Monday, March 10, 2003

HAVING FAILED TO HECTOR THE US MARINES OUT THE GULF...: Blur embrace patronisation as a way of making the Marines come home, by turning a female marine's "story" into a pop video. N-n-n-n-nineteen, anyone?

WILL SHE FINALLY USE A BLOODY SLING?: Meg White's broken her arm. This would normally make it tricky putting a bra on, but, of course...

"What if the public want you to be the first person to pack her bags and head back home?
'Someone's got to be the first off and if I am, then so be it' says Sonia - as likeable, nice and reasonable as ever"
Here comes the Son, Liverpool Echo, March 1st
"Sonia has quit Reborn In The USA after the first show — and flown back to Britain in tears.
Viewers saw the singer looking shell-shocked on Saturday when a New Orleans audience voted for her as one of their two least favourite acts.
Scouser Sonia, 32 — who sang The Greatest Love Of All — was so upset she fled to her motel room and locked herself in before booking the next flight home.
British viewers will decide whether Sonia or Dollar duo David Van Day and Thereza Bazar are axed from the show.
But Sonia is said to have decided she won’t be returning whatever the phone vote result.
A source said: 'It’s bad enough being branded a has-been — but it’s very embarrassing to be the worst of the lot.'"
Sonia Does A TV Runner, The Sun, March 10th

NICE VIDEOS, SHAME ABOUT THE NAMES: BSkyB has finally given names to it's soon-coming MTV/Smash Hits rivals - Flaunt, The Amp and, um, Scuzz. Or, in order - The Box, Q and Kerranng alikes.

OR THIS ONE, DARIUS: Nikki Sixx is editing his journals from the year he quit heroin into a book, you know. Heroin, shagging, waking up caked in poo - that's interesting to read about Darius. "I woke up to find I'd thrown up over the groupies again" - yes. "I had a quick cup of tea in the LWT canteen and wondered if my mum had set the video" - no.

RIAA? IT'S FOR YOU: One of the few digital areas that even the most lunk-headed record label could count on making cash on was the ringtone download market. They must be delighted that MP3s and mobile phones are together at last.

NOW, DARIUS - THAT'S AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Anthony Kiedis writing his life story, yes - that's a story you can see would be worth forking out 100k for. Drugs, chicks, success, doom. That's a story. Set against Darius - audtioned (as seen on TV); lost (as seen on TV); auditioned (as seen on TV); lost (as seen on TV); minor chart hit - you'd have to wonder why he'd bother.

POPS STOPS PEACE BOPS: There's something a little odd about the fuss over the George Michael appearance on Top of the Pops at the weekend. Producers wouldn't let him wear an anti-war tshirt, and only allowed his backing singers to keep the shirts on because they had nothing else with them and full-frontal teatime nudity is frowned on even more than messages of peace. The official line was "we're not here to give George a political platform, but to allow viewers to see one of the biggest stars on the show for the first time in a generation." Which would be fine, but he was singing an anti-war song - has it really got so shaky at TOTP that they really care more about what you're wearing than what you're singing? Presumably, Tatu could have been trilling "We lick underage minge, us/ we perform teen cunnilingus" and they'd have been allowed on providing they wore something a bit more demure.

BITTER MEN - AND WOMEN - ON A BUS: Sweet Therese Bazar has attacked Gina G for using her bottom to pick up votes on Reborn In The USA. Kinda funny, that, Gina G shows her arse onstage and gets through; Dollar has their arse totally visible on stage, and despite David 'Chips Ahoy' Van Day's presence, they get set up for eviction. Therese fumes "I could have worn something like that, but I know what's appropriate for my years" - yes, but you do have twice as many years as Gina under your belt, don't you, love?

Sunday, March 09, 2003

CHOOSE YOUR SIDES: It's like trying to decide who you wanted to back in the Iran-Iraq war, but it's time to choose sides in the Terence Trent D'arby v Universal war. TTD claims that Universal - you know, one of those labels who rails against pirate music sales becuase they're thinking of the artists - are dumping unsold illegal copies of his album in overseas markets. Now, we're sure the label must have one hell of a pile of unsold TTD albums - and we can understand them wanting to get rid of them - but if Tel's claims are true, then how can Universal justify being part of raids on CD duplication plants in the future?

UNDERKILL: Eighties retread show Here And Now (winningly so-called to puff the egos of the stars involved into believing they're still relevant) has had its May shows cancelled because of, erm, "uncertainty over the world situation" - never mind what war in Iraq might do to oil prices and the future of the UN, it's now threatening to derail the Pete Burns comeback parade. Surely now Blair must see the folly of his actions?
Seriously, though, how is the likely world situation going to affect Here and Now? We don't imagine venue bookers are saying "well, if you can't guarantee that Carol decker won't be airlifted out to Basra to entertain the troops, we're not signing anything...", and clearly the audience for Elkie Brooks isn't going to be too badly depleted by the first couple of waves of call-up papers being sent out, is it?

Story: Erm, some drunk men tried to get Gina G to go into their motel room. And there was alcohol in the room. Now, Gina may very well have believed - as she said - she was going to be raped and killed, but, um, "tried to rape me" is something of an exaggeration, surely? Nice one, Sunday People.

ALL THAT A MAN HAS: Darius has been, we're told, offered GBP100 000 to 'tell all' in a book. If you're thinking this is because he has something interesting in his life before Pop Idol/Stars that justifies paying rather a large sum of money to the guy, you're wrong, and - besides - he's going to concentrate on the last three years anyway. So, in short, he's being paid to tell a story that's already been covered by almost endless reality TV show coverage. This isn't so much autobiography as the 2003 equivalent of those light novels which used to be based on Emmerdale Farm. One hundred K? Thirty-three thou an incident.

STRAIGHT UP?: The funny thing about Will Young's claims he was told to Not be Gay for the US is that it's not like Will Young actually has any sexuality at all - after all, his version of Light My Fire was so desexualised that rather than being a call for a partner to unleash hidden internal passions, it really did come across like a neighbour asking for help with a briquette shortage at barbecue time. With most artists, of course, it wouldn't work merely adopting the don't ask, don't tell line - even Bob Mould it was just obvious, wasn't it? - but Will should be offended not because he's been asked, but ashamed because it would work.
Will's also said recently that the edge was taken off his Brits victory because people were booing when he picked it up (apparently, the booing was drowned out by canned laughter - sorry, applause - before the show was broadcast). This suggests that maybe the Brits audience weren'ty quite as lame as they appeared on TV, then.

WE'RE WAITING FOR THE DOTS TO BE JOINED UP: Musicians on strike on Broadway. The firefighters on strike in the UK. Can it be that long before someone dusts down the old "What if they sent the troops in to replace the striking musicians" sketches from the great Top of the Pops strike for redeployment?

WHILE WE'RE ON THE POSH STUFF: Emma From (as in "Emma from Sing-sing" and "Emma from Lush") has added a new barrel to her surname, turning into Emma from a change-of-light, an interesting sounding collaborative thing between visual artists, composers and musicians.

THE MELISMA VIRUS: We've had an email from Nigel over at the Yes/No Interlude who pulls us up over our admittedly sloppy grasp of musical terminology:
I think you mean "melisma" rather than "vibrato" when you're talking about the likes of Whitney, Mariah and Christina. "Vibrato" is "a pulsating effect, produced in singing by the rapid reiteration of emphasis on a tone" like early Scott Walker or Shirley Bassey, whereas "Melisma" is "an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text".
hmmm. Here, I plead that i was taking vibrato as described by James Naughtie on Today the other morning, who suggested that it would cover poking about the note to cover the inability to hit it. He's presented the Proms, you know...
but strictly speaking, Nigel is correct. Although the use of the word "ornamental" in the context of Christina strains us somewhat...