Since I own enough unused gym membership cards to construct a fully operational travelator between my bed and the fridge, and have only the vaguest wine-blurred memories of every ‘dry January’ I’ve ever undertaken, I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions. Hats off to those of you who actually manage to run a marathon a week for twelve months straight or get through a whole year without Instagramming your arse or whatever but, for me, they merely act as an annual reminder of what a weak-willed, pizza addicted, borderline alcoholic, arse-Instagramming, failed human being I am.
But maybe, just maybe, 2016 will be different. Maybe this will be the year I rise to the challenge, shake off all flakiness and irresolution and stick to my goddamn guns for once in my life. Hell, if JJ Abrams can make a brilliant film with Daisy ‘Two Expressions’ Ridley in it, surely I can keep to one or two of these…
1. Strive To Find Out What Noel Gallagher Thinks About Absolutely Everything
Whenever any topic comes up in the NME office, our eyes glaze over like a rock’n’roll Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and we begin chanting as one “but what does Noel think? But what does Noel think?” Regular visitors to NME’s Facebook page will have noticed our commenters echoing our rabid interest in the opinion, on every news story possible, of the senior Gallagher. And never let it be said that we don’t listen to our readers.
So, throughout 2016, I will be going to great lengths to ascertain Noel’s views on every single matter of public interest, be it Parliamentary debate on corporation tax legislation, Snickers Hazelnut or that woman who painted her house stripy. In fact, Noel, I will go to the extent of bugging your home and hacking your phone, so you may as well just start giving us a running live feed of your conscious and sub-conscious thoughts from Jan 1 which we can simply stream straight onto the website. That should keep everybody happy.
2. Be A Better Hanger-On
Many years of music journalism has brought me into contact with some of the biggest names in rock and pop music, a handful of whom turned out to be thoroughly decent types who, in a different life, might have been pub mates, confidants or partners in international cybercrime.
Instead I’ve kept a professional distance, assuming that getting pissed until dawn after interviews is just a polite gesture of accepted star/hack etiquette. Hence I am little more than a passing nod to the globe’s biggest A-listers, whereas this man literally came to my wedding.
So I’m planning to make 2016 the year I finally find my way into some sort of tabloid-friendly ‘squad’. I must have Matt Bellamy’s number somewhere…
3. Get Fabulous
The archetypal four-puglies-from-Dudley band has slipped from favour (for now); 2016 expects its pop stars to turn up at Jools with a legion of puffers, crimpers and fluffers in tow, tasked with turning them into an alien sex fiend who bathes daily in Rimmel. So I’m vowing to emulate them – perhaps I’ll take to an Ezra Furman miniskirt, Bjork leg tubes or Madonna suicide cape.
4. Embrace The Mainstream
Of late, post-alternative culture has been all about absorbing, dissecting and distorting populism; soul, R&B, hip-hop, retro disco. Lines have blurred, musical mores merged, it’s way past time to break out of our tribalist boxes. But how to do it without pretending to suddenly like Justin Bieber or giving the winner of the Brits Critics Choice Award a fair crack of the whip?
Well, next year I’ll be going meta on this mother, incorporating elements of populist mainstream media into my writing as often as possible. Nary a Royal Blood review will go by without a libellous slur on Jeremy Corbyn and/or Russell Brand, a racist recap on the previous night’s Bake Off and a wad of unwarranted publicity for Kim Kardashian. Each and every blog will contain at least one inset of a single Tweet as if it’s an authentic outcry of mass public outrage, and an internet poll about ‘scroungers’ at the bottom. Nothing, no matter how bad, will ever get less than three stars. The numbers say it’s what you like, expect more of it.
5. Always Think ‘What Would Corbyn Do?’
In direct contradiction of virtually everything written in the press, said by any politician or believed by the brain-dead portion of the public, Jeremy Corbyn has generally been right about everything this year, from arguing against Osbourne’s very one-sided austerity and the tokenistic bombing of Syria to adroitly exposing the privileged, jeering, sidestep-the-question-at-all-costs nature of modern politics.
So while the Labour ‘moderates’ – you know, the ones who ‘moderately’ attend arms trade dinners and vote to drop bombs on a terrorist faction who live deeply embedded within the civilian population – move to extricate Corbyn before we get the only chance of our lifetimes to vote for someone who threatens to actually (gasp!) improve our lives, I pledge to spend 2016 emulating Jezza in as many ways as I can. I’ll be snubbing the Queen, opposing wars and bowing inadequately on a regular basis. I will weather a constant barrage of abuse from a biased right-wing media machine (alright, below-the-line review commenters) with grace and dignity while wearing cardigans that haven’t seen the light of day since C86. And above all, I will stand steadfast in the face of all attempts to undermine or dislodge me from my rightful position as NME’s traditionalist backbone and protector of the indie rock flam… what’s that? I’m sacked? Oh, okay.