Category Archives: Newcastle

The Handyside Arcade


At weekends she worked
The Handyside Arcade.
Selling postcards and badges,
saying: right-on and peace and love.

And she smelt of magic,
that we came to imagine.
Like a place in Morocco,
but what did we know.

Oh she would pout like Bardot
I mean Bridget Bardot.
All French girl
transplanted to English.

So on weekends and whenever days,
whenever she was there.
We took turns to
visit her counter.

And that’s how it was
until one day she went.
Taking with her a piece
of our boyhoods.

But in truth I believe,
through manhood and middle years.
She inhabits our dreams,
at weekends through to whenever.

The Handyside Arcade in Newcastle
was the haunt of Hippies, then Punks.
It was demolished  in 81 to make way,
for a big nothing.

Original photo by kind permission of Skida

Lit and Phil

I remember the feeling well,
and the smell, a musty stink,
and the lady ladling out
cups of tea,
and the busts of important men
atop roman plinths,
and the racks of books,
and the bit below stairs,
the Loftus Room,
a large black grand piano.
A time when everything that’s read
comes from a comic,
book and newspaper.