Former NME and Guardian journalist Daniel Martin died at the age of 41 at his home in Salford on July 25. The cause of death is unknown.
Martin – known to everyone as Dan – was a man of passionate enthusiasms ranging from Doctor Who to Biffy Clyro, with a desire to share them as widely as possible. Born in Birkenhead, he wrote for the student newspaper Mancunion at the University of Manchester, then quickly became one of the youngest writers of City Life, the arts and advertisements magazine.
From there, he started freelance work for NME and joined The Weekly Music Magazine in 2003. A sharp and idiosyncratic writer, Dan brought a wide-eyed gonzo sensibility to the magazine. In 2005, he managed to take the stage at the finale of the Live8 charity show, where he sang Hey Jude with a group of stars including George Michael and Paul McCartney.
âAnnie Lennox is in front of me, Bob Geldof to my left. I put my arm around him and he doesn’t seem to care, âDan noted in the following week’s NME. It wasn’t on time – the following year he replaced Bez, who had missed his flight when the Happy Mondays played Coachella.
Dan was a legendary presence at music festivals, where his hard-working attitude found its apotheosis. His outfit alone made him stand out. He wore pink shorts at the Spanish Benicassim festival: when he crossed paths with Liam Gallagher backstage, the Oasis frontman shouted âOi! Candy flip! – a reference to the duo whose only hit was an ample cover of Strawberry Fields Forever.
Eschewing the usual notions of NME cool, Dan’s likes encompass breakbeat, metal, and Leona Lewis, which he spent a night convincing a surprised friend of Bleeding Love about. He also loved television. Saturday, writer Laura Barton tweeted: “One of the first times I met him was at a wacky gig in Koko when we were standing in the back and he spent a good hour defending me passionately to watch Buffy against the vampires. “
Dan’s curiosity, kindness, and empathy for underdogs went beyond pop culture when in 2011 he got involved with Occupy London, whose executives were trying to create a label and attract the attention from NME.
As organizer Adam Jung remembers on social media, âHe got to know a lot of us personally. He took pints with us to celebrate victories or drown out defeats. He had a few stories in the NME about our work. They weren’t objective. He had become a friend, and would be until his death.
Dan’s enthusiasms were recognized by musicians including Courtney Love, with whom he had an ongoing friendship; she called him once in the middle of the night to ask him to find his new group mates. Writer Steve Hill tweeted: âTook a few press trips with him and once spent all night at Chateau Marmont listening to Ocean Rain [the Echo and the Bunnymen album] with Courtney Love.
The Hole singer once came to the rescue when Dan found himself stranded in the middle of California several hours away from the airport.
Such scratches were not uncommon. Dan NME’s former colleague Jenny Stevens said: “I remember he went to Vegas to interview Green Day, missed his flight home, the singer tweeted to ask if anyone saw him, and walked in at the office two days later in a white golf shirt and a trilby because he lost his suitcase and those are all the clothes he could find at the airport.
At another festival in Wales in September, Stevens noted, he came armed only with shorts and a pair of sneakers. Nonetheless, Dan was careful to never miss a deadline, even in the midst of such chaos.
After leaving NME, Dan worked as an entertainment editor on BuzzFeed UK and also wrote for The Guardian, including episodes summaries of his great love, Doctor Who. Kind and generous, Dan has always supported young writers such as Matt Wilkinson, now host.
On Saturday, as news of his death sparked overwhelming grief, Dan’s favorite band, the Manic Street Preachers, paid tribute: âDan was so sweet, funny and talented – we spent a lot of time with him on the road. in the UK and US and in our studio in Cardiff – always a pleasure to be with. So shocked and so saddened.