The iconic NME (New Musical Express) sees it’s final print version hit the streets today, Friday 9th March 2018… 66 years after it first rolled off the presses in 1952.
In that time, it has reported the explosion of Punk, the rise of Hip Hop and the dominance of Britpop. Politics, fashion and music all happily intermingled and no genre or musical movement was too taboo or “out there!” for its writers. This became very apparent in the 1980’s when it continually introduced new, intriguing ideas to the British music buying public. Articles on King Sunny Ade and his West African Juju music shared print space with underground club happenings in London’s Soho. The mysterious sounding Grandmaster Flash and his ‘wheels of steel’ shared pages with the equally mysterious Prince Charles and the City Beat Band. The rinse cycle was cranked up to eleven and readers were treated to a world of musical intrigue every week.
The Thursday ritual of the newsagent handing over a weighty volume full of great, sometimes not so great and sometimes demented stories was a major pleasure for those seeking ‘that certain something’. Some stories were simply sublime, while others left you with a distinct feeling of ‘am I missing something here?’. The reality was that you could have just watched Top of the Pops and been done with it, but oh no, you wanted to take the fastest, slipperiest route down the rabbit hole and wanted to do it without a safety harness!
Today’s instant access to music news (and music for that matter!) via our dastardly smartphones has meant that the NME, alongside a plethora of it’s printed kin are facing hard times. This was evident in 2015 when NME top brass removed its cover price and it went ‘free’. Sadly even the zero price-tag couldn’t save it and reports of it being unviable circulated. From that point onwards it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened. It is worth noting however that even though the print edition ceases today, the online version will continue.
As the New Musical Express magazine hangs up its printed hat today and accepts its retirement clock, we can only look back with affection and warmth at the role it played and it’s attempt at educating us numbnuts!
Adios old friend!
From Sophia with Love x