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Mark Sinker

Mid-70s: routinely read school copies of Sounds and NME

Aug 77: my sister Becky buys me an NME to cheer me up ill in bed: Wayne Kramer’s prison mugshot is on the cover (buying Sounds and NME at this time often requires a long walk across town as not everywhere stocks it)

1981?: in reaction against stupid review of first Raincoats LP, I stop reading Sounds forever.

1981-82: review printed in Zigzag (of The Fall).

Late 83: reviews being run in NME; relevant section editors lukewarm at best.(I am not very good yet, but luckily refuse to acknowledge this).

March 85: if The Wire is excited someone young-ish has begun reviewing for them, they hide it well.

1986: regime changes at NME and Wire work out well for me: both now let me write at grown-up length.

Aug 88: part company with NME over right to claim that U2’s Rattle and Hum is perhaps not that great.

Mid-‘91: UK jazz-as-fashion market declining; rather than fold, Wire shifts to ‘all-music’ coverage Nov ‘91: with strong views about how to play this transformation, I join Wire as assistant editor.

June 92: R. D. Cook flees Wire, Mark Sinker left holding squirming changeling baby.

Jan 94: sales turnaround still non-existent: contract as Wire editorship not renewed.

Dec 96: begin contributing to Frank Kogan’s Why Music Sucks.

Nov 00: Freaky Trigger’s Tom Ewing invites me into twilit realm of on-line writing and argument.

Oct 01: Radio Free Narnia set up.

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Radio Free Narnia weblog

List of articles in the library by artist

3Mustapha3: 3Mustaphas3: Fez Fair!

Report and Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, September 1988

2005 note: Collapse of post-comm Balkans into internecine war hinted at, kinda. Well, only if you read WAY between the lines I think. Another submerged ...

AR Kane: A Steak Knife In Your Ear

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, August 1987

2005 note: NME had become a prisoner of its late 70s success legitimising punk: terrified of being caught in the lee of whatever the "next ...

The Associates, Yello: Yello: Shirley and Company

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, June 1987

2005 note: Easily my favourite NME piece. Kudos also to the sub who chose the original caption: "Helvetica Bold" ...

BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, February 1992

SIX COMPOSERS, too shy to make claims for themselves, go to make it up. But Brian Hodgson, who's worked with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop since ...

The Bhundu Boys: Hip Hip Harare

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, October 1987

The small man with the enormous moustache who examines passengers' bags for terrorist devices at the Air Ethiopia check-in desk has a problem. Every time ...

David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, Neil Young: Contract Breakers

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, June 1996

2005 note: Savage Pencil did a nice illustration for this: John and Yoko hilariously naked, among other excellent things. It also elicited an angry postcard ...

Billy Bragg's Brave New England

Report and Interview by Mark Sinker, Observer, The, November 1988

2005 comment: Neil Spencer didn’t rate me or want to use me, according to Jon Savage – who told him (Sav told me) not to ...

James Brown: I'm Real (Polydor)

Review by Mark Sinker, NME, June 1988

HE ISN'T, of course. He's Mr James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, the Funky President, the Original Disco Man. He's a numbing backbeat tightened to ...

James Brown: Stay On The Scene Like An Answerin' Machine

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, October 1986

MARK SINKER talks to God – alias JAMES BROWN – on the great black telephone. ...

Butthole Surfers: Riding The Shock Wave

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, April 1988

IN TEXAS, even daylight isn't ordinary. You can stay indoors and sleep, hide from the noon-time sun that way, but the overlit world outside is ...

Coldcut Get Hot

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, November 1987

SONGS HAVE become fragile. The things that held them together – the value of the individual voice, the neat edges of recorded product – are ...

Bootsy Collins

Interview by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, October 1993

2005 note: Much of the cultural rhetoric surrounding funk is just teacher’s-pet attempts to plod-cram the music back into the squarest box available – I ...

Elvis Costello: Can I Be Frank…?

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, September 1992

2005 note: The original manuscript began and ended with some kind of lyrical gibberish swansong for the song as a music-form (in the age of ...

Brian Eno: Taking Modern Culture By Strategy: Brian Eno

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, October 1992

2005 note: It’s not a sensible criticism of a conjuror that his craft does not involve actual real magical powers. Eno is fascinated by the ...

The Fall: Watching The City Hobgoblins: The Fall

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, August 1986

2005 note: In which I find my voice? In between all the "important rock does this" droning. ...

The Fall, Madness, The Smiths: England: Look Back In Anguish

Essay by Mark Sinker, NME, January 1988

"Oh, grassy dale and lowland scene/Come see, come hear the English Scheme!" (The Fall)"You might sleep, but you will never dream/Oh, Manchester! So much to ...

Diamanda Galás: The Demon Diva

Interview by Mark Sinker, Melody Maker, January 1989

As the AIDS epidemic spreads and all pop can do is turn a blind eye, Diamanda Galas is the only singer left to stand and ...

Galaxie 500: Roxymorons

Interview by Mark Sinker, City Limits, November 1990

THEIR FIRST champions over here told Galaxie 500 that the fabulous clammy whine of their music (electric, but only just) was the sound of the ...

hear'say: It’s All Just hear’say

Comment by Mark Sinker, Freaky Trigger, February 2002


Level 42: Level Best

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, March 1987

"I pre-empted the Doctor Martens thing, you know." ...

Living Colour: Black Rock Coalition: Living Colour’s Vernon Reid

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, April 1988

2005 NOTE: This piece is a mess, though the underlying concept was good, and besides, the whole paper was a mess at this stage. I ...

Youssou N'Dour: Voix d'Afrique

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, May 1986

2005 note: My very first full-length music piece for NME? I so much wish Youssou had not let himself be kidnapped by P.Gabriel. Marcello Carlin ...

Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (Fontana)

Review by Mark Sinker, NME, February 1988

IF PUNK was an ugly kid's crazed revenge on old age, an obliterating mayhem, there were other ways the clogging and the arrested adolescence of ...

The Pixies: Surfer Rosa

Review by Mark Sinker, NME, March 1988

PIXIES QUOTE The Fall (a mangled snatch of 'Stephen Song' in 'I'm Amazed'), so we can: "They pass my home at night/oh they are NOT ...

Elvis Presley: Elvis - The 50s

Review by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, September 1992

PERHAPS THE most unexpected thing about RCA/BMG's Presley-project is how unexpected so much of it is. ...

Psychic TV: In Thee Oblique Midwinter

Interview by Mark Sinker, City Limits, December 1990

JUST LIKE a dilemma, present-day Paganism has two horns: the old lore and its new form. Except it isn't always entirely clear whether those horns ...

Public Enemy, Sun Ra: Loving The Alien In Advance Of The Landing

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, February 1992

"IN THE MEANTIME," he said, speaking relentlessly but mesmerically softly, as gurus will, "I finally went to Chicago. I determined not to be a musician ...

Pussy Galore: Total Hot Babe-dom

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, January 1988

"LAST NIGHT we were onstage, and it was like people were screaming and stuff, thrashing around – I don't know, it's like my initial reaction ...

The Shamen: No Right To Party: Acid House

Report by Mark Sinker, New Statesman, April 1990

2005 note: Unforgivable as actual real journalism – I made no effort to represent the anti-drug position – this still works as a snapshot of ...

Paul Simon: The Boy in the Boycott

Report by Terry Staunton, Mark Sinker, NME, April 1987

Is PAUL SIMON "a genius and a loathsome coward"? Does the lack of anti-apartheid statements on Graceland amount to condonation of Botha's regime? Or has ...

Sonic Youth: Super Sonic Sisterhood

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, June 1987

2005 note: Mostly what I read in this piece is what a fight it seemed to get anything said about "rock" in 1987, in the ...

Sonic Youth: Underground Rhapsody: Sonic Youth

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, City Limits, August 1990

I GET BACK to Bay Ridge just after midnight, to find the guys in the house watching Sonic Youth on Night Music in the room ...

Soul Asylum: The Thin White Nose-Candy Line

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, May 1988

2005 note: I don’t think I ever played one of their records ONCE in all the years since I interviewed them (haha a "sensible Clash" ...

Bunny Wailer

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, October 1988

"Bunny had fashioned a guitar out of a large sardine can with a bamboo stalk and electric wires. Another friend, Peter MacIntosh, obtained a real ...

Was (Not Was): Disco Infernal

Interview by Mark Sinker, NME, April 1988


List of genre pieces

Singing The Body Electric

Overview by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, September 1995

The story of the first electronic instruments is as twisted and circuitous as their primitive, labyrinthine wiring. Mark Sinker goes in search of these often ...

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