The Way I See It #43 : By Darren Murphy

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THEY say laughter is the best medicine. Well, I know this not to be true, as after spending last Saturday night watching a comedian at Newcastle City Hall, where I wriggled around giggling until my sides hurt, I still had my blasted sinus infection on the way home!

However, I did have a fantastic time and I’ve actually accepted my ill health this week as a sort of karma. Let’s face it, I’d had such a good time that I deserved to feel a little under the weather, just to balance things out I suppose.

Moments of composure were a rarity as I listened to and watched Sean Lock’s outrageous observations and actions. Although, at one point I did stop laughing long enough for a thought to come to mind: “Wouldn’t it be great if Hawick had similar events?”

Here’s the thing, at this time of year there’s a real vitality about Hawick. Obviously, I’m talking about the Common-Riding, when every year for six weeks worries are put to one side and an almost tangible fellgood factor comes to the surface. It’s almost like a magic spell has been cast over the town. Not only do the Common-Riding flags and bunting add a welcome splash of colour, but the grey auld toon has a real vibrancy and excitement about it.

The funfair rolls into town to the thrill the kids and frighten the parents who see the ever-increasing prices for the dodgems. The party atmosphere arrives and the great traditions unite the town. Yet the moment the Cornet hands back the prized Flag, Hawick falls back into something of a slumber.

I love Hawick, before you think my allegiances lie elsewhere, so let me clarify that. Hawick throws the mother of all parties up that hill on Common-Riding Friday, but why does it have to end there?

Event organisers need to use great venues like the town hall to try and stimulate Hawick’s entertainment scene and, in turn, the local economy. Sure it costs money to bring quality acts, but there are many performers who would jump at the chance to entertain a boisterous Hawick crowd. And by staging events and gaining a reputation, Hawick could put itself on the map for any touring artistes.

By no means am I denouncing other local events, as organisers do a great job with the Summer Festival and the Heart of Hawick team attracts fabulous talents to the auditorium.

Funds are scarce, though, and a lot of effort would be needed to organise events, but wouldn’t it be great to not have to travel to see a comedian or a band? We have a great music scene here, yet Party on the Pitch is no more. This is a huge shame because this is another event which brought a huge buzz to the town.

Look, I’m not asking for the biggest bands on the planet or the hottest comedians in the country to be booked. All I’m saying is the town hall is a great venue, and events held there would almost certainly have a knock-on effect, possibly making local bars and bed and breakfasts busier.

If as much effort went into ensuring our premium venue was hosting events far more frequently, as what the hard-working Common-Riding Committee puts into its celebrations, Hawick would be a far more dynamic town and a return to the halcyon days wouldn’t seem so far off.