I Use The NME

I feel like the reaction of ‘the NME got bad one year after you left university’ takes over the end of the NME’s printed edition miss the point. I know that the period I read it was not a great one. It did not have Morley, Penman, or Sinker. But…it was how I was introduced to Spiritualized, Asian Dub Foundation, Atari Teenage Riot, Sleater-Kinney, and countless others. It had Kitty Empire, Sylvia Patterson, and Steven Wells.

It was there: week in, week out; Fifty pages of music every week. Sometimes it’d be terrible, other times it would be great. At times, it would get me so angry that I’d scribble a furious missive, one of which even got published1. Every Wednesday afternoon, we’d have a free period in the Sixth Form common room, sharing the week’s NME and Melody Maker between us.

Of course, you could say that it’s not needed any more, but…while, sure, the day-to-day ‘MUSIC! NEWS! INCOMING! PETER! YOU’VE LOST THE MUSIC NEWS!’ is handled well by the Internet, I feel that we’re missing something by not having a weekly that ends up taking the piss as much as it takes things seriously2. And it was a weekly that paid real money to writers, something that’s lacking in our bold new era of Digital Content.

But obviously, I haven’t bought the NME since I went to UNC in 2002. I could never bring myself to buy Q or Word (okay, I did buy them a couple of times, but that was for when my online work got featured in them), or god forgive us, Uncut. And the writing on the wall had been there since it became a free sheet. In many ways, it’s a mercy killing. But it’s another avenue closed off, another chunk of something intensely…well…British3 disappearing into the mists.

Let us remember those that fell in the ‘hip-hop wars’.

  1. It was Stereophonics slagging off Kenickie that finally got me into the letters pages. The gall of Kelly Jones still angers me to this very day, obviously. [return]
  2. I still miss NTK’s weekly British-slanted take on technology news [return]
  3. British in the way I remember it, in the immortal words of Your Sinclair: ‘it’s crap. in a funky skillo sort of way’ [return]