It is always good to spend time in the company of people who get stuff done and Pink Lane Jazz Co-op are do-ers, enthusiastic, welcoming, with good ideas. At the opening event on Friday 9th May saw The Globe, an empty pub in Newcastle City Centre re- open - as a jazz venue. The place was packed out with 200 or so people who'd bought shares in the venture and wanted to come along to show support.
Pink Lane have a good team. Dave Parker (why is it so often bass players who run jazz clubs?) and Minnie Frazer gave the introductions. Good to hear that Minnie is a surveyor - all the best projects have one, they are just the people to tackle all that tricky building stuff. Not that The Globe is in bad nick - a bit of TLC and some paint will help enormously. More importantly it's locations is pretty good - no neighbours to annoy, the college car park not far away, the station and metro just a short walk. Visitors were offered a tour. The downstairs room is cosy - it is going to be crowded for the bigger gigs but that'll be no bad thing. The upstairs has potential for a chill out area, education space, maybe even with a patio!
We were all given a glass of celebratory champagne and a questionnaire to fill in about the place, and crucially to say what we were prepared to do to help make it happen. This was a good idea, immediately getting people thinking and talking. I liked the genuine welcome and the optimism too - no negative comments here about the uneconomic nature of jazz or gloom about the future. A co operative will undoubtedly be hard to make work and there will inevitably be fall outs but the first session felt good and the support genuine. Joan Geany, who has seen it all when it comes to co operative ventures, was stunned by the support and number of people who had come forward. "The largest and best co-op I've been involved in" she says. Good to see a jam session in full swing too and nice to be invited to play by Dave (the fraternity of bass playing jazz organisers is intact) and nice also to see that the original tenants of the pub were back to help run it and were so pleased it see it full again.
So keep an eye on Pink Lane Jazz co - op. This could be a model for the rest of the UK Jazz world, invented in Newcastle.