“If this is your first time; welcome! And if it’s not your first time welcome!” The summit meeting of Newcastle’s vinyl aficionados has begun.
Now in its sixth year, Mr. Drayton’s Record Player is a mainstay on the Tyneside Cinema’s events calendar - an institution of the city’s alternative nightlife. For the uninitiated; you buy your ticket, grab a beer, take a seat and listen to a vinyl record all the way through. It’s the black crack cinema experience. What could be painfully niche and middle-class is masterfully balanced by affable host, Mr. Steve Drayton, who pairs smart musical choices with comedic anecdotes and hypnotic accompanying slide shows.
It shouldn’t work. It should be hipster heaven, where musical morons argue who sung it better (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels or the Righteous Brothers?), but any pretension is left at the door as the broadly aged audience chill out and enjoy some tunes.
October has been punk month, seeing audiences vote on wax showdowns between the likes of The Clash, The Damned and Suicide. Tonight is a ten-way battle royal between, amongst others, The Adverts, Buzzcocks and Anti-Nowhere League. Breaking format to establish seven-inch supremacy, punters were invited to submit and justify the best punk single from 1977. Straight out the gate suggestions are made that to be truly punk the loser must be the winner - with prizes ranging between a box of One Direction plasters and five English pounds. This crowd is less competitive, more collaborative; North East arts culture at its finest.
After much laughter, verbal sparring and many beers, ‘Pretty Vacant’ by the Sex Pistols reigns superior over the rest. Fun was had but now it’s time to leave. The record player won’t suit the Diamond Strip crowd but for those seeking something different it’s a true gem in the Newcastle arts scene. Or to quote one of the slides in the aforementioned show; “Go see it first then you may have the audacity to contradict me you stupid sl*ts.”