As journalist, writer and broadcaster, Neil’s career goes back to his time on NME during the paper’s halcyon years in the Seventies and Eighties. Celebrated for his pioneering writing on Bob Marley, reggae and punk – he wrote the first ever live review of The Sex Pistols – Spencer was NME’s editor between 1978 and 1985, when the paper was at the height of its influence.
Subsequently he was a founding editor of men’s magazine Arena, and of the jazz/art mag Straight No Chaser. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Independent, Mojo, Uncut and Elle. Books to which he has contributed include Fatherhood (Gollancz ed Peter Howarth), Chic Thrills, A Fashion Reader (Pandora ed Juliet Ash), David Bailey’s Rock and Roll Heroes and City Secrets London.
He has worked for The Observer for many years, writing about music and popular culture.
He is the author of True As the Stars Above, Adventures in Modern Astrology (Gollancz 2000).
Since the 1990s, Spencer has worked with film maker Jeremy Wooding, first on a trilogy of prize-winning short films, Paris, Brixton, Sari & Trainers and Soul Patrol. He also co-wrote Wooding’s feature debut, Bollywood Queen (2003), ‘Britain’s first masala musical’, which was nominated for the World Cinema section at The Sundance Festival 2003.
Neil’s many interests include ancient history, children’s fiction, twentieth century British painters and photography.
Neil lives in North London with his wife and three children.