Mark Sinker

Aged five or six I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been one professionally since the 1980s, and an editor since the 1990s. Back then I mainly worked for the NME and The Wire, from 1991 coaxing the latter towards something like its present incarnation. I was a contributor to Sight and Sound for more than 20 years and sub-editor at Crafts magazine for 15. This spring gone, after more than 40 years, I quit London for Plymouth; once properly settled I plan to focus again on my own writing.

  • Contact me at marksink3r at googlemail dot com
  • recent and forthcoming writing:
    — an essay on the inspiration that Mark E. Smith found in classic horror writing (Machen, Lovecraft, James), published in Bob Stanley’s and Tessa Norton's Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall
    — a lengthy look at Terry Riley’s tape music, collected in Ecstatic Aperture: Perspective on the Life and Work of Terry Riley (ed. Vincent de Roguin, due out Shelter Press in 2024)

    four reviews for 4Columns:
    — a V&A exhibition centred round Lewis Carroll’s ALICE
    — a V&A exhibition centred round Beatrix Potter
    biography of Tove Jansson of the MOOMINS
    — an exhibition at the Science Museum exploring science fiction

    blogs for the LRB:
    — on Twitter
    — on the Beano
    — on Nigel Kennedy

    for Tribune:
    — a review of a very good book about the social history of drumming

    for the Guardian:
    — a mini-essay about the effects of COVID and streaming on listening and music-consumption (Complete with now-traditional Guardian clicktease misdirection lol, the strap-line more or less the exact opposite of my argument. This is a publication now seriously unable to disentangle its strengths from its ongoing harms; the downsides at the moment, meaning the danger of affirming the harms, greatly outweigh any upsides for the principled jobbing freelancer: it’s not as if it even pays adequately… )

    I’m also available for well paid part-time or short-term work copy-editing, proofing and rewrite on books, catalogues and magazines, popular and specialist. I’m quick, accurate, friendly and unflappable in a team, and knowledgeable about the arts, science, politics and technology. On small project teams with tight deadlines I’ve ensured precision, clarity of expression and a vivid, readable end result. At many titles and on many projects, including the workshops I run, I’ve offered knowledgeable judgment and consultant advice about effectiveness of content and style, helping writers and non-writers at all levels of ability say what they mean and mean what they say; to bring out the best in their work. I’m good with words, from tweets to multi-volume epics. I’ve written for academic journals and pop weeklies, art catalogues, books and blogs, about music, film, and the politics of culture, technology and science (see my publications page). As a writer I understand the anxiety that comes with writing, even among hardened professionals. Whatever it is, I can help make it clearer, tighter, brighter and more winning.

    My day-rates are robust because you’re paying for decades of experience and wisdom as a freelance editor and writer in many areas of publishing, including long stints at Crafts magazine, Sight and Sound and The Wire. Recent projects and titles I’ve worked on include:

    Bee Gees: Children of the World, by Bob Stanley
    (Nine Eight books for Bonnier)
    Horatio Bottomley and the Far Right Before Fascism,
    by David Renton (Routledge)
    Soul Survivor, P.P.Arnold’s autobiography
    (Nine Eight books for Bonnier)
    Too Darn Hot, Bob Stanley’s prequel/follow-up to Yeah Yeah Yeah:
    A History of Modern Pop
    (both Faber)
    Bone Music: Soviet X-Ray Audio, Stephen Coates
    (‏‎Strange Attractor Press)
    Reversing Into the Future: New Wave Graphics 1977-1990,
    Andrew Krivine (Pavilion Books)
    Muse, Odalisque, Handmaiden: A Girl’s Life in The Incredible String Band, Rose Simpson (Strange Attractor)
    Hawkwind: Days of the Underground — Radical Escapism in the Age Of Paranoia, Joe Banks (Strange Attractor)
    Bass, Mids, Tops: An Oral History of Sound System Culture, Joe Muggs & Brian David Stevens (Strange Attractor)
    Humphrey Ocean (catalogue for the Royal Academy of Arts)

    CHECK OUT MY BOOK! (details here): A Hidden Landscape Once A Week: The Unruly Curiosity of the UK Music Press in the 1960s-80s, in the words of those who were there)

    Much too long dormant, my Patreon will shortly roar back into vivid life. Until it does, check out what’s already on it here. I write reviews for The Wire, the online arts magazine 4columns and the left journal Tribune; I’ve blogged for the LRB.

    I also put material up at at Tom Ewing’s Freaky Trigger and occasionally my own hashtag tashlan.

    Semi-transparent socks I have deployed around and about include variations on dubdobdee (twitter, bluesky, mastodon), belle le tristetierce de lollardie and pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør: I’m nice but I reserve the right to prance cheekily around masked (besides, the very definition of privilege is feeling able to attach your real actual government name to your nonsense). I have an intermittent instagram, plus (more or less moribund) a tumblr, an LJ and a dreamwidth. I have the files and the means to rebuild my beloved radio free narnia (finally consumed when weblog provider PITAS vanished beneath the waves). Apologies for the unsleeping moths here in the digital sub-realms: link-rot and abandoned virtual estate everywhere you look…

    With my friend Hazel Southwell, I recorded several podcast on topics covered in the book. The age gap (she wasn’t born in the era the book explores) ensure questions asked were toughly impertinent! It’s a good and funny podcast! Other radioshows I helped make before that include A Bite of Stars, a Slug of Time, and Thou, co-hosted with Eli Sessions, which explored the art of the science-fiction short story, and Freaky Trigger and the Lollards of Pop, which explored everything else -- and was very funny. (Both aired through the graces of Resonance104.4FM.)

    • Potential employers should check out my CV page
    • Potential commissioning editors should see my publications page
    • (as well as checking the stories linked in the left-hand column)
    • Potential foes or allies should see my minifesto, and
    • Potential clients and anxious would-be writers should check out what my workshop entails, and contact me for details and rates.