Thursday, October 23, 2014

6Music nears 2 million

There's a new set of Rajar radio audience figures this morning, and they're lovely for 6Music. A weekly audience nudging two million, and - says MediaGuardian:

Laverne, the station’s mid-morning DJ, presented its most popular show with 868,000 listeners.

In a sign of the changing way people are listening to the radio, a record 27% of listening for 6 Music was online or via smartphone and tablet apps, the most of any station and more than four times the industry average of 6.4%.
[...]
A number of its presenters all had record audiences in the last quarter, including Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie’s afternoon programme, Marc Riley, Huey Morgan and Mary Anne Hobbs.
Elsewhere, the Nick Grimshaw figures have been spun so much it's hard to tell if either nobody or everybody is listening; Ben Cooper has made a stab at putting a candle on some lukewarm Radio 1 figures:
Cooper, who also oversees digital sibling station 1Xtra, said Radio 1 was “leading the industry in becoming a multiplatform youth brand”, including a YouTube channel with more than 1.6 million subscribers and plans for a Radio 1 channel on the BBC’s iPlayer.

Cooper said the Rajar figures “only tell part of the story. I’m very pleased that in the traditionally difficult summer quarter, the Radio 1 Breakfast Show has 240,000 new listeners in the year."
If you're pointing to your YouTube subscribers as a metric on the day actual listening figures come out, it's pretty clear you're disappointed by your listening figures.

But at least Cooper wasn't reduced to mentioning the number of retweets Zane Lowe gets. That's when you know you're nearing the endgame.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The UKIP calypso continues to demonstrate the unelectability of UKIP

Mike Read has withdrawn his UKIP Calypso song, after it occurred to him that, maybe, singing about "illegal immigrants" in a funny-black-person voice might be racist after all.

The Red Cross were apparently offered some of the proceeds of the song, but they said no, on the grounds that they couldn't accept funds linked to a political party. And that they work with asylum seekers, so the song didn't really fit with their values, either.

Rather than accept this, UKIP decided to be arseholes about it:

A Ukip spokesman said "synthetic outrage" produced by "right-on" social media users and the media caused the removal of the track, claiming that less money would go to causes such as the British Red Cross from its sale.
But the principle that the Red Cross can't accept party political donations is a solid one - they can't be seen as being connected to a government, or a ruling class, or an ideology. A proper political organisation would understand and respect that.

More to the point: where did the idea that this was raising money for the Red Cross come from?

Here's the UKIP Facebook page announcing that "their celebrity member" had made the track:
Our celebrity member Mike Read, the former Radio 1 DJ, has written a brand new single especially for UKIP and we need your help to get it to the top of the pop charts.

It costs just 79p to download, 20p of which will go to UKIP.
Odd, if you're keen to raise funds for the Red Cross, that you wouldn't think to mention it.

And on Monday, when Read was defending his racist song as not being racist at all, he didn't mention that there were funds being raised for the Red Cross.

The Amazon download page for the song - is still live, incidentally, so Read and UKIP can't even manage to withdraw a song from distribution, never mind pull a nation out of Union. But that page doesn't mention the Red Cross, either.

I'm not suggesting that UKIP have made up this donation in a desperate bid to try and salvage an embarrassment and try a 'you're upset about racism but you're making Africans die of ebola' argument, or that they're lying... oh, hang on. I am. UKIP are lying. Of course they're lying.


Sports people are odd people

Having discovered that the inspiration for Royals was a 1976 photo of Kansas City Royals' George Brett, two radio stations in San Francisco have dropped Lorde from their playlist because Kansas City and San Francisco are playing each other at rounders.

Countering this - and presumably to ensure that Lorde doesn't lose out - a Kansas City station is playing Lorde a lot more:

“I respect the work of Mr. Brian Figula, 96.5 KOIT program director, and his team of broadcast professionals, but we won’t let their anti-Royals spirit ruin this moment,” KZPT general manager Tony Lorino said in a statement. “A few angry San Franciscans who don’t have a song called ‘Giants’ won’t rain on our parade.”
Oh, if only it were true that there was no song called Giants. Someone has done this:

The World Series is played over what feels like 2,000 games of about forty hours each. There's time for a lot more of this sort of thing to happen.


Crabwalk... hang on, that's not a crab

It's not uncommon for parents of sixteen year-old girls to discover a shady creature in their bedroom who shouldn't be there.

It's not always a scorpion.

But Ben Watt found one of them in his daughter's room. London Zoo sent round an expert who collected - ahem - everything but the girl. And the man. And the fu... oh, alright, they only collected the scorpion. They're now trying to work out what nature of scorpion it is.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stacy Lattishaw has gone from Jump To The Beat to praise to the heavens

Ever wondered what happened to Stacy Lattishaw?

Oh. Not even a little bit?

Go on, pretend you do.

Brilliant. Glad you asked, as she's resurfaced in Texas as a church minister:

Lattisaw, a minister in the Christian denomination known as “Spirit-Filled” spoke to a crowded convention hall in Humble Saturday morning. She was the guest speaker at the Unveiled Hope-Dream Again conference during the morning service at the Humble Civic Center on Oct. 18.
I know what you're thinking. Okay, I know what I'm pretending you're thinking - how did she go from this:

... to standing in Texas saying "praise is my weapon"?

Like most of the great Christian martyrs, she was called through the medium of an infected scalp:
A particularly bad scalp infection was one of the factors that made Lattisaw refocus her energy in a religious direction.

After she developed a fungal infection on the top of her scalp, she awoke every day and held mirrors up to “look at it.” Lattisaw became even more concerned after a visit to her doctor where he said he had not seen an infection quite that bad and urged her to get an AIDS test.

At the height of her anxiety, “God sent me a prophet who told me to begin praise and worship.”
Ringworm, then. It suggests that God might have spoken to Stacy by getting her to swap to a cheaper shampoo at some point.

I do wonder if at some point she had a conversation with a friend:
- You're giving up the entertainment industry to become a minister? You should have your head examined.
- I've just had my head examined, that's why I'm going to become a minister

Medical note: It's also possible to treat ringworm using medication and medicated shampoo.


Sleater-Kinney: So this happened yesterday


Yes. That's a new Sleater-Kinney single. And, yes, there's a new album, No Cities To Love, right at the start of next year.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Mike Read defends racist UKIP song as you can't do a racist routine without being racist

Poor Godfrey Bloom. There he was, storming out of UKIP because the party was too politically correct, only to discover that Mike Read is doing a cod-Jamaican accent on their behalf.

Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire, Read said: "If anyone has taken it the wrong way, many apologies. But it was never meant to be remotely racist."

He said he found accusations of racism "extraordinary", adding: "It's an old-fashioned political satire... you can't sing a calypso with a Surrey accent."
Older readers might recall Mike Read's 'All In The Morning Papers' feature on his breakfast show, where he sang weak satire in a calypso style. But not in a cod Jamaican accent. Funny that.

Still, it's not just the accent that's racist; even in a Surrey accent, this would be a bit grim:
Our leaders committed a cardinal sin
Open the borders let them all come in
Illegal immigrants in every town
Stand up and be counted Blair and Brown
Oh, Mike.

He also is shaky on facts:
The EU live in wonderland
Tried to ban bent bananas and British jam
Bent bananas? That old lie was disproved when Mike Read was still famous:
European Union officials acknowledged that a regulation had just been promulgated setting standards for bananas, including the size requirements reported in The Sun. But the standards were set as a result of "pressure from the trade," applied to growers and packers and not retailers, and would change nothing since virtually all bananas sold in Britain already conformed, a spokesman said.

"It doesn't affect Mrs. Jones going into a greengrocer," insisted the spokesman, Peter Dixon. Asked about the issue of the banana's shape, he said: "The regulation says a banana should not have an abnormal shape. In no sense does it ban curved bananas because a curve is a normal shape for a banana."
That was twenty years ago.

The jam thing is less of a fib - there is an EU rule that says jam can only be called jam if it contains 60% sugar; trouble is, a lot of shitty British jam has less sugar in it than that.

The problem with Mike's claim, though, is that the UK government has already exercised subsidiarity in this matter, which undermines the idea there's some sort of foreign jam tsar undermining our ability to flog shitty jam.

Still, it's nice that Mike Read is keeping himself busy. Time must have weighed heavily on his hands since that time he was passed over as Tory mayoral candidate. Not that everyone in UKIP is a frustrated Tory, of course.


Mary Lou Lord: Salem's plot

Mary Lou Lord was born in Salem - yes, that Salem - and used to play on the streets.

For the best part of a decade, though, she hasn't because of a city ordinance banning amplification. She explained this on Facebook earlier this month:

For many years I used to play music (busking) in my home town of Salem ma but then as Salem grew, someone came up with a street performers ordinance of rules with states that they are NOT allowed to use AMPLIFICATION.

Without my little amp, my small voice could not compete with the ambient noise going around the town so, I was forced to discontinue. For many years now I have not played in Salem because of this permit's language.
However, she discovered this year that there was an exception to that hard-and-fast rule:
But there is a loophole that I have recently found that makes it perfectly legal to use AMPLIFICATION if you are proselytising.
Soliciting is still forbidden - hey, it's not a free-for-all - but providing you're proselytising, you're good.

On Saturday, Mary put the loophole to the test. How did it go?:
After 7 years of abstaining from playing with an amp (always quietly, and always on the outskirts in non residential areas), I finally played in Salem with an amp through the Proselytizing loophole I discovered recently.

Right to the minute, the woman named Ellen (the lady who goes around checking on things and her cohorts arrived (a minute before I played), By the way, she was NOT in attendance at the City Hall meeting on the new ordinance rules, nor did she have a clue about the legal doc I presented her with (she even went out of her way to take a picture of it with her phone-um, Ellen, it is ONLINE) and I presented her with the printed out ordinance (legal doc) of the outlines.

For the first time in 7 years, she walked away, unable to say a word. It was a great feeling, and a great night. A very small victory, but one that mattered to me.
Let's hope that Salem's response is to redraft the law more sensibly, rather than just plug up the loophole.

After all, it's not like Salem would want its city name to become a byword for misacarriage of justice, would it?


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bono's eyes

Obviously, nobody would wish eye problems on anyone; not even upon Bono. But why are news outlets reporting his eye problems like it's news?

Didn't he "reveal" that he wore sunglasses because of eye problems back in 2005 in a Rolling Stone interview with Jann Wenner? (This is a rhetorical question to which the answer is yes.)

Yes; it must be terrible to have those eye problems, and who wouldn't be sympathetic. But you can't keep "revealing" you have them.


This week just gone

What people read in largest numbers this week:

1. Video: Le Prince Miiaou
2. Simon Bates: Smoothed away
3. Tony Hadley's 2006 medical emergency
4. Tom Watson wants 6Music on FM
5. Bono says sorry in a way that suggests he's not sorry at all
6. Noel Galagher's secret gay past
7. Douglas Carswell sees the Tories as HMV
8. Bono's low tax will save us all
9. The original Arctic Monkeys singer is lovely
10. Man buys McDonalds burger; makes newspapers

These were this week's interesting releases:


The Fall - Creative Distortion


Download Creative Distortion



The Primitives - Spinorama




Lamb - Backspace Unwind




Foxygen - … And Star Power


Download And Star Power


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chansonsobit: Tim Hauser

Tim Hauser, founding member of Manhattan Transfer, has died.

Hauser was born, and formed the band, in New York. The original Manhattan Transfer didn't take, but Hauser persevered and met members of the classic line-up while driving a yellow cab to make ends meet.

The official statement came, as official statements do these days, via Facebook:

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Tim Hauser’s passing with you all... As many of you know, Tim was the visionary behind The Manhattan Transfer. We spent more than 40 years together singing and making music, traveling the world, and sharing so many special moments throughout our lives... It's incomprehensible to think of this world without him.
We join his loving wife, Barb, his beautiful children, his family, and the rest of the world in mourning the loss of our dear friend and partner in song.
Love,
Janis, Cheryl and Alan

For those of you with tickets to our upcoming shows, we will continue to tour as scheduled and continue to share Tim’s incredible legacy...
Incomprehensible to think of the world without Tim, but not, apparently, honouring the tour dates without him.

Tim Hauser died following a cardiac arrest on October 16th; he was 72.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Judge suddenly changes US copyright status on pre-1972 recordings

There's no copyright on recordings made before 1972 in America. Except now there is, as a judge in California has told Sirius that it needs to pay when it plays such recordings.

Sirius aren't happy:

SiriusXM disagreed. "I think everybody should get paid, and I think everybody should pay," David Frear, the company's chief financial officer, said during a banking conference, as quoted in the New York Times. "But to get there, there needs to be a change in the laws. And it shouldn’t be coming from the bench. It should be coming from the legislature."
You might wonder if David Frear really wants to pay everyone why he chose not to pay everyone, but instead fought a legal case to stop paying anyone. 'I really want to pay but think there ought to be a law compelling me to pay' isn't a coherent position.

The record companies - who, rather than musicians, will pocket most of the cash - are happy:
"It's increasingly clear that SiriusXM, Pandora and other digital music firms who refuse to pay legacy artists and rights holders are on the wrong side of history and the law," Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the labels, said in a statement. "It's time for that to change."
The RIAA are charmers, aren't they? Every time a business finds a way to help them hold onto revenue streams in the 21st Century, rather than work with them, they're there, demanding more and effectively calling those businesses crooks.

If Sherman was ever in an accident and needed a transfusion, you suspect he'd be demanding to know where the blood taken from him was and why he wasn't getting the usual donation fee for it.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bono apologises, in a Bono way

Having foisted the dreadful new U2 album on everyone, now Bono is apologising.

Not, obviously, saying sorry. But doing one of those 'hey, baby, if I'm guilty of anything it's just loving too much' apologies:

The questioner on the Facebook session said: "Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to peoples playlists ever again? It's really rude."

Bono replied: "I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing.

"A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn't be heard.

"There's a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it," he said.
Oh, man, I've just written this song. What if nobody hears the song? I know, I'll force the shitting song down their throats, whether they want it or not. Repeat ten times.

You know that at some point, in one of the meetings, someone - and it will have been Bono - said "look, guys, it's better to do something and say sorry rather than ask for permission and get a no". And he would have been wrong.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tom Watson pushes for 6 on FM

It's great that Tom Watson is such a strong supporter of 6Music, but his calls for the BBC to move the network to FM, booting Radio 3 to digital only, are flawed:

Watson said: “It does strike me if the Radio 3 audience continues to diminish and 6 Music continues to grow its audience, the BBC should seriously consider it, they must put it on their agenda.

“6 Music is a huge success story for the BBC. They tried to close it down and its audience doubled, they now have more listeners digitally than Radio 3 has got on both digital and the FM network.

“On those terms 6 Music should be knocking at the door for that FM slot and they would have an even bigger audience [on FM]. There are a lot of discriminating music listeners out there, they have built a very powerful brand and a strong offer. They only way they are going to expand is getting an FM slot and I think it’s worth the BBC considering.”
Maybe worth considering, but much more worth rejecting.

Part of the original reason for the existence of 6Music was to help drive digital listening - something that it's done rather well. Moving it across to analogue wouldn't really help with that.

Given there's a hope that the FM and AM radiospace can be handed over to other services in the not-too-distant future, any tenancy on FM would be short-lived anyway.

The idea that 6 can only grow by transferring to FM is flawed, given that it's still growing its audience on digital.

And then there's the question of what would happen to Radio 3 if it shifted to digital-only. It already has a fragile audience; even if you generously assume that half its listeners transfer across to find it - and that we can put up with the resultant drone of audiophiles complaining about sound quality on DAB forever - that low level of audience would appear to be incompatible with the current level of funding Radio 3 receives. So while Tom Watson might say he's not calling for Radio 3 to be closed down, that would effectively be the effect of moving it across before we're at the stage of analogue radio switch-off. (How it will thrive after that, of course, is another question.)


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

People who like guns like Rihanna's gun bag

A short while ago, Rihanna carried a handbag shaped like a gun. This led to a very small smattering of tutting on Twitter of a 'don't do that, it's not even a practical shape for a purse'; this, in turn, has brought out a rash of over-excited people who enjoy shooting things:

Some Liberals Are Freaking Out Because Of The Harmless Things Carried By This Pop Star
Oddly, the Western Journalism's claim isn't backed up very well - rather than 'liberals freaking out' it offers a couple of tweets of 'people who use celebrities as linkbait going "look, this is controversial"', but that isn't what should detain us here.

Because, although poorly laid out and badly argued, these gun-toting men's feature on chi-chi catwalk accessories does offer something of a classic case of the blowyourfaceoffophile's logic. Hidden amongst its claims that carrying a bag shaped like a gun is somehow empowering is a glimpse behind the curtain.

How would you describe Rihanna? Pop princess? The Umbrella hitmaker? Grammy Award Winner?

Not if you're writing about guns; then, she's just a victim:
Nevertheless, some anti-gun activists used the opportunity to criticize the domestic abuse victim for her ostensible glorification of firearms.
All the talk is about how empowering carrying around the ability to take away people's lives like a capricious god-toddler, but whenever a justification is reached for, it usually turns out to be about focusing on victimhood.


Man visits McDonalds; front pages held

Congratulations to the Western Telegraph, for no newspaper, surely, can be said to cover their patch in more depth than they do. Why, even Kian Egan going into a branch of McDonalds in Merlins Bridge is covered as a news story.

With eyewitness accounts, no less:

McDonald's customer care assistant Stephen Hughes said: “He was down visiting a Pembrokeshire attraction with his family.

“You hear all these myths about celebrities, but he was really down to earth and quite shy really.

“He was kind enough to pose for pictures with staff and customers.”
'You hear these myths about celebrities, but he really wasn't a diva. He didn't demand onion rings; he made no request to eat in a VIP area. He didn't even insist on getting Smurfs in his Happy Meal.

You hear these myths about celebrities, but he didn't embark on twelve tasks requiring superhuman effort while he was here. He didn't arrive on a winged horse and - although I didn't watch him the whole time - he didn't appear to change shape into a swan or a bull and have his way with all and sundry.

You hear these myths about celebrities, but he ingested his burger by biting off chunks, chewing it in his normal-sized mouth, swallowing and then using stomach acids to break down the meat and bread to allow his body to absorb the nutrients.'

The best thing about this story, though, is that I don't need to worry about trying to find a punchline, because Stephen delivers his own:
Stephen added just a few weeks ago they were pretty sure they had Boyzone’s Keith Duffy in the restaurant.


Chris Brown: very much the Malthus of our age

Chris Brown has taken some time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on ebola:

The Kiss Kiss hitmaker posted the controversial comment to Twitter on Monday, writing, "I don't know... But I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. S*** is getting crazy bruh (sic)" before adding, "Let me shut my black a** up!"
To be fair - to Thomas Malthus rather than to Brown - it's not clear if Brown really was suggesting that ebola was somehow balancing out population growth as a natural corrective, or if he was instead floating some sort of conspiracy theory that an unidentified shady force was using ebola to get numbers down.

And to be fair to the sort of people who believe in the 'lizards faking moon landings to cover up 9/11' school of thought, Chris Brown hasn't probably thought anything through at all.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Bono: Low tax will save us all

Our old friend Bono granted a lengthy interview to The Observer at the weekend. It appeared in the New Review section, but really should have gone on the business pages it appeared to be marking the point where Bono shifted from apologist, to spokesperson, for capitalism.

Most notably, Bono attempted to justify Ireland's low tax regime as providing a route to prosperity:

"Look, Ireland is not going to back down on this,” he says. “We are a tiny little country, we don’t have scale, and our version of scale is to be innovative and to be clever, and tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known. That’s how we got these [tech] companies here."
Trying to use the lure of tiny corporate tax rates to build a prosperous nation is a bit like hoping to find a lasting, loving relationship by sticking your cock through a glory hole.

The companies opening their headquarters aren't actually headquartering there - generally, these tax-efficient operations consist of a bored person on minimum wage answering the phone with "no, we're not expecting Mr Cook in today" and a really, really huge shredding machine. (Although to be fair, Apple also have a room where they've stored all the unsold U2 limited edition iPods.)

The only local businesses who experience an uplift as being part of a low tax economy are brass plate engravers as the multinationals arrive, followed by a similar boost for carpetbag manufacturers.

U2 themselves are a pretty good example themselves - Bono, busily defending the idea that low corporate taxes are brilliant for Ireland did, of course, shift huge chunks of his own money over to mainland Europe when a more eye-catching low corporate tax rate waved a come-hither finger.

On that point, Bono is amusingly slippery, as he ignores the central problem - that he's shafted the country that he professes to love in order to save himself a few quid - by pretending that what's really upsetting people is the secrecy:
It isn’t a clandestine offshore tax haven, Bono insists. “All of our stuff is out in the open. How did people find out about it? Because it’s published. The sneakiness is when you don’t even know what’s going on.”
No, Bono. If someone livestreams themselves pissing through your letterbox, so you can watch as they do it, it doesn't make it alright.

It raises the alarming idea that when Bono watches a movie where the villain tortures the hero, but the villain starts by detailing what that torture will involve, Bono isn't horrified but reaches for the popcorn going "well, the cutting off of the arm and beating around the head has been publicly declared so I don't see there's a problem here."

Apple might be comfortably at home in Cork now - although the most generous headcount is 4000 Apple people, less than one-in-four of all their European staff. But people with longer memories will recall the tremor that ran through the area in 1999 when the globally nimble business realised it was better off making iMacs in Wales, taking two-thirds of the jobs across the border.

And Apple are probably amongst the most generous of the companies who have headquartered in Ireland - the Financial Times visited Endo, a pharmaceutical company who are now based in Dublin:
The global headquarters of Endo International is so new that, apart from a few desktop computers, the most visible purchase to date is the Nespresso machine in the kitchen. Located in the basement of a Georgian house in central Dublin, the company, which makes branded and generic medicines, does not even have a brass plate on the door.
Not even the brass plate engraver got a call.

Maybe the glory hole metaphor is the wrong way round, as Ireland isn't the one shoving its cock through the wall. It's on the other side, providing the service. And, sure, it's getting something out of the arrangement as long as it lasts, but everything could be pulled out without warning, leaving Ireland with a mess to clean up. And never able to look into the eyes of the person making the decision.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Douglas Carswell invokes HMV to explain UKIP popularity

Douglas Carswell reckons the Tories are struggling because, effectively, they're HMV:

Douglas Carswell, who made history as the first elected Ukip MP last week, said he hoped more Tories joined him but insisted the party was "not the Conservative party in exile".

He likened the Tories to failed music store HMV. "The way the Tory party is retailing politics is like the way HMV retailed music. It's a defunct retail model," he said on the Andrew Marr show this morning.
Somewhere, David Cameron is punching the air and going "not Our Price. At least we're not Our Price."

Let's just leave aside the suggestion that retailing is a good metaphor for politics, because it's almost certainly depressingly true.

Carswell's wrong, of course. When it looked like HMV might vanish from the high streets of Britain, everyone thought that would be a bad thing.


This week just gone

Hot back then: The most-read things twelve months ago today:

1. One reason why Penguin Classics isn't the best home for Mozzer's biography
2. Radio One prepares to cull older acts; Muse on a warning
3. Dreadful Spice Girls musical taken to the vets
4. Lostprophets call it a day
5. Victoria Hart returns. You don't remember her, do you?
6. Radio 2 re-edit Kenny Everett
7. Nick Drake's death raked over
8. Pete Doherty's war on the upper middle classes
9. Video: Stereolab live on Jools Holland, 1997
10. That time Perez Hilton called Will I Am a "faggot"

This was new released out this week:


Allo Darlin - We Come From The Same Place


Download We Come From The Same Place



Claudia Brucken - Where Else?


Download Where Else?



Anais Mitchell - xoa


Download xoa



Vic Goddard & The Subway Sect - 1979 Now


Download 1979 Now



Caribou - Our Love


Download Our Love



Johnny Marr - Playland


Download Playland



Jackson Browne - Standing In The Breach


Download Standing In The Breach


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Citizens should have lessons in copyright morals and ethics

MP for Hove Actually Mark Weatherley, who somehow has been entrusted with advising David Cameron on matters relating to intellectual property, wants kids to be taught copyright morality in schools:

In a 51-page report that was just released Weatherley stresses the importance of copyright awareness and education, especially for the younger generation. This is needed as respect for copyright has declined in recent years and some even believe that sharing copyrighted material without permission is not a big deal.

“There is … a certain level of tolerance for the idea that IP infringements could be considered legitimate. Some believe that illegal activity online is a social norm, with no moral implications,” Weatherley writes.

“We are at risk of an entire generation growing up with different levels of respect for IP and copyright in particular. Should this social contract disappear, there could be longer-term consequences beyond the immediate, short-term negative impacts experienced by the creative sector,” he adds.
We would quote some chunks of his report, but, hey, let's respect the guy's right to be wrong in private, yes?

The idea of schools having honest education about the morality and ethics of the copyright industry isn't all bad - getting teenagers to explore the reasons why copyright used to expire after a sensible period, and debating the consistent push back of that expiration as MPs like Weatherley do the bidding of multinational corporations could make for lively lessons and an aware populace.

However, what Weatherley is actually suggesting isn't that the ethics and morality of the copyright industry be taught at all; he just wants lessons based on that awful thing they make you watch at the start of DVDs.

Sidenote: Mike Weatherley, besides being an MP, has found time in his busy routine to be director of a bunch of companies associated with MPLC, a company that exists to "help" people with copyright licences. You might think that this exciting hinterland means that Weatherley is something of an expert in the field, which he is sharing with the rest of the coalition. Equally, though, you might wonder if this means he might not have started his report with the most open of minds.


Listen with No Rock: Tweeter's Tales

If you've ever been seized with a desire to want to know what I sound like, and don't have the sort of unfettered access to people's phones only available to News International journalists and the Met Police, good news: I've been given the honour of featuring in an episode of Tweeter's Tales, in which Rick and I swap tales of Tony Hadley, Alan McGee, and - inevitably - Bono.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Kim Gordon: Coming next year


Kim Gordon's Girl In A Band Memoir. Taking preorders; publishing February next year.


Crystal Castles split. Maybe.

So it's all over for Crystal Castles, then:





The band last played together on October 5th, 2013, so it's almost as if Glass has invoked some sort of 'if you're on the run for a year and a day you're a free person' clause.

It's too bad they've split; what's worse is that Crystal Castles might struggle on without Alice:
Speaking to NME the duo's manager commented: "There will be twists and turns ahead for Crystal Castles, I wouldn't bury the dead just yet!"
Glass' comments don't sound like she's biddable for a return; the management's line seems to be that she's replaceable. Which probably tells you as much as you need to know about the split.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Man doesn't know who Jay-Z is; MTV literally can't believe it

Beyonce and Jay-Z are in Paris and are surrounded by a hullabaloo. The hullabaloo has, in turn, attracted its own hullabaloo, in the midst of which was someone interested, but not sure what he was witnessing.

MTV's Maurice Bobb just doesn't believe this:

Free life lesson: if you’re going to film Jay Z and Beyoncé taking daughter Blue Ivy on a private tour of The Louvre in Paris, you should at least know who they are.
I suppose that's sort-of true; but it's not true if all you're doing is filming a hubbub, you might only need to know there's a hubbub.
A tourist-turned-wannabe paparazzo made a major faux pas when he tried to get footage of the On The Run Tour headliners making their way into the historic French museum.
Pleasetellmehedidn'tcallBeyonceKelly. Pleasetellmehedidn'tcallBeyonceKelly. Pleasetellmehedidn'tcallBeyonceKelly. Pleasetellmehedidn'tcallBeyonceKelly.

Oh, hang on, he didn't. As his "major faux pas" was "not recognising some people":
“Who is he?” the cameraman asked about the world-renowned rapper from Brooklyn.
There's something happening. Asking what's happening doesn't seem to be a faux pas; it seems to be a sensible thing to do. It's not like recognising Jay-Z is - yet - taught to every school child on the planet.
The Magna Carta… Holy Grail MC then gave the best response ever as he walked by with his daughter in his arms and his super-famous wife — who was busy taking photos of her own — trailing behind.
Hold on. The best response ever? I'm really hoping this will be "I'm Solange Knowles' brother-in-law", or maybe "I dunno, the nurses told me, like, six times this morning, but it just won't stick", or "I'm Elvis, but don't tell anyone, they get over-excited", or "are you the only person who doesn't watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians?" But, hey, I'm an amateur. Jay-Z is a professional. Let's hear this zinging comeback - a comeback which, according to MTV's Maurice Bobb - outstrips anything Churchill, Parker or Wilde ever came up.
“Who are you?” he retorted with the steeliest gaze this side of Marcy Projects.
Oh.

I suppose to be fair, he is on holiday.
The uninformed videographer tried to laugh it off, but come on. Has this guy literally never seen or heard about hip-hop’s royal family?
It's hard to say, Maurice, but it's quite possible he's heard of Beyonce and Jay-Z, but not been interested enough to look at any photos.
Has he even heard of the Internet?
Maurice, not everyone has Beyonce.com as the homepage on their laptops. Obviously, those AOL free sign-up CDs installed a rolling Jay-Z ticker on top of your Internet Explorer 4, but since they stopped shipping it has been possible to go online, often for minutes at a time, without ever once looking at anything to do with Beyonce.


Morrissey: Still ill

Morrissey's tours are, commonly, disrupted by poor health; the latest disruption is, however, slightly different as his European tour has suddenly been overshadowed by his announcement of cancerous tissue:

The ex-Smiths star has recently battled bouts of ill health but revealed the cancer news during an email interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

"I have had four cancer-scrapings, but so what. If I die, I die," he wrote. "If I don't, then I don't. As I sit here today I feel very well."

The singer started his latest European tour in Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday.

In the exchange with journalist Javier Blanquez, he wrote: "I know I look quite bad on recent photographs, but I am afraid this is what illness does to the overall countenance. I will save relaxation for when I'm dead."
There has been no further elaboration, but there is one oddity about this announcement.

Seasoned Morrissey watchers will know that the great man's main channel of communication is via True To You; but on that site, the news page hasn't been updated since September 25th, and then with a piece about an online shop, and DVD chart positions. It's a bit like the Vatican Bollettino not bothering to run a piece that day the Pope resigned.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Live Nation about to snaffle Lollapalooza

As if the last decade or so hasn't been enough to remove any sense of anything countercultural at all about Lollapalooza, Live Nation are about to take a controlling stake in its parent company, C3.

Yeah. Ticketmaster will soon be bringing you the 'Looza.


Geoff Tate thinks he's great


Yes, Geoff Tate is so brilliant, even if you explicitly exclude him from a list of best singers, he's still on the list.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Rockobit: Paul Revere

Paul Revere, 60s teen idol, has died.

I'd always assumed that Paul Revere was a cheesy stage name, but it turns out it was only half that - he'd been born Paul Revere Dick, and you can see why you might run the risk of adopting the name of a legend of your nation's history rather than going on under a "Paul Dick" banner.

Oddly, Revere was the titular hero of Paul Revere And The Raiders, despite being the organist rather than the singer. Vocals were provided by Mark Lindsay.

Lindsay had been a baker; Revere ran a few restaurants; it was hamburger baps that brought them together.

The band was successful, but not always a happy one - there was a painful split in the mid-60s; when one of the escapees, Drake Levin, returned he was punished. Although Levin had gone to serve in the National Guard, Revere believed he was responsible for other members quitting; when the band were booked to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, Levin was sidelined, and made to teach his replacement, Freddy Weller, the music.

Paul Revere and a form of the Raiders were still playing music - a tour had been booked for next month. Revere was 76; he died October 4th.

While the band were quite a big deal in the States, for kids growing up in the UK, they'd be best known for their dodgy political endorsements:


Sunday, October 05, 2014

Glastonbury tickets sell out "in record time"

The story everywhere about Glastonbury tickets selling out "in record time" actually should read "Glastonbury ticket sale more robust than previously". Doesn't look like the servers melted down in quite the traditional way - which is a step forward - although there are a number of complaints from people who somehow went from having tickets to not having tickets in the time it took them to enter their credit card numbers.

Annually, I ask this: why do Glastonbury turn what is already an increasingly elitist event into one which rewards people with the most resilient internet connections and highest number of devices? Why fetishise the 'ooh, we sold out in x minutes' when they could have an actual lottery.