Joel Thompson – Booker, The Cluny, Newcastle


My parents were both musicians so I basically grew up at gigs and when I was 16 I was putting on my own gigs wherever would let my band play. Then I went on to put on a weekly night with bands from Leeds and Glasgow, the thinking behind that was if they were playing in either town they’d have to drive past us on the way so why not play a show in Newcastle too?

There really is a community at The Cluny. All the bands that want to try out their new stuff play here. It is an important place. You’ll find that most of the people have all been in bands with each other in the past and everyone is in two or three bands anyway.

The Cluny is in the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle, which has pretty much always been the centre of music and arts in the city. There are loads of music and artist studios there as well as printers and pottery workshops as well as us. Some of them are directly below us so we can ruin some of their classes when we’ve got a loud band on. When I first started out it was a thriving scene and then it simmered down a bit and I don’t really know why. That’s probably not exclusive to Newcastle. Music is cyclical and tastes change, people get older, get married and have children and settle down. Then it takes however long for the new generation to take their place.