Saturday, January 25, 2003

Surely a tuna would be more apt?

A member of a boyband hangs out with the coolest act in the world, in a "let me carry your bags"/"please like me" act of desperation. As Justin Timberlake dresses up as a dolphin for the flaming lips, no rock asks: Is history repeating Robbie Williams as farce?

Neko Case: Also a review

More Morag, More Manchester:
This much we know: neko is beautiful and has a voice somewhere near the tingly side of patsy cline if she had become a hollering punk. There's not a lot to add really; The Voice needs capital letters and stardust and garlands; she really does sound great, whetehr she's singing one of her haunted and haunting orignials or reclaiming an old time country tune.

It's ashame the show let her down. The main reason for this was the venue. Night and day sucks. Its a great hangout at lunchtime or when there's not many punters in, but when its jammed packed the fact it's long and narrow with shitty acoustics starts to matter. Factor in the lack of air con which means most of neko's on stage banter is reduced to variations on 'jeez its hot' and well.... its never going to be the best show ever.

The band had their moments; it is always fabulous to see Jon rauhause; tonight he played steel guitar and banjo and was, at times, awesome. There was also a guy on stand up bass which worked really well on some songs but got a tad boring after a while. A lot of songs were from the last two albums, plus some traditional numbers sara told me all americans learn in school. And there were moments of real beauty when the gorgeousness of The Voice and the music carried me away. but still a nagging doubt.

it was good, but it should have been brilliant.

fyi: she was wearing dark blue jeans, nicely fitted, a navy blue fitted t-shirt with a silver design on it (even when I was right at the front i couldnt quite figure out what it was) and some very nice blue trainers. and her hair looked less red than i remembered.

Flaming Lips: A review

Thanks to Morag, head being at Twang magazine, for this report from Manchester:
We arrived mid way through british sea powers set and oh! How I want to love them as Rachel said she did. So few bands make an effort this days; I don't want band to melt into the audience and certainly they win points for trying. Costumes, pog jumping, model animals and trees and big bass drums….check. check. Check. Merchandise included chocolate too. The problem was the tunes; alarmingly average and prone to self indulgence. But maybe it wasn't there night; I was so excited at seeing my current second favourite band in the world perhaps I wasn't listening. I'll cock a kindly ear should they pop up on the radio and fingers crossed they will grow into the rather ace name.

After they had done, and beers had been bought, and crowds marveled at, I let Rachel into my secret route to the front of the stage. Never fails at The Academy (oh. I mean Academy One of course) and so we were suddenly at the very front, stage left. Hell, the security guy even ushered me into an even more perfect spot than the one I had identified.

Suddenly theres a huge cheer; some smelly looking bloke in a bad hat has meandered onto the stage. Oh wait; its damon gough., and its a Manchester, hence the near hysteria. I have issues with bdb; he has a smattering of solid gold pop nuggets but they are forever getting buried in his shambolic, self indulgent shit. Bah. Anyhow, despite his inherent arrogance (its not your show, fucker. We don't need you telling us how great the band is – we paid hard earned cash for our tickets) this was a time I couldn't help but love him. This was mainly because he only played three songs; not enough for me to get bored. And the middle one was a wonderous rendition of you were right, complete with the night joe strummer died. [sigh] I love this song, I love the way it starts off and you think its some crappy indiefied lady in red and then it all kicks into place and you think: yes. So simple and so right. Of course, becuase the bdb world revolves around Oldham street there was an extravagant ending of feud with alfie – like we were all caring about that one, eh kids? – but its no time to be churclish. This was a lovely little bonus before the main event.

Suddenly Carmina Buranda strikes up and the stage is invaded by dancing people in animal costumes. And in the midst is wayne coyne urging the crowd to keep bouncing the giant balloons he is throwing into the crowd. I gasp in delight as the opening notes of `race for the prize' kick in. There's someth9ing in the air and I just know its going to be a magical night. And so it is.

the lips weave a spell that is so joyful and full of wonder. I don't know how long it lasts; while they are playing I'm in a parallel world a lot like this one but stranger, happier and less cynical. At one point they talk about how every show is like a birthday party for them, and the thing is you believe them; wayne coyne looks so joyous and bouncy that its infectious and its impossible to have an ounce of cynicism when he talks about how `all that we have is now'. Hell, he even manages to dedicate a song to the volunteers of the world and how great their fans are without sounding cheesy or resorting to trite platitudes.

I have to say this makes him a deeply sexy man; it's he sheer force of will and that grin and the way he moves and… between him and the animals (what a stroke of genius!) I was transfixed. It wasn't until the next show I noticed the films behind them; mostly promo clips and tv appearances. Waiting for superman is still one of my favourite videos ever.

The sound is *fantastic* full and rich and washing over an ecstastic crowd. Most of the set is from the last two albums; when they played a kick ass version of `she don't use jelly' I marvelled at how far they've come. I mean, that's a good song to dance to, but the soft bulletin and yoshimi… are albums to change your life.

Its hard to pick highlight.s. The famous nun puppet returned to sing the last verse of a tender yoshimi…; all that we have is now was truly epic, and by the time they asked `do you reaslise happiness makes you cry' well, yes, because the tears were there. Sometimes its all you can do, when words don't exist for how marvellous something is. This is one gig I am glad I didn't go to alone because man, I needed a hug at the end. By the time they finished with `lifted up the sun' I was exhilarated and inspired and unable to stop grinning. It amy only be January but this may well be gig of the year.

The show was full of moments of childlike innocence and wonder and songs of wonderous, shimmering, life affirming beauty. If anyone asks me why music matters when there's a war going on, well I'll play them yoshimi… and if they still don't get it, fuck em.

Won't someone please think of the labels?

An interesting, doomy Wired piece suggesting that we're in the year The Music Dies. Except, of course, what it means by "the music" is "the music industry", and what it means by "the music industry" is "the current major record labels." While not certain this is a good thing, it does at least suggest that it might be.

Why should we regard EMI and Island as being neccessary and desirable; why should we worry about them not being able to adjust to the new demands of their market? The big labels have never pretended to be social services, they've never worried about dropping acts who suddenly went out of favour with the public; they've recently not been showing much interest in developing audiences and careers for new artists.

Why should we suddenly start to worry about profit-driven organisations with a record for treating their customers like schmucks and their artists as shit? By their own admission, ninety per cent of their products never make a cent in profit, so even when they're at their best, they're not even good at being record sellers. Music existed before the RIAA and now there are many ways that artists can thrive without being on a major label. Bankruptcy in the music industry? Why should I be worried?

Friday, January 24, 2003

Something we forgot

We hope that Natasha - apparently she considers herself too famous for surnames - the XFM dj is being made to feel like she's been shunned by her friends and families after a shameless attempt to pass off Jump The Shark as her own concept on this week's Buzzcocks. The conversation had got round, somehow, to something outliving its prime, and Natash - in the past thirty seconds she's become even more famous and doesn't need the final 'a' to identify her - said "It's like that show Happy Days where Fonzie had to jump the shark..." - Natas, did you really think there was a person alive who'd go "what an invigorating observation; a novel concept; a witty new coinage"? Everyone's visited Jump The Shark, you daft pooty - it's like trying to pass off "it is like a dog walking on its hind legs" or something as your own. Bah.

Quick updates

BRMB wound up with a fifteen thousand pound fine for the "sit on some ice" stunt; Jonathon King has been refused the right of appeal over his fucking underage people conviction.

"I didn't want anyone to find me or see me"

Isn't it funny that Christina Aguilera suddenly remembers her terrible childhood the moment a tell-all tattle book comes onto the horizon. Interestingly, she now says she's only wanted to become famous so she could speak out about domestic violence - great, Christina, so you've been waggling your tits about purely in the interests of abused women, have you? Nice.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Ding dong, ding dong, the wicked witch is dead

Of course, they'll replace her with an equally soulless company drone, but for a moment, let's spend a moment enjoying the news that Rosen is going to quit the RIAA. Our sympathy goes to her children, with whom she intends to spend more time.

They forget we took them up

Yes, yes, Popjustice, you have pleased us with your survey of rock-related computer games, but you've forgotten, of course, the Thompson Twins game that came taped to Sinclair User or something of that nature.

It was a flexi disc, which you then taped onto a cassette - yes, although that sort of thing was frowned on - and then you got to use basic text input to help the three twins solve some sort of mystery (They Were Detective, you see?). It wasn't very playable so we never really got much further than the pretty, basic graphics of Alanah Currie, really.

What the pop papers say: The dereliction of duty edition

Stumble... the resurgence of The Face hits a rock in its path as the new Popbitch junta in charge attempt to move away from the stuff they know about. Hence, while they could have had a gorgeous Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover, they instead lead with “Why the undead are cool” (or glamorous or something) “again.” Riding the Buffy wave about three years too late, guys. Or is this A Couple Of Days After The Living Dead?

Talking of the living dead, boys, Muzik magazine is struggling to keep its nerve in a dance magazine market that’s under more pressure than Bobby Brown’s rectum. This month, they’ve tried to recast themselves as always having had a non-dance element to their magazine, going all Uncut style with Madonna, Prince or apparently someone else on the choice of three covers. Even more dubious, the covermount which goes with the theme has got Joy Division on it. Joy Division? You sick fucks - he wasn’t dancing, he was an epileptic.

The Guardian Saturday Review made space for Philip Horne’s review of Alluding to the Poets by Christopher Ricks, a study of the poetic tradition of reheating forbear’s words, often without attribution; interesting from a music point of view both aurally and lyrically - of course, nowadays, rather than smiling and saying “ah, Ashcroft is referencing Loog Oldham there - how clever” the reaction is to send a stiffly worded solicitor’s letter. “It’s a means of lightening what Walter Jackson Bate recognised in the 1970’s as ‘the burden of the past’ which has hung over the English poet since Dryden and Pope, the sense that everything has already been all too well said” writes Horne, demonstrating that even the Manic’s most famous war cry - “we know we’re derivative, but what else can we do? Everything’s been done already” - was itself a rip-off.

The Economist is virtually a pop issue, taking time to consider both Pete Townshend and The Music Industry In General. In the first case, the ‘mist slides into the same trap as most of the other papers in confusing the facts of Pete T and Matthew Kelly’s trouble with the cops. Kelly is being investigated, but has not been charged with anything, and as such the treatment of him as a soiled, boy-buggering monster is at best contemptuous of fairness and quite possibly a contempt of court. But Townshend - also yet to be charged with anything wrong doing - has been happily admitting his law-breaking, and conducting a loud and public defence in mitigation. As such, he’s moved the courtroom out into the wider press; his admission of downloading kiddie porn and forking out cash in return makes it unlikely that he’d plead Not Guilty in court and so the question is up for consideration by a judge who - surely - are selected to be above such tittle-tattle anyway?

Happily, because it’s more about figures and the sorts of things you can do with an MBA, the economist is better on the question of why the Entertainment Industry is wobbling. It pays lip service to the download boogerman, but then turns its fire where its surely more deserved - with management eyes being so busily fixed on convergence and content and all the geegaws of the brave new world (the paper doesn’t add “fighting their own customers”, but it could), the music industry has lost sight of how to produce stuff that people actually want. It points to the slow turn in EMI under Alan Levy, who’s split the pocketbook from the soul with the new regime at Virgin Records. One guy to sign the music, one to make sure the figures add up. At least there’s a place for creativity in that set-up. What’s truly disturbing in the way the Industry is trying to build fences round its copyright past is that it suggests that that’s all it sees itself as ever having that’ll be worthwhile to work with.

So, no longer hungover, our newsagent was able to pass us an NME - an NME so light that we almost thought it was missing something. But it’s not. Datsuns on the cover.

When is that woman from the Daily Star going to turn up and do something for the news desk? At the moment she’s still being a Bitch - whose quality Private Eye points out included running as “spotted” “the queen, leaving Buckingham Palace in a car” - one step away from “Huw Edwards, reading the news - on the telly.” Still, we’re sure games will be lifted when she’s running the nme news desk. On the other hand, when its leading on the news that Noel has re-recorded Wonderwall - what were we just saying about how you start to cherish the past only when there’s not much bright in the future? - you wonder if she’ll need to bother.

Other things on the news page: What fans thought of 8Mile - um, unsurprisingly, being fans, they liked it; you can use a voucher to get cheap CDs at Virgin (this isn’t news, this is an advert, surely - and the fact that Page 41 needs a big up on page four raises the question - how far does the average reader make it through these days?); Didz from the Cooper Temple Clause got an infection when he had his appendix out; you’ll remember that last week the Home Secretary was going to impound our ears and only allow Blair-approved tracks to be listened to - there was a big spread in the nme all about it? Well, this week the cloud seems to have totally blown over - two letters in angst and a quick interview with Jay-Z (he’s asked a stupid question: ‘do you feel responsible for violent crime in the UK’) and Corey Taylor, for some reason, who says “The notion of government approved rock music is like military intelligence, an oxymoron.” Well, it’s good that you’ve at least listened to some Michael Franti, Corey, but ‘government approved rock music’ isn’t an oxymoron; it may be unpleasant but it’s not actually contradictory in itself. Somehow, then, last week the paper was telling us to get to the barricades, now it seems to have made some sort of retreat; Oooh - kelly osbourne *got* *drunk*. Who says she’s not a rock rebel, eh? If you want to measure how bright KO fans are, there’s a comp in an ad for her new single - the question is “Who is Kelly’s famous dad?” It’s a multiple choice. Dude, anyone who has any interest in Kelly will only have that interest because of her famous dad. Why not just ask “What is the name of Kelly Osbourne?” Courtney rings the NME to say that whoever started the rumour about her throwing herself on Joe Strummer’s casket “should be shot, with the gun and bullets then being mysteriously wiped clean of any prints.” Okay, we made the last bit up. More funeral news, as Maurice Gibb’s being laid to rest is interrupted by Lulu throwing herself on the casket, wailing and gnashing. She had to be pulled off by Angus Deayton and Helen Shapiro.

The Thrills get a turn to burn a imaginary CD, choosing Al Green, Dexys and Gladys Knight. We suspect they may spend their evenings compiling CDs to be covermounted on New Woman magazine.

The Polyphonic Spree - are they still here? Apparently.

There’s an almost fanziney feel to the Interpol piece - good work, people. Carlos has compiled a list of their obsessive, neurotic fans - Lego Girl, Gerbil Boy, Children of the Corn Girl. They have “Rock Band Found In Pieces By Lake” written all over them.

New Zealand is a hotbed of garage rock - apparently even those singing cows from the anchor advert have adopted an edgier sound. But kudos to Sylvia Patterson who has the cojones to ask Dolf “It would never cross your mind to be ground breaking? Original? Create the dawn of the absolute new?” Dolf’s response - “who says you should progress?” Which, in a way, is even more dispirting, and soul destroying, than that time the Stereophonics admitted to being a meat and potatoes band, and seemed quite proud of the fact.

zwan - mary star of the sea - “for the first time in nearly a decade, [Corgan’s] egotism seems valid”, 8
pale - how to survive chance - “a band with no care for sniping fashion”, 4
more fire crew - more fire crew cv - “destined for success [a year ago]”, 7

sotw: the warlocks - hurricane heart attack - “scrapes your brain”
easyworld - junkies - “indie so faceless it couldn’t be identified by its dental records”
tatu - all the things she said - “the russians are coming. quite literally, too.”

flaming lips (“a genius of goodwill”) and british sea power (“genuinely distracting”) - glasgow barrowlands
the get up kids - london ulu “growing up, but at least gracefully”

its funny because it’s true: an nmemail writer says “i was once the sort to quote Urusei yatsuri B-sides to people, but NME started me on other stuff... like music where the musicians have girlfriends.”

Snow globes

The Golden Globes finally turned up on British TV last night (on Living, of all channels - we presume this must be part of a deal under which UK Bright Ideas will show the Oscars) which meant we were finally able to see what a bloody shambles U2 were. Eminem has never been a young man to shy away from feeling life's dealt him a bad hand, but with their weedy little tune for Martin 'Joe 90 specs' Scorcese's Gangs of New York to have eclipsed 8 Mile in the tune awards, this time he's got good cause. And how on earth did Die Another Day get nominated for a music award?

Even shabbier though was when Bono bumbled on stage to read the citation of GoNY's best thing nomination - which, with all the panache of a PE teacher, he did (badly) from a crumpled sheet of A4 paper. When Mestipho came on stage, we were frankly staggered to hear that his appearance on stage had led to someone in this audience of Not Easily Impressed celebs actually whistling with joy and respect. Unfortunately for Mr. Vox, the producer cut quickly enough to show that the person delighted to see him was, um, The Edge.

Can we also say: Lara Flynn Boyle? If we were a star, we'd choose to wear a tutu too. That, surely, is the whole point of being a star?

Bo! He made his selecta

Craig David disappointed, but not surprised by low entry for new single. He admits he's been so busy trying to crack America, he doesn't really care about a piddly little market like the UK (sorry, "has a lot of work to do back here.")

Bad news for macintosh cleaners

Tatu aren't coming over here due to them being scared of being found out as a lot older than schoolgirls, not actually being lovers, having useless singing voices and no tunes to speak of. ("illness")

Didn't see that one coming

The dream of resurrecting the name of The Marquee has its tits now pointing slightly upwards. Of course, putting a venue in a shopping centre was a dumbass idea in the first place, but more to the point - where was the value supposed to be in reviving a name? Sure, in Liverpool the faux Cavern does good business, but it knows it's a nostalgia brand.

Expecting The Kids to get excited about a place because it had the same name as a place their grandfathers went to is pinning rather too much hope on the brand; certainly the acts booked weren't going to attract people who enjoyed the real Marquee.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


We're surprised and delighted to welcome recent visitors from search engines looking for a download of the great Charlie Drake's My Boomerang Won't Come Back and Brookside's Tracey Corkhill. And to the person whose search query was "Why are Billboard acts all young? Does age discrimination exist in music?" - yes, frankly.

Slipknot fear for our minds

Corey Taylor really is a simple man, isn't he? He doesn't like music videos or visuals because they "kill the imagination" - although apparently dressing like a bunch of op shop clowns isn't a problem. He mentions this, of course, after the two (two) DVDs have already shipped. And he seems to think that Disasterpieces is a clever coinage. We bet he does whittling, too.

That's the way to attack the charts

Kelly Rowland attempting to crack the all-important Cheeky Girls market.

Rose West calls off Slade wedding

We were just going to leave this story totally alone, but then, announcing that West has called it off, Rose's solicitor had to go and say "She telephoned yesterday to say her engagement to Dave Glover was off, and that she wanted to give that young man his life back."

Rose West wanting to give someone their life back, eh? That's got to be a first.

Also, some sort of mirrored hat has to be raised to Reuters for the line:

"While the glam-rockers were notching up 23 chart hits between 1971 and 1984, Rose West and husband Fred were raping, torturing and
killing a series of young women at their home in Gloucester."

True, maybe, but unduly an unduly ghastly turn of phrase.

Service announcement

If you're waiting for Pop Papers, it's going to be a little late this week. See, our newsagent had a heavy night last night, and we didn't have the heart to make him check the delivery for our NME...

How will they do that?

Now that a judge has upheld the right of Record Companies to force ISPs to trample over their customer's rights to privacy in the US, the RIAA is of course delighted.

Interestingly, the RIAA's news page contains a couple of massive clangers - the judgement explicitly refers to the subscriber "downloading" 600 files in one day, and makes it clear that these actions are only alleged to have happened, not that they've been proven.

However, the RIAA's site states that the subscriber has made 600 files available. Let's hope the RIAA page isn't prejudging the case - after all, the Judge was merely considering whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act obligied Verizon, the ISP, to hand over details of the subscriber; he wasn't attempting to debate the rights and wrongs of the actual events the RIAA was "investigating."

Now they have the right to poke through your details on a whim, what are the RIAA planning to do? Cary Sherman says "we look forward to contacting the account holder whose identity we were seeking so we can let them know that what they are doing is illegal."

Really? All this so they can pop a card through the door saying "Please don't do that." Hmmmm. After all this effort? Isn't that like Blix discovering weapons grade plutonium and anthrax-in-coke-cans stacked in Hussein's bunker, and Bush saying "right, well now we've got the evidence, we'll right a really stiff letter to Baghdad."

Sometimes, we don't need to say anything

Bobby Brown has been admitted to hospital with a mystery ailment.
We could do a punchline, but we're sure you've got your own - add them here:

Signs that you're running out of ideas #308

Recording a cover of own work. Oasis are redoing Wonderwall. At least Marti Pellow had "good" financial reasons for re-recording Wet Wet Wet stuff.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Over and under

We're not sure that this piece from the Coventry Evening Telegraph isn't meant as some sort of comprehension exercise, including an example of total overstatement (Girls Aloud "established themselves as serious contenders on the music scene") and ludicrous understatement - "The Cheeky Girls who are sure to perform their signature tune, Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)". Sure to? Of course they bloody are - they played nothing else at their recent GAY appearance - a long, long twenty minutes. This is life, indeed.

Brian - Now he drums, too

Placebo are doing a London date. But no rough stuff - we want him back in one piece.

Goddard takes on godhead

A rather fine interview with the agreeable and entertaining Simon Goddard author of Songs That Saved Your Life, the Smiths books. Sample quotes:

"Didn't he call Rogan's book 75% lies? If he denounced mine as 74% then I'd consider it a minor victory..."; "Morrissey's solo career is a different kettle of fish because in the history of rock'n'roll the story of the making of 'Southpaw Grammar' is culturally nowhere near as significant as the making of 'The Queen Is Dead'"

Isn't this mentioned in Revelations?

Not that Shakira's live show is sluggish and has "dirty" vocals, but that a lady emerges from under a giant snake and covers AC-DC?

Largely ignored stunt to be ignored throughout Europe

After Digital Download Day comes Euro Digital Download Day - a chance for a couple of hugely-regulated downloads in an unloved format to be shunned by people of all nations.

Extortion contortion

Confusing twist to the Celine Dion Husband rape allegations, as the couple who made the original allegations are now being investigated for attempting to extort money from the horse-faced chanteuse and her husband-manager. Previously, the woman involved had been arrested for passing dud cheques. We hope that someone's taking notes - there's a great musical in this.

DP go summer school

It's just too delicious that, rather than splitting up in a sudden explosive moment, Dismemberment Plan have come up with a schedule to take the band to pieces.

This just in

Coldplay, Chilis for V2003 - it's a repeat of 2001, in other words. Inspirational programming, no?

Smith pops off

Jeff Smith leaves Capital amid "too much pop" crisis. Curious - is this a sign that the march of the last twenty years of Independent Local Radio towards all Top 40 formats is coming to an end?

Tuning and freezing

Blogs you can listen to - it's the coming thing. If you're a fan of Freezing to Death In The Nuclear Bunker you'd probably already know that Jody's spun off a radio station. Here at No Rock, we're working on a range of novelty boxer shorts.

Idle no longer

The basis that left/got kicked out of/snapped clean away from Idlewild, Bob Fairfoull, has joined Degrassi. Although we're not conviced that this is the first band to be named after the transatlantic Grange Hill clone.

Monday, January 20, 2003

We really must thank them

Due to an idiotic internal postal service, we've only just got hold of last week's Music Week with the year end charts in it. Thanks, guys.

What's obvious about the state of music from looking at them is just how quickly singles acts burn out now - of the Top 50 selling singles acts this year, only nine were on the list for 2001; and only three of the top twenty were in the top 20 last year (Atomic Kitten, Blue and Westlife, since you ask.) The biggest selling seven inch was The Jam's anniversary repress of In The City, which still only managed 5,555 copies despite a pocket-pleasing 75pence price tag. But more seven inch singles were sold than any year since 1998, and although the format now accounts for only 0.6% of the singles market, that's double its 2001 share.

There's some oddities in the singles chart - topped by Will Young's Evergreen, a stain of shame that the year shall have to wear for all eternity. Addicted to Bass by Puretone is up at 37; surprisingly Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson made the 100; Sophie Ellis Bextor's Murder on the dancefloor was higher placed (87) than Get Over You (89), despite having been split its sales across the Christmas and New Year 2001-2 break.
Albums sales saw Frank Sinatra doing well for a dead bloke, moving up from 33rd to 30th biggest album act, and there was a plummeting in popularity for the Stereophonics which gives us hope for the future. But best selling album was Robbie Williams' escapology, edging the much better Pink from the top of the chart.

Now 53, 51 and 52 dominated the compilation chart; just ahead of Pop idol's Big Band Album.

The airplay charts are interesting - if you like this sort of thing. Overall, Kylie's love at first sight was the most played track on UK radio. Surprisingly, Shy FX Shake UR Body topped Radio 1's list (569 plays over the year); Travis' Flowers in The Window shuddered Radio 2 to a halt 199 times. The commercial network pressed the button to make Liberty X's Just a Little take us up to the news one million, one hundred and forty four thousand, six hundred and twenty two times - a cummulative audience of just over forty five million. And as if the fear of poison in the underground and the congestion charge wasn't bad enough, people in London had to endure 1,352 plays of How You Remind Me by Nickelback on Capital Radio.

On telly, MTV filled the few gaps where it wasn't going "We have the Osbournes - aren't we wonderful" by sticking Shakira's Whenever, Wherever on 750 times; it was also the most requested on The Box, getting 973 plays.

It takes two, baby

Graham Coxon probably pissing himself laughing that it's going to take two musicians to replace him; thereby trebling the number of musicians in Blur.

Three Lucky Strikes and you're out?

You'd think Michael Bloomberg would have more things to worry about being mayor of New York than the Rolling Stones having a fag onstage. I mean - it's The Rolling Stones for god's sake - they're having a Silk Cut on stage and you're sending cops?.

Fuck me with a Camel Light, Bloomberg, this sounds like the actions of a man without much of a grip on reality. Be thankful they didn't work out Mars are sold as Milky Way in the US.

Yeah, fine - til it knifes your Barbie

What on earth could anyone want with a Sid Vicious doll? I'll bet Malcolm's moping that he missed that trick.

Madge desperately clings on

Diminishing career... what to do?... film flops... badly... people laughing in the streets... Madonna's escape plan: guest role in Will & Grace... surely not testing the ground for 'Maddie', a sitcom where she plays a former rock star juggling her career and family?


The weekend business papers speculated on sticks about a possible spin off of BMG's music companies to allow a "merger of equals" between them and EMI. It could happen, and if it does, the axing of 400-odd bands when EMI bumped out of its Mariah Carey disaster will look like a papecut...

They axed World In Action for this, you know

It's funny that Martin Bashir is still dining off his interview for Panorama with Mrs. Diana, lady Princess - nobody seems to remember his more recent 'scoops' like the Steven Lawrence suspects, do they?

Anyway, the latest boinkster who's agreed to have Bashir's insightful "Just why are you so lovely" flummery directed 'at' them is Michael Jackson. I

n what must surely be a low point for ITV's Current Affairs output, a ninety minute Tonight special is dedicated to the crumbly face man - this a few months after Mariah Carey was given the full soft questions, hard sell commercial-dressed-as-news treatment. ITV have a record for making very bad pop shows (Get It Together, The Roxy, Pennis Pops Out) and it seems to be a tradition that the current affairs department is keen to keep alive.

We're predicting Christina Aguilera for Christmas.

Local music forever. Yeah, right

Leaving aside for a moment the question of why a campaign about The Entire Nation's local radio is tacked on the end of a MediaGuardian report about BBC London, we're not sure if we should cheer or sob, forever, until leopards form in our ducts at the Music Business Forum's sudden realisation that most "local" radio isn't local at all.

The Forum - the BPI, the MU and another thirteen bodies - have suddenly realised that crappy, standardised chart networks have swallowed virtually every radio station in the land, and that the interesting little pools where new talent used to be able to take their first steps have dried up. The indie BPI, AIM, are quoted as saying

"we want to make sure local radio stations are required to carry local music, just as TV stations have to broadcast local news",

which is wrong for a start - only one channel (ITV) is obliged to carry 'local' news anyway, and if the government attempted to enforce Channel 5 or, god forbid, Granada Men and Motors to carry local news, the proposal would be shot out the water. More to the point, what would count as local music?

Would Liverpool's Radio City be able to claim it'd kept its end up by playing a Beatles track every hour? Really, the fact there's fifteen organisations here and they've all sat by for the last thirty years watching local stations being bought up, allowed to change their formats more and more towards being "Rosie Ribbons, 24 hours a day", and not saying a word sticks in the craw a little. You wanted a station in Liverpool playing new Liverpool music? Where were you when Crash got fucked over, bought out and turned into a lite dance station?

A beautiful flower which withered and died

We forget to plug iCommune here - a plug-in which allowed iTunes to be shared over the internet. Now its too late. Bum.

Well, if it keeps money from going to the likes of him, yes

Robbie Williams says "Piracy is great."

We take this an encouragment to steal as much of his material as you choose - after all, don't labels constantly bang on about how they're only fighting piracy so the artists don't miss out...

Natas si setag llib

Oooh, let's all "up"grade from Real Player to Windows Media, shall we? I can't think of an argument against now they're making it virtually impossible to rip from CDs with a new toolkit. One suggestion for everyone: apple.

Not all record labels are whelping like lambs

For example, there's sanctuary records - record sales up 26 per cent last year in a supposedly declining market.

Now, since Sanctuary are facing exactly the same challenges as Every Other Label, how can they be thriving while the majors fail? Perhaps its something to do with a focus on releasing records by acts that people want to buy, and keep on wanting to buy; maybe its down to their "three sixty" approach - they see themselves more as a music entertainment company rather than a record label.

And maybe by avoiding pumping millions into a spurious battle against kids with CD burners, they've kept focus on what they're meant to be doing - flogging music.

ANYTHING at all?

Radio One are offering you the chance to ask Justin Timberlake any question you like. That's just asking for trouble, isn't it?

Curiosity cubed

New York Post's Page Six is reporting the following:

"Britney Spears definitely has her hands full. The pop tart, in Sundance to try and drum up a movie career, is juggling both Fred Durst and Justin Timberlake while partying around town. During Saturday night's Express/Project Greenlight party, Spears arrived with several girlfriends, p.r. people and a bodyguard in tow. Several minutes later Durst, dubbed "the backdoor boy" by Sundancers, snuck into the party by the back door and joined his new flame in the VIP section."

Where to start? Do we speculate if Britney's got more chance of a film career than Durst has of a shag? Or, more interestingly, why is Durst being called "the backdoor boy"? (Yeah, that was what we thought, too.) Even more winningly, an earlier Page Six threw interesting light on the recent kiss between Britney and her former backdoor boy Justin - it turns out that prior to the snog, Brit had been spewing her guts up in a toilet. So it wasn't a rekindling, it was revenge.

CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE WOODEN SINGER: While we love trees, David Gray seems to have misunderstood the carbon neutral concept - the idea is that the industry creating the CO2 pays for the trees to offset it; not that you get your fans to pay for the trees for you.

If I can't sing to the top, I'll sue to the top

You've got admire Drew Cumming's gumption. Knocked back by the makers of American Idol as being "too old" - Drew is fifty - he's launched a second bid for fame by attempting to

"become the poster child for baby boomers' and age discrimination rights."

In other words, he's suing. His line is that most of the top grossing live acts are over forty - which is true. But then again, Macca, Jagger and Springo haven't just stepped off the set of some twatty karaoke sing-a-long.

Rocker's town revisited

Or, more accurately: Hoary Old Rock Anecdotes Revisited.

Listening to this morning's Today show, we cringed on behalf of the BBC's man at the Golden Globes. Trying to explain away the anti-climax of the awards not all going to British people - like the BBC had been predicting all weekend - he summoned up Albert Finney's prize for Best Portrayal of a British Prime Minister, and then said "And more good news for Britain - U2 won an award..."

Now, not only is Bono being given a prize in any sense good news, it took us right back to a tale Muriel Gray used to tell about her time as a presenter on the curiously revered Tube. In the hustle and bustle of live TV, U2 got slotted into British bands. By next post came a padded envelope containing the word "Irish" made out of used condoms. Underneath, in biro, someone had scrawled: "That's what U2 are, fuckers."

Sunday, January 19, 2003

We need a new word

With the not-at-all-unwelcome news that the Go-Betweens have a tour and a new album all about to spring on us, it's becoming increasingly apparent that we really could do with a word to describe bands who have supposedly called it a day, but get back together again every couple of years or so to knock out something else - like Madness, the Go Betweens, New Order - you know the sort of act. Based on the concept of how Open University students have a couple of weeks get-together each year and struggle on alone for the rest of the time, we're proposing: The Summer School.

And, if you're casting about for a term to describe unwanted piles of pointless merchandise for bands who don't really have much of a shelf-life (think Hear'Say Easter Eggs; One True Voice anything) may we suggest: Memorobulimia?

The CD of my enemy has been remaindered

In a week when the Rocking Vicar discovers the Oasis mountain, No Rock was wandering round Poundland and came across a whole rack of Alanis Morrisette CD singles, desperately on offer for a quid. It's not ironic in any way, but doubtless she'd think it was.