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Toon on Top!

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28 Nov 2014
On the 22nd of November The Guardian announced this year's best city - Newcastle upon Tyne!
This comes with a mixture of praise and contempt as the Guardian headlined "The North-East of England: Britain's Detroit?” earlier in the year. Andy Beckett's article from May begins with a forbidding description of Darlington station "between the standard- class waiting room and cleaner's storeroom: a desk, a grimy extractor fan and two windows made opaque to passing travellers”. Andy attempts to paint a clear yet offensive picture of the North East - so it came as a surprise when the Guardian then introduced Newcastle as this year's winner over previous cities; Edinburgh and Bath.
Although it doesn't come as a surprise to those of us who are born and bred in the North East - Harry Pearson's article picks up on some of the finer points of the "Toon”. Using contrasting images and describing the Millennium Bridge as a "rainbow arch” Newcastle is the iconic city that is back up and coming!  
Over the past 20 years, Newcastle and Gateshead have invested over £250 million into a culture programme that has been the facilitator for the restoration and rebirth of many buildings, venues, outdoor art and public parks in the area. Key attractions in the city centre include the iconic Angel of the North, the Baltic Galley, the Sage Gateshead, the innovative Centre for Life and Seven Stories - Britain's national galley for children's books.
Granted, most of the attractions you see every day, but I am yet to venture into Seven Stories even though it just celebrated its 8th birthday this year. Being a book-worm and English literature graduate this is slightly disappointing! Just a couple of minutes walk from the Quayside, the gallery holds exhibitions, readings for children (and adults alike), events and even learning programmes.  
As new venues pop up, the spokesman for Newcastle and Gateshead has said that "culture isn't hidden away in its own exclusive corner of the city. You will find cultural venues, public art and street performers, integrated with retail, accommodation and nightlife”.
Approaching the festive season, Newcastle has already seen the Christmas light switch on by Metro Radio presenters Steven and Karen. With lots planned for the rest of the festive season including the Mayor of Bergen arriving in Newcastle to switch on the Civic Centres Christmas tree lights (Thursday the 4th of December at 6pm) alongside the Christmas markets - Christmas 2014 in Newcastle promises to be a good one. Plus don't forget to get your skates on at the Centre of Life!
To keep up to date this festive season and all year round, sign up to the newsletter and be the first to hear of new cultural events in Tyne and Wear!

Don't miss out on the proceedings the Best City of the Year has to offer! Visit the website for more information

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