Wednesday, October 30, 2002

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The cool edition:
There are some awards that really are worth accepting; that confer status or confirm the admiration of one's peers. Then there is the prize for being the Coolest Person in Rock, as conferred by the nme. The award - which is designed to fill a slack period before the pre-Christmas albums rush and allows the paper to run a cover with the White Stripes without having either a new release or interview to trail - is new for 2002...

news: "prepare for warfare - the vines are here" announces the nme, handing over page three to a puff for its own tour; Pete from the Libertines wore a denim skirt for their HMV instore (and looked so bloody delectable, too.) But could the nme pat itself any harder on the back? "The show was full of NME readers who got into the gig thanks to our exclusive offer for fans to see the band for free. The edgy-looking security staff were on full-alert following our revelations about the band's debauched behaviour on tour" - when, exactly, did the nme hire Smita Smittern, Sowbiz Kitten?; Kurt's diaries "could" become the biggest-selling rock book ever. Scott Pack of Waterstones says "the appeal of the book is so wide - from teens just getting into Nirvana to those who remember them from first time around" - so, that's Nirvana fans, then. It's hardly the cross-cutting appeal of Nigella Bites, is it?; Australian police have so little to do they're apparently investigating whether Kelly Osbourne drank a Bacardi Breezer in a Sydney nightclub; before you even get to the Coolest People chart, the nme announces that the White Stripe's cool is slipping. Apparently this is because they "appear on right-winger's talk show." Now, last week the paper made a fool of itself with the Oasis On The Teen Show story. This week, their rubbish grip of popular culture makes them misunderstand the very nature of - yes - Saturday Night Live; Ryan Adams, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins are doing a benefit for the West Memphis Three, three blokes basically convicted of killing small children on the evidence of their liking heavy metal; there's a "revealed" piece on You Am I? - although we could have sworn the nme had featured them before; REM and Radiohead are bands who could possibly play Glasto next year. So too, of course, are The Bootleg Beatles and The Wurzels, who also are bands, and who also haven't signed any contracts or anything; The Hives have conquered Iceland - apparently President Bush is thinking of sending in troops to liberate Rekjavik; and Noel Gallagher had apologised to the Australians for Oasis' crap tour of Oz in 1998 offering the explanation that the band "had just got paid millions and couldn't be arsed about the tour." Yes, Noel, that's heartfelt...

the pattern's chris appelgren chooses ten tracks - love, the pretty things, the angry samoans - for a made-up cd thingy...

there's a gossip picture of Marilyn Manson and Hugh Hefner, which says it all right there anyway - but what's especially notable is that Marilyn now looks like the late-period Thatcher doll from Spitting Image...

on bands: the rain band - mancunian, of course - and the sights, who should be from Liverpool and not detroit with a name like that...

Ted Kessler makes the case that The Stone Roses are the coolest band of all time - offering such evidence as "there wouldn't be an Oasis without the Roses" and Brown's "Its not where you're from, it's where you're at" quote, neither of which really help. The Stone Roses - a great album, but as a band? A bit rubbish...

so, there's 20 criteria for inclusion on the cool list, and fifty members. Liam gallagher is at 45 because "he's dangerous as fuck" - in what way? Because he swore on the radio about two hundred years ago? The only thing that's in any way dangerous about Liam Gallagher is his habit of forgetting to use a condom...

The bloke with the goatee out of Queens of the Stone Age is at 38. The coolest thing about him is that he (Nick Oliveri) got arrested for playing in the nude. That's not really cool - there's a lady called Ruby who wanders up and down the hard shoulder of the M62 in the buff. Is she cool, too? Admittedly, her beard is a little less hokey than Oliveri's Beverley Hills 90210 idea of cutting edge...

Ryan Adams is 37, although surely calling up local papers to remonstrate against reviews is so chronically uncool as to disqualify him?...

Peaches at 35, which is fair enough, although we'd have had her higher; higher certainly than Alesha Dixon from MisTeeq - since when did Mickey Mouse Club have more cool than a strip show?...

28 - Carl Barat of the Libertines. He's cool because "he always walks around with his belt undone." On this basis, my father is the coolest person of all time. And, believe me, he isn't...

Pink. 20. Coolest thing is "her dirty mouth", according to the nme - they do love a sweary lady down IPC way, don't they?...

She does novelty singles, for crying out loud, so how the hell can Kelly Osbourne be at 18? "She shouldn't be famous and she is" trills the nme - yeah, because it's so unusual for the child of someone famous to ride their coat-tails to fame themselves, isn't it?...

Conor Oberst is at 14 - "the number one dream boyfriend amongst America's tortured teens" they reckon, almost saving the whole concept single-handedly

13 - Miss Kittin. This list is starting to make more sense now...

and the top ten:

10 - Pete Almqvist. Don't see this ourselves - The Hives are very much the Spandau Ballet of our age - you know, okay, but... turn them over, and there's no hallmark stamped in their arse. For him to be above Julian Casablancas is nothing short of a scandal

9 - Nelly. Haaaaahaaa ha ha. Ha Ha. Haaaaa. Haa Ha Ha. But, no, it gets better - the nme reckons the coolest thing about him is that bloody plaster... We're suggesting Nelly was boosted a few places to ensure the Top 10 wasn't all-white...

8 - Craig Nicholls. Oooh, we would. Oh yes. In fact, he shouldn't make records. He should just lean against walls all the time...

7 - Marcie Bolen. Of course she's cool. Of course the Von Bondies are cool. But... she dates Jack White. Popstar boyfriends surely should knock you several places down the list?...

6 - Meg White. They don't say "she's cool because she's made incest sexy" in so many words, but we know that's what they mean...

5 - Mike Skinner. Surely the point of The Streets is that they're not cool? If Skinner really did have that icy, distant cool factor, wouldn't the whole thing fall apart?

4 - Karen O. She just is, isn't she?...

3 - Dolf De Datsun. Hmmm. We're not so sure he's in the right place. "Being in The Datsuns" doesn't cut it for us, we're afraid...

2 - Fabrizio Moretti. You're 'avin a laugh, aintcha? Isn't this on a par with thinking Alex James is the greatest one out of Blur? You can see why people might think that - the sort of people who believe that driving a sports car impresses a lady; the type of people who correct the wine water when they mispronounce the names of the reds. But the nme falling for it? Blimey...

And at One, jack White. Which has to be wrong, because he isn't even the coolest member of the White Stripes...

Interesting point: a fifth of list are female. Now, we stopped counting how few women turn up in the On Band section, but we know it's nowhere near that. Do women have to prove their cool a lot more, then?
Another point: the nme says Jarvis isn't cool anymore because he does adverts. If endorsing products is uncool, does this mean NME's Bring It On Miller Genuine Draft supplement is not worthy of our consideration?...

album reviews: badly drawn boy - have you feed the fish? - "strange, life-affirming", 8
david gray - a new day at midnight - "certainly boring, but no more so than Richard Ashcroft", 4
justin timberlake - justified - "fails to imprint his personality on Justified", 6
sigur ros - () - "there are passages which outstay their welcome", 7
gospeed you black emperor - yanqui UXO - "doesn't get much more atmospheric than this", 9

singles:
sotw - queens of the stone age - no one knows - "who needs Dave Grohl?"
not - yeah yeah yeahs - machine - "another quite brilliant extrapolation of PJ Harvey and the Banshees"
sophie ellis bextor - music gets the best of me - "what a real pop star looks like"

live - yeah yeah yeahs - new york - "huge, funny and fantastically backward"
his name is alive - london spitz - "seriously sad acoustic soul"
peaches - detroit - "hand sin pants, toungue in cheek"

and finally, "fiona, via email" complains about Missy losing weight and stealing one of the few "really bloody fat" role models. Stick thin nme hack Krissi Murison upbraids fiona for her reverse body-fascism.


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