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Barbara Ellen

Barbara Ellen

Barbara Ellen started out writing her own music fanzines — her breakthrough fanzine was Wax Lyrical, which led to her writing for Zigzag magazine. She arrived at the NME in the late-80s, still obsessed with the Sex Pistols, Velvet Underground, Jesus and Mary Chain, Kate Bush, The Cure, Dead Kennedys, Blondie, ABBA and Chic, and left with a lot of good memories and a very bad hangover. During her time at the NME, she interviewed everyone from Madonna, Tori Amos and Siouxsie Sioux, to Manic Street Preachers, The Sugarcubes, Blur, and Guns 'N Roses as well as Stone Roses. She managed to survive "Madchester" without once being photographed in incriminating flares. While at NME, she also wrote for Vox, and managed to break the NME photocopier producing her spoof football fanzine, "Ooh Gary, Gary" — which was the first football fanzine to focus on one player, and led to her and the co-editor being interviewed on Grandstand. Ellen now writes a column for the Observer, and only occasionally suffers crippling but strangely enjoyable flashbacks.

37 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

808 State, Björk: Björk & 808 State: In Yer Glacier!

Report and Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 23 March 1991

I love the smell of God's farts in the morning... It smells of Reykjavik to me! Deep in the Icelandic countryside, surrounded by vile-smelling sulphur ...

Oleta Adams, Tears For Fears: Tears For Fears: Wembley Arena, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 24 March 1990

WOTCHA, MY name's Dave. Usually I enjoy my work as a tout, but tonight's Tears For Fears gig at the Arena is looking decidedly untasty. ...

The Afros, EPMD, Intelligent Hoodlum, Public Enemy: Public Enemy, EPMD, The Intelligent Hoodlum, The Afros: Docklands Arena, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 17 November 1990

DOCK OF THE BOYEE ...

Marc Almond: Stray Hello Waif Goodbye

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 8 December 1990

Nine years on from 'Tainted Love', MARC ALMOND is back working with Soft Cellmate Dave Ball on his new single 'Waifs And Strays'. BARBARA ELLEN ...

Gerald Alston: Jazz-Soul-Funk Weekender: Cala Gran Holiday Park, Fleetwood

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 22 April 1989

BLACKPOOL HALLUCINATIONS ...

The Bangles: No Sex Please, We're Bangles

Report and Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 27 May 1989

Amsterdam, city of 1,000 vices and venue for a party to honour all-American girls THE BANGLES. All-British girl BARBARA ELLEN joins them and, between sex-shows, ...

Boyzone: Lost Boyz

Report and Interview by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 25 October 1998

They live a rock-and-roll lifestyle but are hung-up about virginity. They act like grown-ups but keep their clothes in baskets with schoolboy name-tags on them. ...

Kate Bush: What joy – 40 years of hitting the heights with Kate Bush

Comment by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 21 January 2018

THE KATE BUSH song 'Wuthering Heights' is 40 years old this month. One could argue that this has momentous import for Bush, female musicians and ...

David Byrne, The Durutti Column, Hugo Largo: David Byrne, Durutti Column, Hugo Largo: ICA Benefit, Cambridge Theatre, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 9 July 1988

SATURDAY NIGHT, time yet again to support the arts at the second gig of the weekend to support the ICA and celebrate its 40th birthday. ...

Neneh Cherry: Send In The Clowns

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 9 December 1989

After the huge trans-Atlantic success of 'Buffalo Stance', NENEH CHERRY has established herself as one of the Pop world's most creative and exciting mainstream acts. ...

Cookie Crew: The Cookie Crew: Kooky Crew

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 29 April 1989

South London's finest female rappers THE COOKIE CREW walk proud and talk tough, threatening such pillars of the Establishment as 'Fatch' and DLT in their ...

Elvis Costello: Palladium, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 13 May 1989

GETTING HIGH ON E ...

Curve: McGonagle's, Dublin

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 7 December 1991

GLAMOUR OF THE GOTHS ...

The Damned, Doctor and the Medics, Gaye Bykers on Acid, Hawkwind, Ozric Tentacles, The Pink Fairies, Pop Will Eat Itself: Hawkwind, Gaye Bikers on Acid et al: Acid Daze, Finsbury Park

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, David Quantick, New Musical Express, 5 September 1987

SPORTS DAY IN HELL ...

Guns N' Roses: Animal House

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 24 October 1987

GUNS 'N' ROSES get mad with BARBARA ELLEN ...

Happy Mondays: Wembley Arena, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 21 April 1990

IN THE ARE(N)A! ...

Harry Crews: Mean Fiddler, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 1 October 1988

TONIGHT — If past reports of her live shows are to be believed — Lydia Lunch is not quite herself. Nor is she alone. Harry ...

Chesney Hawkes: A Block Off The Old Chip

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 15 June 1991

Indecently radiant post-Jason Golden Boy of pop and Son of Chip Tremelo, CHESNEY HAWKES has plenty on his mind: worrying about the attack of the ...

Hole: Live Through This (City Slang/All formats)

Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 9 April 1994

HOLE ON THE RAGE ...

Michael Jackson: Dangerous (Epic/All formats)

Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 30 November 1991

JACKSON BOLLOCKS ...

Madonna: Meanwhile Back at the Raunch

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 2 December 1995

Phew!!! Hold on to your seats because MADONNA is about to reveal all... NOOOOOO!!! she's not stripping off again but she IS telling all to ...

Johnny Marr, The The: The The: The Boy Looked at Johnny

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 25 March 1989

"Johnny (Marr) probably understands what I'm doing more than anybody else I've ever known. It's been an absolute revelation, melodically we're like twins..." So says ...

Maria McKee: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 12 January 1991

Written off by the LA rock cattlemarket following the demise of neo-Country nearly men Lone Justice, MARIA MCKEE was left licking her wounds amongst famous ...

Morrissey: Victoria Hall, Hanley

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 12 October 1991

VICTORIA HALL, Hanley is what happens when ambitious architects attempt to cross Edwardian wedding cakes with youth clubs. A three-tier pyromanlac's fantasy of dusty, overstuffed ...

Public Image Ltd: PiL: Astoria, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 10 October 1987

HITLER'S SEXY DAUGHTER ...

Lou Reed: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, Times, The, 21 May 2000

IN THE BAR, the bets were on for what would be Lou Reed's token "old one" encore number. We know he's going to be mainly ...

Salt-N-Pepa: Salt 'N' Pepa: Shakin' Sweet

Report and Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 25 August 1990

Is this the end of rap's top pumptresses SALT 'N' PEPA? Bored with making millions and being reviled by all the hard rappin' 'bitches' they ...

Silverfish, Soundgarden, Swervedriver: Soundgarden, Silverfish, Swervedriver: Astoria, London

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 21 July 1990

ARRIVING HALF way through Swervedriver's set I canter expectantly to the front hungry for my first encounter with Thrash Metal Sub Hardcore Pop Noise. I ...

Lisa Stansfield: The Lisa of Two Evils

Report and Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 3 November 1990

"All around the world and ah, ah, ah, can't find my luggage." Yep, it isn't all first class and fingerbowls in the high-flying world of ...

T'Pau: Springsteen in a Split Skirt

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 26 November 1988

Still reeling from 15 rounds with Steven Wells, T'Pau's Carol Decker now faces the ultimate challenge — five Bimbo-detecting questions posed by Gimlet-eyed airhead-hater BARBARA ...

Voice Of The Beehive: Where Angels Fear to Tread

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 26 March 1988

Walking the earth, stalking the fringes of the chart, VOICE OF THE BEEHIVE go five rounds with a Beaujolais-addled BARBARA ELLEN on the set of ...

Charlie Watts: Proper Charlie

Profile and Interview by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 9 July 2000

Charlie Watts has always marched to a different drum than the rest of the Rolling Stones. He has been happily married for 36 years, he ...

Caron Wheeler: Got a Life, Thanks

Interview by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 2 February 1991

CARON WHEELER'S acrimonious departure from the Soul II Soul posse is the stuff of music biz legend. But rather than 'chat fart' from the sidelines ...

Yazz: City Hall, Sheffield

Live Review by Barbara Ellen, New Musical Express, 6 May 1989

THE BANANA FROM OUTER SPACE ...

List of genre pieces

Caroline Coon: Still fighting the bad guys

Profile and Interview by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 30 July 2000

In the '60s, Caroline Coon was famous for helping people caught in drugs busts. In the '90s she defended her right to paint penises. Now, ...

Farewell NME – irreverent, acerbic, essential. At least when I was there!

Comment by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 11 March 2018

In an era of bland stars and Spotify, is it any wonder the printed music press is no more? ...

The NME: Days of Guns and Roses

Memoir by Barbara Ellen, Observer, The, 9 November 1997

IF MUSIC BE the food of love then the New Musical Express is, has always been, chips with everything. Part of its unique charm is ...

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