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Face the music: The end is nigh for pop and rock mags

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The final edition of Smash Hits magazine in 2006

The final edition of Smash Hits magazine in 2006

The final edition of Smash Hits magazine in 2006

Every single week since buying my first copy of Smash Hits, I’d walk into the newsagents a little lighter in the pocket, and leave weighed down with music magazines and weeklies.

From the stalwarts (Q, Melody Maker, NME, Rolling Stone) to the more obscure titles (Circus, Select, Vox), my Leaving Cert year wasn’t spent reading about trigonometry or Sean O’Casey, but Blur, Pearl Jam and REM. I was giddy, and almost sick to my stomach with envy, as journalists jetted around the world, hanging extensively with their rock and pop idols. They had a ringside seat to the Bacchanalia, and they often delivered their dispatches from there with an arched eyebrow and a lyrical flourish. I vowed I’d become a music journalist one day, and even though every soul in school laughed at the idea, it eventually came to pass.

By the time I reached my dream in the early Noughties, music journalism wasn’t what it once was. There were still tour buses, backstage chats and colourful tales of craziness, but access to big-name artists was being curtailed. Encounters with our musical idols were reduced to round-table interviews; 20-minute pockets of inane chat with artists who were media trained to the point of blandness. We certainly didn’t become friends with any of them, as the old guard seemed to.