Thursday, September 26, 2002

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: It's a day late, but we got stuck edition:
Given away free in tescos (and that much would actually suffice as a review) it's the debut of Closer. Designed to provide an older counterpoint to Heat in much the same way that Sneak is a younger version, Closer is pretty much the HRT Heat, meaning a lot of shitty paparazi shots without the sark - Closer to the Star's views of themselves, then - and the odd Chat-style 'real life story.' They cover the Celebrity slim-a-thon that is Fit Club - notable for Rik Waller being described both as "morbidly obese" and "a waste of space" (a waste of a lot of space?), but doesn't ask why when it's ordinary proles, the show is Fat Club, but when it's minor celebs, it's Fit Club. Ian MacCaskill is, apparently, obese now - which shows the perils of retirement...

Another one of which would be reading the Daily Mail, which (we picked it up free in a Little Chef, alright) lamented the state of the UK charts in two pages of tutting. Strangely, while echoing Top of the Pops boss Chris Cowey's lament that the charts are rubbish now, the Mail's idea of a golden age seems to be something a bit more pre-Hailey. Funnily enough, my parents used to take the Daily Mail and I remember about twenty years ago the then-TV critic of the Mail Herbert Kretzmer wrote an almost identical piece. Kretzmer took Janet Jackson to task for the lines "I never asked for more than I deserved/And that's the truth/You seem to think you're god's gift to this earth/I'm telling you no way", which he derided as rubbish, without revealing that he was the man who wrote the racist pap that is Goodness Gracious Me. When your back catalogue has "It goes boom-de-de-boom-de-de-boom-boom-boom/well, goodness, gracious me" and "bangers and mash/minestrone/bangers and mash/macaroni" in it, you might think twice before slagging other people's work off. (Hmmm, pop papers chooses two decade old article as its focus - up to date, eh?). The 2002 version reckons that while you could once chart British Society through its charts, you can't nowadays - although we personally reckon that Atomic Kitten and the So Solids look more like the faces we see on the street than we'd assume the public school pastyness of 1973's chart gods were...

Which reminds us, of course, to Guardian Women's response to Ms Dynamite winning the Mercury - praising that her victory and tracksuits set a "good example" to girls that you don't need to bare your belly to be a star. Maybe if they'd googled on images of Ms Dynamite and counted the navels on display, they wouldn't have been so quick to reach this conclusion; maybe if they'd spent time with teenage girls who wear trackies by day, they'd have noticed that at night they tend to Kitten-up; Ms Dynamite is merely Everyday Girl in Daywear as surely as Natasha and Liz are girls in their nightclothes. Besides, why should we be so quick to applaud someone who dresses on stage as if they couldn't give a shit? It's possible to dress neatly without looking like the back row from the Windmill Theatre - do we really need Pop Stars, of all people - the ones who have a birthright to glitter and shimmer - to look like they've tumbled onto stage out the back door of McDonalds?...

For those of you who cut out and keep these things - mounted on a piece of card cut from the back of a Sugar Puffs box, we'd imagine - and like completeness, last week's nme had Oasis on the front. And, having not been near a computer since the Friday before, for us it was like old times - genuinely exciting, refreshing, hearing news we'd not already been piloting through the web for the previous week. Of course, the people at IPC might not find the news that the NME only neads to smash the internet to pieces to become a vital, thriving concern again very encouraging, but we do wonder if the big NTL fire could have been set as a result of a Kings Reach Tower focus group?...

But this week's nme is another matter. We knew that the game was up for the Melody maker the first time it came with a sheet of stickers. It wasn't so much the fact of the stickers - although they did signal an abandonment of any claims to seriousness - but the way in between the band logos and pictures there were stickers with "amusing" catchphrases and "funny" slogans that were only ever used by the Melody Maker...
We mention this now because this week's nme comes with stickers. And it has ones that say "You cock" and so on. Sigh. We really might be in endgame...

news: why is "London is great; it's got loads of gigs" being treated as news when it's pretty much the usual nme message anyway?; nme hints that The Streets blew the mercury when Mike Skinner said he wouldn't show up, as not having the winner there would make for bad TV (last year, of course, the rumour was the prize was given to Polly Harvey because she was stuck in a post-Pentagon(e) Washington and her inability to turn up was good headline); Zane Lowe now the favourite to take over the ridiculously gaunt one's slot at the Evening Session amidst questions over Dave Pearce's future at Radio One; Courtney love did a days worth of programming at MTV2 in the states - presumably wall-to-wall Pearl Jam and Wedding Present; Apparently Escapology is supposed to "revive slow UK album sales" - not wanting to rain on Robbie's parade, but album sales in the Uk are three per cent up on their level this time last year, and so not really in need of saving; Morrissey punched a fan "accidently" when he ran on stage at his UK comeback gigs - always did like a spot of boxing, didn't he? But can you imagine the shame of having to admit "You should see the other guy - he's a gladioli waving guy with thining hair"?; Marilyn Manson's paintings have gone on display - we can't imagine why, they're even more shit than McCartney's; Graham Cxon has had a pop at Fatboy Slim, saying that he's consulted his lawyers - let it go, now, Graham, let it go; there's a fourteen minute Beatles tune which is going to come out at long last - Noel says he'll listen to the first couple of minutes certainly, but Liam probably won't be able to concetrate that long - although, apparently, Oasis are now working with Status Quo, which befits their status as The New Donkeys of Pop slightly more - they've also commented that "My Opinion means nothing" about Iraq - no, Noel, even your dumbass views count in a democracy; Fisherspooner "rarely play live because their gigs are hugely expensive to produce" reckons the nme - well, compared with the two men and a dog likely to go and see them at the Fake Lomax and Bristol Old Fire Station, yeah. We're delighted to see they're on at the aptly named Old Fruit Market in Glasgow, though; John Lydon shouted "you're a turd" at someone who threw beer at the Pistols as they haul their sad car crash carcass round the US; from the paper which brought you "Who is Elvis", it's "Who the hell is Jeff Beck?" - presumably because there's no sticker for him...

Dave Grohl burns ten tracks on a CD - Cat Power, Slayer, Pixies...

The latest nme useless is gimmick is "text us if you see a star", thereby making the lamest part of Popbitch into a feature - we recommend you use 07752 146472 only for finest spottings of the Grumbleweeds and the bloke who used to be Crossroads...

On bands - Radio 4 (not to be confused wirth the nightclub or the station of the same name); martinit Henry Rifles (not to be confused with new wave of pig fuckers, apparently)...

"Maybe I'm a fucking miserablist, but there's no bands that mean anything to me - none of the 'the' bands... i don't even know if I particularly like rock music" - not the words of someone at Radio One, but Mark Greaney from JJ72...

"Fans send us pots of jam. And there's the ones who go on about monkeys" says Ben Cooper Temple Clause...

The Polyphonic Spree are "driven by a righteous devoition to spread their musical word; the good angels on the opposite shoulder of pop to the So Solid Crew" reckons Mark Beaumont, and he may never have said a truer word. Even if it does make them sound more Ned Flanders than they actually are...

lps: the datsuns - the datsuns ("paved with a whole lot of fun", 8); busted - busted ("kelly jones will hate it", 8); supergrass - life on other planets ("worth it - for now", 7); suede - a new morning ("old fans will love them for it", 7); his name is alive - last night ("as intense as great sex" - then how come it only gets 8?); the future & the human league - the golden hour of the future ("you have to doubt if even Phil's mum will be listening", 3)...

sotw is the liberines - up the bracket ("chas&dave loving") and not hoggboy - upside down ("No name by numbers") or garbage - shut your mouth ("irrelevant suits them well")...

live: the music in dublin and belfast ("the best band since Oasis in '94" says a fan); the eighties matchbox b-line disaster in camden ("best new band in Britain today"); datsuns in camden ("swot up on them")

and, finally: in the small ads, someone called sheena tries to trace a bloke called Ju who she appears to have allowed to shoot his juice into her at a festival. "We should do it again soon" she says. Sheena, even if he is called Ju, he's not going to have believed you were called Sheena, is he? Maybe you should try Jim Wirth instead.


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