As my good friend Ben said yesterday, ‘I wish I had come up with that title’. Behind NME Lines is an exhibition of NME magazine covers over the last 60 years taking place at NEO Bankside until 6th October. As it turns out this is just round the corner form work for me so I headed down there yesterday to check it out with my banter-ridden Sahara companion Terri who it turns out knows absolutely nothing about music.
The exhibition in itself isn’t that big, imagine an open plan downstairs of a house, fill it with blown up NME covers on easels and in frames and you are pretty much there. The interesting part is the layout of the magazine over more than a decade, a lot of that is down to technology of course but stylistically we have also come a long way, it seems bands are all too aware of what it means to get on the cover of NME (I’m instantly reminded of the scene in Almost Famous where Stillwater are told they’re going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone). The other thing it is easy to forget is just how many famous band shots were done as NME shoots. The Jackson Pollock-esque Stone Roses shoot, the Union Jack and still babyfaced Libertines first cover shot, Cocker flicking the V’s; these are all deep in our group consciousness and they are all here, it’s quite a humbling thing to behold. I can only look back on ten years worth and remember where I was in the world at the time that I bought that particular issue, but for some it must be a real walk down memory lane to see The Beatles and The Who on the cover and remember what that meant to them at the time, and also to think of how many bedroom walls those covers have been on.
It is definitely worth checking out, and literally faces the sloped entrance of the Tate Modern if you need another excuse to get out of your life for a bit.