NARC. E-ZINE #12 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Welcome to the twelfth 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!

Jodie Nicholson - Live At The Glasshouse ICM

Newcastle-based chamber/alt-pop artist Jodie Nicholson drops not one, but two live videos from her show at The Glasshouse International Centre For Music. Both tracks, You Wanted This and Bad Dream feature on Jodie’s latest album Safe Hands and are filmed by Rob Irish, who perfectly captures Jodie’s tender, haunting melodies and the intimate feel of her shows.

As part of her tour, Jodie will be performing at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 8th June (supporting Amelia Coburn) and The Fire Station, Sunderland on Friday 21st June. Tickets are available via her website.


A brand new NARC. TV mini-doc has landed! Our pal Art Mouse followed two of the region’s finest up and coming songwriters, Sisi and Tom A Smith, as they were paired with brass bands The Original Pinettes and Loud Noises, to create a one-off collaborative performance at Durham Brass Festival. Watch our mini-doc on Brassed On, discover how the collaborations came about and enjoy the thrilling live performances!


In the latest episode of My Writing Life, in which Fran Harvey chats with authors about their work, Fran talks to Middlesbrough writer Amy Lord about her debut novel, The Disappeared. They chat about the complexities of writing a dystopian novel that reflects the realities of life in some other countries; why having support that allows to both the time AND crucial head space to write makes such a massive difference and paying back to the writing community. Read the transcript here.

Listen to their chat via our Spotify Podcast channel


Brand new production Frognal & Fox offers audiences a chance to dive into a showbiz world full of glamour, optimism, rivalry and acceptance. Meet Margaret Frognal (Jane Holman) and Adele Fox (Zoe Lambert), two fading performers, as they showcase their singing and playing talents accompanied by their bemused and cynical pianist. Beneath the theatrical camaraderie lurks a tension, but what is it and will it be resolved? Discover the show’s extensive tour plans across the North East here, and check out the trailer…


A new audio podcast which takes the rural West Northumberland grassroots music scene as its focus has recently launched. 3tynespodcast – which covers the region around Carter Bar, Haltwhistle, Alston, Allenheads and Wylam – will include chats and specially recorded music from local and touring musicians, people who run venues, festival organisers and music fans, all with the aim of shining a light on an often overlooked part of the region’s musical landscape.

New episodes will air on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month; future guests include traditional folk legend Vic Gammon, political songster Paul Frear, Northumbrian pipes maker Kim Bull, a delve into the Allen Valleys Folk Festival and much more. The first episode, which you can listen to here, chats with Brian Bell from Hexham Morris.


Award winning North East director Dean Midas returns with the new instalment in his short horror film series. Eve Valentine sees the return of the North East killer, following her last outing in 2022’s All Hallows Eve Rebirth. Using a local cast and recording at North East venues including The Manor House Hotel in West Auckland and The Treehouse in Crook, Eve Valentine also includes music by local songwriter Jenna Louise.

Check the film out here…


Monthly YouTube channel Bars-4-Days continues to showcase the exemplary skills of North East rappers. This month’s episode features Middlesbrough MC Robson, who performs three tracks – one of which is exclusively created for the show.

The versatile rapper touches on genres including hip-hop, house and drum and bass among many others.


Newcastle-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Clive Jackson unveils a new video for his single, Too Far. Comfortably at home amongst a variety of genres, from pop and rock to blues and folk, Clive’s experience as a filmmaker has ensured this new track carries the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, as he explains: “Sometimes clean, sometimes lo-fi, it is a colour-infused blend of cinema styles, projected images and performance.” He goes on to talk about the song itself. “The heavy tone reflects the song’s rollercoaster journey into the uncertain aspects of a future life, both personal and global.”


In the latest episode of My Writing Life With Fran Harvey, Steve Chambers discusses how he became a professional scriptwriter; the pitfalls of writing a novel after decades of being immersed in scripts; and how the news helped him find ideas for his thriller novels GLADIO and his newest release, The Dark Months.

Read the transcript to their chat here.

VIDEO: Driven Serious – A Million Light Years

Newcastle-based punk folk band Driven Serious have released a video for their single A Million Light Years. Filmed on location in Goa where frontman Rob is currently hanging out, it’s the final track on the band’s album, Look On These Works, which was released in late 2022.

Rob says about the track: “A Million Light Years refers to how we can feel isolated and disconnected from ourselves and each other, but we have the power within us to connect to the one-ness and each other by choosing love over fear in every moment. There is symbolism intended in the video.”

The band return to the live stage at their annual Folkish Explosion show at The Cluny on Saturday 4th May, which will also see live performances from Ramble Gamble, Lost Lot and Ruby Kelly.

PLAYLIST: Lizzie Esau – Wait Too Late

Newcastle-based alt. indie artist Lizzie Esau releases her newest and boldest track to date, Wait Too Late. “It’s a powerful, emotive and very political song.” She says of the track. “It speaks about what is happening in the world right now – the lyrics “Far, cry, war, rage, we fear, in pain, and take, no blame” referring to how we sit back and watch the tragedies around the world unfold and it feels like we’re powerless and useless to make a change.”

Here, Lizzie picks a playlist of tracks that inspired the song.

Ceitidh Mac – Jump In (Rubber Oh remix)

Alt. folk artist Ceitidh Mac prepares to release an EP of remixes of her 2023 EP Seabird in May, and shares the first track remixed by Rubber Oh.

I’m buzzing to share this remix of the opening track ‘Jump In’ from my last EP Seabird. Rubber Oh is the solo project of producer Sam Grant (Pigsx7, Richard Dawson). The Rubber Oh remix gives this track a whole new dimension with added synths and signature distortion. Bringing the expansive Rubber Oh sound, it adds so much to the depth of the track.”

Weathership – The Swimmer

Teesside musical explorers Weathership prepare to release a limited edition 7” single, The Swimmer, via Butterfly Effect Records on 28th March. Essentially a conceptual band about a group of friends on a shipping boat called the Weathership, the band’s songs are about stories on the ship or tales they tell each other. Main man Jim Riggall explains the thoughts behind the new single: “The Swimmer is a daydream of teaching my kids to swim whilst missing them in the middle of the ocean. It’s evocative of the early 2000’s tunes by Coldplay, Athlete, Travis etc but with a Weathership spin as we like to mix up genres.”

Before the physical release, enjoy this live version of the track, which was recorded by Michael Kitching at the Studio in Hartlepool.

Monkie Mind – Surrealio

Newcastle-based pop punk band Monkie Mind unveil the video for their new single, Surrealio, which was filmed at North Shields’ Globe Gallery and Hedworth Hall in South Shields. “The song’s concept dives in to the world of surrealism, hence why we chose the art gallery,” the band say. “Lyrically, we leave it up to the listener to decide what the song is about, it was written while looking looking directly at a Salvador Dali painting. The video has some tongue in cheek humorous elements to it and takes quirky twists and turns giving the viewer food for thought.”

Fast Blood – Sexual Healing

With the announcement of Newcastle indie punks Fast Blood’s debut album, Sunny Blunts, due out in May, today also sees the release of new single Sexual Healing, which more than whets the appetite for the band’s long player.

The track is an unashamedly raucous and empowering plea for pleasure, as frontwoman Abigail Barlow explains: Don’t be tempted to take this purely at face value. Sexual Healing is a feminist anthem and a celebration of sexual independence and equality – we wanted to reimagine Black Flag’s Slip It In from a woman’s perspective.”

Pit Pony – Fuzzy

Everyone’s favourite Tyneside rousing garage rockers Pit Pony return with their first new single since the roaring success of last October’s Accidental Doom. New track Fuzzy is a commentary on the minefield that is dating and relationships in 2024, replete with singer Jackie’s forceful vocals at full tilt against a backdrop of menacing drums and thrashing guitar.

A limited edition 7” single will include both Accidental Doom and Fuzzy. Check the video for the track out here…

GEORGINA GALE – 4 In The Afternoon

Cumbria-born, Newcastle-based folk pop songwriter Georgina Gale prepares to release her debut EP this summer. To whet the appetite she’s offered up a stripped-back live video of EP track 4 In The Afternoon, which elegantly displays her honest lyricism and soulful vocals.

Catch her performing an acoustic set at The Mosaic Tap in Newcastle on Thursday 21st March.

Three Hundred and Thirty Three: Part Three

The final installment in a triptych of short films by visual artist and director Daisy Dickinson has been unveiled. Commissioned by Selby-based media arts organisation Mediale and The Glasshouse, the films are set in and around the ancient sites and nature of the North East, and evoke the strangeness of ancient sites through earth, fire and water rituals. Featuring an all-female set of collaborators, part three was composed by award-winning producer, engineer and composer Marta Salogni and performed with Royal Northern Sinfonia. Musician Nuha Ruby Ra moves silently through an ever-changing sorcerous nightscape wreathed in bewitchment. Summoning authentic female power from ancestors gone by…

Head to The Glasshouse’s YouTube channel to watch parts one and two.


A new monthly YouTube programme aims to showcase some of the North East’s up and coming stars, giving them a platform to share their skills. Each month an artist performs three original tracks, often exclusive to the episode. Their debut upload features Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Brad Robinson, whose positive lyricism and determined approach has strengthened his songwriting skills and widened his appeal.

Tune in to the Bars-4-Days YouTube channel every month to enjoy brand new performances.


North East comedian Louise Atkinson’s incisive stand-up has won her rave reviews, and her debut full-length show, Mates, is set to earn her even more accolades. Rich with tales about friendships – the good, the bad and the ugly – the award-winning clever comic’s keenly observed stories and quips are sure to delight at The Stand in Newcastle on Saturday 23rd March.

Check out this recent sketch…

The City: Revolution

The City: Revolution is an immersive, audio-only, fully soundtracked story from Sybil Productions, a new music company co-founded in Sunderland by Marcus Brown (creative director, formerly with Madonna, Seal, Richard Ashcroft, Ozzy Osborne). 

The UK Government has centralised national resources and walled off the City of London. Behind the Walls is everything: power, privilege, safety. On the outside, people fend for themselves in a nation without infrastructure, electricity or technology. Can a band of rebellious inventors break through the City walls and reset the balance? The tale follows Nikolas as he tries to make his way home to London, his lost family, and hope of re-capturing something of what life used to be. A full release is expected in the Autumn, here’s a sneak peek at Episode 1. 

Twayn - Mr Perfect (Live @ Blank Studios)

Twin sisters and North-East music makers Twayn recently dropped their single Mr Perfect and now follow that up with a live performance video of the song to accompany the release. The energy and charm of this two-and-a-half-minute pop ditty has been perfectly captured at this Blank Studios session, however, it offers a little bit more of an indie flavour than the recorded version.


Vice Killer - Marlene's In Trouble Inspirations Playlist

County Durham indie rockers, Vice Killer, drop their latest single, Marlene’s In Trouble. The song, which portrays the struggle of addiction, sees a change in direction sonically, with more classic indie, folk and crooner influences coming through.

To get an idea of some of the inspirations for the new track, the band have put together a playlist.



In the latest episode of My Writing Life Fran Harvey chats with Oskar Jensen about how he went from children’s fiction inspired by a childhood filled with tales of myth and legend, to the meta-detective fiction of his new book Helle and Death; what the rules of detective fiction are; and the joys of working in genre fiction. Also why writers should use footstools.

Read the transcript here.

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