Wednesday, March 31, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Kurt's being dug up edition
We had an odd sense of that deja-vu stuff when we heard that some of the Loaded launch team are planning a new magazine launch, Golfpunk. You can imagine it, I’m sure, pitched as a Golfing GQ, but it’s really just an Bizarre with tees - Sarah Michelle Gellar playing golf, goofing playing golf, and probably pictures of great golfing injuries. It took a moment before we remembered where we heard all the ‘bringing the Loaded ethos to a traditionally staid market segment’ - it would have been the short lived Eat Soup, the Loaded food spin off. Trying to sell haute cuisine to a readership that lives off burgers and beer was a non-starter, and somehow I can’t imagine who in the crossover market between the lads mags and the golf titles would want all their eggs in one basket. Good luck, and we’ll see you in two years launching ‘Attack Antiques - auction hounding for the Loaded generation.’

Blimey, it’s ten years now that FHM have been doing their 100 sexiest poll, some sort of definitive list of, um, the most stroked to women on the planet. And, once again, the title has been taken by a pop person - Britney is straight in at one, followed by Rachel Stevens and Beyonce. Probably surprised to find themselves on the list will be Alicia Keys (60) and, bloody hell, Dido (89).

It’s a cracking NME this week, as at around the same time as FHM was marshalling its first list of Sexy Women, Kurt Cobain was sticking a gun into his mouth and ruling out any chance of a Nirvana reunion in 2024. The ‘ME is pulling out all the stops for this one, as Kurt is recently enough dead for the younger end of the readership to know who he was, and yet has been dead long enough to have acquired the patina of genius. And, there’s none of that awkwardness you get with yer Buckley or your Parsons - people actually bought his stuff when he was alive. It means the Scissor Sister’s debut front page actually doesn’t appear on the front (oddly, you turn over from Kurt’s face and find yourself looking back a further ten years still, straplined by the claim that “we’re the new saviours of rock and roll.”) The extra cover is actually a pair of art prints - Nirvana in front of a sign reading "men don't protect you anymore" while Dave Grohl eats a bread roll and Kurt playing a guitar. The real joy - if that's the correct term - amongst the mourning is perhaps the best CD the NME has compiled since, ooh, before CDs. Thirteen tracks from Kurt's collection, it kicks off with Mudhoney's Touch Me I'm Sick, and includes PJ Harvey doing Dress, Bad Brains, Gang of Four and The Slits. The only quibble is that there's no Raincoats, but even so: the NME has covermounted The Vaselines and the Butthole Surfers in 2004. This is like Top Gear suggesting we all go out and buy Escorts this weekend, except absolutely brilliant. The first three minutes of the album should account for at least thirty percent of Coldplay fans realising the error of their ways. And this, by the way, is the warm-up for next week's issue, which is the real special Kurt edition.

The big pictures shows the Hives in their new Modern Romance get-up; news has Reading and Leeds line-ups while Mike Skinner runs through the new Streets album ("I wanted to make an Alfred Hitchcock film in a song"). The tricky business of reporting on the MTV war with the indie labels is dealt with delicately - the paper mentions that MTV2 carries the NME chart show, but doesn't quite make space to acknowledge the joint ads sales house that unites their parent companies (and Capital Radio) a little closer than that.

Hal's front man Dave Allen does the CD thing - the Beatles and Bob Dylan are invited along.
Peter Robinson meets Neil Hannon, and asks how much it would cost to rent his life. Hannon reckons it's a couple of grand a week, which seems to be a rather harsh mark-up for a couple of nice suits and the adoration of a few dozen slightly balding men.

Signs that you're probably too old to read NME: If you had to headline a piece about the Swedish collective The Concretes, you'd go for Concrete Blondes, wouldn't you? But they went for The Polyphonic Swedes. We prefer ours, to be frank.

So, Scissor Sisters, how are you going to save rock and roll? "They've tried to pigeonhole us, calling us the pop Darkness or art rock. They tried to call us the Village People which is, like, 'oh fuck off.' Music to me is rock and roll above all else." Well, yeah, you whinge about pigeonholing like 'proper' rock acts. But the desire to push themselves free from the charges of trendiness or being fashionistas doesn't quite convince.

Posters are singers who act - Snoop, Presley, Madonna - no, really - and Prince.

Wolfman - who is he? What does he do? Well, really, he's just another Pete Doherty single delivery system, but he's not a real werewolf. Let's clear that up now.

the brit pack tour - "lots of boys with guitars"
courtney love - bowery ballroom, new york - "even her burn-out is inspiring to watch", 9
the murder of rosa luxembourg - London Needles - "short, sharp shock"

delays - faded seaside glamour - "there's a bit of rough in these diamonds yet", 7
ben kweller - on my way - "we think he'll like you", 6
tindersticks - working for the man: the island years - "adoration of this band should be mandatory", 9

black wire - attack! attack! attack! - "make being in a band seem the best idea in the world"
seachange - news from nowhere - "jo whiley indie"

And finally, as if kicking the issue off with a whack of Mudhoney wasn't enough, it closes with Tom Delonge of Blink 182 enthusing about Fugazi. If you'll excuse us, we're off to below "suffer your in-ter-pre-tay-shun of what it means to BE! A! Man!" at the top of our little lungs.

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