Wednesday, February 05, 2003

What the pop papers say: The sort of madness that makes people go to the theatre edition

Old ladies are smashing, aren’t they? Andy Bell - the one out of Erasure, not the one out of Ride - was in the Relative Values (... and my spoon) column in the Sunday Times Magazine, with this Grandma. Gran is priceless: “I’d listen to his records, but when he started putting on dresses I thought that was a bit much.” The Sunday Times chooses to illustrate this with a picture of him dressed - seriously - as a swan’s arse.

Marie Claire gives its front cover to J-Lo, but its heart is with Mel C; she’s upfront about having been depressed, having been another eating disorder case while in The Spice Girls (is there an award for Most Fucked-Up Band In History?). The irony of Mel C saying that the press took photos of her arse and called her fat (she was then a size ten) in a magazine with a woman feted for her butt on the cover probably won’t be lost on many. If you need us to justify our belief that Mel C is a national treasure, it’s worth a read; especially for the quote that the band’s dynamics were affected by Mel B’s mood, and that you could tell her mental state from the sound of her footfalls.

Lopez bleats that “marriage is hard” - clearly, she approaches it in the same way that she would a hard bread roll in a restaurant, and sends it back.

SeanHughesWatch: Hughes is in Marie Claire, plugging Comic Relief, which he likens to being approached at a party and getting told “You’re a comedian, be funny.”

It’s Bring It On week again, with the magazine finally getting the chance to use the “Must see... The Sights” gag it’s probably been storing up all year. There seems to have been an almost concerted effort to choose less obvious targets this month (or maybe the bigger acts are all taking a rest this february, or doing the Big day Out or something?); so we also get the Warlocks, My Morning Jacket; Hope of the States; Kings of Leon; Sleepy jackson; the Soledad Brothers and, um, ladytron. BIO hangs out with Danny Hunt. They once had a rider in Germany that consisted entirely of rhubarb. Kraftwerk wouldn’t have moaned, Danny. He tells a tale about winding up by accident in a goth club in Brighton and “sticking out like a sore thumb” - yes, four grim-faced young-ish people dressed head to toe in black must have been so jarring in such an environment.

The NME proper has splay-legged half naked Craig Nicholls on the cover. There would be your one fifty worth right there, then. The resonance with that famous Clash cover isn’t, we suspect, coincidence. Again, though, the paper spins out an incident way beyond its importance - so, we get page 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 basically dedicated to Craig has a bit of a strop. Not so long ago, there was a prediction that the weekly pop papers - there were plural then - would find it harder to cope in the internet age than the monthlies; the Uncuts and Qs had never pretended to have a new agenda, and so can cope with a world where rock news is just a click away; the weeklies would struggle as they arrived too late with the “latest.” This week has demonstrated that incredibly. All the gibbering over whether Craig is cracking up because he got a bit pissed off at being asked if The Vines were splitting up - graphics, psychologist’s viewpoints, Paul McKenna called in - looks rather stupid stacked up against the past seventy two hours of Michael ‘come and have a sleepover’ Jackson, Courtney ‘I demand an upgrade’ Love and Phil ‘Well, Leonard and DeeDee backed down’ Spector. What’s that you say? Craig threw a plate of sandwiches at a wall? Gosh.

In other news: Chris Morris makes film; a new series of The Osbournes; there’s a preview listen of the new White Stripes album, elephant - and it does sound marvellous; “Kelly Osbourne drives fans to tears” says a headline; “bores everyone else” fits in there, too; The Coral might play Glastonbury; Radiohead have listed sixty new sogns with their publishers - apparently their lost songs.

Curiously, you’ll recall a couple of weeks ago that the NME was telling us we were seconds away from having government control of music. Funnily enough, they don’t really seem that bothered about this when they interview Kim Howells - they’re halfway through before they even bring up David Blunkett’s comments upon which the whole shock horror issue was built; and when Howells says that it wasn’t Blunkett’s intention to control music, the whole subject is quietly dropped. But what about our petitions, NME? Where should we send them? What is interesting, though, is Howell’s admission that he named the So Solid crew in connection with rap-glamorises-guns-causes-violence speech because its what his kids play. Missing an open goal, the NME doesn’t ask him how many guns his kids have bought as a result of listening to twenty one seconds. Then, bizarrely, when Howells says “I could just as easily have said Eminem...” the NME spits “we’re talking about British acts” - what? They were probably lucky that they didn’t get a second dictaphone smashed with such an irrelevant point - presumably songs either have a violent real world effect or not, no matter where they come from? Or is it NME policy to only worry about government interference in home grown music? Then, even more mysteriously, when Howells says he wants a debate about the lyrics and influence of rap, the un-named journalist asks “So, if a debate were to take place as you propose, what would be its endgame” - apparently not realising that a debate has been taking place for the last three or four weeks, and that everyone so far had thought that the NME was part of it. It’s almost as if they misunderstood what was meant by “a political debate” and were picturing everyone getting together in a confrence room at a Travelodge; agendas being circulated; and a vote at the end. Stuart Cosgrove must be spinning in his grave*. The paper are preparing something on the war, which is to be encouraged, but we hope they get a slightly better grip on the subject.

Danny Hunt pops up in the big paper choosing ten tracks he’d put on a tape, CD or download to his i-Pod. Love - still every time, eh? - The Fall, Tricky and Interpol. No Tiger, Danny?

Fred Durst’s arse appears in the gossip page.It’s marginally more attractive than his face.

Paloalto are described, marvellously, as the result of aliens cloning rock after watching MTV2 for ten minutes; The Used try very hard to pretend their not merely trying to spin Bert’s penis’ guest appearance on The Osbournes into a career.

There’s an attempt to spin Jump The Shark from TV programmes into bands, which could be fun - Happy Mondays edit Penthouse; Roses headline Reading; New Order records football song; Meg Matthews and - to show there is life (death?) beyond Manchester - Kiss take off their make-up.

The Tatu piece doesn’t add very much to what we know already - manufactured paedo-tease lesbo pop - but makes good use of the obsessive way the daily Express and its ilk are desperate to prove that the girls are straight.

There’s the nominations for the NME Brat Awards - even here, they’d published them on the website before even Camden station was selling the issue with the details in, of course. Avril Lavigne nominated for most sexy woman?

reviews
albums
massive attack - 100th window - “not a bad album, just a poor massive attack album”, 6
tatu - 200km/h in the wrong lane - “as a stunning metaphor for Russia the marketing can only be commended” reckons Sian Pattenden, offering not a single piece of evidence for such a bemusing claim, 6
kelly osbourne - shut up - “the voice of the anti-cheerleader brigade”, 7
kelly rowland - simply deep - “very dull”, 4

singles
sotw - polyphonic spree - light & day - “embrace... light up your life”
moloko - familiar feeling - “actually genuinely hard to resist”
miss kittin and the hacker - stock exchange - “Miss Kittin can’t even take a punt on some shares without it being about shagging”

live
big day out in brisbane - pj harvey does “a greatest hits package”; the vines are “the Pete Doherty’s pants of today’s bill”
kelly osbourne - amsterdam melkweg - “more personality in her little finger than Gareth or will” (is that all we’re looking for these days?)

and finally , like they want our approval - great move dumping the texts column and replacing it with a ‘best thread on the website’ piece instead. Now all you need to do is get rid of those shitty photos...

*- we know he’s not dead. It was a joke.


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