Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Yesterday’s Papers review – when music mags ruled

Rick Wakeman in colourful cape
Much of the writing in this 'golden age' was unreadable, unless you were after a dissertation about the stitching on one of Rick Wakeman’s capes … Photograph: Studio G/Rex Features
When NME’s declining circulation figures were announced in August (sales had fallen to around 14,000 – in the early 70s it was selling around 300,000) its publisher released a statement trumpeting the power of the brand that included “content partnerships” with Amex and Nikon. Pretty rock’n’roll, eh? How far we have fallen from when the weekly “inkies” set the cultural agenda, is the premise behind Yesterday’s Papers (Radio 4). But instead of a rigorous analysis of the music magazine, this apparent celebration of “the golden age of music journalism” (according to presenter David Hepworth) feels like a wake. Or more specifically, the misjudged trip to Wetherspoons after the wake, ending in a chorus of: “everything was better in our day.”
Hepworth is joined by Danny Baker to revel in the halcyon days, stopping off at the newsagent on the corner of Memory Lane to feel the Proustian rush of buying music magazines on Thursdays and to hear the well worn tales of music hack excess (limo drivers and cocaine). It would have been preferable to hear from Julie Burchill or Tony Parsons, those “hip young gunslingers” who pushed through the bloated privilege that existed both off the page and on (as it turns out, much of the writing in this “golden age” was largely unreadable, unless you were after a dissertation-length article about the stitching on one of Rick Wakeman’s capes) 
Read on...

1984/Out There
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Night Music
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Live At The Empire Pool - King Arthur On Ice
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1984 - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981
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Live in Lincoln Cathedral
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Live At The Maltings 1976
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Video Vaults
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Cirque Surreal 
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Cost Of Living 
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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Plus
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The Mixture
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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.