REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL: Lockdown 2 – The Return | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Curvy Sounds

Back during the simpler times of the first lockdown, in between washing our shopping and maniacally clapping on our doorsteps, we celebrated the vast array of creativity which transferred from our beloved cultural venues onto the web. It’s a testament to the creatives in our region that so much genuine innovation took place, with activity continuing even when venues were able to open. And so, we once again round up our Reasons to be Cheerful – an ever-growing list of great people doing great stuff during Lockdown 2.

If Christmas shopping is on your mind, Ouseburn studio Mushroom Works will be sharing some of their SHOP products via their Facebook page, with items available for click and collect. Northern Print also have opportunities to buy beautiful gifts and prints from their website. The Biscuit Factory also allow online shopping, check out their beautiful range of original artwork.

Don’t rely on sub-standard supermarket booze, get some good stuff from Sunderland’s Little Shop, or stock up on unusual brews from Ouseburn boozer The Free Trade Inn via their ‘click and collect’ service (where you can also grab a physical copy of NARC. to add to your order!). Ouseburn institution The Cumberland Arms are also doing a pick-up service, where you can buy cask ale and cider in 2pt take-out containers plus cans and bottles. Wylam Brewery offer a chance to ‘fill your bag with freshies’, and they have some fun merch too.

If the thought of cooking every night for the next 30-odd fills you with fear, let Eaglescliffe veggie restaurant The Waiting Room take the strain with their eat-at-home food collection service, available Wednesday-Sunday. Even better yet, head to Tynemouth Surf Cafe for take-out burgers from the excellent East Coast Burger Company, who will be serving breakfast and dinner (7.30am-3pm/4pm-10pm). Further takeaway options are available from Barnard Castle arts centre The Witham, and small plates and main dishes alike are available to takeaway from Darlington’s Voodoo Cafe.

Heaton’s musical instrument mecca Curvy Sounds will be open by appointment for those needing to drop off or pick up repairs. Their web shop is also still available, and they even offer payment by instalment.

Hankering after a new record to while away the lockdown blues? Grab the latest releases (and plenty of already-released gems) from online the versions of our favourite indie record stores: Reflex, Beatdown, 586 Records, RPM, Sound It Out and Beyond Vinyl.

Why not use Lockdown 2 to learn a new skill? Start with Dance City’s Zoom dance classes, where you can have a bash at everything from ballet to contemporary and hip-hop to Egyptian belly dancing! Get crafty at Stockton’s ARC and their Creative Arts & Crafts sessions, available to join via Zoom every Thursday 10.30am-12pm, lead by Michelle Tripp. Check their What’s On section for updates on future livestream and online participation events too.

Get your cultural fix at a variety of museums and galleries across the region, with many hosting virtual tours and entire exhibitions online. Check out these for starters: Great North Museum: Hancock, Hatton Gallery, Laing Art Gallery, Shipley Art Gallery, MIMA and BALTIC.

Newcastle comedy club The Stand still have bags of great on-demand comedy to watch via their website, and we’re sure there’s more to come from them soon streaming-wise, keep an eye on their socials for more. Talking of comedy, why not support local promoters Hilarity Bites by purchasing a gift card for use on a future show?

Live performances are still continuing in many venues, albeit behind closed doors and accessed via livestreams. We recently reported on Sage Gateshead’s livestream programme which includes Lanterns on the Lake, The Futureheads and Yazz Ahmed. Newcastle’s community owned venue, The Globe, are continuing with livestreams throughout lockdown with shows on the way from the likes of Balter, Rachael McShane & The Cartographers and Abbie Finn Trio among others.

Live Theatre’s wonderful collection of new writing, 10 Minutes To…Call Home, is available to view now; and there’s more theatrical action at Alphabetti’s website, where their collated online performances and audio plays are always online. The Star & Shadow Cinema’s collection of installation, video and radio shows are wide and varied; enjoy everything from Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith’s eclectic record collection on his Dear Listener show, to Em Anderson’s Unfinished/Unpublished radio show which celebrates creative projects which never saw the light of day. There’s more theatrical wonders on the Coronavirus Theatre Club’s YouTube page, where actors are paired with directors and scriptwriters to come up with short plays.

If you didn’t get into the virtual pub quiz craze during the first lockdown, Darlington Hippodrome are giving you another chance with their popular quiz every Friday in November. Head to their Facebook page from 7.30pm.

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