At the risk of being accused of stating the obvious, you will have noticed this final Culture magazine of 2013 looks a little different.
Gone for good is the glossy paper. It’s a sign of the times. Arts organisations are having to cut their coat to suit their cloth and so are we.
But the paper is the medium and not the message. We hope you will still like what you find inside and we shall continue to tell you about the best cultural activities coming our way.
Inside you will find interviews with Newcastle-bound Barry Humphries, Paul Charlton, one third of The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek (no prizes for guessing which he is) and the new members of one of the region’s best ‘bands’, Royal Northern Sinfonia.
We also boast a report of the recent Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal drawn and written by our brilliant resident artist Sean Collins.
Meanwhile, we raise a glass of something bubbly to Northumberland-based researcher – and one-time Northern Arts boss – Peter Stark and his colleagues whose report Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital highlights the huge discrepancy between the sums of money spent on the arts in London compared with those in the rest of the country.
They propose a new National Investment Programme over five years charged with providing new and additional support for the arts outside London.
Shy bairns get nowt, they say, and Peter is anything but shy. His work on the Case for Capital campaign in the 1990s helped to bring investment in excess of £200m to the region, resulting in new art buildings including Sage Gateshead, Baltic and Dance City.
We have the buildings and we have the people. Extra investment would ensure more of the innovative and inspiring work they produce and a bigger and more evenly spread audience.
Finally, this is the 100th Culture magazine.
If there’s any bubbly left, we will toast you, our readers. Please don’t lose the habit.