Wither NME, etc, etc

NME editor Conor McNicholas says, in as many words, his magazine isn’t as shite as its naysayers would have you believe.

I honestly couldn’t tell you if he has a point because I can’t get past the magazine’s design. It feels like a five-year-old with ADHD has been given a load of multi-coloured crayons after binging on Jelly Beans, and told to put the first thing that comes into his head on the paper in front of him.

Although on the few occasions I’ve managed to struggle through and read it, I’ve been disappointed. In the years when I used to buy the NME (the heady days of Britpop. Other than Elastica, Pulp, and Blur, I don’t listen to any of those CDs anymore) I could find out about lots of bands I didn’t know existed but that I would be sure to at least someway like as the NME had now told me they existed.

I’m well aware that I’ve now slipped into my own narrower tastes and am possibly the out-of-touch person I vowed never to become. My obsessive Top 40-taping younger self would be so outraged, he’d throw a C90 at me if he knew what I’ve turned into.

I am officially old, yes.

Yet, I seem to have heard of most of the bands I read in the NME. I know roughly what their music sounds like. I think I could name a few tracks, if pushed. Largely, I’ve found out about the bands through friend recommendations, assorted websites, The Guardian, and Jo Wiley’s show on Radio One. That can’t be right.

I’m sure there’s some observation about the emergence of new media and the wonders of the internet pushing more traditional forms to one side here, but it’s so obvious it almost writes itself.

Almost, but not quite. It didn’t write itself there, so just fill in the blank bit.

Actually, I quite like the NME’s website – it’s well designed, informative, and has a good community. Although it’s not somewhere I visit on a regular basis, largely because (and perhaps I’m not looking in the right places) it doesn’t have much on the music I really like.

But Gary, it’s not your own personal newsletter, I hear you cry. And no indeed, I would reply. But we are at the stage where, using widgets, RSS, and other assorted interweb malarky, I can create my own personal music newsletter. Horrah for the internet!

And another thing. Again in my regular NME reading days [1] they used to have a pretty decent section on dance music that wasn’t dance music for gurning idiots too drugged up to remember anything other than a repetitive bassline straight4/4 rhythm.

I struggle to find anything dance-wise on their site or in their magazine. There only appears to be a couple of things relating to, say, Burial. Thankfully, there’s a fair bit more on Justice, but they appear to be a slight exception.

Anyway, I’m rambling. My point is, the music seems to be largely guitar-based indie-rock. Which is fine. I like this as much as the next casually-acquainted-occasional-guitar-based-indie-rock man. But I also happen to like music from across a range of genres, which don’t seem to be covered in the magazine and the website, while good, isn’t great if I’m after specific info on bands or even sound-alike bands.

Put it this way: I’m sure I shouldn’t be making as many new musical discoveries via Amazon as I do via the NME.

Insert secondary bit about new media overtaking more traditional forms here.

Somehow, despite slipping into a grumpy old misanthrope when today’s music is concerned, I’m still able to track down and find stuff I quite like without the help of the NME. And I’m not talking about some weird Bulgarian metal-trance act here [2]. This is stuff that, by the time I flip through friend’s copies of the NME, I know about elsewhere.

Concluding paragraph on new media goes here.

Anyway, Andrew Collins once told me he thought the NME was a bit rubbish these days. Ok, those days were about four years ago, and I doubt he’d remember making the remark, and I especially doubt he’d remember me, as it was at some seminar thing and I was in the audience. But he told me it all the same. So hah! And double hah!

Have I just aged writing this piece?

[1] Christ I am getting old here. Back in my day we got electricity from small hamsters running round in wheels, gravel for breakfast, etc, etc.

[2] The likes of which Jon Peel (RIP) used to play regularly.

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2 Responses to “Wither NME, etc, etc”


  1. 1 Christopher White March 8, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    “I shouldn’t be making as many new musical discoveries via Amazon as I do via the NME.”

    I dunno Gary. Amazon’s quite clever, with its recommendations thing and whatnot.


  1. 1 With NME, but asked by people who know what they’re talking about « Gary Andrews Trackback on March 9, 2008 at 11:14 pm

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