I grew up in a tough area in Newcastle. I saw drug and alcohol abuse, crime and poverty. I also saw how the lack of role models meant that many of my friends felt they had nowhere to turn. It's easy to see why so many people I knew didn't do well at school and ended up mixing with the wrong crowd and heading down the wrong path to a life of unemployment and sometimes even drugs. It's scary to see that this is still happening... In the middle of all the headlines announcing 'record results', we mustn't forget those who are waking up today, who didn't get the results they so desperately wanted.
The election itself will inevitably focus on issues that matter most to voters - from jobs and housing to wages and welfare. But it is less well recognised that the election in 2015 will be determined primarily in our urban areas, and that the fortunes of each of the major political parties depend upon how they perform in, and help support, UK cities.
What needs to happen, as with any dysfunctional family, is more conversation, and a bit less grumpy-teenager-grunting from both sides. Those women who identify as feminists need to avoid being dismissive of those who don't. It's time to realise that a lack of engagement is often to do with your failures, not theirs.
While the band's appearance on Later With Jools Holland was being televised, The Arctic Monkeys were delighting their fans in the North East with a career-spanning 20-song set. There can be little doubt that the 2012/13 season has proved to be their best yet in a career which has been meteoric to say the least.
Newcastle Academy... Well, it kicked off again. Peter stagedived during Babyshambles the song and the whole place went haywire. Normally when he does that it takes a minute or two, tops, before he crawls out. Tonight he was basically the rugby ball in a scrum of Northern Shamblites for a full ten minutes.