Like so many others, I was saddened to log onto Naomi McArdle’s Harmless Noise blog on Monday evening to read the announcement that she would no longer be updating it. There are few – if any – more dedicated to writing about new Irish music than Nay, and her outpost on the web has become a must-read resource for anyone curious about the racket eminating from these shores. More importantly, it’s become a vital outlet for the bands themselves at a time when airplay is practically unattainable and an ailing print media errs towards big-name international acts for the easy sell. With the passing of Harmless Noise, the hill these bands find themselves climbing has just got a little bit steeper.
Nay’s reason for calling it quits is one that resonates all too clearly with many of us. A career in music journalism could never be described as a lucrative one, even at the best of times, but now the pickings are especially slim. Something had to give and, with her own wellbeing and those of her kids to think of, she was only ever going to reach one decision – and it’s one nobody can argue with. Still, knowing the extent of her enthusiasm, I’m sure the thought of having to relinquish Harmless Noise caused her more than a few sleepless nights.
While it’s a disappointment for her readers and the bands she’s championed, I’m sure each and every one of them appreciates the circumstances and will join with everyone here at State in wishing Nay good luck as she turns her attention to new projects. And deep down I have a funny feeling that, somehow, her new path will lead her back to familiar territory, where she can once again shout out loud about real Irish music and piss off the neighbours.