Saturday, October 16, 2004

ICY SPEARS: Whatever will we do to keep ourselves busy with the news that Britney Federline is taking a break from her career? Yes you do, Britney Federline. Federline. Oh, okay, she's right, it's never going to take, is it? Ms Spears has posted a note on the internets to warn people that she's going to take a little while off:

"It's amazing what advisors will push you to do, even if it means taking a naive young blonde girl and putting her on the cover of every magazine," she wrote. Now, she'd like to "take some time off to enjoy life."
"My prerogative
(Do You See What She Did There?) right now is to just chill and let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment," she wrote. "Good luck girls!"
Spears also said that her next project would be focusing on being a wife and hopefully a mother. "I can't wait to start my family!" she wrote.

So we give it six months before she's pregnant and on the cover of Vanity Fair.

TELL THEM ANY DAMN THING YOU LIKE... JUST BUY ME SOME TIME: The dispute over unpaid legal bills between Courtney Love and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips looks like it might avoid a proper, courtroom settlement. The two sides have been given an extra three months to come to an agreement; the bills relate to stuff to actually do with music, which is quite unusual for Courtney.

CAT HOURS: Coming later this month: a DVD from Mark Bothwick with a two hour Cat Power performance, melding ver Power with nature footage - obviously ethereal tree type stuff rather than cougars chasing gazelles and ripping their throats out. You also get a CD and everything.

LOOK OUT, CANCER - YOU'VE MET YOUR MATCH: It's not a cure, but Mandy Moore doing webisodes has got to be more than a match for cancer, surely? No, we're not really sure what webisodes are, either. But apparently kids with cancer watch them and feel so much better.

UNLESS, OF COURSE, IT RAINS: Depending on what you think the weather's going to be doing this year, you might want to consider spending New Years Eve with Blondie and the Scissor Sisters - they've been booked for the Edinburgh Hogmanay Party this year. We've still not made Halloween plans ourselves.

STRIPES IN COURT: Also getting some hot legal action going down is Jack and Meg: a chap called James Diamond claims that he had a part in the White Stripes success. He reckons he deserves a slice of the The White Stripes album - in fact, he believes he co-produced the sessions by providing “additional artistic suggestions, supervision and contributions”.

BRITNEY DOESN'T SPILL ON SPILLED PILLS: It's starting to look like Britney is going to miss a second deadline to file a response to the suit brought by a drug company who are trying to stop her from suing them for linking her name to their product (it's complicated, really) - she's already had one extension. If she doesn't make any move before the 22nd October, the company which makes Zantrex-3 will be more or less free to use Spear's name (or possibly her husband's) to push their fine product.

DON'T STAND ME DOWN: So, the news that Girls Aloud cover of The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You is the official Pudsey song of the year presumably means that neither of the Geri offerings were up to par, then? Never mind, Gel - try offering Catch A Falling Star to Comic Relief...

NOT ALL COUNTRY MUSICIANS SUPPORT BUSH: Obviously, the alt-country types and the Steve Earle New Country sorts will be tending to line up without much enthusiasm behind Kerry, but it's harder to find Nashville High-Country with a Democrat bent. That's exactly the reason a bunch of Nashvillians have come together to make Takin' My Country Back under the banner of Honky Tonkers For Truth. Apparently, the team putting the record together had trouble finding singers amongst the sympathisers who felt comfortable actually stating their feelings in public, but eventually hooked Tony Stampley.

Friday, October 15, 2004

TOUCHING THE CMJ THROUGH THE SCREEN: A quick round-up of the huge CMJ event in New York, as seen by various websites and blogs:
Spin got rather excited by one of the showcases, which admittedly did feature the Donnas; it also played host to Dogs Die In Hot Cars who strike us as the sort of band you'd go and see on an occasion when there weren't five thousand other acts to go and sample in the same city. Besides, is it right of Spin to enthuse over its own showcase? Quite so much?

The CMJ is a time for heroes - Living The Dream, one Garage At A Time got to see Brian Wilson on a panel and, in their own words, "lost their shit"; which is kind of what Twinkle Twinkle Blah Blah Blah would be getting at when she suggested there wouldn't be a dry panty in NYC Bloggerland - her own moment came when she saw Richard Buckner. Gothamist caught Lou Barlow's solo and acoustic set: "we were nearly lulled to sleep (in a good way)"; they jerked themselves awake for the 1 am Arcade Fire Set - they were "like they had just discovered the world and were showing us what they were seeing." Stereogum were also there: "Helmets, silkscreened blazers, an accordian, blood (Win had a guitar mishap early in the set) ... these guys know how to put on a show." (They've also got the pictures to prove it).

Justin Gaynor, meanwhile, is enthusing over Straylight Run; Verbose Coma got to see Dolorean - didn't look like they were expecting; the audience was small; but sounded astonishing, by all accounts.

At the other side of the stage, Nom from Rescue was fretting before their show that they'd been a bit loose on the current tour. Anyone see them? How did they do?

Finally, we had hoped that the clamour of young girls in tight tshirts and boys with badly applied make-up might have given The Minor Fall, The Major Lift a spark to re-ignite. Nope. Not a word. But surely there's no life beyond blogging, is there?

ROD PISSES OFF HIS FANS: Is it entirely fair to boo someone for not performing an encore when they've just done 26 songs? And when it's for charity? Bloody hell, Rod Stewart's Princes Trust audience at the Albert Hall are a bit mean. Sure, they'd paid two hundred quid for their tickets, but... would an extra song or two suddenly have shifted the value of that particular deal?

I'M SURE IT MEANS WE HAVE TO TRY HARDER STILL: Apparently this very page is the number two Google search result for 14 year old nude lesbians having fun, which I guess serves us right for mentioning TaTu so much.

SOME OF YOU YOUNG FOLKS MIGHT GET YOURSELF MOIST: The lovely, lovely people at have posted some pictures of Death Cab For Cutie playing live. Not my choice of who I'd dress up as Princess Margaret and have on my dance podium, but I know they are darn popular with the discerning classes...

(inevitable):NOT SUCH A SLOWHAND, THEN: Eric Clapton loses his licence after going 134 mph on a French motorway. He escaped a jail sentence as he hadn't shot the deputy.

YOUR MESSED-UP LOVING THRILLS ME: The wrongs that were wrought by the collapse of Creation are slowly being put right, bit by bit. Sanctuary are releasing a two disc Slowdive best of - or rather, all of, on Monday 25th Oct. Of course, the devil will take your soul, but you won't care:

Avalyn 1
She Calls
Catch The Breeze
Golden Hair
Spanish Air
So Tired
Souvlaki Space Station

Machine Gun
Here She Comes
When The Sun Hits
In Mind
Good Day Sunshine
Missing You
Crazy For You
Blue Skied And Clear

[A discovery thanks to DJ Martian]

150,000,000 iTUNES: Apple is reporting that iTunes has flogged 150 million songs, and is now hooking up with Best Buy in the states to sell Record Tokens (or, rather, iTunes gift vouchers). Unlike Napster's UK pay-as-you-go cards, these are being pitched as things to slip into your little one's cyberstocking rather than a way round the under-18s having no credit cards, and it's quite a smooth marketing pitch: after all, a lot of Americans will be Christmas shopping for iPods at BestBuy, and what makes more sense than to suggest you get Little Jimmy some tunes to go with that shiny new player so he can enjoy some music as soon as he unwraps the gift, rather than having no music to play with unless he steals it and sends you to prison or has to buy it himself, you grinch?

IMPROMPTU: We're mildly amused by the reports of "impromptu" Travis gigs - there's been another one in Leicester Square - partly because of the stretching of the word "impromptu" so hard it breaks; partly because it smacks so desperately of a band trying to leap onto the guerrila gig bandwagon. But mianly because Travis playing to bemused tourists for a few coins sums up roughly whereabouts they should be, by any rights.

IT TURNS OUT LENNON WASN'T SPECIAL AT ALL: Huh! All along Mark Chapman's been "the obsessive chap who killed John Lennon because Lennon was a phoney" - now it turns out that Chapman had a whole list of other phonies. Unfortunately, Chapman doesn't seem to have given the parole board the full list, so at this stage we can only speculate if Macca was also on it. If he was, bet he's glad that most people put Lennon first.

Chapman revealed the list of phonies while he was telling the parole board why he shot Lennon:

"It was just a tremendous compulsion of just feeling this big hole.

"Of being what I thought was a big nobody, a big nothing, and I couldn't let it go. And it just kept going very strongly, and I couldn't stop it."

Now, of course, he's still a big nothing, but he's got his own pair of prison pyjamas.

WELL, TONIGHT, GOOD GOD IT'S THEM INSTEAD OF YOU: We're waiting for someone to explain the logic behind the re-release of Do They Know Its Christmas on the 20th anniversary of its first release. Who is this aimed at? People who bought the original and might want it again? But why? And if that's the case, why is it being remixed? Or is it being remixed to make it "modern" - in which case, why not create something new with Busted and those members of S Club 8 who aren't studying for their GCSEs? And why on earth would anyone decide to put Band Aid II (Stock, Aitken, Waterman and almost nothing but version) on the b-side?

PEOPLE OF A CERTAIN AGE: Stuff in the Telegraph and now a BBC News online feature - it could be that Wendy James is being lauded as a bright new talent; on the other hand, it could be that the current entertainment desks are staffed by people of an age to have been touched by her Face photoshoot.

GWEN HURRIED TO MARKET: Universal records got wind that Gewn Stefani's solo single What You Waiting For had leaked, which - in a rare act of a record label being proactive, prompted them to rush the official version to radio stations.

Universal was quite excited that having a digital distribution system would let them do this almost instantaneously - indeed, they press released the story - but surely the bigger question is: if the bootleggers could get the physical copies out to radio stations so quickly, why the hell couldn't an international record company?

PROG IS GOOD: No, not music about elves: She's had the lump removed, and Melissa Etheridge's prognosis is looking good

She wants to thank fans for their outpourings:

"I'm taking all of this one day at a time and spending time with the ones I love," Etheridge says in a statement. "I want to thank everyone for their concern and outpouring of affection."

WHEN BLOATED, UNPLEASANT COMPANIES COLLIDE: It must make the Big four and a half nostalgic for the days when their biggest threat was the non-existent boogerman of downloading: now, the US labels are about to rolled over by Wal-Mart. The company - which flogs one out of every five CDs sold in US stores - has decided that it doesn't want to sell them at a loss any more; and, since they've also decided they're not going to charge more than ten bucks for a CD, they're putting pressure on the labels to cut their supply prices to USD9.72. If they don't drop their prices, Wal-Mart simply won't stock their stuff. As the Slashdot post puts it: Monopoly One, meet monopoly two.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

ISLEY IOU: Ronald Isley (of the Brothers of that name) has been caught up in a tax evasion case. Isley has been indicted on five charges of tax evasion and one of failing to file a tax return, which could cost him twenty six years in prison. Amongst the claims is that Ronald drew cash from his dead brother Okelly's royalties, often insisted on getting half his fees in actual paper money.

KNOWLES UNDERWRITES NOSE: We're sure it's a shrewd move for Beyonce Knowles to pump cash into Barry Manilow's World War II musical, Harmony. But we can't decide if it's shrewd use of tax write-off or shrewd investment.

MAYBE WE CAN SNEAK NIKITA IN THERE, SOMEWHERE: Surely it can't be the case that Elton John really is up for hire? There are stories flying about that John is going to write a musical based on the life of Roman Abramovich, the wealthy Russian who owns Chelsea FC for some reason. Actually, of course, all that has happened is that an old manager of Rod Stewart, Billy Gaff, has tried to buy the rights to a biography of Abramovich, and as part of his pitch, Elton John's name got mentioned. This is one of those projects that will never see the light of day, and even if it does, it'll never hear the enthusiastic applause of even a half-full theatre.

JACKO CASE: FULL STEAM AHEAD: Rodney Melville has ruined Michael Jackson's Christmas, rejecting his defence team's calls for the child fiddling charges to be thrown out. Probably unsurprising that; what was a little crazy was Melville's attempts to make his courtroom as silent as a classroom on detention. Eventually the No Talking rule was dropped, as bailiffs explained it had all been a horrible mistake.

ROD SCRATCHES PEEL: There had been a lot of excitement over the plans for Rod Stewart to present John Peel's show while The Great Man Of English Music And Saturday Morning Whimsy was away next week. It seems, though, Rod suddenly found out exactly whereabouts in the schedule Radio One have shoved Peel these days, and pleaded a prior arrangement. So it is, then, that next week's shows will now be presented by Underworld, Siouxse and Robert Smith - not, sadly, all at the same time. But that would be some zoo radio worth hearing. The second week of Mr. Peel's holiday will be handled on all three nights by Rob da Banks, who is not be confused with Virgin Radio's Robin Banks - same bad pun, different guy.

NO GARBAGE FOR COLLECTION BEFORE CHRISTMAS: That's our Christmas plans ruined, then, with the news thatHands On A Hard Body has been knocked back in the release schedule until January 2005.

THE BPI GOES TO COURT: The BPI won a judgement from the High Court which can give them the power to force ISPs to reveal the 28 names of the "major uploaders" of whom it wishes to make an example.

YOU AND ME BOTH: Appearing on the Orange Mobile Telephone Hour, Rachel Stevens reveals she had a crush on George Michael when she was younger. The sad thing is, though, it was during his bouffant period rather than the earlier, mean smouldering in black leather era.

This is the latest picture from the Orange Progamme:

Rachel, being a pro and having managed to look like she was even enjoying her life in the band, doesn't look too scared here; Lauren, on the other hand, clearly has the words "think of the money... think of the money" scrolling through her head.

Still, it's nice of the Orange-owned Ananova site to give so much publicity to the Orange-underwritten programme. I wonder how they get to hear about the content so quickly?

WHAT THE WORLD MAY OR MAY NOT BE WAITING FOR: Napster have launched a set of pre-pay cards, like mobile phone cards. The idea is that this will open up the world of legal downloading to people under the age of 18 who are unable to get the credit cards they need to buy music online. Because, of course, that's going to stop people taking music from file-sharing networks. Yer average fifteen year old is going to think "I could download the new Britney Federline single from Bittorrent right now, or I could go down the shops, buy a card, come back here, punch in a number, and then download the Britney Federline single. In a format which I may or may not be able to use on my portable music player. Oooh, what to do?"

WE CAN'T IMAGINE WE'LL GET USED TO IT, BUT THEN WE STILL THINK OF RITA AS FAIRCLOUGH: Memo to fanfic writers: you might want to do a quick find and replace to update Britney Spears to Britney Federline. Yup, Britney has announced henceforward she wishes to be known as Mrs. Federline, although, apparently, she fears "society probably won't allow me but I would like to change it." Yes, society and tradition does make it very hard for a married woman to adopt her husband's name - it's almost unheard of.

She also reckons she's not pregnant yet:

"There are a few things I want to take care of this year before I have my baby. I'd love to have a baby already.

"But I've got to take care of some things first.

"I want to become a mother. I'm crazy about children. I will next year. When I'm 23 I'll be ready."

She doesn't say what the things she needs to take care of are - we're imagining one will involve Christina and a rabbit punch; maybe another will be getting over the way her flesh crawls whenever Kevin touches her (well, ours would if he touched us, and he wouldn't even have dollar signs flashing in his eyes when it happened). Let's hope when she's 23 she'll still be married.

NATASHA WANTS A MAN: He doesn't have to be good-looking or anything, because "beauty comes from within", so we'd suggest any man who feels they've been hit unfairly with the ugly hammer should drop a line to Natasha outlining their splendid personalities. Of course, it's just a pity the most obvious unattached man in pop who fits those criteria is her brother.

MORE JACKSON COURT ACTION: He might as well take offices down by the courthouse - now Jackson's being sued by Dr. Sebi. Sebi is some sort of herbalist who claims that he cured Jackson of his painkiller addiction; the Jackson team says that Sebi was a friend, not a professional and never had to wean Jackson off a love of Panadol or anything like it.

Amongst Sebi's wonderful claims is that he's cured every disease under the sun, including, um, Aids.

CHARTSLIP: Ah, the joys of human error and what they can do to the charts. Wednesday morning, Usher's album was number one in the billboard charts, and George Strait at number two. Then a "mass retailer" realised it had got its figures wrong, and had undermarked Strait by about twelve thousand sales. When added in, Strait bounced up to number one. At the same time, REM were moved up one slot to number 13, which Soundscan (who make the charts) says was an error by Billboard when they were printing the charts. It makes you wonder if they'd have bothered to alter the REM position if they hadn't been redoing the chart because of the number one foul up; in turn, makes you wonder how many times bands should be, say, at 17 rather than 18 but nobody bothers to make the fuss.

Record industry computers are not, it seems, infalliable.

"LOOK, WE'VE CALLED JK ROWLING, AND SHE'S ADMANT: HARRY DOESN'T WEAR EYELINER": Not yet entirely clear if this is one of those things that is going to happen, or just a glorious dream, but Franz Ferdinand are in talks to write the music for the next Harry Potter movie.

AND THIS A COLLEGE'S JOB WHY?: We're not sure if Wired's report on how UCLA is responding to complaints about file sharing - the accused is refused access to the college network until they sign an electronic pledge sheet just omits the details or not, but it seems like the bastion of free thinking and personal liberty just takes the copyright industry's word for it that the students are guilty, despite their less than stellar record at spotting what is a copyright violation and what isn't. Perhaps its unsurprising, since the UCLA is working with Universal on this one. Universal apparently send out up to 4,000 violation orders a day, suggesting a shoot first, ask questions later approach. Maybe the UCLA might want to think about tweaking its system to invite students to offer a defence before cutting them off from their electronic study aids?

IF ONLY SHE'D TAKEN THE HINT: We can understand the boss who fired Jennifer Lopez from her first job in a jeans shop: Lopez just wouldn't stop singing and dancing. It's a pity that Jenny decided to concentrate on the singing and dancing rather than the denim selling.

RISING ABOVE IT ALL: Katie Melua has made an early entry into the Presidential race for 2016, taking a slightly lame attack on her by Amy Winehouse and turning it round into a defence of the war on terror:

I really don't know what her problem is. If I met her and we had a fight, then I could comment, but I really don't know. I'm not into making headlines.

"I don't need to criticise other people as I'm too busy concentrating on making good, quality music. However, Amy is entitled to diss my music, everyone has different opinions.

"We are very lucky to live in a country that has free speech. Not every country enjoys that liberty."

It's dignified, but it gets us no nearer to a naked jelly wrestling fight to settle the matter.

LEE RYAN: AS SMART AS BECKHAM: An ongoing series, we suspect, as news comes through that he managed to spend one thousand pounds on a takeaway. Being Hugely important, he instructed the Bengal Quay chef to come and heat up the food for him - rather than telling him to go screw himself, the chef set out on a six hour round trip, only to find Ryan had decided to heat up the food himself. Presumably he realised his mummy would never find out he'd been playing with matches and the gas ring.

We can't imagine why anyone would be so desperate to go out and heat a takeaway up for Ryan anyway - presumably hoping to get good seats during next year's pantomime season.

The thing we do like about this report is the opening:

That Indian curry is the latest craze in London is a well known fact...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

HELLO! STILL SLIGHTLY INDPENDENT, MR. ASHCROFT: By what right and under whose jurisdiction would John Ashcroft's proposed European and Asian officers fighting "piracy" be working under?We're sure that's not a detail he's thought of yet; he also seems to believe that the music and film industries are losing USD250 billion every year, which means he hasn't grasped the simple but important fact that a person spending two quid of a Shrek II DVD is unlikely to have paid twenty quid for the same thing. Still, nice to see that The War on Terror is clearly so much of a sham Ashcroft has a lot of time on his hands to piss about doing the bidding of big business.

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Yes, on a Wednesday, like it should be
The tiny, tiny eyes of Pete Doherty, stripped to the waste (sic) peer out of the NME front page. He looks like... well, nothing on earth, actually. We're not sure what's more unexpected - Doherty turning up to a play a gig or the nme arriving on Wednesday.

As we hoped, there's a picture of gorgeous, pouting Matt Phillips, the leather clad (probably) pretty boy of the BPI crack squad illustrating the piece on the BPI legal action. Meanwhile, BPI head honcho Peter Jamieson seems a bit confused about why they're doing the legal actions against the 28 "massive uploaders" - "we're not trying to put people in jail; we're not doing it to make money, we're doing it to demonstrate its the wrong thing to do and publicise the legal services" - eh? The lawsuits are in lieu of adverts for iTunes on the side of buses? Really? It still smacks of a confused response that the BPI have been bounced in to with the aim of making their friends in the RIAA seem to be less out-on-a-limb. Indeed, Cary Sherman turns up to say "A global problem requires a global response and that is why the actions taken by our international colleagues are so welcome."

Peter Robinson takes on Lauren Laverne. She's so sweet, she's even nice about Scott Mills. Mind you, she also claims that that Orange advert disguised as a TV pop show is a good programme.

Apparently London's Burning, so there's a face-off between The Paddingtons and Special Needs, although Paddingtons come from Hull. Special Needs win, um, some sort of prize.

"Even after a short while, though, it becomes clear that everyone's treating Pete like he's wrapped in cotton wool... he's also a pretty lost, forlorn figure." Pat Long's report from the Babyshambles tourbus is a great piece; it's the second time in a month or so an NME writer makes a singer cry - Doherty bursts into tears when asked about the Barat/Morrissey cover - and if there ever was an NME golden age, this probably makes 2004 part of it.

McFly seem to be put out that Daniel Radcliffe doesn't like them; this being the live issue there's a couple of space-fil... um, background colour pieces on groupies, stupid stuff bands do on stage and stuff. And live posters:Franz ferdinand, Razorlight, Ramones, Nirvana, The Jam, White Stripes and The Libertines. We've actually established a single keystroke which pastes this list straight into the review, as it seems to be the same posters more or less each week.

Bloc Party's Matt Tong files a report on his band's first trip to play US gigs. Immigration holds no fears for the band, except one guy who's convinced Kele is Wyclef and keeps pushing for a chorus of Killing Me Softly.

le tigre - berlin palais kulturbrauerei - "the sound of someone kicking the Beastie Boys in the balls"

various - bring your own poison - "an artefact so now it'll probably be out of date by the time you reach the end of this review", 6
robbie williams - greatest hits - "halfway through... Robbie settles for a career in pop parody", 7
minnie driver - everything i've got in my pocket - "just fairly nice", 5

nine black alps - cosmopolitan - "woof and most definitely woof"
hangar 18 - beatslope - "hip-hop magnificance"
eastern lane - I said pig on friday - "grinds and clangs and grooves"

and finally: next week, NME gets even better. So says the ad at the back. Although the phrase "A hilarious new back page" makes us nervous.

"GOOD MORNING, ANGELS, AND PLEASE STOP BATTERING BOSLEY'S HEAD AGAINST THE FLOOR": We're not sure if the interview took place in a pub, and we can't be certain that a trailer came on the TV for the Charlies Angels film, but we do picutre Bjork stubbing out a rollie and pointing a finger at the screen saying "See that Charlies Angels? I could have been in that, I could. As an Angel. Me." Apparently she turned it down so she could concentrate on her singing. She faced a similar tough choice at the Olympic opening ceremony, where she turned her microphone down so she could concentrate on her lip-synching.

... AND THESE ARE KEVIN'S CLOTHES: Marilyn Manson is most adamant that his role in the pointless remake of Alice in Wonderland (Living in Neon Dreams) isn't seeing him a tranny up. "I'm not just playing a drag queen, I'm playing a woman." We should point out Manson's been cast as the Queen of Hearts and not, say, as a proper woman.

I'M BEGGING OF YOU, PLEASE DON'T TOUCH MY SONG: Things have been quiet at the offices of the Song Listing Society, the purely-speculative body who grant listed songs status to certain tracks to try and ensure that no crap covers of great songs happen. (Of course, this body doesn't actually exist, otherwise Ronan Keating wouldn't.) Then the phone rang - White Stripes to cover Jolene? Now, there's already a definitive version, by Dolly Parton, and a perfect cover, by Strawberry Switchblade, so it's hard to see what the White Stripes would have to add. And, bearing in mind what they did to I Don't Know What To Do With Myself, it's unlikely they'd get a blessing for this one.

Then, another call: Paul Weller to do Sister Sledge. Thinking of You. It sends shudders down your spine, doesn't it? Clearly, only once has the Sledge ever been covered in a half-decent manner, when The Fall did Lost In Music - and, yes, we have heard the Girls Aloud doing Jump, thank you. Again, paperwork will be going out as soon as we're able to stop this in its tracks. At the moment, though, the Song Listing Society has a staff problem - most of their admin team has been sent on secondment to the the Organisation Against Unneccesary Boxsets, who are having to deal with a deluge of Beatles and Nirvana related obscenities.

I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR ULU: Or not quite Bright Eyes, as it's just Conor Oberst who's playing ULU on November 17th.

We're going to hang around outside with hosepipes.

DRYDOCK: The horrors of the various hurricanes which battered Florida in the last couple of months destroyed the houses of many, and the lives and livelihoods of others. You might think that if you got away with nothing more than a boat plonked down in your backyard, and it wasn't even your main house, and you were thousands of miles away safe in one of your other houses in England, you'd judge yourself to have got off quite lightly. Not Tori Amos. She got this boat in her backyard:

And boy, is she cranky about it:

"If the system continues to fail us," Amos said Monday in a terse e-mail from England, "then I'm sure our local builders could always turn the boat into firewood."

Or maybe, Tori, the system is struggling to restore power to people, and put roofs over the head of the homeless, and help people who've got real problems before dealing with divas who've got an untidy backyard.

ARE YOU GOING TO TELL THEM OR SHALL I?: Electric Soft Parade have fallen out with their record label, BMG, with their former mentors issuing all sorts of demands and making them change the name of their website. But the ESP have a plan - they're going to sign with a different label. Sony. Presumably they've not heard that Sony and BMG have merged...

The ESP website now lives at - easy to remember, a bugger to type.

4 WHAT IT'S WORTH: We're sure that Franz Ferdinand's letting slip that they're currently taking home just GBP250 a week is in no way attempting to off-set the story about that unpaid restaurant bill. The sweetest thing is that drummer Paul Thomson spends all his money phoning up his new wife Esther1.

1 - That's a proper Esther, not Madonna.

ANOTHER KNOCKBACK: We'd have been quite pleased to hear that the RIAA has suffered another rejection of its attempts to bounce ISPs into handing over details of alleged filesharers, but since the RIAA has clearly got a fixation on suing people, we doubt if it'll make much difference.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

PETTY: DON'T COME AROUND HERE NO MORE WITH YOUR LAWSUITS: Jim Wagner is convinced that Tom Petty's song The Last DJ is actually the song he wrote called The Last Great Radio DJ back in 2000. Wagner reckons he sent a copy of the song to KLOS DJ Jim Ladd; and somehow it wound up being recorded by Petty. He's demanding four and a half million from the pair of them. Petty 's manager has described the claims as "ludicrous and insulting" and it looks like the lawsuit is going to be strongly defended.

WE KIND OF LIKE THIS IDEA: If you pop Neil Young's DVD-stereo disc into your player, while the music plays you'll be treated to a picture of the original vinyl albums playing on-screen.

SLINT REUNITED: Brian McMahan, David Pajo and Britt Walford, the hub of the legendary Slint, are getting back together to curate February's All Tomorrow Parties. The band will be playing the only festival with its own mini-golf course at Camber Sands during the weekend, 25th - 27th February 2005, as well as inviting heroes and buddies to join in. Tickets on sale through the atp website from 10am this Friday.

FRED DURST'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It's been a while since we dipped into the thoughts of Fred:

when things that are living are in fact dying they change colors, but the things that are already dead will always remain the same.

We're not sure if Fred's ever actually put this to the test by leaving a steak out in his kitchen for a year.

MR MORRISSEY REGRETS: Sunday night, Morrissey played the Radio City Music Hall in New York. Gothamist reports that Mozzer didn't hang around much, apparently walking off mid-song in disgust at the rough-housing handed out by security to fans trying to touch the hem of his garment.

ROCK SICK LIST: The Melvins had planned to spend October touring the US and crossing to Europe for November; now it's all off. The Melvins have pulled all their gigs for the rest of the year, with record label Ipecac pleading illness. Well, they are getting on a bit, we guess...

GNASHER: So determined is Duncan from Blue to "make it as an actor" in Hollywood, he's having his teeth fixed. Yes, Duncan, that's all that's standing between you and being in blockbuster movies - your teeth. Um... you know when casting directors say "come back when you've got your teeth fixed" they're just being polite, don't you?

THOM YORKE IS GOING TO BE ON THE TEL-E-VISION: Radiohead are set to flog off the stuff they created for Radiohead TV as a DVD with stuff and bits on it - The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time is currently being pre-released through their official website.

WE MUST TRY AND ENJOY CHRISTMAS AS MUCH AS WE CAN: For, in the Spring time, the Embrace will be touring:

Newcastle City Hall (February 23)
Doncaster Dome (25)
Carling Apollo Manchester(26)
Leicester De Montford Hall (28)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (March 1)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (2)
Portsmouth Guild Hall (3)
Brixton Carling Academy (5)

WHAT THE REST OF THE WORLD IS UP AGAINST: In August, out of every 10 portable music players sold in the US, eight were iPods.

THERE'S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE: Is there any bugger in the entertainment industry who doesn't live in a bloody haunted house? Now, apparently, Paltrow and Chris Martin are moving into a supposedly haunted house. It seems the place they're buying off Kate Winslet... hang about, that's a cue for a gratuitous picture of Kate Winslet:

... yes, the house is meant to be haunted as people who live in it "have bad luck", according to a neighbour. We're not sure that quite counts as being haunted, which would imply ghosts rather than rich people being miserable, but perhaps it's a case for Robbie Williams.

VIRGIN PLAYERS: What surprised us about the news that Virgin's consumer electronics arm is about to launch a rival to the iPod is not so much why they'd bother - although, come to that, why would they bother? - but that Virgin has a consumer electronics arm. Obviously, Dickie Beard has got more pies than he has fingers, but we'd never heard of Virgin making electrical stuff before. Rather than work up a humorous comparison with Virgin's Pendolino train fleet - seriously, those horrible little cell-like trains are no laughing matter - we'll just point out that they're aiming it at the iPod Mini market. As are many manufacturers. As if anyone would actually choose to have a smaller capacity. Maybe this is why we've never heard of the Virgin Consumer Electronics division before - they don't quite twig that people will buy as much storage as they can afford. Who would say "I could get a player which will take all the music I'm ever likely to want, but I'll go for one with less storage space instead?"

DRUMOBIT: It's been a bad few months for associates of Neil Young, as the drummer from the After The Goldrush, Tonight's The Night and Harvest albums, Kenny Buttrey, has died in Nashville. Although perhaps one of the less instantly familiar names from the rock cannon, Buttery's drumming appears across a number of rock landmarks - he played on Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding with Dylan, Linda Ronstadt's Silk Purse and Robert Knight's Everlasting Love; he also worked with Donovan, Presley, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson... so long is the list that it even includes Buffy Sainte-Marie and Dan Fogelberg.

His own band - Area Code 615 - even has its own place in rock history; their Stone Fox Chase was the theme music for The Old Grey Whistle Test through the Whispering Bob and Nightingale years.

Remembering her husband, Cheri Buttery said "He told me the other day that the two songs that were his favorites were 'Lay Lady Lay' with Bob Dylan and 'Heart of Gold' with Neil Young."

The 59 year old died from cancer at his own home.

ME THE BOMB: We know what Prince is trying to do with his video for Cinnamon Girl - basically Keisha Castle-Hughes suffering abuse as an Arab-American post sep'ven, but we're not sure he's really thought through the implications of the clip. In an environment where, many times, we've heard both 'experts' and anchors on Fox News state variations of "all terrorism comes from the Muslim world" as inarguable fact, is showing an Arab-American teenager blowing up an airport - even as a dream sequence - not going to reinforce rather than reject that belief? Isn't the "well, you can see if we don't stop demonising people we're going to create a bigger problem" intent going to lose out to a "any of them could blow up JFK at any moment - look how easy it could be" less subtle interpretation? In effect, Prince appears to have made a pop video which is closer to Fox's old screeching "Terror Alert: High" on-screen panic button than an attempt to open a dialogue.

Monday, October 11, 2004

...ON THE OTHER HAND, MAYBE SHE JUST FINISHED OFF THE WEDDING CAKE WITH A TUB OR TWO OF BEN AND JERRYS: Britney Spears? Pregnant and showing so soon after the wedding? That's the reason she brought the wedding forward, of course... - it all makes sense now, doesn't it? On the other hand, all this has been built on is a photo of her with a slight bulge over her jeans, so it's as likely to be a good breakfast as a baby.

In other Britney news, Kevin Federline - the man who is married to Britney - apparently put his foot down and refused to let Brit buy pink floral duvet cases. An "onlooker" observed:

"She wanted the girliest of all the designs and he looked aghast. You could see there was no way he was having their bedroom looking like it belonged to Barbie."

Kevin, check the prenup, darling - your bedroom does belong to Barbie. The bed, the covers, the house, even your skanky little ass. It's all hers.

"TWO WORDS... EVA CASSIDY": Can Delta Goodrem really have been surprised that her advisors suggested that her cancer could be a good career move? Sure, it's sick and reflects badly on the music business... but isn't that the way the music business is?

BOILING HOT: We had an email from Frank, out of Eric and The Bunny Boilers. They were on BBC Three's coverage of T in the Park, and we suggested they'd said they hadn't gelled properly and were going to use the gig as a chance to do that. Actually, we weren't paying proper attention and it was Gill Mills who'd made the gelling comment. Which meant our sniffy suggestion that this was kind of an odd attitude to take was misplaced. Sorry, Boilers.

Since their date at T, the band have had a couple of big personal tragedies which has lead to them having to pull some dates and promotional work for their Heard You The First Time was put on hold. But they're back in full effect now, looking over some record company offers and about to pick up work on an album. You can keep up to date with the full picture on their website.

BOILING HOT: We had an email from Frank, out of Eric and The Bunny Boilers. They were on BBC Three's coverage of T in the Park, and we suggested they'd said they hadn't gelled properly and were going to use the gig as a chance to do that. Actually, we weren't paying proper attention and it was Gill Mills who'd made the gelling comment. Which meant our sniffy suggestion that this was kind of an odd attitude to take was misplaced. Sorry, Boilers.

Since their date at T, the band have had a couple of big personal tragedies which has lead to them having to pull some dates and promotional work for their Heard You The First Time was put on hold. But they're back in full effect now, looking over some record company offers and about to pick up work on an album. You can keep up to date with the full picture on their website.

MUMMYFIED: Normal people show they've grown up by moving out of home (except for meals, clothes washing and dipping into the loose change pot, of course). Lolly Pop Stars, who generally tend to own the home anyway, have to find a different way of asserting their independence, and the latest parents to hear the words that break their hearts - "Mum, you're fired" are Joss Stone's. Stone, having axed her mother, is now looking for a new person to run her life, preferably one who doesn't have access to the baby photos.

Oddly, though, despite she's been canned, mommy is still taking part in the interview process to pick her successor. That's going to make for an uncomfortable interview, isn't it?

"Right Mr... McGee, is it? Well, how do you intend to do more for Joss than I have done? I should point out I carried her for nine months, underwent a seventeen hour labour process akin to reversing a tank up a Leeds backstreet, oversaw her toiletry needs until she learned bladder control and suckled her at my own bossom... have you gone so far for a client?"

"Well, I used to represent Liam Gallagher, so pretty much, yeah..."

Joss, meanwhile, is just blatantly fishing for compliments:

"This one guy told us that I needed to be sexed up a bit. He said that girls should want to be me, while guys should want to fuck me! Can you believe that?

"Sorry, but I'm not about to take my clothes off for anybody. I'm hardly beautiful like Beyoncé, am I? I can't imagine anyone would want to see me naked."

We're sure there's already some sort of petition being put together as we talk.

BUT BIGGER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK: While everyone gets excited about Franz Ferdinand's selling out venues across America, there's still a bit of a question mark hanging over if they can turn that into a more tangible type of success: Apparently, Supergrass have never quite mastered moving from selling tickets in the US to selling records.

THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED, MICHAEL - SOME MORE COURT ACTION: Michael Jackson isn't very amused by the new Eminem video which sees em dressed up as Jacko, playing with kids, losing his comedic nose, and so on. "Souces" and "spokespeople" suggest that Jackson is thinking of suing:

"The Jackson family feels the video is demeaning and disrespectful. Michael is very displeased and doesn't want it shown," a Jackson spokesperson said.

A source close to Jackson said: "The entire video is a send-up of Michael Jackson. Michael is very upset and is going crazy over it. Don't be surprised if he sues over this."

We're not sure what grounds he thinks he has - isn't parody protected by the consitution anyway?

PUNK'S NOT DEAD, AFTER ALL: ... it's just moved to Singapore.

STICK TO WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT. MOANING: Oddly, despite the mutterings from his people a while back that Robbie was on the look-out for acting jobs to boost his US profile, now Robbie is saying the thought of him acting is "ridiculous" (at last, something we agree on):

"I have no interest in acting. I think it's a ridiculous job. I just get so self-conscious. I turn completely robotic."

I think from this we can infer the screen tests didn't go well.

WE MAY NOT BE YOUNG ONES VERY LONG: So, because Cliff is totally opposed to plastic surgery, he's been experimenting with Botox - because one is an unnatural process purely driven by vanity, and the other is, uh... just different, okay? Oddly, though, he appears to have stopped after botox made his eyebrows "fall down". Nope, us neither, we're guessing its some sort of lost in translation fun.

APPARENTLY UNAWARE THEY'RE THE MODERN GODS: If Jessica Simpson ever runs for president - not such an unlikely prospect, no smarts and a pushy father is exactly the same profile as the present incumbent - she's going to find her path made tricky by the catcalling of New York firefighters. Simpsons's birthday party at Butter, some sort of New York nitespot, was broken up by the fire bobbies due to overcrowding. The assembled celebs were not amused - "go fight a real fire" shouted one, wittily. It almost makes you wonder why anyone would bother ensuring that Simpson and her guest list - Usher, Sky Nellor, Naomi Campbell - would be able to evacuate safely in the event of a fire. We'd not be talking much of a loss.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

THE MARCH OF TIME: Perhaps the most interesting comment in today's Independent on Sunday report on Brett and Bernard reuniting is the sudden realisation: nowadays, the most significant thing about Suede is that they were briefly managed by Ricky Gervais. It's probably half a step up from "their singer lost his girlfriend to Damon Albarn", but it's hardly a place in history.

SEATS WON BUT THE BATTLE LOST: Peter Garrett, ex-Midnight Oil singer has turned into a fully-fledged politician - he won the Sydney seat in the Australian general election. Of course, his party, Labor, did pretty badly over all as the grinning moral vacuum John Howard and the "Liberal" party won a fourth consecutive period in which to damage Australia's reputation overseas and its morale at home.

CHEESEY TROUSERS: As the world prepares itself for a Verve best-of This Is Music (and a few years back that would have seemed to be on a par with a Tansads Greatest Hits compilation, remember), they've had a bit of an overhaul of - included is a chance to hear the hitherto unheard This Could Be My Moment. Although this sounds like it could be some sort of godforsaken tune that's fallen off the end of a Jayne McDonald album, it's apparently one of the two new songs on the compy. Left over from the Urban Hymns session, explains the site, which we take to mean "at the time thought not good enough but tolerable now as they have the novelty of being 'new' Verve songs".

The tracklist for This is Music runs:

1. This Is Music
2. Slide Away
3. Lucky Man
4. History
5. She's A Superstar
6. On Your own
7. Blue
8. Sonnet
9. All In The Mind
10. The Drugs Don't Work
11. Gravity Grave
12. Bittersweet Symphony
13. This Could Be My Moment
14. Monte Carlo

CHARLATANS IN SCOTLAND: As the Charlatans pre-Christmas jaunt takes shape, the band have announced two gigs in what English people are constitutionally obliged to call "north of the border":

December 11 - Dunoon Queens Hall
December 12 - Motherwell Concert Hall

FROM POSH TO TANDY: There really is something stylish about Damon Dash, isn't there? Fresh off his admission that he only worked with Victoria Beckham for the reflected glory (as if helping her make records is going to make you look good), he's now announced plans to flog Dash-branded electrical items alongside his pumps and music. Toasters and all-in-one remotes, we're guessing.

SUNDAY MISERY ROUND UP: Billie wants a divorce from Chris Evans now that her career is up and his down again; now that his career is up again and hers down, Brian McFadden wants a divorce from Kerry Chipshop - apparently he wants it done Irish style, even although going to Ireland to get a divorce seems like going to Saudi Arabia for porn and booze; now Charlie Watts is over the cancer that nearly killed him, it looks like it's over for him and his wife, and even Brad and Jen are meant to be on the point of splitting. It's probable that your mummy and daddy slept in separate rooms last night, too.

STILL, AT LEAST ITS NOT TOMMY LEE DISCOVERS BOOKS: The desire of Sharon Osbourne to be connected with not-very-good TV shows shows no sign of dying down: after The Osbournes1, her chat show, the terrible X-Factor and pushing her daughter into that fat girl sitcom (because, what, we're meant to believe that Kelly is fat?) comes Battle for Ozzfest, which turns out to be yet another yawn-a-thon "reality" series. Incidently, when did "reality" become the replacement for the term "game show"? Or does the presence of a camera backstage make anything reality? In which case, Friday Night with Jonathon Ross must be a reality TV hit, thanks to its "green room" camera.

Anyway, MTV are going to get some young bands together who'll "compete" for a chance to be bottled off at next year's Ozzfest. Sharon, bless her, seems to think it's going to be an anthropological revelation:

Each episode is set to show the bands being put through events surrounding everyday life on tour.

“Life on the road isn't always what it's cracked up to be and our bands are going to find that out, the hard way,” Sharon explained.

Really? There are people still alive who don't know that life on the road is a hard slog, sleeping in old pants, dealing with vomit and sitting around bored as a man on a pole waiting for soundchecks? And even if there are - isn't making a programme about how shit and dull life on the road is a little bit like having a gardening show that consists of a camera trained on manure? Hang about a moment... I'm off to phone up Jana Bennett...

1 - The Osbournes: If you had a low entertainment threshold, the site of Ozzy being shit at programming his video recorder may have held your interest for about three minutes, and as such would have made a nice little distraction for, say, Johnny and Denise's Passport to Paradise, or a running gag on The Graham Norton Sausage. To believe it made a worthwhile use of people's finite lives churning it out for seventeen seasons of sixteen half-hour episodes suggests that the good people at MTV may finally have gakked out the last of their judgement. It was TV on a par with watching old people searching for slippers.