feed the enemy – magazine

I actually look back on the New Musical Express with fondness from about 1976-1982. After that, it tended to reflect the shitty music that was available across the mainstream – from Haircut 100 to Kajagoogoo.
Arguably worthwhile writers like Paul Morley were reduced to writing about shite like Scritti Politti as the most interesting music started to come from underground – the 80s tape scene (literally from punk to power electronics!) was covered in Sounds – but not the NME.
Throbbing Gristle generally got ‘single of the week’ every time they released something, but were never interviewed after 1978 – after all, their record label had a tiny wee picture of Auschwitz on it. So the fact that they were almost single-handedly wrenching popular music out of its comfort zone hardly mattered, did it?
And the NME had previous for this sort of thing. In the late 1950s, they’d railed against suggestive beat-group front man Cliff Richard, claiming he was a danger to the pop kids of the day.
And around Christmas 1981, I noticed that the NME was completely irrelevant. As the music industry left the sort of people who loved music behind and fell into the hands of marketers and such like, it became hip to embrace shite – ironically, mind. Unfortunately, when you sprinkle hundreds and thousands over a dog turd, it’s still just a dog turd with sugar on top.
The last time I bought the NME was when Fad Gadget died (nae internet in those days) and he didn’t even merit a mention. There was an article on the emerging electroclash scene, which turned out to be pretty good, albeit in a superficial kind of way – and for a very brief time.
So farewell NME. You were missed in 1982, but not today. The same way people commemorated the death of that nice Mrs Thatcher when her body died. Anything that had animated her, for good or ill, had evaporated years before, leaving only a painted shell.


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