First time for everything, I suppose

I remember getting excited about buying the NME each Wednesday morning before getting on the school bus. It was the burgeoning Britpop era and the improvement in paper quality that bookended my stint with the nation’s most renowned music weekly. I’ll never forget the wit, enthusiasm and passion of the bog roll days. ‘He Could Be Eros‘ was a classic cover to mark the release of ‘A Short Album About Love‘ by The Divine Comedy, while everybody knows the historical Blur/Oasis Heavyweight battle image. The charts were there to study, the letters page took the piss magnificently out of the loonies and the album reviews were amongst the most coruscating pieces of writing I’ve ever read. God bless mid-90s NME, and all who sailed in her.
Then things changed. The 1998 shift to posher paper began the drift, but things really started to tail off as the price kept creeping up and the cover even became glossy. The volume of text reduced rapidly and the sense of fanboyism that made the paper so lovable, comforting and familiar evaporated.
I occasionally dip in these days. I bought the issue with The Good, The Bad & The Queen on the cover around Christmas and found all but that interview decidedly uninspiring. Nothing about the new issue has achieved anything other than the same result. Big pictures, large adverts and some fairly uninspiring text. However, it’s got a free White Stripes 7″ this week, previewing the new album. Actual vinyl, stuck to the front of a magazine. Fabulous!

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