Category: Local

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Music

Sophia’s new single brings her sound to a new level

Yvonne Wancke

Filled with confusion, unanswered questions and mixed emotions, Stay explores the journey to revealing how you really feel. Sophia explains: “the track describes a certain feeling, when you’re in a situation you never want to leave, you just want to forget everything else, lay all your feelings on the table and stay in that place forever.”

Changing the system

Julie Ward

What we can do as citizens is to ensure there is a viable planet for our grandchildren to inherit. “Eat less meat… educate yourself… hold your parents to account… follow the money… Your money is either buying a hotter or a cooler climate,” said Eno.

A potted history of youth culture

Stephen Lambert

Since the late 1990s we’ve seen a multiplicity of conflicting groups and styles ranging from young people involved in acid house parties with its repetitive beat and new drugs such as blues and ecstasy to Goths dressed in black and white makeup and into art drawn predominantly from middle-class backgrounds. Recently ‘Rap’, ‘Emos’ ‘Skaters and the much maligned ‘Chavs’ as noted by Owen Jones have appeared on the social scene.

Take one leave one: “love in action”

Yvonne Wancke

Take One Leave One (TOLO) is based on a very simple idea. If you need a winter coat (or similar) you take one, if you have a coat to spare you leave one. It is described by the scheme’s founder, campaigner and investigative journalist Stefan Simanowitz as “love in action.”

Inspiring young women to challenge and call out inequality

Yvonne Wancke

International Women’s Day on 8 March is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme for this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’ with the aim of calling out gender bias and inequality and creating an inclusive world by challenging what we see and celebrating the achievements of women.

Is Britishvolt two timing Blyth?

John Jacobson

On Valentine’s day this month Britishvolt, the investor for the proposed ‘Gigaplant’ car battery manufacturing development for Blyth, professed its love for Northumberland in a Facebook post. The ‘post’ featured in a previous North East Bylines article highlighting the company’s changed affections from its earlier avowed intentions to locate the facility in Wales. The day after, on 15 February, Italvolt announced its plans in a press release for a new 4 billion Euro ‘Gigafactory’ to be built in an as yet undecided location in Italy.

Dear Mr Opperman: an open letter to the Tory MP for Hexham

Carol Westall

The UK has recorded over 3.9 million positive cases of Covid-19; of which more than 15,449 live in Northumberland. This means that, at least 390,000 people in the UK and 1,545 in Northumberland will continue to live with debilitating effects of Long Covid for many months, if not years, to come. Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic.

I am from Eastern Europe: I am fuming and I have been for a long time

Michal Chantkowski

I am fuming when seeing the way in which the government, the press, the authorities and other actors of public life treat Eastern European EU migrants. The issues related to the oversubscribed, under-resourced and woefully inadequate, digital-only EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) are well known. The government has also promised that any EU citizen who registers […]

New batteries from old, or will it be just the same old story for Blyth?

John Jacobson

It is a really remarkable story for a company formed just over a year ago, on 31 December 2019, by one person living in Sweden with no experience of electric battery manufacture and with an initial 100 shares of £1 nominal value each. The company balance sheet to July 2020 … notes that “During the period from incorporation on 31 December 2019 to 6 July 2020 the Company has not traded and received no income….”

Chimney collapse in Jesmond grates with cheese shop owner

David Hardman

On the evening of Saturday 6th February, a chimney collapsed from a student flat over the Cradlewell shops on Jesmond Road, Newcastle. The bricks fell onto the road at the front and into the yard at the back. Thankfully no one was injured. The police were informed, and they immediately evacuated the premises around the […]

Theatre

A “complete curveball” and a “safe haven” in Live Theatre, Newcastle

Robin Tudge

Feedback from all involved has been fabulous. Live Youth Theatre member Connor reflected that the film was “a complete curve ball to what we knew as theatre. It allowed us to explore our emotions, opinions and current experiences about lockdown while living in the moment, displaying an incredibly intuitive mixture of theatre.

Child poverty: a matter of urgency

Kate Bredin

Despite the government’s frequent statements on levelling up the country, only 19% of the British public think it is doing all it reasonably can to tackle child poverty according to a new online survey carried out in recent weeks. The survey was carried out by the End Child Poverty coalition, which consists of more than […]

Under the spell of ‘Mr Newcastle’

Stephen Lambert

Historically, we’ve been here before. One variant of this can be seen with the rise of the charismatic town hall boss T. Dan Smith in Newcastle. Dismissed by many as a corrupt politician on the make, Smith is now the subject of an alternative perspective by writers ranging from former Wear Valley Lib-Dem leader Chris Foote Wood and Tyneside historian Nigel Todd.

North East People

My first 10 years

Jim Walker

I was put in Rose dormitory, which slept about 12 of the youngest pupils; we were allowed to take a cuddly toy to bed with us, so I had my woolly elephant. I had to give him up when I graduated to Thistle dormitory 18 months later.

BREAKING

Farage’s new party gets its first councillor in Hartlepool

Yvonne Wancke

Reform UK, Nigel Farage’s re-incarnation of the Brexit Party boasted today that they had their first local councillor to date. This is none other than John Tennant in Hartlepool: former UKIP member, former Brexit Party MEP and one-time leader of Independent Union. No surprises really. So what is Reform UK exactly? Their website states that: […]

Recipe

Homemade yeti broth

Zac Wancke

The great thing about a recipe like this is, the more of one ingredient you have the more it will taste of that thing, and that’s never a bad thing!

Singing to breathe : help at hand for Long Covid

Carol Westall

People with Long Covid will be taught the breathing techniques of top tenors to help them overcome symptoms in a new NHS England therapy. Imperial College and English National Opera (ENO) teamed together for this programme in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme uses the techniques used for singers to improve quality of breath and help manage the anxiety that breathlessness often produces. Singing is shown to help retrain breathing, so ENO Breathe is using lullabies and singing exercises to help improve those with shortness of breath.

Dance teacher in lockdown

Helen Wilson

“I’m just going to put you on mute because I can hear your tumble dryer”
I continue to dream of the day I can stand in a studio in front of my students and not worry about social distancing, appropriate ventilation and a virus that has brought my profession to its knees.

BREAKING

Job losses announced at Nissan, Sunderland

Louise Brown

Nissan announced today that 160 jobs are now at risk. They confirmed that they are starting a consultation process with office-based staff. Although they say it will not affect production, this news is in stark contrast to their positive statements of last Friday which led Boris Johnson to boast of the “fantastic news for the brilliant Nissan workforce”. Not so amazing for the office staff though as it turns out.

Call for treasury jobs to come to the Tees Valley

Jane Neville

“Our town centres are the beating heart of the Tees Valley’ local economy. They are our culture, leisure and retail hubs, and we should be doing all we can to promote increased footfall – especially as we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

‘This is Us’ with Natalie Ibu at Northern Stage

Carol Westall

“As a 17-year-old Black Scottish working class girl, I decided I wanted to be an artistic director because I longed to work in community – with a team, with artists, with a place and with audiences. Northern Stage is exemplary at this with its commitment to its local and regional community…”

No jobs for the boys: the Northern Ireland experience

John Woods

The divided communities followed different paths after the Good Friday Agreement. The IRA opted for politics and disarmed, bar a rump of dissidents in remoter areas. Their communities always valued education and new opportunities were readily seized on. Loyalists were less fortunate as competition for ‘their’ state jobs increased and the automatic right to follow fathers into the shipyards vanished.