It means nothing to me, mackem Vienna

Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart

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ROCK on and dream on Dave Stewart. Sunderland, a city of culture?

The ageing rock star must be suffering from a severe dose of nostalgia and have stars in his eyes to even see us vieing with Vienna as a creative powerhouse. Does Vienna have a Blandford Strasse?

What pie-in-the-sky for the Sunderland-born songwriter to suggest such. It’s good to see that after all of these years living in his mansion in LA he hasn’t forgotten his roots.

But, maybe a visit to the city would get things into perspective before his gig here in September.

And maybe when the music superstar made an exclusive video message, played ahead of the question and answer session of the new Sunderland City Centre Trader’s association this week, he was wearing rose-tinted specs.

He has to be to believe that any rock solid regeneration is going to happen.

There was a surreal quality about his musings and how one person could make a real difference in comparing us to Vienna and citing Alma Schindler, the wife of composer Gustav Mahler, who hosted a series of meetings in the early 1900s, bringing all sorts of artists together and turning Vienna into that creative powerhouse.

Perhaps Dave sees himself as that person with his: “An entire city can change through one person.” High time he came to see just how Herculean a feat it is to see any change happening here.

He is right to say: “There is one thing I think is really important – that creativity is not locked out of the area”.

What he doubtless does not appreciate is how we have been locked out from anything remotely uplifting for years.

And so in the midst of my misgivings, I applaud Dave for wanting to see change here.

But that’s why it’s imperative that he sees the city as it is and be on the bandwagon for addressing the fundamental problems and get the basics done, bring businesses back and proper shops instead of charity ones. Because without this would people really want to come to Sunderland unless we have got something to attract them?

Until there is something interesting – and massive strides need to be taken to address the empty, boarded up shops in the city and high unemployment – we can’t be in the league of a cosmopolitan city.

And that’s the crux – it’s diversity and all that’s eclectic that attracts and that’s what we are crying out for.

Easy enough to open a Hospital Club on the Vaux site as Dave’s suggested but before this city can hope to host any creative members’ club we have to see concrete change. Something we’ve been starved of in a mire of stagnation.

And here’s what Dave wants us to aspire to – the Hospital Club in the heart of Covent Garden, a venue for some of the London’s “most chic and exclusive events and fabulous parties. It’s a centre for cultural and social gatherings; a place for meeting, working, thinking, creating, learning, playing, drinking, eating, relaxing. We’re a place of creativity, inspiration, stimulation and excitement. And, last, but by no means least, there is the exquisite food prepared by the Chef and his talented kitchen team – not to mention the wonderful wine list and divine cocktails.

“Be it that essential cup of perfect morning coffee, deliciously inspiring lunch for an all-day brainstorm, or the tray of canapés and ice-cold drinks to celebrate 5pm – our aim is to deliver exceptional service with warmth, style and efficiency with a view to inspiring creativity and success.”

I’m sure the Sunderland branch will mirror the creative hub of the capital. As for cafe society, forget all-day brainstorming, we do all-day breakfasts. And we have exquisite food, prepared by the lasses behind the Greggs counter. Divine cocktails come in fishbowls for quaffing, one apiece.

It’s two years since Dave announced on his Twitter account he was co-writing and producing the new studio album by Stevie Nicks, which was released in May last year.

And you know what it was called? In Your Dreams ...

Society is being failed by Judge

WHAT a horrific precedent Judge Gareth Hawkesworth set this week in letting a boy of 14, who raped a five-year-old girl while babysitting, walk free and blamed his actions on his exposure to pornororaphy and “the world and society.”

 The judge at Cambridge Crown Court sent out the disgracefully wrong message with: “I’m satisfied it was impulsive and I believe you have become sexualised by your exposure to and the corruption of pornography.”

That boy should have been locked up. He got no punishment whatsover with a sickening three year community service order.

Where’s the justice in that? None whatsoever. And the parents of his victim can take no solace that their child’s attacker is being severely punished.

It’s not the first time that this 63-year-old judge has caused outrage. Last year he was condemned after failing to jail Turon Ali, 26, who groomed a 14-year-old schoolgirl. Last month, he allowed serial burglar Nathan Cassidy, 20, to walk free after hearing he would find a prison cell “too traumatic.”

Any 14-year-old knows right from wrong and never mind the internet corrupting him.

A boy like this needs long-term training in a secure unit. He obviously isn’t getting any basic anything at home.

Yet, that is where he has been sent by a judge, so wanting in common sense and sound judgement, the sooner he is put out to grass, the better.

He is failing society with such flawed thinking to make right-thinking ones see red, when a rapist is let off Scot free.

Best bra none

SEEN in the city with her bra on show in a backless frock, what was this damsel in distress thinking of to appear in public so unseemly dressed?

Crimes against fashion come in all guises, the bare-faced and bare backed.

Don’t dare to wear the frock if you haven’t got the bra.

Now this bling, diamante back bra, which can be worn a mind-boggling 10 different ways, is destined to make an impression.

The latest lingerie line by Ultimo’s Michelle Mone is £36.

And if you aren’t strapped for cash, there’s a diamond-encrusted creation worth a staggering £800,000 which can be made to order. I bet it can.

Many happy returns, Cheryl

EEH, worrivor next? How much does wor Cheryl love herself? So much that all her marras at her 29th birthday party in Las Vegas last Saturday, wore Cheryl masks. It’s one thing going incognito and quite another going as Cheryl.

Imagine partying with people who all look like you? Enough to drive you out the door. What a nightmare.

No wonder Cheryl had earlier written on her own Twitter page, “Erm… few questions!! Who am I? Where am I?? Why am I?? What am I?”

Yer knaar yerself. Too many Tequillas methinks.

The sun has got his (rain) hat on

SOME suicidal summer. What a washout with June the wettest in history. We didn’t even need the Met office to tell us that twice as much as we’d expected fell, since rainfall records began in the UK in 1910.

Just like our spirits. Who is to blame? That’s the question. But there is no one. You can’t get vent. You want to rant and rage at the unfairness of it all, furious that summer’s almost gone and it’s all depressingly downhill.

It’s past a joke and we’re past ourselves. As for last Thursday, I thought the end of the world had come.

The next day number one son, who had been basking in the sun in London, told me of a kid in school uniform he’d seen, filmed doing the crawl up a street in Newcastle.

So, the very sight of some shafts of sunlight went clean to my head and I was well and truly touched by the balmy rays, to think I was in a foreign clime.

That’s certainly where you have to go if you want to see the sun before we put the clocks back ...

The Axe – The Colling hitlist

LET the axe fall on this eyesore in Hind Street, another one on a main route into the city centre.

Once a studio for artists to paint and hang out, now they have all gone, it looks even more forlorn.

It’s been crying out for a facelift for years, nothing too creative, just a long overdue clean up would do.