Saturday, October 19, 2002

Irritate Ryan - win big cash prizes

We're not sure that Robbie Fulks has really seen Ryan Adam's ejection of a fan as the good-humoured jape we take it to be (certainly, he's done it three or four times already, apparently); but if Adams is as touchy as he seems to think about the Bryan-Ryan jokes, Fulk's offer of merchandise rewards to anyone who disrupts Ryan's shows with calls for songs by his homonymical Canadian cousin may yet blow up in his face. Robbie should brace himself for any number of attempts to cash in...

(getting an 'additional reporting by' credit - morag)

Friday, October 18, 2002

Le Pulp

So, apparently Jarvis is planning to move to France because it's "safer" - we're presuming he's unaware that the Daily Star has been reporting that accident prone Michael Barrymore has also been looking at houses there.

Interesting that Cocker believes that France "never gets involved in war" - since we suspect that he can't have not heard of World War II, even if he did miss Angola, we can only assume he's confusing France and Switzerland. Lets hope he's not expecting lederhosen and cuckoo clocks.

I STAND CORRECTED: We were in the shower earlier and realised we meant Algeria, not Angola.

Brown Sauce

While John Squire murmurs that a Roses reunion has the sort of historic inevitability that the electrification of the Soviet Union once claimed, Ian Brown, talking to the Times reckons it won't happen.

“I can’t see a day when the Roses would reform. I think every band has its own lifespan and we had ours, and if we blew it, too bad. I don’t believe we should be given a second shot. I think most bands only re-form for the money, don’t they?"

It's a bit of a pity he didn't think that way before the second album, isn't it? However, if Brown's so sure that the Roses have gone, how come later in the same interview he says this?
"I still see Mani (Gary Mounfield, the Stone Roses’ bassist, now in Primal Scream). I kept in touch with Reni (Alan Wren, drummer), but I’ve not spoken to him for about a year. We had a bit of a fall-out last year. I mean, I have talked to them about doing more Roses shows but at the moment, everyone would be travelling separately and that’s not what the Roses were about.”

So, then - even although the band's in the past, they've still been talking about a resurrection. Maybe Brown's finding the monkeys outside the house are eating away at his equity...?

A canter through the video channels

MTV are doing some advertising...


MTV Hits - Sugababes - Angels with dirty faces
Of course, we'd all been led to believe that there was a done deal for Bis to provide the theme for the Powerpuff Girls movie - certainly, Bis had - which makes this all the more disappointing. The Sugababes have pulled off that rare thing; the title track of their album is also one of the filler tracks; and this is also their second film tie-in in a row (after The Guru's Round Round, of course). And since their other comeback track was an electroclash cut-up cover affair, you have to wonder if they're ever actually going to do a proper track ever again.
For the video, the band have been rendered in Powerpuff girl cartoon style, which must have proved a challenge, finding an extra dimension for the drawing of Heidi. Dammit, we could have been watching Sci-Fi Stephen and Manda Rin kicking butt here. Cheated.

sarah whatmore - when I lost you
you lost us at the exact moment you wandered on pretending to be Holly Vallance


bemusingly, they're plugging the MTV music awards. Now, we know they're all part of the same family, but since VH1 push themselves as not being for kids, why would their target audience have any interest in an awards show that will presumably consist of Eminem emoting and Kelly Osbourne clinging, clinging, desperately as it all starts to ebb away?

kelly and nelly - dilemma
we love this video, partly because the way it starts out as a 50's sit com spoof and then suddenly forgets its concept; partly because you can just - if you stare - spot the pain Kelly is trying to hide as she's forced to claim she's crazy about Nelly. But we're no clearer about the line "even when I'm with my boo/you know I'm crazy over you." Theories suggest that she can't pronounce "beau" properly, that she's dating Martin Carr from the Boo Radleys, that she's used her slice of Destiny's Child millions to buy the remains of, or that some researcher has discovered that "boo" is the street word for "dim bloke I'm currently fucking." Meanwhile, Nelly spends the entire video with a piece of sticking plaster stuck to his face, either in homage to Grace Jones who used to do that sort of thing all the time, or else to hint that he has cut himself shaving and just doesn't care. 'Cause having a girl's name doesn't mean he's a girl.

rolling stones - only rock and roll
for some reason, the stones are all dressed as sailors. sadly, this is from an era when they were too old for such outfits - even Mick doesn't look able for Seaman Staines. The whole thing smacks more than a little of that Morecambe and Wise sketch where the entire BBC News team did South Pacific, and you had to watch Eddie Waring jiggling about in a too-small white outfit. The Rolling Stones are rich - you really think they'd be better off spending their money buying up the copyright to stuff like this to make sure it never gets an outing...


VH1 Classic Smooth
Alison Moyet - That ole devil called love
The exact midway point on her transformation from new romantic called Alf to jazz chanteusse called Ms Moyet. The effect of smokey bar-rooms around heartbreak closing time is lost, somewhat, as the director has clearly thought that Alison laying about barely moving was too sedantry for television, and has doodled cartoon devils and angels over the top

luther vandross and mariah carey - endless love
from the time before she went "nowhere near as barmy as the press made out", of course; a copy of the original so pointless and adding so little you could run it side-by-side the Peabo and Roberta original as a Spot The Difference competition. Mariah does an iritating thing with her hands showing where she's going to be heading for a higher note, presumably believing that Luther, despite standing next to her, might not be able to detect the foghorn bellow as she chases up the scale.

Jamirioquai comes on


MTV2 - Coldplay - the scientist
This is pretty much an example of why we hate Coldplay so much, as this isn't actually all bad - in fact, it's probably the closest thing they've ever come to writing a song in their own voice. But then, just as you start to wonder about rehabilitation, Chris Martin starts "wooo-hoooing" all over the end. Interestingly, Martin and Mariah suffer from exactly the same weakness - aware of the limits of their own abilities, they're afraid to allow their performances to be low-key; they're scared to produce a work which doesn't have great, greasy mayonnaisey dollops of extra emoting ladelled over the top. In effect, they undermine themselves by providing the vocal equivalent of a laugh track. The video is quite interesting though, if you've not seen Memento; it's a car crash run backwards, which justifies having beautiful dead corpse on screen for much of it. However, the story doesn't go back quite far enough to explain what a minger like Martin was doing with a pretty girl by his side in the first place.

the manics - there but for the grace of god
... which is, you'd imagine, what richey says when he looks down from pop vallhalla and sees his former muckers churning out will-this-do dirges like this

linkin park - crawlin'
see - the pretty goth girl is crying tears of blood...


MTV Base are doing a Jay-Z videography, and they're showing don't knock the hustle. For some reason, Jay-Z is dressed like a minor member of the aristocracy from 1931, only with cool shades


MTV Dance
Promoting their new 24 hour status, they've got a trailer in which a bloke is about to clearly get down with his gal. They're getting hot and heavy, so he nips out to get her some water. He returns from the kitchen only to discover that she's sat in front of the telly watching MTV Dance now. This, presumably, is a reckless move by the channel designed to get people to cancel their sky digital subscriptions before their sex life is wrecked by MTV


The Box
Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
So, that's Christina's new direction, is it? Living permanently in Britney Spear's Boys video? Thing is, that no matter how trashy she dresses, how much she waggles her tits, Christina just doesn't have the dirt in her eyes to carry off slut convincingly - while Brit just carries it off, and Pink fits the bill, with Christina, she looks like a member of the Mickey Mouse gang who's been kidnapped. Or, as a passing acquaintance puts it: Brit spits, Pink swallows, Christina douses her mouth with Evian and scrubs her teeth over and over again. Selling your sexuality is one thing; flogging someone else's is quite another.


Sophie Ellis Bextor - Murder on the Dancefloor
See, this illustrates our point perfectly. Who doesn't love Sophie now she's acknowledged that she's neither sultry bombette nor pouty indie ice-queen? E-B has come to terms with her self - and she's a happy, swirly elfin pixie. And she's never looked as delicious.


Smash Hits TV
S Club - Don't Stop Moving
It's S Club week all week on SHits TV, although the departure of one of them presumably scuppered their ability to call it S Club 7 Days. In fact, in a deft rewriting of history, the band are billed as S Club even on tracks where they were S Club 7. This is what's wrong with the whole Smash Hits franchise these days - they seem incapable of dealing with pop music as a living thing with a history, and as such they have to try and recreate their patch of the culture as a music which lives entirely in an ever-present now. The end result is that they wind up having to accept every new chancer with wide-eyed enthusiasm and totally at face value. We can't decide if its pop music that's turned Smash Hits this way, or if Smash Hits has colluded in turning pop music. Whatever, it treats its audience with a little less respect each time.

Christina - Dirrty
Maybe someone from Songs of Praise should offer her a job. I'd bet she'd snap it up...


Cranberries - Linger
Of course, this was the slightly more pop-version they did to try and blot out the memory of when they did a Sophie Ellis style sidestep from Indie Tykes to Proper Artists, filling in time before the anti-terror song that all 70s, 80s and 90s Irish artists (and, erm, Spandau Ballet) were apparently obliged to do prior to the Good Friday argeement. David Trimble believes that Ash have got a song called 'The Tanks On The Street Again' waiting to roll even as we speak, you know. The Linger video is, like seventy five percent of Magic's output, shot in black and white, and its appearance made us misread the bemusing onscreen plug for something called "SHI Tour" as "Shit Hour", which would have seemed appropriate but disarmingly honest


Q Pink - Get the party started
Bemusingly, the EPG now bills Q as "where the stars are", which seems to suggest a difference opinion between Q magazine and Q TV as to where, exactly, the brand sits these days. If Q magazine appeared on the EPG, it would be more "where the well-rewarded serious artists" are. Anyway, Pink is excellent, as we've mentioned before.

No Doubt - Underneath It All
Not so much cod reggae as hoki reggae. You have to assume they're aware that the track would disappear if a large dog sneezed, as they've got shot of the rest of the band for most of the video, and come up with a conceit which can be summed up in two words - "Gwen strips." The band turn up on bicycles for the shit, shit, shit toasting bit in the middle, but I'd imagine the DVD version will allow you to skip that bit entirely

Then there's a plug for the Best new act vote for the Q Awards, for which The Bees appear amongst the hopefulls, which seems odd to us.


Kerrang - someone with long hair is plodding through saxon. The choices menu at the bottom, however, offers a track by Linkin Park called One Step Closer, which we hope is a cover of Bardo's Eurovision entry. I had a friend who insisted that it was about someone nearly getting raped, so it wouldn't be entirely out of place on the Nearly Satan channel.


Chart Show TV
A trail suggests that the Easy Zone is on from ten til three every day, but confusingly reckons that The Official Country Chart is somehow easy listening - four hungry children and a crop in the fields? Even more oddly, it's eleven in the morning, and the dance chart is on


U2 - Electrical Storm
Is it just me, or is there something arrogant about this new habit of recording a new song for Greatest Hits albums, and sticking them out as supporting singles as if it will be a hit by right. (See also: manics) Maybe I'm just getting old. The good thing about this track is that Bono actually does a spot of singing on it, rather than the lazy talky-sing thing that he's slumped into doing ever since he started to become more important than being a mere pop singer. Not that the singing bit lifts this into any realm of desirability - we weren't sure at Q's decision to name Bono the most influential person in music, but I guess it does underline that the people who shape the recording industry don't actually do anything creative.

MTV Hits
Kelly & Nelly again

MARRS - Pump Up The Volume
Its one hit wonders day on VH1, which is the sort of thing that raises all sorts of questions over definitions - after all, is it really fair to hang the title on MARRS who only did one track and never tried again (in that form), when acts like Joe Dolce offered hand jobs and sweeties in a desperate bid to shake off the shame? Of course, along with Worst Video Day, this is all just another elaborate excuse for VH1 to show renee and renato's save your love video again

VH1 Classic
The Lighthouse Family - Lif
flip... flip... flip...

Thursday, October 17, 2002

What would this be, then - the b-sides show?

Like a man who keeps giving you his homemade parsnip wine in the mistaken belief that you like it, Ben Elton has started writing another bloody Queen musical. Using songs that he couldn't hammer over and over into the plot of the first (Killer Queen lives under the seven seas of rye sends radio ga-ga, or something), he's going to run up another two hours of theatrical time filling.
Really, this trend is getting so ridiculous it can only be a matter of time before Birds of a Feather team Marks and Gran come up with Don't Walk Away In Silence, a musical that tells the tale of Ian Curtis' life through the songs of Joy Division.

MY FACE IS RED, I STAND CORRECTED: Almost by accident, I noticed the post below (from 17th October last year) had a small error in the coding which collapsed it all and meant it made no sense. We've corrected it here:
GARAGE CLOSED: Due to what 1Xtra News is calling "uncontrollable events" the UK arage Awards have been canned for this year with little or no explanation as to why - presumably the certainty that everything would go to Ms Dynamite reduced the tension somewhat?

'WELL, IT'S NICE TO BE NOMINATED, ISN'T IT?': For all of those who missed it at the time, or those who heard it but think they might have dreamed it, the Today programme website has got a Real Audio version of Gruff Rhys' infamous appearance on the show a few months back.

Slip not happy

Want something else to cheer you up on a cold autumn day?

Frontman Corey Taylor tells Undercover News "There's a lot of negativity in the Slipknot camp right now that is hard to get past".

For parents who've had to deal with mopey teenagers in Slipknot tshirts over the last few years, this might appear to be some form of karma. But what does a member of Slipknot do after they've cried "You lot just don't understand me. I didn't ask to be a bloke in a clown mask" and stomped upstairs? Play folk music really loud?

FUCK YOU, MOM, AND FUCK YOU DAD... CAN I HAVE THE CAR TONIGHT?: So, it turns out that teenage angst is down to overloading brain activity, says New Scientist. Which may explain why sixteen year olds are pissed off with the world, but not Fred Durst.
Also in the New Scientist, there's a report that people with red hair are more sensitive to pain. Something to think about the next time you go after Mich Hucknall with a fencing pole.

Going Blank Again

Back when No Rock had more hair and our eyes sparkled brightly with hope and dreams, our lives were soundtracked by Ride. So, we're delighted to hear that the sessions recorded for Channel 4's Sonic Youth show have been released as an ep, Coming Up For Air.
Meanwhile, in the US, the long awaited release of wrap-up set OX4 is going to have extra tracks exclusive to the US, allowing you to buy the album all over again on import. Although, to be honest, as much as we love Ride, "a track that got chopped off Going Blank Again" isn't the most tempting recommendation we've ever heard.

Now, about that The Charlottes box set we've been wanting...

Fear of a warring planet

Don't run away with the idea that Exclusive - Public Enemy have cancelled their European Shows because they're afraid of being blown up, shot at or otherwise attacked. No, no - they're afraid for their fans, see. That's why they're staying at home. They'd be happy to go and play in London, England, but, you know, people there might be putting themselves at risk if they went to see them play, so it's safer for them to not have the temptation of a Public Enemy gig at all. You see?
Listen, Griff - people in Britain can cope with a spot of risk associated with gigs; we invented the jesus and mary chain and so solid crew. Osama Bin Laden isn't in it. Besides, since you treat your audience as free thinking and intelligent individuals, why not just say "there's a risk" and leave it up to them to decide if they wish to run it?
Unless, of course, the only asses you're really worried about are your own skinny ones.

Adams mimics Barrymore

Ryan Adams has given a fan his money back and asked him to leave - just like Michael Barrymore used to, back when he played Summertime Special and wasn't spending his time fishing badly buggered bodies out of his swimming pool. The poor bloke had shouted out "play summer of '69", apparently, and had the bad luck to be the person who made the "hey, your name sounds like that Canadian's guy" at the very moment the joke wore thin. The audience member got his coat.
Although we still think Ryan Adams and Mel B should cover Bryan Adams and Mel C's 'When you're gone.'

CELINE IS FRIT: Backs down, runs away when faced with angry Muse refusing to let her use their name. "We were only toying with it anyway" says her publicist, announcing her intention to do her Las Vegas show under the title Black Rebel Motorcycle Club instead.

MORE POP PAPERS: If you think we're wrong about the pop papers (oh, and we probably are), The Fall and Rise of a Liberteen is now doing a crash-through the nme as well, allowing you to compare and contrast. Splendily, this week they suggest Trinny and Susannah from What Not To Wear come in and give the nme hacks a makeover...

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

EASY TARGET: The ananova headline Claire Sweeney to entertain British troops in Middle East is protected by EU fish-in-a-bucket quota laws.

PRIMITIVES UNDER 'P': And their inclusion is enough to guarantee our enthusiastic endorsement of the soon-come Encyclopaedia of Classic Eighties Pop, which sounds wonderful in every respect. Although selling to a market of people "who ever wanted hair like Robert Smith" may be slightly less of a smart move, we suspect.

BEWARE THE POWER OF THE CLOWN: The only piece of censorship visited on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, according to Joss Whedon, is that they were forced to lose her job at the Doublemeat Palace because burger bars (wonder which?) were upset at the way they were portrayed in the show.
Now, Rolling Stone is feeling the heat from McDonalds. The Chicago Tribune reports that the new RS advertising campaign pokes fun at former stars "flipping burgers at Mickey D's", forgetting that (i) McDonalds is notoroiously the most humourless organisation on the planet and (ii) it's also an enormous advertiser in the ailing magazine. Whoops.
Lets hope the kids don't laugh too hard at the former advertising execs when they're flipping burgers at their local McDonalds.

NOT SO DIRTY: Picking up on something we glaze over in pop papers, apparently Dirty Harry have been forced to change their name to Harry by the Makers of Clint Eastwood's movie. We better hope the estate of the Late Michael Elphick don't raise similar objections to them using Harry, then. But oddly, the official Dirty Harry website don't seem to have been told...

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Rare lull between Vines features edition:
Apparently, Liverpool's great again. We know this because the New Statesman says so, over a four-page spread led by Holly Johnson writing about his exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. Interestingly, everybody they speak to for the piece - from Holly to George Melly - has chosen to not live in the city. One or two - Edwina Currie, for example - make a few lame excuses as to why they haven't moved back. Doubtless with the way the City Council likes to build up any praise into a marketing campaign (the city spends three quarters of a million a year on PR now), they'll stick a sign up on the M62 reading "Liverpool - okay for a visit, like". Still, nice to read a puff for the place that doesn't rely on The Coral to support its theory. The city of culture judges surely won't swallow all this flim-flam, will they?...

Well, possibly - one of them, the usually wonderful Miranda Sawyer has obviously had her brains turned to mush by the process of visiting all of the city of culture entrants. How else can you explain someone as sharp as her falling for the "EMI sign Robbie for £80m" lie? Still, writing in OM, she's strong on the reality of the music business today. The head of EMI came from United Biscuits, as part of the current malaise in the industry - nobody knows a thing about music, it's run by career-end hobbyists looking for something cool to impress their kids with...

talking of career-ends, here's the nme. Only joking, lads. This week's cover is the Libertines, and it's probably the sexiest front page since Petula Clarke was swathed in rubber and naked members of the Shadows danced round her. Or something. Unfortunately, there is a small picture of Chris Martin on the cover, too...

news: strokes go go-karting at harvard (is it me or does this sound made-up?); BBC want Zane Lowe for new Evening Session, but Xfm are refusing to release him from his eighteen month contract; the nme is counting down to its list of 'who's cool' list - two weeks to go, if you can bear the excitement; Julian Casablancas has threatened to kill the queen - but he was very, very drunk (watch out, Mr. C - carry on like that and the next time the Strokes try to come into the country, you could have Tory MPs calling for your visa to be blocked; just imagine all that publicity, young man); The Coral's second album will be ready by Christmas - if they were in the studio any longer, they would add the bloody kitchen sink to the mix; New Zealand is in love with The Datsuns, happy to have their own bona fide local musical heroes. Well, apart from the singing cows in the butter advert, but they didn't play their own instruments; meanwhile, the Vines are bitching about the lukewarm press response in Australia to their homecoming - apparently, the Australian press only gets its nmes on surface mail and so hasn't yet been told they're the future of everything; nme froths up over Karen O from the Yeah yeah yeah's catsuit falling apart while she was on stage but "fortunately the white lining remained intact"; the picture of monkey protests outside Ian Brown's house suggests that, actually, the protestors were dressed as a wolf and - oddly - celine dion; the paper makes it to page 12 before announcing another Best New Band In The World - this time its Jet. They're australian, and - potentially "bigger than The Vines." Front cover pencilled in for the slack after-Christmas, pre-awards period, then; Limp Bizkit 's new album's theme is less is more. Let's hope they carry the logic right the way through; Blur have brought Phil Daniels back for this album, which surely marks them out as having Jumped The Shark, scraped the barrell, blown the gaff, doesn't it?; Chris Martin of Coldplay plays an FBI agent in the Ash Slashed horror flick - apt, since if the hunt for Al Qaeda and the Sniper investigation proves anything, it's that the FBI are the Coldplay of law enforcement - well meaning, polite but ultimately pointless ineffectual; Roddy Woomble insists that the loss of Bob from idlewild "changes nothing" except, of course, fewer people to split royalties between; Sum 41 have made a video in which they parody The Hives and The Strokes but their lawyers have stopped them from releasing a track called Anna Nicole Smith Is A Cunt, which apparently would be libel. We can only assume their legal team believes that she has more than one...

And here's Fred Durst: "I'm actually now finding the real Fred Durst. I have always been Fred Durst and I've always been me... You wake to your own mind every day. That's your best friend and your worst enemy - your own brain." Mmmm. That must explain why it keeps playing pranks on you like making you talk absolute shite...

Karen O - you see, you could almost have seen her tits, if the fabric had fallen apart a bit more, and it hadn't been lined, and she'd lent over further, and maybe jiggled a bit? - does then ten tracks on CD thing - First Lady of Cuntry, Salt N Pepa, Shannon's Let The Music Play and Flux Information Science's Charlotte Rampling ...

on bands: bolton's Kinesis - punx wear white tops and... hang on... can this be?... an all girl band? In on? No, surely it must be men dressed up... Erase Errata. Who are, by the way, very good indeed...

Blur "never had honesty and communication" says Graham Coxon - it took you twelve years to notice? "In the end" he says "we were business partners. That's what Blur became as a band."
If Mogwai are smart, they'd be sending him an :are shite tshirt right away...

Unbelievably, the nme are still repeating the "this wasn't a far-flung war zone; it was two hours by plane" line they used about Bosnia in 1995 - despite the outrage implying that Bosnia was important because it was nearby (and, therefore, starving kids further afield weren't worth bothering about) caused at the time. There is worse to come - Kelly Jones face morphed with that of Sinead O'connor...

anyway, here comes the puppy fat pudgytastic Libertines. Like Little Donny Osmond with an arm full of Bad Drugs. The nme perches its spectacles on its nose and asks "Your songs have a certain colloquial Englishness, a sense of fun with language that's made people think of the Kinks." Carl kicks back with "Its better than saying we sound like Rick Astley," which is true...

reviews: albums: j mascis & the fog - free so free ("teach young dogs old tricks", 7); richard ashcroft - human conditions ("clangers wrestle good bits to the ground", 6); the libertines - up the bracket ("[won't] smite the Vines and the Strokes with the sword of albion, but...", 8); feeder - comfort in sound ("cathartis is frequent to the point of voyeuristic", 7); gus gus - attention ("unpleasant echoes of Kosheen", 5)...

sotw: brendan benson - good to me ("sublime"); not - idlewild - live in a hiding place ("delicate mini-marathon"); justin timberlake - like i love you ("conviction falters"); (dirty) harry - so real ("madonna-ish sang froid")...

live - interpol in cardiff ("the banquet to the Stroke's tooth-rot bubblegum"); toplaoder in kentish town ("a less miserable Oasis wearing worse clothes"); the D4 in WC1 ("nothing but electric shocks")...

and finally, the response to last week's nme student guide (which this year was so slight we didn't even remember to mention it) is a lot of outraged people from Sheffield and Cardiff complaining that their choice of study-hole (or second choice, depending on how accurately their A levels had been marked at first) had been skipped...


What were they thinking?

P45 FOR TRYING TO ENFORCE BEDTIME: According to, the Libertines have given their tour manager the push because he was "too strict:" and tried to keep the band in some sort of one piece while they ripped through the country leaving a trail of spew, groupies, spunk, blood, cash, beer, sniffing, spitting, gizzards, lizards, petrol, polyvinylchloride and so on in their wake. The question is, though, if the band were out shagging, spending and shouting, how strict could the guy have been in the first place?

SLAUGHTERING THE SACRED ABERDEEN ANGUS: Never let it be said we can't take a joke. And we were happily diverted by Bad Scottish Pop , a collection of perceived national shame; whereby certains bands from what English people are obliged to whimsically refer to as "north of the border" are outed as doing for Scots culture what the Angus Steak House chain did for the image of the nation's cuisine. But then... they had to have a pop at Clare Grogan, didn't they?

MORE FROM THE WORLD OF CONTENT: BBC Breakfast was reporting today that Blockbuster aren't offering Oceans Eleven on DVD for rental, because the price that AOL Time Warner was demanding for it left them unable to make a profit on the deal. Oddly, the spokesperson from AOL said that the decision to rack up the price for rental copies was due to "customer demand" and, somehow, by pricing the DVD out of the rental market this was extending "customer choice." Indeed, it was up to customers to decide "what to do with their disposable income." I wish I was making this up, really I do. So, again, we're looking at a situation where the Recording Industry are shooting off their own feet again. Because if you've got four quid and want to see Ocean's Eleven, and you can't get it from Blockbuster, doesn't this make the bloke down in accounts who gets the knock-off videos from the Car Boot seem a lot more attractive?

IT'S ALL FOR YOU: It's nice of Jim Moir to thank the tabloids, and to suggest that their supportive stories was better than "a motorway's worth of poster advertising", but before Yelland and Morgan start to circulate the praise, they may want to sit down and think exactly what that would amount to, since, erm, there's no poster advertising allowed by the side of motorways.
Nevertheless, we're currently enjoying the Radio 2 TV campaign, based on the "treat it like a friend" slogan. It shows people doing exactly that - so a nonplussed Stuart Maconie is instructed to wait in line for tickets while someone nips off for popcorn, Terry Wogan gets asked to refill a window cleaner's bucket, and so on. We'd like to volunteer for a slot where someone gets drunk and makes an awkward fumble towards Jeremy Vine for when he joins.

LETS BE AVENUE: West Yorkshire Police have stuck up online mugshots of twenty four men they want to talk to in relation to the Leeds Festival meltdown back in August. One of them appears to be about ten years old; another looks a bit like The Actor Kevin Eldon...

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

BROOKSIDE STORY: To mark the slippage of Brookside, and because we're not sure anyone will notice when it finally goes, we offer: ten great rock-related Brookside events:
1. "You're Morrissey"
"Yes, I know"
As part of the ill-fated soap bubble South, Tracy Corkhill finds herself in the reception area of Capital Radio, next to the Smiths front man. The dialogue runs to the two lines above. South was a part of ITV For Schools English Programme, and because Thames TV forgot to remind Channel 4, its supposed evening repeat never materialised, meaning Mozzer's soap debut played to Brookie's smallest ever audience (well, up until about 1999, anyway)

2. The kidnapping of Paula Yates
Our uber-heroine Karen Grant is due to interview Paula Yates for a student magazine. Damon tags along. The whole gang get kidnapped by students indulging in some sort of rag week prank. (Compare with the kidnapping of that other tragic blonde Bet Lynch, also as a rag week stunt.)

3. Fran's Band
"You take it/ you change it/ what are you really after?"
Pat 'the Pillock' Hancock winds up in his girlfriend's band, which seems to have no name other than Fran's band. At first the band are offered a contract to tour somewhere vaguely overseas, but it turns out that the management company are only interested in Pat and the odd Sinead O'Connor a-like who hates him. But, since opportunity has knocked, they don't turn down the opportunity.

4. The Pies
Mike Dixon's band appears on the same John Moores University Student's Union bill as the legendary scouse act The Pies (known mainly for their painting of every flat surface on Merseyside). Unfortunately, his singer has taken so much Bad Drugs, she decides to strip off instead. This is better than listening to Mike's Band.

5. The Lomax toilets and roof
Liverpool music people chuckled to see Lomax owner Michael Hindley in a small cameo role as a bouncer in his own club the night the Luke Musgrove/Nikki Shadwick rape storyline came to a poorly conceived end - not that anyone cared by then, they just wanted it over. The episode made much use of the gents in the Lomax (the second of three sites for the club) and the roof of the same venue - the gents was especially unrecognisable since nobody came in during the long heart-to-heart between Nikki and Luke, and the floor wasn't a mixture of piss, blood and sweat

6. From Cantrill Farm to Manor Park
In so many ways, The Farm are Brookside's house band. Not only is Brookie script-hammerer Roy Boulter a former memeber of Hooton and the Blown-Its, but The Farm also made guest appearances in the series in a complicated plot involving Growler Rogers, and Harry Cross both appeared in the video for one of their tracks and then popped up in a deck chair while they played it on the Word. Later on, The Nolans would make a guest appearance, minus the one of the Nolans who was playing one of the characters in the series. See? They had a spat with Carole Smilie.

7. Lindsey on Stars In Their Own Minds
During Phil Redmond's apparent love affair with the character of Lyndsey Corkhill, we were asked to believe many things - that the Thai authorities check people aren't smuggling heroin into their country; that she was a femme fatale; that she could rise to be a gangster queen, run a nightclub and be a loving mother. But perhaps the hardest thing to accept was that any national television station would encourage her to dress up in a Cher-through dress and belt out the Shoop-Shoop song on prime time. Although the fake stars in their eyes style plot did offer the ever-reliable Ted Robbins a cameo platform, it also meant we got to see Lyndey's arse. Not nice.

8. Free George Jackson
When tired firebobby George Jackson drew a map on the back of a napkin which was later used in planning a robbery, it landed him inside. Of course, the real guilt lay with Tommy Mcardle, but who would listen? In a development which would shape the way soap opera court cases would be handled in future, Mersey TV launched a national campaign to free George from his jail hell - and part of it was a single. Free George Jackson by the Blazing Saddles didn't trouble the charts, and the campaign was abandoned when they guy playing George objected to his picture being slapped all over the country and quit the show.

9. Soap Aid
During the Geldof-inspired fad for raising money for charity which spawned such delights as Dance Aid and the heavy metal Hear N Aid, soap got involved too. Mersey TV's first non-Brookside contribution to British television was Soap Aid, which was, um, soap stars (mainly from Brookside, who at least had Paul Usher in their ranks; he often would take long breaks from the show in order to tour with his band Blue Angel) singing.

10. The Correct Use of Soap
It's hard to recall that in the 1970's, the thought of simultaneously being young and watching soap opera was almost impossible to hold without your brain coughing up a hairball. Brookside changed all that, drafting in a bunch of teenage characters who actually behaved in a way that young people do. Or rather, did. This was a bold experiment which resulted in the soap getting praised by the nme's special 'Correct Use of Soap' edition and as a centrepiece in ZigZag's TV special. It also led to every soap in the country packing their screens with spotty herberts.

SUNSHINE BECOMES EYES: Sex and sunshine has moved home and re-invented itself as close your eyes. Obviously, you already know this. But just in case you didn't...

TEMPTING FATE - IT'S SO DELICIOUS: Great news - the people in charge of the Brits have announced that next year's awards will be shown 'as live' - obviously they're feeling confident that the days of Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood are totally behind them. What could possibly go wrong, especially since by then Every Single Popstar in the World will be TV stars masquerading as proper musicians?
More interestingly, they're dropping the Best Video award for "Best Urban Act" (or, to give it its full title 'we really ought to do something to ensure at least one black musician wins a prize on the night') and the Newcomer prizes are being renamed Breakthrough Artist Awards, which means that they can give it to acts who've been ignored for years who suddenly have a hit. In case something like Baby Bird ever happens again.

... THE OTHER ONE COULDN'T REACH: What with Columbus Day in the States and all, you might have missed out on an interview The Strokes gave to a local paper in Ottawa.

REUNIONS WE NEVER ASKED FOR: Toad the Wet Sprocket react to almost imperceptable public demand - or at least, no actual petitions against band reforming...

NO TREES WERE BROKEN OR TWISTED IN MAKING THIS WEBSITE: Pleasingly, this not-often-subtle but frqeuntly amusing satire page, Random Thoughts on the Manic Street Preachers, comes third in a google search on the band's name.

I COLLECT, I REJECT: It's a welcome return for our look at various items of rock tat, with Stuart from Belle & Sebastian's Arthur Daley-esque used car sale. He's put his Mark 1 Granada up on ebay in aid of Friends of the Earth (we might point out the irony in flogging an old car in aid of an environmental charity, but that would be churlish. Interestingly, Stuart doesn't seem to think that a Car from Rock History is enough, and lobs in five years worth of guest list as well. Bidding stands at £970, which if we could be arsed to do a David Dickinson impression would be "cheap as chips."
Finders fee: Rae

Monday, October 14, 2002

A RARE ILLUSTRATION: Madonna caught a split-second before falling backwards down the dumper:

Can the part in EastEnders be that far away now?

S THE END: Sorry to hear that Ray Conniff's died. The bandleader had an odd death - the 85 year old fell over and banged his head; his last live performance was at Liza Minnelli's three-ring-wedding.

LISTEN EVERYBODY, WE'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY, YEAH: It's a delight on an otherwise ugly Monday to discover that Cherry Red are reviving the El label, and reactivating the entire back catalogue, which means, as well the King of Luxembourg, we're welcoming back Bad Dream Fancy Dress. Essentially doing what Shampoo would do later, but to much sweeter effect - and without the post-fame support of the Japanese market, they were ace and it was the failure of the rest of the nation to acknowledge this that first led us to take up the armed struggle.

THE REVOLUTION MAY BE TELEVISED AFTER ALL: Since nothing ever happens on the British Total Request Live, MTV's marathon afternoon reworking of Pebble Mill at One, we were surprised to hear that something worth watching happened on the American version. As chartattack reports, in scenes unprecedented since Nicholas Witchell had to sit on lesbians during the Six O'Clock News a few years back, student protestors marched onto the MTV set and started loudly protesting against the forthcoming war.
What makes the whole story even more delicious is that our old mucker Fred Durst was on the show. And how did Mr. My Way or the Highway react to a spot of genuinely rebellious youth? He sneered, "shot dirty looks" and heckled. So, we can surmise from this that Mr. Durst supports what Uncle George Bush tells him, and is keen to kick butt in the Middle East, and that - more importantly - when he tells kids to not take shit, don't actually expect him to support you if you take action other than buying a remix album and tshirt.

GOOGLE DROP-OFFS: The number of people searching for 'Holly Vallance short skirt', 'Holly Vallance naked' and so on - surely it's more of a challenge to find "Holly Vallance wearing clothes"? More disturbingly - 'advertise Jamirouquai sticker'?

MY BRIEF WILL DION: In one of the oddest legal fights since, ooh, last week, Muse are suing Celine Dion for pinching their name for her upcoming tour. The Canadian one is intending to brand her Las Vegas schmalzamooze Muse - presumably in the hope people will misread the poster and pay in the mistaken belief they're going to see 'Celine Dion - Mute'. Muse's point is that they still believe they're going to break America, and they believe that Americans might get confused between Dion's winter-of-career night in Vegas and a bunch of spiky haired nuGoths from Devon. Now, while we can see it as a refreshing change that one of "our" bands is finally getting the chance to kick some butt back after years of band names losing out to pisspoor US suits (Suede beaten by a cabaret singer; Verve by a jazz label; Charlatans by a nearly defunct 60's act; And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead by a puppet theatre in Idaho), we really wish that Muse had decided either to turn the other cheek and demonstrate that, really, nobody gets these sort of things muddled up, or at least take the fairly generous GBP32,000 payoff from Dion's people and make the best of it.
Because, firstly, its not as if calling a band Muse is the most original of moves, anyway - it's like the battles between the seventy-three acts called Revolver, which boils down to the question 'who ran out of inspiration first?' - and, more importantly: It's Celine Dion. For some reason, incredibly popular. And, we'd imagine, her fans are more likely to stumble into a Muse gig by mistake than Muses' are to wind up in the Las Vegas Enormodome by accident.
A separate action, in which the makers of My Little Pony accuse Dion of the unauthorised use of Pinky Pony's face, remains unsettled.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

I WONDER WHERE GRAHAM IS?:, in its reading of the latest instalment of Alex James' online diary seems to have somewhat missed the point. Alex does, as their headline says, speculate that he might call Graham, but whereas the mighty 'me seems to think this is some sort of rapprochment, the original piece actually comes across more as a nose-thumbing. Alex spends a few dozen lines enthusing over the wonders and joys of Saharan Africa, and then geos "I wonder where Graham is? Camden." If Mr. James is brandishing an olive branch, it's only because it's the only thing to hand to beat his erstwhile colleague with. He also says the new album sounds like Blur and Fatboy Slim, which makes us feel a bit queasy (we're thinking Song 2, but with beats) and exactly what the point of the decamping to Morocco was in the first place. Camden might be a nicer place to be.