For many of us who came of age in the mid '80s, The Smiths probably provided the soundtrack to a political maturing as much as an emotional one. My epochal moment of teenage rebellion came on July 23, 1986, a day I had strategically reserved for the purchase of The Queen Is Dead, so as to coincide with the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

For many of us who came of age in the mid ’80s, The Smiths probably provided the soundtrack to a political maturing as much as an emotional one. My epochal moment of teenage rebellion came on July 23, 1986, a day I had strategically reserved for the purchase of The Queen Is Dead, so as to coincide with the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

The gesture had its drawbacks: it took me 15 minutes to be served in an empty Woolworth’s, unable to distract the shop assistants from the spectacle of Ferguson’s 17-foot long train inching its way up the aisle of Westminster Abbey.

A vegetarian life only began a few years later, not least because it took me until then to work out what vegetarians actually ate. Anyone who felt similarly, or worried about the Smiths’ protein intake, may find some validation in Michael Bonner’s “Meat Is Murder” cover story in the new issue of Uncut, in UK shops today. For young Mancunians adrift on the motorways of Thatcher’s Britain, awkward visits to Little Chef and a predilection for crisps were the only solution.

“If they’d have been presented with something like a couscous salad,” says their old tour manager, “it wouldn’t have gone down well.” Michael’s piece is very good on diet, then, but it’s also a great snapshot of an era when politics were at the forefront of British music: besides interviewing Billy Bragg and Paul Weller for the piece, he also spoke with Neil Kinnock, then leader of the Labour Party.

Some other auspicious figures are interviewed in the new issue, notably Maestro Ennio Morricone (whose memories of working with Morrissey are revealing), and Steve Cropper, working through some of his greatest hits. We’re also proud to be featuring Kraftwerk, Devo, a deep piece on Tim Buckley’s last years, The Charlatans, Blake Mills, Phosphorescent, Man and Led Zeppelin’s prodigious guitar tech. Fans of amusingly prolonged indie-rock spats, meanwhile, should look out for Allan Jones’ interview with Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs, and a lengthy, considered response to the provocations of Mark Kozelek. Key quote: “Hey dude, we played 175 shows this year – fuck you!”

What else? Bob Dylan, Rhiannon Giddens, Led Zeppelin, Emmylou Harris, Slowdive, Father John Misty, The Pop Group and The Pretty Things in Reviews. And, I think, one of the more eclectic CDs we’ve put together in recent memory; 15 tracks that include new ones from Sir Richard Bishop, Songhoy Blues, The Unthanks, Pops Staples, Phosphorescent, Dan Deacon and, I’m especially thrilled to say, Ghostface Killah. We’re on sale now in the UK, and you can also pick up a digital edition of Uncut by clicking here. Have a look and, as ever, please, please, please let me know what you think: uncut_feedback@timeinc.com…

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Uncut is now available as a digital edition! Download here on your iPad/iPhone and here on your Kindle Fire or Nook.