Saturday, June 07, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Live, tonight, from Hull:
Ice, which must be the dimmest, nastiest piece of work ever to be sold on a general newsagents shelf, has got Pink in this month - 'she's lewd, rude and nearly nude' they promise. If you think it's odd that Pink is doing press for a shabby mag like this when she's not actually promoting any records, it's because she isn't actually interviewed inside - it's a short cuttings job and some pictures. Wooo. The magazine itself just feels horrible - we have no problem with magazines that print pictures of sexually alluring people looking sexually alluring; but the way its done here is just dismal. Not brave enough to embrace proper porn, but trying to put some degree of distance between itself and Page Three, Ice tries to make itself edgy by just not showing any human restraint. An article about a serial killer-rapist-kidnapper duo in the US illustrates itself with a picture of one of the killers with one of their victims. Now, admittedly they don't choose a still image from the video of him actually raping her, but knowing the context of the picture (she had already been held for several days, they were attempting to brainwash her into being their sex slave, and - oh yeah - she was a few metres from her tortured to death baby) you wonder why even the most stinking of Beelzebub's demons would think this an appropriate image for a knockabout magazine. Yeah, it might not be a picture of the rape, but the point remains - it might as well be. Avoid at all costs.

The John Harris Britpop book continues to do the rounds, and this time it's the Guardian (Saturday) Review which has handed the book out - and it's Mark Lawson who does the honours. Time was, Mark was our leading pop culture grammarian (oh, yes he bloody was) but these days you start to wonder if he's spending too much time on the telly and the radio to be able to relate to it in isolation. It's a nice review, though, if more interested in the Blair aspects of the book than the Blur ones; Lawson does lose it a little suggesting that Harris would have been better off if Justine had shagged Tony as well as Damon and Brett. Not only would that have completely altered the tone of the book anyway, but she doesn't have to: Tony Blair has more than fucked the lot of us up the ass enough this last couple of years.

Radiohead and Glastonbury get their own editions of NME Originals, but The Smiths are accorded only a supplement to the body of the NME proper. Fair enough, it saves us money - and us Smiths fans, now most of us are on pensions, appreciate any chance to save a few bob; but is it really necessary to make The Greatest Guitar Band Of Them All After [add your own list here] relevant to today's youth by slapping Noel Gallagher on the front? "How the Smiths changed my life" says Noel - presumably the carrying of gladioli made it easier for him to spot the namby-pambies to punch in school? Or maybe - having realised that The Smiths pop songs sum up love, life, misery, rejection and the whole damn thing in three minutes flat, he realised he didn't have to try to do that at all?

AFI are on the cover of the NME - "the world's most worshipped band" claims the coverline, which not only ignores The Pope And The Holy Trio but is a dangerous claim anyway. We shall see.

The Libertines have played "the most intimate gig of all time" to seventy people - which not only ignores every gig in Liverpool between 1987 and 2001, where seventy would have been a full-on-crush, but also the Nirvana gig mentioned a few pages seen by just twenty. Ah well.

Kelly Osbourne explains the dropping from Sony thus: "When Mottola left [sony], I got put on a shelf" - which not only ignores the way her records were released by label after Mottola was released from his contract, but the simple evident fact that nobody wanted to buy them. It's not as if Osbourne didn't get a push greater than Kate Moss trying to give birth to a full-grown Robbie Coltrane, is it? She also claims that people at Sony in London "didn't know till last week that I wasn't signed to them any more." This suggests that Sony is the only office place in London without access to the internet.

British Sea Power do the CD thing - Pavement and Julian Cope but also - oh, my - Tatu.

Chris Lester of Jet is proud, but in all the wrong places -"I have never heard one fucking Aphex Twin record in my life and I don't care if I never do. I'm fucking serious about that." This wallowing in musical ignorance may explain a related phenomenon - we've heard Jet records, but we wouldn't recognise them if asked to pick them out of a line-up. We're serious about that.

Compare and contrast with the try-it-and-see attitude of The Thrills' Daniel Ryan - "I don't know a lot of other bands, but I think we're more obsessed with music than any of them." And you know what? It shows.

So, AFI, who are SXE. The main problem we have with straight edgers is that their entire stance is dictated by what they're not, rather than what they are. Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do? - and look where that got Alan Ant. Having said which, this is one of the best bits we've come across in the nme for a long while and shows - given the length - their writers still have a spark and a talent. There's absolutely no reason to give a cover to AFI, apart from to try and sneak some sales back from Kerrang, but Dan Martin rises to the lack of challenge wonderfully, asking Davey AFI to defend his lyrics 'we dance in misery' - "What sort of dance goes on in misery?" The tone is a gently amused awareness that some people take this sort of self-pitying guff seriously that manages to entertain without patronising the band to their artfully painted faces. And, as anyone who actually knows misery will tell you, misery doesn't spend hours on its make-up.

Metallica - St Anger (can that be right - we're working from notes and we can't read our writing here) "true masters", 9 - yeah, the masters may be great but we'll wait and download the MP3s off Limewire, thanks
Radiohead - as we predicted, this is just a repeat of the earlier review
Mogwai - Happy songs for Happy People - "often complex", 8

sotw - the thrills - big sur - "polyphonic spree on prozac"
afi - girls not grey - "you can't help grinning like a loon" (another nail out of their coffin as gloomiest guys, then)

homelands - "only Mike Skinner could make a beer-can littered field feel like home"

the back page is an advert for a Radiohead album. We're kind of confused as to why Thom Yorke objects to Radiohead music being used for adverts to sell things, but doesn't mind adverts being used to sell Radiohead music. Is the whole concept of the advertising industry suddenly rendered much, much sweeter when the adverts are bringing money to Thom in an indirect fashion?

And finally: in the classifieds, a plea from the makers of Busted who are looking for Males, aged 16-19 to play in a new band. They're having open auditions, and the band, we imagine, will be as real as Busted themselves. That’s why they're looking for a drummer and bassist. Only, erm, good looks are essential, being able to sing is merely desirable. Oh, and the first whittling down of hopefuls will be done on the basis of personality rather than musical skill. In short: Mark E Smith - no; Andrew Ridgeley - yes. There's an email address, too: - if you think you have a future in rock. At least until your balls drop, anyway.

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