By Press Room Contributor Scott-Patrick Mitchell
Friday – 5pm, Newcastle Museum
Undoubtedly everybody who has visited TiNA or NYWF had invariably gotten lost in the city streets of Newcastle at some point. After all, the city has a particular charm of being maze like. Add to the fact it has an expanse of winding pathways, disused train stations and little known alleyways and yeah…this is one city where the modern marvels of GPS are essential.
NYWF have capitalised on this novelty this year with a walking tour aptly titled Get Lost. Friday evening saw NYWF co-coordinator David Graham lead a rag tag mob of tote wielding TiNA fans through Newcastle’s streets, taking them through a fabricated history of the area, one interspersed with random moments of truth. Oh, and 10 locations, each defined by a poster featuring the work of a local writer.
Megaphone in hand, Graham wove a tale of Newcastle defined by great train wars, Venetian masquerade parties and giant street shaping sand worms. Interspersed amid these fabulous lies, we learnt about how Newcastle’s architecture paid homage to every era and that if you walk past those giant headphones while somebody is reading a poem, the headphones are gonna turn on and invariably drown out whomever is reading.
Our walk was made all that more enjoyable by the fact that when a poster was missing/ had been taken down, the writer who wrote it was typically present. This made for moments of variation and intimacy where the tour group would huddle in close and listen to writer bravely annunciate their work while random passer bus strained to eavesdrop on the experience.
Now there is the opportunity for those who missed out to play along in their own time. On the NWYF website you will find a map of the walking tour that you can follow. Please note though that two or three of the posters have been removed so in certain locales you may have nothing to read. That’s why NYWF have provided audio recordings of the writers reading their works for you, which you can download and plug in and play and have the writer purr away right there in your ear.
Of course, this won’t replace the absolutely magical experience that occurred at the end of the walking tour on Friday: as we turned into Hunter Mall, a cavalcade of musical instrument bearing young students began to swarm us. This pop up performance from the Newcastle Youth Orchestra was an incredibly overwhelming ending to the walking tour, one that shall ever cement it in my memory as one of my best TiNA experiences ever. Now…you must excuse me…I have to go present on a panel and hopefully not get lost in the process.