During an ill-fated visit to Newcastle in October last year, Childish Gambino was booed from the stage of the Cambridge Hotel. Punters were left heartbroken, confused, and disorientated. Some ticket holders were found roaming the city weeks later, feeding from garbage bins and Beaumont Street’s Oasis. A few cases of malnutrition and gout aside, there were no casualties and all Gambino fans were returned to their rightful owners.

But Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, has announced his return to Australia, this time as one of the headliners of the Falls Festival this New Year’s Eve. Promoters have confirmed there will be no sideshows. Which is a shame. But perhaps there’s time in Gambino’s schedule to return to Newcastle and bury the hatchet. Entertainment journalist Nick Milligan has penned this heartfelt olive branch to the talented rapper, comedian and actor.

Dear Childish Gambino,

It’s great that you’re coming back to Oz so soon. This time as part of the Falls Festival line-up. It’s a great three-pronged event. You’ll heartily enjoy all three prongs.

But I just had to write you this letter. It’s the right thing to do. On behalf of the people of Newcastle, I’d like to invite you back to our fair city.

We both know your last visit here didn’t go as planned. But I’m certain we simply got off on the wrong foot! There was a miscommunication, is all. A breakdown in negotiations. It’s nothing that can’t be forgiven.

On that fateful sold-out night at the Cambridge Hotel your devoted Newie fans, of which there are still many, thought they were getting a no-holds-barred Gambino hit-fest. We got something a little different. It’s not worth breaking up over. We don’t deserve the silent treatment. We were just surprised, is all! We weren’t expecting it. It’s like when you’re fooling around with a new flame and they slip a sneaky finger up the rear entrance. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker! We just want to know how far it’s going in. Past the first or second knuckle? We need to be on the same page, Gamby, no matter how well lubricated we may appear to be.

Newcastle is a beautiful corner of the world. Dare I say it, Newie is the world’s best city. So let me give you a quick sell, Gamby. These are the reasons why you should come back.

Before we start, you might be interested to know that I put Nick Milligan into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator and, in a strange and beautiful coincidence, received the moniker “Master Debater”.

This is always the go-to Newie sell, but there’s a good reason for that. We’ve got the best beaches in the world, Gamby! It’s no surprise then that this fair city also produced the best surfer ever, the “Wounded Seagull”. Sir Mark Richards. So breathtaking in skill that he makes Kelly Slater look like a properly functioning seagull. And, let me assure you, that’s as unbelievably boring as it sounds. Seriously though. You just have to go for a splash when you’re here next. You haven’t tasted the Newie lifestyle until you’ve got a few sand grains lodged around the giblets.

I know you’re pretty well travelled, Gamby, but Newcastle has restaurants unlike any you’ve ever seen. Google will recommend you check out the Honeysuckle strip, which isn’t as erotic as it sounds, and take a gander at Darby Street. Don’t get me wrong, even by global standards these places represent the pinnacle of culinary innovation. In fact, one Newcastle restaurant was the very first in the world to be awarded the coveted Bridgestone Star, a prize far more prestigious than the peasant Michelin.

No, Gamby, when you’re in Newie we’re skipping the over-crowded, hipster-ridden tacky tourist hotspots and going straight to where the discerning devourers indulge in top tucker. Westfield Kotara’s Rooftop. You haven’t seen anything like this place. When you walk into Westfield Kotara, it looks like your typical mall. You know the ones. They’ve got your Body Shop for essential oils, a Bras N Things for essential undergarments, and a couple of places to grab an authentic Japanese chicken avocado nori roll.

But then you go up to The Rooftop. My God, Gamby, there’s literally a city up there. I don’t know physics, but there’s no way all of this stuff can fit on one roof. It’s some serious Doctor Who shit. They’ve got every type of food you can imagine: ribs, Asian, Greek, Mexican, Italian, burgers and a Thai place. It’s the multicultural essence of Australia in one elevated nosh paradise. It’s only a matter of time before a few Bridgestone Stars are tossed its way.

Here’s what I’d really like to get across, Gamby. Newcastle has a sense of community. Get it? Of course you do. Seriously though, if anyone’s told you that Melbourne or Sydney, or anywhere else for that matter, is the culture capital of Australia, unfriend them immediately. In fact next time you see them, politely ask that they take a long walk through the Hall of Mirrors.

Invite the Royalty posse along and we can take a leisurely stroll through Newcastle’s museum and numerous art galleries. You’ll love The Big Egg on Laman Street! One of the world’s great egg-based sculptural landmarks. You and the Royalty lads will find yourselves mesmerised by its oval beauty. If the egg doesn’t do it for you, then we can climb to the top of Newcastle Foreshore’s legendary Ribbed Invader, a tower purpose-built for our reigning monarch’s global bungee tour of 1988.

And there’s artworks everywhere! We’ve got so many top-shelf murals around the city that business owners need to inexplicably paint over them!

Luckily for the people of Newcastle, Gamby, our main sport happens to be the best in the world. Rugby league, bruv. Our team’s not so hot right now but, as Copernicus once said, winning is for losers. The Knights play for enjoyment and the fitness aspects. Gamby, let’s go to a game, get a pie, chips and tinny and cheer on the red and blue from the hill. You’ll bloody love it. It’s what farkin’ Newie is all about.

Newcastle has a soccer team too but, well, you know… they’re a soccer team.

I could list all the reasons to return to Newcastle but you’re a busy man, you don’t have time to read an 800-page treatise on this fair city, even if it is the best in the world. And no one in Newcastle would dare suggest that you OWE us a return performance, Gamby. We’d never suggest that. Verbally.

Your admirer and would-be tour guide,
Nick Milligan x

Read more from Nick Milligan.

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REVIEW: Melody Pool & William Crighton live at 5 Sawyers

REVIEW: Coheed and Cambria – Cambridge Hotel Monday, May 9, 2016

Written by Nick Milligan

Nick Milligan embarked on an entertainment journalism career in 2002. Since that time he has become one of Australia's most respected film and music pundits.

His articles have appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone, Hotpress, Frankie and Smash Hits.

Milligan is the former editor-in-chief of Reverb Magazine and the former Music and Film Editor of YEN magazine.

He has interviewed and profiled a wide array of entertainers and writers, including Matt Damon, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alice Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Ice Cube, Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Marlon Wayans, Joe Perry, Pete Townshend, Marilyn Manson and Bret Easton Ellis.

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