Mozgate: NME vs Moz part II

You might have heard about the fracas here, I wasn’t going to comment until I’d read the article but I found scans here (and Tim Jonze’s response is interesting if you contrast it from what he apparently told the manager).

I remember Mozgate part 1 back in 1992 (?), and felt that the NME was being hypocritical and over harsh over Morrissey wearing a Union Jack (shock horror!) and writing contentious songs like National Front Disco which didn’t make their position clear (but conversely didn’t say ‘Hi I’m Moz and I’m a racist!’ either). He was basically hounded out of the country, a witch hunt. I’m no fan of the BNP, NF, C18 or any right-wing fascist people (I do follow the mantra that the only good fascist is a dead one), but there was a weird feeling that the people chasing after them weren’t exactly spotless or thinking either, doing a sort of Witchfinder General j’accuse almost Monty Pythonesque mobthink.

The recent rematch is less ambiguous, the comments are partly the kind that would make a Tory MP blanche; he is so wrong about immigration it’s not true, but this sense of unease at the NME’s response continues from before.


Well there is the physician heal thyself argument, until fairly recently NME either hasn’t had a very conspicuous track record in anti-racism since the 1980’s (or the last time they sparred with Moz, although that was a blip); the Love Music Hate Racism has a certain irony after Simon Reynolds revealed in his recent ‘Bring the Noise’ that IPC (owners of both the defunct Melody Maker and NME) ruled that black faces weren’t allowed on the cover – ‘bad for sales’ apparently according to their focus groups. So being against racism is OK, but not if it hurts sales? WTF? Even on the recently Love Music Hate Racism I noticed the few black stars were stuck at the back – coincidence?

Also doesn’t help is that their niching of music coverage to a very restricted demographic – under 23, guitars, indie-rock – means that apart from the few that were on that cover, it is a white mostly middle class boys club. Oh and one of the last times I read it this year they had a review of a new unsigned band called Fucked Up dolled up as dodgy looking NF skinheads. At no point in the review did they call them out on this, or explain. Nice.

The other thing is the bleating of liberal media about these things reminds me of the hypocrisy regarding drug use such as cocaine – IT’S BAD they bleat while showing lurid shots of Amy, Lindsay, Britney and Pete off their bonce but looking so chic with it. It’s a serious issue, and I’m sure some in the media feel passionate and committed 100% to equal rights, fighting racism and phobia – but I get the sense that they feel that way as long as they don’t have to employ those people. I meant how many people at the NME, for example those pictures of the writers they lovingly tout like they are the new pop stars or something, how many are other than white middle class males?

This is not to say that Moz was right in what he said – he was WRONG. Immigration is crucial to what makes London a world class city, and in particular it’s music scene so vibrant; a melting pot of styles, people, influences. Same can be said of other parts of the UK, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester…even places like Bradford get the shout. So it’s sad he’s still banging on about this like it was 1992 or 93 and one of his favourite bands Gene were about to receive the same slightly-hypocritical treatment for a single cover (?) and wreck their careers too. Glad to hear he is no racist though, Love Music Hate Racism is well worth supporting, and I was glad to see NME take part over the last few years…a long way to go though.

If the NME who cried wolf wasn’t so slightly hypocritical in their shouts, I’d believe them as it is I suspect another (faked? overhyped?) drama and hollow claims to empty, trendy beliefs.

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