Gemma Critchley: It’s not that grim up North

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

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Today I made a trip up the A1 to the very fine city of Newcastle. The purpose of my trip was for a couple of client meetings with work, which incidentally went well but the true success of the day, I feel, was the fact that I managed to get there, sans sat nav, in one piece, on time and managed to get back okay, too.

Now, driving to Newcastle and back from Leeds alone may seem like nothing much to shout about, but I seem to have rediscovered a sense of adventure from my trip. I’m not sure if it was because I was by myself and therefore felt a sense of independence and freedom that I rarely seem to stumble across at the moment, or if it was the blazing sunshine and the splendid piece of Anthony Gormley art that sprung up on me during my drive. Yes, that’s right, I’d forgot that the Angel of the North even existed.

angel of the north anthony gormley

Crazy to think, really, considering that Gormley was one of my favourite artists when I was studying. But I suppose that highlighted the whole concept of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – a thread that seemed to run through my day like slowly unravelling stitching. I think if you don’t consciously engage with things – or even the idea of things – then you forget all about them. Art, adventure, travel, new cities, sunshine, being in close proximity to large bodies of water and bridges – all of these things felt new and exciting today because I think I’d forgot about them.

The city of Newcastle itself was wonderful, all sheer valleys and hills, gorgeous buildings glowing in the early morning sunshine, water stretching off, sparkling into the distance. Impossibly high bridges in all manner of styles of architecture. Bustle, friendly chatter, accents and a sense of warmth that didn’t come from the sun. I loved it.

But what I loved more was the fact that Newcastle reminded me of a lot of the honest, earthy things inside me that make me tick. The city reminded me not to forget these, and I’m going to keep a hold of that.

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Posted in: Gemma Critchley