Friday, February 03, 2006

In defence of the internet

While perhaps not requiring the same level of bile that we directed at Daniel Radcliffe: Music Pundit the other day, we are getting quite tired of people who decide that the internet is responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world these days.

Case in point: a feature on BBC Breakfast this morning on the demise of Smash Hits. We are as saddened by this news as anybody, since we were avid readers of said publication back in the Mark Frith years. The Telegraph's Neil McCormick (who seems generally a decent and savvy bloke, and this is in no way intended as an attack on him directly) suggested that the reason Smash Hits ended up, irony of ironies, going down The Dumper, was because of the internet. Apparently the appeal of Smash Hits was the ready availability of pop music and song lyrics, both of which can now be found with the merest of Googling.

Well, not quite, Mr McCormick. The demise of Smash Hits can be chiefly attributed to the fact that where it once was a witty, well-written chronicle of all things pop that could be cheerfully irreverent when it needed to be, somewhere along the line it became a glorified poster magazine that sacrificed its bite and edge for endless discussions over who was the buffest member of Busted or Blazin' Squad, a tacky design that would have been more at home in Fast Forward magazine in the eighties and which bafflingly always seemed to leave large chunks of the magazine containing neither text nor pictures, and an editorial standard somewhere along the level of the Peter and Jane books. There are few (if any) pop music magazines nowadays that could hold a candle to Smash Hits back when it was on form, but the current incarnation of the magazine itself was the absolute least of these. The internet cannot be held entirely responsible for this one, Smash Hits had become a shadow of its former self and its folding was only a matter of time. Now, if you'd tried to pin the blame on former editor Kate Thornton, we might have been with you on that one.


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