Wednesday, February 26, 2003

What the pop papers say: Boiler fixed edition

It’s always tricky to know exactly which way Darcus Howe will jump. Sometimes he surprises us and says something totally unexpected. Which is why we were delighted to discover his perspective on Ms Dynamite. We’d have expected something along the lines of how its funny that the media have decided the authentic black voice of the street turns out to be a posh girl who isn’t too black, but is quite pretty; that the more interesting and challenging views of, say, Beverley Knight are ignored because she “doesn’t look as good.” But, no, Darcus is besotted: “only weeks before, she had challenged young black men to lay down their guns. Now, she went for the government’s jugular. An eye for an eye, she said, would result in us all becoming blind. I rocked and rolled on my walking stick. I felt proudly that she was ‘my girl’. She had much greater authenticity than her elder, Jesse Jackson.” You get the drift. Darcus, sweetheart - I think you’ll find the eye for an eye business was actually Ghandi; it’s now quite a popular greeting card which is where we suspect Ms D came across it. It’s wonderful that the media are listening to any young, black woman at all, but let’s not get carried away.

Talking of getting carried away, we stumbled across a Sunday Express this week; always a delight as it allows us to check on Boy George’s column. He was in wonderful form, as the Madness musical Our House had just won Best Musical at the Olivier award. “How can anyone describe a musical that is full of old hits as an original music” he fumes. “One always risks appearing bitter” (no, really?) “when speaking out against the various heirarchies that run just about everything in this country.” Yes, forget the small knot at the heart of New Labour; the security forces; even the shape-shifting lizards - those damn bastards at the head of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards are the ones calling the shots in Britain. Boy’s ire, of course, had nothing to do with Taboo, his collection of old songs run up into a story with dancings, didn’t win anything, of course.

The NME is a feast this week. You get a Bring It On - Jet, the Mars Volta, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Karen drinks a bottle of champagne before going on stage, which might help our morag on her fishing trip; the Blood Brothers; Har Mar Superstar; Hot Hot Heat and Brendon Benson all line up. Again, it’s the frustration of the bands you really want the nme proper to cover proper.

You also get art prints - Coldplay, who appear to be trying to grow beards - “but it’s only been three or weeks”; Oasis, who are now so ugly the design team have attempted to just paint them out with “select all->bucket tool->fill”; the yeah yeah yeahs - do the nme only have that picture of them laid out on the bed? Shamefully, the larger format makes it clear Karen has got wasted on a bloody minature. Lightweight; the vines - craig, topless but turned, so we can’t see what era his lady-like breasts are into now; Black rebel motorcycle club - [william ried not pictured]; the polyphonic spree - hmmm, if this goes on a single wall outside of student housing, we’d be very surprised; and, finally, one that sums up what the nme meant, and what the nme means: On the A side, The Clash. On the B side: Avril Lavigne.

The NME proper has the white stripes on the front - great though scary picture which manages to make Meg look exactly half the width of her brother lover.

News reports 50 Cent is the biggest selling black rap act in the Uk since the Wu-Tangs; PJ Harvey is playing V2003; “sources close to her are urging [Ms Dynamite] to run for mayor of London” - eh? do they mean that sources say people are trying to get her to run, or is Ms D getting messages saying “Friends of the you suggest you should be running for mayor? Oh, and pass the ketchup, sources say.” Another ‘eh?’ moment comes in a caption to a piece about pop fans in Iraq - which is actually a pretty nifty article - “Young Iraqis are big fans of Britney Spears, as this mock-up shows” - well, no, mocked up photos don’t really show anything, as Colin Powell demonstrated in the UN the other week; Apparently wearing a Cult tshirt was “a hilarious own goal” for David beckham because, erm, Billy Duffy supports Man City. Um... so? Coldplay claim “we’re like the Beatles in America” - hang about, when Jesus claimed to be bigger than The Beatles everyone started burning his records in the Bible Belt, you know. Mind you, Chris might think he’s the McCartney of our age, but he also believes Liam Single Brow Gallagher is like Beethoven. “[Songbird] is the most beautiful song in the world” reckons Martin. So, he also has something in common with Be... oh, you’ve already spotted the ‘stone deaf’ punchline coming, then? Kelly ‘44 with a blank’ Osbourne couldn’t give “two shits” about former beau Bert McCracken - even though, still a lot more than the number of shits the British public give about her; Kelis and Naz are going to get married; Macauly Culkin has denied that he takes drugs... you’d never know the nme news pages are being put together by a showbiz gossip person, would you?; there’s a track by track guide to the new Blur LP - sounds like Coxon’s well out of it to us; Marilyn Manson’s new album is going to be ‘mad’ - so, like Cyndi Lauper, then, we’d guess.

There’s the full text of Chris Martin’s letter of support for Glastonbury - he suggests that a “country show or a large sporting event” causes disruption for the local area, which while true, isn’t quite the same - no sporting event packs 150,000 people into a single farm. Pilton resident Andrew Gaskell said, confusingly “my new [our emphasis] home was robbed during the last festival, but these things cannot be allowed to detract from the good that it does - it’s something we should be proud of.” Obviously what we’re seeing here is a shift in the village as festie-heads slowly move in and the anti-fetsival people move out, but we find it incredible that anybody could say “it’s great, I don’t mind if it did lead to someone smashing their way into my home, stealing stuff and poking my kid’s toothbrush up their arse. It makes money for tree factories.” What is interesting is that about half a million quid’s worth of council taxes has to go to offset the difference between the money Glasto pays to the police and the cost of their operation, which does suggest that maybe the Festival’s good works for charity is offset by draining cash away from Somerset’s coffers. And the 50,000% rise in crime year on year for the festival weekend compared with the year before (when it didn’t happen) has to be a concern, however fond of REM you might be. There’s one further curious aspect to the story: Eavis angrily denouncing the spary painting of pro-festival slogans on opponents houses as “dirty tricks” - really? They graffitied their own houses?

Radio 4’s Anthony Roman (the band, not the station) do the Cd thing - Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, David Bowie.

On Band is The Futureheads - “the pleasure I obtain from music is quite sexual” says Barry; which, I guess, makes us like we’re peering into his bedroom?

Luke Steel from the Sleepy Jackson says “ I feel like I’m ministering through my music” - which is probably better than getting stiffies from it.

Har Mar Superstar - he knows not to overstay his welcome at a strip club, apparently, but apparently hasn’t noticed the ‘welcome’ mat for his faux-career being rolled up already. We don’t need another Ferrino. Mind you, the next features are Corey Taylor and Steve O, so maybe it’s a secret feckless one-joke tossers special?

“We’re not living for fame and fortune, we don’t think that equals happiness. The trick is not to become satisifed. I’m pushing away enjoyment on a lot of levels constantly” explains Jack White. However keen he is to push away enjoyment, he’s happy to take a break from pushing away millions of dollars He’s unabashed about getting sponsored by Nissan, but points out they didn’t autograph a car like they were meant to. It’s a life of small victories.Meg keeps mostly quiet, especially so when Ryan Adams name crops up. Finally, Jack: “I’m 27. That’s the age of rock and roll death. I’m going to try and get through this year without dying.”

white stripes - elephant - “there’s the implication he can do more... the most fully-realised white stripes album yet”, 9
turin brakes - ether song - “knight’s vocals occassionaly buckle under the weight of their Jeff Buckley-isms”, 8
moloko - statues - “at worst sounds like Eurythmics bulldozing an orchestra”, 6
black box recorder - passionoia - “predates Miss Kittin by two decades”, 6

sotw - the coral - don’t think you’re the first - “one day the Joe Meek will inherit the earth”
moby - sunday (the day before my birthday) - “dirge”
black box recorder - these are the things - “perfect for ironic voguing”

christina aguilera - gay - “heavies haul the troublemakers out the audience and the audience are requested not to light any cigarettes”
sigur ros - hammersmith apollo - “ “no other band can touch them”

and finally... one article might be luck, but after the second Darkness-praising article in the Guardian in three issues, we have to ask: Is Alan Rusbridger Justin’s dad? Or has Robertshaw started to blackmail Polly Toynbee?

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