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One afternoon only… with Martin Newell

March 03, 2024

A fundraiser for We are the Minories Charity and Open Road Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service.

A rock singer since his teens, Martin Newell spent much of his early twenties learning his trade in pubs, clubs and dancehalls. In his mid-twenties he began making records, soon gaining a reputation as a writer of original songs with clever lyrics.

A founder member of the now well-known Lo-fi band, Cleaners from Venus during the 1980s, Newell also co-wrote songs with the pop star, Captain Sensible.

In the early 1990s, Newell unexpectedly became famous as a pop poet, often featuring on BBC radio shows and literature festivals. Much-published in national newspapers, he became resident pop poet for The Independent newspaper and its sister publication The Independent on Sunday for a total of 15 years. In 1993, he made his first solo album The Greatest Living Englishman, which was produced by XTC’s Andy Partridge. It was later hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as a rock classic.

After briefly working as a TV presenter, making a handful of BBC Inside Out programmes, he became resident poet for The Sunday Express, with whom he remained for a further 13 years. By now said to be the UK’s most published living poet, he returned to making indie rock records. Newell’s songs have been covered by Alphaville, MGMT, The Damned, White Reaper, and several other artistes. A pioneer of Lo-fi music, his earliest recordings, now stream in millions on digital platforms such as Spotify.

A highly-entertaining live act, Martin Newell tours infrequently nowadays. In autumn 2023, however, he completed a handful of one-man shows, including two sold-out London performances. He has been the subject of a highly-praised documentary film Upstairs Planet (2019) which enjoyed premieres both in London and in New York. A later documentary The Jangling Man, the director James Sharp’s intimate portrait of Newell’s life and work, premiered in London and Los Angeles last year. He continues to write and record music.

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Sun, March 3
2:00 pm - 4:15 pm


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