Martin Newell (b.1953) has been described as "a pop guerilla with his own agenda, a one-man music-biz resistance unit". He has been making music for well over forty years - first with Plod, then Gypp, then most famously as Cleaners From Venus. Often recorded on 4-track machines, released on tape, and initially distributed in small editions, his many albums have earned him a reputation as the 'Godfather of Lo-Fi". They are certainly some of the most enduring works of the UK D.I.Y. and cassette underground. Jangling and melodic, mordantly observational, Newell's music has been likened to that of The Kinks, praised by John Cooper Clarke and Ariel Pink, and covered by the likes of MGMT and R. Stevie Moore.
UPSTAIRS PLANET is the first full-length documentary about a man who is England's most-published living poet (one collection was entitled Wild Man of Wivenhoe), for decades contributed a weekly 'Joys of Essex' column for the East Anglian Daily Times, and describes himself as writing 'wistful, echoey songs about unused railways stations". It features rare live footage from the 1980s, an interview with Stuart Moxham from Young Marble Giants, and Newell himself - looking like the keeper of a 19th-century asylum - waxing effortlessly witty about self-sabotage, creative freedom, and the pleasures of Wivenhoe.
GRAHAM BENDEL is the director of Billy Childish Is Dead (2005) and Derailed Sense: A Film About Vic Godard & Subway Sect (2012). He runs Fortune Teller Press whose titles include Gideon Sams's The Punk and James Young's Nico: Songs They Never Play On The Radio. He is also the author of Dress Rehearsal Brags: An A-Z of Unpopular Culture (2015)