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Up the dancers!

Updated: Mar 14

An ode to cobalt

'To the dancers' film review

In a world choked with overproduced storylines and generic washed-up celebrity documentaries. 'Susie's Cinematic Ode to Cobalt' stands out as a testimony to the power of independent filmmaking. This passionate short film centres around 'Cobalt', a community space based in Newcastle that has been the epicentre of local creativity and culture. But, as is the fate of so many bastions of local creativity, the recent cost of living crisis threatens to topple everything this community stands for.


Perception can often be deceptive, especially when it comes to Cobalt. Whilst on the surface, it appears as a simple structure housing a community space, the depth of its existence goes much deeper. Vibrant beats of dance music echo within its walls during nocturnal gatherings, whilst silent concentration fills the air during their life drawing sessions. It’s a centre where Newcastle's creative heart beats the loudest, uniting diverse artistic inspirations and fostering an environment of unmatched creative expression.

Susie's film is a cinematic homage to this cultural linchpin. Her focus is not confined to Cobalt's physical embodiment, but rather extends to the pulsating life force that exists within and around it. It’s the conversations, collaborations, and the shared triumphs and failures of the creative souls who find solace here. This is the core of Susie’s narrative. The film explores the tangible and intangible factors of Cobalt, revealing it as a living, breathing entity, cherished by its patrons.


'Big thank you to Jacob and Shy bairns collective for providing the Photo's for this article'

This intimate portrayal transforms our understanding of Cobalt. It's not merely a space where art is consumed, but a platform where it is cultivated and nurtured. It's the collective creative spirit of Newcastle, where boundaries blur, and acceptance thrives. Through her cinematic journey, Susie helps us realise the richness and the vital role of this cultural nucleus, accentuating the urgent need for its survival and growth. Thus, in Susie's hands, Cobalt is depicted as far more than just a venue. It is showcased as a space that radiates creativity, a sanctuary that embraces diversity and a community that unites under the shared banner of artistic expression.


The brilliance of her craft lies in its authenticity. This isn't a sugar-coated, airbrushed, or romanticised interpretation of the venue. Instead, it stands as an honest portrait of a space cherished by many, a testament to the charm and character of Cobalt. The film is more than just a documentation of reality. It's an avenue through which Susie channels her empathetic understanding of the venue, its people, and their struggles. Her lens doesn't shy away from capturing the raw moments, painting a picture that is as much about the venue as it is about the diverse community that makes it thrive. As viewers, we're not merely passive spectators but active participants in this narrative. We feel the highs and lows, the triumphs and tribulations, the laughter, and tears.


Amid this portrayal, Susie and the whole family who run the space shines a light on the looming adversity that is the cost of living crisis. A dark cloud overshadowing the current landscape of the club scene, its presence is palpable and threatening, underlining the harsh economic realities that this artistic refuge is grappling with. This is no ordinary crisis; its grip extends beyond just the physical venue, its seeping into the lives of the numerous creatives even outside of cobalt. Our community and creativity is under attack. The narrative nudges us to confront the harsh uncertainties faced by this symbolic space and its inhabitants. The struggle for survival, the fight for preserving creative expression amidst tightening financial constraints, is laid bare. Through her lens, the whole family (Kate, Mark, and Jacob) behind cobalt gives a face to the economic challenges that are all too often merely statistical realities in headlines. While cobalt is only one club this story repeats itself constantly and with no sign of slowing.


In turn, Susie's film becomes a rallying cry, urging us to step up, to rally behind Cobalt and similar community spaces that are the beating heart of our cultural ethos. It underscores the importance of being more than passive spectators, of taking on an active role in safeguarding these local art hubs. Her film resonates with the urgency of the situation but also reassures us of the power of collective action and the possibility of change. It’s an invitation to participate, to engage, to act, reminding us of the pivotal role we play in preserving and nurturing our creative landscapes. To quote the film “Does it not feel like we need a Revolution?”.


To that end, Susie’s film is more than just a cinematic ode to Cobalt. It's a narrative of survival, resilience and, above all, hope in the face of adversity. It's a testament to the spirit of creativity that refuses to bow down to external pressures, echoing the ethos of Cobalt and similar spaces across the world. It's a narrative that inspires us to take action and to stand up for the venues that form the backbone of our cultural identity and artistic expression. After all, our collective response to the crisis will shape not just the destiny of Cobalt, but also the cultural legacy we leave behind for future generations.


I just want to take this opportunity to apricate the people behind Cobalt. Kate, Mark, Jacob, and Leo. I hope you know the work you’re putting in doesn’t go unappreciated within the community. As a member of it I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Signing off, Justified Passion.

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