Wednesday, September 03, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: ... and a paw-mark from Patch edition

Our first awareness of Kings Reach Tower came at an early age: in the little story about the anthroporphic housewife mouse that appeared on the bottom of one of the pages of Jack and Jill (we didn't like Jack and Jill, but Teddy Bear had merged with it and so we were had over a barrel - this was also, come to think of it, the first time we learned of the capracious way IPC would fold one title into another, like the Melody Maker into NME, for example). We can't recall what the mouse was called, but we do remember a story where, in order to provide her village with advertising billboards like the big people had (we know how unlikely it is that creatures would voluntarily choose to blight their own environment, but we'd imagine Clear Channel have already started looking into how to sell to voles, otters and weasels anyway), the mouse flew on the back of a seagull to Kings Reach Tower, where she stole some front pages of comics, which she then used to make the adverts. For the next few years, the name of the building was one of those things that bobbed just outside the consciousness - along with Gordon and Gotch being sole agents for South Africa and that whole being registered as a newspaper at the post office; something comfortably ever present in the small print, not quite ever making itself clear what it really meant. The next time Kings Reach Tower really broke out of the foot of the inside back pages was when the NME moved there shortly after I'd become a regular reader, taking rooms on the floor above the Melody Maker. And with those two titles sharing premises, it seemed as if the butt-ugly block was the very heart of the music-industry, albeit a two-headed one (if, erm, a heart can have two heads); teenage years fair whizzed by wondering if the two teams of pop magazine rivals used different lifts, or if the NME would stamp its feet extra-heavy when the Maker had a tight deadline. We also wondered, of course, if they could see Sounds offices from up there. Those days are long past - no Maker any more, and soon, perhaps no Kings Reach Tower. With the usual disdain shown for the quirks of British Culture by the International Media, AOL Time Warner announced plans this week (reported by Media Guardian) to pull the building down - perhaps raising something new in its place, or maybe moving all the staff out to god knows where. If they do decide to go ahead, we hope bits of the building will be sold, in the style of Wembley turf or the Berlin Wall. A lot of history has been written in those walls. Plus those Andrew WK covers, but nowhere's perfect.

So, quickly, then, to this week's NME - "We're fighting a war against normality" proclaim The Cooper Temple Clause on the cover. Sadly, they're looking shite these days. And there's a teaser on the front page - 'Meg White joins a new band' - shock, shock, horror, horror - have the Stripes actually split? No, of course not, it's merely that sauntering onstage with Brendan Benson that they're barking up.

News: Jet go to prison and play a gig in Pentonville. Apparently someone broke into their dressing room and shat all over it while they were onstage. Yeah, if Jet tried to play a gig at us, we'd stage a dirty protest, too.

This week's 'Who's that Jackie Wilson' moment I: since the Strokes new look owes a debt to Tron, the nme explains to us kiddies exactly what Tron is. Thanks for that, guys.

Yeah, of course theres a pciture of Madonna and Britney kissing. I.E THEY ARE LEZBEENS.

Bobby Gillespie has been miffed by the tabloids running stories about him and Kate Moss - he seems to think they're invading his privacy, when, of course they're not - they're merely invading Kate's. Yer average Sun reader probably doesn't recall That Band Who Won The Mecury Prize Ten Years Ago.

There's a nice obit of Ian MacDonald, and generous words about his importance both to music and the paper - wonder if there's anyone on the staff who'll be remembered like that come 2030?

"We asked our American readers whether the darkness will make it in the US" breathes the newsdesk. "The responses were vague and would only be used if there was a gap that needed to be filled, like, for example, the band wouldn't talk to us about their forthcoming US plans. Oh..."

Jet do the CD burning thing - You Am I, The Kinks, and Sam and Dave. "See, they're black. We don't have a problem with black people. Black people love us."

The poorly-named Thursday blah on about being anti-rock stars and punching people with Hulk gloves. And so on. They seem like nice, dull, men.

Jason Pierce of Spiritualized doesn't really want to answer questions about drugs, or the Darkness, or anything much. He does suggest that record companies are "throwing out release like ballast" in a bid to try and stop going out of business.

If the fact that The Cooper Temple Clause still hang out in the Purple Turtle makes you smile a small smile, it does us, too. Wonder when that last got a namecheck in the paper? The interview with them is good, easy reading,; you don't feel you know them any better but they seem clubbable enough. Who's that Jackie Wilson moment II: "Who is Philip Larkin"? - how dumb do they think the average reader is these days?

"Would you stab someone because you heard 'They Don't Know'?" asks Asher D of the So Solid Crew. Maybe not, but that's not really engaging with the critcism of the band, is it?. He's convinced that there are people out to "get" them - that, if we've got this right, "the government" are "out to shut down the whole urban music scene." Maybe Hutton could have a look at that one, too, then?

There's two pages of The Rapture (hey, proper bands getting decent chunks of space - if last week's pre-relaunch issue felt like end of term, now they're having fun while the bean counters are thrashing out repagination costs). Luke from the band wants to make a lot of money so his wife doesn't have to work as much. We can relate.

As they only agree to do interviews sperately, it seems likely that Outkast are going to split soon. We've read the interviews, and we can't see any way in which this would be to the detriment of the Wider World.

tim bugress - I believe - "the first worthwhile solo project since Shaun Ryder discovered Temazepam", 7
the rapture - echoes - "resonant music", 9
pretty girls make graves - the new romance - "screams quality and tunes", 7
laibach, WAT - "declare they are time itself", 6
my morning jacket - it still moves - "timeless", 8
smashmouth - get the picture? - "the kind of noise for which music is too generous a word", 2

sotw - franz ferdinand - darts of pleasure - "resistance is futile"
christina aguilera - can't hold us down - "so retarded you expect it to soil itself halfway through"
the robocop kraus -"gothic [married to[] psycho shouty rock"

hot hot heat - highbury garage - "nothing could dampen the flames"
babyshambles - earls court troubabdour cafe - "the audience are cheering, but there's nothing worth celebrating"
the rolling stones - london WC2 astoria - "they're an inspiration"

and finally, in response to an a letter about Jet's nonesense the other week, Tim Jonze asks "isn't it kind of exciting to witness a band too drug-fucked and dumb to keep a check of their own mouths?" Frankly, Tim, not once you're past twelve years old, no.

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