David Stubbs is a British journalist and author, covering music, film, TV and sport.
He co-founded the magazine Monitor while at Oxford University in the early 1980s, along with Simon Reynolds, Chris Scott and Paul Oldfield. In 1986, following a stint as the world’s worst trainee chartered accountant and having rather pompously vowed he would never write for the music press in its its current fallen state, he promptly jumped at the chance to do so when invited to freelance for Melody Maker. There, he joined a new wave of writers including Simon Reynolds, who helped turned around the weekly magazine, which in terms of reputation at least overtook the then tiring NME and was quicker and bolder in showcasing the resurgent Anglo/European/American music scene of the late 80s/early 1990s. He became a full time staff member in 1987.
As well as championing the likes of The Young Gods, Butthole Surfers, AR Kane, etc in a series of front cover stories replete with recklessly Quixotic, adjective-heavy prose, and partaking in Homeric drinking sessions in some of Soho’s lowest dens with the like-minded and like-livered, Stubbs also took over the Maker’s Talk Talk Talk column, converting it from a two page gossip spread into a satirical and surreal take on the rock and pop world and those characters who stalked it, both the heroes and the hapless.
Among his creations were Pepe Le Punk, a Belgian music journalist (author of Hi, I’m Mr Grunge – An Unauthorised Autobiography Of Kurt Cobain), Derek Kent, MM staff writer since 1926, wit, raconteur and pervert, Diary Of A Manic Street Preachers Fan (who admired the group for their “intense intensitude”), The Nod Corner, the fictional journals of the Fields Of The Nephilim drummer whose scheming bandmates continually got him into hot water with lead singer Carl McCoy, who would administer him the punishment of ten press-ups, while the likes of Sinead O’ Connor, Morrissey, The Mission, Andrew Eldritch, Bono and Blur were also sent up on a regular basis.
However, his most famous and beloved creation was Mr Agreeable (formerly Mr Abusing), whose weekly column was a terse exercise in unmitigated, asterisk-strafed invective scattered at all and sundry, especially the sundry, in the rock world – the various c***s, streaks of piss, f***wits, arseholes and twotmongers who raised his blood pressure often by their mere existence. Although Stubbs left Melody Maker in 1998 to work for a cross range of titles including NME, Vox and Uncut, Mr Agreeable remains an occasionally active commentator, occasionally dropping in at The Quietus to vent his ire.
Following a mid-90s stint as a Radio One scriptwriter for Alan Davies and Bill Bailey, Stubbs also branched out into broadsheet journalism, glossy magazines and writing proper books, covering a broader range of topics and so forth. Over the years, rock music would go into a gradual decline in exact line with his own personal involvement in it on a weekly basis, as so happens with rock journalists. However, Stubbs still writes about music for Uncut and The Wire. He also writes regularly for The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, The Quietus, When Saturday Comes and Men’s Health among others. He will be co-presenting a weekly football show on Resonance FM. He is currently working on two books, including a “partial” history of the 1990s, provisionally entitled Untroubled Times.
- excerpted from his website: http://www.mr-agreeable.net