Wednesday, November 12, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: End of Mission edition

The Guardian is in love with Alex Parks, else how can you explain two days running worth of stories on the Fame Academician? On Friday, the Guardian's women's page twittered excitedly about how this had been a key year for lesbians because they'd been on reality television - that they only appear as individuals doesn't seem to have occured to them; that the makers of Celebrity and Acadmey won't introduce two lesbians in case they start to touch each other's bottoms. We're also, presumably, not the only people thinking that the real sign things have changed will be when people are unable to list the programmes which featured lesbians during the year. (Although, actually, the programmes up between BBC2W and Sky Welcome do help knock up the average a bit).

Next day, and Alex is in Weekend. Since there are only two things that are in any way interesting about her - she's won a pop programme and she has a hairstyle not witnessed since L'oreal dropped the stu-stu-stu-studio line advert - it's not clear why it was decided that she was worthy of an in-depth profile. We didn't learn very much - although she says she never wanted to be on fame academy but her Dad sent the application in ( considering the series' strapline is 'whatever it takes', there seem to be an awful lot of contestants on it who had done bugger all to get there besides having a parent with a spot of the Mrs. Robinsons), and that "it's a big responbility" to be a role model for gay youth. Erm... yeah, it is, we guess, but you know what, Alex? You're not. Had Patrick Kielty attempted to bully you into snogging him, or the indierock boy called you Van Dyke Parks, or The Sun run a campaign to get you thrown out the Academy, then you might have had some sort of inspiring struggle for The Kids to be inspired by. As it is, you came, you were carefully single, and you won a TV gameshow. Please don't think there are thirteen year old girls going "Wow... even though I fancy my best mate, maybe one day I might even get to win Stars In Their Eyes." As it is, if you hadn't mentioned it, your lesbianism wouldn't have even been noticed.

Much more healthily, the Metro has got a thing about Pink - three front page stories hung on nothing very much at all (rather like her outfits, boom-a-boom). Anything which keeps Aguilera out the spotlight is fine by us.

So, this is it for Careless Talk Costs Lives - issue one, and mission over, although, as Ev True ruefully admits "so, we didn't bring down the UK music press. We still feverently believe we're right." And to a certain extent, they were. Everet & Steve go onto further attempts to change the way we read about what we listen to - Loose Lips Sink Ship and Plan B. But first, they have one last issue of passion to burn through.

Jerry Thackery makes the curious assertion that "it's rare that an artists can dress in such a lascivious manner and lack sexuality, but Polly Harvey manages it." Eh? Since when did Polly Harvey lack sexuality? She might not look like she's an easy lay, but she even so, to suggest she lacks sexuality is just absurd. These sound like the confused words of a young boy too scared to get it up, and too ashamed to admit he's got a problem.

Miss AMP interviews Peaches and asks her is Har Mar is the male Peaches, which is such a preposterous suggestion we can't quite believe it, like asking if Trevor McDonald is the black John Peel. Oddly, Miss won't let Peaches video the interview, because she doesn't feel confident enough in how she looks, but then goes on to commend Peaches for kicking at the assumption that only the attractive should be allowed to be seen. Well, it puzzled us - 'well done for breaking down the assumption that you have to look hot if you're going to be on display, but don't film me, I'm ugly?'

Cover act the Gossip also infuriate: ET starts out well: "I've always been suspiscious of self-proclaimed white trash indie bands [and] the fact [they] sang to a bunch of self-congratulatory Brighton sorts..." (i.e. Ladyfest) - but now he's changed his mind. But he shouldn't do. We like the noise the Gossip makes, but their attitude? It's just wrong. Nathan says "I don't inderstand these bands that have no punk or DIY ethics at all - they just want to be popular" - important words, because it sums up everything that's wrong with the uberindiescene. DIY and Punk ethics are great things, don't get us wrong, but to suggest that there's something wrong with not having the desire to sacrifice your chance of being heard to spending hours burning CD-Rs and playing to the same thirty people is just ludicruous. Is popular bad? Why? Would Radiohead be doing more if they were releasing their records as 7 inch vinyl singles and still playing to the half-full Bullingdon Arms? DIY is great, but to suggest that there's something beyond understanding about a band who aspire to sell more copies of their album than they can store in a small box under their bed is so utterly self-defeating, especially in a band who would have you believe they've got something important to say, politics to impart, roles to model. Beth, the singer, is burning with belief that she's there to be a figurehead - "being fat and being queer the way I am is really important to me" - but they're stuck in this tiny, choking little world of playing Bristol Ladyfest one week, Brighton Ladyfest the next - who are you reaching out to? How many of those confused and lonely and scared fourteen year olds are going to be at a fucking Ladyfest? We might mock Alex Fame Academy's belief that she's a role model, but at least she's visible. Being queer in a queer friendly (indeed, grossly-over-familiar-with-queer) little world isn't taking a stand, it's taking an easy way out. And what's with all the bollocks about being a "person of size" (her phrase)? Beth, you're not fat - sure you'd probably be comfortable with a few less pounds, but to hear you bang on about your weight being part of your identity must really suck for those girls who do have problems with their weight, whichever way - like the girls who were told that Tara-off-Willow was fat and who looked at their bellys and sighed "if that's fat, then what does that make this?" I know you think you're helping, but really, you're just adding to the problem.

Thank god, once you're past them, John of the Mountain Goats has just produced a break-up album despite being happily married - "I write about it in the hope of not making the same mistakes."

Joey Ramone once borrowed a dollar off Thomas Truax, and used it to play Ramones records on the bar jukebox.

Amusingly, Neil Kulkarni has become a gamekeeper-turned-poacher by forming a namd called the Moonbears, and realises during his interview he's already started spouting interview bollocks. Stevie Chick goads him further, challenging him to claim he's making music for himself and if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus.

How did Belle & sebastian end up working with Trevor Horn? "He selected us" explains Stuart Murdoch. He also reveals he used to be a big fan of Yes, because his sister gave him one of their records. Back before all these music TV stations and iPods and Napsters, that was how it worked - the music you had was the music you had, and you learned to love it.

Kieron Gillen goes to the Bristol Ladyfest - "the musical equivalent of a personal blog."

When he was seven, Kid Koala wanted to work with bugs.

Amongst the final CTCL reviews:

14 Year Old Girls - Zombies Out Robots In -"post-punk-popstering on Amigas"

Josef K - Live at Valentinos - "can still be learned from, or taken like tonic, or danced at"

Tsurubami - "crazy yin/yang theory abounds"

And then it's goodnight from them. We had carried a burning desire that the countdown would have been abandoned, or another way had been found, but we respect them for pulling out when they said they would - it's like the manics had done one album and split up. It's very Sarah Records farewell. We'll all meet again, of course, but just this once, a pop paper is closing because it's done what it set out to do, and not because it's been shunned into economic meltdown. Respect to the team.

And as the CTCL flag is taken down, here comes a new title - or, at least, a revival of an old one. The last Sounds was a big, inkie weekly, but it was bought and closed by EMAP on the same day. Now, it's been revived as the logic of the current monthly market seems to have finally hit home. Publishers spend a fortune producing big, heavily staffed magazines, slap a CD on the cover and, normally, the CD secures the sale and the magazine is binned largely unread. So, it seems, they've decided to try something a bit more intellectually honest, launching a CD which comes with a tiny magazine. Hence, Sounds is reborn (albeit with a spot of nervous Q-cross-branding), and, for four quid, you get the sort of CD you'd find cover mounted on Q (Snow Patrol, Raveonettes, Electric Soft Parade) and a tiny magazine with Brody Dalle speculating on if Pink has a dick (mmm...) and The Cure being rediscovered. It's an interesting idea - magazine company turns to being record company - and we suspect we'll see more of this sort of thing.

A year on from the first issue, X-Ray (more synergy - oh, you can feel it in the air) is still going strong, also with its CD (Rilo Liley, J Xavere, Her Space Holiday) and an exclusive chat with kelly Jones over the way they dumped Stuart Cable. It's almost as if he's afraid he came over like a cunt dumping his mate like that. Jones claims that Cable knew he was going - apparently a press release came out before he'd had a chance to tell his family "it was a legal fuck-up." If this is to make him seem less of a cunt, it doesn't. You screwed up the press releases you used to sack your mate of several years? Cunt.

J Xaverre is keen to stop being thought of as 'ex-Kenickie', which is a bit rich considering the reason he gets press attention is... well, not because of the stuff he's done since Lauren hung up her indie shoes.

Charles Saatchi and Midge Ure like Aqualung, claims Matt Hales. And, we guess, that's not the sort of thing you'd make up to impress people.

"We're remarkably unremarkable. We're decent, normal people who happen to have a talent" bores Fran Healy, making an already dull prospect - the return of Travis - seem ever less colourfull, ever less carnival. He then babbles on for a bit about how the 'C' on the ground in London allows you to behave like a Cunt - as if backstabbing only takes place in the centre of the city. He believes that the music industry would never last in scotland as "people are too decent to stab you in the back." Perhaps he's unable to read The Scotsman all on his own. Let him be.

Curse those long lead times:
X-Ray: How long can you see Suede staying together?
Brett Anderson: As long as you feel as though you;re still doing something good and relevant and making some quality work"

Mind you, they then go on to ask him about the 'bisexual man who's never had a gay experience' quote - for the fucking hunderdth time - so maybe that was enough to push him over the edge.

In the NME, incidently, Brett describes A New Morning as "weak." Hmmm.

Thank God we have a subscription now to NME, so we can threaten to cancel it when we're faced with The Fucking Beatles on the cover. Let It Be re-mixed? Who fucking cares? No, make that: If we cared, we'd be reading Uncut or Mojo. Jesus Christ.

The big picture is Jack and Meg and Justin Timberlake, as if we're supposed to be surprised any more that Justin has his picture taken on our territory .

Tori Amos burns an entirely fictional CD - and if she really wanted to make one with U2 and The Beatles on, we'd burn her before she could burn it.

Interestingly, Kelly Osbourne's album is advertised in the paper - but there's no mention of the label in the advert. (Sanctuary hiding?)

Peter Robinson takes on Ludacris, and this week he loses, as 'cris suggest Peter gets a gucci interior for his car. On Time Warner wages?

New Band is My Red Cell, who appear to be Super Furry Animals reinvented for a McDonalds romper room.

"If sex is on your mind" says wayne coyne, "then watching the Flaming Lips may give you a bigger range of things you want to experience." Like, presumably, dressing up a s a dolphin.

The posters - the 90's collection - are Suede, the verve, Trainspotting, Jeff Buckley, Prodigy, Blur v oasis and - let it lie, now - Richey with his arm cut up a-fucking-gain, a picture they've printed now more often than the Sunday People have run that one of Jesus' face in the melting snow.


Biffy Clyro - Glasgow (of course) - "some kind of Nevermind aware demigod", 8
Janes Addicition - Brixton - "nowadayd in the business of putting on a show rather than fucking with your DNA", 5
Relaxed Muscle - Camden - "ever-reliable special needs dance moves", 8

Ref Hot Chilli Peppers - greatest hits - "how this band have grown", 8
Kylie - body language - "extremely tastefully done"

sotw - my red cell ep - "visceral and as real as it gets"
stereophonics - since I told you it's over - "so comically bad, so hysterically overwrought"

and, finally, guy from Elbow loves Talk Talk. Every time you feel yourself thinking Elbow aren't that bad, they give you a new reason to hate them.

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