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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Rendezvous Cafe, Whitley Bay...

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"


Marilynne said...

What a nice tribute to a happy place. Our children celebrate the beach too, but somehow it just doesn't seem so picturesque.

Clippy Mat said...

ah Whitley Bay. My old stomping ground. Went to secretarial college there in the 70's on Delaval Rd, it's gone now. And we danced every Mon. and Sat. night at The Rex.
I have all of those seaside posters, or so I thought till I saw that Whitley Bay one! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
The Spanish City.
The roller coaster.
Fish and Chips.
My courting days when the lads came down for the Glasgae fortnight.

jinksy said...

Love the British Rail poster - shame about the bathing suit apology for a bikini!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Ah! I grew up in Newcastle and remember Whitley Bay very fondly :)

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Thank you for putting a big smile on my face this morning.
Born in Cullercoats, many happy years spent at the beach there and at Whitley Bay. Then years later, going to University with my Dire Straits album listening to Tunnel of Love and getting goose pimples when he referred to the Spanish City.

slommler said...

Thanks so much for the tour down memory road of Whitley Bay. And that painting is awesome. Love the poster too!!

Derrick said...

Wonderful post, Fhina. Great lyrics too; certainly evoke that mix of nostalgia and longing. Jinksy must remember that British Rail had decorum!!

saz said...

l have always wanted to go to whitely bay...and this new romantic vintage hotel too..found it o the net t'other day..

is it do-able i a day trip?


French Fancy said...

Oh imagine having a body like the woman in the poster - I'd never put my clothes on again

Moannie said...

Lovely post, I could smell the sea breezes [well I do live by the sea but you know what I mean] Who is the stunning woman at the head of your blog? Love those trousers...actually looks a bit like my old mum in her hey day.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Thank you for the reminiscences of our stomping grounds, mes dahlinks! We are lucky to have such treasures where we live, are we not? And such memories! Like the corners of my mind... La, la, la...

As for Witters, Sazzie, yes, we can hop on the Metro next time you're in town, and see Whitley Bay within 25 minutes. It's about 10 mins drive from the City itself.

The Rendezvous is just a little bit away from the centre of W Bay, very sweet... I'm intrigued by the Hotel you've mentioned. x

Moannie, that is the dear lady from Grey Gardens, (Edith (Edie) Bouvier Beale, relatives of Jackie O) whom I wrote about earlier - My last header photo was their gardens, but after many long years of renovation...

She is indeed very chic and lovely... I wish, SIGH. x

Sid Smith said...

What a wonderfully evocative post. Thanks for this!

Something I wrote earlier...

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