Open letter to the Independent On Sunday about the dropping of your best music writer, the great Simon Price

Illustration by Dean Lewis whose website, Older Than Evil, can be found HERE.

Wake up! Wake up! You’re already dead…that’s my message to whoever runs the Independent On Sunday.

The news that you have dropped your leading rock critic Simon Price should not really come as a shock to anyone in these increasingly penny pinching and bland times.

These are times of conservatism and fear and saving pennies. These are certainly not times of fierce writing, great ideas and feeling fired up by machine gun prose, not a place were words are weapons…just dull space filling fodder.

And that’s not what I want from the iOS , thats why I thought it was called the Independent…you are one of the few papers I read, primarily for your indpendence, Simon’s stuff and the dinosaur coverage…

Maybe you were trying to save money or preferred to turn your music writing into the usual bland mush that makes up mainstream music coverage. You know the usual list of half baked hipster indie and music as lists of trendy bands to talk about but not to listen to. This is the world of caring about the Mercury Prize and coffee table fake alternative. Simon Price never fitted into this world and that’s why he was one of the few we could be arsed to read.

The great thing about Simon was that he was as eccentrically brilliant as his hair- part goth, part pop, part agent provocateur and always entertaining. You didn’t have to agree with the music he liked to love or the way he wrote about it. He was like a one man war against the boring Sunday paper coverage of music and he created a world where polished pop could be taken seriously as well as ignored goth genius Bauhaus and the Manics were the poet laureates to a generation of sinners, a place that had no rules and was always a wake up call in the monotonous hip list of the world of the Sundays where the talk is of which is the correct carpet to have in your correct flat to walk over to get your correct meal.

Thank fuck for the internet that we don’t have to rely on these papers any more.

There is less and less to read if you live outside London and you want more from culture than a tame run down of Hoxton hip or metropolitan fashion lists. If you are losing readers Independent On Sunday how about living up to your name and becoming independent. Stop reading like some sort of London weekly and acknowledge the rest of us in the UK who have far wider tastes and ideas than you give us credit for. I would hate to see you disapear, there are far too many right wing rags out there to lose one that is meant to be on our side.

If the IOS were too skint to employ Simon then you are in more trouble than we thought and if you were trying to get more mainstream hip then you are even in more trouble than that.

One thing is for sure, Simon Price will be back pretty soon.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. I only buy the Indie on sunday for Simon Price’s reviews, so a big thumb’s down. His recent review of Smashing Pumpkins was totally on the money based on my experience of watching most of their set in France earlier this year. The Indie’s loss, I guess….even if Mr Price was a bit too loyal to those Manic Street Preachers….Bring him back, or point me elsewhere.

  2. I don’t think it’s anything personal – or even any dissatisfaction with Simon Price’s writing.

    It seems everybody on the arts side of things is being booted out the door. The paper is losing vast sums of money (over 16 million quid last year, apparently) and they’re cutting costs as drastically as possible….


    (The story was in Private Eye recently, but this is the best summing-up of the situation I can find online).

    I’m sure the paper would be happy to feature Simon Price’s work in future if he agreed to work for free!

  3. I won’t miss Price. I’ve always found his writing to be dull. Even if he tries to make himself interesting with a quirky hairdo, he’s about as eccentric as PG Tips.

    The guy needs to stop bleating on about being dropped from the IoS. He’s hardly the first person in the country to be made redundant. If he’s that good, he’ll get work elsewhere.

  4. Have to say I found Price to be full of his own importance.
    Challenged him many times on Twitter about some of his more nastier reviews/tweets and he quite often replied with a put down or a tweet that screamed “i’m better than you”
    On the occasions I buy a Sunday paper, the arts/culture/review sections play an important part in which one I buy. In recent years I haven’t even considered the Indy because I know that the music reviews will just be negative or not even coherent.

    There are many better bloggers out there (especially on here) than him and I don’t think he’ll be missed.

  5. Well this is all fine and good John, but how come your book “The Nineties – What The F*** Was That” contained absolutely NOTHING about either Kenickie or the Romo bands – both Price-championed phenomena and IMHO far and away the best bits of 1990s pop culture?

    Is it because they were the glittery Opposition to the whole “Keep It Real” Oasis-y dress down laddish Authentic 90s you championed in said book?

    • Championed more than Oasis in the book. A lot more.Glad you liked Kenickie or the Romo bands but they were footnotes in the decade really and the book couldn’t cram all the micro scenes of the time in.

    • Did anyone give a toss about Romo or Kenickie ? It was about 10 people in London hanging out in a pub with music journalists and had zero cultural impact – a total media clique.

      • Kenickie – top 10 album, singer went on to have a top 15 hit single and become household name as TV presenter/Radio DJ.

        Romo – 1995-97 Club Skinny/Arcadia scene was about the same size as Punk prior to Bill Grundy, about 200 regulars at the main clubs, 750 capacity sell out at the LA2 for the London date of the package tour (and Manchester & Brighton did pretty good too) all the core bands got signed to majors or big indies (who then screwed up by promoting them as a new wierd type of Britpop, but never mind. ) Spawned a whole new generation of glampop/style-pop clubnights running right the way through the Noughties and into the Tenties.

        Also it scared the crap out of the NME to the point where they held a crisis meeting about it. It still give old Britpoppers/Real Music types nightmares which is why they keep having to exhume the corpse and give it a good kicking like you are doing. Ha.


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