Happy birthday and God Save the NME

Originally published: The Independent March, 6, 2012

It’s a republican nightmare, but Britain’s fortunes are inexplicably linked with our Queen’s. Whether it’s Elizabethan New World exploration or Victorian industrialisation, Britain’s might requires reginae tactus. Yet never has the realm’s cultural wealth coincided with the Monarch, than with our Lizzie and pop music.

Today sees the diamond jubilee of our great institution the New Musical Express, making it merely a month younger than Queenie – in the same school year but forever the snotty nosed kid at the back of the class, pen knife in hand carving slogans into society’s English oak desk. While mainstream Britain was still humming Vera Lynn war tunes and standing for the national anthem when the wireless shut down, the NME gave the country big bands and suave exciting crooners…..

…..Rubbishing the NME is a full-time hobby for many over the age 25, purely because they don’t get it any more. The NME gifted them a cool record collection, and their self-worth has flourished to think they’re better than it. The truth is they’re just too old and the NME doesn’t even care. Although all excellent, Mojo, Q, Word and Uncut cater for the oldies and the blogs pander to the snobs, but the kids are reading about invigorating new music from a voice speaking directly to them.

I have a thirteen-year-old brother whose bedroom wall is covered in NME clippings, and I spent years DJing at a Leicester indie club, Mosh, which is decorated with NME covers. It’s this scrapbook connection which makes NME essential. A printed screenshot of Drowned In Sound doesn’t have the same impact. Besides, filling in Trevor Hungerford’s weekly crossword is a textural and physical pleasure. ….READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


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