NARC. #161 OUT NOW | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

The May issue of NARC. is available now in glorious digital format via Issuu at or via the Magazine section of

Our cover stars are radgy Newcastle punx Blóm, who talk to Linsey Teggert about encouraging conversations around gender, sexual identity and mental health on their debut album.

There’s still a whole heap of Reasons to be Cheerful, and our feature delves into the ways you can stay plugged in to our creative North East, including livestreamed music and comedy, virtual galleries and workshops, plus info on crowdfunders, resources for support, online shopping and much more. We’ve also got news on singles, EPs and album releases from local artists including Spelks, Cache-Cache, Paul Smith, Ceiling Demons, Human History., Tunnel Club and A Festival A Parade plus comedy from Lee Kyle, the Virtual Noir At The Bar literature event, film screenings from Transmission courtesy of BALTIC and Tees Valley Screen comedy microshorts, and arty goings on from Northern School of Art, Cobalt Studios and Melody Sproates’ Stay Home Stay Queer.

While none of us know when venues and bars may reopen we’d still like to highlight some of the rescheduled music, theatre and comedy shows in the region, in the hope advance ticket sales can support venues and promoters, even if they have to be rescheduled again! You can check out some of our favourite events in our handily compiled feature.

Something that’s becoming increasingly obvious as we come to terms with our current situation is the need to effectively adapt our behaviour in order to survive, whether that’s as cultural institutions or as consumers, we speak to those in the art, film, theatre and comedy worlds about their work, and discovered they’re reacting and adapting with typical inventiveness.

Interview-wise, it’s a packed month as always! Beverley Knight talks to Middlesbrough-based painter Gordon Dalton about embracing digital spaces for his new exhibition; Lee Fisher chatted to Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington about that ‘difficult 16th album syndrome’ and their new recording project, Bulbils; Ali Welford talks to Newcastle-based one-man musical polymath Dextro about his new release; Catharina Joubert discovers how Gateshead International Festival of Theatre has embraced digital formats to deliver its full programme; having been at the forefront of the North East’s music scene for 30 years, Tim Nissen from First Avenue Studios takes a trip down memory lane with Beverley Knight; Caitlin Disken talks to Mark Anderson, Russ Coleman and Sarah Lovell about their involvement with Artists in Recovery, which supports and promotes artists recovering from addiction; Newcastle musician Competition discusses resourcefulness, engagement and his new album Repetititive Music with Mark Corcoran-Lettice; Newcastle-based writer and witty wordsmith Paul Anthony Jones releases his new book The Cabinet of Calm: Soothing Words For Troubled Times this month, here he talks about words appropriate to the current situation; Damian Robinson talks to Darlington musician Jodie Nicholson about releasing her debut album on vinyl this month; Claire Dupree penetrates the heart of the Teesside secret society Wax Heart Sodality, who are determined to deliver garage rock-fuelled social commentary; Damian Robinson speaks to Geordie comic Gavin Webster about his brand new sitcom, I’ve Got A Job For You Gav; Laura Doyle talks to Middlesbrough’s alt. fuzz rockers SWEARS about releasing their debut EP in extraordinary circumstances; Laura Brewis introduces We Make Culture’s Young Musicians Project and explains how musicians in Sunderland are being encouraged to continue to create; and promoter and sound engineer Tony Eastlake talks about some of his favourite songs in Mixtape.

In the Reviews section, we cover demos by Keiran Bowe, Analogue Blood, Michael McCluskey, The Flaccid Cactus and Poor Man’s Break; there’s single reviews of local artists including NOPRISM, Tired of Fighting, BType, Megan Dhalai, Hassle, Soever, The Inklings, Fossway, Simon Taylor and more; and reviews of albums by Ghostpoet, Wargirl, Psapp, Modern Studies, Badly Drawn Boy, Boston Manor, Perfume Genius, Sparks, Chemtrails, Austra and many more.

If you have a story for us, or would like to be featured in our next issue, email [email protected]. Keep an eye on our website for even more new content, and please share the magazine with your friends!

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