"News" reports this week about a venue deciding to change their name got me really angry.
In some part it was probably the media outlet spinning a press release into clickbait, but also the "opinion" pieces that soon followed from so-called community members that were outraged that the venue had decided to not only change their name but were looking to take a greater focus on music rather than just being a safe space for a section of the community.
It made me angry that a small business owner would have such negative press published about them just for trying to ensure their business could remain profitable it what appears to be some very trying times for local music venues here in Newcastle. These passionate fans of what soon will be "once was" are quick on the attack but where were they while the venue sat for sale for a reasonable time period? Where were they when their "safe space" needed them?
I try really hard to be a positive and optimistic influence on the community.
I love watching people in our city trying new approaches to keep the place we all love exciting and engaging for those around them. Here is a chance for a venue to transform and cater to the evolving musical tastes of us all.
If the community isn't providing what you want or need, it is also a chance for you to create it. A petition for a business to keep its name and keep doing what it has always done just because you want to know it is there if you chose to visit, as far as I'm concerned that is not cool. It would seem pretty obvious that what they were doing wasn't working or they wouldn't be changing.
In case you haven't worked out where I am talking about yet, it is the Gateway Hotel, soon to become the Newcastle Hotel. The Small Ballroom is apparently sticking around and they are going to double down on live music. They are adding a fresh food option (rumours are flowing in thick and fast for this one) and changing things up from what the venue had traditionally catered to.
Sure, I can appreciate some of the LGBT community being upset, change is hard, but I don't really see how changing the music and adding food really change it. All I've seen in press release coverage is a venue trying hard to broaden their audience because they need more punters through the door. Maybe I am missing something.
I thought people make the community, not some sticker on a door, it is up to us to create the spaces we want and support the businesses that create spaces that make us feel welcome. That's how I choose where I am a patron of and I've no doubt the musical selections The Newcastle Hotel make will have the biggest effect on when (and if) I visit.
We are all in this together, it feels like what we really need right now is some compassion that everyone is trying their best to create what they believe will work the best.
If Newcastle doesn't have what you want, why not make it?