An open letter to the New Musical Express.

by Alex Hern

I canceled my subscription to the NME today. The cool list was the final straw. I’ve moved on from my position last year, when I said, um, “I will take you into a dark alley and I will cut you” for your inclusion of Faris Badwan. You seemed to learn from that, at least. Only one horror, and he’s at number 50.

But this year, I’m not going to bother debating the various, arbitrary positions filled with a combination of one hit wonders and people who even my mother knows are cool. Because that’s what you want, isn’t it? Debate. Argument. Attention. Like some bastard offspring of MTV and endemol, you know the only way to get people to keep on talking about you is to be endlessly controversial. That’s why you put Beth Ditto on the front cover naked. That’s why you put Frank Carter in the number one position. That’s why you endlessly interview, analyse and just generally gossip about Pete Doherty. Because these people, regardless of what we think of them, are interesting. Whereas you are filling a rapidly pointless part of society.

You review singles after anyone who cares has already heard them. Your album reviews are lengthy, flowery and capped off with a number that has apparently been allocated based solely upon what you think will win you the most credibility. Your ‘news’ pages have become lowest common denominator gossip, stealing the worst tactics from OK! and Heat.

You realised that those on the real frontiers, the people who go to gigs, find new bands and new talent, are on the internet, writing blogs or posting on facebook, doing the work for free out of love for music and musicians. And so you let the Radar section sink lower than them all. No longer content with mere reporting, you now attempt to make taste. Bands who otherwise would have no hope get pitched, hyped, built up, and then, when you get bored, knocked all the way back down again.

I’d already started referring to you as a fashion magazine, but that was before my girlfriend pointed out to me that there actually is a fashion section, in the back half (you know, the part no one reads). I thought I was being funny. And I suppose, in a way, I was. If it wasn’t for your staggering hold on the music tastes of teenage Britain, the levels you will sink to to sell more copies would be pretty laughable. Instead, they are just a little depressing.

I would call for others to join me in a boycott, but I know it won’t work. If anyone wants me, I’ll be in my room, wandering what the fuck went wrong.

Les Incompétents – How It All Went Wrong [MP3 Removed]