Wednesday, March 19, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: No cock and roll fun edition
Due to last week’s intermittent internet access, there was no Pop Papers - for those of you who print these out, laminate each and then save them in their wipe-clean glory for all eternity, you might want to record that last week’s NME had Oasis on the cover and wrote about them like they mattered. It also had a report on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs London gig. The audience, it was noted, turned up in smart clothes and ties, which seems to us to be missing the point, or merging the rules, or something. We don’t know for certain, it just feels wrong.

Also last week, Mel C told readers of Now that she’d rather die than endure a Spice Girls reunion, which suggests only the prospect of a massive tax bill will get them back together. And Britney told Glamour the truth about her and Justin, even while Dannii Minogue was telling OK the truth about *her* and Justin. Justin was being feted by the Face, and presumably telling the truth about his life of shamefull masturbation. We’re not sure about The Face leading with Timberlake - nice chap and all, but they reckon he’s the King of Pop. More the haemophiliac prince, we’d suggest.

But there’s a long way between getting it confused and getting it very, very wrong indeed. And so we turn first to Heat - which claims “Geri: i had sex with a woman” as an exclusive (admittedly, it’s the only weekly entertainment magazine with a general listings section to have carried the story that’s been on Howard Stern, every website and everywhere else) - we’ve said elsewhere how sad we feel that she’s still trying to tie herself to any and every bandwagon in town, and it’s funny how her pisspoor temporary Tatu echoes the Guardian review’s sniffy dismissal of Placebo fans as the sort who ‘experimented with bisexuality once at a teenage party.’

Also with lady trouble, though, is the new NME. It’s done - hold still for this - a Women in Rock issue. When Bust do it (although more as a Rock in the women angle), it at least makes sense. When Rolling Stone does it, you know its more an excuse to get some bikinis on the front page (like they need an excuse) under the guise of A feminist Examination. But the nme? It held off doing Women In Rock issues when they were apt, sneered when they were cheesey, and so it goes and blows it by doing an article themed round the ovarian tract. In 2003. Jane Solanas must be spinning in her grave, or wherever she is now. Women In Rock? How is it the ‘me can pretend to celebrate the ladies, when week in, week out, what’s noticeable is how few of the On/Hot New Bands are all male affairs; something in the order of ninety percent of the musicians featured in Bring It On come cock-prepared; that it chooses to applaud women in rock when there are precious few women in the nme. Always a token gesture, the whole project comes off as little more than a half-hearted attempt to redress the balance. And, to top it off, in a world where you have the pick of Peaches, Miss Kittin, Pink, Princess Superstar, Shirley Manson, Eve, Missy; with this choice of covers, they go for...

Avril Lavigne.

If you could stop giggling at the back, we’ll rush through the news - there’s a report on the anti-war gig, a considered interview with Mike D of the Beasties about their new anti-war single; a fair amount of criticism levelled at Noel Gallagher for his dimwitted shruggage at the anti-war protests; two pages on Serj Tankian and Tom Morello’s Axis of Justice anti-war campaign, a consideration of Madonna’s anti-war bid and Peter Whitehead’s championing of an Iraqi boyband. Do you get the sense that building an issue on the claims ‘girls are everywhere’ might have missed a trick to create a genuinely topical and controversial themed edition?

Hot Hot Heat create a cd from bits and pieces - The Beatles, The Push Kings, David Bowie (Five Years)

Interestingly, just seconds before kicking off it’s totally girl editorial, they find space for a lookalike - “look! jo Brand is fat! So is Kelly Osbourne! Teehee!” - which probably shows up the issue for the hollow demographic chasing that it is.

So, the justification for the WIR special is that “girls are everywhere” - clearly, this must come as something of a shock to the exclusively Eton-educated boys who write the paper - you can imagine the surprise as someone looked up from the census reports saying “nearly half of the world are ladies” in a mix of surprise and terror. So, here’s their list of women - neatly, all are pigeonholed under a heading, which again isn’t entirely progressive: The heroine - karen o; the pin-up - avril lavigne; the mouth - kelly osbourne; the subversives - tatu (this, of course, would mean Jordan is Che Fucking Guervara); the superstar - pink; the siren - vv; the sex terrorist - peaches; the sweetheart - meg white; the innovator - missy elliot; and the activisit - of course Ms Dynamite, the “non-packaged voice of the streets”, it says here, praising her for not stripping a la christina next to, erm, a picture of her legs akimbo in a ripped-beneath-the-knockers-top.

Presumably Ladytron have been featured this week because they’re called LADYtron, you see? Danny is emphatic they don’t have any robotic bullshit going on onstage.

Lisa Maffia claims she’s married to all forty-five of so solid crew, which marks her out as being different by having a sense of humour, as much as anything else.

The big event, of course, is Avril Lavigne. She’s real, and she’s determined to prove it: “Do you think three adults came up with Sk8r Boi when it was based on my high school experiences?” Erm... frankly, yes. Otherwise why would they get such a huge slice of the royalties? And it’s not like the story is very unusual or unexpected - it’s no more unlikely three blokes wrote it than Joss Weedon creating the high school vampire metaphor of Buffy, or even aaron spelling cooking up Beverley Hills 90210. “All the other rock chicks are all sweet and innocent, but I smash guitars in my videos, I say ‘fuck’ in my interviews, because that’s the attitude I’ve always had.” It’s a pose, Avril. People who really smash and swear aren’t aware they’re doing it. They don’t worry about not singing ‘fuck’ because mummy will hear the song. It’s all a pose.

Charlotte Hatherley’s top female hellraisers don’t include Avril, oddly enough - they are Bjork, Chrissie Hynde, Elastica, Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, PJ Harvey, Courtney and, erm, Kelly Osbourne.

reviews
lp
aphex twin - 26 mixes for cash - “more valuable than ever”, 8
placebo - sleeping with ghosts - “outmoded rock band in an attempt to modernise themselves”, 5
the cardigans - long gone before daylight - “flourishes sparse enough to let the songs bloom”, 8

singles
sotw - hot hot heat - bandages - “you can dance... you’ll be crying too”
harry - under the covers ep - “there should be more pop stars like Harry”
the d4 - ladies man - “a fine racket”

live
the thrills - london ulu - “rejoice”
ac/dc - new york roseland ballroom - “no surprises. that’s the point.”
placebo - london astoria - “Brian is doing us a favour”

and finally, The Works asks Jack osbourne “how did you get into A&R” - the answer he gives isn’t the honest “Duh, Daddy and Mummy.”


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