Losing the battle with its pathetic fall in circulation, the weekly music mag is desperately seeking attention.
It's been at least ten years since I last bought the NME. A combination of being unfamiliar with at least half of the bands they're on about and a 'journalistic style' increasingly consisting of "cheers mate, got pissed last night ha ha" interviews was enough to put me off.
And by the look of it I wasn't alone, given that the NME's freefalling circulation has reached epic proportions.
So, what better way then, to take a leaf out of everyone's book and join in with the bullies? At the end of the day, they must have thought at the NME, everyone does it. From tabloids to senior BBC journalists, from desperate bloggers to "TV personalities" and celebrity mags - playground bullying is now officially topping the attention seeker's tricks of the trade.
Which is why the ailing music magazine treated its few readers with a photo gallery titled 'Popstars now and then'. Far from being an innocent look at what old popstars are up to these days (which would have made perfect sense), the feature consists instead of pointing at people in the playground, shouting a string of nasty remarks and laughing out loud and "get a sense of humour, will ya?"
But that aside, what's alarmingly dumb is that no-one at the NME had enough grey stuff to grasp the bleeding obvious: the fact that nobody looks younger and less wrinkly than 25 or 30 years before. And even if they did, say, with the aid of a nip and tuck, wouldn't they get pilloried nonetheless?
Are the cool kids at the NME going to have a head full of hair in 2039? Will they look leaner and fitter and cellulite-free? Didn't think so either. Nevertheless, the desperate sods manage to assemble a sneering collection of trite "look how fat he got", "time has taken its toll", "slaphead", "weathered", "two generations older than she is", "haggard-looking" and so on.
So here's our suggestion for a better "feature". How about "the NME now and then?", to be printed on the front page - parading the figures from the 80s and 90s averaging 250,000 placed right next to today's pathetic 50,000 (or less, actually) - down a ludicrous 24,3% on the previous year.
Now that would be fun. They could even recycle the same captions. "Time has taken its toll", "weathered" and "haggard-looking". It'd be the perfect description of today's NME.