Sunday, October 23, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Mutya's thoughts on Bush

Much as David Cameron's inability to answer a straight question with an honest answer has come to define the man, the fuzzyness around the edges of the way Steve Coogan has dealt with his time with Courtney Love may well come to be his major defining feature; the bit that everyone remembers straight after Alan Partridge. He was at it again, flubbing rather than lying, in the Films & Music section of the Guardian this week: "'The stuff that was reported was 80% inaccurate and 20% pretty on the nose.' Is she having his child? 'No, that was inaccurate from the start. Don't ask me to tell you how I know.' Did he have sex with her? 'Erm... I'm not even prepared to answer that... I know her better than most people, end of sentence." If that's intended to quell speculation - albeit through throwing up of the queasy imagery of Coogan only going in through the backdoor - it's really not going to work, is it? Don't talk about; do talk about it. But for God's sake, spare us celebrities who turn their lives into a neverending round of Guess What?

The Independent decides to celebrate the return of Kate Bush by inviting the likes of KT Tunstall and - god help us - Mutya from the Sugababes if Kate is still relevant. It's a bit like asking JK Rowling her opinion on Aleister Crowley, but, for what it's worth, here's Mutya's take: "She was a great performer and a great singer. I like that song, you know the one, "It's me, I'm Cathy..." I love that song. I remember listening to it growing up. I think our older fans like her music." Ah yes, the It's Me Cathy song.

Back in the Guardian F&M supplement, John Harris comes over a little Gillian McKeith (only without any dubious medical credentials at all) and frets that Ricky Wilson may have wrecked his health in the pursuit of fame. Looking at the front of this week's NME, at his slits-for-eyes peeking from a face that's aged twenty years in the last twelve months, you'd have to say Harris has got a point. It's actually since Live 8, isn't it? At Live8 Wilson still had the air of a bouncy head prefect; almost as soon as he turned up at whatever the next festival along was, he'd turned into the boy expelled last term for selling dope to the first years. Let's hope it's all worth it. In the article, Ricky is making it clear that this is only the start of their masterplan - "we've proved ourselves as a proper rock band. We're not just an artrock band, or a gimmick band like the Darkness." Nick suggests they have ambition to match Coldplay or U2. All that ambition. All that need to prove. It'll be the death of them.

John Peel Day is revisited in glowing terms - "He'd have loved it" reads the headline, complete with quotes, although it's not revealed exactly from where this viewpoint was canvassed. And while nobody would expect very much in the way of complaints, it's a pity not even a corner could be found for a consideration of if turning John Peel into a Hallmark holiday is quite the right thing to do to remember the great man.

There is, however, a timely piece investigating the government's plans to try and help out indie labels. Dan Martin suspects it's all a long run-up to help win back the youth vote; which is probably true in part. There's also, of course, much of the Blairite zeal for formalising things; tidying and enclosing, and we suspect that the plans also have an element of that desire running through it - you can't have the start-ups in an important foreign currency earner like music in such a state of wilful, joyous poor-quality bookkeeping.

Alex Kapranos, cheese correspondent of the Guardian, is asked what he thinks and - much as he gave an opinion as soft as a grilled camembert on Lennon v McCartney last week - he offers a safe "any move to keep the independents alive should be welcomed." He really is going to end up as an MSP before the end of the decade, isn't he; the worry is, it's not clear for which party.

Test Icles' Dev Hynez has killed 1,000 French people. At least, he deleted them from his MySpace account, and if you've been deleted from someone's MySpace friends list, you're as good as dead.

Jude Law is not gay. We have, for this piece of information, Rowetta to thank; and in turn, Peter Robinson for getting it out of her. Peter doesn't ask her the burning question we have, though, which is: why, in the advert for her album, are there lots of shots of her on stage, moving her head, but none of her actually singing? Maybe next time.

Tucked away in the letters page is a plea from a woman asking that the NME is no longer shelved in a place where she has to fight through middle-aged men pawing their way to the men's magazines to get hold of her copy. She should try Milton Keynes WHSmiths, where the NME is dumped on top of the stand tucked away next to the foreign language magazines that's reserved for the likes of Construction Times and other professional titles. And because they're on the top, by the end of the day they're usually covered in a small flurry of inserts from Broadcast and discarded World's Fairs. We sometimes relocate the pile to the music section, but we're thinking of charging IPC Ignite for performing this service in future.

Radar label Giant Drag "X-rated Nu-Grunge", which perhaps is the most horrible description of a great thing. They're kinder in the article proper - "PJ Harvey on valium" - but since Annie wanted to anally rape band mate Micah just for the photo session, you think they'd be going out their way to be nice.

Vashti Bunyan is probably the oldest "new" artist to be discovered by the NME; or at least, rediscovered by Devendra Banhart. Wonderfully, Mr. B sent her drawings in a bid to tempt her out of semi-retirement.

The archive moment is the day the Rolling Stones hit America in 1964. Interestingly, they illustrate the news with a Melody Maker front page. Even more interestingly, they ask Tom from Kasabian what the Stones playing Ed Sullivan meant to him. They might as well have asked Mutya what she thought of Kate Bush: "The Stones were a proper gang, like a bunch of outlaws. Everyone feared them, and that's what inspired Kasabian." Everyone feared them, did they? William Rees-Mogg didn't, and we're pretty certain the reaction of the Hells Angels wasn't to be sent a-knees a-knocking at the sight of Bill Wyman. And who the hell fears Kasabian? Even if you got bird flu and explosive-filled-backpacks, you'd still be about as frightening as an especially timid New Forest pony.

reviews
live
who made who - cardiff university - "they pushed, we pulled"
arctic monkeys - norwich & london - "after this tour, the Monkeys can never go back, but then neither can the rest of the world"
deerhoof - nottingham boat club - "not for the faint of heart"


albums
the prodigy - their law: the singles - "if you have it turned up loud enough", 7
silver jews - tanglewood numbers - "a rhinestone tipped treat", 7
robbie williams - intensive care - "Ok in a sort of karaoke way", 6

tracks
totw - the strokes - juicebox - "howly, scowly, and punk-rock growly"
kate bush - king of the mountain - "a mental ska breakdown in the middle"
felix da housecat - tweak - "industrial thrash can-opener pop"

FHM must be an interesting place to work at these days. Interviewed in the Weekend Guardian, its editor, Ross Brown (who, appropriately looks a little like Ross Kemp doing an impression of Derren Brown) reveals that he doesn't like sport and can't really be arsed about music, either: "I just play the same six CDs, mostly AC/DC's greatest hits." That explains how the magazine came to put Mariah Carey on the cover. This year.

And finally, back again to Courtney Love, who appears in the Guardian Review's look at Neil Strauss' The Game. Strauss used to work for Rolling Stone (maybe still does) and became a "pulling guru" by following the Layguide, one of those web-based "how to have sex" guides which hold out the promise that men can have never-ending, no-strings sex (and with it, of course, the certainty that its rules will be followed by slack-jawed jocks up to and beyond the point of nasty STDs: The unspeakable in pursuit of the untreatable). Following these rules to their logical conclusion, Strauss and a chum sets up a house to teach these seduction skills; amongst those who turn up, briefly, is Ms Love: "Notably, not one of those self-described pick-up artists in the house attempts to bed her. A real woman, one who sweats and swears and bleeds, baffles their programmed sense of superiority to the weak Pavlovian female. And so they heave a collective sigh of relief when she leaves."

Last week's Pop Papers


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