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Ian Penman

Ian Penman was the NME's resident intellectual provocateur in the early 1980s. He was never as interested in music as his postmodernist rival, Paul Morley, which makes his clippings at the same time more infuriating and less dated.

Like Morley, he was Wildean and superficial, enamoured of the process of writing for a music paper more than anything else. His elaborate syntax and stultifyingly self-centred prose were, with hindsight, the perfect critic's counterpoint and mirror to the New Romantic wave.

As Grahamwell has suggested elsewhere, Penman was the true test of NME fidelity, to be contrasted with the earnest "muso" preoccupations of the Melody Maker and the proletarian philistinism of Sounds (music magazine)Sounds.