Thursday, October 30, 2014

Little Mix take the big prize

I think that Today managed to do a piece on the Popjustice £20 Music Prize yesterday means that it's now moved beyond a thing that happens to a Vital Part Of Our Cultural Hinterland.

Although Little Mix won it this year with Move.

Which is nowhere near as good as last year's winner...

... but then what is?


Mercurys snap Twigs; Young Fathers victory doesn't really impress

Last night was the Mercury Music Prize. It's now found a home on More4, so let's hope the nominees remembered to offer some tips on redeveloping houses otherwise the regular audience would have been very confused.

This was the shortlist:

Anna Calvi – One Breath
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
FKA twigs – LP1
GoGo Penguin – v2.0
Jungle – Jungle
Kate Tempest – Everybody Down
Nick Mulvey – First Mind
Polar Bear – In Each and Every One
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
A golden year for the shortlist, because it's the first time both penguins and polar bears have been represented, honouring both arctic and antarctic creatures.

But it seemed fairly certain that FKA Twigs would waltz it. I would imagine she'd already ordered a new sofa from DFS expecting the cash prize to be hers.

Except that didn't happen.

Yes, Young Fathers won. And the world...?



The world wasn't so much surprised as confused.

And then decided that it must have been one of those Mercury years.

The one where they give it to a Roni Size or someone to show that it's not just about popularity.

It must suck to be in Young Fathers - "hey, guys, you've made the best album of the year and so everyone's now decided you're Speech Debelle v2.0". They're actually better than that. But that's not going to stop people complaining:

'How can this possibly be the best album if I've never heard of it' perhaps misses the point of the Mercury, which is supposed to bring under-appreciated albums to wider attention.

Mostly, though, it's been about weak jokes based on the band's name:


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Robbie Williams isn't getting any better

Well done, Robbie Williams. Through clunky mugging, you managed to make the birth of your second child all about you.


The music industry underestimated Taylor Swift

When people who work in the industry tell you how everything else has ruined their business, never forget the biggest problem is that they don't really know what they're doing.

Take how badly they misjudged Taylor Swift:

Just a couple weeks ago, industry sources were telling the music trade publication Billboard they expected Taylor Swift to sell about 750,000 copies of her new album, 1989, in its first week.
How good was that estimate?
Now, with 1989 out for just one day, Billboard says she’s likely to hit a million.
So, industry sources out by a quarter of a million copies.

To be fair to them, how could they be expected to know Taylor Swift was going to sell a million in a week? Nobody's done that since... erm, Taylor Swift did it with her last album. (Her album before that did a million, too.)

Music industry execs: they wouldn't even bother killing the goose that laid the golden egg, as they wouldn't even have realised it was laying golden eggs in the first place.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Placebo are going on a huge UK tour next year

That's really all there is to this story, apart from the observation that they're not small venues, but they're, shall we say "cosier" than the venues they played the last time they did a big UK tour:

25/02:Dublin Olympia
26/02:Belfast Waterfront Hall
28/02:Edinburgh Corn Exchange
1/03:Glasgow o2 Academy
3/03:Aberdeen Music Hall
4/03:Newcastle o2 Academy
6/03:Hull City Hall
7/03:Blackburn King George’s Hall
9/03:Leeds o2 Academy
10/03:Liverpool Guild Of Students
12/03:Manchester o2 Apollo
13/03:Sheffield o2 Academy
15/03:Norwich UEA
16/03:Leicester De Montfort Hall
18/03:Birmingham o2 Academy
19/03:Bristol Colston Hall
21/03:Bournemouth o2 Academy
22/03:Southend Cliffs Pavillion
24/03:London Hammersmith Apollo

Here's a lovely creative commons image of Brian Molko from 2007:

Image by Marinjo_zg under CC-BY licence.


Monday, October 27, 2014

UKIPtube: Farageland

As Mike Read's calypso fades into the past, here's a UKIP parody that's actually funny - Attila The Stockbroker's Clash-meets-UKIP Farageland:


The end of a long, historical mistake

Oh, we have waited for this moment:


Can it really be true? Can we get a second source?

Beady Eye formed when the leftovers of Oasis weren't thrown away quickly enough and started to become semi-sentient.

The hope is that Liam is now going to throw himself into his expensive trouser shops; the fear is that decks are being cleared to allow Oasis fans to be shaken down for a few quid on a reunion tour.


Taylor Swift hasn't done a murder but fears you'll be told she has

In an interview with Ellen, Taylor Swift has said her biggest fear is of being framed for a crime, like murder.

Of course, it's possible she's ALREADY DONE A MURDER and trying to plant the idea that she's been framed in the mind of a jury yet to be selected.

IT IS VITAL WE KNOW HOW OFTEN TAYLOR SWIFT HAS KILLED AND ACT BEFORE SHE KILLS AGAIN.

(Sidenote: Taylor Swift is excellent at being a pop star, isn't she?)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bookmarks: Lana Del Ray

You'd think 'why do some people dislike Lana Del Ray' would be a question too small to bother the hive mind of Quora - 'not everyone likes everything' being the answer, right? - but there's been 30-odd people so far who've had a crack at answering. Including taking a leap that involves betting that most people who dislike her are passionate fans of Genesis P Orridge, which I suspect might be overestimating their musical knowledge:

She's been blasted for such things as changing her name and perhaps having some cosmetic surgery and losing weight. Because these things are not indie, goes this reasoning. Somehow I don't think Ms. Del Rey particularly cares if she is perceived as indie, nor do I. She's too busy making interesting sounds. Furthermore, some of the same people who probably think Genesis P. Orridge is so transgressive and cutting-edge for having his boobs, eyes, teeth, lips, and taint done to look as much as possible as his deceased wife as to be unrecognizable are probably the same ones who are cutting Lana down because they think she had her lips done. Girl, please.


This week just gone

The most read October stories:

1. UKIP bungle taking down Read's racist tune
2. Bono tries an 'aw shucks' apology
3. Tom Watson wants 6 on FM
4. Ben Watt spots a scorpion
5. Glastonbury ticket servers stay up long enough to allow sell out in record time
6. Man doesn't recognise Jay-Z. MTV loses its shit
7. Video: Johnny Marr on Sara Cox
8. Mike Read explains you can't make a racist record without a funny accent
9. Douglas Carswell compares Tories to HMV
10. One Direction own a slice of 5 Seconds Of Summer

You can tell Christmas is coming by the depth of the release schedule:


Half Man Half Biscuit - Urge For Offal


Download Urge For Offal



The Orchids - Beatitude #9


Download Beatitude #9



Tindersticks - Ypres


Download Ypres



Jane Weaver - The Silver Globe


Download The Silver Globe



And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - IX


Download IX



Scott Walker & Sun-O}}}} - Soused


Download Soused



Thurston Moore - The Best Day


Download The Best Day



Inspiral Carpets - Inspiral Carpets


Download Inspiral Carpets


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Photographerobit: Alfred Wertheimer

Photographer Alfred Wertheimer has died, says his niece.

Wertheimer had a small but notable part in rock history - he spent six days with a young Elvis Presley, taking over 2,500 photos of the singer on- and off-stage. What's even more remarkable is that the photos were largely overlooked until the 1990s - nearly two decades into the Dead Elvis Industry.

Wertheimer also worked on the Woodstock movie, but it's the closeness to Elvis that made his career (and, indeed, paid off handsomely as the photos toured in later years.)


Bookmarks: Rush

Perhaps you life would be better off not knowing there's a Tumblr dedicated to Rush making cumfaces. Perhaps we should say nothing about it.


Cookachoobit: Alvin Stardust

There's been a lot written about Alvin Stardust, who has died at the age of 72. Most of the obituaries called him a "glam rocker", which is only sort of true. Perhaps nobody wanted to be too blunt about how he was a rocker who uncomfortably glammed up for money.

Anyway, this week cannot be allowed to conclude without reminding ourselves of Stardust's greatest moment - stopping kids from becoming roadkill:


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.