Cosmic Slop #26: When did NME become a glorified Noel Gallagher fanzine?

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

After making a brief observation last week, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby takes a full stab at NME’s unhealthy Noel Gallagher obsession. 

I remember someone once telling me a fable. A myth to rival that of King Arthur or Arthur King, the alias of DC Comics supervillain Merlyn. Or Rick Wakeman’s King Arthur on Ice production from the 70s. Apparently, once upon a time, the New Musical Express was a halfway decent publication.

Don’t laugh! Enough people have told me this that I have no reason not to believe it!

A few years back I seem to recall my main (unwitting) hobby was correcting the errors on the NME website in the comments section. I’m not talking spelling and grammar. They’re easy to overlook. I mean complete inaccuracies in musical history. I decided it was a largely futile exercise and gave up. They weren’t listening to me. Which bothered me. I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t take advice from an ostentatious kwyjibo who whined in a comments section.

Nevertheless, it continues to this day. When reviewing The Who’s Glastonbury set this year, they constantly referred to Roger Daltery as Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. It was embarrassing. That’s something you learn on your first day of “How Not To Make A Total Dingbat Of The Franchise You’re Contributing To” school.

I ultimately decided it was forgiveable. All forms of media have succumbed to the inevitable instant gratification of our times. It’s not how well it’s written, it’s being the first one to get it up. “HA! We did it! We disrespectfully confused the members of two of the biggest and most important rock bands of all time, but at least we were quick in doing it!

But there’s still one thing about NME that really bugs me these days. I mentioned this very briefly last week in a Newsbite, but somebody messaged me about and so I decided I needed to elaborate. Today they seem to exist primarily as a glorified Noel Gallagher fanzine.

I may regurgitate constant references to The Simpsons (there’s been one already in this article, see if you can find it, you’ll win nothing – not even my respect – but it’s something to do), and weird people who don’t like The Simpsons would probably get fed up of it in the unlikely event that they bothered to read this crap. But, come on, you’re NME. Unless that now stands for Noel’s Mind Excrement, you could probably drop a few of the Noel-centric stories.

No matter when you click on their website, there is something about Noel Gallagher on the main page. Pretty much without fail. Usually these are in the form of news stories that aren’t newsworthy, and merely a quote from an interview Gallagher has given somewhere else in the world that they treat like Moses coming down from the mountain to read out the Ten Commandments. You want to hear Noel Gallagher’s thoughts on everything under the sun? Look no further than NME.com, my friend! Here’s a smattering of what Gallagher thinks about stuff, all examples of headlines of recent NME news stories;

  • Hip hop shows are boring after half an hour
  • Global release dates for albums is “fucking mad
  • Bands are “shit scared” of social media
  • Bono can drink more than Morrissey
  • On the Tidal launch: “do these people think they’re the fucking Avengers
  • Mushrooms are better than music
  • It’s unacceptable that one of Alt-J has a moustache
  • He doesn’t like Ed Sheeran
  • He won’t have a bad word said about Ed Sheeran

Naturally, all of our lives have been enriched with information such as this. An article on NME.com no longer feels complete without some kind of reference to Noel Gallagher, even if it’s a complete non-sequitur;

Mastodon have been forced to cancel 16 tour dates, including their Reading and Leeds Festival appearances due to a ‘personal family matter’ relating to one of the band members. Noel Gallagher is quoted to have said ‘I get really irritated when hotel maids tuck the duvet into the bottom of the mattress. It makes it difficult to move around.’

If there are no news stories to shoehorn Gallagher in to, then they’ll find other ways of covering him way too much. At time of writing, there is no news story about him on their homepage, but there is a blog post entitled; “Eight Songs Noel Gallagher Would Take To a Desert Island and Why”. The post lists the records Gallagher picked on the previous week’s episode of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. If I chose not to listen to the show, why the hell would I read what he picked, along with a synopsis of his thoughts? Moreover, his choices weren’t even that interesting. It was a particularly dull and predictable selection that shows how limited, monotonous and transparent Gallagher’s influences are.

Which is fine – it’s what he likes. At least he’s not being pretentious and throwing in the second movement of Shubert’s String Quintet or something to look smart, just like wot I jus did, lad.  What I don’t get is why NME thought “Noel Gallagher likes The Smiths, U2 and The Beatles” was blog-worthy. All you have to do is look at Noel Gallagher and you can see he likes The Smiths, U2 and The Beatles.

It’s pretty obvious why NME are like this. The kids who – for reasons I can’t quite fathom – worshipped Oasis with the kind of hideous laddishness that Britpop became associated with are now thirtysomethings who run the joint. Add this to the twenty year nostalgia rule finally hitting the 90s, leading to reboots both welcome (Twin Peaks) and unwelcome (Full House), and the fact that Noel has struck out on his own, it means they can tick all the boxes at once; he’s a new solo act, but awash with 90s nostalgia. So the stories are probably getting an abundance of hits, despite how vacuous they are.

I’m surprised they haven’t given him a weekly column. Not that he should take it. Only an utter prick would agree to write a weekly column, on which he offered his thoughts on a variety of subjects. Who the fuck cares, right? Am I right? I think I am. But they posted at least three Noel Gallagher stories within 24 hours this week (“Noel Gallagher pokes fun at The Guardian and ‘Nazi-sympathising‘ Royal Family during Lattitude set“, “Noel Gallagher dubs relationship with LiamOasis‘s [sic] Achilles Heel” and the aforementioned Desert Island Discs blog). Noel Gallagher isn’t that interesting.

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