“What should be the second most important concern of a party organiser?” asked Calum, of Joe.
“What’s the first?” replied Joe, immediately, with a smile.
Calum and Joe surveyed the empty function room. It was referred to as the function room by the hotel staff, probably because it was the room most frequently hired out for parties like the one Calum and Joe had organised, taking place later on in the evening. Though Calum and Joe considered the term ‘function room’ rather blunt, almost derisory, the function room, properly titled The Highland Lounge, was considered the most handsome of the Regal Doe Hotel’s various suites, lounges, halls and meeting rooms. So it was the one that they had acquired, at great expense, for the evening’s party.
The pub is a meeting place: a site of inter-generational socialising, the focal point of many communities – urban and rural alike. CIRCA Projects used the site of the public house to present Instruction for Unwelcome Tables, a new artwork by David Steans.
The Union Rooms, opposite Newcastle Central Station, lies within the Grainger Town area of Newcastle City centre, it was developed mainly between 1824 and 1841 by Richard Grainger and its buildings lie within Newcastle’s Central Conservation Area. JD Wetherspoon opened The Union Rooms in 1999 after a 13 month restoration of the building. This was part of ‘The Grainger Town Project’ initiated in 1996 by Newcastle City council, the English Heritage and English Partnerships – a regeneration scheme to restore buildings at risk. The scheme began in April 1997 and by its close in March 2003, over £174 million had been attracted into the area including £146 million from the private sector.
JD Wetherspoon are a U.K. pub chain who restored the French Renaissance style of the former Union Club. When completed, the pub was renamed The Union Rooms. Architectural features, such as a 15 foot high stained glass window and a huge stained glass dome, were added in the restoration to replace the original features that had fallen beyond repair.
Instruction for Unwelcome Tables* was a performance by David Steans. The audience were invited to join the artist at Table 43 in a Wetherspoon pub in central Newcastle for a short reading of a new piece of fiction. The performance wasn’t pre-arranged with the hosting venue. A publication was produced to accompany the event and is available to buy from CIRCA Projects’ shop. An audio recording of the reading is available in the archival materials section above.
*A condensed version of Instruction for Unwelcome Tables was first presented earlier this year in I DUNNO SHIT at Rogue Project Space, Manchester, curated by Calum Crawford and Joe Fletcher Orr.
David Steans is an artist and writer based in Leeds. Recent exhibitions include The Panj Piare ASSEMBLE, Grand Union, Birmingham (2014); Day Release, The Northern Charter, Newcastle (2014) and CONTEMPORARY FIGURATION, Udstillingsstedet Q, Copenhagen (2013). Most recently his writing was featured in Cadavere Quotidiano, an ‘anthology of writers and artists preoccupied with the lumbering nature of the object and its relation to the written word’ edited by Paul Becker, Alex Cecchetti and Francesco Pedraglio.