NARC. E-ZINE #10 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Welcome to the tenth edition of our digital ‘zine! Right here you’ll find all kinds of interesting and unusual diversions, designed to keep you entertained and informed on the region’s alt. music and culture scenes. Video interviews and sound clips, mini-documentaries, live performances, playlists, reportage, reviews and much more are all created exclusively by us as well as by some of the region’s talented creatives.

Spanning music, theatre, comedy, film, art and everything in between, the NARC. E-ZINE is designed as an antidote to doom-scrolling! With the aim of entertaining and informing, we will provide you with a constant source of exciting, surprising and unusual content continually evolving throughout the issue’s lifespan. Dip back in regularly, there’s new content uploaded all the time!


A new audio serial called Caitlin has hit the airwaves in podcast-land. Created by the same people behind the delicious butteredfeet, the weekly online fictional project by Phil McDonald details the mindful and resilient life of a solitary but stoic late thirties woman who enjoys drinking stout alone. “Caitlin is like a succulent that people mistake for a cactus. She spends a lot of time alone with her frozen pizzas for company and scrolling through Etsy on the hunt for new embroidery templates.” Says Phil. “The world doesn’t really get her but perhaps there’s some of her in all of us. People say ‘Oh poor Caitlin…it’s so sad…’ No it’s not. It’s how she likes it. She lives her life in seconds not days.”

Another aural treat, perfect for autumnal days. Give it a listen!


Every Wednesday at 11am, Sunderland radio station Spark Radio will be broadcasting a series of spoken word programmes entitled Audioshards. These short stories are written by local writers David Wares and Thomas Nixon, and voiced by Performing Arts students from Sunderland University and members of the local community.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas series planned for December.

nathy sg debuts new singles

Fans of Durham’s finest DIY punks ONSIND and Martha will be pleased to hear of the new project from the bands’ songwriter Nathan Stephens-Griffin, whose new project nathy sg debuts today. Two tracks, Corporate Lawyer and Broken Ankle Song, released via DIY label Cowie Jaw Recordings, showcase off Nathan’s songwriting at its catchy and sardonic best.

Nathan reveals more about the songs: “The lead single Corporate Lawyer tells the tale of a desperate man trapped in a bizarre and increasingly
sinister contractual agreement that he regrets signing. The b-side Broken Ankle Song is about a night of pashing in Hamburg, told from the perspective of a bed-bound failed skateboarder.”


Ahead of the release of their debut EP, Memento Mori, genre-bending pop artist MXYM curates a spooky Halloween playlist for your delectation!

Halloween is the perfect time for Goths to take the Aux cord, and here is my definitive collection of ghoulish bangers!” They explain. “From Rhianna to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and even a few MXYM classics, it’s gonna get weird, it’s gonna get loud and it’s gonna get spooky (and yes I am available for DJ sets…)”

Elizabeth Liddle - 'What I Wouldn't Do' Playlist

North-East solo artist Elizabeth Liddle drops her third single, What I Wouldn’t Do, an orchestral pop ballad with heartfelt lyrics that discuss the personal insecurities within a relationship and ultimately the acceptance of its ending. 

You can listen to the track here. Below, Elizabeth has kindly put together a playlist of some of the songs that have influenced this single to soundtrack your weekend morning or evening commute/ 


In the latest episode of My Writing Life, Fran Harvey chats with poet and filmmaker David Spittle, whose third book of poetry, titled Decomposing Robert, was published by Black Herald Press earlier this year. They talk about finding confidence as a writer, discovering communities and what readers can expect from his new collection.

Read the transcript here.


In our regular podcast which delves into how writers approach their craft, Fran Harvey talks to Newcastle-based writer and debut novelist Naomi Kelsey, whose historical fiction novel The Burnings takes place during a brutal era of political intrigue and high paranoia in 16th Century Britain, and the time of the North Berwick witch trials, during which hundreds of people in the local area, mostly women, were put on trial for witchcraft.

Read the transcript for this episode here.

Ernie in conversation with Generator Live

Continuing their ‘In  Conversation’ interview series, Generator sat down with singer-songwriter/chef Ernie (aka Joe) to chat about their debut single Pink Headaches, the strong sense of community in the North East music scene, and their local inspirations. Catch Ernie, and a host of other superb North East artists including Little Comets, Dylan Cartlidge, Lizzie Esau and more at Generator Live at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop on Saturday 16th September.



Welcome to the latest episode of My Writing Life, in which Fran Harvey chats with writers about their work. Ahead of the release of her forthcoming autobiography, punk icon Pauline Murray reveals all about the process of writing her extraordinary life story, her literary and musical inspirations.

Find out more about the book in the September issue of NARC. Magazine, and read the transcript of Fran and Pauline’s conversation here:

Catch The Sparrow & Sam Baxter – Gentle Weather

Newcastle-based Dutch singer-songwriter Catch The Sparrow, aka Suze Terwisscha, has captivated local audiences with her beguiling and intricate folk songs. New single Gentle Weather is a wonderful example of the artist’s delicate sound.

The video was shot in the Victoria Tunnel in Ouseburn, where Catch The Sparrow will be performing a special gig with duo partner Sam Baxter on Saturday 16th September as part of the Ouseburn Trust’s Sounds of the Underground series. Suze explained of the song: “A song about finding a light in the darkness and holding out hope for better days to come, it seemed to fit this unusual location particularly well.”

Lizzie Esau in conversation with Generator Live

Generator Live continue their In Conversation series ahead of next month’s event, this week chatting with rising indie star Lizzie Esau. Lizzie talks about her upwards career trajectory, breaking through the noise as a new artist, why the North East is so special and her favourite regional artists including Venus Grrrls, Luke Royalty, Little Comets, The Pale White, and Demob Happy.

Lizzie’s part of the line-up taking place at Boiler Shop, Newcastle on Saturday 16th September. Grab your ticket here.


Ceitidh Mac - Heliotrope Influences Playlist

Newcastle-based alt-folk artist Ceitidh Mac announces her first release of 2023, Heliotrope. This spacious and cinematic sounding single comes complete with signature cello basslines, warm analogue synth, jazz-style vocals and spine-tingling backing vocals from London-based singer B-ahwe. It’s a beautifully crafted song that will set the ambience wherever it is played.

Ceitidh adds… ‘Heliotrope’ is a word used to describe a flower that turns to follow the sun… like a Sunflower… Helios being the name of the Sun god in Greek Mythology. We’re so connected to the sun. We need it.. it lifts us when we see it or feel it on our skin.. But there’s another side to the heat. It was the hottest June on record,
and temperatures keep rising… This track was written in a heatwave… Thinking about the future and our part in it. A track about the intuition of nature, and how humans are stretching the limits.’

Alongside the release of the single, Ceitidh has put together a playlist of songs that have influenced or inspired the song.

Little Comets in conversation with Generator Live

In preparation for Generator Live’s gig at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop on Saturday 16th September, the folk at Generator had a chat with Matt from Little Comets to find out more about the band’s early years, why this comeback home-town gig is so special, and get some tips on their favourite artists and people in the scene right now.

The popular indie rock band are certain to raise the roof of the Boiler Shop in their headline spot, famed for their catchy tunes and fun performance, the band are always a live gem. Grab a ticket to Generator Live here.

Hivemind - Playlist

Sunderland quartet, Hivemind, drop their brand new single, A Lullaby High. Born out of a jam, the song takes the band into a more pop-punk direction and thematically discusses the ever-revolving roundabouts of relationships.

To help us understand some of the influences behind the track, the band have kindly put together a lovely playlist.

Arcade Skies - Youthful Exuberance

Newcastle electronic music project Arcade Skies release their commercial deep house-style track, Youthful Exuberance, on Friday 28th July (via all good streaming sites). The track was inspired by the first live DJ set they performed in Athens last month.

The video is out now and we’re delighted to feature it in the E-zine.

Holly Rees – Careless

Indie rock artist Holly Rees unveils the video for new single, Careless. A track which Holly explains “calls out the violence in careless communication, intentional or otherwise and the parallels of hurt caused by this in our interpersonal relationships, and in wider political movements”

Directed by Zoë Murtagh, the video depicts two people seemingly at odds in their communication. “The song is really, from my understanding, about words, and about communication, and about how words aren’t always vocal, words can be through actions and politics and the ways you interact with people every day. So I thought – what better way to show the power of words than with loads of spaghetti?” Zoë says. “The video is about how we really empower people to think about their words and the way they’re communicated and how we can use our voices for the better. And the best way for me to do that here was to work with two amazing actors, Will and Tia, who communicate in completely different ways yet understand each other perfectly. The way they really portray these two opposing parties that come together was really beautiful.”

10 Foot Tom And The Leprosy Crooks - I Ain’t Given In (Live)

North-East Garage Rock n Soul band, 10 Foot Tom & The Leprosy Crook release their single, I Ain’t Given In, via Ram Jam records. The track is a personal tale of mental health struggles, the dichotomy of being and a paean to lost friends.

Exclusively for the E-zine, they have recorded an acoustic version of the track, performed on the wily, windy North York Moors after a gig in Scarborough one Saturday night.

Cosial – In View

Bedroom pop artist turned rising indie star Cosial unveils the video for her new track, In View. The song marks Cosial’s first full-band recording (with producer Lisa Murphy at the helm at Newcastle’s Blank Studios), and continues the artist’s navigation of the tumultuous teenage relationship. “In View is about the excitement of a new relationship, but self-sabotaging by overthinking and doubting.” She explains, going on to mention the video: “The video was made very DIY – one of my band members helped me make it, we just had a walk around Crimdon beach on a sunny day and filmed on a phone here and there. It was lots of fun to make!”

Alistair James – Jump The Gun

Middlesbrough songwriter Alistair James presents new single Jump The Gun this week, which tells the age-old tale of young love. “The message is to not worry about other people’s wrongdoings, different opinions and view of the world…in the end there’s more to life. Sometimes it takes something like heartbreak or a loss (or near loss) to make us realise that.” The artist explains.

The song was recorded with producer Patrick Jordan, and local filmmaker Jay Moussa-Mann was behind the camera for the video.

Late Stories @ Seven Stories

On Saturday 15th July at Seven Stories in Newcastle, experience Ari Aster’s Midsommarcome to life like never before as they present an immersive and interactive screening of the A24 classic. Late Stories @ Seven Stories invites you to don your flowers and drink your teas to walk into the festivities of Midsommar, and celebrate the crowning of the May Queen with friends, food, and drink. This is no regular film screening, the event will bring Ari Aster’s world to life through an interactive journey across the seven storey building, before setting up camp with some popcorn in the attic space to watch the flick, as well as a welcome drink, there will be a bar open throughout the experience, and a May Day feast. 

Jenna Louise & Carl Pemberton - Given Up On Us

Local songwriter Jenna Louise has teamed up with Journey South songwriter Carl Pemberton on her latest single, Given Up On Us. “It’s a song written for those who have been in a relationship, friendship or even in a family dynamic, where they know that that situation isn’t healthy. One’s always looking for blame but won’t let go, the other is trying to walk away but the other brings guilt into the mix.” She explains about the track. “It’s about staying strong to who you are and what you believe in both for your own mental health and the others, doing what’s best for you is key!”



Sunderland Roller Derby - Skater's Choice Playlist

The Sunderland Roller Derby team have announced their Summer intake for 2023. If you’ve fancied the exciting, action-packed world of roller derby but have never known how to get started, then this is just the thing for you. 
Head down to Castle View Community and Fitness Centre on Monday 3rd July to meet the team, have a chat about what goes on and have a go at some beginner drills with the coaches. Then, if you’re up for it, get involved in a bit of gameplay.  Any skill level is welcome, whether you’ve never even put on a pair of skates or you can move like a pro.
To get you psyched up for the big day, the Sunderland Roller Derby team have created a playlist for your listening pleasure… And if you are looking for a little more motivation, check out their promo video here


In the latest episode of My Writing Life, in which Fran Harvey chats with writers about their writing lives, she talks to Newcastle-born author Eliza Clark who gained significant praise for her incendiary debut novel, Boy Parts, and she’s recently been named as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists under 40. Now poised to release her new novel Penance, an intricate untrue crime narrative of murder, murky websites and teenage girls, she speaks to Fran Harvey about her writing journey. Read the transcript of their chat here.


Rüne: I Aim To Please

North East artist Trev Gibb’s project Rüne release the song I Aim To Please, which was written for the film Paper Planes (2023) directed by Alyssa Thordarson and Michael G. Smith. A woman with agoraphobia and the AirBnB guest across the hall strike up a correspondence that becomes something more for the holidays.


Quick Duck Theatre’s Confetti heads to Durham’s Gala Theatre on Friday 7th July. An unashamedly queer one-man rom-com from Will Jackson which celebrates the gay best friend, Felix is uptight and unlucky in love. He’s the mate of honour at his best friend’s wedding – one they’ve been planning since childhood – and he’s going to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. That is, as long as there are no distractions along the way… Check out the trailer, and grab tickets here.

Ian Todd: Building Visions podcast

Award winning North East comedian Ian Todd is back with a new podcast all about buildings. Building Visions starts with a focus on the North East and will venture further afield. From memories of gig venues to old cinemas via random walks, it’s a geeky wander around architecture with some random anecdotes. Check out episode two which delves into Gateshead, from the BALTIC to the Metrocentre.


Sunderland rising star Faye Fantarrow has dropped the official music video for The Weekend, one of the tracks taken from her seven-song EP, AWOL, (released via Dave Stewart’s Bay Street Records earlier this year). Filmed in Fantarrow’s hometown of Sunderland, the video was directed by Myles Docherty.

Faye, tells us more…

“The Weekend, for me, is a great example of mine and Dave’s working relationship and how we collaborate as artists,” shares Fantarrow. “It was so lovely seeing the soundscape dynamic come together in the production of the song and to see all the hard work of everyone involved including the team behind the video. Needless to say, I am very proud of this track and video and honored to have worked with the great Mr. Stewart.”

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