Wednesday, June 11, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Extra free booklet madness edition
The Face comes with a special extra magazine (in a lovely cardboard box) to, um, mark something - it's not like a birthday or anything; it could be tied in with the redesign, or maybe it's purely a way of delivering the Levis advertising inside it. It's a sobering read, though, reminding us of the days when the Face felt like it had second sight on youth culture, leapng on trends seconds before they even arrived.

Nowadays, of course, the title is more like the Accident Group - turning up after something has happened; desperate to try and make a huge claim for it. And we know how much credibility and success the Accident Group had. [NB: For American readers: they sacked all their staff by text message last week]. Claims are made that the new edition marks a remix, but to be honest, if they weren't making a fuss about it, you'd probably not even realise this was meant to be the start of a new chapter. Sure, the masthead is now Pink, and the typography has been tweaked - but headlines on the Face are always changing, um, their face. You might have wondered why the layout was so poor this month, but you wouldn't have realised this was the culmination of months of design-level and above meetings. More probably, you'd have assumed that the design team had been down with the trots at deadline time.

It's not all bad, though: the photography is stunning - pages where the images have control look really good; and there's a sequel to the 2000 visit to Baghdad by Andrew Mueller. But that echo of the past, together with the Greatest Hits booklet, just add to the feeling that the 'new' Face is trading on what it was. The remix is nowhere near radical enough to save the title, I'm afraid.

Another two-edition magazine this month, it's FHM's 100 Sexiest edition. And here, too, we see the signs of a magazine on the wane. Sure, it still sells by the bucket, and sure, the 100 is an event as always, but the number of people who exist solely because of men's magazines - Hollyoaks babes, Jordan and her ilk; even the bloody woman who won 'Common Girls In Their Pants' or whatever it was - that comprise the bulk of the rundown is a depressing sign that the days when the FHM readership was a broad church has gone; if the magazine seems to be a little less witty, a little more crude these days, it's clearly reflecting a similar shift in its readership. The days when Cerys Matthews, Janeanne Garafolo and so on could crop up in the list are way behind us. And: The Olsen Twins? Do you know no editorial judgement, you sick fucks? For the record: Halle Berry is number one.

Even the nme has an extra booklet this week - best festival pictures ever or something, which ignores the simple fact that the best festival photo is never going to be as gorgeous as a nice one in a studio. Ah well, it's okay.

The nme proper has got Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on the cover again (it's clearly their plan to get featured in this slow news period between spring and festivals, almost ensuring a cover). The band are replicating the Cameron Diaz Loaded cover, by standing in a swimming pool.

The big news this week is: the nme has a picture of Jack White in swimming trunks. That's their news values, not ours.

They talk to this alterego of Jarvis Cockers, but their intro talking of Jarvis' 'increasingly bizarre behaviour' suggests that the nme doesn't actually see it as a pisstake, either.

Shane Neil's lawyer suggests that Kim Howells and David Blunkett's foaming about the So Solids being involved in gun crime may have prejudiced his client's trial and mutters darkly about legal action - erm, except, since Shane was found not guilty, it didn't, did it? And wouldn't a better lawyer have raised this concern at the trial to help his client's case? And while the Culture and Home Secretaries interventions weren't helpful, shouldn't the real ire - and possible malicious prosecution suits - be directed at the police who pushed forward with legal action on the lamest of evidence (they found no drugs, no guns - hey, but a lip-reader reckoned they'd seen Shane say something. On CCTV.)

Karen O has turned down Playboy, but kept the option open for the future, but warns "there won't be any titties, dicks or fannies." So, the bad news is she won't do full-frontal. The good news is we're not in Crying Game territory, then.

Lars Ulrich loves the White Stripes and claims to have been a champion of the datsuns - having Lars fight your corner must be great - his word carries a lot of weight. Like the way nobody downloads music now. Talking of which, you know we all made Lars cry inside back during the Napster wars? "I was certainly more hurt than i let on" he whispers. But now "there's no victory claimed, there's no gloating." Erm, yeah, that's really magnaminous of you Lars, since you lost - I don't know if you realise, mate, but since your stupid and clumsy intervention, illegal music downloads have grown by about a million times in size. And we could download your new record now, it's just we respect our ears too much.

Evanesence are pissed off that they've been marketed as a Christian band - Amy Lee fumed "I guarantee that if the Christian bookstore owners listened to the CD, they wouldn't sell it." Unfortuantely for her, they took her up on her challenge. The label, miffed that the band are now trying to deny their part in the targetting of a soft market, have pulled the bands records from the Christian sector. Cheer up; there's always the burgeoning satanist market.

Grandaddy do the CD thing - Ween, Bad Brains and - no, say it aint so - ELO.

He looks like Lemmy and has a self-confessed 'irrational' fear of driving. He's Devndra Banhart.

Talking about the track US government on the first album, Peter Black rebel motorcycle club say "it's understandable why someone at a record company would feel [they should leave it off] - the horrible truth is the US has made everybody too paranoid to talk about the government. The next thing is someoen's going to get shot over it."

Har Mar Superstar observes that having Shingles sucked. Last year's comedy novelty act Liam Lynch, meanwhile, pops up to plug his album of Phil Pope style parodies - opps, sorry: "these are valentines, not parodies" he fumes.

Queens of the Stone Age are so painfully dull the quote that the paper has to pull out is "sleep when you're old; sleep when you're dead." Presumably they edited out those other tshirt staples 'I'm with stupid' and 'reality is an illusion caused by lack of alcohol."

reviews
albums
the mars volta - deloused in the crematorium - "not even the loss of such a good friend can stop them now", 9
John Power - happening for love - "flat, cliche ridden [self] parody", 4
bill hicks - shock and awe - :includes snooker, hooliganism and small regional towns", 8

singles
sotw - colder - shiny star - "a punk-funk lothario"
placebo - this picture - "only those with ill-applied black nail varnish are still listening"

live
alfie - brighton pavillion theatre - "where the charlatans meet the beach boys"
pink grease - dovebridge studios - "hell, yeah"

in what we assume is what should be called intertextuality, anthony thornton edits nmemail, but also appears in that stupid 'famous people and their stalkers' feature

and finally The Works offers advice to bands on putting a website together: "Make sure you sign up for the neccesary megabytes of storage." It doesn't say if this would be 2, 18, 3000, or ten million...


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