The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology


Compiled by founding editor Mark Fisher, The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls brings together 256 pages of XTC goodness to celebrate Limelight fanzine’s 35th anniversary and the band’s 40th anniversary. Mark has kindly donated a copy of this splendid publication for a competition over on our Facebook page. We managed to nab Mark for a quick chat and he also agreed (without  much persuasion) to compile an XTC Spotify playlist for you. Over to Mark…


I blame Stewart Lee. My daughter was working in the Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh when she overheard him talking to fellow stand-up Joanna Neary. The two comedians were sharing their love of XTC, the band that brought us Senses Working Overtime, Making Plans for Nigel, Towers of London and a dozen classic albums.

My daughter knew I was a massive fan too. In fact, while still at school, I had set up the official XTC fanzine Limelight and had published it for ten years until 1992. I was Mr XTC.

She butted in on their conversation and told them about her old dad. Lee and Neary were delighted and said they’d love to see the fanzines. A few days later, I was digging out my old copies and wondering if anyone else would like to see them.

Before I knew it, I had reawoken my inner teen fan boy, got back in touch with singer Andy Partridge and the rest of the band and started planning a celebratory book. The result, published this autumn, is The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls, a 256-page anthology of the original fanzines supplemented by new interviews with the band and other articles about Swindon’s finest.

Appropriately, it also features Lee and Neary talking about their favourite XTC songs along with comedians Phill Jupitus, Kevin Eldon and Paul Putner. “Even their trousers are great,” says Eldon.

For me, it was a brilliant opportunity to take a nostalgic look back at the cow-gum-and-Letraset era of bedroom publishing and to see afresh what a rich and rewarding band XTC were. Not only is their music varied, surprising and invigorating, but also the band members are a continual source of good humour, witty observations and sharp analysis. What fanzine editor could ask for more?

Luckily a whole generation of fans agree with me and the book has been rapturously received.  Louder Than War called it “music publication of the year,” while critic Dom Lawson welcomed it as “the most comprehensive and incisive book about XTC yet published”. I’m not going to argue with that.

All that remains is for me to think about volume two . . .

Mark Fisher author of How to Write About Theatre credit Lotte Fisher 8007

Mark Fisher

The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology, £17.99 (free UK postage) from

Mark Fisher is a theatre critic, editor, feature writer and freelance journalist. He has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s, contributing theatre reviews, interviews, arts features and travel articles to newspapers and magazines in Scotland and all over the world.

Untypical Girls: Styles and Sounds of the Transatlantic Indie Revolution By Sam Knee

In an industry traditionally dominated by men, women in music often had to shout to be heard. This book traces the sounds, attitudes and thrift store looks of women who refused to be silenced. From the punk and post punk scenes through the permutations of indie, shoegaze, grunge and eventually riot grrrl, Untypical Girls is a celebration of all things female in independent music.


Author Sam Knee has unearthed hundreds of previously unseen photographs of bands such as the Slits, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland and Bratmobile; and of personalities including Viv Albertine, Lydia Lunch, Siouxsie Sioux, Courtney Love, Kim Gordon and Annabel Wright and Katrina Mitchell (The Pastels). Exclusive interviews with Debsey Wykes of Dolly Mixture, Julie Cafritz of Pussy Galore, Gina Davidson of Marine Girls, Kira Roessler of Black Flag and Erin Smith of Bratmobile provide insight into the politics and daily realities of the time.

We’re running a competition on our FB page to win a copy of Untypical Girls… many thanks to Cicada Books

If you don’t win, our friends Monorail Music have signed copies in stock…

1980-MoDettes by David Newton

MoDettes 1980 by David Newton

1984-Kim_1_Dave Rick

Kim Gordon: 1984 by Dave Rick

This book follows on from Sam Knee’s previous titles, The Bag I’m In Memory of a Free Festival and A Scene In Between. Untypical Girls is a timely publication for feminists, fashionistas and music afficionados.

Concert for Stewart: Guest blog by Rab Noakes

On Friday November 24th Saint Luke’s will host a celebration of the legendary radio producer Stewart Cruickshank, who lived for music and for people. His work from Beat Patrol to the Iain Anderson show gave a start to countless musicians and enriched the lives of all music lovers in Scotland. He made things happen, brought people together, and always shared his knowledge and his wisdom unstintingly. One of the musicians appearing is Rab Noakes, who has written this lovely guest blog on his memories of working with Stewart. Big thanks to Rab for taking the time to do this.


The concert is raising funds for Drake Music Scotland and tickets are available here We look forward to seeing you there! Over to Rab…

I knew Stewart a little in the early 1970s but got to know him better at the BBC in the 1980s. At that time he was working in the Gramophone Library and I was doing work on Radio Scotland shows, mostly the afternoon show presented by Art Sutter. Over and above his librarian duties Stewart, along with his colleague, Sandy Semeonoff, and presentation announcer, Peter Easton, produced a vital new-music show called Rock on Scotland, which went out late on Friday nights. Stewart had also produced a definitive story of rock’n’pop in Scotland called Beatstalking.

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Findlay Napier: Glasgow

We love Findlay Napier writing about Glasgow, the city he now calls home and title of his new album. Findlay kindly agreed to share it with us — thank you Findlay.

Glasgow is released on October 13 and you can pre-order it here



Photo by Raymond Depardon, Magnum Photography

In 1997 I moved from the banks of the River Spey to the fourteenth floor of the Red Road Flats in Springburn. I was born in Glasgow and had visited the city periodically over the years, the Garden Festival in ‘89 and City of Culture in ‘90 being particular highlights. I remember the buildings being black. I remember being jostled by the people on Buchanan Street. I remember the sound and the shoogle of the Clockwork Orange. I remember the people and their patter. I remember it like the first time I watched Blade Runner. I remember it like the first time I saw Billy Connolly.

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Memphis 68: A soulful evening with Stuart Cosgrove

On Saturday 7th October, Stuart Cosgrove will launch his brilliant new book Memphis 68 at the Admiral bar in Glasgow.

We’re chairing the earlier part of the evening when Stuart will read from and answer questions about Memphis 68.

From 10pm, djs Lenny Harkins and Andrew Divine will crank up their irresistible Northern Soul club night begins at 10pm with .

Stuart has put together a storming playlist for us, and once again the lovely people at Polygon  have given us 2 copies of Memphis 68 for a competition — check out our Facebook page for details on how to enter.


Memphis 68: The Tragedy of Southern Soul

In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. It was a deeply segregated city, ill at ease with the modern world and yet to adjust to the era of civil rights and racial integration. Stax Records offered an escape from the turmoil of the real world for many soul and blues musicians, with much of the music created there becoming the soundtrack to the civil rights movements.

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Govanhill International Carnival

The inaugural Govanhill International Carnival and Govanhill Against Racism festival takes place from August 26-28.

On Saturday 26 August, Govanhill International Carnival 2017, will bring Govanhill’s diverse communities together for a celebration of its unique community.  On Saturday 26 August a colourful and lively Parade will weave its way through Govanhill to Queens Park Arena where there will be music and family friendly activities. Organised by Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

Sunday, August 27 will see Roots Rock Reggae Against Racism and on Monday 28 Rock Against Racism will mark the 40th anniversary of the Rock Against Racism movement.

Bands include Black Grape, Black Roots and Aswad, who performed at one of the earliest Rock Against Racism gigs in London’s Victoria Park in 1978. The festival is organised by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust

carnival poster jpeg