NEWCASTLES everywhere will flock to Newcastle, Ontario, Canada for the Newcastles of the World Convention on Monday.
Yes it’s a real thing.
And Newcastle, NSW, will have a seat at the table alongside all the other Newcastles or New Castles. I can just see us now; talking coal mining and shipping with our namesake Newcastle upon Tyne.
Hobnobbing with New Castles from Indiana and Pennsylvania. Perhaps, if there is time, even chatting about agriculture and economic growth with Shinshiro, Japan.
The idea of bringing together places from around the world that share the name “Newcastle” came in 1996 from the then Newcastle upon Tyne-based arts manager John Nicolaou.
He created the “Newcastles of the World United” project, which resulted in a website and a book with this title, covering the Newcastles of the English-speaking world.
The aim was to foster links of friendship, culture, education and tourism, hopefully leading to economic links and benefits.
The idea is that of all the reasons why cities might wish to communicate and exchange, what better one than if they share the same name? However, there are also many Newcastles in the non-English speaking world and it was the mayor of one of them, in Shinshiro, Japan, who took the initiative to bring the Newcastles together via the Newcastles of the World summit, the first taking place in Japan in 1998 with delegates from Newcastle (South Africa), Neuburg-an-der-Donau (Germany), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), New Castle Indiana and Pennsylvania (USA), Newcastle-under-Lyme (UK) and Neufchâteau (France) joining their hosts in Japan. Subsequent gatherings were held in Switzerland in 2000, USA in 2002, South Africa in 2004 and 2010, UK in 2006 and 2012, Germany in 2008 and the Czech Republic in 2014.
Of course, the next conference will be held in Newcastle, Canada for five days this week. And not only will Newcastle be represented, we hear the folks at Out of the Square Media have submitted their Newcastle Inspired video to be shared on the Newcastles of the World website and Facebook page and shown at the conference.
We bet we’re the only ones with “Newy” on our name tag.
AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT
Topics blew up deluxe a few months ago when Arnott’s announced they had tampered with an Australian classic.
Then we tasted the “new and improved” Shapes flavours and we accused Arnott’s of holding our taste buds to ransom.
It was, admittedly, a little overboard.
But you've got to remember the uncertain and hostile landscape of that time.
People were panicking. Boxes of the old classics were selling for 2400 per cent above retail value. It was end of days stuff.
Then Arnott’s back-flipped, relayed that they had been “receiving loads of enquiries about our new Shapes flavours” and said the original flavour barbecue and chicken crimpy would still be available in stores.
This development was declared a victory by some media outlets, including one that pompously declared: MISSION. BLOODY. ACCOMPLISHED. But we weren’t content. We said no, it’s not good enough.
Well we got our wish.
Arnott’s have back-flipped again, but not the kind where they back-flip back to the original stance. No, um, they’ve performed a separate back-flip. So two distinctly separate back-flips. “Aussies have clearly shown us the love they have for Original Pizza Shapes and we’re happy to announce the product will be returning to shelves over the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement.
Now that’s a proper victory. A victory for patience. A victory for resoluteness. A victory for biscuit lovers everywhere.