I first realised I was “different” at age 13, when all my friends were into Take That and I was listening to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearljam. I had a biker jacket, Doc Martins (which I wore without laces like Enrico from Dial MTV, remember him?) and put braids and bells in my hair. In a time before the words Goth and Mosher came into popular use, I was a “hippy”, apparently.
What I actually was, was out of place in a world where everyone else seemed to be into happy hardcore or boy bands. I longed for somewhere where I belonged, and where I didn’t draw scorn and abuse. So when I was old enough, my older sister snuck me into Trillians.
It was like I had found heaven- a dark, rock music filled haven full of people who dressed like me and like the same bands as me. I fell in love (then she took me to the Mayfair and I was smitten all over, but this is about Trillians).
Over the next few years, Trillians was my safe space, my home, the place I could be myself. Nothing could beat the feeling of walking down those stairs, under the rocking bat mouse figure on the wall, and into a dimly lit room where Alice in Chains or Nirvana or Metallica was playing. Nothing could beat holing up in my favourite seat (at the back in the corner), drinking cider and watching people come in and out. Me and my friend Lucy would go in just to look at the hot barmen (Tim, Blackie and Henry) and get giddy. Some of the best times of my life I spent in that bar, and in the Mayfair as a post-Trills club.
I moved away to uni, and Trillians faded away as part of my life. But when I found out on facebook that it had closed unexpectedly, I was gutted and outraged. Newcastle has lost so many rock venues. Trillians was like the last bastion of rock for Newcastle, and now it was gone! I actually hurt inside, like my heart was broken; I would never walk down those stairs again, never get a pint, never sit in my favourite seat again.
When I found out that some people were going to fight to save it, I jumped in! It was more than saving my favourite pub or preserving my memories. More and more, independent businesses are closing, alternative spaces are being shut to make way for chain bars or shopping centres. The character and history is getting built right out of our cities. How can we call Newcastle a cultural hub, a place where music is born, a city with something for everyone, if we build over and close down everything except corporate establishments? If the S.O.P.H.I.E campaign tells us anything, its that alt folk need somewhere safe to go. I know what Trillians meant to me as a younger person, and I wouldn’t want a world where there was nowhere for the alternative folk to go.
So a group of us kicked up a fuss on social media, liaised with the former owners and potential buyers, contacted the media and the MP for Newcastle central, and made a petition. The response was out of this world- Trillians meant so much to so many! I didnt really believe it when I heard it was to be saved, but lo and behold, on Friday 13th December, Trillians reopened! Thank fuck for that!
I will always love Trills, and here is a selection of the things some others said about our home from home. Viva Trillians!
“There are precious few places we can go and feel safe in the knowledge that everyone there is like-minded and therefore we shall not get threatened for the way we look. Please, don’t close our pub”
“It was the first place I went to when I moved to Newcastle.. and instantly fell in love with it.. it’s always been there for me.. for the awesome times.. through some grim times… yeah.. I’ve seen some amazing bands there.. but the biggest loss is that there’s not going to be that place you can go to on your own and yet immediately find a room full of familiar faces and people who make you smile…”
“Trillians has been my ‘safe house’ for 20+ years, I met my other half in there (as have so many others). This is not just another bar closure, it is an integral part of Newcastle’s identity. The city will be a cold and sterile place without it.”
“Its the greatest hole in the ground there ever was and you can’t close it up. Its our hole”