Gutterbreakz: good new music blog, says (probably rightly) that the Melody Maker was the paper of record back in the turn-of-the-90s-day, though I don’t remember its dance music coverage being any cop, or any any until that fantastic Damascene Disco special when Ben Turner went mental over how great and vital If…’s English Boys On The Love Ranch album was and Simon R. devoted the entire singles column to jungle.

(I have still never heard the If… album – was it really any good?)

But that was late doors, relatively speaking. When I started reading the NME, a few years before, it was just when Jack Barron and Helen Mead had started getting E’d up and were littering every review with drugs’n’dance music references (and doing whole singles columns about house too) – as a good David Gedge fan and worried 16-year-old puritan I hated it but I was weirdly fascinated too, which I assume is the reason I can remember big wodges of it now. “1989 – what a double top year!” etc. Hardly peerless prose but their stuff bubbled with a convert’s enthusiasm.

I think the deserved respect Simon now enjoys has slightly distorted people’s view of the Melody Maker back then*, i.e. the bits people remember tend to be his bits (A.R. Kane, oceanic rock, drum’n’bass) and they imagine the whole magazine was an amazing forward-looking groove engine. My memory of the Maker as an NME reader until about ’92 is that it was packed with unreconstructed Goths and always had the Mission or Robert Smith on the cover. Look a bit deeper and you’d get big chunks of intriguing writing (Reynolds and Stubbs of course; Chris Roberts had fairly conservative tastes but a glorious way with words; Bob Stanley nailed what was good about pop with an accuracy one might with hindsight expect), but I’m not totally convinced I was wrong.

*(and similarly the media tart ubiquty of Collins and Maconie nowadays has meant the pre-Sutherland NME is remembered as all lads’ bands and what-were-we-on japery.)