About me, me, me!!!


“Phil Thornton is one of the most important and intelligent voices in Britain today.”

My ma (2014)

Ah, phoney self-deprecation is sooo 2013 maaan! This is a website all about ME; the renaissance man of the Mersey mudflats.

Here’s the CV

Born 1965

1970 – 1977

Attended Halton Lodge County Primary,Runcorn

1977 – 1982

Attended Helsby Grammar/High School

1982 – 1983

Attended Halton College of Further education, Widnes studying Art & Design


Youth Training Scheme – Cheshire County Council warehouse

1984 – 2001

Employed at Department of Employment and Office for National Statistics

2001 – 2005

Self employed author, journalist, Partizan Media, Liverpool

2005 – 2013

Employed Spider Project – creative drug & alcohol treatment service, Liverpool


Set up REACH North West CIC – community media skills training for socially disadvantaged individuals and groups.

I also did some stuff inbetween….

Phil playing some records at Parr Street Studio, Liverpool 2012

Phil playing some records at Parr Street Studio, Liverpool 2012

When I wasn’t working for the Dept of Lies, I also tried my hand at journalism beginning writing for legendary London based fanzine, ‘Boys Own’ in 1988 during the so-called ‘2nd summer of love.’

This lead to regular pieces in The Face during 1989 and 1990 and other pieces for Mixmag and many other fanzines. I also started my own fanzines, ‘Hang Loose’ and ‘Cuckoo’ and began DJing a ‘balearic’ inspired set of pop, obscurities and Inuit deepstep.

Corfu, 89

Corfu, 89

I married in 1989 to the ever patient Sharon and had two beautiful daughters in 1990 and 1997. During the 90s, I continued writing for various fanzines and magazines including The Face, NME’s ‘Thrills’ page, The Guardian’s Club Guide, 7seven, The Herb Garden, Pulp, Ace Of Clubs/Northern Lights, Jazid, Trace, What’s The Score, United We Stand and also began DJing with mate, Ste Connor who produced ‘The Guttersnipe’ fanzine with me and a few mates for 5 or 6 years.

The Guttersnipe fanzine with original tea stain

The Guttersnipe fanzine with original tea stain

‘What’s The Score”s former editor, Pete Naylor and former Farm bassist, Carl Hunter had their own film and documentary company ‘Domestic Films’ and after being interviewed for their doc about ‘The End’ fanzine, I began working with them as a researcher and script writer for other series screened on Granada and Yorkshire TV in the late 90s and early 00s. The docs were mostly about north west popular culture and history including ‘Tales From The Riverbank’ a much overlooked radical history of post-war Liverpool, ‘Cover Stories’ ‘In The Club’ and ‘The Beautiful North.’


In 2000, I also began working with Peter Hooton previously the singer with The Farm and the editor of ‘The End.’ We started ‘Partizan Media’ teaching at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) on the New Deal for Musicians programme and produced the Partizan e-zine that supported new writers and musicians from the north west.

Myself and Peter also organised and chaired events for radical Liverpool literature festival ‘Writing On The Wall’ over the next decade such as ‘Wake Up NME You’re Dead’ (2002) with the late, great Steven Wells, ‘Crime Inc’ with Howard Marks (2001) ‘Chavs, Scabs and Hijabs’ (2012) with Owen Jones and ‘Against Modern Football? Clubs, community and commerce’ (2013) with Brian Reade and David Conn.

left to right - David Conn, Peter Hooton, me, Brian Reade

left to right – David Conn, Peter Hooton, me, Brian Reade

In 2003 I wrote my first book ‘Casuals’ (see Casuals page) and after LIPA lost the New Deal contract, signed on for the first time before joining old mate Pete Naylor at a drugs treatment service called ‘The Spider Project’ in 2005. At Spider we continued nurturing creative talent via books, magazines, films, drama productions and photography exhibitions. Our ethos was to treat all our productions on their on merit, not as the work of former addicts and so we performed and exhibited at leading venues in Liverpool such as FACT, The Bluecoat, The Philharmonic and the Unity Theatre.

‘Zona’ was our magazine that looked at the natural and man-made environment written and photographed by our clients and helping to showcase the wealth of talent amongst stigmatised groups that only needs supporting and provided with an outlet.

Zona issue 1 - Paths

Zona issue 1 – Paths

Zona issue 2 - Coast

Zona issue 2 – Coast

I also pursued the same aim via another internet fanzine ‘Swine’ a group of us did every month for 6 years from 2005 to 2012. This blend of politics, satire and smut was perhaps a tad too niche for most people yet was copied by the likes of James Brown’s ‘Sabotage Times’ who also stole some of our best writers. In 2012, I began yet another webzine with a few mates called ‘Yer Know The Dance’, much along the same lines as ‘Swine’
mixing humour with politics and culture.

Swine webzine

Swine webzine


Yer Know The Dance - if the kids are united!

Yer Know The Dance – if the kids are united!

In 2013, I left Spider to set up my own Community Interest Company ‘REACH North West’ to concentrate on a wider creative brief to nurture skills and talent across the north west of England. Working with New Deal students, those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and NEET (16-18 year olds Not In Employment, Education or Training) has convinced me that EVERYONE possesses the potential for creativity whether that’s as a writer, an actor, a musician, a DJ, a photographer, an artist, an actor, dancer or performer. It is those who are often never given the encouragement to express themselves who surprise us the most and have the most to give.

REACH NW 'Windy Hill Walks' wellbeing project with young people

REACH NW ‘Windy Hill Walks’ wellbeing project with young people

The aim of REACH is also to celebrate the north west’s cultural heritage which is something I’ve always strived to do over the past 25 years or so through my own work. Of all the regions in Britain, in fact of all places in the world, the north west of England has produced proportionately the best music, art, football, clubs and fashion. It’s what we excel at and so, we should cherish that and help bring through the next generation to continue this legacy. In 2014, I am hoping to work with cultural organisations in the north west to help achieve this aim and provide an outlet for aspiring creative talent.


to contact Phil

ring 07703 963755/01928 568922
email reachnorthwest@hotmail.co.uk

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