About 30 years inbetween my first and second times of seeing Martin Newell perform around about 1989. Somewhat amazingly he recalled that “unseasonably warm February lunchtime” way back then when, as Brotherhood of Lizards, he stopped off in Norwich on his cycling tour to play outside in the UEA square. It was so mild that I was having my lunch on the steps. At the end of the set I bought a copy of the album Lizardland, which I still have.
Last night’s screening of Upstairs Planet at NAC, a film about Martin and The Cleaners from Venus was excellent. As well as DJ sets from Long Swords we were even treated to a short set by Martin himself. My first gig of the year and it was a really good one. Wreckless Eric and Gladboy was there audience too.
The film itself – introduced on the night by director Graham Bendel – was very informative, interesting and often amusing and to have a set from Martin himself really was a privilege to hear. In the bar Long Swords kept us entertained before and after with a selection of the obscure interspersed with some more well known old favourites (Magazine’s The Light Pours Out of Me for example) There is another chance to hear them when they do their monthly evening at the Louis Marchesi Crypt on Saturday from 9pm-1am. As for when we get another chance to hear Martin Newell, who knows, when the fancy takes him, and if he does another cycling tour of East Anglia.
Coincidentally, it was around about that 1989-90 period that I first met David Eastaugh too, who now presents The C86 Show on Future Radio and he did a nice interview with Martin ahead of the gig which can be heard here.
Upstairs Planet: a film about Cleaners From Venus & the Universe of Martin Newell
With introduction from the director, special short performance from Martin Newell + DJ sets from Thogdin Ripley & Nikki Hirst (Long Swords)
There will be a film screening with an introduction by the director plus special guest Martin Newell will be playing a short live set of Cleaner’s songs, solo songs and possibly a poem or two.
Martin Newell is a poet, songwriting genius and the Godfather of British Lo-Fi. ‘Upstairs Planet’ is an independent film about the greatest band you’ve possibly not heard of: Cleaners From Venus. They were the jangly-guitar, synth-driven outliers from the edges of the 1980s, and beyond.
Looking like the “keeper of a 19th-century asylum” – Newell gives us his eccentric, irascible world view and hints at why he’s admired by so many well-known artistes (MGMT, XTC, Ariel Pink, John Cooper Clarke, Mac deMarco, etc).
We’re talking cassette culture, DIY punk attitude and intelligent, poetic lyricism that should have found a much wider audience.
Graham Bendel’s previous films include ‘Derailed Sense’ (about Vic Godard & Subway Sect ) and ‘Billy Childish is Dead’ (nominated for a British Independent Film Award).
7pm doors | 8pm start
Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify: