Grumpy old NME journalists

TimesNME

Interesting piece in today’s Times – by my old NME pal Stephen Dalton (hasn’t he done well for himself, I gave him his big break etc.) – about exaggerated reports of the demise of the weekly music press. He asked me to contribute and caught me at a verbose moment. Of the reams of opinion I passed on to him, he only used two quotes. Hey, I know how these things work! So, for the record, this is everything I sent to him. It’s the Q&A that didn’t make the final cut (and his questions were really good). Nothing is wasted round here:

SD: NME has just announced its lowest ABC circulation figures ever, around 64000, 12% down on last year. Specialist mags like Classic Rock and Kerrang consistently sell more. Where did it all go wrong?

AC: Unfortunately, many of the indie artists it has hitched its wagon to in the last couple of years have become public property. Whether it’s Arctic Monkeys or the Killers or Kate Nash or the Klaxons or even Pete Doherty, acts who might once have been ring-fenced as “alternative” or “underground” are now so quickly and comprehensively snapped up by the nationals and the music monthlies – and in Doherty’s case, the tabloids and the gossip rags – it’s harder for NME to find any blue sky between them and their competitors. The only thing that separates the NME awards, formerly the Brats, from the Brits, is the constant swearing, and the indifference of the audience to what’s occurring on the podium. Indie is mainstream. They can champion someone like Lightspeed Champion, which is admirable enough, but it’s not commercial. Unfortunately, NME doesn’t really have a unique sales proposition any more. The very fact of being a weekly publication is now insufficient to keep up with developments in the world they seek to address. The kids can’t be bothered to wait seven days to find out if a new record is any good or not, and why should they? A magazine that offers more to read can sell itself on analysis, but the NME is more about pictures and enthusiasm now than beard-stroking intellectual copy.

SD: Alternatively, is NME just a victim of its own success? After all, several generations of ex NME types (i.e. you) now rule the entire media kingdom like vengeful Viking warlords, from broadsheets to radio to TV punditry. Once a fairly lone voice, its style has been copied and disseminated and diluted all over the place. It also still punches above its weight as a “brand” with tours, awards, Cool List etc. Are falling sales for the print version really a problem?

AC: The NME is definitely a victim of its earlier success. Its tentacles now extend not from the pages of the newspaper but from the branded awards and tours and one-off gigs and festival tents. Aside from the occasional controversial Morrissey interview, which actually sparks media debate, the magazine has morphed into what is effectively a paper souvenir of all the other activity carried out under its brand umbrella. You could be an NME fan and just click on the website and go to the concerts and watch the TV channel, without ever flicking through the magazine itself. This was not once the case. I was giving a talk to some schoolchildren yesterday and when I mentioned NME there wasn’t even a flicker of recognition. There’s no new generation of NME readers, or, I suspect, NME writers, coming through. When the paper advertised for “hip, young gunslingers” and ended up with Burchill and Parson, it was an attempt to connect with a new generation. I fear that a similar advert now would elicit little more than a trickle of interest. If you want to write about Bloc Party in 2008, you’ll have already set up a website and started doing it. You don’t need the permission of Time Warner.

SD: Has the time passed when one magazine can shape a nation’s music tastes? Does NME have a role now or has it simply been superseded by the proliferation of online critic sites and the MyTubeSpaceBookFace boom?

AC: Paul Morley once told me that his job at the NME of the late 70s was to provide a narrative. This narrative now comes from other media – especially the internet. If you want to know what a new single sounds like, you can go and download it, you don’t need someone learned and wise like Morley to describe it for you. What was once his role is now redundant. NME writers now are just music fans with moderately better access to Bloc Party than you. I continue to read the NME because of its heritage, and for old times’ sake, and because I’m actually too old to go to smelly pub gigs and sniff out the latest thing, and I’m certainly not going to loiter around MySpace at my age, so it offers me a shortcut to new stuff. But I am categorically not the NME‘s target audience, and I’m not going to keep it afloat on my own.

SD: What can NME do to save itself from oblivion? Could it? Should it?

AC: It is already doing the right thing: concentrating on the website. It could relaunch as an online publication. Its target audience don’t want to read 1,000 words on Does It Offend You, Yeah? – I’m not sure there are 1,000 to write about Does It Offend You, Yeah? – they just want soundbites, Q&As, video clips, downloads, all of which can be better served up online than on paper. I would be sad to see the paper NME go, however. When it sets out to educate its younger readers with coverage of Tony Wilson’s legacy, or even the heritage of the Manic Street Preachers as it did last week, that makes good use of trees, and should be available, lest entire generations lose touch completely with the ancient arts of reading and understanding.

SD: Optional question: Was it all much better in Our Day? (Arf!)

AC: An NME reader of 2008 would be astonished to learn that the NME I worked for in the late 80s was the size of the Financial Times and was mostly in black and white. It required a lot of concentration and time to get through. It was a literacy hour in paper form. Also, if All About Eve released some new tour dates and you didn’t buy the NME or Melody Maker or Sounds, you wouldn’t know what those tour dates were. And you wouldn’t read an article about All About Eve in the Financial Times, which you might do nowadays. It’s thus unfair to compare. Even though I think it was much better, yes.

Discuss. As ever.

36 thoughts on “Grumpy old NME journalists

  1. flipant modeAye, and mars bars used to be bigger. And it all used to be fields around ‘ere. And you could leave yer door open at night/flipant modeSeriously though, it is a shame that “content” is increasingly being provided mainly by pr companies. There’s often very little of interest to read anymore. The more underground side is still ok, though Kerrang and Metal Hammer aren’t what they used to be either. I recommend Rock Sound as one of the few remaining quality music mags.

  2. flipant modeAye, and mars bars used to be bigger. And it all used to be fields around ‘ere. And you could leave yer door open at night/flipant modeSeriously though, it is a shame that “content” is increasingly being provided mainly by pr companies. There’s often very little of interest to read anymore. The more underground side is still ok, though Kerrang and Metal Hammer aren’t what they used to be either. I recommend Rock Sound as one of the few remaining quality music mags.

  3. The NME and the equivalent weeklies were speed reads for the target audience who sucked up the dates, details, news, reviews and gossip then discarded the paper. As you say all now available on the interweb for free. I would imagine a pay per download podcast format could be the way forward. Almost like an NME ‘pod’ version of SFX (remember that) – audio interviews with bands, samples of singles, albums, live acts and demos all with spoken word reviews and discreetly placed ads.Being portable, accessible and instantly available could be the perfect medium for high tech teens and twenty somethings

  4. The NME and the equivalent weeklies were speed reads for the target audience who sucked up the dates, details, news, reviews and gossip then discarded the paper. As you say all now available on the interweb for free. I would imagine a pay per download podcast format could be the way forward. Almost like an NME ‘pod’ version of SFX (remember that) – audio interviews with bands, samples of singles, albums, live acts and demos all with spoken word reviews and discreetly placed ads.Being portable, accessible and instantly available could be the perfect medium for high tech teens and twenty somethings

  5. Speaking as someone who ‘stopped reading it’ almost every week about 2002/3 when it had just gone glossy I can see a lot of the arguments about better in my day from people. But the few copies I pick up every now and again seem to be largely devoid of any information about music. interviews don’t talk about influences and ways of making music. The album reviews spend as much time telling us ‘fun facts’ and using pictures for the main review or are shorter than this comment is so far. It’s commendable that they still try with the classic albums features, talking about Tony Wilson, The Smiths and so on and try to bring a new generation of listeners in but the audience is totally different to what it was 20 years ago and that was a reflection that Britpop had on it, it boosted the sales figures and probably lost more people who read it beforehand than people who had come to it in the 1994-6 period before the end of the decade. Now when they do try and put a ‘new’ band on the front (Like Gallows as mentioned) it doesn’t sell.This sees a rotation of the same 10 or so artists over the year mixed in with festival coverage, one off events / deaths etc. Why did Conor stand at the Mercury’s in 2005 and say he wouldn’t but Anthony & The Johnsons on the front? Why is there such a discrepancy between the artists featured on the front and the albums of the year? In all honesty Indie Heat is actually a fair reflection, two things that happened around the time I stopped buying it were constant coverage of The Strokes on pages 4 and 5 when they weren’t doing anything and the shambles that led to them p*ssing off the Darkness and having the biggest guitar band in the country not talking to them. It seems they don’t want to be in that situation again so they won’t deem a band uncool until they’ve moved onto Radio 2 world (See Razorlight and soon to be The Kooks no doubt) They hit oil with The Strokes and The White Stripes in 2001/2 and with The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys in the next few years they hit it here in the UK, now Indie is mainstream, the people who bbought last weeks NME and most of those who went to the shows aren’t the kind of people who would collect 7″ singles for the b-sides.

  6. Speaking as someone who ‘stopped reading it’ almost every week about 2002/3 when it had just gone glossy I can see a lot of the arguments about better in my day from people. But the few copies I pick up every now and again seem to be largely devoid of any information about music. interviews don’t talk about influences and ways of making music. The album reviews spend as much time telling us ‘fun facts’ and using pictures for the main review or are shorter than this comment is so far. It’s commendable that they still try with the classic albums features, talking about Tony Wilson, The Smiths and so on and try to bring a new generation of listeners in but the audience is totally different to what it was 20 years ago and that was a reflection that Britpop had on it, it boosted the sales figures and probably lost more people who read it beforehand than people who had come to it in the 1994-6 period before the end of the decade. Now when they do try and put a ‘new’ band on the front (Like Gallows as mentioned) it doesn’t sell.This sees a rotation of the same 10 or so artists over the year mixed in with festival coverage, one off events / deaths etc. Why did Conor stand at the Mercury’s in 2005 and say he wouldn’t but Anthony & The Johnsons on the front? Why is there such a discrepancy between the artists featured on the front and the albums of the year? In all honesty Indie Heat is actually a fair reflection, two things that happened around the time I stopped buying it were constant coverage of The Strokes on pages 4 and 5 when they weren’t doing anything and the shambles that led to them p*ssing off the Darkness and having the biggest guitar band in the country not talking to them. It seems they don’t want to be in that situation again so they won’t deem a band uncool until they’ve moved onto Radio 2 world (See Razorlight and soon to be The Kooks no doubt) They hit oil with The Strokes and The White Stripes in 2001/2 and with The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys in the next few years they hit it here in the UK, now Indie is mainstream, the people who bbought last weeks NME and most of those who went to the shows aren’t the kind of people who would collect 7″ singles for the b-sides.

  7. My thoughts on the NME – which I discussed with you for a Northamptonshire article once Andrew – is that the level of quality journalism in the magazine has dropped for promotion of the NME ‘brand’ – the magazine is just one small part now of the marketing mix for NME. I look back fondly to my teen years (some 15 years ago) where I couldn’t wait for NME/MM to come out – you could tell who wrote the piece by the style of the writing and it was full of controversy and exclusives. Would a band now do what Richey did to Steve Lamacq with carving 4 Real into their arm? Today, NME is Smash Hits. And Smash Hits died. I would hate NME to go the same way due to my nostalgia for it but there’s no substance to it, merely just a poster supplement of pretty haired bands and Noel Fielding. I actually prefer reading NME online for the news – a weekly mag does seem out of date when it hits the shelves but that is a sign of our times – Ms Bickers

  8. My thoughts on the NME – which I discussed with you for a Northamptonshire article once Andrew – is that the level of quality journalism in the magazine has dropped for promotion of the NME ‘brand’ – the magazine is just one small part now of the marketing mix for NME. I look back fondly to my teen years (some 15 years ago) where I couldn’t wait for NME/MM to come out – you could tell who wrote the piece by the style of the writing and it was full of controversy and exclusives. Would a band now do what Richey did to Steve Lamacq with carving 4 Real into their arm? Today, NME is Smash Hits. And Smash Hits died. I would hate NME to go the same way due to my nostalgia for it but there’s no substance to it, merely just a poster supplement of pretty haired bands and Noel Fielding. I actually prefer reading NME online for the news – a weekly mag does seem out of date when it hits the shelves but that is a sign of our times – Ms Bickers

  9. Very good interview, Andrew..And bang on.If I want to learn more about MGMT or Vampire Weekend, I read about them on T’internet, download a song or two, check their myspace page, and if I like their stuff, I buy the album.I loved the NME, and was introduced to it, by an ex-colleague at the tender age of 16. I double that tomorrow.I remember fondly, sitting reading the NME on the return journey to London.I’d be lucky if the modern NME kept my interest, to the end of the street.

  10. Very good interview, Andrew..And bang on.If I want to learn more about MGMT or Vampire Weekend, I read about them on T’internet, download a song or two, check their myspace page, and if I like their stuff, I buy the album.I loved the NME, and was introduced to it, by an ex-colleague at the tender age of 16. I double that tomorrow.I remember fondly, sitting reading the NME on the return journey to London.I’d be lucky if the modern NME kept my interest, to the end of the street.

  11. At the risk of sounding like a boring old fart, when I was a teenager, the NME was essential reading if you wanted to fit in. I think this was in part because I lived in the back of beyond where no gig ever happened and we wanted to feel that we had some connection to the real, exciting world outside Clacton. (“The Old Grey Whistle Test” was also important, where we could hear some of the bands we read about.) My brother and I read it from cover to cover and it even got to the stage where we caught our old Mum reading it (“otherwise I would never know what you two were talking about”). As I got caught up with other interests in life, I gradually stopped reading it, although I still retain a great affection for it. Now, at the age of 48, I get my new music from going to smelly pub gigs and loitering around Myspace!

  12. At the risk of sounding like a boring old fart, when I was a teenager, the NME was essential reading if you wanted to fit in. I think this was in part because I lived in the back of beyond where no gig ever happened and we wanted to feel that we had some connection to the real, exciting world outside Clacton. (“The Old Grey Whistle Test” was also important, where we could hear some of the bands we read about.) My brother and I read it from cover to cover and it even got to the stage where we caught our old Mum reading it (“otherwise I would never know what you two were talking about”). As I got caught up with other interests in life, I gradually stopped reading it, although I still retain a great affection for it. Now, at the age of 48, I get my new music from going to smelly pub gigs and loitering around Myspace!

  13. The NME is so disappointing that I get depressed even flicking through it in Smiths. I haven’t bought it for about 3 years now… For culture and tradition it’d be a shame if it went down the pan, but maybe it’s time it went the same way as that other irrelevance Top of The Pops.

  14. The NME is so disappointing that I get depressed even flicking through it in Smiths. I haven’t bought it for about 3 years now… For culture and tradition it’d be a shame if it went down the pan, but maybe it’s time it went the same way as that other irrelevance Top of The Pops.

  15. I bought a copy of the NME last year to while away some time on a flight. It had been a long, long time since I had last bought a copy of the NME. Possibly 20 years had passed.It was unrecognisable. That was the good thing. It should have been.The let down was the same-y corporate marketised MTV-u-like vibe from the publication. I didn’t get the impression that any of the writers/contributors were remotely excited about music. The NME tried to follow when it should have stuck to it’s guns. Mind you the Irish equivalent ‘Hot Press’ is a steaming pile of poo these days and has been for some time. That’s mostly because it hasn’t changed and never really moved on from the Joshua Tree.

  16. I bought a copy of the NME last year to while away some time on a flight. It had been a long, long time since I had last bought a copy of the NME. Possibly 20 years had passed.It was unrecognisable. That was the good thing. It should have been.The let down was the same-y corporate marketised MTV-u-like vibe from the publication. I didn’t get the impression that any of the writers/contributors were remotely excited about music. The NME tried to follow when it should have stuck to it’s guns. Mind you the Irish equivalent ‘Hot Press’ is a steaming pile of poo these days and has been for some time. That’s mostly because it hasn’t changed and never really moved on from the Joshua Tree.

  17. I’ve got this week’s NME in front of me, having been encouraged to buy it for the first time this year thanks to Andrew’s post. I’m obviously easily influenced.Inside it, Mark Beaumont, reviewing REM’s Supernatural Superserious – commonly acknowledged as their loudest, rockiest, fastest single in ten years – says it is an “efficient collegiate jangle that could’ve been found on Automatic For The People”.I think this shows one of the reasons why the NME’s circulation is in freefall, and why I read things like Andrew’s blog these days instead. Why anyone would pay £2.10 a week to read uninformed, shoddy drivel by Mark Beaumont when you can read shoddy, uninformed drivel on my blog for free, I’ve no idea.

  18. I’ve got this week’s NME in front of me, having been encouraged to buy it for the first time this year thanks to Andrew’s post. I’m obviously easily influenced.Inside it, Mark Beaumont, reviewing REM’s Supernatural Superserious – commonly acknowledged as their loudest, rockiest, fastest single in ten years – says it is an “efficient collegiate jangle that could’ve been found on Automatic For The People”.I think this shows one of the reasons why the NME’s circulation is in freefall, and why I read things like Andrew’s blog these days instead. Why anyone would pay £2.10 a week to read uninformed, shoddy drivel by Mark Beaumont when you can read shoddy, uninformed drivel on my blog for free, I’ve no idea.

  19. Would a solution to the malaise to be to use the on-line and printed formats to complement each other ?A 500 word piece about a band on the interent with the tag-line “read the whole interview in this week’s NME”.It would require the paper to become more about words than about pictures and gig dates etc., and would also need there to be some writing talent onboard.Splitting the content between the two media would prevent the print version being viewed as out of date by pres date. The website carries the instant information while the paper acts as “hard copy” for what’s out next week, who’s on tour when etc. but also allows room for longer “think” pieces, in depth interviews and the provision of what has already been mentioned : “the narrative”.The success of Mojo, Word and others shows that there is a section of the public who are happy to sit and read a long article : why should fans of “NME bands” be any different.The other USP of the paper is, of course, that it’s bloody difficult to read 5,000 words on (say)Massive Attack and their importance and place in the buzz and whirr of things on a laptop while you’re travelling on a bus or train.It’s the eco-aware public transport users music paper.

  20. Would a solution to the malaise to be to use the on-line and printed formats to complement each other ?A 500 word piece about a band on the interent with the tag-line “read the whole interview in this week’s NME”.It would require the paper to become more about words than about pictures and gig dates etc., and would also need there to be some writing talent onboard.Splitting the content between the two media would prevent the print version being viewed as out of date by pres date. The website carries the instant information while the paper acts as “hard copy” for what’s out next week, who’s on tour when etc. but also allows room for longer “think” pieces, in depth interviews and the provision of what has already been mentioned : “the narrative”.The success of Mojo, Word and others shows that there is a section of the public who are happy to sit and read a long article : why should fans of “NME bands” be any different.The other USP of the paper is, of course, that it’s bloody difficult to read 5,000 words on (say)Massive Attack and their importance and place in the buzz and whirr of things on a laptop while you’re travelling on a bus or train.It’s the eco-aware public transport users music paper.

  21. “It is a fairly intense and obsessive relationship that tends to end with a messy split over musical differences around the age of 25. Former readers then become like embittered ex-spouses, forever recalling a rose-tinted Golden Age of rock journalism”. So, please, stop moaning about the current NME and leave our generation to enjoy it without hearing how it was better in your day. I’m not aiming this at Andrew, more the people who comment every single time the NME is mentioned on this blog with these pointless comments.

  22. “It is a fairly intense and obsessive relationship that tends to end with a messy split over musical differences around the age of 25. Former readers then become like embittered ex-spouses, forever recalling a rose-tinted Golden Age of rock journalism”. So, please, stop moaning about the current NME and leave our generation to enjoy it without hearing how it was better in your day. I’m not aiming this at Andrew, more the people who comment every single time the NME is mentioned on this blog with these pointless comments.

  23. Aidan, I think we’re in rough agreement here that the NME performs a totally different task to the one it did, say, 20 years ago. The problem is, your generation aren’t “enjoying it” in very large numbers, or else the Times wouldn’t even be writing that piece in the first place. The NME is published by IPC, who are now owned by TimeWarner, the world’s second-largest media and entertainment conglomerate, who are not going to keep the magazine going for fun. In the harsh economic climate, it seems clear that far more energy is invested into the tours and awards and other brand extensions than the publication itself. This, objectively speaking, makes today’s weekly rag a different beast from the “old” one. Your generation are entitled to enjoy it, and to be honest, I wish more young people cared enough about music to buy a music magazine, but the entire sector is in decline. Instant access to music has, for some, removed a magazine’s importance. (It’s that “narrative” Paul Morley was speaking about.) Keep buying it Aidan, it’s the only way to save it from doom. I will too. The quality of the writing? Well, we all think “our” generation had it best, but today’s writers lack the unique access yesterday’s writers had. The NME is full of camera-phone photos of readers with the very people featured in the magazine. Bands make themselves available through blogs and online forums too. Who needs an NME writer to “track them down”? In the old days, if the NME didn’t interview your favourite band (or one of the other weeklies), you would have no way of knowing what they were up to. Literally!In short, Aidan, when you’re old you’ll talk about “your” NME as the best one, as it spoke to you. Whether it even exists in paper form in five years is in the hands of TimeWarner’s accountants.

  24. Aidan, I think we’re in rough agreement here that the NME performs a totally different task to the one it did, say, 20 years ago. The problem is, your generation aren’t “enjoying it” in very large numbers, or else the Times wouldn’t even be writing that piece in the first place. The NME is published by IPC, who are now owned by TimeWarner, the world’s second-largest media and entertainment conglomerate, who are not going to keep the magazine going for fun. In the harsh economic climate, it seems clear that far more energy is invested into the tours and awards and other brand extensions than the publication itself. This, objectively speaking, makes today’s weekly rag a different beast from the “old” one. Your generation are entitled to enjoy it, and to be honest, I wish more young people cared enough about music to buy a music magazine, but the entire sector is in decline. Instant access to music has, for some, removed a magazine’s importance. (It’s that “narrative” Paul Morley was speaking about.) Keep buying it Aidan, it’s the only way to save it from doom. I will too. The quality of the writing? Well, we all think “our” generation had it best, but today’s writers lack the unique access yesterday’s writers had. The NME is full of camera-phone photos of readers with the very people featured in the magazine. Bands make themselves available through blogs and online forums too. Who needs an NME writer to “track them down”? In the old days, if the NME didn’t interview your favourite band (or one of the other weeklies), you would have no way of knowing what they were up to. Literally!In short, Aidan, when you’re old you’ll talk about “your” NME as the best one, as it spoke to you. Whether it even exists in paper form in five years is in the hands of TimeWarner’s accountants.

  25. “they [the NME target audience] just want soundbites, Q&As, video clips, downloads, all of which can be better served up online than on paper”Speaking as a member of the NME target audience I don’t think this is true. I do still want proper interviews and discussion and reviews. I think the “articles” on the website tend to be a bit like articles in the metro for indie types – frothy, short, throwaway.Take the recent “article” on theior website about Thom Yorke saying “In Rainbows” is their best album yet. The entire article consisted of a quote from him saying his latest album was good and a picture of the album cover. Hardly searing analysis is it NME? And what did they expect Yorke was going to say? “Well its alright but its not as good as The Bends so you might as well not buy it”

  26. “they [the NME target audience] just want soundbites, Q&As, video clips, downloads, all of which can be better served up online than on paper”Speaking as a member of the NME target audience I don’t think this is true. I do still want proper interviews and discussion and reviews. I think the “articles” on the website tend to be a bit like articles in the metro for indie types – frothy, short, throwaway.Take the recent “article” on theior website about Thom Yorke saying “In Rainbows” is their best album yet. The entire article consisted of a quote from him saying his latest album was good and a picture of the album cover. Hardly searing analysis is it NME? And what did they expect Yorke was going to say? “Well its alright but its not as good as The Bends so you might as well not buy it”

  27. Also speaking as a member of the NME target audience I can safely say that there really isn’t anything in the magazine worth reading. News and gig announcements are always out of date, most of the reviews consist of about 12 words and a number, the interviews are devoid of content and much rather read Uncut / Mojo or a blog.

  28. Also speaking as a member of the NME target audience I can safely say that there really isn’t anything in the magazine worth reading. News and gig announcements are always out of date, most of the reviews consist of about 12 words and a number, the interviews are devoid of content and much rather read Uncut / Mojo or a blog.

  29. I am one of those who makes pointless comments every time NME is mentioned (and not only then…) and I usually end up patronising Aidan, which to be honest I enjoy doing because it makes me feel old, and I like feeling old because it reminds me that every day is a day nearer to death. (It’s a comforting thought to me, all right?)So anyway, true to form, can I just say that I think it’s at least a good sign that Aidan (who after all clearly knows a good blog when he reads one) should be so protective of today’s NME in the face of criticism from his elders. That at least is how it should be. (Unless he’s actually an NME writer.)I have older siblings and even when I was reading the magnificent Collins/Maconie/Quantick/Lamacq/Swells/etc beast of my time, I was aware that the paper was not what it had been 5 years earlier. Then I probably thought it was better. But then, then I actually watched a certain episode of Telly Addicts just because Sound And Vision told me to. Now I wish my time had been the Morley era because that seems much more interesting.I think NME needs a new “scene” that appeals to a sufficiently sizeable number of “kids”, and doesn’t appeal to / isn’t targeted at blokes in their thirties and forties with enough disposable income to buy stuff just because it vaguely reminds them of their youth. We’re due one, aren’t we? Alternatively it needs to start targetting those blokes itself, by writing about those “current” bands as if they actually matter.As for the Radiohead story: surely a missed opportunity to ask Noel Gallagher how the album compares to Definitely Maybe?

  30. I am one of those who makes pointless comments every time NME is mentioned (and not only then…) and I usually end up patronising Aidan, which to be honest I enjoy doing because it makes me feel old, and I like feeling old because it reminds me that every day is a day nearer to death. (It’s a comforting thought to me, all right?)So anyway, true to form, can I just say that I think it’s at least a good sign that Aidan (who after all clearly knows a good blog when he reads one) should be so protective of today’s NME in the face of criticism from his elders. That at least is how it should be. (Unless he’s actually an NME writer.)I have older siblings and even when I was reading the magnificent Collins/Maconie/Quantick/Lamacq/Swells/etc beast of my time, I was aware that the paper was not what it had been 5 years earlier. Then I probably thought it was better. But then, then I actually watched a certain episode of Telly Addicts just because Sound And Vision told me to. Now I wish my time had been the Morley era because that seems much more interesting.I think NME needs a new “scene” that appeals to a sufficiently sizeable number of “kids”, and doesn’t appeal to / isn’t targeted at blokes in their thirties and forties with enough disposable income to buy stuff just because it vaguely reminds them of their youth. We’re due one, aren’t we? Alternatively it needs to start targetting those blokes itself, by writing about those “current” bands as if they actually matter.As for the Radiohead story: surely a missed opportunity to ask Noel Gallagher how the album compares to Definitely Maybe?

  31. To put it simply, its just not as good as it used to be back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. A typical issue might have the variety of a Napalm Death interview, a ‘day out’ feature with Sonia and a piece on Francis Ford Coppola. These days ‘the kids’ wouldn’t be able to cope with that mix. I bet the NME gets complaints everytime they deviate from the typical indie bands.Lee

  32. To put it simply, its just not as good as it used to be back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. A typical issue might have the variety of a Napalm Death interview, a ‘day out’ feature with Sonia and a piece on Francis Ford Coppola. These days ‘the kids’ wouldn’t be able to cope with that mix. I bet the NME gets complaints everytime they deviate from the typical indie bands.Lee

  33. I hardly ever read the NME when I was younger, as its pages were far too big. Hardly what you’re after when you’re up to your eyeballs coping with last night’s curry. No, on the throne I prefer Auto Trader or What Caravan?. I sometimes read Classic Rock, but that’s only because I get it sent free. I still prefer Auto Trader, mind. Or Exchange & Mart.

  34. I hardly ever read the NME when I was younger, as its pages were far too big. Hardly what you’re after when you’re up to your eyeballs coping with last night’s curry. No, on the throne I prefer Auto Trader or What Caravan?. I sometimes read Classic Rock, but that’s only because I get it sent free. I still prefer Auto Trader, mind. Or Exchange & Mart.

  35. To quote Pete Green (not appearing in an NME near you..)Best British Band Supported by Shockwaves I was 21 when I last bought the NMEand that’s so long ago that it’s obsceneFrom what I gather now, most of its readersoutgrow it at the age of seventeenBut the other day, upon an online forum,I read about the NME awardsThey were sponsored by a range of leading productsand the most prestigious winner will be calledthe Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwaves It symbolises their approach to musiccos the songs take second place to looking flashand the NME’s not just about the haircuts:it’s also about raking in the cashSo count the fat backhanders from the labels,see the sponsorship show up the whole charadeThey’ve sold a generation down the riverbut we will never hold in high regardthe Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwaves So when the singer from the Klaxons or whoeverhas his grandkids round the mansion for the dayand they ask him “what did you do in the indie wars?”he’ll have to swallow all his pride to say:we were the Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwavesrock and roll

  36. To quote Pete Green (not appearing in an NME near you..)Best British Band Supported by Shockwaves I was 21 when I last bought the NMEand that’s so long ago that it’s obsceneFrom what I gather now, most of its readersoutgrow it at the age of seventeenBut the other day, upon an online forum,I read about the NME awardsThey were sponsored by a range of leading productsand the most prestigious winner will be calledthe Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwaves It symbolises their approach to musiccos the songs take second place to looking flashand the NME’s not just about the haircuts:it’s also about raking in the cashSo count the fat backhanders from the labels,see the sponsorship show up the whole charadeThey’ve sold a generation down the riverbut we will never hold in high regardthe Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwaves So when the singer from the Klaxons or whoeverhas his grandkids round the mansion for the dayand they ask him “what did you do in the indie wars?”he’ll have to swallow all his pride to say:we were the Best British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by ShockwavesBest British Band supported by Shockwavesrock and roll

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