Still Hate the Fucking NME?
Reflections on the Manics' NME God Like Genius Award

It cannot be denied that Manic Street Preachers deserve a 'Godlike Genius' award of some sort, but to be given it by the NME almost makes it worthless.

Nicky Wire has declared that The Manics are the quintessential NME band and in almost every interview that has taken place surrounding the awards ceremony he has essentially jumped into bed and made passionate love with the magazine that is bestowing this crown upon him and the band. When did it all change?

Am I the only one who remembers when in 1991 Richey Edwards said "we lost respect for the press a very long time ago, you know, when we were 16-17 in the mid 80's the music papers were the most important thing we could ever read and we went out and bought the press every week and bought whatever bands they recommended and we came back home and we would put the records on and they would be drab, insignificant little grey pieces of worthless vinyl which never changed our lives at all so you know, their judgement doesn't matter."

I understand that there will be many fans out there that are aware that The Manics have said a lot of things in the past which they have later revoked but the issue of how The Manics have now completely turned around their views on the music press and what it represents cannot be ignored. Is this turn around just because Nicky (in particular) feels starved of critical acclaim so is merely blindly flattered by this attention or is it just because he is not aware of, or does not care about this problem that seems to exist with the music press right now (which the NME is probably the most prominent example of).

So what exactly is wrong with the NME I hear you shout? Well, these days it appears to represent and stand for nothing but talent-less samey indie bands, that have very little to say except about getting pissed. They don't use their platform of influence over today's youth to say anything intelligent, revolutionary or challenging and surely with their history of attacking these bands that stand for nothing, The Manics of all people should be snubbing the NME, rejecting their award and saying "we mean more than this".

Is it possible that The Manics have become just another meaningless NME band?? I never thought that they would join the incestuous pit of drivel that crosses the pages of that magazine every week.

When Send Away The Tigers came out, the only thing the press seemed to focus on was saying how The Manics were back and once again have something to say. But all we're hearing from them now is "we love the NME"; "we owe everything to the NME". The world is in such a mess at the moment politically, I'm sure the majority of fans wanted The Manics to come out and say something deeply analytical about it all but instead, all we got was some half arsed, fashionable anti-americanism that didn't even begin to scratch the surface of analysis. I can't be the only person who was hoping for a reincarnation of Ifwhiteamerica and I won't be the only one who was profoundly disappointed.

We all remember a few months back when the NME stitched up Morrissey to create a sensationalist headline out of him by digging up issues about racism and making out that they are the ones who have the correct principles over the matter; without realising that anyone with intelligence can see that they just wanted a grabbing headline to make money. Is this really the kind of newspaper that The Manics want to be arse licking?

The NME is feeding off the bands' success and resurgence of popularity because at the end of the day they have given The Manics this award to sell magazines and make money, not to make a judgement on what is "great". Even if that is what they want us all to believe. The fact that the band is being given the award after the universally popular Send Away The Tigers and not after Lifeblood proves this, and yet even now, they only received it because Morrissey turned it down. I never expected The Manics to be a band to fall for this type of thing. They have always been 'the band with brains' but now we're seeing Nicky Wire on stage making speeches that instead of being defiant and great to see broadcast on the TV (The Brits '97 for example), we're watching him drone on about the fantastic music press in this country but he would do well to remember what his best friend said all those years ago and use his legendary intelligence to realise that those words have never been more relevant than today.

"And what are the realities of modern life? Well the chief one is an everlasting, frantic struggle to sell things. With most people it takes the form of selling themselves" George Orwell

Lauren McKettrick

From Experiments in Living