Saturday, November 16, 2002

Can an arse be a trademark?

Obviously, it must be distressing for Kylie to believe someone else is cashing in on her arse, but the answer is in her own hands: release a photo of your butt without the airbrushing, love. Then you won't find people using it as something to aspire to. The knock on effect might be to stop a few women feeling inadequate, too.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Why we love Jeremy Vine

From tonight's Newsnight mailout:

"Now as a regular viewer of Newsnight, you have a real problem this evening. On BBC One a chance to see Jeremy Vine in a leather mini skirt, fishnets and a basque, accompanied by Andy Marr in stockings and suspenders. (No, not part of the BBC's attempt to lure younger viewers to politics. It's that Children in Need night). On BBC Two a sober discussion of the main stories of the day.

Great excuses of our time

"I don't know about that, I'm a visionary"

[UPDATE: 15-11-07 We're sure this meant something at the time, but Billboard have since changed the page and five years on... we've got no idea who said it.]

Rock and remote

Television is the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and spreading radiation. We take one of our infrequent hits:
Pink - Just Like A Pill - obviously, this is wonderful. Unfortunately, it’s over too quickly, and replaced by
Shania Twain - I’m Gonna Getcha Good - this video is just unfathomable. The song is standard Shania fayre - “ooh, a man would be quite nice” to a slightly souped-up country backing. So why is she dressed like a J-Lo from the future in what amounts to a remake of Tron? Is the aim really to try and befuddle a rock audience so much they won’t notice they’re buying a slightly louder Loretta Lynn B-side?


MTV Hits
Kylie - Come Into My World - it’s fine that the street scene is packed full of Kylies, but we’re a bit surprised they’re all dressed identically. Surely Kylie only wears one-offs? Still, for the multiple Kylies, she’s wearing jeans. Can you imagine having to airbrush out the cellulite out of dozens of her?
Shakira - Objection (Tango) - Apparently, Shak’s decided to fight Holly Vallance back on the home front with this single. “Next to her cheap silicone, I’m minimal/ that’s why in front of you, I’m invisible” reckons Shakira, which is a bit like Nelson’s Column claiming that it’s not really all that tall because it’s not painted yellow. Another video which lapses into cartoonery action and back again, but at least in this one you get to see Shakira catfight a woman, so it’s not all wasted then.
That song that uses Bryan Adams comes on, so


Roger Sanchez - Another Try - VH1 are counting down the “Number 1’s of the 00s”, apparently, which means we’re lucky to land on a track that’s half decent. This is the video where pretty girl wanders about with a big heart, which the city makes smaller and smaller, until she goes for a cup of coffee with, apparently, an earlier, less successful attempt at making Ewan McGregor. He restores her faith, engorges her heart again but then avoids seeing her the next time he’s in her street. We suspect this is because she doesn’t shag his brains out after the coffee.
Limp Bizkit - Rolling - How likely is it that anyone would mistake Fred Durst for a parking valet? What sort of place would offer someone to park your car, and then employ a forty-year old man who dresses like Dennis The Menace’s mate to fullfill the role? This is something that can only exist in Fred Durst’s mind, isn’t it? Curiously, when he’s given the car keys, Fred makes what appears to be the universal sign for ‘wanker’. This video is sadly hilarious is so many ways, but we think we have to make special mention of the girls dressed up as Fred constantly grabbing their butts. Jesus, no wonder Wes spent his time flicking through bus timetables.


VH1 Classic Smooth
Who’s this in the distance? It looks like George Michael. Walking towards us. ‘Older.’ I have no idea how this song goes, and now isn’t a good time to find out...


Red Hot Chilli Peppers - The Zephyr Song - prior to this charting, the only hit song to use the word Zephyr had been Madonna’s Ray of Light, you know...


MTV Base
Puff Daddy - Victory - A girl is in a cage, writhing in a slightly dull way. Someone sends a page. There’s a helicopter hovering overhead. Apparently this is in some way based on the Running Man, but with elements of Blade Runner and - ahem - Shaggy’s It wasn’t Me. Piff or Puff or whatever he calls himself these days seems to live a joyless existence. We abandon our post and watch this (the new potatoes video) instead, until Denis Hopper pops up. He’s meant to be the President, which we find stretches our credibility way too far - wouldn’t the fact he played a violent rapist in virtually every film made between 1962 and 1994 count against him in the Primaries?


MTV Dance
advertising computer games?


The Box
Some dodgy CCTV footage of people on a sofa gives way to what might be J-Lo in cargo pants. Yes, it is J-Lo - Jenny From the Block. “What you get is what you see” she says, which would be virtually everything, then. “I’m still Jenny from the block” she pleads, which is scary - if fame hasn’t changed her at all, then she must have been the most priggish kid since Violet Elisabeth Bott. “I know where I came from” apparently. More than Prince Harry can say, we guess.

Blue & Elton John - Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. We had hoped this was just a piece of whimsy that escaped from Thrills into the world. Elton looks as dodgy as Gary Glitter at a Nativity audition - he’s wearing a cheap yellow tracky top and seems to have the sort of bulge that only long hours of inaction at a bar that does quid bottles could give you. This song is so utterly pointless and the video so empty of ideas I’m tempted to go back to the potatoes. “What can I say to make you love me?” pleads Elton, bashing the keyboard. ‘A shot at a Christmas number one’ would appear to be the answer, ‘but even then we’re not calling you Daddy.’


Destiny’s Child - Say Me Name - At last, some class. Although all that start-stop fidgeting always makes us think they’re trying not to piss themselves. The best bit is when Beyonce looks up and can’t stop her hard-baked icequeen crispiness breaking into a grin

Ashanti - happy. s’okay. But its not good enough to take the place of DC, so


Smash Hits TV
Atomic Kitten - Be With You - “Poll winners is coming” explains the top right corner, ungramatically. Luckily, we just catch the end of this video, which appears to have been made while the Kittens were either in childbirth or trying to find straight members of Westlife to shag, so its just camera in a club.
We’re sure there never used to be so many commercials on SH...

Big Brovaz - sorry, we make a point of never watching anything with clowns in...


Elvis v JXL - A little less conversation - are they still playing this? Lennon-shot, get over it. Oh, its Number 1’s week - this chart anniversary really has allowed the music stations to give their imagination a long weekend in Amsterdam, hasn’t it?


Luckily, we switch on just in time to see Robbie Williams fade out. It’s Madonna Week on Q - we’re sure the last time they did this, it was all Madonna all the time, but clearly that would be dangerous to do now that clawhands is back in celebrity plummet mode

Oasis - Little by Little. Blimey, I didn’t know they had Robert Carlyle in this. Does this mean that he’s so strapped for cash he’s going to seriously consider the guest role in The Chuckle Brothers now?


Jesse James - Empty Tank. Brass on K! And a decent tune. They’re vaguely like the Neurotics. Is there a psychobilly revival on? It would be a pity to miss it.

Ramstein. You still going?


Chart Show TV
Pulp - Help The Aged - Part of the DVD chart. And it’s appropriate that they’re playing something from the comedown album. Especially after an afternoon bouncing along the channels, it’s apparent just how gloomy the place will be without Pulp in it. Funny how it all slips away...

Best served cold

Oh, Rod Stewart knows how to have a laugh. Asked about Robbie Williams getting off with Rachel Hunter, Rod's not bitter. In fact, he wishes the pair well.

"I think [Williams] is similar to me when I was younger."

And the future for you was one of dropping sales, lapses into self-parody, drunken pointlessness and a slightly seedy air of embarrassing naffness topped with a pisspoor collection of cover versions intended to display your versatility but actually making it clear that once you step from your tightly drawn millieu, you're as lost as a principled man in the White House.

Oh, Rod, you'd be giving Robbie Williams nightmares had he not caught you up already.

Fly swatting

Of course, it's not a victimless crime, is it? Walls get all sticky. But you have to clear a small space on your desk, preferably one with a support strut underneath, and bring your skull repeatedly down onto it when you hear that Liverpool City Council are wasting money putting together a "hit squad" to target flyposters.

Now, in this city, the flyposters are pretty fair - they don't post in inappropriate places (normally), sticking to places where it usually adds to the bustle of the city. It helps develop small events, and small promoters, which you would have thought would be a key aim of a place bidding to be Capital of Culture with a straight face. But, no, for some reason they've decided to crack down.

Our favourite flyposting crackdown was when Leeds Council painted over any poster on the walls - thereby meaning instead of nice designed advertising, the city was covered with large black squares, making it like a three dimensional version of a porn mag in 60's Ireland.

Why are Liverpool pouring money into a problem that doesn't exist, when illegal parking - which is dangerous and causes wasted time and money for everyone - is rife, and when, frankly, the streets of the town are covered in shit and wrappers blowing in the wind?

More to the point, wannabe mayor Mike Storey believes:

"Fly posting is becoming a real problem in the city with the situation getting worse all the time."

His administration has some gall, since they actually auctioned off the city's skyline, allowing CocaCola to hang a giant flypost from the top of St John's Tower - luckily, everyone involved was so crap the thing blew down the first time the wind puffed. Meanwhile, they're about to close the Neptune theatre to make way for some shops and seek to Ozymandisise themselves by inflicting a dim new building on the waterfront. Compared to the horrors Storey and his crew are vandalising our home with, a couple of A5 ads for a Tribute To Nothing gig is chickenfeed.

There's more - if you want it - on the Liverpool Waterfront, plus BBC Bashing examined, and the link between the Butler and Shayler - over on the colour supplement.

Apparently, we hadn't

We got a polite email from the people at Popjustice today, and we suddenly thought we should check to see if we'd ever sat and applauded their activities - we hadn't, which was the sort of gaping hole you don't normally see outside of Michael Jackson's cheek.

Go and apologise on our behalf.

Another sign of aging

When we were young, we dreamed of piss-ups in breweries. Now, Jackson Browne in a winery sounds quite an attractive proposition.

Wanna feel ancient?

Taylor from Hanson is a dad

Live television: it can blow up in your face

For some reason, BBC Choice's Liquid News is extended to an hour to promote a rival channel's awards - it being the MTV Europe awards. The useless bloke is by the red carpet when he spies Huey from the Fun Loving Criminals.

-Huey, you're live on the BBC

Huey approaches the camera, fixes us at home with a steely gaze and announces:
-Michael Jackson fucks children

Huey turns and walks away.

Much flustered apologising because its "Live TV and there was nothing we could do."

Heard of a seven-second delay, dingbats?

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Laugh like a dog

Even as the RIAA lumbers about demanding the right to hack through peer to peer networks on its own whim, the New Scientist reckons that the networks only need a tweak to stop them from doing so.

Jackson made to show face to court

Presumably the mirror and comb will be in the post?


Is it just us, or does the EMI annual report betray the influence of rival Sony's act the Manic Street Preachers?

This time, we're not getting excited

There's not much pattern on the cloth of EMI's plans to expand its online download offerings; even the official press release doesn't give any details of the how; the list of artists would read like a who's who of the rock world, if you managed to build a time machine and go back to 1985. Duran Duran! Anne Murray! Billy Idol! (Okay, fair enough - there are The Vines and Kylie in there.)

But it's got the makings of another botched job - first, its US only. Handy with the Internet stopping as soon as you get to the edge of the Atlantic. Then, it looks like they're not using MP3, which puts it on a par with attempting to counter VHS video piracy by ensuring swift release of films on the Video2000 format. Why, if people are paying for the download, are they limited to only a fixed number of copies of it? And, finally, its taking way too long. But apart from that...

The Simpsons are going to All Tomorrow's Parties

Or, at least, Matt Groening is.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

And now, in Macrovision...

Also in this week's Music Week is an opinion piece by Brian McPhail, who comes from Macrovision. Not the company that made the poor-quality alternative to Atari, but the people who make copy protection technology. What does he have to say?

The problems with copy protection technology so far were not with our technologies, they were caused by implementation decisions

Now, I don't know which specific CDs were using Macrovision, so I'm going to assume that McPhail is talking for his industry as a whole, okay? And I'd say that CDs which lock up computers and won't allow the machine to reboot even to spit out the offending CD is a problem with the technology, not the implementation. And anyway, doesn't that sound a bit like a mines manufacturer trying to claim that its not their product that blows people up, but the way its used?
They came from the technology being young and the decision makers being early on their learning curves. Some were saying 'we don't care if its not playable in 10% of cases.' Our view is that, if you have more than 0.5% to 1% non-playability, it is not worth doing it.

This is incredible - first confirmation that the labels care so little, they don't mind if one in ten records are duds - imagine if a car company took that approach; you'd have Ford/Firestone all the time. Not that Macrovision are much better - "one percent non playability" is, remember, 6,000 copies of a platinum selling single that just don't work, which we still don't think even approaches being good enough.
The systems worked as the labels intended...

Up to one in ten sales being totally worthless? That was their plan?
... but the consumer thought 'this is preventing me from using my music in the ways that I have become accustomed to enjoying it'

No, Brian, consumers thought "I have just bought a CD that I'm not able to use" or, if they were lucky "I have bought a CD which has been designed to stop me from using it in ways that I'm supposed to be able to."
We discovered that bringing out a copy-protection solution that was playable was not enough. Since then, we have gone through a major shift in our thinking. We realised that for the music business, there needed to be an element of rights management technology to make it more convenient for consumers, and not just copy protection"

We think what he's trying to say - maybe its become gibberish because we're trying to quote from the article - is that they realised that having copy protection that stops people from using the music they've bought pisses people off.
We have developed a solution called SafeAuthenticate which allows labels to add additional music tracks which are pre-ripped and can be easily transferred to PCs. The next version will enable easy export onto portable devices and will support CD burning. Then the consumer will feel that if he buys a new Robbie Willaims album, he can play it on his PC and also make his own custom compilation and export it to his portable device. He can do more than he could do before.

Well, first of all, it doesn't take new technology to allow labels to put more tracks on CDs - there's load of space, the limit just comes from the chart rules. So singles will still only have three tracks on them, whatever.

Second: "he can do more than could do before." Play on PC, make compilations, export to portables? Isn't that "exactly what he could have done without copy protection" rather than "more than he could before"? Next you'll be trying to tell us that the sexy world of Digital Rights Management will allow us to hear different sounds through each speaker - creating a 3d effect - and will enable star djs to rework original tracks into new mixes. Macrovision is a Denver Boot on CDs, and adding so much technology that the CD might actually let you do what you're paying for except in 10,000 out of every million copies is not a great claim.

Noel, you're wrong

Noel Gallagher popped up on 6Music a moment ago, speculating that because a few thousand sheep are traipsing out to see Oasis live, that somehow proves the critics wrong. "Now they'll have to wait until the next album to slag us off" he claimed.
No, Noel. We don't have to wait. Just because there are some people left who cling desperately to the memory of what you once promised to be, and won't admit that they've thrown away the best years of their lives on a band who treat them the way monkeys view peanut trees doesn't make you right, you know. Thousands of people persist in doing food combining diets - it doesn't make it any more scientific, does it?

What the pop papers say: Donkey meets shrimp edition

As if those lifetime achievement awards don't already make you feel like the Grim Reaper has invited all your friends together for your last night on earth, how creeped out must Bernie Taupin have been when he and Elton won their Music Industry Trust award last week? Music Week reports that a pre-recorded video shown to mark the occasion featured Lonnie Donegan saying "Bernie, I haven't spent enough time with you. Do pop round and say hello." Donegan had died earlier that day. Music Week also reports that, by some sort of quirk that I can't follow, Westlife's new number one isn't a new entry, but the biggest leap in chart history, from 196 last week to number one this week...

anyway, nme, what do you have for me? the strokes on the cover. Is it just me, or does Nikolai look like a second string character from the early days of Grange Hill? Not Micahel Doyle, mind, one of the goody-goody sorts, like the one who was Joseph in the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat they did?...

news starts with eminem movie sales, which is somewhat stale, isn't it? Apparently eminem is being dubbed the 'hip-hop James Dean' - isn't that Daniel Beddingfeld?; there's three pages wrung out of going backstage at a Strokes gig - the justification for the cover as well. Imagine what the nme would be like if it got fucked by Meg White - the entire issue, Bring It On and a week on would probably be given over; the nme claims that the P-Cutta album was "eerily prescient" in the light of the shooting of Jam Master Jay, despite it, erm, not mentioning anything at all about Run DMC at all' the Nirvana top 20 placed Lithium as The Best Nirvana Track Ever amongst those who could be bothered to vote; Robbie Williams is going to be beaten to death by one-legged music fans using their own prosthetics - hundreds have applied, and a special competition is to be held to choose the lucky swinger-winners. Oh, sorry, that's "will play four nights at Knebworth." Fran Healy is fed up with the music industry and wants to get away from it. The extent to which we should be celebrating this news is determined by the way he's told the nme about how fed up he is with the whole music industry circus, which is like telling a prostitute how much you hate paying for sex; Pink is using back projections of dead musicians at her current live show - you wonder if she can't be persuaded to include Robbie in there; Sharon Osbourne may be "the new Jerry Springer" - the new Christine Hamilton, more like; the Libertines imitated Tracey Corkhill and had a tongue-tied and tactless meeting with Morrissey; America has gone Jackass crazy - don't worry, American readers who aren't brain dead, we're coming to save you; the next White Stripes album is going to be called Elephant. As in a big thing in a room that nobody will mention... no, we won't do another Meg bra joke here; Man Tits Meets Shrimp as Craig Nicholls meets up with Matt Bellamy in historic hook-up...

after years, nme has abandoned On and replaced it with Hot New Band, scattering "new bands through the magazine" - while we're a little disappointed that the paper once again feels the need to change a feature name for something a little more obvious, the decision to feature more than two new acts a week is to be welcomed with a small cocktail reception and a pianist. Disturbingly, though, the new format echoes the old Melody Maker Breakers slot. Anyway, Hot New Bands this week are Mercury Tilt Switch - dundee emo; Burning Brides - Suzi Quatro meets The Strokes. Oh, hang about, there's only two. Like there were in On. Oh.

Pete from the Libertines does choose ten tracks, and they include Billie Holiday, The Smiths, The Las and the Only Ones. Can we have him to tea?...

Jarvis Cocker talks "exclusively" to the nme - presumably the longer, more interesting piece in Snug didn't count for some reason. However, his perspective on This Is Hardcore is worth the hire of the room: "Commercial suicide. It still gives me the shivers. When I look back at the period, it was pretty intense and I wasn't feeling well mentally or physically. The fact we managed to get the song out of it doesn't make it worthwhile, but there's something special about the song because of that, a weird atmosphere."...

Tenacious D. Uh, guys - this is like having Bionic Santa in your magazine...

Following on from 50 Cool People, this week's snip-and-clip piece is 100 Greatest Singles of All Time voted for by NME staff and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the singles chart, which was an nme innovation - a phrase you don't hear much these days. Ironically, a lot of the pieces about the tracks are supported by the original nme reviews. Nearly all of the reviews are longer than the current appreciations. If you need to know: Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division; Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana; Anarchy In The UK - Sex Pistols. Smiths in at 7 (This Charming Man); Bowie at 5 (Heroes, oddly) and Oasis? Oasis are at 8, but with Live Forever, which is at least understandable. 3D from Massive Attack (Unfinished Sympathy, 10) feels the need to point out that the video for Bittersweet Symphony was a pastiche of theirs - no shit, 3D? Hey, and the Major Tom in Ashes to Ashes (did not chart) is the same character as in Space Oddity (did not chart). From the 'are you sure?' corner - The Hives Get Free better than How Soon Is Now? and two Strokes singles. Mmmm, lucky the birthday of the chart wasn't a few weeks ago, otherwise Andrew WK would have been in there...

review: albums
missy elliott - under construction - "she's a work in progress", 8
robbie williams - escapology - "while eminem is the voice of a generation, robbie williams is just the voice of robbie williams", 3
the used - the used - "kelly osbourne's beau's band", 2
tlc - 3d - "a monster record in the Frankenstein sense", 4

singles: sotw is liam lynch - united states of whatever
suede - obsessions - "may be suede's last half-decent single"
les flames - wrong - "lets hear it for the daft punks"

live - bright eyes/desaparecidos at the cmj - "I think we're headed for somewhere even darker"
alternative 3 - hope & anchor - islington we mention this only because its got a "1st NME review" logo on it, which is another thing they've brought in from the Melody Maker. Were was that downward spiral heading again?
the electric soft parade - newcastle uni - "a crutch for those who remain hungover from britpop"

and finally: from enmail - "Gareth Gates tops the charts, but is he more important than the White Stripes?" asks Jarvis 2.0 from Polygon. Sadly, yeah, he is to most people, Jarvis 2.0

Figure it out

Some useful facts to have to hand in the Counting The Notes [pdf] report, produced by the National Music Council.

Most significantly, if confirms our belief that the fall in total sales of albums is as much caused by a drop in per unit retail price as people not buying records - in 1999, the average cost of a CD was £11.99. In 2001, it was £10.77. Losing an average £1.22 off retail price would knock a third of a million quid off the take of a platinum selling album. You don't have to be Michael Maths to see that is going to have a major impact on the total value of sales.

In other numeric data, the BPI have announced that UK music sales increased in the third quarter of the year - oddly, this hasn't picked up much comment; certainly nothing like as much as the storm last quarter when sales fell. (You might remember the press reporting that Music Downloads Threaten To Kill Artists With Hunger; Satanic MP3 Spells End For Record Shops, and so on). Now it turns out things weren't actually that bad at all, and compared with same period last year, an extra three million albums were being put in the wrong places in the racks of record stores around the nation.

Singles fell sharply compared with the same time last year, but we suspect that's got more to do with Hear'Say last time round than anything.

Jacko, QC

It's the trial of the century - not counting the Butler one - Michael Jackson is being sued for not playing millennium eve gigs.

Scary development

I don't think anyone can view the news from Australia that some CDs are going to be made illegal for under 18 year olds with anything but concern. Ever since Tipper Gore and her befuddled perm-headed cohorts brought in the ridiculous concept of rating records for content, it's been on the cards that someone, somewhere would take the censorship to its logical conclusions and start to make tricky artists illegal. The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA - anagram of, and analagous to, the RIAA) have introduced new levels of 'bad' record, to go with their existing Level 1 (Moderate Impact - coarse language or themes) and Level 2 (Strong Impact - coarse language or themes). Level 3 and 4 are the new "restricted" levels which covers High Impact themes.

But what does it mean? Aria explains:

Level 2

"This sticker means the album contains more explicit and/or
assaultive language or deals with issues which may offend
some sections of the adult community. This can include
lyrics which combine large quantities of expletives with
detailed descriptions of violence or acts of extreme
aggression. The album is not recommended for those under
the age of eighteen. This recording contains explicit language and is not recommended for persons under the age of eighteen. or disturbing to people under 15 years of age.[sic]

Hope that's clear.

Level 3:
*The MA category is legally restricted. Children under fifteen will not be allowed to purchase MA video or multimedia,

- there's a hanging comma, which means we suppose they might add some more things, like booze and knives to the list later. Why does it feel like they've copied these categories wholesale from a movie website.
The R category is legally restricted to adults. Material which
is given a restricted classification is unsuitable for those under 18 years of age. Material classified R deals with issues or contains depictions which require an adult perspective. The classification is not intended as a comment on the quality of the material. Some material may be offensive to some sections of the adult community. Material which promotes or incites or instructs in matters of
crime and/or violence is not permitted.

That doesn't sound like some sort of catch-all for records that we don't like, does it? Are there any issues which don't benefit from an adult perspective? It doesn't mean that young people can't bring their own understanding to them. And what exactly is this nonesense about instructing in matters of crime? Does this mean Billy Bragg's Greetings To The New Brunette ("trying the handles of parked cars") or that Barron Knights song about nicking lead from the roof of churches is to be put out the way of tiny ears?

But surely the people of Australia have stood up to demand this change? Not quite. A campaign has been led by a "Queensland Christian mother of five" to have all explicit material banned, totally, from Australia. Her name? Robin. Robin what? Nobody knows. Apparently ARIA's policy is to be bullied by a minority interest group who won't even debate the issues in public. Fold up your free speech and put it back in the box on the way out.

Under the old system, Level 2 records included VAST by Vast. We didn't count, but we can't help but notice a large number of Level 2 acts are black.

Moby put in place by Elton

Last night's Frank Skinner Show. The now-beyond-self-parody righteous fleck that is Moby trots through his usual playground-level attack on Eminem (he must be a poofter, etc). Next guest Elton John comes on, and won't even let Frank get a word in before he's taken Moby to verbal pieces.

Elton may be an awful social climber, but anyone who's declared war on the Sun and Moby is alright by us.

Weighty matters

Having endured the jibes about being kept at the back of the videos and being "the fat one out of Wilson Phillips", Carnie Wilson has had gastric bypass surgery. There's a rare chance to see a popstar's stomach. On the same site Ann Wilson of Heart talks about her Lap Band surgery - believe me, you don't want to know. Personally, we think she looked better before.

Get busy with the fizzy

Sony and Pepsi are linking up to formalise the artist-by-artist fizzy drink endorsement arrangements in the US. Now, Sony artists are hooked to Pepsi, and Pepsi are hooked to Sony Artists.

Now, this wouldn't be so much of a major leap forward if it wasn't for the way Tommy "Put some clothes on, Celine" Mottola is choosing to see this as going beyond the usual - picture of artist on multipack boxes; semi-naked artist in Pepsi poster; small 'Pepsi sponsors' logo on tour ads; artist photographed swigging Coca-Cola; awkward press conference.

Mottola claims:

"Our goal in the end is to create a much larger distribution platform for ourselves. This is the beginning of a new model. I'm sure it's going to cause a result."

Okay, okay, we could point out the multi-million pound business brain has just said there's going to be a result, which is obvious - even the Light Brigade got a result when they made their famous charge; more puzzling is what he actually means when his forked tongue curls round "create a larger distribution platform."

Because the key aspect of the deal is that when you pop in to buy some Pepsi - or its delicious alternative styles - you'll find massive dump bins of free CDs to take home and pass off to your relatives as Christmas gifts ("and sample new artists and albums").

We're confused, though. Haven't Sony and the RIAA been saying that free music is bad? That because music is available for free through the Internet, nobody will buy records any more? And people will take the tracks and burn them to CD-Rs, which is bad? So their response is to save them the time and effort of downloading and burning, and just giving the CDs to them straight off?

Now, in the old days, we'd imagine that Sony were looking to create interest in their artists by offering people a chance to hear their music, in the expectation that this will drive sales later. But the RIAA have been most clear in their pronouncements about MP3 that allowing people to hear music for free doesn't drive sales, and only creates the demand for more free music. We're confused.

No, Tara, No

We've always had a softy spot for Tara Palmer Tompkinson; her skittish performance on Frank Skinner (okay, she was coked off her head, but) is a TV classic moment. But when we hear that she's going to launch a singing career, we find ourselves suddenly recalling that we're meant to be exhibiting class hatred here.

The Polaroids that bind us together

Following on from the success of in bringing early human league releases back to the stores, Nightporter, an equally wonderful Japan fansite, look to be making headway in their campaign to get Sylvian stuff rereleased. They deserve your support.

[Via remember the 80s.]

Neighbours from hell

We've had Kylie II in Holly Valance. Now, prepare yourself for Delta Goodrem - the not-quite-as-good Natalie Imbruglia.

We can't help you

We don't have any MP3s to download, much less Liam Lynch MP3s. If you're really that desperate, popEx >> PopEx has a sample of the song in Real Audio.

Or you could try listening to 6Music, they seem to be playing it every ten minutes.

By the way: the novelty wears off on the sixth hearing.


We don't often bring you the joy of Ms Becky Bamboo's film reviews - we're not that sort of blog - but we're able to bend the rules when its 8 Mile, aren't we?

so, 8 mile was really fucking good. sure, the story is yer typical rocky, rah-rah underdog plot (amy said it was just coyote ugly with rap), but the performances are great (eminem is very good. really restrained and intense with these manic blasts of violence), the music rocks (the final rap battle was awesome - funny and witty), and it looks all grey and grimy. loved it. I thought kim basinger was a little out of place, but then I saw a picture of em's mom and she is a total glamour queen, so I guess that casting wasn't too far off.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Universal results service

Doom and debt-laden dinosaur Vivendi-Universal has released its figures for third-quarter sales, and what's most interesting from our perspective is that revenues at Universal Music Group dropped nine per cent, but they still managed to studd EUR1.3bn into their sack. And this is while they're pleading sickliness...

Divas on the comeback trail

With Mariah reduced to snuffling around Trevor Mc, the New York Times reports on the supposedly humiliating reduction of Whitney Houston from coasting star to the Norma Desmond of the Malls.

We're not psychologists, but we can't help but feel that even if the new record bombs - and it deserves to, it's rubbish - the healthy dose of reality and being made to work for what she gets may do Whitters the power of good.

Is this just fantasy?

Like a bunch of Gibraltarians using the democratic process to say what they think people want to hear, once again the British People have voted Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of a poll.

This time, it's Radio 2's Number 1 Chart, celebrating fifty years of the Top 10. But once you get past the stinkingly obvious top three - Bo Rap, Imagine, Hey Jude, the chart gets a little more interesting. Bridge Over Troubled Water is at four, and while dying this year accounts for My Sweet Lord and George Harrison at five, the rest of the ten is made up with A Whiter Shade of Pale, House of the Rising Sun, Dancing Queen, Good Vibrations and Under Pressure. Kate Bush is at 11 with Wuthering Heights; joint 22nd is Steve Harley (Make Me Smile) and Rod Stewart (Maggie May). Ian Dury's Rhythm Stick is at fifty.

There's been some comment that there isn't very much recent in the chart, but then - its Radio 2 listeners, so you'd expect a certain level of rear-view mirror voting. Oddly, the most recent record in the list is by Elvis, who makes thirty-nine with A Little Less Conversation. Newest track is Can't Get You Out of My Head by Kylie.

On the whole, it's a pretty impressive list - some of the songs may be so over-familiar now they stink, but at least only having 960-odd songs to choose from seems to have focused the voter's minds a bit more than usual in these matters.

More interesting is the celebrities choices. Tori Amos has plumped for Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones; Alison Moyet has chosen Wuthering Heights. Damon Gough selects You're The One That I Want. Most amusing of all is Tony Robinson, not because he chose Doris Day but, because no matter how long he's a member of the Labour Party NEC, he'll always be Tony Robinson (Baldrick).

The chart on the Radio 2 website doesn't look permanent, so there's a copy of the listing here and the celebs choices can be found here.

Our friends in the 'hood

HBO are putting together a history of hiphop told through fictional characters long, interweaving lives. Sounds like the sort of idea that might just work, to us; certainly got to work better than rush-filming The Jam Master Jay Story and selling it straight to Channel Five.

An end to shirts on the streets

Although the EU Court decision rejecting a street trader's claim that the unofficial merchandise he sold was a "sign of alleigance" rather than a breach of trademark refers to the sale of unofficial Arsenal stuff, it's significant for the music industry, too.

What the court has just done is outlaw all non-licensed product, which means that those tshirt and poster sellers who do brisk trade outside gigs, for example, are now outside the law rather than in a grey area. Of course, while individual artists would probably think twice before hammering down on such sales, the way the new Robbie Williams contract hands much of his merchandising pie to EMI suggests that in the future, it'll be the labels who call the shots. And we know what they're like.

Still, cheer up - it's not like official, in-venue merchandise is chronically over-priced already, is it?

We'd bet he'd put his name before 'Jude' if he could

Paul McCartney is reaping the benefits of being the one who didn't die. After years of teeth-grating whenever people referred to the works of "Lennon and McCartney", the traditional way, he's altered the credits on his new live album to read "by Paul McCartney and John Lennon." Doubtless he'll be looking forward to joining the Bingley and Bradford, and enjoying a Wise and Morecambe repeat this Christmas.

Bo! Mister R's Munchen Glad Back

Exclusive-ish to No Rock, our Munich correspondent Mr R reports back from the Manic Street Preacher's Munich gig:

it was fooking freezing out last night, i got to the venue at about 7pm, admittance was at 7:30, thought i was going to loose a toe or something, but just in the nick of time, we were let in.

the support were readymade, a band from wiesbaden that i had heard of, but not heard yet, but had been informed that i should probably like them. and it's odd that i lived in the city right across the river for 9 years and never knew that there was music of possible interest from so close.... oh well.

they weren't bad, really, a good opener for the manics. 4 piece guitar band, the drummer was absolutely wild. imagine animal in short black hair about 6 ft tall in all white with a red star on the t-shirt, and you've got him. hands flying everywhere, the muscles in the face constantly moving in all sorts of contortions. he would have fit into system of a down quite easily like that. the bassist had a sort of dirty blonde brad pitt look, and not in a good way. the lead had a white shirt and a thin black tie, like he was trying to be in a blues brothers type band, no hat though.

as i said, not bad, really heavy guitars, like thick molasses, and while the lyrics where in many cases rather melancholy, neither the style of music nor the voice gave it the needed melancholic touch... i wouldn't necessarily go to one of their own tours, but if they were supporting a band i wanted to see, i
wouldn't go "oh my god, not them again". this seems, to me at least, and i am trying to finds ways to disprove this, the state that german music is in. just not quite there yet, needs an extra kick or something, that little spice that makes a dish from bland to delicious is missing. but cheers to jonathan who last night gave me a list of german bands to check out! as it is, one of them just appeared on my amazon recommendation list today...

while the stage was being rearranged, a red hot chilli pepper mix was played. lots of people swaying while watching the stage.

nicky's mic stand was covered in turquise and neon-pink feathers. he wore a leopard print hat and a long white jacket for most of the show. at somepoint, the hat came off, and big grandmom sunglasses with red frames appeared and a scarf around the neck. he was so pale and with the black eyeliner, when the light hit him right, he looked like a ghost. and the way he moved about the stage, it looked like he was floating at times...

as you know, i've never been the wild manics follower, so i didn't know even half the songs that were played... but nevertheless, i enjoyed everything, they sang well, even though james appoligises for having a cold and not really reaching the high notes ("i sound a bit like joe cocker, eh?") but here's the set list:

Motorcycle Emptiness
You stole the sun from my heart
Everything Must Go
There by the grace of God
Found That Soul
Ocean Spray
Kevin Carter
Life becoming a Landslide
Slash and Burn
Stay Beautiful
Roses in the Hospital
Motown Junk
Little Baby Nothing
Suicide is Painless
The Everlasting
You Love Us
Design For Life
If you tolerate this ....

No fags, no furs - what do you do?

Sophie Ellis Bextor is taking time off from telling people not to smoke by telling them not to wear fur, either. FabSophie is shown in a new series of PETA ads holding up the gizzards of a dead fox. She still looks curiously sexy, too. SEB: The Moby that doesn't come across like a sanctimonious schmuck.

We feel this is a vindication, but we're not sure of what

As soon as Mark Goodier announces the number one this Sunday, he's off to Classic FM.

Monday, November 11, 2002

It's not right and it's not proper

Kylie condemns TV talent shows making popstars - of course, that's the soap operas' job, isn't it, Kylie?

Fresh thrills

Good news for those of you who're interested in The Thrills and especially Santa Cruz - the official site has gone live, and its got streaming music coming out of its ears. Yippee.

Light-foot news item

Some good news, apparently Gordon Lightfoot who had been at death's door has chosen to turn round and come home. He's showing signs of improvement and been taken out of intensive care.

Before things get worse

Having woken up to a queasy sense of deja-vu this morning, as Bob Geldof fretted over a forthcoming famine in Ethiopia, it's probably timely to mention I think a lot of their old regulars got out of the habit of doing a daily click when the site nearly blew away in the dotcom boom, and while it's spitting at the sea, every little bit helps.

When the going gets tough, the tough apply to convocation

If Billy Ocean deserves an honorary doctorate for writing Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car and the theme to that Michael Douglas movie from back when Michael Douglas was a fairly charming man and not so obsessed with a sense of his own greatness only someone as apparently blind to every nuance of their own surroundings as Catherine Zeta Jones could manage to spend any time in his presence, then what on that scale would, say, Costello or Clinton or, dammit, Haines deserve?

Of course, it's a week late, but...

Wisdom Goof brings you last week's chart expressed in terms of Googlism.

To quote Emo Philips

Undoubtably, the hardest time in anyone's life is when you have to kill a loved one because they're the devil. A close second, of course, is when you have to sack your own mother because she's screwing you, as Charlotte Church will testify. You'd hate to imagine that scene, wouldn't you? "Mum, you must think I'm some kind of pussy. You've been screwing me. You're fired. Um... can I borrow the car at the weekend?"

J-Lo and Ben Affleck

Wise, holding off the announcement of their engagement until now. This way, the eight weeks we're giving them will see them into the new year.

There's a guy... let's call him Simon...

and there's a station, we'll call it LBC. And they were together, but then... Why is it we only ever hear of Simon Bates when he's being sacked?.

Business planning for rockstars

The first rule of business is to have an idea that's blindingly obvious. The second rule is to consider why, if the idea is such a good one, why has nobody ever done it before, then? When Lou Reed came up with the plan to bring together Edgar Allen Poe, Bowie, Laurie Anderson and some of his own Poe-like poetry, he clearly didn't get as far as stage two, did he?

I think I missed that march

Apparently, Robbie's Christmas single is now coming out a week early "to satisfy public demand." Oh, yeah? Nothing to do with trying to avoid an embarrassing drubbing for the Man Who Holds The Hopes of EMI at the hands of Gareth Gates and Blue, whose singles shared the original date of release, then.

If public demand for Robbie singles is really insisting they come out earlier, why not today?

We know he's a big bloke...

But, sometimes, the truth just has to be told. We believe that streaming albums before release over the web is a handy way of allowing people to sample the wares when deciding to buy, and can often turn a waverer into a purchaser. However, when Vinnie Jones does it with his new album, Respect, it's sole purpose is presumably to kill of any of the last interest that may reside in the project.

His voice is so weedy and rubbish, we can't start to work out how anyone actually decided that getting him to sing at all would be a good idea; much less why they decided to ask him to have a crack at such tricksy classics as Dock of the Bay and - oh, sweetgwen - Minnie The Moocher. By about halfway into the collection, Vinnie seems to twig that he's not going to hit any notes anyway, and so just makes do with rasping the words out as blandly as he can in the hope that it'll all be over soon.

At least with Christmas confections like the Eastenders cast singalong albums, the effect of many voices bellowing tunelessly suggests a party atmosphere someone's tried to recreate on record. With Jones effort, it's like listening to a neighbour singing while ironing his trousers prior to the golf club Christmas party, unaware he's serranding the entire block.

Hi Ho Silver Lining seems to last for the best part of fifteen minutes. And how did Jools Holland end up on the thing? And how, how, how, did it get released? The Queen's not wrong when she says there's forces we don't know about at work...

But what were they looking for?

I think we're proud to be the number one response for sigur ros homosexual perverted on Google. I think...