A well-known Wigan writer and broadcaster has shared his sadness at the iconic music paper he once wrote for going online.
Stuart Maconie told how NME, which puts out its final print edition today, was once a must-read for young people interested in music and spoke glowingly about his own stint of four years or so there.
He recalled the time when the publication was a vital tastemaker, whether it was introducing punk in the ‘70s, supporting iconic ‘80s guitar bands or later helping the likes of Wigan’s The Verve.
He said the paper, which he started writing for in 1988 before eventually jumping ship to Select, also provided a vital route into high-profile writing for creative people from working-class backgrounds.
Stuart said: “I found myself getting more emotional over the end of NME in print than I had thought I would. A lot of people did.
“When I was a teenager, vaguely alternative and underground music had a central place in how kids like me lived our lives. Now pop music is just one of the many ways which young people use to define and understand the world.
“When I was young you were out of the loop if you didn’t read NME every Wednesday. It was a crucial thing. I also think the old rock stars have disappeared. I wanted to know what Johnny Rotten or Morrissey thought about politics. I’m not sure anyone wants to read 20,000 words on what today’s stars think.
“I remember my time at NME massively fondly. I sent an unsolicited review and they asked me if I wanted a job. I showed my mates in Wigan and it was like getting to play for Manchester United.
“It always had a strong regional feel. It was a way for bright kids from working-class backgrounds to write on a national level for a massive audience. The BBC and the national newspapers wouldn’t have given us a job. At 25 I felt like the wise old head.”