Saturday, September 27, 2003

SINCE IT WAS ON ANYWAY: Still waiting for Sky to come and return us to digital, Saturday morning boils down to a choice of CD:UK or Dick and Dom. So we plumped for CD:UK, and... well, we took notes:

Amy Studt is cooking her breakfast with a boy who looks like he could be the stand-in for that chap who plays Superman in Smallville - the confused sexuality years. She, curiously, is starting to look more and more like Chloe Newsham, who was Victoria in Corrie. She married Steve, much to her grandad Alec's chagrin (her parents had died in a car crash, which is a fate all too common for the children of Weatherfield.) Victoria was a lousy character - all trying to prove her adult credentials but really just whining and dull, which means that Amy Studt doesn't just look like her.

CD:UK proper starts with "the brand new single from Blue" - blimey, are they still going? It's called Guilty and is - surprise - a mulitvocal ballad. The boys all stand with their backs to each other, which suggests we're at the stage where they're about to rush for the single solo career. We're guessing the one who's started to turn up unshaven and spikey-haired thinks he's going to be the shoo-in; sadly, he's probably already blown any money he's ever about to make after Blue split up on his linen jacket. Cat pops on when they've finished - which you can only tell has happened because they stop swaying; the song is such a piece of nothing that you don't really notice if it's there or not. Duncan confides the song was co-written with Gary Barlow, sending a shudder down the entire nation.

CD:UK News reports on the Mobos and the Disney Kids Awards (an awards ceremony so bizarre Dannii Minogue won Best Female Artist) but finds a little clip of Stuart Cable talking about how much he enjoyed recording the last album and how it was more fun than ever - they didn't actually say "Kelly Jones is a big stinking liar", but they might as well.

Inevitably, then it's Gareth Gates. Clearly, they're trying to shore up diminishing returns by steering him away from the Unchained Melodies and given him a very faintly funky tune - kind of like Ricky Martin in Autumn. He's got a woman drumming for him, which is slightly more interesting than anything else about the song.

Emma Bunton files a report on London Fashion Week. "I'll always be a high street fashion girl" confides Emma, although frankly New Look is going to be beyond her budget if that Spice Girls reunion doesn't hurry up and happen. She asks Julien MacDonald if there's anyone in the pop world who is a fashion no-no; he butters and instead takes the opportunity to list the people who he does like - including Ms Dynamite (how does she get that turned up in a trackie look?). Bunton is morphing slowly into Alice Beers.

The Sugababes now appear to have Katy Corrie doing lead vocals. Their Richard X fuelled rebirth has finally wound down as the new single - first of the new album stuff - just lacks any oomph whatsoever. No more great pop from them. The badly drawn cartoon bassist tries - and fails - to end the tune with a bang, smashing his instrument into the amps. He fails to cause anything noticeable - no splintering, no sparks - just a spot of flapping for Deeley. It's all a little embarrassing.

The video panel is Brian Molko, Duncan Blue and Heidi Sugababe-Kitten. Video one is Beyonce jiggling about on the sort of mat we used to have to do PE on when i was at school. Heidi struggles towards some sort of political statement about the Mobos - "the British acts should win them"; shes' quickly knocked down by Brian who points out that urban music is, basically, American in origin. The difference between a man with an opinion and a woman with half a brain is telling. No mention is made of the Beyonce song at all.

Next up, Holly Vallance in her Ramones tshirt and no skirt (not that she likes being sold on her sexuality, of course). "I think she's a girl's girls... erm, i think it's good" chirps Heidi. Brian says he's deeply deeply suspisicous and that she "reeks of stage school" and chides her for jumping on an electroclash trip two years too late. Duncan refuses to accept that having to sell only 4,000 singles to get to number one makes it easier to have a number one; he tries to mutter something about longevity being harder instead, but clearly he's not thought it out.

Final video is the "up and coming" Lostprophets. "This is the first year ever that rock has outsold pop in the singles stakes" claims Cat Deeley, confusingly. Instead of talking about the Lostprophets, Brian takes the opprtunity to call The Darkness "a little spinal tap" before getting back on topic and lambasting the welshmen for not taking any risks. Duncan and Heidi are given two words each. Frankly, I'm none the wiser about the videos - shouldn't there be some sort of vote or something at the end?

CD:UK is sponsored by Ribena. When I was a kid, there was a girl down our street who lived with her aunt because her Dad used to make her drink neat Ribena and it rotted all her teeth, you know. Which somehow seems appropriate when the next segment starts with Robbie Williams on stage in Knebworth. The shots of the crowd show that they're all singing along totally different songs.

It's a mixed up world, says Sophie-Ellis Bextor. To demonstrate the mixed-upiness (which her same-sort-of-stuff-as-off-the-last-album won't do), she's dyed her hair blonde. Half an hour in a salon and she's gone from icy-cool goddess to harsh-faced council girl on a Friday night in Newcastle. Let's hope she's not using one of those shampoos that don't take your colour out quickly.. Let's hope harder that she chose this single as a gentle ease-back and she's got something that's going to startle us up her sleeve.

Also on a tricky comeback trail are Muse - Matt Bellamy now boasting more of face than he had before and starting to turn a little bit into Brett Anderson. "Please welcome Muse" bellows Cat, despite the footage clearly being from another place and another time entirely - unless they clear out the slightly bored looking girls and move some bouncy goths into the studio whenever a grown-up band come in.

In the course of the chart rundown, Cat revelas Big Brotha's next single is going to be a Bananrama cover and Dido is going to play a gig in new York and London on the same day - thus confirming her position as the female Phil Collins.

At number one, Black Eyed Peas - Cat tries to get excited about this, but having already pointed out they only sold 4000 copies to get the accolade, she's facing an uphill struggle trying to make this out to be any great shakes. It is a curious song to be at number one - it's like a Charles and Eddie single has somehow turned up to worry about nuclear bombs. The track is cut short to allow the show to play out with Metallica - "the band who brought rock to a whole new generation"; yes, Cat, the last generation. Ugly, sweaty men playing shit music introduced as being the 'best rock act' - clearly, CD:UK are trying to frighten the kids back to pop as quickly as possible, to clear the charts of bands who might be a little more difficult for them to stage than the S Club 8.

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