Wednesday, October 15, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Re-crucifixion of Christ (cancelled) edition
Andy Parfitt, head of Radio One, had a big interview with mediaGuardian where he suggested that he doesn't feel that bothered about raw ratings because "the radio One of it's heyday bears no resemblance to today's station with its social action campaigns, bespoke news service, documentaries, new, specialist and live music." His implication being, of course, that Radio One does all this extra stuff and that's why it's losing numbers to the commercial competition. But the Radio One of its heyday did social action - the reason why so many thirtysomethings felt an unspoken resonance with Portishead is because that was where we used to send off our stamped, self-addressed envelopes for Which Way Now information packs; Newsbeat has just celebrated its thirtieth birthday, so bespoke news isn't that new - in fact, ten years ago the station had half an hour of news in prime time; Radio One has always done documentaries - the difference being that they used to last an hour and unfold over several weeks (25 Years of Rock; You'll Never Be 16 Again) rather than fifteen minutes poked away on a Monday night. New and specialist music has always been at the heart of the station - where does Parfitt think all the archive 6Music is making hay with comes from? - although less so now that he dumped Kershaw; and live music... that used to be Saturday teatimes, didn't it? So, apparently, Radio One now bears no resemblance to how it was when it was the Nation's Favourite despite being almost identical. Although to be fair, back then the breakfast show would tend to in the hands of a sweaty, overweight bloke who prioritised the sound of his own voice over the music, and now? Chris Moyles might actually fall under a bus before he takes over.

Anyway, Parfitt reckons the network isn't in the dire straits that it's claimed to be. "XFM's whole audience is about the same size as the audience for Sunday Surgery." Shh... don't point out that XFM only broadcasts to London and then to a niche audience, while Sunday Surgery is a mass audience programme on a national network.

Nice story in our new local freesheet MK news - earlier in the year plans for black metal festival in Milton keynes had caused massive consternation, especially when the organiser had warned that it "might turn into a black mass or a satanic orgy." Only the snizzily titled 'Re-crucifixion of Christ' has had to be cancelled because... none of the bands wanted to play it. Bless.

Vanity Fair has got its Music Issue - promising "Bonus: No Britney Spears interview", which is kind of self defeating for a magazine that's bragging about having "Avril" inside. They also seem a bit confused about why Liz Phair fans feel a bit queasy about her latest turn - suggesting that her fans were worried about her new clothing rather than seeing their favourite singer-songwriter buying in tunes by the yard from the people who produce Lavigne.

David Bowie pops up, of course - is there any magazine he's not doing a piece for these days? Has he got a slot in Anglers Times? - this time, he's choosing his favourite albums. The Red Flower of Tachai Blossoms Everywhere and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris, since you ask.

Asked why rock stars marry supermodels, Simon leBon responds "Why do dogs lick their balls? Because they can." Which is charming for Yasmin.

The bulk of the issue, though, is about photography, and is mainly drawn from Annie Leibovitz's new book - everyone from the dixie chicks to the white stripes and all points in between. It's lusciously done, and shows again why the NME's attempts to become known for its photography is always going to be hobbled while it's on newsprint.

This week, for example, the Big Picture is of the Flaming Lips dressed as aliens - there's lots of colour, but it all looks flat and washed out.

The front cover, of course, leads on the relibertising of Pete Libertine. Apparently he and Carl spent the first day "having a few things out" (surely one of the few things Pete could have done while he was still inside?). And what has Pete learned while inside? "We search the heavens and the stars." Clearly the drugs problem in prison is worse than we thought.

How are the Strokes now? Have we lost them? We'll leave you to judge how U2 they're getting with this quote from someone at their first gig in the US: "Julian Casablancas reached down in the audience to bring someone on stage, and dragged up a seven year old kid wearing a Yankees tshirt."

The Cramps do the CD thing: The One Way Streets and the Wailers.

Peter Robinson asks Emma Bunton "You have remained in the place. Do you still like it in your face." Curiously, she doesn't actually answer the question.

The Radar band is 20/20 - or is it the 20/20 band is radar? - "Hendrix plays the White Stripes, apparently."

There's three pages of Jet, godhelpus. "I hate comedy music" snaps one of the band. He's referring to the Darkness, ad apparent;y he's not being ironic. The charges of misogyny (which nobody has seriously made) are considered and despatched, but the whole racist stink still hangs over them, and it's the nme who's trying to push it away: "Jet use words like bitch and nigger because they've noticed that rap artists are never questioned about their use of such terms so that must make it ok." Sorry, that's just bollocks - are we really supposed to believe that Jet are too thick to understand the difference between Snoop saying 'my niggaz' and white guys from a country that has a really poor record on race relations saying 'niggers'? If that's true, they shouldn't be given a platform in the nme, they should be given a couple of extra hours homework.

Funeral For A Friend's Matt gets really touchy about having it goaded out of him that he's a christian, but suggests that god is a big Go-Rilla Biscuits fan.

Kinesis, apparently, aren't a political band so much as an "aware" band.

hope of the states - king tuts - "a violin bow strung across raw emotions", 8
the darkness - cardiff USU - "if you want pastiche, look first to Jet", 8
andrew wk - ULU - "I was paid to be here, and I still feel ripped off", 1 - (Normally we'd be delighted at the sense that they finally seem to have twigged nobody likes him much, but... if clearing out WK just means more space for Jet, we think we've gone from the pan into the burner.)

sude - singles - they're up there with "oasis, the strokes, the stone roses and the smiths", 7 (yes... except what are oasis doing in that list?)
various - stop me if you think you've heard this one before - "yours for a fiver", 7
J Xaverre - these acid stars - "he atones for all Kenickie's crimes", 6

stow - chingy - right thur - "nice wurk"
yo la tengo - today is the day - "very autumnal, too"
pink - trouble - "tries to be feisty - and suceeds"

and, finally, in the "I love" bit, Alex White, given a world of music to choose from, decides to talk about Elvis. Inspired.

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