This means I've been catching up on ye olde days of music. There are always some great discoveries and reminders when I do this. I'd forgotten about NME's fondness for UK garage duo Oxide and Neutrino, and there seems to be an all-encompassing love for the dishevelled rockers Earl Brutus amongst British music hacks of the time ("squalid glam rock genius" raves one). And did you know that the Beta Band played The Fridge in Brixton in 2001?
Better are those moments when they got it slightly wrong. "My Vitriol are capable of reaching places only Nirvana, the Manics and Radiohead have reached before," waxed Krissi Murison (hey, I was at University with her!) back in the heady summer of 2002. Meanwhile, one film review (NME used to review films! How quaint is that?) applauds "a funny, moving, beautifully shot, intelligent blockbuster". That'd be Captain Corelli's Mandolin, then. And there's a slightly lukewarm reception for The Libertines debut album: "This isn't the record to smite The Vines or The Strokes with the sword of Albion - it's too disorganised and chaotic for that. But if The Libertines can keep writing songs as insolently catchy as the title track and the Smiths-style 'Time for Heroes', their finest hour will be upon us soon. Still, this is more than adequate for now."
But this is unfair. The old editions are great enough to make the paper's current incarnation look a bit lame: can you imagine NME putting a terrifying, distorted picture of Aphex Twin on the cover in 2007? Or Outcast? Or any R&B artist?
Meanwhile in the other mags, Q's top 100 albums of all time back in 1997 sheds some light on where the world's musical head was at. The list puts Texas's White On Blonde at 86, Kula Shaker's K at 44 and, wait for it, names the 33rd best album of all time as... Ocean Colour Scene's Moseley Shoals. Ha ha ha.
To finish up, here's an excerpt from one of my favourite rags, the sadly defunct Select, from 1999. Although their contents page features the retrospectively hilarious lines, "The future of rock is blonde, brutal and starey, and it's onstage at the Bull & Gate" - Terris, of course - there's also this one, from the new bands section:
With their own autumn tour and a couple of summer festival appearances under their belt plus a Catatonia support slot ("I had to hold her cigarette while she went to the loo!" exclaims Chris of the divine Cerys) there's no shortage of solid experience which should stand them in good stead once the debut album appears next year.
"Do you know what's going to happen with music in the year 2000?" demands Jon, setting off the in-house pub theory alarms. "Guitars are going to make a massive comeback. For the next two months everyone's going to be celebrating with dance music, but the moment everyone wakes up on the first day of 2000 they'll be screaming out for emotional guitar music."
"Quite right," nods Chris in agreement. "That's why the Vengaboys are bigger than us right now." Grins spread across the band's faces. "But that's all going to change. You wait."
That was Coldplay, of course.