I tried to ignore it, I really did. But the gust of wind that is slowly yet surely pushing the grey cloud of normalcy across our fair city just got a little too close for comfort last week and the irony is almost too much to bear. Here at Live we’ve written about the controversy surrounding the newly named Newcastle Hotel or The Newy which it has since been
self dubbed, but last week they delivered another swift punch to the public with a fresh coat of paint. The mural which once called the exterior walls of the Islington establishment home, has since received a makeover. By makeover I obviously mean, just like everything else in the city, has been covered with a thick coat of grey paint. But I mean, it was only a matter of time really. The newly acquired building will no longer serve as a specific LGBTQIA+ as apparently (as reported in the Newcastle Herald back in February this year) this notion is outdated.
The Newcastle Hotel, now stands as a grand centre point for the direction our city is moving in. I’m sure we’ve all tried to ignore it. I’m sure we’ve all turned a blind eye to the closing of independent businesses to make way for new apartment buildings. I’m sure we’ve all hoped, prayed (if we’re that way inclined) and wished for the best when it was decided that the ‘new’ hub of the city sat firmly in the West End far away form some of the best beaches in the country.
Usually I’m not one to call out something (or someplace rather), so specific. But if you all but openly declare you’re trying to normalise the clientele, then slap a coat of grey paint over the whole shebang to cover up any shred of individuality and then go on to dub it The Newcastle Hotel well… what’s a writer and passionate Novocastrian to do? Yes, sure, defenders of the venue will argue that my point is unfairly targeted and null and void, that’s fine it’s all part of my job. It might not have been where the whole gentrification or as one Facebook user called it beigeification of our fair city, but for many Novocastrians it’s the blow that’s had the most impact.
“Yeah righto dramatic much? nah, not even a little bit. Mostly because I keep coming back to the name of the establishment, and the fact that the apparent attitudes of the new owners and or managers seem no different to those who wish to cover the East End in high rise appartments. Perhaps their target clientele will all sleep 24 to a room just so they can afford to be remotely close to the centre of town.
There is a shift in the air. A shift that has never been as strong as the one we are all experiencing, as a collective, right now. There is more scaffolding than street art, more construction workers than tourists, more high rise appartments and shopping complexes than independent stores and just like mural which was covering the once iconic, eclectic and individual venue, the Newcastle will all know and love, is disappearing too.