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esn back issues

Below is a contents list for back issues of Eccentric Sleeve Notes.  Click on each cover to see a PDF of the original publication.  See menu '+ESN Back Issues' for retyped copies of the original interviews and images.

ESN 1 (July 1981) Interviews

ESN1 cover, Au Pairs, Delta 5, Fashionable Impure
ESN 5, U2, Echo & The Bunnymen, Thompson Twins, Tracey Thorn, Pigbag, Aztec Camera, Hazel O'Connor, Higsons, Southern Death Cult

ESN 6 (July 83) Interviews:

  • Alarm

  • Belle Stars

  • Black

  • Monochrome Set

  • Sex Gang Children

  • Spear of Destiny

  • Farmers Boys

  • Undertones

  • Orange Juice

ESN 6, Orange Juice, Black, Undertones, Belle Stars, Alarm, Monochrome Set, Thompson Twins, Spear of Destiny, Sex Gang Children, Farmers Boys

ESN 7 (Jan 84) Interviews:

  • Aztec Camera

  • Big Country

  • Depeche Mode

  • Eyeless in Gaza

  • New Model Army

  • Sophisticated Boom Boom

  • Ben Watt

  • Cherry Boys

  • Hurrah

  • Alarm

  • Joolz

ESN 7, Aztec Camera, Big Country, Depeche Mode, Paul Young, Eyeless In Gaza, New Model Army, Sophisticated Boom Boom, Joolz, Alarm, Hurrah!, Cherry Boys, Ben Watt

ESN 8 (Oct 84) Interviews:

  • Blancmange

  • Bourgie Bourgie

  • Felt

  • Gang of Four

  • Julian Cope

  • Mighty Wah!

  • Orange Juice

  • Pale Fountains

  • Red Guitars

  • Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

  • Smiths

  • Spear of Destiny

ESN 8, Pale Fountains, Mighty Wah!, Red Guitars, Julian Cope, Felt, Smiths, Bourgie Bourgie, Orange Juice, Blancmange, Spear of Destiny, Gang of Four, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Eccentric Sleeve Notes (ESN) was a fanzine published in Newcastle Upon Tyne from 1981 to 1984 by Stephen Joyce and me (Simon McKay), referred to as 'The Lads' in an article written by The Gateshead Post. We were 15 when we started. We were not gifted scholars, but we were very motivated by our love of the post-punk music that was brand new at the time.

Over the years, we featured some great bands. Like our inclusion of The Smiths moments before everyone fell for them. But we were always quick off the mark and grabbed bands like U2 and Depeche Mode before they were well known and more importantly unwilling. When these bands did break-through and returned triumphantly to Newcastle, they remembered ESN and without exception, were willing to be interviewed again. Featuring some of these bands once they were popular not only helped sales of the latest magazine, but also opened the door for other interviews. The Undertones manager took one look at scraggy me and turned me down, but after glancing at the current copy of the mag and saw the Thompson Twins on the cover, he changed his mind and called me back. My prize was access to a rather glum Feargal Sharkey. (But what a brilliant live band The Undertones were. Every-time.)​

There were some brilliant photos published in ESN, although for the first few issues we were hampered by a lack of decent equipment. The first issue started well using black 'n' white film in a bog standard point and shoot camera. The negatives were square but a decent size and produced a good quality image. The main drawback was that it used disposable flashcubes that were very expensive. Replacing that with a compact instamatic camera with a built-in battery flash seemed like a huge step forward until we discovered that the small negatives gave us the much poorer images that appeared in ESN 2 and 3. However, Stephen took us to great heights when he bought an SLR camera with a 35mm negative and an external battery flash. Immediately, we saw the improvement with his wonderful Clash photo we put on the cover of ESN 4. In later issues, we cynically included photos (without an interview) of bands that we didn't like but knowing they were popular and they would shift a few copies. We decided it was for the greater good and that people would get value for money when they read about the 'quality' bands we featured.

Scans of the original issues can be viewed by clicking on the covers above. More recent interviews and archive photos are on the right-hand menu.


Post Punk Britain is a related radio show.


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