INTERVIEW: Little Buildings | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

The adage ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ never really applied to Little Buildings. For all that it had holes punched through its walls, empty Buckfast bottles strewn across its floor and the dubious distinction of Ouseburn’s least habitable toilets, nobody doubted that last April’s closure robbed the North East’s music scene of one of its most treasured spaces.

“In the beginning we didn’t really understand the role we would play, but once we started working with more promoters and bands from within the Newcastle scene it started to grow extra legs and took off from there,” recalls venue owner Allan Scorer. “We brought our own tastes in music with us, and from there we were able to watch many of the bands we champion nowadays grow and take time building confidence in the process.

The spirit of Ford Street will always live on, and that’s made by the people – not the bricks and mortar which surrounds us,” he continues. “If those walls could talk, they would tell some batshit tales from some of the rowdiest nights I have ever been involved in!”

In stark contrast, the remainder of 2019 wrought little but frustration, as Allan suffered a succession of knockbacks, dead ends and false starts in his search for new premises. Among them were proposals for a significantly larger space – first on Warwick Street, then in South Gosforth – the latter of which still rankles. “South Gosforth fell on its arse once the news broke in the public domain via our local tabloid,” Allan reveals. “We had the planning application in and everything was going well until the rent suddenly increased by £14k per year and a place which had been sitting empty for a good while suddenly had more interested parties.”

The spirit of Ford Street will always live on, and that’s made by the people – not the bricks and mortar which surrounds us

Over Christmas, however, news finally came of a breakthrough – not only was Little Buildings back, but back in a place with which many gig-goers are already familiar; atop Ouseburn’s Stepney Bank, next door to The Tanners Arms.

“We thought Ouseburn was pretty much off limits due to empty properties being sat on by land owners, so making a grand return was never really on the agenda,” Allan reveals. “Then out of the blue Andy Haggerston from Kaleidoscope asked if we fancied a look around, with a view to taking the space off his hands. It was a no brainer – being back where many of our friends play, practice and socialise, plus the location – it was a perfect match.”

With doors now open and the gig calendar beginning to fill up, the return of Little Buildings is already breathing fresh life into a thriving local circuit. Even so, Allan’s loftier ambitions remain unabated: “What I can tell you is that we will continue to look for venue number two, so that we can make Bigger Buildings a reality. The more places there are to play, the greater the chance of people picking up and learning an instrument or two and choosing a career in music.

“I wouldn’t say I considered sacking off the project, but I seriously considered reapplying for my JIB card [Joint Industry Board for electrical contractors] and dropping back into the old career to lick my wounds and regroup,” he recounts wryly. “Without soundbiting old clichés, those who know me get that I’m as stubborn as they come and love a good fight, so I couldn’t give up. We kind of fit the description for many underdog stories, and used that along with all the support from industry colleagues, artists, friends and regular gig goers to keep motivated and crack on.”

Check out the venue’s page on Facebook for up to date gig listings

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout