Wednesday, April 17, 2002

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NME: WHAT THE POP PAPERS ARE SAYING 17.04.02
a new age, a new dawn, a new nme. or something...

but first: The Stereophonics are advertising alcohol on the continent. Music Week says so. Beer? Good welsh ale? Nope, Martini. We were going to follow Bill Hick's advice and remove them from the artistic roster, but we couldn't find them there to begin with...

Kerranng has got a pretty nifty freebie ep put together by the Hives, which is better than the Hives album, if you ask us. Clearly, its their plan for a spoiler for the nme relaunch, and it sort of works...

so, the new nme. What a botch. It is smaller, but its not magazine size - or rather, not what the British understand by the term. Its more akin to Rolling Stone, and if their plan is to get off the paper shelf and onto the front facing displays, they've dropped a huge bollock. In my newsagents, they were exactly where they were last week - on top of the Daily Sport. The inners are still newsprint, so smaller amount of cheap paper, plus a two pound "special" cover price probably suggests this shrinkage is nothing more than the idea of accountants on speed. More shamefully, the nme logo has been overhauled into some sort of lame-ass 3D version, which appears to be wrong where the bars enter the upstroke of the E...

ten years ago, the ruby anniversary was marked by Mozzer reading a copy of the paper with Vera Lynn on the cover. This time round, Liam is holding a framed copy of the dead Lennon cover. 1992, and the past was different and fascinating; in 2002, it's preserved and revered. And, frankly, if Liam is the best they can come up with for the 50th, they really should give up right away. Bowie not returning your calls, lads?...

news includes the promise made by coldplay that their next album will be their last (oh, yeah, and the manics released one and split up); Mark Beaumont attempts to recreate the Peter Buck air-rage incident - "seemingly nice bloke turns out to be an arsehole" not offering very much in the way of a challenge, we'd imagine; Craig Vines is sexy, isn't he?; the BPi are investigating that Oasis "leak" - could it be that People From Record Companies are bootlegging, like demons within? For those of you who can't be arsed to steal the thing of audiogalaxy - or, perhaps more likely, are dreading the day when every branch of Mark One has the album on constant loop - there's samples of the lyrical genius we can expect, including "God give me soul in your rock and roll band", "smoking all my stash, burning all my cash"...

gossip redesigned with no names: troubled rock star who used to beat his ex-wife about (most of them?); band overbudget on comeback trail; ex-rock wife bitching about former husband...

on bands - yeah yeah yeahs - at last, a proper, exciting band in on. with a female singer and everything. And big hair; Mum - more women, more iceland; Purplehaze - if you think we need some sort of D12, why not?...

Shirley Manson has done the imaginary CD thingy - she includes Dusty Springfield, Billie Holiday, Marianne Faithfull and Patti Smith. But there's Ian Brown, too, so it's not all bisexual icons. Apparently, Shirl used to carry a picture of Ian Brown in her wallet, Perhaps he's on the tenners in Scotland?...

aha, and it wouldn't be an nme special without a whole new scene - this one's called, um, no name, and seems to be nothing more than a collection of bands that aren't shit. Although in the current nme, that is, in itself, a novelty. No name is apparently Ikara Colt, The Parkinsons, Hoggboy, This Girl, McLusky, Miss Black America, The 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Cooper Temple Clause and The Moonies. They are, mostly, excellent, but so disparate as to be almost an Ikea Scene - open plan and mix and match. Still, nice to see something that isn't shite...

here are the reviews, early, so we can get to the jelly of the 50th birthday jubilations - alec empire - intelligence and sacrifice ("certain there's no future, but one of it's most confident architects..."); Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ("hard going and that is their point", 8); Safety Scissors - {arts water ("not big, but is clever", 6); Celine Dion - a new day has come ("its not just her heart that goes on", 3)

we'll come back to the special in a moment, but for now - sotw, quite rightly, is the sugababes freak like me. perhaps because nme is getting presents, they don't have a worst single this week...

live: fuck me with a crowbar, Jane Weaver is back. Again. This time she's dazzling and delightful, as she supports badly drawn boy in Manchester. The Vines in Camden ("just a great rock and roll band. That can mean the world"); Pink in Kings Cross ("exactly who are you?"); Garbage in Bristol ("fantastic frontwoman... average songs"); ryan adams in brixton ("the single most important song and dance man in the world")...

so, here's your pull out and discard guide to the anniversary pull out. Current editor (or "IPC head of decline management" stresses that nme stands for New Musical Express - erm, despite being the first issue in its history that doesn't have that on its masthead...

there's a three page overview of "Rock: Our part in its whoring" hats okay, then quickly, they go on to the Top 50 artists of what they call all-time. PJ Harvey just makes the cut, Pulp at our 44, Madonna at 42. Sinatra is at number 37 - one place below the Primals; the Manics edge Roxy down to 32; Dexys at 26 are a place below Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The Strokes, surprisingly, qualify for the number 17 position - Presley only makes 14. U2 are at nine, Pistols at five; and the Smiths, of course, are at number One. The Beatles, controversially, aren't in the list at all. Of course we're joking. Number 2...

former nme writers - but not Danny Baker - are asked about their favourite issue of the nme, which does sadly show up how pisspoor the current bunch are. Nirvana's first cover only came because Sonic Youth and The Cure both failed to turn up, reveals Mary Anne Hobbs; David Quantick remembers his time as "writing the Beano Christmas special, only evil", and Stuart Maconie talking about cockroaches. Marvellous...Sadly, the issue also reveals that jobs writing for the nme are now considered to be competition prizes rather than positions to be attained and cherished and loved...

black rebel motorcycle club remember the time their picture in the nme stopped them being beaten up by thugs...

they trawl through the worst covers ever, again, including the youth suicide one, which was pretty good, i always thought, and the time they painted Jack Barron's head with a globe; there's also a list of bands who got nme covers and... disappeared, including Baby Ampthetamine, The Other Two, SMASH, Campag Velocet, Cud and Terris. Oh, and T'pau...

and, um, that's pretty much it. Nowhere near as good as the 40th anniversary edition, and shockingly not even as good as the Melody Maker's 70th. But then you're not meant to stick around and see more than one of these zeitgeisty zero-ending years, are you? An alright issue for an alright magazine... that'd be yer nme, then.


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