Things I’ve noticed about Newcastle

I’ve been in Newcastle for about two months and whilst finding my way have made the following observations:

  • Male/female friendships aren’t as common here. At least not as they were at uni in Birmingham. The other day I was walking home with some male friends and some boys biked past and yelled ‘FOUR ON ONE!’ Despite this theory, I’m very much lacking girly friends! The music scene is rather male dominated, but when I go out it tends to be for a gig or a post gig drink, so I’m mostly around men.
  • The aforementioned music scene is delightfully strong. There’s a fantastic sense of support between bands; local gigs are often packed out. The instrument of choice is the guitar – pedalled up with minimal distortion and lashings of reverb. I’ll be posting about local bands soon.
  • Clothing is less fussy here. Unless you’re on a night out (huge heels and tight dresses are the uniform of female choice it seems), people tend to make practical style choices. In Birmingham the fashionistas come and go with the Summer, but I’m hoping it’s the opposite in Newcastle.
  • I’ve been told it’s ‘cold but doesn’t rain much’ up here in Newcastle. I think I’ve been lied to.
  • Housing tends to be fairly priced. Admin fees, however, are sky high. In Heaton (where I live), most properties are upper and lower maisonettes (three bedrooms.) I like living in my upper flat – I feel like I’m less likely to shut myself away when I’m at home now.
  • Morrisons in Byker is the world’s worst supermarket in terms of layout. It’s nonsensical.
  • All the landlords must be using the same bed shop. Everyone has these strange 3/4 beds. You can’t get sheets to fit them, although my double duvet drapes nicely over the top…
  • There’s a convenience store on every corner. In town there’s a Greggs bakery on every street.
  • Every shop window seems obsessed with the price of milk. I’ve seen so many convenience stores with ‘Milk, 2 pints – 79p!’ handwritten on stickers.

Milk

Milk

I like it here, but I’m still getting to know it. Town’s not as disorientating as it once was, but I’m not sure it’s sunk in that it’s my home – quite possibly because I have no set time for being here. It’s not like uni. I knew I’d be in Birmingham for three years, but with Newcastle I don’t know!

On the radio

I’ve moved to Newcastle to work full time as a producer/presenter/webbysocialmediapersonthing for Amazing Radio and I need ‘real people’ to help make my show sound fabulous.

So how can you do this? Well, in a number of ways…

Get your music onto amazingtunes.com

I know many an unsigned/independent band, particularly from Birmingham but I’ve always been a tad tentative about begging them to get their stuff onto amazingtunes.com. Therefore, consider this post asking. All of the acts that we play on Amazing Radio have profiles on amazingtunes.com, an ‘ethical’ music site where artists can upload their tracks for streaming, downloading or selling. If an act wants to sell their music it costs 79p per track and the act keeps 70% of this figure (about 52p.) This is far more than your average distribution/online marketplace (i.e iTunes) and cuts out the costly middleman. So far we’ve had some fantastic Brum-based acts on air including Tantrums, Tom Peel and OST – but I want to hear more!!!

Pick your own playlist

It’s easy… and wierdly addictive! If you create a profile on amazingtunes.com you can make playlists to your heart’s content. One of the features of The Afternoon Show is a user generated feature called The Four Tops. The idea is that you create a four track playlist, think of some reasons why it’s awesome… and then we play it! All you need to do is email it to me, and I’ll give it a good listen.

Prove your rock and roll credentials

We’ve got an awesome Operations Manager at Amazing Towers (HQ) called Kevin Read. He’s basically been to rock central and back. Every wednesday on The Afternoon Show we pit a competitor against the K-Train and see if they’ve got an edgier tale – essentially whether they can out hardcore Kev. If you think you’re up for the challenge get in touch! (It’s definitely my favourite feature of the week.)

Big up your music scene

We like to celebrate musical centres of excellence at Amazing Radio, and I can certainly think of a few musical regions I’m hugely impressed with, including Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham. The Newcastle scene itself is incredible (more about that another time!) If you think your region deserves a week of celebration on the airwaves, let me know why.

Find an unsigned act to love

I have to admit, there’s an irresistable feeling of smugness that I get when I find a new act that not everyone knows about yet – I feel even better when I spread said act on and other people agree. We’ve got a feature on The Afternoon Show that aims to fill your weekly smug-new-music-quota called Matchmaker. All you need to do is tell me three acts you love (old or current) and our ‘matchmakers’ will find you an act from the amazingtunes.com ranks to love. The musical boffs at Amazing Towers absolutely love to compete to see who can find the best pick – so start sharing!

Promote yourself!

Got a blog? We want to celebrate music bloggers and sites by featuring a new Website of the Week every Monday. The winners will also have a special post on the site dedicated to them – it’s all about helping those who help new music. If I do have readers, they’re probably bloggers – so there’s no excuse not to get in touch!

Share your words, not just your music

I present the Amazing Folk Roots Show every Sunday at 7pm and Wednesdays at 6pm (as well as producing The Afternoon Show every weekday from 3 – 6pm), and we’re always looking for poets to send us their words and recordings, so let me know if you’d like to hear your work on Amazing Radio.

So…

Here endeth the shameless self promotion post, but I’ll hopefully return to more regular updates soon. I’m going to find a band and maybe start reviewing again, I’ve not quite decided yet. My first task is to find somewhere to live for September! I moved up to start working at Amazing before I graduated so I’m confined to a suitcase and am living without proper internet at the moment. Newcastle is fantastic, but I miss everyone back in Birmingham and Kent very much.

Don’t forget to get in touch! Email frankie.ward@amazing-media.com