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Reliably informed

The December/January issue of NARC. magazine is out now, available in print from outlets across the North East (www.narcmagazine.com/outlets), and digitally via Issuu – www.bit.ly/narcdec21

This month’s cover stars are two of our very own contributors – ahead of the release of Steve Spithray’s biography of Teesside powerhouse Robert Nichols, Claire Dupree talks to them both about the power of a DIY spirit, the joys of unpredictable performances and making the most of life. Exclusive images by Amelia Read.

It’s a double issue this month, so there’s two months’ worth of live music, comedy, theatre, art, film and much more to dive into! Check out live shows from Warm Digits, Efterklang, Lucero, MELTS, Wolf Alice, Zuzu, Viagra Boys, The Orielles, Enter Shikari, Fehdah, Rats on Rafts, Jay Electronica and many more, plus group art exhibitions at Platform A Gallery, Gallagher & Turner and The Auxiliary, more arty loveliness courtesy of Art Stops, MIMA, Arts Centre Washington and Pink Collar Gallery, plus Bill Bailey at Utilita Arena, Wink at Laurel’s, John Robertson’s The Dark Room and Shaparak Khorsandi at The Stand, Felt Nowt at The Dun Cow, Trails at Dance City, Newcastle Noir at Newcastle City Library among others!

Interview-wise, Jake Anderson talks to North East artist Cameron Scott about his cinematic approach to songwriting ahead of the release of his new album; ahead of her first headline show at Bobik’s in January, Chloe Castro talks to Kate Relton about collaboration, catharsis and crafting her sound; with Sunderland’s Fire Station poised to bring a programme of music and performance to the city, Claire Dupree talks to venue director Tamsin Austin and Field Music’s David Brewis about the difference a world-class venue can make; Linsey Teggert dons her binoculars and joins musician, birdwatcher and Hide and Speak podcaster Matt Saxon on a hunt for the lesser-spotted pop star; Hope Lynes speaks to neo-soul artist Kate Bond about her upcoming single, feminism in the music industry and her career so far; Michael O’Neill talks to Hazel Wilde from epic indie rock band Lanterns on the Lake ahead of their headline performance at the Boiler Shop; Luke Waller finds out how time spent taking stock allowed folk songwriter Mat Hunsley to produce his most fully realised record yet; Lizzie Lovejoy finds out how veteran promoter Andy Kelly is bringing established artists to rural audiences; Evie Lake discovers how artists and curators Rosie Morris, Harriet Sutcliffe and Gayle Meikle plan to look at the North East art scene through a feminist lens as part of their archive residency at BALTIC; and promoters Endless Window give us a peek at their favourite records; plus, if panto’s not your bag and the thought of a seasonal sing-along makes your blood run cold, never fear – there are plenty of alternative festive thrills to enjoy throughout the region that won’t register on the cringe-o-meter…

In the Live Review section, we’ve got reports from the front row featuring Jarv Is…, Holly Rees, Henge, Venus Grrrls, Black Midi, Anna Meredith, Wargasm, Noya Rao and many more; there’s Demo reviews of The White Line, Andy Francis Johnson, Valley-59, Bryan and Graeme Richardson; our reviewers check out new releases and EPs from local artists including Suddenly We Stopped Dreaming, Siskin, Jarpsy, Analogue Blood, Sam French, Bosola, Tom Cat E & The Strays, The Blytons, Motherland, The Band For Disease Control & Prevention, Tales and Coral Snake; plus reviews of new releases from Kathryn Williams & Carol Ann Duffy, The Wombats, Yard Act, Boris, Josephine Foster, Years & Years, Ichiko Aoba, Blood Red Shoes, PENGSHUi, Band of Horses, foxtails and many more.

Wishing the best of the festive season to you and yours!