The Closest Thing to Heaven is a unique photographic record
of the Newcastle music scene in the 1970s and '80s. Featuring
a mixture of professional and amateur photos capturing the
energy and DIY ethos of the bands and artists that played to
the city’s loyal crowds.
Despite the many social upheavals and economic recession in
Britain during this period, there were still people keen to go
out any night of the week. The atmosphere of this scene is
captured by many of the shots taken from within the crowd of
local bands such as Prefab Sprout. The Kane Gang and Arthur
As well as the music, this book features some of the important
venues, labels, art and people that were a major part of
Newcastle’s music culture at this time. Covering various
genres including post-punk and electronic music, as well as
more tradition rock, this photo book will bring back memories
of a carefree youth that for some was ‘The Closest Thing to
We've presented the bands in photographs without offering
any comment or critique. Some of the musicians would later
enjoy major success, some became active in other artistic
fields or in broadcasting. But what unites them all is that they
were performing in Newcastle in an era that has to be the
most creative in the city's illustrious history.
"One of the most satisfying aspects of the book was
recapturing the excitement and passion of many of the
performers through hours of photographic restoration.
Hopefully, we have managed to portray something of the era
whilst at the same time raising funds for young people who
may go on to discover the joys of music for themselves." - MiE
All the writers’ profits from this publication are to go to the
Young Musicians Fund to develop the musical skills of children
and young people who struggle to pay for tuition or need help
to purchase an instrument.
MiE Fielding is a Northumbrian artist, writer, musician and producer.
Further information at www.voert.digital
Simon McKay is the publisher of the music fanzine Eccentric Sleeve
Notes and DJ for the online radio show 'Post Punk Britain'. He has
written for Record Collector magazine and in 2017, with Fenella
Fielding, wrote her autobiography 'Do You Mind If I Smoke?'
Paperback 96 pages
Authors: MiE Fielding and Simon McKay