Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Rattling good rock and roll read...
on 30 January 2012
Author Pat Long has done a great job of annotating the history of the New Musical Express in this highly readable, very entertaining and often very funny book. Of course, for me, being in my early fifties, the paper was in its Golden Era in the mid to late seventies, when great writers such as Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Roy Carr, Mick Farren, Ian MacDonald et al held sway. They were often more rock and roll than the acts they wrote about, and guided me to more great music than I could ever reflect in this review. I've not read the NME in about ten years, and in truth, I felt that it started going down the tubes in the early 80s, when the frankly incomprehensible likes of Ian Penman and Paul Morley were in the ascendant. However, Pat Long actualy enthuses me to perhaps pick up a copy and see how it's going. He doesn't stint in cataloguing the travails of various writers drug use, and the debilitating addictions which derailed the career of Nick Kent, for example, and led to the shock early death of Pete Erskine - a sad waste and loss of talent. There is an underlying melancholia within the story that kind of acknowledges that maybe music has had it's day, that it doesn't carry the same weight or importance as it did thirty-odd years ago, reduced to merely another entertainment option, along with 24-hour TV, computer games and the world wide web. Music was more important when there was only one national radio station, and you had to look hard to find the good stuff, and it simply meant more, a soundtrack to good and bad times, and the NME helped define those times. Long ends on an optimistic note, and confidently predicts that the paper will still be around to celebrate another sixty years. Me, I'm not so sure, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent book to anyone with more than a passing interest in the history of British rock music, and how words can often inform music.