Every now and again within the pages of true faith we go a little off-topic (Newcastle United, football and the world around it) to be a wee bit self-indulgent and publish some material reviewing books, gigs, films and all other types of cultural ephemera.

We don’t claim any kind of expertise as music journalists, great academics or any of that. As ever, we think we are just ordinary working class Geordies expressing an opinion, relating an experience and we have an audience we think which is good enough to pay us a little attention. If its not your thing, no harm done, just turn the page.

In the latest issue of true faith (TF124) our boy about town Ted Edwards and his wing-man Paul Greaves got themselves toPUBLICEnemy2 the Public Enemy gig at the Newcastle Arena back in November. Ted is known for his enthusiasm (and an uncanny resemblance to deceased PLO leader Yasser Arafat) for his music so with Public Enemy in NE1 and supported by The Prodigy it was inevitable our man would be making the oft-travelled journey betwixt Durham and the Central Station with his straight-man Greavsie. Straight Outta Bearpark!!

You can read Ted’s Public Enemy / The Prodigy gig review by just clicking here

Its good.


Back in January, the world of music lost one of its most celebrated artists when David Bowie died in New York after losing his battle to cancer.  I think its difficult to overstate the importance of David Bowie on the world of popular culture and I’d say even society. Here’s an example – my old man hated David Bowie. He hated what he regarded as the effeminate look of Bowie and his mannerisms. Whenever he was on Top of The Pops, there would be barely concealed outrage at the decline of moral standards. When I think back, my old man would have been in his late 30s, early 40s when he was railing against the Star Man.

Was my old man homo-phobic?

To be honest, that’s a ridiculous question, of course he was, the world was homophobic and my dear, old Dad (who was a lovely man and is much missed) didn’t want his eldest son being corrupted by some queer pop star. So, I knew I couldn’t leave the LPs I secretly bought with the pocket money he gave me lying around our house and as a result Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs et al were always stashed away with extra care. The power of the album art-work eh?

Fast forward to 2016 and my daughter’s best friends are invariably young, gay men of the same age who are a big part of her life and neither her mother or I give a shit about who her friends sleep with but only their character, loyalty to and affection for our child.

That’s a very different world to 70s Tyneside but says a lot for the thankful decline in traditional Christianity, a new age enlightenment and I believe David Bowie played a pivotal role in that change in attitudes with swathes of the population. Ironic then years later, Bowie would describe himself as a closet heterosexual.

But its popular music where Bowie’s influence is most keenly felt. Bowie’s own peak years (in my opinion Scary Monsters Bowie2was his last decent album but I’ve yet to hear Black Star) and the music he provided is still fresh and powerful today. But his influence on others is enormous. Without Bowie there would have been no Punk, no post-Punk, no New Romantics and possibly no Acid House. You might even argue he paved the way for the white folk to sing soul. Discuss.

I’ve been delighted to publish the writings of our Black & White fellow-traveller, Neil James Smith (South Shields, currently exiled in the Midlands) for a good few years now. Neil is an artist himself of some repute and travels Europe (and often further) playing DJ sets to packed nightclubs as well as recording (under the name Emile Strunz) his own superb brand of dance, trance, ambient electronica which I’d strongly recommend to any of you remotely interested in that kind of thing.

If you are, just click here

Listen to that music and tell me you can’t feel the influence of Bowie’s Low and much more. There’s nothing I like more than listening to this stuff on long drives or when I’ve got the house to myself. I’ve got to be honest, the chances getting off my tits to this stuff in a Madrid nightclub with stunning senoritas is sadly, remote these days.

Anyway, we knew we couldn’t have found anyone better for true faith than Neil to pen an obituary to David Bowie and that’s exactly what he’s done for us.

You can read Neil’s superb tribute to one of this country’s greatest artists by just clicking here

If you want straightforward access to this latest issue of true faith (TF124) just click on the image below. Thousands of you have already.