Wednesday, May 28, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Pram style edition
Satire is alive and well and living in Space, the Liverpool Echo's latest attempt to bully any and every possible rival to its lucrative advertising monopoly out of the market by launching a similar, tackier, but much better resourced product to any magazine that looks like it might thrive. Hence, this spoiler for the so-so Your Move. Anyway, it claims to be 'stylish living in Liverpool'. The cover, to demonstrate just how stylish the city is: Atomic Kitten.

If I was Anastacia, I'd be really pissed off today, what with Sun deciding to grant moral equivalence to my story about breast cancer with, erm, geri halliwell banging on about dieting. Again.

"And what happened to androgyny? The androgyny that was so beautiful and that attracted me to the music business in the first place?" Another month, another Word; Chrissie Hynder given the space to get beyond the basic 'you don't eat meat/you don't look bad for an old chick', although space is found for these matters, too. Apparently Hynde has a clause in her will allowing PETA to exploit her image in any way they see fit after she dies; this is a fuck off to Courtney who wouldn't let them use Kurt in an anti-fur advert. Presumably because the concept of someone else using Kurt would have been anathema.

David Gray comes across like Cliff Richard, his self-regard poking through an attempt at what he must assume is self-deprecating humour: "Yeah, there's always a lot of women at gigs, and I don't know why. I think they've got good taste! [...] everyone knows Babylon and Sail Away and Please Forgive Me. It drives me mad. I'll just have to write some more hits!"

The Word team take some CDs with that copy protection which is meant to make them break Macs, and not only get the CDs to play, but also happily rip MP3s from them. Back to the labs, RIAA.

"With the possible exception of U2, there's nobody else in popular music who shares his belief that music is here to both communicate and provide community" opines David hepworth of Bruce Springsteen. This is almost so clearly wrong as to make me suspect it is a troll; intended to set the letters page aflame with letters of a "what about the Levellers/Radiohead/Ozric Tentacles" nature; jesus, even Oasis try to communicate, albeit in grunts, and provide a focus of a community, albeit of grunts.

"I think we need some proper musicians and real, heartfelt lyyrics - particuarly now, with so much pop around." Now, you might not want to argue with this - although "so much pop" is a bit like saying "all this weather" - but if we tell you that the worrier of the swamping power of pop is June Sarpong, she off T4 - the only reason Busted exist - you might think again. And when we tell you that her solution to a world of pop is more artists like Vanessa Carlton - or "Avril Lavigne sitting down" as we think of her - you'll... ah, but you've already wandered off.

Luke Haines had certain reasons for wanting to win the Mercury Prize: "It was just the money I wanted. They could have given the kudos to PJ Harvey or someone."

Charles Shaar Murray reviews the new Buffy DVD box sets - he loves 'em; more surprising, Christopher Bray lavishes praise on the Minder DVDs.

John Naughton's masterly review of the Benny Hill biography makes some good points - most notably that it wasn't Political Correctness that lead to ITV axing his show, but the declining quality of a humour that was already so ropey to begin with it entertained Michael Jackson. But he falls for a spot of historical revisionism, repeating the new line that Ben Elton is "mistakenly seen as the scourge of Benny Hill" while quoting some of the once-funnyman's post-millennium pronouncements. Ah, but some of us have long memories, and we can recall Ben on Friday Night Live banging away about how it's not funny to have men chasing scantily clad women round carparks when real women are really being raped in real carparks. That sounded quite scourgey to us at the time.

Talking of icons of the Thatcher era who've slipped a bit, the main business of Word this month is a trip round Morrissey in America, which has a lot of interesting things about the post-mortem Smiths court cases, but also focuses on Mmmexchange friendly matters, too: "When you live [in America] you learn secret ways of laying your hands on important things like imported teabags. Americans are terrible at confectionary, and cheese, too. [...] BBC America is positively vile, with the worst aspects of British television." He's scant time for Coldplay, either: "if you fail with that amount of promotion, you must be pretty atrocious." Something for Robbie Williams to mull as he signs for the returned copies of Escapology.

Proving what a good push can do, the nme this weeks reports that Coldplay are going to rake in USD7m from their current jaunt round the Americas. The paper, however, puts this down to their "quintessentially British balladry" - which we don't think, indeed, bloody well hope they're not; and even if they were, why the fuck would something so firmly tied to Blighty set the Americans all a twittering - it's not like its a nation supping ginger beer while watching Corrie and eating marmite, is it?

The nme is tricked out like a Summer Special this week. Haven't they done that every May since they first got colour presses? It's starting to look like the designers can't be arsed these days, either. Strokes on the cover, although space has to be found for some model - there to illusrate 50 Great Things That Will Happen This Summer, apparently.

Radiohead failed to sell out Belfast, and touts were selling tickets for face value, which shows that nobody came out well from all that fuss about people selling tickets on. Touts didn't make much; Radiohead had empty seats staring back at them; and dozens of people who would have happily given up their corneas to see Thom Yorke sat at home instead. Result, Thom.

Noel Gallagher can't figure Radiohead, you know: "[they've] sold 20 million albums and they're still miserable." Yes, Noel, there are only Happy Songs, sung by Happy People, and Sad Songs, sung by Sad People. There's no possibility that someone could be quite happy in their private life but also worried or concerned about, say, the way the world is, or the fact that a country could take two Monobrowed Thug Digbots and turn them into heroes, is there? Noel has thirteen new Oasis songs, people.

His brother, meanwhile, is, for some reason, encouraged in his loutish behaviour by a newsdesk tittering over his brutal treatment of a photographer and his leery, lairy yammering - although they do land a small punch back on him, running his quote "I write the best fucking songs in the world" straight after his observation that "I don't believe in music papers - you only print crap."

In the ad for their new whatever it is, Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics is sporting a Tim Burgess haircut. Except it makes him look like Sharleen Spiterri.

Travis are set to return to play a gig for African famine relief. This completes the list of "like Status Quo", then.

The full Glastonbury line-up is published - Moby headlines Sunday, so making an early exit desirable - you can be back in a city before nightfall. Elsewhere, there's an advert trying to encourage people not to go to Glastonbury without tickets - it shows a man dressed up as a cow with a camera pointing at him. Kind of like the circus field, then.

At the other festival, the NME seems to think that it's averted rail chaos single handed - claiming that following their report last week, South West Trains have decided to add extra services on the other London-Reading route. Nothing to do with the Mean Fiddler organisation contacting Network Rail in March, then?

The gossip pages are so poor and so desperate to dredge up some sort of 'joke' we wouldnt be surprised to see Mr Abusing making a return sometime soon.

Ed Harcourt does the CD - Interpol, Bright Eyes, and the Muppets.

!!! are apparently coming under pressure to change their name from their record company. Maybe someone should take them to one side and point out that Freur, ? and Prince have all been here before, and nobody's impressed. Oh, actually, the nme is , getting excited that if you put their name in a search engine, nothing happens. Yeah. Real handy.

Amongst the fifty reasons why this summer is going to be so good are Christina and Justin touring together in the US, HarMar hosting some Ibiza nights, various festivals, Benicassim and video phones. They don't actually ask poor readers to step aside and let the average disposable income per reader they can flog to advertising agencies rise, but the point is there. Reason 40 is the chance to see Damon from Blur naked - by going to the Tate. Hmmm. Justine didn't seem to think that was so great, so why should we?

The Deftones fight amongst themselves about their hair.

stereophonics - you gotta go there to come back - "neither exhilerating nor challenging", 6
dave gahan - paper monsters - "dignified, haunted and euro-decadent", 6
british sea power - the decline of... - "out of place, out of time, quite possibly out of their minds... often out of this world", 8
nu - alphabravoshockpopdisco - "archly executed pop album", 7
spaceman 3 - forged prescriptions - "winsome sonic noodles", 7
skin - fleshwounds - "too smart to be pop; too glossy to scrap with pink", 5

sotw - kings of leon - what i saw - "shaggy"
king adora - born to lose - "still going? why?"

at ULU, "the Kills know what rock and roll is"
Dandy Warhols - manchester academy - "the xanax paranoia of the madhouse at primetime"

and finally: who is the more over-optimistic: the chap auctioning domain name on ebay, or the bloke hoping someone will buy his B1 R0K car number plate for GBP15,000? [Both in nme small ads]

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