July / August 2019

Martin's Summer Newellsletter.

Yeah,  I know we don't do as many newsletters as we once did but with Social Meedja, nowadays, there's news all the time, innit? Well, erm, possibly but I still need to put things in perspective,  if only for myself. Besides there are plenty of people who aren't on Farcebook, Twatter, Monstagram or Gurgle, so let's roll!

Upcoming in the next quarter. : A film, a book, a rather secret,( limited edition) soundtrack album and some download EPs. 

First The film: Upstairs Planet  ( dir. Graham Bendel) is a 71-minute documentary to be premiered at the Regent Street Cinema at 8.00pm on 29th August 2019.  This event will feature a short performance (after the film) by Martin Newell: a few songs a bit of a yarn. This film is not  all about music. It's a portrait of an English nutter and his way of life. A film for its own sake and all the better for that. 

Note: James Sharp's documentary The Jangling Man which features many music stars and surprise interviewees is still in production and will probably emerge next year to co-incide with Captured Tracks Records' new releases and re-releases by Cleaners from Venus and Martin. More on that, later. 

The Book: The Greatest Living Englishman – out in October

This is the long-awaited and long-in-the-cook follow up to This Little Ziggy. Covering the years 1975 to 1995, Martin Newell's  latest memoir takes up the story of what happened after his glam rock band Plod broke up in 1975. We tour England and Germany with Gypp. We meet Captain Sensible, Andy Partridge and a host of other interesting people,as we all get tangled up together in the coat-tails of Punk Rock.

We hear the truth about The Cleaners from Venus, a band sometimes called "D.I.Y. Beatles." Then Martin, in an unexpected twist of fate becomes England's most published poet for many years. All manner of other shennanigans occur and well, you need to read it really. A mixture of chaos, laughter and genuine pathos, there's nothing else like it. And at 360 pages: that's 40 chapters, all of them stand-alone stories, it's a rather buxom read.   



A New Album: So do you want the good news or the bad news?

The bad news is that there's no new album this year. Too much other stuff going on. I mean I'm good, but I'm not Superman (yet). The good news is that there's loads of new stuff being recorded and we'll be doing you some download EPs over the coming months, the most popular cuts of which will go towards a new album early next year.  So don't worry.  You'll be hearing some of this stuff in the coming weeks and months. 

Captured Tracks/ American News

The people at Captured Tracks and  I have some big plans for next year. These include a re-release of The Off White Album ( vinyl/ CDs etc etc. and a vinyl single of Cleaners biggie Only A Shadow. In addition to this we're long overdue a Teatime Assortment (or whatever we call it) Volume 2. This will comprise the absolute crème de la-la  of  all the new Cleaners albums since 2015. On vinyl, natcho, and done in CT's usual dazzling style. This is also, we hope, where James Sharp's film-in-production The Jangling Man will step out onto the stage.  There may even be (whisper it) a vinyl re-release  of Going To England.

This is all quite enough excitement for now, I reckon. So I'm signing out before I burst

with anticipation.



The Lammas  Newellsletter from our own Martin the Newell. July 27/07/18

Friends, listeners and casual stalkers, I bring you the first Newsletter for ....ooh, bloody ages actually. It's been very busy. I've been working  a lot with Facebook; both my personal account and my Cleaners page, as well as Twitter. I had toEye Tunes DVD take the bull by the horns. Having studied social media, it took me a few months to realise I needed to do something completely original like being very positive in order to succeed. So, with the spirit of this website very much in mind  I decided to turn the whole thing into a big friendly exhibition of my work, music, writing, gags etc.In other words, a positive thing, with no political content, or whining abouit how bad things are. Because, as my mate Billy the Fish used to say, "We all know there's wasps in the jampot, it's just that some of us, like Mart'n here, care not to see 'em."  Technical stuff about music is possibly to be frowned upon too. Chiefly because I'm terrible for doing it myself, and once I get going and it's very boring for those who are not iinvolved in the subject. (We usually present a Julie Andrews award for that on our still thriving messageboard. Ed)

News-:At time of writing I'm taking a 3 month break from writing poetry for The Sunday Express who, when I said I needed a long break, (it's been 28 years pretty much writing for the Nationals) were so kindly, and said "Take as long as you like but do come back." I was very moved. There are certain other papers I've worked for who would never have done that. 

I'm not planning any books. This Little Ziggy Pt.2 and The Jigsaw Coast are both on ice at the moment, while I step back from writing in order to simply enjoy my life and my eyesight ( which I nearly lost) having been restored to me. In other words, I want to look clear-eyed at the end of an English summer and the whole of an English autumn, for the first time in nearly 30 years, with no deadlines looming over me. The only gigs I'm looking at (which I know about) are Folk East, the lovely folk festival at Glemham Hall (Sat 18th August)  which I'm doing again with The Hosepipe Band. There are two other Hosepipe Band gigs in October. These are at The Milkmaid Club in Bury St Edmunds (19th October) and The Headgate Theatre (28th October)  They're a great crew and I love working with them. Other gigs are on the far horizon. News on them later on.

Recording.  Yep I'm working on 8 track recording machinery now so I don't know if I can really call myself Lo-Fi anymore but I'm still very much d.i.y. The new album, which I hope to have out, round about end of October will probably be called Life In A Time Machine and I'll tell you now, some of the tracks are sounding great! Ask Paula the Webster. Nuff said for now. 

Records and Record Companies, I'm staying with Captured Tracks having re-signed licensing with them for at least another 3 years. We decided we like the cut of each other's respective jib so we're sticking together. Who else send me flowers on my feckin' birthday hah?  Hah? At some point in the coming  CT and I will be working on new releases too.

Star CafeI'm delighted to announce that I've also re-signed to Notting Hill Music Publishing who've continued to steward so much of my classic Cleaners from Venus  catalogue

The great Cherry Red Records are re-releasing the CD of Greatest Living Englishman this autumn. This is largely due to a) the success of the Captured Tracks vinyl version and b) because they looked in their store-room this spring and discovered that they'd run out! God bless 'em!

Soft Bodies Records who released my three of my 'renaissance' albums are no more.  However, Johnny Vertigen and Jodie Lowther, musicians and general damagers are still very much working with me as Karakasa Design, (videos, sleeves etc) while Johnny himself is now digitally managing me. Which is the reason I'm now on Spotify,  i-tunes , Bandcamp and various other modern platforms, rather than still trying to sell dodgy old CDs by hand at gigs in scuzzy 'music venues'. 

Film: That's right. At present Cap Tracks and film-maker James Sharp have been making a 20-minute documentary about me, my life and my working methods. It has the working title The Jangling Man.

Once it's been edited (it's in edit now) , there is much talk of a 7-inch single release of Only A Shadow, which has now amassed nearly 210,000 views on YouTube.  The likely b-side will be Incident in a Greatcoat a real  Lo-fi classic of mine from the early 90s.

Meanwhile, other bits of filming and filmed interviews are likely to emerge in the coming months, but I can't say much at present.  Right now, I have songs to write and an album to finish! So, see you soon.


Mwah!   (big girly kiss and flounces out).

In other news as Martin says above it's been a very busy year for Martin. A year which has seen him embrace social media, especially Facebook where he now has a near daily presence. Lots of amusing updates, music and video clips and his now regular 'Oddcaste' Martin's unique podcast featuring his favourite music from his formative years to the present day. New realeases this year are the excellent Star Cafe and a DVD called Eye Tunes. The DVD is being sold to raise funds for Colchester's Lexdon Road Ophthalmology Unit who saved Martin's sight and to whom he is extremely grateful. Martin also performed a wonderful, and well attended, one off gig at Colchester Arts Centre in June which also raised a good amount of money for the cause. This was filmed and may yet see a release. Many thanks to the great Ashley Powell for the Eye Tunes DVD which was a labour of love. If you've never seen Martin perform live, and the chances are that you won't now, this is the closest you'll come to the full Newell experience. Buy one for everyone you know.

A Very British Heatwave

Now to the beach, the cliffs, the coast
By unknown copses, farms and fields
That haze which loiters on the land
Seen from the sluggish traffic, yields
When pilgrims park and come to stand
Before the grail of sea and sand
Amazed to find on reaching here
That others had the same idea

We cook ourselves, saut our flesh
In oil -some boil, some bake, some fry 
A few prefer to grill from fresh
Till overdone with hours slipped by
And calculations badly-made
In farenheit or centigrade
Flip-flop to feisty beachside bars
Along a blinding esplanade 
Where noisy, clocking all the cars
Sit shirtless, shaven, Stella boys
St George on shorts or union jacks
To stem the sweat on tattooed backs
It may be August, hellish hot 
But still we're British, are we not?

Such unexpected summer heat
Our transport system's paralysed
The suzerain has come, The Sun
We bow before him memerised
Throw open doors and sit outside
Abandon chores, let dinner slide
Unfasten windows dim the light
Lie naked in the shameless night
And listen to the drunken streets  
Sleepless under single sheets

The Hosepipe Band

Martin with The Hosepipe Band

2018 Eye Tunes gig

17th JUNE 2018 Colchester Arts Centre