Luke Lewis, the NME and the irresistible rise of Ed SheeranPosted: 16/01/2012
It pains me to side with an artist as innocuous as Ed Sheeran. I’ve never listened to an entire song, but the 15 seconds I’ve heard are enough to indicate that he’s far from being my cup of tea.
However, a sold out tour, triple platinum album and a handful of Brit nominations would indicate that he does have a few fans. And that’s fine for most of us, but not for the NME’s online editor, Luke Lewis, who last week decided that his disdain for Mr Sheeran had reached a tipping point.
I can understand it must be frustrating being Luke Lewis. When us mortals hear an artist we dislike, we avert our gaze. Whereas Luke has to not only endure the stream of tepid piss that comes shooting through the NME letterbox, but he’s often asked to write favourably about it.
Unsatisfied with fulfilling his role of informing 14 year olds who they should listen to, Luke felt that his contempt toward Ed Sheeran needed galvanising via a Twitter and Facebook campaign. The campaign of hate was imaginatively titled ‘How Shit Is Ed Sheeran?’, and came with a corresponding hashtag that would allow Luke to compile his results into an in-depth report, due today. The campaign garnered some truly gut-busting responses, the best of which were retweeted on the NME’s twitter page. Sadly, they’ve since been deleted. Indicative of a guilty conscience, or backtracking for fear of alienating quite a hefty number of their readership? Perhaps both?
No matter how you feel about Ed Sheeran, you have to admit that what Luke Lewis did was somewhat churlish. Not content with rating Ed Sheeran’s debut album and moving on, Luke and the NME retweeted bile without getting their own hands dirty. Their actions were tantamount to cyberbullying, despite Lewis’s protestations that his #HowShitIsEdSheeran campaign was, ‘Just a bit of Twitterfun’ (spoken like a true bully).
I viewed the activities of Luke and the NME as a desperate attempt to jump on a bandwagon of hatred; an effort to claw back some credibility in a climate of music journalism encumbered by irreverent blogs and message boards. But it doesn’t work like that when the musicians you chastise one week, you venerate the next. Furthermore, when that chastising is done on a national scale, the ginger-bashing’s quite pathetic, and wholly irresponsible.
Besides, having a publication as tired and irrelevant as the NME branding something as ‘shit’ is like the ocean calling rain ‘wet’.
Update: Luke Lewis has since issued an apology on his Facebook page.