the location, hoping to show the best walks the UK has to offer. […]

Sharon Hodgson, MP shows support for Second Hand September

North East Bylines

Sharon Hodgson MP is proud to join Oxfam this September in taking a stand against the fast fashion industry.  Second Hand September The #SecondHandSeptember campaign is celebrating looking fashionable in re-used and re-loved clothes. Both Sharon and the team at Oxfam are concerned about the environmental damage that fast fashion (mass produced clothes often at […]

Secret Kingdom 500, An epic road trip around the north

Johnny Walker

The secret kingdom 500 is no walk in the park, some of the roads are narrow, some are steep and challenging. The route lets you to discover the best that the ancient kingdom of Northumbria has to offer, from magical and mystical castles, stunning beaches, amazing local produce, with fresh from the sea and land specialties, quaint […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 5

Beware of Peg Powler!

Peter Lathan

“Beware o’ Peg Powler! Don’t tha go near to t’river bank!” That’s what generations of Teesdale parents have told their children. But it’s not just children that should take heed. Peg will grab anyone who gets too near the water’s edge and will drag them to their death in the river. Some say Peg would […]

Durham singer-songwriter to host outdoor walk-along performances

North East Bylines

This autumn Durham singer-songwriter Sam Slatcher will be taking fans on special gigs around the landscapes that inspires his music. From nature reserves to ancient ruins, and from hidden architecture to the impressive Durham Cathedral, the folk songwriter will be performing his songs on a series of ‘wandering gigs’ in and around Durham. The idea was inspired […]

Jim Cartwright’s ‘Road’ moves to Blyth in new production at Northern Stage

Yvonne Wancke

On the 35th anniversary of Jim Cartwright’s joyous and anarchic masterpiece, the residents of Road are relocated to the North East in the first show Artistic Director Natalie Ibu will direct for Northern Stage. Natalie said: “I’m excited to be working with a brilliant cast and creative team to explore the intersectionality between race, class […]

Welcome to developers’ world with Houchen and Dorries

Scott Hunter

One day into the job as Culture Secretary and Nadine Dorries has aleady signed the death warrant of the Dorman Long Tower, symbol of Teesside’s industrial past, unique example of brutalist architecture, and source of copious amounts of scrap metal for those authorised to take it away. Only last week, Historic England, assigned it grade […]


Cruella and how she came to power…

Katie Maughan

Disney’s prequel to the classic 101 Dalmatians, Cruella tells the story of how one of the most evil Disney villains came to power. The movie takes us to the fashion scene in 1960’s London, where Estella is making her debut as a designer. Orphaned and with a unique style, Estella catches the eye of the […]


Has Roy Chubby Brown become a champion of free speech?

Scott Hunter

Things were looking fairly encouraging for entertainer, Roy Chubby Brown, last week. After his show at Sheffield City Hall was cancelled by the City Council over concerns that his humour did not coincide with their values, a petition was set up to protest the ban. By the time it was reported in Gazette, on 7 […]

Hartlepool singer driving 700 miles to play biggest shows of his life

Daisy Windsor

BBC Introducing and Radio X featured artist Michael Gallagher, from Hartlepool, will be embarking upon a 700 mile round trip to play two UK festivals at opposite ends of the country less than 24 hours apart. This is the first festival season Michael is involved with and was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity […]

Support needed for touring musicians say artists at the Last Night of the Proms

Louise Brown

This Saturday thousands of musicians and artists gathered outside The Royal Albert Hall on The Last Night of The Proms to show solidarity and raise awareness to the plight of our touring arts industries, many of whom are now facing ruin since leaving the European Union. David Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Featured Artists Coalition […]


Whisper of the Heart: heart-warming moments from Studio Ghibli

Katie Maughan

Whisper of the Heart is a romantic movie from the renowned Studio Ghibli that portrays two young people following their artistic passions and falling in love. The film represents artists starting out in their fields, who wonder if they have the skills to make it as artists. Artists’ dreams Other Studio Ghibli movies have explored […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 4

The pickled parson of Sedgefield

Peter Lathan

The Reverend James Gamage, Rector of Sedgefield in County Durham from 1718 to 1747, certainly knew on which side his bread was buttered – and how to keep it that way! He was a prebend (a canon or member of the Chapter of a cathedral who was paid for administrative services) at Salisbury Cathedral at […]

The Transporter Bridge: past and future

Julia Mazza

The Transporter Bridge, that monument to Middlesbrough’s iron age,  is 110 years old in October and its age is beginning to show. The unique Grade II* listed structure received a Risk of Death notice in 2019 and has been closed ever since. At the time of its construction in 1911 the bridge provided a vital […]


Middle England: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear (8 parts)

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]


‘My mother said I never should’ and more at the People’s Theatre

North East Bylines

The People’s Theatre will be welcoming audiences back this month with Charlotte Keatley’s highly-acclaimed My mother said I never should, a warm and poignant exploration of womanhood set against the huge social changes of the twentieth century.  My mother said I never should Years pass in emotional rather than chronological order as four generations of […]

Following a thread: untangling the story of a homespun product

Judi Sutherland

I found this reel of cotton in my sewing basket, and I don’t remember how it got there. It’s obviously old, from the style of the label, and the fact the reel is wooden rather than plastic. Maybe my mother acquired it in the mid-1960s when our family spent a couple of years in Antrim. […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 3

The Cauld Lad of Hylton

Peter Lathan
the cauld lad of hylton

I’ve known the story of the Cauld Lad of Hylton all my life. When he was cold, my dad wouldn’t simply say, “I’m freezing” or something like that, but he’d clasp his arms around himself and moan, in sepulchral tones, “Aa’m cauld! Aa’m cauld!”

…and the walls came tumbling down…

Scott Hunter

Have some sympathy for Jacob Young , MP for Redcar. As  the news comes out that permission has been sought to demolish the Dorman Long Tower, he has been made a complete fool of by Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen. Young it is who is so enamoured of the tower that he has a picture […]

Poetry Corner

The fancy mice

Harry Gallagher

‘Fancy Mice’, I found out today are just domestic rodents, which I feel confident saying is a missed opportunity. How much better it would be if The Fancy Mice were instead a manufactured pop group circa 1973. They would sing falsetto over cheesy backing tracks they’d never heard, before the soft clunking of a studio […]

Poetry Corner

Spa at Portavadie

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

On shingled shores of Loch Fyne Reflected through rock pools of time, Spewed from the bowels of the planet Titan’s marbles slung in granite Cushioned amid bruised heather, Cirrus sweeps as a feather Over Arran’s caldera looming large; An old god, re-forged. Gentle tides abandon jellyfish In this wild petri-dish, Shrinkwrapping surrounding shells, water evaporates […]

North East History

The Tom Brown story

Mark Bell

There are two Tom Browns, I could never meet, one fictitious and the other an unsung WW2 North Shields boy-hero, whose actions helped break the Enigma code and help shorten the war. In ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’ published in 1857, set in Rugby school, Thomas Hughes the author describes the unwritten rules that create a brutal […]

Kizomba dance fusion at Saltwell Park

Yvonne Wancke

Local dance teacher, Lauren Rafferty, and her group of dancers recently recorded a video at Saltwell Park. Their dance is a fusion of modern ‘Western’, with Kizomba. Kizomba is an African dance, originating from Angola and is normally danced with a partner. Lauren explains: “Unfortunately due to the pandemic, when we started rehearsals we were […]