Last week I visited the good people of NME for my 5th work placement with them and had a brilliant time (as per usual.) My fellow workies were an absolute delight; there was Chris who’s already writing for them on a freelance basis in Newcastle so watch out for his reviews, there was John who I can only describe as an all-American beefcake as he resembled Action Man, came all the way from California for the placement and wore a clear retainer for certain hours of the day despite having perfect teeth. And making up the girls side was Katie (my new LDN BFF), who’s journalistic experience includes working with Sugar and interviewing Madonna at the tender age of 13 on Newsround, plus Bobby who literally fancied every man she came across in the work place.
We had the usual jobs of sorting and delivering insane amounts of post (apart from on Wednesday, thanks to the postal strike) and trawling for news stories. We also had to look for quotes from currently en vogue Stroke, Julian Casablancas, root around in the archives and research music's most lavish stage props. View the results: http://www.nme.com/photos/music-s-most-ott-stage-shows/148927/1/1
Obviously transcribing usually takes up the majority of the week (John spent 4 days transcribing a Pearl Jam interview) and I was lucky enough to be handed their latest interview with Alex Tuner who struck me as awkward but articulate. But listening to an interview with The Hot Rats (Supergrass’ Danny Goffey, Gaz Coombes and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich) trying to justify their decision to record an album of covers was not washing with me. They are supposedly fulfilling the full potential of some of their favourite songs that they feel the originals failed to reach. Yeah, right.
On Thursday night we ventured to Leathal Bizzle’s album launch at that hotel in Soho which is currently featured in the BBC series Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel. Sorry to spoil it for you but, yes, it manages to open in the end. It was all very weird: everyone was trying to network in a resplendent yet gaudy little room (I imagine it’s what the inside of Tim Westwood’s head looks like) with an open bar and celebrating Bizzle’s (did you know that ‘bizzle’ means ‘bitch’ in the US of A? Thanks John) third long player.
And Friday is always feedback day when you’re given a track, at random, to review. You’re given 100 words to impress an NME journo. I reviewed Bloc Party’s One More Chance and made my assigned critic ‘laugh out loud’ and said he would have changed one word and sent it straight to print. Shucks.
Every time I go to NME a fantastic experience is guaranteed; I always learn something new, gain more of a feel for the pace of a weekly publication and further insight of different routes into the institution of the New Musical Express. And more than anything else it drives my determination to succeed in my quest for music journalist excellence.