A love letter to the O2 Academy, may it rest in peace

Skittles the size of your head and sweating the whole night through

In case you missed it, the O2 Academy is closing down for good. Don’t panic though – the venue is being refurbished and reopened under a new name, thought to be another live music venue.

However, the O2 is a certain kind of special and as we’re sure you can agree, it deserves written tribute. This is a love letter to Newcastle’s O2 Academy, with everything we loved about it.

If you’re a born and bred Geordie, it’s basically a given that your first gig was here. Whoever you went to see, whether you were an indie kid or a teenage emo, there’s nothing quite like the memory of donning Vans and a skater skirt and being within touching distance of your idol for the first time ever.  It was kind of like being in a club without actually being in a club and made 15-year-old you feel like you were in an episode of Skins – the buzzy feeling we all had afterwards on the last Metro home just can’t be replicated in adulthood.

There was nothing better than a teenage day out spent having dessert at Kaspa’s, vintage shopping at Flip and seeing who was on at the O2 – then begging your mam for ticket money when you got home if it was someone you liked.

When we all were old enough to drink however, we all had no choice but to purchase a skittles the size of our head and get absolutely mortal. Yes, you might’ve been sick at the end of the night from consuming so much orange juice but it was totally worth it. Plus, pulling in the O2 was an absolute breeze; no more complex than asking your crush to lift you onto their shoulders for a better view of the stage.

The themed nights were a guilty pleasure too, and we’re sure you’ve all been to at least one. Personally, an ABBA tribute night I went to not long after turning 18 is one of my best night out memories ever.

Let’s get real though – there was no sweatier place than the upstairs room. The venue was always absolutely packed and a night at the O2 was guaranteed to end with your hair being matted and almost wet and your mascara running down your face – but we all absolutely loved it.

For us older Gen-Z Geordies, the O2 Academy holds fond memories of teenage days past. That being said, the venue needs to grow up just like we have, and we’re looking forward to seeing it refurbished.

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