I love this cafe, the Rendezvous Cafe, secreted on the coastline at Whitley Bay. Beloved of Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) and immortalised in a couple of their famous songs, the coast at Whitley Bay is something entirely different to any other part of the North East coast.
The light, the electricity, the history, the stories. All are captured here. Flappers flocked to the coast in the Twenties, Charlstoning their bloomers off at the grand Ballroom which no longer exists, burnt down in conflagration and disgrace, and danced the night away at the now sadly derelict Plaza and the Rex...
Images are also mirrored in holiday posters of the time, enticing the cognoscenti to holiday here, at the coast, in their flannels and tweeds...
I love the Rendezvous Cafe, portrayed here courtesy of local artist Sarah Jane Szikora. This place has remained largely unchanged since the Flirty Fifties, whilst it became established in the Thirties, rooted in Art Deco architecture and glamour.
The cafe remains the same today, arched windows giving on the sea of lashing waves and doggy doo-doos, of ice cream and hot dogs, of Tunnock's wafers and frothy coffee... With views onto St. Mary's or Bates' Island, regularly cut off from the coast by the sea, with its now defunct lighthouse. Now scenic rather than functional... Aren't we all?
So, the Rendezvous has been in the hands of the same family since the Fifties, touting ginger beers and cheese sandwiches, sugar cones and Candy Floss... All delish.
"Like the Spanish City to me, when we were kids..."
"She took off a silver locket,
She said remember me by this.
She put her hand in my pocket, I got a keepsake and a kiss
...and in the roar of the dust and diesel, I stood and watched her walk away
I could have caught up with her easy enough but something must have made me stay
...and the big wheel keep on turning, neon burning up above
And I'm just high on the world.
Come on and take a low ride with me, girl,
On the Tunnel of Love.
And now I'm searching through these carousels and the carnival arcades,
Searching everywhere from steeplechase to palisades,
In any shooting gallery where promises are made...
To rockaway, rockaway, rockaway, rockaway,
from Cullercoats to Whitley Bay, out to rockaway.
And girl it looks so pretty to me.
Like it always did...
Like the Spanish City to me, when we were kids"