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Can you “read” an audiobook?

What constitutes "reading" a book? Do you have to have a physical object made of paper (a book) or plastic and metal (an ebook reader) in your hands? Now that members of the Lit & Phil can access the excellent Naxos Spoken Word Library, the question arises ...

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Naxos music streaming service

Is it possible to have too much music? Discuss.... but while you're thinking about it have a look at Naxos Music and take note that as a Lit & Phil music library member you can access their excellent streaming service.


Opinions, opinions, opinions

The capacity to be offended is not just a phenomenon attributable to the age of instant messaging (although by virtue of their ease of use,  they have arguably exacerbated it). The Lit & Phil has always had members with strongly held views on many many topics, some interesting and important and some of a rather trivial nature.

Steam engine

Train of Thought

Sometimes when you’re sitting in the Lit and Phil, you slowly become aware that other lives going on out there. In the outside world, I mean.

This shocking revelation usually happens at very quiet times, shortly after opening perhaps. Noises begin to impinge gently on your consciousness...

Silhouette of a piano

Where are all the notes coming from?

Several years ago I was playing piano on a gig at the Side Café in Newcastle. It was a small upstairs room, full of character and on the weekly jazz nights, often full of characters. 

After one of the numbers in the second set, an animated lady stood up and said (in all seriousness) “Where are all the notes coming from?!” She meant, I think quite literally – where are the dots? Where’s the music? 

Section of a painting celebrating the Great Ball at the mansion house in 1832

An opium dream ...

Alexander Armstrong’s recent e-mail to the membership of the Lit and Phil closed by suggesting an enormous party be held after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an excellent idea and what is more there is a precedent for such an event in Newcastle. If you have visited the Mansion House in Jesmond you will have noticed, on the wall of the dining room, a painting of a fabulous party. 

Alexander Armstrong at the Lit & Phil

A message from our President Alexander Armstrong

Alexander Armstrong was born in Rothbury, Northumberland and has family links to the Lit & Phil going back to Lord Armstrong, our sixth President in 1860 and Robert Spence Watson our President in 1901. In 2011 Alexander became our current President so we were delighted to receive an encouraging message from him.


Beelzebub has a devil put aside...

"I liked the idea of a witch just being someone who's taken up the  concept rather as one might decide to learn a new language or paint water-colours or grow geraniums - an involving occupation outside of working hours that adds a fresh dimension to your life."

A previously unpublished short story by Gail-Nina Anderson


Interaction in Jazz

Goethe once wrote that listening to a string quartet was like listening to ‘four intelligent people conversing among themselves’. I wonder what Goethe would make of a jazz quartet in full flow? 

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